2 July 2012 - QA 10

Guruji, I understand the importance of seva, but at the moment, nothing but knowing myself is important. And seva feels like a distraction to me. What to do?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Does a baby want to know the mother? Does a baby want to make the mother an object of knowing? Does any baby ever ask the mother, ‘Mommy, where did you study? First tell me. Give me your introduction; show me your bio-data. Then I will love you.’

A baby is simply in love with the mother. Every animal is in love with nature. Something so magnanimous cannot be made into an object of knowing.


In the Vedantic philosophy there is an example given – a spoon cannot contain the ocean, but it can be in the ocean.

Our intellect is so small, but the Self is much bigger than the intellect. So, can the small intellect capture the depth of the Self? No!

Then how?

You can be in it, and that is in silence. You can be in silence, you can know silence, but you cannot grab silence. Correct?!

So, knowing the Self is not sitting and simply analysing it. If you know you are not your thoughts, you are not your emotions, they all come and go; our body is changing all the time, this is not me, but there is something else, what is that? Who am I? – This inquiry itself is good enough to lead you into a state of stillness.

Once you are still, don’t try to make yourself as an object of knowing. It is not possible. You are the Knower, not the object of knowing.


Are you getting what I am saying? If it goes a little bit above the head, never mind. We will go through it once again sometime later. But you can just think about it – ‘I am not going to make myself an object of knowing, but I am. Whether happy or unhappy, I am. Good or bad, I am.’

And, this sense of I am, this consciousness becomes much clearer when the Prana (life force) is high. When the energy is low and you feel tired, you can’t know anything. Your mind is not clear.

When do you find the clarity in the mind? When the energy is high. When the energy is really high, this becomes so evident, so clear. ‘I am not the body, but I am the spirit. I am the glowing spirit. I am energy. I am enthusiasm. I am love.’

This experience simply dawns.

Now, don’t get attached to that experience also. Got it?

So, just do Seva. The more service you do, the more merit you acquire in life. The more merit comes, the more peaceful and serene you become from within. That is the way to go about it.
Just sitting in a corner and thinking, ‘Who am I? I want to know’, is not going to happen. It has to be complemented by activity and by rest. At the same time, if you are too much into activity and not taking any rest at all, then there is an imbalance. That is not good. You should have that balance in life, of activity and rest.

Sometimes time calls for activity. When there is an emergency, or if there is some urgent work, you do it. But then later on, take time to be quiet and be relaxed. Take time to relax.


It is good that you have this intense urge to know yourself. You should congratulate yourself. That is good, but don’t be in a hurry. Take your time.