Q: Gurudev, I am confused as to what is it that I really want. I come to the Ashram to ask for material things that I desire, but I end up asking for bliss and take it home. Bliss is good, but does that mean I won’t get material things in life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Many times you say that you want something, and then you cut your own wants, by saying, ‘No, I don’t want it!’ Your own sankalpa (an earnest wish or firm resolve) gets cut by your own vikalpas (doubts). When you really want something to happen, it will definitely happen. When you ask for blessing, it happens.
In the Mahabharata war, Lord Krishna went three times to Duryodhana to tell him, ‘Don’t fight, let us not have this war. Come for peace negotiations. Let us sit, let us agree.’
Lord Krishna knew that the war was going to happen, and the Gita is going to come out of it, still he went three times to make peace. Why? Because you need to keep doing what should be done at one level.
Suppose, in the Mahabharata, Duryodhana had agreed to Lord Krishna to give five villages to the Pandavas and no war was to happen, just imagine such a situation. There would have been no Gita! Even the Mahabharata script would never have come!
When someone asks, ‘Why are you doing this when you know very well that this action is not going to bring results?’ The answer is, ‘There is a bigger purpose for every action, and it is not related to the fruit of the action. What do I get from this is not the question; did I act in the situation or not is the question.’
In the hospital, doctors put all their effort to cure a patient knowing very well many times that the patient will not survive. The moment the doctor knows that the patient will not survive, will they stop caring for him? No! As long as the heart is beating, the breath is moving, the doctor takes care of the patient, even though he knows there is no use in it.
So there could a small example of the cosmic phenomenon, when things are supposed to happen the way it should happen, but we cannot say, ‘Let it happen; anyway everybody is born, everyone will die. Sick or healthy people will die anyway, so why should anybody take care of anyone? Let us keep quiet!’ This is not the right thing to do; we have to attend to it.
When the Tsunami occurred, Swami Sadyojatah and I went to Sri Lanka. Our Gulf centers had sent several shipments of clothes, and medicines, and our volunteers were also there.
There was this one Sinhalese pilot, from the army who was helping us in the South Eastern region of Sri Lanka. He made a very sad confession to me. He said that he was asked to bomb a hospital and a school, on the Tamil side where 600 children were studying. He said, ‘My heart broke when I had to do this job, and I resigned from my job.’
Then, of course, he did the Sudarshan Kriya. After he resigned from his job, he dedicated his whole life to do seva (service), to make life better for children; he helped in orphanages. That one incident, where he had no option but to follow the orders of his superiors, changed his whole life. He is a Buddhist, and he knew violence is such a sin. It was so hard on him for so many years.
When the Tsunami occurred, this man did so much seva with The Art of Living. It takes so long for someone to get out of such trauma, but with the help of knowledge, Ashtavakra Gita, Kriya and meditation, this man said, ‘For the first time I am able to smile; joy has returned in my life.’
This knowledge, this wisdom, is immensely valuable. It is immensely beautiful, and immensely powerful. It can take people out of such deep scars, guilt, hurt and misery; it can give a new light and uplift one’s spirit. It is so touching.
Earlier, the Ashtavakra Gita was not given to public. Even in India, we had only two to three sets of tapes in each center, and we used to conduct these courses only for people who were a little advanced. Then I decided that we cannot wait for people to get to that level. Whatever level they are in, wherever they are, even a few sentences can make a difference in people’s lives. It is after this that everyone was permitted to listen to The Ashtavakra Gita; we opened it up.
Ashtavakra Gita is high knowledge, it is like learning higher mathematics. You cannot do it without basic knowledge of mathematics. This was the argument that ancient people had. Quantum Physics cannot be taught in Primary School. However, lifting one from doership and seeing facts as they are, is very valuable knowledge from the Ashtavakra Gita.