Q: Dear Guruji, I have had thoughts of suicide many times in my life. What happens if one commits suicide?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Suicide is the most foolish thing a person can ever do. It is like someone is shivering in the cold and goes out and removes all their clothes. What do you call them? Foolish!
You are already so cold. You are feeling cold in a heated auditorium and you go out into the open and say, ’I am cold, I am cold, I am cold’, and remove your jacket, your t-shirt, your inner garments and everything and throw them out. Will the cold become any less? No!
People who commit suicide find themselves there because they are so attached to life. They are so attached to some pleasure, so attached to some fun and joy that they want to kill themselves.
So when they kill themselves they find themselves in a bigger soup. ‘Oh my God, this restlessness, these desires which has created such intense agony inside me has not gone. My body has gone but the agony has remained.’
It is only through the body that you can dispel the agony and get rid of misery. Instead you destroy the very instrument by which you can get rid of agony. That is why this knowledge is so important.
If you do pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and meditation, you will realize that you are not the body.
What is it that you are hankering for in life? Hankering for love? Attention? Money? Pleasure? What is it that you are hankering? These hankerings are boiling desires and they are creating this foolish idea inside you to commit suicide.
Dedicate your life for a social cause, for some higher cause. If you feel you want to commit suicide, I tell you, I need you; I need you to do my work so you better stay back.
When you think only about yourself, ‘What about me, what about me’, then this is what happens.
Depression comes in. Forget about yourself. Die for a cause but don’t kill yourself. It is worth dedicating your life for something higher.
I need you. You come here and do work, there is so much work to be done; help me out. Know that you are useful to me. If everyone else says you are useless, remember – no, I am here, born at this time because I have to be of some use and Guruji needs me, so I am not going to commit suicide. Got it?!
So, do my work. If you cannot do yoga, meditation, then sweat it out and do my work. I have lots of work I can give you. I can give some work to the entire nation and the entire population. I have plenty of work to be done. And whatever you need, a square meal, I will provide you. You need a roof above you, I will provide you. I guarantee you, but don’t kill yourself. The human body is so precious you know! After so many different lives and different bodies we get a human body, a human birth. After being a frog, a scorpion, a chicken, being a mouse somewhere in some hole, a cat jumping around here and there, a dog somewhere, a bird somewhere, a worm somewhere then you get a human life, after going through all those births. So, it is very precious.
Your hankering for pleasure is the cause of depression in you. Wake up and see all pleasures are momentary. How long will it stay? See they are so momentary, five to ten minutes you find some joy in them and then it is gone.
What is it that do you are hankering about? Some people appreciating you? My dear, it has no meaning. People appreciate you in front of you; behind you they may feel jealous about you. That is what happens. They praise you today, tomorrow they criticize you. So what? Do you see what I am saying? What are you hankering for? Appreciation from people? What is appreciation? It is just a few thoughts that are passing through their mind, and you think they are going to do it forever? They have limitations. So what?
Some people have good comments and some people have bad comments, so what. They criticize you, so what? Those who criticize you are also going to die, and you the one being criticized will also die one day, all will be finished! So why are we so much bothered about somebody’s appreciation, or criticism? Why can’t we just be our self? You know, it takes such a big load off our head not being bothered by anybody’s criticism or anybody’s adulations. We can just be ourselves, natural.
If you live so lightly where is the question of depression? Do you see what I am saying? So those who get these thoughts of committing suicide, it is just your prana which is low, so do more pranayama and dedicate your life to a higher cause.
There are millions of people who are suffering more than you, look at them. When your suffering becomes smaller you will never think that you want to commit suicide, number one.
Second, know that you are needed, you are useful. You have to do something in the world. Know that. Third is, forget about what people think about you. People commit suicide because they think they have lost their prestige, their status. What status? What prestige? Who has time? Everybody is entangled with their own problems, with their own mind. They can’t step out of their own mind, where do they have the time to think about you? These types of tendencies come because you think others are going to disrespect you. Many people do this. I tell you it is worthless; what the society thinks of you is useless.
Mainly we must realize that suicide is the worst thing. That is one of the major reasons that we should conduct Art of Living programs as much as possible. Do you see what I’m saying? When you start the breathing exercises and a couple of bhastrika, it all goes away!