How to keep on loving without expecting. How is it possible? In love expectations arise and if not fulfilled, it hurts.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, you will have to go through these gymnastics. If you have wisdom, you don’t have to go through the pain to learn. When there is lack of wisdom, you go through pain, but you will come out of it in sometime, don’t worry. This is why it is important for one to have a larger context to life. When you have a larger context, all these trivial things don’t really bother you. They are all like waves on the surface of the ocean, they rise and fall; like ripples in the lake, they rise when the wind blows, and when there is no wind, there are no ripples.
So, have a bigger context. That is atma gyaan (knowledge of the self); nothing can shake me, I am much bigger than the emotions, I am much bigger than the world around me, people around me. Their praise and their blame doesn’t matter. I am much bigger than all this!
This awareness uplifts us, then one does not drown in the ocean of emotions, and hurt.
There are four ways to look at hurt.
1. Someone who has hurt you is pained. They have scars, they are unhappy and miserable. They can only share what they have. They are hurt and they are sharing the hurt with you.
So with those people who are inflicting pain on you or hurting you, which you think they are doing purposefully, in fact it is because they do not have happiness inside them. They don’t have joy, they don’t have peace. They have pain and they are wounded so they are causing you hurt.
So, for a wounded person what is required? Compassion. So you have to be compassionate on those who hurt you, because they are hurt and wounded themselves. This is number one.
2. Those who are causing hurt to you are ignorant. They don’t have a broad vision of life. They don’t know themselves and they don’t know what they are doing. They are ignorant and arrogant. You can only feel sorry for them and hope that someday they will become intelligent. They don’t know that their actions are hurting others, and you wish for them to be more sensitive.
3. It is just karma. You had to get this hurt and if not this person then someone else would have given it to you. We must have caused some hurt to someone in the past so nature is bringing it back to us now. When you know that it's just the karma being repaid, you feel very settled. Isn’t it?
4. It is being done to make you strong. Nature is bringing this to you so that you become strong; so that you discover the strength and power within you.
Usually in the pandals (temporary shelters/structures made of fabric and bamboo poles). After putting a pole in its place they shake the pole to see whether it is strong enough or not. Hurt is just that, to see whether you are well established in yourself, whether you are in wisdom or not. Every hurt is trying to shake you, to see whether you are strong or not. It tests your strength. It is to make you stronger. If you think a wise person or someone intelligent is hurting you, then you should be thankful because there is some purpose in that. They want you to be strong.
If your mother is scolding you, she is not doing it with a bad intention. If your father is scolding you, you can’t say, ‘Oh my father hurt me! My mother hurt me!’
Your parents are not hurting you; they are coming from a space of care and concern for you. We must recognize that they are doing things out of their limited understanding and love for you.
There are two major things that you feel when you are hurt - lack of communication and lack of understanding. Another reason for hurt, if you want to count is being over sensitive to irrelevant or ephemeral things. Events are all ephemeral, they are all moving. Everything is changing. You don’t need to become over sensitive, ‘Oh he said this thing to me, she said this thing to me!’
In Kannada, there is a proverb that says, ‘God has not put a bone in the tongue; the tongue rolls, moves in all directions.’ Never mind what words come out of people’s mouths.
This is a big issue in the world today. The root cause of so many diseases and conflicts is that we don’t know what we should put in the mouth, and we don’t know what should come out of the mouth!
People keep stuffing all sorts of things in their mouths. In this little hole, tons and tons of food goes in, and volumes and volumes of garbage come out; this is the misery of the world.
Again, a poet in Kannada said, ‘All the fun people have in the world, is only by words!’
Jokes and comedy happens because of words, all the conflicts and hatred is also through speech. It is speech that entertains, makes you laugh, and again, it is speech that creates divisions in the society, and hatred amongst people.
All different types of wealth come to you by your speech. Speech is a real gem in the world. So all hurt is only speech. Some words come out and someone says, ‘Oh, I am hurt!’
Now, if someone is trying to physically hurt you, you just be careful, equip yourself. I am not saying if someone comes to hurt you, you fall at their feet. No, you be intelligent, and protect yourself; especially ladies and girls, they should not go alone here and there.
The problem is that the consumption of alcohol has gone up three times more, and proportionately violence has also increased in the world. Men are not bad, but what makes them bad is alcohol. Don’t think that India has all bad men, and so many bad things are happening to women; it is the influence of alcohol.
The only bad act a person does is he gets drunk. When he is drunk, he is not himself, and women are not safe around drunken people. Women should take up this cause of shutting down all this alcohol business; instead women are joining hands and drinking with them!
This big thing happened for women’s protection; hardly anyone spoke about prohibiting alcohol consumption or production. In states of India where alcohol prohibition has been introduced, crime rates have come down as compared to states where there is no prohibition.
Even all the god and goddesses have weapons to protect people. Sri Ram has a dhanush (bow and arrow), Sri Krishna has a sudarshan chakra (a weapon in the form of a disc). So, don’t be too naive and move around anywhere. Especially when there are elections and holidays around, alcohol consumption goes up, people drink more, you have to be watchful in those days.
Gurudev, I don’t get the things I want the most. Is my want an impediment?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Have patience. Three things are needed to achieve what you want.
1.Real intention - There should be a real need to have whatever it is you want. Our wants keep changing, but if it is our need, we will get it. The want has to become our need.
2.Self effort - One has to put effort for whatever you want. You can’t simply sit, and keep wishing, ‘I want this, I want that!’ Have you put your effort? Has the want become your need? Have you worked towards it? Have you put your 100%? This is necessary.
3.Time or karma - If karma is there, the time is right, you will get it! Suppose, I wish to see the moon now, on a dark night. No matter what intention I put, how can I see the moon now? I have to wait for another 15 days to see the full moon. On the new moon day, if you are wishing for the full moon, then you have to wait.
If you plant a pomegranate tree today and say, ‘No, I want the fruit now!’ Come on, you have to wait for another three years! The pomegranate tree will give you fruit only in two to three years. So, time or karma is a factor.
Why do we have to love a form to reach the formless? Hasn’t this whole idea distorted the truth and created more misconceptions rather than helping people find their path?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Emotions can only flow towards the form. You cannot have emotions towards the formless. See, you can only communicate with me, you can’t communicate with the empty space next to me. If you say you are communicating with an empty space, then something is wrong. You can only see, touch, smell, taste, communicate and express your emotions to a form. The completion of any emotion leads you to a space that is totally formless, which is the source of all forms.
There are two beautiful words in Sanskrit, virupaksha and vishwaroopa. Virupaksha means eyes without the form; many people use this word as a name. Virupa means no form, and aksha means eyes, it means eyes without the form.
When you go a little deeper, then you see that the consciousness can see without the eyes, feel without the skin, taste without the tongue, and hear without the ears; this is Yoga Samadhi. Such things start happening in deep samadhi, just like in dreams? You dream without any of the five senses; you smell, taste, you do everything, right? So virupaksha is the consciousness that has eyes but no form.
Vishwaroopa means it is in every form. The universe itself is the form of the Divine; the Divine is in the form of trees, mountains, rivers. The whole universe is nothing but the manifestation of God; body of God. God is not sitting somewhere in heaven, away from the creation, He is the creation.
God and the creation are not different. It is just like how there is oil inside a sesame seed, similarly, in every atom of this creation, there is consciousness. It is like how the dance and the dancer cannot be separated. If you are watching a dance, it means you are watching the dancer. Can you watch a dance without the dancer? So this universe is the dance, and who is making it dance? The dancer!
What is the life in every tree, in every animal, in every human being? That is God! God is pancha bhootatmika, in the five elements. He is the Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether; He is the soul of the five elements. The Divine is present as five elements, and as consciousness. It is a wrong concept to say that God is sitting somewhere else in heaven.
Another very simple example, there is air everywhere. Even now, there is air. Without air you cannot exist. However, sometimes when you feel hot, you don’t feel the air; then when you sit near a fan that is blowing air, you can feel it. Other times, when you are feeling hot and humid, you are not feeling the air, but it is there. You can’t say that there is no air. Yet, when you sit near an air conditioner or a fan, you can feel it. That is what happens with meditation, samadhi, enlightenment.
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.
Dear Gurudev, whenever I want to do some important work, or study, my mood comes in my way. I’m completely dependent on my mood for most of my actions. How to get rid of moods?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
First, the realization itself makes it half done. Now you have realized it’s the mood which sways you, that means the intellect is waking up. It says, ‘Come on, I’m not going to be so moody.’ You take that determination.
There are many situations in life where you cannot act on your mood. For example, if you’re in a plane and suddenly you feel you don’t want to continue the journey, though your mood has changed halfway you cannot get out of the plane! You got to be there. It’s not a car that you’re driving where you can turn back. Even for the car you have to find the exit where you can turn back. You can’t turn anywhere.
So, life teaches you hard lessons if you don’t respect wisdom. Know that life goes with commitment, not moods. Mood is very unstable, they come, they change. But commitment and wisdom always brings the best results.
Gurudev, is there something that God cannot do? What is it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
He cannot be surprised! God cannot take revenge on you; it is impossible!
Gurudev, can you please explain ‘Yogah Karamsu Kaushalam’ (excellence in action)? How can I apply it to my life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This very question indicates that you want to be skillful; that is it, you are already skillful. If you are wanting to be skillful, you are already skillful; just move on. If you want to learn, you are already learning. When you go to vote, you have already voted, got it? So I want to learn, means it is already half done, learning has begun.
In life you will have 101 reasons to get frustrated. However it is up to you keep the enthusiasm alive without allowing the frustration to seep in. Here are some pointers to help you keep frustration at bay.