Gurudev, I try communicating with my father, I try to talk to him but he acts freaky. He gets high and creates chaos. I do not know what to do and how to communicate with him. I know he is in lot of pain and problem which is why he is not able to communicate with me or anyone. What do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Win him over with love. You know sometime you should walk the same path as the ones who create chaos and then slowly make them understand and change. Just do this, do not oppose him for two days and do whatever he says. Give him so much love that he will melt. Did you understand? Did you get what I mean? Have you tried this way?
(Devotee: Gurudev, I have tried talking to him but it does not work.)
Talking is not good, have you asked him, ‘Papa, what do you want? What can I do for you?’ Have you asked him that?
(Devotee: No, I have not. )
See, not once you have asked him, ‘Papa, what do you want? What can I do for you?’ Now go and ask him this. Do you know why people create chaos? It is because they feel insecure. They do not feel loved. They often think, ‘I do so much for my wife and children by sacrificing my whole life for them from morning till evening, yet they do not care for me.' This feeling takes a deep hold in their heart. In their entire life, they did not get many chances to go places and see things around. They dedicated all of their life to the welfare of their wife and children. So when they do not get any love and respect in return, they become angry. When no one listens to them and they do not get respect then the anger increases. Though they themselves do not behave in a manner to get respect yet they do not understand this. Is this not what the issue really is?
(Devotee: Yes Gurudev)
His behavior is not such that you can give him respect, but does he understand this? So what you need to do is, you need to go and ask him when he is in a good mood, ‘Papa what do you want? What can I do for you?’ See, no one is in an angry mood all the time! People do have good moods. When they are in a good mood then you can communicate. When they are not in a good mood, you can ask them, what is it that you can do for them. If they are in the worst mood, just move away from the scene. So you have three options to win over people with love and skilful communication; Yes!
Just today, a lady came and told me that her mother in law is doing so much ruckus. She said to me, ‘This is my second marriage but it looks like this marriage too will break. My first marriage also broke because of the mother in law. Now I am so scared that this one will also break’, and saying this she started crying. I told her, it is only your mother-in-law, so believe her and just agree to whatever she says. If she says night for day and day for night, you say, ‘Yes mother, definitely.' To argue with her is foolish. What can one do if one encounters foolish people? In such cases, we have little choice but to just play along and walk their path.
One such person had called me in a gathering once. He invited me to a conference because he wanted to argue with me in front of all the people. He said, 'This book (written by Gurudev) is all wrong.' He wanted to provoke me, so that I would get angry and argue back and forth with him. He wanted to start a fight between two communities which would cause the police to come and intervene, and a scene would have been created. He did that to get some fame. He said, 'What you have written in this book is wrong.' I simply told him, ‘Yes it is. You are absolutely right!’ Once I agreed, there was nothing more for him to argue or fight. I understood what his intention was. His purpose was to show me down and humiliate me. This conference happened here in Bangalore itself and it was about Hinduism and Islam.
The conference was about the concept of God in Hinduism and Islam, and I had written a book on what is common to both these religions. He just took this book and started arguing and left out the main point. He forgot about the main focus of the conference. He just wanted to create some conflict so that both the communities start fighting. Lots of people had come there. He took the book and said, 'This is wrong.' I said, ‘Yes, it could be so. But let’s leave that and focus on the main theme of the conference.'
Do you know what was the mistake in the book? I had written commonalities of Hinduism with Sufi saints, so he said, Sufis are not Muslims.
I had said in the book that Sufis sing songs and Hindus also sing bhajans. Both Sufis and Hindus do the rosary. Sufis go around the Kaaba (referring to the Holy shrine of Mecca) and even the Hindus do the circumambulations of the main idol in temples. Now what was wrong in that? He wanted to defeat this good point, but I told him it is not so. I just said that the book could be wrong and that there could be printing mistakes. It was a small book of just 30 pages. I said, 'I got it printed in a haste so there could be a mistake or two. You leave that.'
In those same days, a large festival of the Jains was going on in Bangalore, where the Shvetambara and Digambara Jains perform idol worship. However this person continued to criticize and condemn idol worship. I told him, ‘See, this is wrong. Whichever way one chooses to worship God, you should simply let them practice that. If they are doing it and are happy with it why are you being sad and angry about it? Let them do it. You should accept everyone and move ahead in life. Even Mohammed has said this.' I put this point before him.
So you see, some people are like this. They find pleasure in fights and have no interest in anything else, and so they just create fights. That is why I said, whatever such people say to you, just agree with them. Win them over with love.
When your mother-in-law says something, listen to it from one ear and let it go from the other ear. You keep listening to scolding from your mother, is it not? Is there any girl who has not been scolded by her mother? From our very childhood, we get scolded by our mother. You get habituated to your mother’s scolding and it does not affect you. But if mother-in-law says something, it hurts us. Treat your mother-in-law like your mother. How much ever your mother-in-law may scold you, you should treat it as though your mother is scolding you, and just smile and get back to work. Otherwise if your mother-in-law scolds you, and you come and cry in front of your husband, then your husband gets worried, and if he takes any sides then there is disturbance and chaos in the house. When such misery comes, then one feels like running away to the Himalayas.
When I asked people to give their names to become Swamis or Sanyasis, a lot of married individuals came and gave their names! (Laughter) Our devotee Sanjay got worried. He asked them, ‘You are married, then why are you here? You should go back and take care of your family.' Those people came there because they were feeling so stuck and torn between their wife and their mother. So, do not create such situations.
I tell you, whatever the mother-in-law says, you should win her over with love. If mother-in-law says anything, let her say. When one gets old they start complaining a little more. And what will she possibly complain about? She may complain that there is more salt today, or less salt; or that the vegetable is overcooked or undercooked. She may say that you are not cleaning the house properly. And if you do a lot of cleaning, then she may say you will wipe away the entire house (a metaphor for stealing in India). If you spend a lot, then she will say you are a spendthrift, otherwise she will call you a miser. There is no special skill required to criticize. A person can go on criticizing for the entire 24 hours of the day. They have learnt only this skill – how to criticize. This happens often between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. Your mother-in-law may say, ‘My daughter-in-law does not respect me. She is like this and that. She thinks too highly of herself and does not treat this as her own home.' She may say many such things to her daughter-in-law. That is why you should improve your communication. Then things will change.
Gurudev, I experience some intense vibrations especially when I am in bliss. Can you please talk about different levels of layers of energy in our body?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This entire universe is nothing but vibrations. It is all made up of waves, vibrations, and energy.
When your vibrations do not match with the vibrations of others you call it negative, and when your vibrations match with other vibrations, it is harmonious and you call it bliss.
When your energy becomes such that it becomes universal, then whatever the outer circumstances may be, you remain oblivious to it.
We went to Machu Pichu in South America; in Peru, and the people asked me, 'How do you feel the vibrations here? '
I said, 'I do not feel anything', this is because wherever we go we create our own vibrations.
So I do not say, ‘Oh, this is negative and that is not.’
Of course, when people are agitating, upset or sad, it definitely creates negative vibrations around you; no doubt. But remember that they are not as powerful as your positive vibrations. It may appear to you that they are over powering, but in reality it is not so.
Dear Gurudev, as a seeker, to keep our mind centered, should we make an effort to keep ourselves away from people’s problems, or should we help resolve their problems?
How do we know where to draw the line?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You should do it lightly. When you try to resolve the problems of others, see that you do not get muddled up. Do it with this little sense of detachment, then it works.
Gurudev, you are an amazing manager. The Art of Living organization has grown in such a short time, beyond what one can imagine. I am a manager too, please give me some management tips?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, all these programs, the APEX (Achieving Personal Excellence) program and the corporate programs are all to give you those tips in packages and capsules.
Remember one thing, the manager of the Universe is not so obvious. The one who manages this universe does not make it so obvious that he is doing it; or that He is in control. Similarly, manage from behind. Leading from behind is the best.
When you want to lead a project you should not emphasize your leadership too much. You should do it from behind.
There is a saying in Sanskrit, Paroksha Priyahi Vai Devaha, which means that the Gods like to do things indirectly and not so obviously. A person feels, 'I am doing it', but it is the Gods who make them do it. So they give the people the joy of feeling that they are doing it, but in reality, it is the Divine energy that does it in a subtle manner, which is not so obvious.
Gurudev, I am from the fashion industry, can you please talk about fashion and harmony. How I can convey the message of harmony through fashion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Fashion means being in the present moment. Old fashion is an oxymoron (a pair of words each having a contradictory meaning to each other). Do you see what I am saying?
So fashion is taking onto something new.
The whole universe moulds itself into fashion all the time. You know; the clouds have their own fashion. Every day they take on different forms. The sun set has a different flavor each day, is it not?
If you see Nature, it is ever new, and the tendency of the mind wanting something new every now and then is fashion. So it brings you to the moment.
Jai Gurudev! When work gets done very well with trust and faith then we feel very good, but sometimes something bad happens or we have a bad experience then at such time how should one handle such situations with trust and faith?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See this is how things happen in life. There are some good things and some bad things, and some unfortunate events also happen. We should not stop, just continue to move ahead.
If you sit and analyze, do a post mortem, then more time gets wasted.
Thinking, ‘Why did this happen? Why did this not happen? I have faith, even then things did not work out’, this is all a waste of time.
Understand that with faith and enthusiasm we have to keep moving forward, because we get so much peace, calmness and strength by keeping our faith.
Due to one incident if we lose our faith then it is only we who suffer and not anyone else.
Faith is a great wealth, so preserve it, consolidate it, and move ahead.
Even if a hundred thousand times we feel that we are losing faith, then too, we should continue to move on.
Thousands of events may come and create doubt within you, despite that if you move on with courage and strength, then one can say that you have true faith.
A person with strong faith will never face failure or have any downfall in life.
Gurudev, I am 70 years old and I talk about your grace wherever I go.
I have come here with full faith and gratefulness. My sons have sent me and told me to spread your knowledge amongst people, in every house, and in every village.
Since the past six years I am going from house to house spreading this knowledge.
When I organized a course in Pritampura, I did not leave a single house or block uncovered and as a result 113 people did the Sri Sri Yoga course.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just see the enthusiasm of this mother.
You should not say, ‘Oh, I cannot do this, I have become so old and aged.'
Even in old age you can talk to people around you and help cleanse people’s minds.
With the aging body, you cannot clean a room as you do not have the strength; but with words at least you can cleanse people’s minds.
So, we can all do a lot.
Stop thinking, 'What will they think about me?’ Just be shameless and do service.
People who want to think will keep doing so; their work is only to think. Even if you do something good, people will criticize. They will think negative about you also, because that is all that some people can do. But if by your words at least some people’s minds get cleansed then that is good.
We should not waste our time. No matter where we may go, we should always be in this knowledge. Then our enthusiasm does not reduce in life. Otherwise you will continue crying that you did not get this, or you did not get that; or you have some illness or the other.
In life, with this physical body, something or the other happens all the time. Sometimes you might suffer from a headache, or you might catch a cold, or your tummy might get upset due to over-eating.
Recently I read a report in some paper that rather than people dying of starvation, the number of people dying from over eating is more.
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.