Mahasatsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at Orrisa
Satsang means the uniting of hearts with hearts, communicating through the heart. All these formalities are only on the surface but your meeting with your Self is satsang.
This year the Art of Living has completed thirty years.
I remember thirty one years ago, one year before the Art of Living started, I had come here to Bhuvaneshvar. Bhuvaneshvar was a very small city at that time. There was only one street. There weren't as many houses then.
I stayed for a month in a house on the road that went to Puri. There I used to be in silence throughout the day and in the evenings I used to meet with people. Many learned people used to come and visit me from Puri, and we used to have discussions. Many people wanted that I should be appointed to the post of Shankaracharya of Puri but I did not want it at all.
When I visited the Puri Shankar mutt, it was mismanaged and run-down. Swami Niranjananand Saraswati has managed it extremely well now. But back then, thirty years ago the mutt was in a very bad condition. Many people wanted and tried to get me to take it over. But in my heart I felt that I had come here to do something else. Something else was yet to come.
So in the last thirty years, Art of Living has spread to 151 countries in the world. If you go to the last city of the Arctic pole, Tromsø (Norway), you will find people practicing pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. If you go to the southernmost city of the Southern hemisphere, Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, there also you will find Art of Living.
I myself was surprised, when we went to Tierra del Fuego; one thousand people were sitting in the hall singing bhajans, doing pranayama and satsang. I said, 'wow, so it has reached this far!'
There is an old saying, ‘Swadeshe pujyate raja, vidwan sarvatra pujyate’. A king is honored only in his own country, but one who is learned is honored throughout the world.
And who is learned? Not one who has only read books, but a learned person is one who has applied this knowledge to his life.
And with this goal in mind, our University has been started.
Our main goal will be not to turn out individuals with only knowledge from the books, but learned individuals who have implemented this knowledge in their lives. In whose life there is joy, happiness and creativity - a personality that would win wherever he or she goes. Such a personality has to be developed and this is the objective of our university.
Taking the very best from the West and the best from the East and combining it to make an effective educational system - this is my desire. So a combination of science and wisdom; just one will not do.
In science alone, the entire western world has remained incomplete. People are so unhappy. In spite of so much scientific progress they are facing such economic degeneration and are so heavily in debt. 30-40% of the population is suffering from mental diseases and problems.
So our country should adopt the good things from there like their science. Their deficiency is because our knowledge is not there. So we should given them the knowledge from the East and incorporate the knowledge of sciences from the West in our country. Then we can be complete as individuals.
This is the reason why I want this university to strengthen individuals through both self-knowledge as well as science.
Since ages Anga, Vanga, Kalinga were renowned for education. In India, one used to go for education to Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, but now for some time Kalinga has fallen behind.
It is now time to come forward once again and for this work all of you will have to get involved. Everyone will have to participate and it is my desire that we should bring 100% literacy to Orissa and for this we all have to work.
And the second thing is poverty -there is a lot of poverty in Orissa. One reason for this poverty is corruption, and the other reason is alcohol. We will have to remove both of these. We all have to take a vow today that we will neither give bribes nor accept them. And the second thing is no alcoholism!
An ordinary person spends 60% of his earnings on alcohol. We have to stop this. How to stop? I would recommend doing pranayama, meditation and Sudarshan Kriya, and see how it will automatically be dropped.
Today, right here, take an oath that I will never touch alcohol or other substances of abuse. All the women present here make your children take an oath everyday never to touch alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. All the children should pray in the morning, ‘Oh God, all merciful one, give me wisdom.' In this one prayer, all needs will be fulfilled.
Let me tell you a story. There were five men and God said to them that He would grant only one boon to each person. So one man prayed for wealth; the second man prayed for a beautiful wife; the third one prayed for a high position, and the fourth asked for a child, who would earn a good name for his family. An intelligent man - he was from Gujarat or possibly from Orissa, he prayed, 'Oh God, grant me a boon that my elderly mother is able to see my child in a golden cradle.' So this included everything, a wife, a child, as well as wealth!
A wise person realizes that for all-round development of all aspects of life, prayer is very important. So every father and every mother should teach their children to pray every day. You can pray in your own language; it is not necessary to pray in Sanskrit only.
What will you pray for? 'Oh Lord, give me wisdom'.
If the intellect is fine, everything will be fine. But when intellect is lacking, everything is lost. You may have made a lot of money for your children, but if your child lacks discrimination, what is the point?
But if there is wisdom even if your child does not have money he will make money. This is the mark of an intelligent person; that the intellect should remain sharp – and this is the Gayatri mantra.
In our country Gayatri is considered to be the mother of the Vedas.
What is the meaning of the Gayatri mantra - 'Oh God, keep my intellect balanced; speak through my intellect, speak through my mind. Make my mind sharp and give it direction.'
This is considered the highest mantra, the highest prayer. Such prayers are rare and unique in the world.
Since with prayer and with studies the intellect gets sharpened, that is why we need universities.
Do you know that universities were originated in India - Vishwa Vidyalaya - a place to obtain whatever knowledge there is in the world or a place from where one can blossom in knowledge and spread it all over the world. Later the name was translated into the word 'University'.
Nalanda, Magadha, Takshashila were known for their universities; Takshashila which is now in Pakistan. When I went to Pakistan, I visited Takshashila. Takshashila is the university from where Ayurveda emerged. This was all part of India; even Afghanistan was part of India at that time.
So at one time, India's knowledge spread to every corner of the world. Then, as Lord Krishna said, ‘sakale neha mahatha yogo nashtaha param tapa’, with time it faded away, got destroyed, and disappeared.
Now the time has again come to revive it. May this knowledge benefit everyone, and may everyone's tears become sweet tears of love - with this sankalpa let us serve everyone.
Then we will all have to work for the environment.
The largest producer of vegetables in the world is India. The largest producer of wheat and rice is India! The largest producer of milk is India. Even then see how expensive everything is here. Vegetables are not available, prices have risen so high.
Something went wrong somewhere. All of us will have to take interest in this. Every home should start growing some vegetables. In all the religious scriptures of India it has been mentioned that without sowing seeds no religious ritual can be performed.
Have you seen during Navaratri poojas, after establishing Goddess Durga what is the first thing that is done? Seeds are sown. This is a sacred ritual.
Sow the seeds with mantras, with noble thoughts. When we sow seeds with good feelings, the fruits that those plants bear purify our mind. In fields also, play bhajans on a tape recorder.
Music induces trees to produce more fruits. This has been proven scientifically. Trees are also fond of music. When all those birds come and sit on the trees, then trees feel more motivated to produce more fruits.
In our country when wheat or rice were sown or when crops were harvested, people used to sing. All this has been forgotten, and nowadays sowing and harvesting are accompanied with crying. And after eating these crops, we also cry. The sign of a wise person is, ‘kavya-shastra-vinodena kalo gachchhati dhiimatam' - One who spends time in poetry, knowledge, song, music, humor, he is considered learned. May many such learned persons be born in our country that wherever they go they remain joyful and happy and spread bliss in all four directions.
This is such a nice dream and we must all take a sankalp for this. In our schools and colleges we should create such well blossomed individuals.
Now many of you say, 'Guruji, I am tired of life, tired of doing things. I come to satsang and here also you tell me to do this and do that.' This thought is coming to at least some people's mind.
'I came here tired of life's challenges and Guruji is also asking me to do this and that.'
I say, 'No, you rest.' You will not find God in effort, but in rest.
See, how happy some people are! So you don't have to do anything, just relax - it is important.
Some people are just involved in doing social service, working day and night, and they get so exhausted that neither seva happens nor anything else. No satisfaction is achieved and those who are depressed remain depressed. This is of no use. Seva loses its impact when done in a depressed state of mind.
Some people waste their time in laziness, eating, drinking, sleeping, and watching TV all day long.
Nowadays there are a thousand channels; you can waste your entire day just flipping channels. No! Pravritti (action) and Nivritti (rest /inward contemplation) both need to go on simultaneously.
In rest (meditation - nivritti) God is found - utilize the energy (Shakti) that is gained from rest in social service - this is pravritti.
Work and rest and rest and work, that is why God created day and night for rest and work; we need to do both. To those who are tired, I would recommend meditation. Come and sit in an advanced course for 3-4 days, go into silence. You will not be able to accomplish anything being tired. That is why when you are tired go inward.
'Antarmukhi sada sukhi' - one who looks within, meditates for a while, is always peaceful. We get so energized, so much Shakti comes in us and our skills are greatly enhanced! It is extremely important for an unfit person to meditate so that he becomes skilful. A skilled person also needs to meditate in order to maintain his skills. The abilities within us must not diminish. That is why a skilled person must also meditate every day. For short periods of time, meditate, stay in silence. Then your inner strength is enhanced, your health remains good, you remain in a happy frame of mind, the intellect remains sharp, and joy arises in life. Then whatever you desire gets done easily. That is why it is necessary for everyone to rest in meditation. Doing a little bit of yoga and meditation is extremely essential.
Okay, I would also like to say that if you have any problems, just give them to me. Just say, 'Guruji, take this.' Consider me your very own. Leave your troubles and problems here and go with the confidence that whatever is best will happen to you. And worry about the country.
I want that each lawyer should handle two or three cases free of cost. The innocent individuals who are lying in prisons and do not have the money to hire legal help, I want you to get them acquitted and returned home. Only lawyers can do this, no one else can. There can be no better seva than this.
I will say to the doctors that your medical camps will be organized by Vyakti Vikas Kendra. You just come one Sunday in a year and do just 3 camps and a lot of good will be done. Thousands of people are there who cannot get medical check-ups and are unable to afford it, this will be a great service you can do.
Today a brilliant idea came up, that we should offer a course at our university for the Sarpanch (village head). Each village should appoint a good Sarpanch. Young men and women from various villages should enroll for training of 1-2 years and they will be given a certificate.
A lot of times people come as Sarpanch without having any training, any vision or any idea how to run the local government. Similarly at the district (zila), state (pradesh) and at the legislator (vidhayak) level training of honest and good governance is needed. A certificate course for this is also needed.
Those who become members of the district council (zila parishad) if they have done the course then they will have the knowledge on how to strengthen the district. If there is vision, progress will be rapid.
Just as nutritious food and exercise is necessary for the body, meditation is necessary for the soul.
What is necessary for the intellect is listening and reading. What is necessary for the mind is singing and feeling.
Feeling is strengthened through singing. Listening to music and singing purifies the feelings. Knowledge purifies the mind. In the same way meditation purifies the soul.
Food for the soul is meditation, food for feeling is music, and service awakens feelings.