Is there any such thing like we have done something wrong and that is why we have to suffer now and maybe after we die? If we do something wrong now, do we have to suffer next life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
First of all you must know that those who died they have no suffering, they died finished. Suffering ends with death; got it. Don’t think they are suffering. It is the people who are still here, they are suffering. Those who are dead they are at peace, those who are alive they are suffering.
So every effect has a cause, either it is an individual cause or a collective cause. Now see all these people in Afghanistan are suffering, why? There is a collective cause because they did not educate the children there in a more liberal, tolerant way of life. They were educating people in the Taliban style. So all the youths were brain washed and they were thinking only narrow. That act of theirs gave suffering to the whole country, isn’t it? Why Afghanistan is suffering today? Because of an action, so every suffering has karma, has an action.
Karma means what? An action that you did. So individually you may say I didn’t do it but collective karma is also there. Collectively a whole nation chose the path of Talibanism. That brought so much suffering to the whole nation. Last 35 years they are suffering; no food, no roads, no water, extremism. So that is karma; the past karma which is affecting the present. Do you see what I am saying?
Similarly for every action there has been a cause. Without cause an action cannot happen. Are you with me? See, you sow a seed of a pine tree ten years ago; today it has become a pine tree.
There are two types of karma. One is, you put your finger in the fire, and will it burn now or tomorrow? You do an action now, the result is immediate. You put your hand in the fire and it will burn now. So this is karma right. At the same time you sow a mango seed and do you think today you will get the fruit? Ten years later your children will enjoy the fruits of the seed that you have sown today. Mango you will get several years later, say 5 years or 8 years later. So certain karmas are there that you do and get the result now, and some karma gives the result after some time. So that is the next type of karma.
Similarly, your height; suppose you are 25 or 30 years old, I ask you what is your height? 150cm, now you can’t change that correct. You can put high heel but it doesn’t change your height, you are looking simply taller. Now, what is your weight? 50 kilos, this you can change. You just have cheese and butter and bread for two weeks, from 50 you will go up to 60 or 80. So you can grow like fat or you can thin down, that is your choice but once you are 150cm and you have crossed 22 years of age, that’s it. So similarly certain karma you cannot change but certain other karmas you can change them.
But if you think all karma cannot be changed or all can be changed, both are wrong. What do you say? Today that is what people are in confusion about karma. Some people say you have free choice, you choose, you can choose anything, you can change anything in the world. Some people say that or not? They are wrong. Some people say nothing you can change, it is all karma, everything is fatalistic, that are wrong also, got it! So certain things can be changed, certain things cannot be changed, got it. Very good!
I was wondering if God is the universe and that is why there is God in all of us, why all this drama, why all these motions?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Listen, do you watch movies? Yes. Now suppose you talk to a director and tell the director, why do you want a villain in your movie? Why you want all these thrills? You should have just made everything very smooth. What would he say? A boy was there and a girl was there, they met each other and they got married. They got children and that’s it, movie ends. There is no thrill, the girl did not get lost or there is no drama, no tears and no anger and none of those big issues. Will anybody watch that movie? Even a love story will not be watched, isn’t it! So is your question answered? Opposite values are complementary. When nature creates, the whole thing is a drama. Everybody in this world plays their role and then they all disappear; only to come back again. It appears very long if it is boring; if it is interesting it appears very short. So we all go and come back again. It’s like going behind the stage and coming back again. Just because some people are not on the stage that does not mean they are not there at all. They are just behind the stage, behind the curtain. So it depends on the director when he wants whom to be in the front and whom to be in the back. And how to come back, which scene, which act; got it! So see life from this bigger perspective, and then it gives you a different meaning. But if you are just thinking about me and he and him and in our relationship why this should happen like this and that… God doesn’t see it that way. God sees it from the director’s point of view. Not from the spectator’s point of view.
On my path with you I have encountered many questions, with your grace and wisdom I have left few of them unanswered. So the only question I have for you is why me? Why am I always blissful? What have I done to deserve the presence of you in my life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This is not a question it is wonder and I leave you with that wonder.
Gurudev, how can I control anger?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Tell me when do you get angry? (Ans – when something happens which I don’t like)
Yes, now tell me in the world only those things that you like should happen? How boring it should be, isn’t it. See when you cannot accommodate imperfections that is when you get angry, right! You want everybody to be like you, so perfect? No!
First we don’t recognize our imperfection, and then we get angry. We think we are perfect all the time so we are angry at other’s imperfections, number one. So first see you may also be imperfect. They are imperfect now but you may be imperfect in other places. Then your patience is better, you have more patience. Do you see what I am saying? Awareness of your imperfections.
Second is give time to others to be perfect, accept their imperfection. Okay, let them take their time, if not now then the next two, three years they will change. So giving others the time to change.
Third, it is okay to have some imperfections, got it! Accepting imperfection in situations and in others. So these are the three ways in which you can overcome anger.
The fourth way is just dispassion, knowing everything is going to finish, it’s okay doesn’t matter. Do you see what I am saying?
If you want to say the fourth one you can say, everything is going to finish, you are going to die, everybody is going to die, so what! If they keep the pillow this side or that side, doesn’t matter. Got it! If there are wrinkles in the sheet below you, doesn’t matter. If you have broken a dozen glasses, it doesn’t matter, anyways everything is going to finish, correct. So see the futility of things in a broader light, in a bigger picture. Then also you will have a say over your anger, okay!
(A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You see if you listen to your own mind, your consciousness will tell you what it is that you need; your inside tells you.
When you are tired what do you need? Rest. When you are thirsty what do you need? Water. When you are hungry you need food. When your body is dull, you need a little more exercise, correct. In the same way when your mind has low energy, dull that’s when you need meditation.
Yes, sometimes you may fail to recognize what you really need, you don’t know. Like you know children sometimes they cry; they don’t know what they need. They want to go to sleep and they don’t know how to go to sleep and they cry, isn’t it. They are hungry they want to drink but they don’t know and they cry. Similarly whenever we are unhappy, miserable, know for sure we really need food for the soul. And food for soul is meditation. So you must take time and just meditate. It is effortless, no effort at all.
So in life everybody needs three things, one is Yoga. Yoga means to get what we don’t have. Yoga is what? Uniting or getting what you don’t have, what you need. Second is Bodh, being aware of what you have. Bodh means what? Awareness of what you have and Prem. Prem means love. Love, awareness and Yoga, these three things are essential, and spiritual path gives all the three.
Are you getting what you need? Here everyone is getting what you need? How many of you are getting what you need raise your hands. So see what you need, what you desire that is coming, and that is Yoga. If you want something and you never get it that means you have to go more into meditation; got it? That is Yoga.
Then bodh; are you grateful for what you have? (Many in the audience say ‘Yes’) Then definitely love wells up in our heart, right. So all three things come to you and that is our spiritual path. That’s the path, and The Art of Living brings you all the three. And how much you walk the path, how much you are into seva, how much you participate that much you get, right. Okay!
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.