Spiritual Wisdom from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

“Difficulties do come in life, but to overcome difficulties, one needs to be strong, and strength comes only through spiritual knowledge.” - Sri Sri

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Q:   What is Love?- 12 July 2012- QA 3

The basis of all existence. All the cells in your body love each other, that is why they are together. The day they stop loving each other, it all disintegrates. Got it?

If there is one substances by which everything is held together and you want to give it a name, you can call it love. It is the basis of all existence. All the cells in your body love each other, that is why they are together. The day they stop loving each other, it all disintegrates.

Love is not all wiggly wiggly and mushy mushy, "Oh I can’t live without you, I love you so much", and so on. It is not that. That is just an emotional something. Love means (silence)… that is it.

Love is indescribable. You can’t describe it. And there is not a creature on this planet who doesn’t know it. From the insect to the lion, from a chicken to an enlightened person, everybody has experienced love. Love for life is what we think it is, but life itself is love. So see, through this knowledge, that the whole universe is love.

Love is not just an emotion, it is your very existence. The earth loves the sun, that is why it keeps going around the sun. The moon loves the earth, that is why the moon goes around the earth. Wherever there is a force, or there is energy, or a pull, or attraction, you call it love. And where there is repulsion that is also love in the opposite direction.

Why are you are drawn to somebody or something? It is because you love them. You see a cheesecake and you are drawn to it; you experience a pull, isn't it? You see a beautiful girl, or a girl sees a beautiful boy, there is a pull, and what do you call that? You call it love! Why? Because there is a pull, there is an attraction, there is a force. And that force is what manages the whole universe

Some places it is more obvious and some other places it is not obvious. The day the earth stops loving you, you will start flying. The earth loves you so much that the gravitational force keeps you glued to the earth. So love is that force in human life.

All the negative emotions are just a distorted form of love. In anger there is love. Ask me how? You love perfection and that is why you get angry. Greed is love. Greed is when you love something much more than life. When you love objects more than life, it is called greed. Hatred is love upside down. Fear is love upside down.

Q:   Dear Gurudev, what is the main mantra or key to happiness in life?

The key to happiness in life is to not stay stuck in 'I…Me…Mine' (meaning one’s own personal desires or material gains). Dedicate your life to some larger goal, or to the service of others around you. Then you will find that only happiness flows through your life.

The second thing you need to remember at all times is this, 'There is someone (the Divine) who loves me very dearly, and is taking care of me at all times. He cannot be without me and He is all capable of removing any lack that I have'.
Knowing this too brings such joy in one’s life.

See, when it comes to doing things in life, you cannot possibly go on doing something or the other all your life. Also, you cannot do something which is beyond your capabilities. So all your actions are limited by your capabilities and by time
For example, a new-born child is not able to do many things by himself until he becomes 5-10 years of age. Until then he is dependent on others for many of his needs. In the same way, when we grow old and become 70-80 years of age, we find that there is very little that we can do on our own. We again become dependent on others around us.

This intermediate time in our lives is when we are capable of doing something. And in that time period too, we will still be able to do only as much as our capabilities allow us to do

The same person cannot become a doctor and an engineer and a bureaucrat all together at once. He can only become of these three. So everyone has different capabilities, and the limitations that time places on each person are different (meaning depending on the age of a person).

Everyone has different strengths. There is a limit to our capability also. You will not be able to do something today, as well as you could do it 10 years ago when you were younger, isn’t it so?

What you are doing now, is something you will not be able to do so well, after 20 years from now. So we are dependent on both time and our capabilities.

But when we remember this – that there is a Supreme power which belongs to us so totally, which is capable of fulfilling all our needs and wishes, and which is with us at all times – then this strong faith alone can keep us happy at all times
It does not matter what you call this Supreme power, whether you call it the Guru Shakti, or the Paramatma (supreme soul or Consciousness), or God. When you have this faith in you, then you can be happy at all times; regardless of your capabilities. Then you will not feel weak and insecure in your old age also because you know that there is someone who is all-powerful who is taking care of you and protecting you at all times.
So just having this faith alone can make us so happy.

As age progresses, our strengths and capabilities diminish. This is natural.

You see many people, as they grow old they become so dejected and insecure. Their face reflects only misery and sorrow. The older they get the more miserable they become. But a devotee is not like this at all. For a devotee, the older he gets, the more joyful and happy he becomes. He smiles more and more, and is happy at all times

A devotee thinks, 'Oh, I have seen it all. I have known and understood it all. I am happy and content from within. And God is there with me at all times to fulfil all of my needs'.
So with this deep feeling of faith, a devotee will remain happy at all times. This is something we all must remember.

Once, I had gone to South Africa and the people from an Old Age Home there came to visit me. Huge crowds of people gathered there to meet me. I felt so disappointed looking at their faces. I just kept wondering what had happened to them. They looked so miserable.

Their children had thrown them out of their own homes and put them in an Old Age home. They became so depressed thinking about their children that it showed on their faces. It looked as if they hadn’t smiled in ages. 

I met our Art of Living teachers there and told them, 'Make these people attend The Happiness Program. Teach them to do sadhana and bring them on the path of knowledge'.

After a certain age, one finds it very difficult to learn something new. Why is this? It is because as we grow old, our sight and hearing start to diminish gradually. 

Even if we are able to see or hear things, the mind is not able to grasp and understand what we have seen or heard. Then even if we listen to some knowledge, it remains at the external level only, it does not sink deep within. Such is the state of a person in old age.

So I told the other people, 'Just see what happens in old age. So keep your life dedicated to some greater goal and be in knowledge. Do not get caught up in attachment and desires, thinking only about your children, or your home, etc.'

One can hardly imagine what difficulties those people must have gone through in their lives. How they must have earned money to raise and educate their children, and after all that, the same children brought them to an old age home and paid some money for their parents to be looked after. Once in a year they visit their parents, or write a letter to them if they cannot come to meet them; like during Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day, etc. The fate of those poor old parents is really very unfortunate.

But when we have this unshakable faith that there is a Supreme Power with me at all times which loves me dearly and belongs to me, and will never leave me; then the strength we get from such a faith makes us glow with happiness, and our face lights up with a smile that never fades. This is why Spirituality is very essential in life. It is spirituality that brings happiness, enthusiasm, intuition, self-realization and the fulfillment of all that one wishes.

Q:   Gurudev, how much money should a person earn in life? Does earning more than one’s needs mean hoarding of money that is someone else’s share? Also, what is the difference between being resourceful and self-sufficient?

See, put in all your efforts and earn as much as you can. But follow certain rules. It is not right to earn money by committing crimes, or through any other wrong means.
If you do, then the result will only be misery and suffering. If you adopt wrong means to earn money, then your own conscience will prick you from within, and you will feel, 'I have stolen from someone'. It will pinch you from within.

So do not use wrong means of earning money. You should put in all your effort to earn money, making the best use of time available to you.

Q:   Gurudev, what is the Atma (soul)?

It is the cause behind your very existence. Without it, you would not exist. The Atma is that which listens through the ears, perceives through the eyes, smells through the nose, tastes through the tongue, and which is the reason for everything that happens.

Q:   How do I deal with my emotions?

You have to weapons, one is ‘So what!Emotions come and they go'. The other is‘So hum’ (Sudarshan Kriya). Most of the problems get solved with‘so what.’If you’re upset, so what? Be upset for a little while. You cannot be upset all the time, it will disappear. If you’re feeling jealous, feel it, accept it and it will go away. When emotions become unbearable or doesn’t go with so what, use so hum! These emotions are called vikaras, means they are not your nature. It is like dust falling from outside and it goes away. Sometimes when one feels sorry, sad or miserable, they start encouraging that and feel happy about it. Then there is no way out of it. Only knowledge can pull you out of self-pity and misery.

Wisdom Series Commentaries

With humour and insight, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has revived the profound knowledge from ancient sacred texts in the form of commentaries that make the wisdom easy to apply to daily modern life.


Sri Sri solves seeming contradictions like free will and destiny, commitment and surrender while presenting an inspiring and empowering vision for each of our ability to find peace, joy and freedom inside.

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