I want to become a teacher and spread this wonderful knowledge, but I’m disturbed sometimes by the politics that I see on this path. Kindly guide me.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Wherever there are people there will be politics. Politics means everybody has their own tendencies, and human beings have many tendencies. In this world, in any field, on any path, anywhere you go you won’t find everybody to be alike. If in your mind you think everyone should behave in the same way, or have the same attitude, same mentality or same level of growth then you are making a big mistake.
The spiritual path is like going to school. All the children in a school cannot be in the same class. Some are in A grade, some in B grade, some in C grade, some are in 8th standard, some in 9th and some in 10th. Even in a school there are kids of all age groups and all ranges of intelligence. Any path is like that. And the spiritual path is a place where some have just stepped in, while some have been there for some time. There are some kids who fail in one class for many years, you can’t just look at them and say you don’t want to go to that class. You have to go to that class! Sometimes someone gets stuck in one place.
Sometimes people ask me, why do I keep some very tough and rude people here and there (in The Art of Living). I say that I keep them close so that the world is free from them. Sometimes, some people who are too troublesome, their parents come and leave them here. The parents say, 'Gurudev, we cannot handle him at home so you please take care of him'. How can I say 'No, so I say 'Okay'. One such boy came to me and I kept him as the gate keeper to my old kutir (room). This boy would fight with everyone including with mother. When my mother would come, he would have a tiff with her as well. The boy was like that, which is why his parents said they couldn’t handle him at home. He stayed here for 4-5 years and now he is such a good boy. He is handling a business in which he is giving employment to 300 people. His parents are so happy, they have two grandchildren. This boy, who was good for nothing, who was fighting with everybody is now a different person. I give a long rope and enough room for people to transform. You don’t worry about them, you leave it to me, I will handle them, it’s my Karma (duty). I handle all types of people. I have said, 'Accept people as they are', so I can’t go back on my words, I am stuck! (Gurudev laughs).
In every field there are people who are an exception to the rule, or a black sheep in that field. You shouldn’t look at someone else and make a concept in your mind or be prejudiced towards them. This is very important. Prejudice kills people.
It seems, recently a movie has been released in which they show a sadhu (Hindu saint) in very bad light, In the movie, they project that if you go to a Dargah (Sufi Islamic shrine) your work will be done, but if you go to an Ashram (spiritual hermitage or monastery) you will be finished. They have portrayed Ashram to be a very bad place. Some people are creating this type of prejudice. A terrorist from outside India has funded people and asked them to make a movie in which they put down spirituality. We should see the intention behind such acts. In the movie, the character says that they are for truth and anti-corruption, but in real life the makers of the movie bribed the Censor Board to pass the movie. What they say in the movie and their acts in real life have no connection whatsoever. And our young minds are getting influenced by this. They should wake up.
The drug lobby is behind this. They want to take people away from spirituality. They want to put barriers in their mind towards participating in spiritual programs so that they can easily lure them, as they will feel an emptiness within. One who has attended a spiritual program, and who is involved in bhajan, and spiritual discourses will not take to drugs or intoxicants. You are thousands sitting here. How many of you drink alcohol or take drugs? (Nobody raises hand). None! So this is a big loss for them. So to improve their business they target all such places which create a barrier against drugs and alcohol. The people who do this are blind. They see only money and nothing is beyond money for them. Their philosophy is 'Make money even if the world goes to the dogs'. There was a boy who was into drugs earlier, and then he left drugs and came onto the spiritual path and into knowledge. He was so happy, and these people saw this and put a doubt into his mind. They asked him, 'Why do you go to ashram and do meditation'. They told him, 'Nothing will happen by doing all this'. So the boy stopped coming here and doing his spiritual practices. He went back to taking drugs and fell back into depression. The boy then jumped off the bridge and committed suicide. Who is responsible for this? Those people who put such thoughts in the mind of the young boy and created barriers in his mind towards spirituality are responsible. We must be alert about this.
If spirituality is about finding ourselves and in the process we keep changing ourselves then are we actually ever able to know ourselves, or is it okay to just keep on trying to find oneself?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
It is like peeling an onion, layer by layer. This is what Adi Shankaracharya said, 'Neti, Neti', I am not this, I am not this. You keep contemplating about yourself and at some point you will find that inner tranquillity. That is important. Don’t stop, keep moving. That’s why our Vedas say, 'Charaiveti charaiveti' (keep moving, keep moving).
I’m a teacher and I see lots of my students doing a forceful bhastrika (breathing exercise taught in Art Of Living programs), as it seems to give them a kick. Is it okay?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
No, it should not be forceful. I always say take the middle path. Don’t do it very slowly or gently but don’t use too much force also.
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.