Gurudev, I’m a little puzzled as to what style of parenting I should adopt. Sometimes I feel like I’m too strict, and at other times I joke so much with my 12 year old that he calls me a joker. I’m a little bewildered. Please help me.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Good, good! Good to be a joker, than to be too serious. Have fun in the world. The short time we’ll be on this planet we should make ourselves happy and others happy. What is there to brood over?
And if you feel things are insufficient - people can keep feeling insufficiency throughout their life. You know, even billionaires feel insufficient because they have big debt. You have a billion dollars, and then you put that into some factory or industry to multiply it. In order to do that you borrow more money. And then it all goes on, and you feel so burdened with so much of loan on your head. You come to square one. So it is very strange. People who do not have anything, sometimes, they look much more happier than the billionaires on this planet. Billionaires are burdened I tell you, really burdened and afraid. Many of them are under such pressure.
I’m not saying that you should remain a poor person, or anything like that. No, I want you to understand that you must de-link your happiness with your status, with your wealth, with your post or with your position. Happiness has nothing to do with your position in society, your position in the world, your position in your company, or wherever you are. Happiness should be de-linked from all that.
You should make it a habit to be content and happy. It’s just a habit, that’s all. Unconsciously it gets into our mind, so unconsciously we start being unhappy. Though there is no reason to be unhappy, it has crept into your subconscious mind, “Oh I am unhappy". Or we keep complaining, “This is no good, that is no good, nothing is good, nothing is okay, I don’t like anything”. We need to be cautious about this sort of negativity. We need to guard our mind and our consciousness from being swept away by this sort of negative tendency.
Yesterday, I spoke about the 4 points, and one of them was happiness (santosha). That we need to cultivate, “Come what may, I am going to be happy”. This is what it is. A strong powerful person is one who is happy, not one who has a lot of money. If someone says, “I have millions of dollars”, ask them, “So what. Are you happy?” Ask this question, “Are you exuberating happiness? Then I call you a real millionaire - no, in fact a trillionaire. Otherwise you’re good for nothing".
It is because some negativity or unhappiness has crept into your subconscious mind, you say, “I don’t like this, I don’t like that". Who asked you what you like and what you don’t like? You go on declaring to everybody, “I don't like this, I don’t like this”, and you look very foolish. Someone looks at you and thinks, “Oh my god, this guy is a little off”.
Nobody is interested in what you like and what you don't like. You don’t need to declare your likes and dislikes. You declare to yourself, “I am going to be happy, come what may. Nobody can disturb or take away my happiness”. You don’t need to say it out to anybody, but you have to have this conviction. Then you feel the inner strength coming up, and a smile in you that stays on forever. In the beginning it may not stay forever, but it is there most of the time, that is good enough.
This can become another problem, “Oh I wanted to be happy all the time, but I became miserable sometime”. Never mind. Don’t become unhappy because you became unhappy. That becomes a chain reaction. You know, like you didn’t want to be angry... Often this happens with young mothers. They don’t want to be angry at their kids, so when they get angry at the kids, they get angry with themselves because they got angry at the kids. “Oh I am so bad, I am angry at myself because I got angry at the kids”. Come on! Sometimes it is alright to be angry at the children. It’s okay. Mother’s anger is like a vaccination for kids. Mother’s scolding is like a vaccination, so that they become strong. Then they can sustain the anger they face from society -- from their colleagues, from other kids in the school. Otherwise children may become so vulnerable and so weak when we bring them up with that tendency.
Dear Gurudev, recent scientific discoveries in India and elsewhere have shown that what we thought was myth are actual historical occurrences, like the discovery of Dwaraka, the ancient city under the sea. How can we decipher mythology and symbolism from factual history in these sacred texts?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes. (Opens a bottle of water and gives it to the plants on the left of him.) They were a little thirsty.
You know, the ancient style of writing history was very poetic, and it was all in couplets. None of the history of ancient time was written in prose form. They were all in poetries. In poetry, you need rhythm, so to keep the rhythm there is exaggeration, and there is beautification - all these things happen. Poetry is not poetry if it is flat. There needs to be a little elevation in it. But because of the exaggeration you cannot discard it as myth, because there is also fact in it.
Ayurveda is also written in poetry form. No medicine anywhere in the world is taught in the form of poetry except in Ayurveda. In the world, this is the only medicinal system which is all in poems so that you can remember them by heart. Poetry is easy to remember. In those days, there were not many books, so people made it all into poetry. Even the healthy things, the healthy habits were all in poetry.
If one bears this in mind, then there is no difficulty in identifying the real facts of history. Today, we have what is called Astrophysics. In Astrophysics, they really find out the exact dates of historical events. And this is being done today. There are softwares available for that. Some of our AOL members, Dr D.K. Hari and Hema Hari, they have made web pages on the historic facts of Ramayana and Mahabharata. If you’re interested, you go and look into those web pages.
I would like to know how you found out that you were going to be a Guru. Was it something that came about spontaneously?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
By default. I started telling somebody what I know, and they made me a Guru, what to do? You know, everyone is a teacher for someone or the other, whether you want it or not. So, when you know something and you teach others, you become their teacher. And when you learn from someone, then you become a student. So everybody is by default a teacher to someone and a student to someone else.
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.