Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang today ( 18 Aug, 2015)
“For doing Seva you have to be together, doing it alone is almost, I won’t say impossible, but almost impossible because you can’t do big things alone. But if you are all together and do seva, and that is why we made this whole institution, twelve different trusts, one for agriculture, one for rural development, one for education etc., why so many? Because in so many ways, so many people can get involved and you can do things much better. And today Art of Living has been approved to certify organic farming.. (Government of India was given authority to Art of Living to certify the organic products. We will be given training to the farmers on organic farming and those products to be certified and labeled as organic). Otherwise to certify a brand as organic, one has to give so much bribe to several institutions!.. and now that Art of Living has received this privilege, it will help hundreds and thousands of farmers all over the country. Without any bribe, without charging anything to them, we will certify, authenticate their hard work. Right now some training is also going on here to that effect.”
Ques: Dear Gurudev, is God a ‘He’, ‘She’ or ‘It’?
#SriSri: You want to ask if God is Masculine, feminine or Neutral. It’s all three. Shiva, Shakti and Brahaman. Brahaman does not have a masculine or feminine form. It is beyond both.
Ques: How are the distortions of mind removed through the practice of aasana?
#SriSri: Aasanas only are only one part of it. To remove the distortions of the mind you need all eight limbs of Yoga. Yama, Niyama, Aasana, Pranayama, Pratyahaar, Dhaarna, Dhyan and Samadhi. All are required.
Ques: One question always bothers me all the time- Why do we have to sacrifice flowers to please god?
#SriSri: Not to please the God, we do it to please ourselves. There is no need to use too many flowers, few are enough. You can just pray with one flower only. If you feel that is not necessary you can, you can just fold hands or bow down and pray. When someone comes, you welcome them with flowers don’t you? There is no need of it – I am with you on this. But if you look at this from other perspective, so many people are benefitted. Suppose nobody buys flowers then the farmer won’t grow them. If there are no flowers then honey bees won’t get honey. And the pollination would stop. The people who sell flowers also earn something, which too won’t happen. There are some economic benefits of it. It’s okay from this perspective. But I’m with you on this. I always keep saying that don’t decorate satang with elaborate flower arrangements. Will the people look at flowers or they would look at me? Keep it simple. I have lost half of my hair due to weight of garlands. For every garland that I have to take off ,I pay 4 strands of hair as tax! I say don’t bring too many flowers or garlands. There shouldn’t be too much askance or rejection of them. You should not ask for too many flowers, but if someone wants to offer few flowers, you should not object it too.
Ques: Yesterday you said that we should ask spontaneous questions, but I feel after sometime I get answers on my own. So is it okay to ask question or not and whether I should have asked this question?
#SriSri: No that you have asked this question, whether to answer or not is up to me! And I think not answering is better (laughter)
Ques: Raamjanmabhoomi. What is the significance of it in today’s time?
#SriSri: Don’t think that you will get some merit due to Pilgrimage. In the olden days, there were many sages and saints who used to impart knowledge that gave you rest at those places. People would sit with them to meditate and feel joyous. This was an ongoing process. Also, it was only mode of tourism at that time, where else would people go? In a way, it unites the different regions of the country. Now if someone from South India goes to Kashi – you cross so many regions and states on the way. And someone from Kashi has to travel to Rameshwaram. It combined North with South and East with west. It was a unique art to connect people. Culturally, Socially, spiritualy, economically, all these benefits formed a connection between regions. That is why the pilgrimages in our country have been going on, still going and would continue to go on. And they should also go on. But our pilgrimages should have proper facilities. They are so unclean. When people take bathe in river, they make it so unclean. They should be clean and have places to rest. So many accidents occur today these places. So many stampedes happen because there is no proper arrangement. In order to move ahead, people just fall over each other and push each other selfishly without consideration for the children, elderly or females. This should not happen. There should be rules & regulations in pilgrimages –smoking, alcohol, eating non-vegetarian food should not be allowed in pilgrims but they are happening. There was such a big tragedy in Kedarnath(A pilgrimage), when the debris were removed, so many bottles of alcohol were recovered. When you go such places, you should leave these habits. It’s important to keep Pilgrimages pure and clean, otherwise what’s the point in going to such place? It is the combined responsibility of the government, temple authorities and society. Only then it will happen. You will not see so much filth in Tirupathi even though millions visit it, as the rules are strictly implemented there. But in the other places, you see so much filth.
Ques: It is said that Shiva drinks alcohol that’s why we also drink alcohol
#SriSri: Shiva also drank poison, why don’t you drink that first? Who said Shiva drank alcohol, don’t make excuses for your own habits.
Ques: Gurudev, when the whole humanity is one, then why are there so many gods?
#SriSri: Why should not there be? Listen, All humanity is one, then why is everyone different. You look different than Chinese, Chinese look different than Japanese, Japanese look very different than Americans and Americans look different than African. You answer this first. Humanity is one, but are there no differences in this? Are there not differences in the color and shape of every human. God is one but he dresses in different uniforms.
Ques: Our history tells us that some people have seen God. Is it true?
#SriSri: Yes, for sure. Why history? Once you see god only god appears everywhere.
Ques: There is rampant corruption in pharmaceutical industry, where doctors are bribed in exchange for the prescriptions? What is the way out of this?I work with one such company and it is very difficult for me.
#SriSri: When herbal medicine takes its roots very well the pharmaceutical company’s greed can be checked. Not all pharmaceutical medicines are bad, let us make it very clear. Of course, the Pharma companies see that the natural low cost medicines don’t come to shelves because their business will suffer. When good people like you work with these companies, these un-ethical things won’t happen. So Just continue to work there and the change will gradually come.
Ques: My earlier Guru cheated a lot of people, so it’s very painful for me to remember that.
#SriSri: Earlier you were at some place where you got cheated, but you can’t have a paranoia about it. You can’t be paranoid. Suppose you had an accident at road, you can’t be paranoid about walking on the street. First you have to get out of it. If anyone has cheated you, they are not cheating you, they are cheating themselves, they will face the consequences. If you have done something sincerely, you would be guided and that’s how you have come here.
Ques: What is the qualification for being the best volunteer?
#SriSri: If you take up something work as volunteer and don’t go back from it, then you are a best volunteer. If you don’t leave the work in between and run then you are best volunteer. Third, troubles come, you have to criticisms too but if you take it all in your stride with a smile then you are a best volunteer. If you complete your work sincerely without fighting with anyone, or even if you have to fight, you fight and complete your work then that too is a best volunteer. Many times we think if we do something then the other person will say something and we become a football of other people’s opinion and we leave our work. That we should not do. Somebody tells us something and we get angry and stop volunteering. A lady got abused and she got so upset that an Art of Living volunteer abused her that she wanted to leave Art of Living. That doesn’t make sense, if you don’t work you will have to face the music. And here in Art of Living there are so many lakhs of volunteers and we keep all sorts of people here. I keep everyone here to better them. You can’t say there will be no patients in a hospital! So what if there are patients, there are also doctors and nurses here! So if you are healthy then too you are needed here to help the ill. So our volunteers need to increase their patience levels. And they should not demand recognition, this is a best volunteer.
Ques: What are the signs of a successful spiritual person?
#SriSri: Go beyond success and failure. Spirituality is beyond winning and losing. Here don’t think that you have won or lost.
Ques: I don’t understand why Sita had to go through so much difficulties and Lord Rama also added to her troubles?
#SriSri: It is not that Lord Rama increased her troubles. Life is beyond pain and pleasure and life is along with pleasure and pain, this is the principle that they have established. In life there is as much pleasure as there is pain. How to deal with both situations with equanimity is what was shown by Lord Rama’s life. An onlooker may see it as unhappiness but for someone who is in knowledge they don’t feel it as unhappiness, it is just a part of their life.
Ques: Whenever I try to do something good it only lands me in trouble.
#SriSri: You should learn from your mistakes and become stronger from the experience. Such things happen in life.
Ques: Why do we have fear of death?
#SriSri: It is good. It is ok to have some fear of death. Only a terrorist and a saint don’t have fear death. Rest all should have fear of death.