Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang ( 29 Sep, 2015)
Ques: In the Yogasutras, sleep is said to be one of the modulations of the mind. How can I overcome sleep? It is important.
#SriSri: Sleep is important, no doubt, but if sleep is not in your control it is very difficult. Suppose you are driving and you start getting sleepy, then what do you do? You control your sleep. You put a chewing gum in your mouth, or drink some water or keep talking. Does the sleep stay then? No. In the same way, when you have an important meeting, you feel sleepy, what do you do? Do you say, ‘I want to sleep a little bit and then come’? No. Your flight is in the middle of the night or your train is at one ’o’ clock. You can’t say I am sleeping! No. I want to tell you a story about something that happened. There was a businessman cum politician who had hosted Me, just for a night, somewhere in Kerala. Some of our teachers who were there, was telling the man, who had not done the course, ‘You do meditation and kriya then you get very good sleep. You feel very good. I could not sleep, I had insomnia but after doing the course I got very good sleep.’ That gentleman said ‘ No, no, I don’t have this problem’. In fact his problem was the other way around! And the servant who was taking care of the man, was talking to Me upstairs, he said that ‘Sir has a very big problem, that he will ask for roti, by the time I make one and bring it, he would have gone to sleep on the dining table!’ And he would be welcoming a guest and by the time he seats his guests and sits himself, he would fall asleep. While talking to people he will fall asleep, while eating on the table he will fall asleep. And so one doctor said he should have his brain scanned. So they took him there. That was one of the very first scanners there that had come in that part of Kerala. It was an imported scanner, people had not even seen those type of scanners before. So he was taken into the scanner. And after a while there was big noise and the scanner started shaking. All the technical people and the doctors were very scared about what was happening. And they called the driver and the driver said, ‘No, no, sahib has gone to sleep inside’! So when he was brought out of that he was found to be sleeping and snoring very loudly. So this is a problem!.. So when sleep gets out of your control, it is a big problem. So this man told the teachers, if this kriya gives you good sleep, then I have no problem. We didn’t see him after that at all! Because he got so scared that if he does Sudarshan Kriya and meditation that he will fall even more asleep. So I was telling our teachers that we should know what to say to whom and when! You know its not one thing for everybody, its not so. Kriya wakes people up. And if someone has insomnia, to balance that, they get good sleep. This distinction you must know. One of the five modulations of the mind is sleep, then there is memory. See that your mind is not stuck in any one of these. That is what is control.
Ques: What is Vritti? Is it that the mind changes it’s form?
#SriSri: Now let’s go in sequence. The first sutra of Yoga says ‘Atha yoga anushasanam’ – Now let’s look into the dimension of Yoga, in the inner discipline. Shasan means rule, a law which is imposed from outside. Anushasan means, somethings you take it one yourself. Self-imposed regulations or rules. So Yoga is anushasan, not shasan. So Yoga need not be made compulsory, it is one’s choice. You can’t compel someone to sleep. Sleep is one’s choice. You can’t compel someone to light something. You can’t compel someone to appreciate something. It is one’s choice. Similarly Yoga is anushasan. It is self self-discovery, self-discipline. Like nobody compels an adult that you must brush your teeth. Or you should take a shower.. As adults does anyone compel you that you should brush your teeth? No! You have taken it on yourself to brush your teeth everyday. You have taken the discipline on yourself to wash your hand with soap. This is self-imposed discipline, that is anushasan.
‘yoga chitta vritti nirodha’ – Yoga is controlling the modulations of the mind. Then what happens? ‘tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam’ – then you get established in the seer. From the scenery the mind gets back to the seer. That is what yoga is all about. See as you are sitting, and you are looking at Me and the building behind, it is all scenery for you. Who is looking at it? That is the seer. So taking the mind away from the scenery to the seer. What is the seer? The physical body. And then you see even the body is scenery and the mind is the seer. And if you see, the further you back, the mind is just thoughts coming and going, so even the mind is the scenery. And then something beyond the mind, that is the seer. So like this, layer by layer, bringing your attention from the external to the very source of the mind, that is the drastuh, the seer and getting established in the nature of the seer. Otherwise the mind is engaged or caught up in these five different modulations, activities of the mind. See when you meditate, it is not sleep, it is not memorizing something, it is not remembering something, it is not trying to find proof of something, right? What happens when you meditate? You slowly move away from the logical discussion, wanting to know, wanting to grab, wanting to understand. That is pramana. From that mind to doubting all that, then from imagination to not sleep also, not recollecting something of the past also. You leave all this. In meditation what is happening? Just being, you are just there.
Ques: How can I make my mind strong?
#SriSri: Just move ahead thinking that your mind is strong. Who said that your mind is weak? If we think our mind is weak then we are giving license to the mind to be weak. It is already strong.
Ques: What is death?
#SriSri: You will definitely know, but later! (laughter) You should listen to Katopanishad, I have spoken about it there.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang ( 28 Sep, 2015)
If people are stressed, they stop communicating with each other, the whole communication system breaks down. So we must wake up from the slumber of selfishness and stress. Once the stress goes from life and you are happy from within, everything falls into place.”
Ques: How to bridge the generation gap?
#SriSri: Now this is what we are working on. We have done many programs for youngsters which help them to understand elders. For elders I have an advice. You may not influence your own children directly but the friends of your children will be impacted by you much more. So let the friends of your children be affected by your wisdom. Through them indirectly impact your children. So before becoming a good father and mother, you need to be a good uncle and aunt! The role of an uncle or aunt, that brings you more dignity, number one. Second is, for you to gain respect, you have to show knowledge and wisdom, broad-mindedness. If you are broad-minded and you are calm and serene as you age, it is impossible for anyone to not respect you. They don’t respect you because you hold on to things. When elders display small-mindedness, out of your own insecurity, of your own possessiveness, of your own dissatisfaction, that reflects on the younger generation and their respect for you keeps going down. But if you show magnanimity, it is impossible for your people not to show respect for you. The more forgiving you are, the more generous you are and the more principled you are, your children note that. They cannot but respect you. Once they have respect for you, love also follows. Anyway, there is love. They do have love for you but respect makes them keep their love for you.
Ques: It really bothers me to see the fate of women who have lost husbands. They are not allowed in any pujas and functions. Is it necessary?
#SriSri: It is both ways, husband who does not have a wife, usually the say, is not eligible to perform yagnas and vice-versa. If you are married, both of you have to be together to perform it. This is a tradition that has come down the ages. But you don’t need to worry about it. Single mother or father, have all rights to perform all pujas and everything. You don’t worry about it. We have to somewhere wake up from this tradition, which is not really tradition, it is interpolation, some time in the middle, these things have come up. In fact, women had the right to perform yagnopaveeth and all that. But somewhere in the middle it was distorted.
Ques: This Advanced Meditation Program aimed for soul purity? What is it aimed for? Where is it leading?
#SriSri: Are you all enjoying? (Yes!) That’s it! It’s everything. It’s purification of body, mind and spirit.
Ques: Should we do idol worship?
#SriSri: It is your choice. If you don’t want to do, there is no compulsion, there is no need to. You just sit and meditate, that’s good enough. In fact idols are just a method to go inward, that’s all. It creates an atmosphere. You have some flowers, you have all the incense sticks, so it creates a nice atmosphere. But main thing is going inward. You know, people go to Tirupathi, climbing the hill, but when they go in front of the deity, they close their eyes. For two minutes, they stand and they close their eyes! And that’s what happens, the main thing is inside. In Tamil, there is a saying, that which is inside is what it is. The ocean within you is the Divinity. But this is just an excuse. Man cannot do without a symbol. In Russia they removed all the symbols of religions, but what came up there? Karl Marx’s and Lenin’s statue! So that became a point of reference. And in the mausoleum, where their bodies are buried, everyday they go around and have gun salute. That’s a ritual, it’s as good as doing aarti in a temple! Why should one waste so many bullets, 21 gun salute in the air! Their way of showing respect is shooting. Here in the orient, their way of showing respect is flowers. Because we believe in non-violence. This is the culture we need to develop. A little bit of culture makes brings the celebration in life. See, in Diwali, you light some lamps at home and then spread some fragrance, there is a nice atmosphere. Pongal or Diwali, Holi, you put some flowers in the house, doorway. It all changes the whole atmosphere. There is a celebration, there is some serenity that comes up. Just imagine in someone’s house, no celebration, no lamp is being lit, how will it feel? There is no prana, life is so dull! Isn’t it? That’s why our ancient people, they have brilliant ideas, they created all these festivals. And keep you busy in celebration, one after another. After Navaratri, there comes Diwali, then comes Holi, Makar Sankranti. So you are busy preparing for celebrations, there’s no time to get depressed! And keeps the house happy, brings everyone together, bonding happens. So these meaningful celebrations, this little bit of rituals, adds something beautiful to life.
Ques: What is matter, anti-matter and dark matter. How does
#SriSri: You have asked a very technical question and these questions are for scientists. Energy consolidated is matter. Matter getting back to it’s energy state is anti-matter. And dark matter is that which has everything in it but does not appear. In the Rig Veda, in the beginning, it is said, the darkness was covered by darkness. And this line was not understood by anybody! Philosophers said, it must be something, great scholars could not understand it. But today scientists say it is the dark matter and the dark energy that was enveloping the whole universe. And that is why all the heavenly bodies are spherical. The energy around the Sun, is so thick and so powerful, so big, that is why Sun looks like it is in a spherical shape. Like in a bottle of water, if an air bubble is trapped, the air bubble is spherical. The water pressure makes the air bubble spherical. Similarly, the dark matter’s pressure is making the Sun look spherical. That is, what you don’t see is much more powerful than what you see. Our ancient people have said this all the time, “avyaktādīni bhūtāni vyakta-madhyāni bhārata”. Lords Krishna said in the Gita, the unmanifest, is the cause of the manifest. Because manifest is only the middle. Unmanifest surrounds the manifest. And all the manifest will also go down into the unmanifest.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang ( 23 Sep, 2015)
Ques: How was your childhood? Were you naughty like other kids?
#SriSri: Yes absolutely. I still am I think! I think my childhood never got over. Not childish, but I am still child-like.
Ques: What kind of atmosphere dis you receive in childhood? What did you talk about with your parents?
#SriSri: There is a feeling that was always there with me since childhood, to spread love & togetherness throughout the world. I knew that people were waiting for me everywhere. In those days when I used to say this, people would think that I am lying. Many times my ears were pulled for this! My mother used to ask me –‘why are you lying? You don’t lie about anything else’. I could not understand how I should explain this to everyone. There was always this conflict.
Ques: Any memory of your childhood that you can share about your parents. What did they talk with you?
#SriSri: They were both very good people. They gave me very good values. My parents were very interested in spirituality. See, if any child gets a spiritual environment at home where Pujas etc are happening, then it definitely leaves good values in them. There are some things we imbibe from the environment, but a lot of values we bring with ourselves from past births. The seed is always there. So, it’s not the first time we have come to earth. We have come many times before. If you observe, a child till 3 years of age remembers everything about their past lives. They use their own language to explain it but the people don’t give a lot of importance to it and don’t take it seriously. Our past is very deep and vast. But we have never paid any attention to it. When we go deep in meditation these past samkaras start opening up. What is good in those things grows and what is meaningless falls away.
Ques: How did you manage to balance both spirituality and education?
#SriSri: Yes, Yes. It was always together. I have been fortunate that I could study also and at the same time continue on the spiritual path. I always had an interest in science from a very young age. And I never found any contradiction between Science and Indian spirituality. We should always move in life keeping science and knowledge together. If there is scientific outlook, then you question everything. You don’t accept anything without asking questions – that is the sign of a scientific temperament. The sign of spirituality is unshakable faith. If you get both of these in life, then life blossoms.
Ques: How did you manage to keep the balance between education & spiritual path
#SriSri: My childhood was spent with elders and now I am spending time with the Youngsters! I never had too much interest in cricket, football etc. I had to be forced to take interest in these things but I used to find them meaningless. I used to enjoy sitting with elders and discussing with them. I was surrounded with older people though out my childhood. My guru had spent time with Mahatma Gandhi when he was in jail. He was the one who has taught him Bhagavad Gita. He was also there with him when Kasturba Gandhi passed away. So, he used to narrate the stories to him. See, in those time, there was neither Radio nor television was present. So, there was nothing else to do. Yes, there were classical music gatherings used to take place during the festivals, which I used to enjoy
Ques: Who were the great people inn your life that influenced you?
#SriSri: There were many saints that I used to meet. The Shankaracharya of Kanchi used to look at me with a lot of respect. I used to find that uncomfortable that I am younger than them, even then they are treating me with such respect. But then I got used to it!
Ques: What was the turning point in your life?
#SriSri: There was no such turning point in my life. Some people face some failure in their business, some get cheated in love, some people’s heart gets broken, nothing of this sort happened with me. I never got depressed and ran away from home! But there were many joyful instances that happened.
Ques: How did you come up with Sudarshan Kriya?
#SriSri: I used to teach yoga and meditation before that too. But I felt that there was something missing, something more needs to be done, it didn’t feel complete. Like something was on the way. So I went into silence for 10 days, on the banks of the River Tungabhadra, near Shimoga, Karnataka. After that, there were some 30 odd people from the city who asked me to say something. And then I started speaking, and in that moment I taught them (the Sudarshan Kriya) and I also learnt it at the same time. It came out of me like a poem arises within a poet, through inspiration. I never used my intellect for it. This is called ‘antahsparana’. It’s like downloading, not like composing. You download something which is already there. Our brain is like a super computer. You can download a lot of things!
Ques: After Sudarshan Kriya, is there anything else which is on the way for us?
#SriSri: From time to time, whatever is required for whomever, that knowledge will keep coming automatically. All this is so amazing. This world is full of wonder. There is wonder in everyone’s life. And when we go deep inside and become quiet, then many such wonders arise in life. And wonder is the preface for Yoga. When such wonder keeps happening in life, then another dimension opens up in life. Then we start to experience the unseen and the unmanifest. And this applies to all, it’s not just meant for a select few. But only a few are able to take advantage of it.
Ques: Do you also get worried?
#SriSri: Yes, I worry about everyone, the country, the world. But it doesn’t trouble me!
Ques: How and why did you go out of the country for the first time?
#SriSri: Once in Delhi, I had conducted a workshop for all the embassies. People liked it and some of them asked me to come to England. This is how I got an invitation. Then one by one it just kept happening and I had to go all around the world!
Ques: There are so many who just follow you on youtube!
#SriSri: This is a gift of technology. This is a huge contribution that technology has made, by which we can reach to every corner of this planet. The knowledge which had, since the ancient times, been limited to certain communities and not passed on to the masses, but which is so useful to everyone, should not be tied up but distributed to all. Given this, I decided to make this knowledge and technique available to all and taught it to everyone in the world. This knowledge and technology is not limited to a particular religion or community, it is for all of humanity. It doesn’t matter what religion you follow, you can keep following your religion but at the same time you can learn something that will give your mind peace, give energy to your body, make your heart blossom, sharpen your intellect. Everyone need’s this knowledge. So I thought that I would a work towards “vasudhaiva kutumbakam’, a one world family and reach out the knowledge to every home.
Ques: Everyone wants to meet you..
#SriSri: I also want to meet everyone! This is where technology can help. You can even send me emails, I get thousands of them. And there is one communication which at an outer level and there is another communication which is an inner communication. When we believe that everyone belongs to me, then that becomes a reality. So all you have to do is believe. Every person’s thread is connected everyone else in the world, is what I believe. There are billions and trillions of cells in our body. Every part of our body is connected to the Universe and every person is a part of this Universe. So we should know deep inside that we are all connected. And that itself is meditation.
Ques: How is it that the youth, which don’t listen to parents get connected to you so easily?
#SriSri: Yes, the youth have a lot of enthusiasm. They know that I encourage enthusiasm. The youth have curiosity, and they know that it gets fulfilled here. And the youth are filled with love and they know that it gets respect here. Youth is not determined by age, anyone who has an inner energy and enthusiasm is youth. Those who do not tired, they are youth. Many old people come here and become young! The moment tiredness vanishes and your mind becomes ready to take on new challenges, when enthusiasm dawns, that is also a sign of youth. Now I always tell them, that they must do something for the society and not just think about themselves. There is a joy that one gets in acquiring something. There is another joy that is there in sharing with others. That is an even bigger joy. Life is a journey from moving from the joy of getting to the joy of giving. And the youth have so much energy and power, they can definitely give a lot to the society. And they do want to give.
When the heart is pure, then there is innocence. And every child .. if there is purity in heart, clarity in mind and spontaneity in action, then we can go back and to innocence.
Ques: What is the significance of the upcoming World Cutlture Festival 2016?
#SriSri: 10 years back we had a big event in the theme of vasudhaiva kutumbakam, in Bangalore in 2006. Then 5 years back, in Berlin, we had the World Culture Festival. Now it is the turn of Delhi to host it. People from 154 countries will come and present their culture in this festival and along with that it will also be a family reunion for us, where we will all get together and do sadhana, yoga, meditation. This will be an example to the world, that instead of talking about wars and conflicts, people from all over the world will give a message of peace and belongingness, in a festive atmosphere. This is the intention. Humanity is still alive, this message has to reach everyone. There is so much depression all around, people have become selfish, they think with a small mind only about themselves, which leads to mental illness. To get out of this, a celebration is required. You need to have a display of belongingness.
Ques: Whenever you do a program, it becomes trouble for Guinness World Record team! What is the secret of organising such big celebrations?
#SriSri: There is one verse in Sanskrit ‘naalpe sukhamasti yovaye bhuma tat sukham’. There is no joy in small things, joy is in big things. So when the thought is big, work also happens in a big manner. When the heart is big how can the work be small? And everyone automatically joins in. The vision should be big, the heart should be big, then work also transforms into a big success. This does not happen with only one man’s intention, it happens with everyone’s desire (sankalpa) to do big. It is very interesting how an organisation comes together, chaos is also there and then how things come out shining from chaos, it is very unique in it’s own manner.
Ques: If we work continuously for four to five hours, or if we meet ten people then also we get tired, we feel that we should relax a bit. Do you ever take holidays?
#SriSri: In between lifetimes! Between two lives. See, when we do not do something different from our very nature then we do not get tired. A river does not get tired of flowing, air does not get tired of moving, Sun never gets tired of shining. Similarly, when we are established in our element, in our very nature then everything after that works as per nature. When we do something other than our nature, when we show-off then we will definitely feel tired. Be natural, you will not feel tired.
Ques: What message would you like to give to Your followers?
#SriSri: Know and understand some things. You cannot understand everything, but you can understand a few things. Accept a few things, you cannot accept everything, but you can accept few things and greet everyone with love. If someone says that this is sweet, then do not accept, you should taste it and then accept that it is sweet. And if someone says that this thing is poison, do not touch it, then don’t say that I will touch and see for myself whether it is poison or not. No. If someone says that this is drugs and you should not go for it then just accept it. And greet everyone with love. A clear mind, a pure heart and sincerity in action, spontaneity in action is al that is needed. And stop thinking ‘what about me, what about me, what about me?’ Start asking ‘what can I do?’ give your attention there. We are here on this planet for a short while, challenges do come in everyone’s life, but they come and go. Don’t lose hope. Spirituality is one such thing that will give you that inner strength and along with it new thoughts and ideas as well.
Ques: When we see you we feel very happy, how do you feel when you see your devotees?
#SriSri: I feel they are all my very own. Whomever I have seen, till today, I have felt that they are my very own. Till now I have not come across even a single person, whom I have felt as a stranger.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang ( 22 Sep, 2015)
“To express feelings, to form a relationship, you need a face. If there is face then a person is able to establish a relationship easily. Since the ancients times we call upon the Gods and Goddesses, through chanting of mantras, into pots (kalash)of water or rice. This is the tradition. In South India we do puja to Varalaxmi. I remember my grandmother used to do Pooja to Varalaxmi and do a lot of preparations for that. She would fill the kalash with rice, keep a coconut on top of that and call upon the Goddess. But she would make a face on the kalash as well as the coconut. Then she would be satisfied that it is the Devi. You normally use pots everyday, what relationship can you establish with a pot? But if you see a face on the pot, then you can start a dialogue with it, even if it is in the mind, you establish a relationship. In the same way, in Gauri Ganesh, you don’t have an idol of her whole body, just the face on the kalash. Just the face on the pot will make you feel that you are connecting with the Gods. You get mental satisfaction. This is the mystery behind idol worship, invoking emotions. The purpose of the Guru is also the same, to awaken emotions within us. The dormant energy in us is suddenly awakened. That is why it is said “Ishwaro Guru Atmeti MoortiBheda Vibhagini”. There are differences in the idols but in the tatva there is no difference. Whether put the face of Gauri or Ganesh or Varalaxmi, there is difference only in the faces not in the feelings. There is no difference in the feelings only in the expressions. Through different modes of expression, awaken the sleeping consciousness, the love trapped in inertia and faith. Once it is awakened it removes all this. We use help of the modes we do this. For example, if there is a small container of ghee, we either have to bend our finger to get it or a spoon. The use of the spoon is only till the point that the ghee has been retrieved by it. In this way, the idols help in evoking theses feelings within us. Mantra also does the same thing. Take the support of mantras and idols you can do this and then go beyond it into meditation. The idols and mantras are only guides to get into meditation. When we go into meditation then we realize who we truly are, ‘So Hum’, that there is no difference between us and That.”
Ques: Is silence more important or sound?
#SriSri: Sound has it’s own importance and silence it’s own. Why do you want to bring one up and keep the other down? The importance of silence is because of sound. And sound has come out of silence.
Ques: Can we not achieve the turiya state in the conscious state?
#SriSri: There are many ways. The sleeping, waking and dreaming state or all part of consciousness. Beyond that is the turiya state which comes in glimpses between these states. Like when you are about to sleep but not yet asleep, you are in a stupor. In that state you feel as if the time has stopped, everything is a state. This sort of a feeling is there. In the same way when we wake up but are not yet fully awake, then too you get a glimpse of the turiya state. And when we start meditating regularly then we can continuously experience that state.
Ques: what is the significance of cutting our upanayanam thread before taking sanyas?
#SriSri: It just means, leaving the old behind and donning the new. When we take sansyas then we are relived our responsibilities, and the janeyu thread reminds us of our responsibilities. Like a snake sheds it skin, in the same way we shed our past and come into the present moment. When our responsibilities our over then we take sanyas, meaning we become centered with no desires.
Ques To love is a Divine quality, however my love is causing pain to others?
#SriSri: You have made mistake of thinking love is an action. Love is your nature. Be in your nature, love will radiate from you naturally. A candle or a lamp does not make an attempt to take the light to others, they just be in their nature, spreading light. If others get hurt due to your love then maybe you are expressing your love too much it seems, hide your love a little, lock and keep it, don’t spend it. There are ways to express love, that is why we should express only what others can understand and is in their capacity to take. Expressing too much love is also dangerous. People feel suffocated otherwise. Supposing you say someone that ‘I love you very much, I love you very much, I love you very much, I love you very much..’ then that person will say, okay, now what next? If you say 20 times then they will think what do you with you! Don’t assume that everyone is knowledgeable. A wise one can digest everything, accepting such expression of love will not be difficult for a knowledgeable person. Whereas a normal person’s mind is at a different level & their capacity to take or give love is also less, limited. If they have limited capacity and you express limitless love on them then they get irritated. This is one of the reasons for relationships to break. Because they express love too much and other person feels like it is a burden, so they run! That is why hide your love and express it little here and there.
Ques: ‘Aghori’ look very scary, does this path also leads one to God?
#SriSri: See this word ‘aghor’ itself is very different. To look ‘ghor’ means scary, one which is very beautiful is called ‘aghori’. If someone looks very beautiful then we say ‘aghori’. That which is very beautiful from inside and outside, where there is no aversion of any type, is ‘aghori’. ‘Shiva’ is called aghori. Rudra is ghor as well as aghor and that which is good for everyone, beneficial to all. I bow down to you O Lord Rudra, you are very beautiful and ghor also. All the five elements are like this. Fire is so beautiful in the form of candle, but if a house is on fire then, it is so dangerous. Similarly air element is beautiful but if it comes in the form of storm then it is destructive / ghor form. Shiva is ghor as well as aghori, beautiful and fierce at the same time. He does good to everyone. There is no mantra above the aghor mantra, which says the form of Shiva is more beautiful of the most beautiful and more fierce than the fiercest.
Nature is like this only. If a water stream is flowing then it looks so beautiful but if Tsunami comes then it is so dangerous. Cascade looks so beautiful, but if water comes in form of flood then it is so devastating also. If there is small waterfall then you can take shower underneath it and feels nice. At the same time if you see Niagara falls then you will feel scared. It looks beautiful from distance, but if you go near then you will get scared looking at the same as water falls from thousands of feet.
Ques: ‘Mumukshutva (desirous of attaining salvation)’ is called pillar of knowledge. When divine is so amazing then why one be hesitant to go towards God?
#SriSri: It happens like that in the beginning, then once you are used to it, you will feel relaxed.
Ques: Why do you love me so much?
#SriSri: Keep asking this question again and again you will be on the right track. All complaints will go away. And ask this same question to everyone whenever complaints arise in you, then assume that they love you so much hence they are behaving in this manner. Then you will be happy in yourself, centered and safe.
Ques: How to accept people whom we don’t love?
#SriSri: It is not compulsory to accept someone only after loving them. First you accept them as they are, then love comes later.
Ques: How can we have enthusiasm and dispassion at the same time?
#SriSri: That is pravritti and nivritti. When you are in Pravritti, you have to take full responsibility and move ahead and in Nivritti you take rest in total surrender
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang ( 21 Sep, 2015)
Renowned music director, Swara Veenapani from Andhra Pradesh presented his unique composition in satsang today, where he has encapsulated 72 melakartha ragas in a six and half minute song. #SriSri congratulated him by saying, “This is India, we can bring innovation in every field!”
Ques: When we use the mind, the intellect gets sharp. The same is not true with emotions. How to bring perfection in emotions?
#SriSri: Emotions are a part of life and so is intellect. Sharpen your intellect and soften your emotions. And when you are stressed, you cannot have soft emotions, or when you have no confidence, your emotions are very crude. In fact sometimes it appears that those who are weak don’t have a strong mind. I tell you, a strong mind can carry a weak body but a weak mind cannot even carry a strong body. So mind has to be strong. Strength of mind comes when you are free from stress, emotions are soft and intellect is sharp.
Ques: Is there a relation between the human nervous system and the realization of truth?
#SriSri: Yes, yes. Nervous system plays a very important role in expressing the consciousness. And its through the nervous system only that we express our emotions. Perception, observation and expression, all three things are affected by the state of our nervous system.
Ques: What is the best way to deal with the Guru Mandala?
#SriSri: Just relax and chill. Relax and don’t be distracted by many things that happen around you. Many times people take on a very good project as a volunteer. Suddenly you had to face some criticism from somebody or some jealousy from somebody or you have to hear some harsh words, what do you do? You just drop everything and run away. This is being caught in the Guru Mandala. You go with steadfast conviction. Conviction, commitment, compassion, these three things together brings you out of the Guru Mandala.
Ques: Why do we celebrate festivals and fast?
#SriSri: See in the olden days, they used to just grow grains. They needed to an excuse to keep them busy with some celebrations every month. Now you see the Ganesha festival is and crime rates have gone down because people are busy in celebrations! So this is done to keep up the enthusiasm among people.
Ques: Emotions take over our mind. What do we do then?
#SriSri: When you do business, do it with your intellect and when dealing with loved ones, do it with your emotions. At home don’t do business, deal with love.
Ques: There are a lot of expectations from my parents. What do I do?
#SriSri: What do you expect from yourself? This you look into. Fulfill your responsibilities. Take your time, tell them it will take time. You set your goal and take your time. But don’t be lazy. As long as you don’t consider yourself lazy, you are saved!
Ques: I want to stay in Ashram.
#SriSri: See there are three qualifications for an Ashram. Where you find happiness, some food and some knowledge for your intellect. Can’t you give all three in your home?.. Your home can also be an Ashram. And you can always come here any time you want.
Ques: Shiva used to have intoxicants, why can’t we?
#SriSri: You know what Shiva had before intoxicants? He had poison. You first have poison, then you have intoxicants! The qualification for having intoxicants to first have halahal (poison). Don’t get into all this. Lord Shiva used to meditate too, first you meditate!
Ques: How to feel that we are love constantly?
#SriSri: See you don’t have to have the same feeling all the time. You fall in love, you get out of love, your heart breaks. But once you know how to meditate, your heart will not be like a brittle glass piece, it will be like rubber, like a diamond which never breaks.. Love is not just an emotion, it is our very nature! Our spirit is made up of a substance called love. Don’t say “oh, I can’t live without you”.. Love is not just an emotion. This is what I have been saying now for 35 years!
Ques: I want to clear my past and move on and I want to balance my gunas too. How do I do all this?
#SriSri: Listen, just relax. You have an intention? You have to let it go. That’s how things work. Intention, attention and manifestation. Suppose you want to go to Mysore from here, what do you do? You get a thought, you sit in a car and you go to Mysore. The entire way to Mysore for two hours, you don’t say “I wan to go to Mysore, I want to go to Mysore,…” Where will you land up? In a mental hospital! So get out of this feverishness and just stick to intention, attention and let go and then manifestation happens.
Ques: I won prizes in singing but I have been discouraged by others. But I want to sing.
#SriSri: Dream big and go for it. There are many people who say many things to you. You cannot be football of their opinions. When I first went to Los Angeles, people told me, “Why do you come here, it’s a waste of your time. You should just go to Canada, Montreal and the East Coast where there are a lot of people who come to your programs. Here there are 10-15 people and there are so many things happening in L.A.” I just smiled at them. Second time I went there were only 15 people. But you know, now all through California, all through the West Coast there are hundreds and hundreds of centers! So you must keep your focus and don’t listen to others.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang ( 20 Sep, 2015)
“In our country earlier, we used to give punishments earlier, which is now being established in America as a super brain technique! Even the children who are differently abled, when they follow that punishment exercise, their health improves. It’s very interesting, how even in temples in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, people used to hold their ears and do sit-ups. It is now established by research that this stimulates the brain. Now all of you start doing this! We have to show this to everyone and make them do it.( Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSwhpF9iJSs)
What we thought was a superstition of holding left ear with right hand and right ear with left hand, has been now established by research that it improved the balance of both sides of the brain.”
Ques: Which is the best way to pardon others?
#SriSri: There is no method. You just have to pardon.
Ques: When God is within us, then why use a symbol or an idol?
#SriSri: It’s only to create an environment. This is a preparation to make our mind go into meditation.
Ques: How to face the emptiness that I feel when I have lost everything?
#SriSri: When we do satsang and mediation, there is no emptiness. Where there is devotion and love, there is no emptiness.
Ques: What are the rules and benefit of wearing rudraksha?
#SriSri: There is a lot of information of what to do, when to do, but don’t get into any of them. There are no rules or regulations as such. If you wish, you can wear.
Ques: What are the signs of a good devotee?
#SriSri: Open mindedness and devotion are enough. Whenever there is discontinuity in your practices, you should come back to the practices again.
Ques: Why do we say Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, three times?
#SriSri: There are troubles that come from three levels – Adi Bhautik, Adhyatmik and Adi Daivik. Peace from society, peace from the mind and peace from the soul.
Ques: How to come out of guilt?
#SriSri: Through meditation.
Ques: When the wife progresses more than the husband, the husband gets jealous. How to handle that?
#SriSri: See I don’t have any experience in this. You have dialed the wrong number! You ask that person who has a lot of experience in this field.
Ques: It is said in silence we meet God, is it really God?
#SriSri: Is it evening now? (yes) It is that obvious! Does anyone ask during day time, if it is day time?
Ques: I get angry very often. A jeweler asked me to wear pearl. Seriously does it benefit?
#SriSri: Seriously, the jeweler gets benefitted! Whether you get benefitted or not, the jeweler definitely gets benefitted. Do pranayama and meditation, you will definitely get benefitted from it.
Ques: The Vedas have such great science in it, how can we get all that knowledge?
#SriSri: You have come to the right place. Keep learning here, keep doing one program after another.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang ( 19 Sep, 2015)
Ques: Why is it that Parvati had to do penance to reach Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva knew that Parvati is born and he loved her also yet why the penance?
#SriSri: Puranas are the stories. It’s just to tell you don’t take the highest for granted. That even though it is yours, it is a part of you, still you have to forbear. What does Tapas mean? Keeping the balance. However dear you are, still you have to maintain your balance. Tapas means forbearance of opposites. And life is full of opposites and your ability to smile through them all is Tapas. What is the benefit of Tapas? Body becomes strong and senses become sharp, sensitive and pure. That’s all.
Ques: When an avatar is born how much does he or she retains of his or her divinity and how much does him or her adapt to Humanity?
#SriSri: Why do you keep Humanity so far away from Divinity? Divinity is in Humanity and that’s why in all our Puranas everywhere you find the Human aspect in Divine also. You must respect Humanity the way it is. Respect for Humanity will lead you to Divinity and respect for Divinity will make you more humane.
Ques: I have a strong feeling that people don’t like me or gel with me. I crave for love but when I get it I can’t handle it. What is wrong with me?
#SriSri: You need to be centered. Never mind if someone expresses love for you or not. From your side you have friendliness for everyone. You wish good for everyone.. Once that is done then everything will be taken care of.
Ques: While meditating from time to time I see between my eyebrows fire. Is there any significance in seeing fire during meditation?
#SriSri: Take it as an experience, that’s all! During meditation you get many experiences, of all the five sense. You may feel some touch. You may feel some cool breeze. You may hear some sound. You may see some light. You may smell some fragrance. Take them all as an experience and move on. You know there is a story about Tirupati. It’s said that Tirupati Balaji wanted to come and stay there on Lord Srinivasa. So he needed a place but the place belonged to one Varaha Swami. So he asked if he could give him some place for rent. He said ok but what was the rent that you will give me? He said whoever comes to see me I will ask him to visit you also. This was the rental agreement. That anyone who comes to see Lord Venkateshwar should visit Varah Swami and only then their visit will be complete. But today many people go to see Srinivasa but they have forgotten the Varah Swami which is in the foothill. Lord Venkateshwar is a tenant by default now! Default means that he has not paid his dues. These stories may appear to be very funny or mundane. Why do they put such mundane stories? Just to make you feel that you are part of the Divinity and Divinity is part of you. Otherwise you put Divinity at a very high pedestal and you feel I am here and God is there and we have a big disconnect. To make you feel more connected they put all these anger, Shiva got angry, or all this other human imperfection also they put in the Devas and Devtas, so that you feel the closeness. It’s interesting. That’s why if you read the Puranas you will feel why would God be this way? Why would the Divine personality behave this way? It’s only a reflection of what is in the Human society. And having said that keep it all one side and go deep in meditation and what will you find in deep meditation? Pragyanam Brahma. Consciousness. That lively consciousness is what all this is. This is what you are and what everything else is made up of. That is God and that is Divinity. Divinity is in your heart. Don’t find yourself far removed from it. In your heart there is love and that is God. That is Divinity.
Ques: Vegetarianism comes from compassion and non-killing of other living beings. But sometimes at home we kill rats, cockroaches etc.
#SriSri: No, no, doesn’t matter. You are liberating them, they find better life times! Don’t worry. Total Ahimsa (non-violence) is impossible because your own body destroys every bacteria that comes into it. Your body attacks and kills many bacteria. And birth and death is continuous process. You know on your forehead, there are these tiny little creatures called mites. And there three types of mites. One at the top of your head, one in the middle of your head and one near the eyebrows and they all have their territory, they don’t cross their territories. The mites never your eyebrows, never goes above and the one in the middle, does not come down. The three vibhootis you put (on your forehead), the three lines? It’s exactly like that. The three different mites live in three different levels on your forehead. And they are territorial. Similarly there are bacteria in your intestine, they are territorial. This Universe is unfathomable, it’s amazing. So every moment new cells are being born in your body, every moment cells are dying in your body. So just be natural. Himsa (violence) is when with anger and greed you destroy someone’s life. If you are walking, unknowingly many creatures get crushed under your feet. That is not himsa. You are walking and there are ants you did not see, knowingly or unknowingly many creatures die. Your mere existence kills many creatures. While talking many bacteria die. You breath out that causes disturbance to many bacteria. And you cannot go to that extreme… Just take the essence. The essence is non-violence. By words, by deed, by your thought, don’t destroy anybody’s. Don’t have an intention to destroy anybody. That keeps your mind alive, pure and sensitive to others. That is good enough.
Ques: How can we get angry and simultaneously feel peace inside us?
#SriSri: You are feeling that way? That is good. A part of you is always peaceful. If you can latch on that, then you have won the game. A part in everyone of you is peaceful all the time. And there is another part which goes through all the turmoil. And if the part that goes through turmoil is smaller, in fact it is smaller but it appears bigger, when you realize it is a small part of you, which undergoes turmoil, you have won the race.
Ques: Do ghosts exist? I am scared of them.
#SriSri: No, no, no.. If you feel you have come across such a thing then just chant ‘Om Namah Shivayah’, they will run miles away.
Ques: Why is it easier to meditate with a guided meditation than by yourself?
#SriSri: You know some of these questions are just wonders. Why is it easy to meditate with guided meditation? It is easy, that is why it is there! What you cannot do alone, or when you are not able to do alone, in a group it makes it better.
Ques: How can I deal with an emotionally unstable man in my life?
#SriSri: When you know people are like that and you have studied them, you have two options. Wait till they change and till they change accept them.
Ques: Is there such a thing as good luck and bad luck?
#SriSri: Yes, there is. There are times when things happen effortlessly. When does it happen? When Sattva increases in us, then whatever we want happens easily. When there is lack of Sattva then we have to put in a lot of effort for the same thing. And if you don’t have any Sattva then even after a lot of effort, nothing happens.
Ques: I am not able to make a choice, please tell me what to choose? I am very confused.
#SriSri: You choose and I will give you blessings, what else! My job is to only confuse, not to convince! Because in every confusion, you grow.
Ques: When a person is about to die, can we chant Maha Mrityunjaya mantra, will it bring back the person?
#SriSri: When someone is about to die, we can chant the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra, there will definitely be some good in it. And then you drop it, if a person’s death is destined, then person will pass away at that time.
Ques: Whenever I do meditation or yoga, I feel I am doing something wrong so I repeat the programs again and again. But I am not satisfied. What do I do?
#SriSri: You feel you are doing something wrong? Ok, leave it to me. Meditation is the art of doing nothing! Don’t sit and do anything in meditation. When you go for a treatment, what do you do? You just sit. When you go to a dentist, do you do anything? Dentist puts a finger in your mouth, do you bite it? You do nothing, you just keep your mouth open and sit and the dentist does the whole job. You drop your jaw, sit with awe and meditation will happen automatically, you have to do nothing!
Ques: Akshatam (rice) is used in blessing the bride and groom in a wedding. But in the process so much rice gets wasted. What is to be done?
#SriSri: That is right. It should not be wasted. It can at least be given to birds, if it falls down. Do you know the meaning of akshat? That which doesn’t reduce, that which is imperishable. Akshat has two qualifications, one which is used with mantra becomes akshat, when you say the mantra and put the rice on the head with the mantras, it becomes mantrakshate, it is very auspicious. India had abundance of food grains, once upon a time. Then they used to use rice to bless people, like you put flowers to bless people. And the rice that gets thrown on the couple on their wedding day, that should be fed to birds, creatures or use flowers. Instead of rice, use flowers, that will also do. Akshat means imperishable, rice or food is imperishable. Because that food becomes the body and food becomes the mind, food becomes the thought. And thought remains in the Akasha, space. So that is why it is called imperishable.
Ques: Does Hinduism move along with science or not?
#SriSri: Hinduism is like a mixture of sugar and sand. If you become an ant you will be able to remove the sugar from the sand. In Hinduism, there are some basic essence which is like sugar but in the course of time a lot of things have been added, which has no meaning, and people did not understand those. There are such scientific things in the dharma. It is the Hindu Sanatan dharma which gave the world zero. It made the world’s first iron, boat, all of this. The fact that the earth revolves around the sun was first propounded by India. Go on the internet, you will find a lot of things.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang ( 18 Sep, 2015)
Ques: Why is a girl’s life so full of sacrifice and adjustments, especially after marriage?
#SriSri: Is it so? I heard the other way around! I heard the boys feel that they have no freedom afterwards. They have to take permission for everything!
Ques: When I see people disrespect their parents I feel hurt. What is your message for such people?
#SriSri: I would advise on both sides. Parents should also remember their limitations and stay in their own boundary and children should definitely walk that extra mile to make the parents comfortable. They have to do all that in their capacity to make them happy. But you know if sometimes it so happens, in spite of people trying all their best, still the parents keep cribbing. You cannot bow down to everything in that sense. But they can walk that extra mile to make them happy.
Ques: I am Christian. Since the doing the Art of Living Course I don’t necessarily follow the Christian rules and customs. Should I?
#SriSri: That’s ok. Meditation is the highest form of prayer and what you are doing is good enough. Because rituals and forms were developed much later. It’s only an external thing. It’s like what clothes you wear and what clothes you eat, sort of thing. It has very little relevance on the development of consciousness.
Ques: We are ashamed when we see the conduct of our members of Parliament, fighting like fishermen. How to change all this?
#SriSri: You should not compare them to fishermen, they are very nice people! Fishermen, they don’t fight. Fishermen have their own dignity. Now I would advise you not to put everyone in one basket. There are good parliamentarians and there are not so good parliamentarians. It is not what they are. It is how our education system is. They have not made a system, in which we bring up people with certain decency, certain etiquettes and certain mannerisms. And that is missing. Why only in the Parliament, see what people do in the streets. Now our education system needs that moral and ethical and refined cultural sensitivity. This is needed. And children who have gone to such schools where they teach moral and ethical education, they don’t behave like that. They don’t behave like rowdies. It is the lack in education and education system. In that sense, western Europe and some parts of America have done a better job. Singapore has done a very good job. I would say Singapore is one of the finest educational hubs where people are taught how to behave. And they have very strict norms. Singapore colleges are free from drugs, alcohol abuse and rowdiness. Eve teasing, ragging and all have stopped, as far as I know. If someone knows the other way around, please tell me. Singapore has much better discipline. Then even America.
Ques: There is ongoing research on Electro Magnetic Frequencies(EMFs), which are used for healing. Why do we not connect to Earth while meditating?
#SriSri: We are already connected with the Earth. Your vibes are intertwined with that of the earth, that of the whole planet. There are many methodologies on the planet. All are welcome. Anything that benefits human existence, we always welcome.
Ques: How not to get attracted to girls. This is to much distraction for me while meditating.
#SriSri: No it is ok, it’s natural for you to get attracted to girls, but if it is an obsession you’ll be in danger sometime or another and others will be in any danger as well. So it is a normal, natural thing. But see that your hormones are in control. Don’t let your hormones control you.
Ques: Why do Hindus ill animals in the name of bali or sacrifice?
#SriSri: This is ignorance. It’s part of people when they start enjoying the food, they start offering to God. And this is how the bali tradition started. People who started enjoying non-veg food, they tried to take the name of God and then they started enjoying it. Nowhere in the scriptures they said you must sacrifice animals. No. Even if someone argues that there is, I would say, you don’t need to listen to them, you don’t need to do it. There are other verses which says, you should have compassion for everything. Hold on to that.
Ques: With love comes attachment, you get so used to a person that their absence is painful. How to handle such situations?
#SriSri: Now if you try to imagine, I have to do something at that time, it’s not going to work. When the situation comes, just have faith you will get the strength to handle the situation also.
Ques: You have often said, humour is one of the hallmarks of true spirituality. Could you talk about developing humour that doesn’t become frivolous?
#SriSri: Humour is essential in life. There is no reason to be so serious. A mind which is free from fear, which is not heavy with worries & a heart which is light, not filled with hatred, is always humourous. You can’t try to bring humour inside you, by reading books like ‘Two thousand insukts for all occasion”! Humour dawns in you, when you feel lighter. That’s why whenever there is humour, then you say it’s in a lighter vein. Your vein should not feel heavy. You body, your heart should feel lighter, your mind not bogged down with worries. Then humour is already there, it’s part of your life. If you don’t take things too seriously, that is humour.
Ques: I want to become a hermit but my mother is not agreeing, like Shankaracharyas mother. What do I do?
#SriSri: Well, make her agree somehow. Without the permission of the parents, you cannot become one. And we have to use for skills to make them agree. And it is not mandatory to wear certain clothes to become a sanyasi, in your mind you can be a sanyasi. Why do you want to hurt your parents? It is not required to change your style of dressing or renounce your home. Respect and take care of your parents. Here all the Swamis meet their parents, keep talking to them. In India there are sanyasis who are not allowed to meet their parents for fear of attachments. They are meeting so many people, they can meet their as well, if you have such fears then you better not become a sanyasi! People become so hard hearted. It is not required.. forget about everything and just be in the service of people.
Ques: When the Devi is an awakened energy, then why do we say (Jago, Jago Maa)
#SriSri: First from inertness, humanness is born and from humanness divinity dawns. The cry of humanness is prayer to awaken some divinity. That is why we say “Suprabhatam”, which means, wake up, You are inside me, but you are asleep, wake and come into my experience. This is the prayer of a devotee. So there are different types of devotions, this is also one of them.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang ( 17 Sep, 2015)
Today we celebrated as Ganesha Chaturthi all over India. See in life when you do anything you face some obstacles. That too if you do something good you face more obstacles. But if you want to blame someone there will be no obstacle. If you want to go and do some wrong things there won’t be many obstacles, there may be some obstacle there also, I have no experience! But when people want to do something good, I know there will be many hurdles that come on the way. Now it’s through knowledge that you can make hurdle to your advantage. You can make crisis as a stepping-stone to move further. Obstacles can be seen as an impediment for progress or as a catalyst for moving further, as a stepping-stone for a higher goal, achievement. And how can u turn crisis into an advantage? Only through knowledge, only through wisdom. It’s the wisdom gives you courage, confidence, ideas and energy to take on any crisis, any obstacle. And Ganapathi is nothing but an embodiment of wisdom. And He comes with Siddhi and Buddi, He comes with sharp intellect and perfection. Siddhi means perfection, Buddhi means intellectual height, intellectual ability. If you turn around and see, all that we use in our life is product of Buddhi and Siddhi. If it was not for intellect, there could not have been any electricity, there could not have been computers, there could never have been internet and everything that we use in our day to day life for our comforts are all products of Buddhi and every time a new model comes, it is a product of Siddhi! Because in Buddhi you achieved something and in Siddhi you keep perfecting it. Before the landline was there that was through Buddhi, but then Siddhi came and it became cellphone. So how landline turned into cellphone, the landline was perfected and it became Siddhi. Like that, Buddhi comes up with thoughts and Siddhi starts manifesting it. Usually people think Siddhi is miracles happening. Of course, miracle means something extraordinary that happens with perfection. Unthinkable perfection, unthinkable happenings are called Siddhis. Few decades ago, cellphone was unthinkable! Biometric system was thought to be some sort of magic, not reality. Today you know, there are biometric locks. Only when a particular person puts his thumbprint, the door will open. This is biometrics. Even cellphones are locked with your thumbprint. Bioenergy, how your cellphone can recognize you have a particular energy in your body, you must be foolish not to recognize there are so many such Divine energies all around. Even if you don’t want to say Divine, there are so many different patterns of energy in the Universe. Your cellphones are locked with your thumbprint, your bioenergy. Someone else puts their thumb to open your cellphone, does it open? No, they have the same size thumb, but it doesn’t open why? The energy, the diagram is different. Then this minute perfection is present in creation, it is only foolish not to believe that there are different patterns of energy with different names which is beneath the happenings of the Universe. And Ganapathi is that energy, is that aspect of Divinity that removes obstacles and gives perfection in life. Imperfection in your intellect is called dullness, dumbness. Imperfection in emotion is called misery. Emotionally you have ups and downs, you are disturbed, that is emotional imperfection and Siddhi is bringing intellectual perfection and emotional perfection, both. And if you stretch it a little further, perfection in action, what is perfect in action is that which brings result. Many do action but result is not there, that is imperfect action. If there is no gap between intent and achievement then that is called perfect action and Siddhi is gaining that perfect action or result of the action. When achievement and intent are the same, that is Siddhi. When intellect and intent coincide that is Buddhi. So Ganapathy is that force that brings in our life both Buddhi and Siddhi. So from time immemorial ganapthy has been adored, not just in India. You can find Ganapthy in Peru, in Scandinavia, all over the world, when they dug the ancient sites they found the Ganapathy there. In Mexico, the found Ganapathi. So at one point of time, all over the world, this system has been prevalent. But as Lord Krishna said in a time cycle, the knowledge gets lost, it shrinks to a smaller global space. But then again it gets revived time and again. Now the time has come for this wisdom, this knowledge, the perfection in life to manifest again. To just a few people enjoying the wisdom, it now has to knock on every door of the heart of every individual.”
Ques: It is said that Jesus Christ doubted twice, once in the desert & once on the cross. Does doubt ever enter your mind sometimes, and if it does, what do you doubt about? #SriSri: In order to understand faith, you must understand doubt. Doubt is always about something that is positive. When you are happy, someone asks you are you happy, you say well I am not sure. But when you are miserable, you really have no doubt about it. You never say ‘Am I really depressed?’ Nobody asks. If you are depressed, you are so sure about depression. Similarly when someone tells you, “I love you so much” you ask them, “Really?” Someone tells you ‘I hate you’, you never say ‘Really?’ We doubt in the goodness of people. We never doubt the bad quality of anybody. But good qualities we start doubting. So, I understood doubt. So, it cannot just fool me, just come into my mind. Anything you understand, that’s it.
Ques: I am gay and I can’t seem to be able to accept myself or blame God for it. Most important can’t seem to be able to tell anyone about it, it kills me.
#SriSri: First of all, don’t put a label on your head, okay. And if you have this tendency come up in you, know it is a tendency and it has come, that’s it, accept it. It may be there for all lifetime or it may not be there, it may change. I have seen many people who have been gay before then they get married and they have family, they have wife. And there are other men also who get married and suddenly they realise that was not their interest. They are interested in same sex, whether male or female. These things happen. Remember one thing, that you are made up of both male and female elements. Sometimes the male element dominates, sometimes female element dominates in you. They come, they start manifesting in you. Just accept and move on. Don’t sit and blame yourself. You don’t need to blame God or blame anybody. Just be natural. Self-blame is the biggest impediment in the spiritual path. Because if you blame yourself, you can never go to your ‘self’. So best thing is stop blaming, just accept this and move with a smile. And you don’t have to put a label on your head. If at all you want to put a label, you should say you are the bubbling consciousness, you are joy, you are space & you are energy. I am Satchidanand, Shivoham, Shivoham. This is what you must say.
Ques: Is it possible to be born a woman in one life and a man in another?
#SriSri: Yes, yes, it Is possible. But some people try to change it here itself, by paying a lot of money to the doctors and go and get all the operation done. It is better you keep it for the next lifetime, don’t go into this. I prefer you accept whatever you are born with now and don’t try to change your gender. It’s preferable. I know some people have already done it, never mind, never regret, move on.
Ques: The Syrian refugee crisis is confusing. Some people are saying they are all genuine refugees & should be taken by Europe, others that they will create cultural & religious imbalance wherever they go. What do you think?
#SriSri: I have also heard that among the refugees there are some extremist elements have also entered. That is really a matter of concern. But real refugees need shelter, because they are human beings. This sort of thing had also happened in the past also, in India. That’s how so the Konkanis, the Coorgis all these people came all the way from Kashmir. Coorgis came all the way from Kashmir. They came to Mysore to find a safe heaven and plains were too hard for them so they went to the hills, Coorg. Religious intolerance has been there in this planet since the middle ages. I would not say from the very beginning. Ancient times, no. Middle ages religious intolerance had rocked this world. Many wars have been fought. In the recorded human history of three and half thousand years, the Earth has been at peace only for a small number of years. Only for a small number of years, world has been at peace, miniscule. Rest of the time there has been some or the other conflicts happening on this planet.
Ques: Why wasn’t I born in a Hindu household?
#SriSri: Keep aside Hindu, Muslim, Christian, you are a beautiful human being, let us recognize that. While having said that you are a beautiful human being, you have been so lucky to have found this knowledge, to have experienced meditation and being on the spiritual path.. In fact it is better to start on a spiritual path with a clean slate rather than having concepts and starting. Just because some people have a tradition doesn’t mean that they know the tradition. And what is Hindusim? Is it a uniform tradition? Not at all.. So feel happy, grateful that you found the knowledge, that you have a path. This path can unite everybody. It’s like the pathless path. In the sky there is no defined path. On the road, you have to travel only on the road. If it’s a train, you have to go only on the rails but in air you can fly around. It’s all path but it’s vast. And that is the wisdom.
Ques: There is a story that Ganesha fell and the moon laughed, so we are not supposed to see the moon on this day. Is there a deeper meaning?
#SriSri: Knowledge was encapsulated in small stories, little anecdotes, so that even children can get something out of it. The story goes, Ganesha ate so much and he was trying to ride on the rat and he toppled and his stomach broke open and the moon started laughing and he suddenly took a snake that was moving around and tied it as a belt and stitched his own stomach. This is the story. And he saw the moon laughing so he broke one of his teeth and threw it at the moon, so there is scar on the moon. This is the story. There is nothing serious about it. But if you go deeper you can find some meaning in it. Moon is mind and Ganesha is lord of the intellect. When there is a conflict between mind and intellect, usually it is emotion that wins over, your mind wins over the intellect. That is misery. But happenings is when intellect wins over your emotions. If intellect makes a dent on the emotions then there is beauty, then there is wisdom, there is celebration. And then it became a celebration.. All this is symbolic. Snake is awareness. So if your acceptance is without awareness, without wisdom, it’s going to break one day. Many times the people at home they tolerate and tolerate and one day they burst out. So if you are accepting, keeping everything inside you without awareness, its going to burst one day. That’s why He fell off and you will fall off. When you fall down your mind will say, ‘Look I told you.’ Mind is always revengeful, mind says, immediately take revenge.. Mind laughs, “You kept accepting, you should not have accepted.” Then awareness came, He threw one of the teeth, he became one pointed. The intellect, wisdom is one pointed… This is symbolism. Not that one day Ganesha ate so much and he couldn’t digest it, stomach breaking out, just imagine these things! We should not take these stories literally. There is higher symbolism higher meaning. See symbols are eternal. The meaning of words change. Every few hundred years the meaning of words change. But symbols never change and symbols are Universal. See the danger word, if you put it in English only people who know English can read it.. But you put skull and two bones, everybody knows this is danger!.. So this is a symbolic thing. On the day of Ganesha Chaturthi, this is the day of wisdom and if you get it into your mind stuff, you are going to face the music for that. This is what it says, that’s all.. All this is to keep your awareness, keep your mind soaked in devotion. That is important, keeping the mind soaked in devotion. All that we see all around, everything, and the one who is seeing, the one who is comprehending all this is one Divinity. And that is devotion. Q: 21st of September is World Peace Day, what’s your message for this special day? #SriSri: World Peace is only possible with inner peace. The world is comprised of individuals we should never forget that. Of course the world has nations, families and individuals, I would jump and say the world is formed by individuals. Unless we find the inner peace among the individuals world peace will remain a far fledged dream. One who finds inner peace will only create peace around. And one who has not found peace inside he will only create disturbance all around. Unless we inculcate the art of inner peace in human endeavour, we cannot achieve world peace. So on this day of world peace it’s pertinent that we recognize the inner peace of individual as the basic element to build up towards unbroken families, harmonious society, prosperous nations and a peaceful world.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang ( 16 Sep, 2015)
“Ever since childhood, everyone develops one habit – that is to influence others. Look at small children, showing everyone something that they have written, if they make some painting- they show it to everyone who comes to their house. “look, what I have made, I have worn a new dress, I have worn a new shirt” . Showing off and influencing everyone – This is a habit which is formed since childhood. And what happens to that habit when we grow up? The children don’t lie, but the adults start doing so. Why? Because they want to make an impression on others and till their death they remain in this endeavor to impress others. This is a childish and wasteful activity which you have to give up. At some point you have to grow up. When do we leave childhood and grow up? The moment you give up this tendency, lies will disappear from your life. Why do people lie? To impress other people. What do you get by impressing others? Respect, money and attention. Only these three things. What do you attain even after having these three things in your life? You remain empty handed. Suppose you dress up and wear jewellery to impress others, do you think others become happy looking at you? Do you think other people find happiness in your happiness? The family members who are close to you, only they find happiness in your happiness. If children are happy, parents become happy. If the parents are happy, then children feel good. Apart from this we see that no one else finds happiness in your progress. Within the others, two kinds of feelings arise. Either the desire arises within them & they want to become like you or they become jealous. Raag (Craving) or Dvesh(Aversion). What do you attain by giving birth to the feelings of cravings or aversion in someone else? You attain nothing else except misery. I’m not saying that you should not live properly, but why do you have to lie to impress others? You know, even if you have impressed others, your work does not happen. If it happens, it happens according to an order in nature. How many people were your friends for whom you had done everything good, did they not turn into your enemies? Then there are people for whom you have not done anything great, still they turned out to be your friends. So, becoming friends and enemies is because of Karma. If our time is good, then even our enemies behave like out friends. When our time is bad, then our own people, be it mother father, son or daughter start behaving in a manner that you cannot even understand. So, learning from this experience, know that the entire world is governed though a niyama(law) and that niyama is called Karma. Therefore, after knowing this, when we stop lying to impress the others, then we will find such strength in life from inside. Then there are people who say – “I always speak the truth” but they are so stiff. There is no need to be harsh along with being truthful. If you ask all the people who are angry, they say – “I am speaking the truth”. They tie the knot of anger with truth and it destroys everything. It’s not required. Similarly, people combine sweetness with manipulation. There is a saying in Sanskrit that you all must remember ‘Ati Vinayam,dhurth lakshanam’(somebody who is very sweet is cunning). Beware of people who are extremely humble and say – ‘oh! I am nothing; I am like the dust of your feet”. Extreme politeness is a sign of cunningness. There must be something going on within their mind, some planning etc. even though on the outside they appear to be extremely polite. These people are called sycophants. When you come out of all these distortions, you become stronger and established in knowledge. What is the sign of one who is established in knowledge? They speak sweetly yet they are firm. They have both firmness and sweetness. Speak the truth but there is no need to be rude. Don’t be rough and rude. All those people who are harsh, they always feel that they are right because they are speaking the truth. It’s alright that you are speaking the truth, but what will you get by behaving in rude manner with everyone and making them upset? Even if you speak truth with harshness, it will not be acceptable to people. Why do you talk? So that you can make the other person understand what is in your heart. But if you speak with this rudeness, the other person will never accept what you are trying to say. And don’t speak so sweetly that it is filled with lies. These are the opposite values and are poles opposite to each other. It’s very easy to be on any one end but it is an art to maintain the balance between them. This is a sanskar, this is our sankriti (culture). Be in the middle. That is the right education. If you receive right education, you will be like this – You will be both sweet and firm. Then you become capable to achieve success in anything. After hearing all this, now you have to remember one thing – Whatever is ours will come to us. We just need to keep making effort from our end. That’s it. Don’t think that you will get anything by manipulating or impressing other people. It will never happen. You will keep on becoming weak yourself in trying to impress others. Know that whatever you need, will come to you, wherever you are right now. If we have such contentment, doesn’t it bring strength from inside? A strong person is liked by everyone. Only God, Guru and the knowledgeable ones like even those who are weak. For them everyone is alike but the society loves the strong people. God loves everyone but society loves the strong. But even if you are strong, you should feel weak when standing in front of God! Standing in front of God and saying I’m strong is of no use, in front of Him, you say “I’m nothing”. This is our sanatan(eternal) tradition. Even a king bows down to the Guru. This rule has been in place since the ancient times. That’s why Ram and Krishna bowed down to their Gurus. This tradition has been followed in our country for centuries.
Ques: My mother has recently passed away and I’m not able to get over it. Please show the way
#SriSri: Listen, she has lived a full life and she has passed away. She is gone now, you have given her a good farewell? What does a mother want for a son or daughter? A happy life right? (Ques: She would ask everyday if I have taken my medicine. Now who will do that?).. Why should someone keep asking you everyday? You should remember.. Do you forget to put on your shirt? Do you forget to brush your teeth? At least you will remember that she used to ask you and take it. Don’t take any excuse to become sad or ask for self-pity. You should never say, poor me. No. She has gone, she has happily gone, she is happy somewhere and you be happy here. (Ques: But the pain is burning) I know, that why there is knowledge. Are you reading Yoga Vasishtha? Why this tradition is there from day one that someone dies, you read Bhagavad Gita? You got peace reading Bhagavad Gita? Yes, some pain will be there, it is natural. Do satsang, sit and meditate. Know that this body of yours is not permanent, this will also go someday. That gives a big opening to your mind which was just thinking in a small way. You have come many times here, you will keep coming again.
Ques: Whenever there are disturbances in work or in the family, why are there waves in the mind? Why can’t we be stable in all circumstances?
#SriSri: Well, the nature of the mind is like that. It creates waves, but it’s the knowledge that makes you more knowledge.. Hold on to the knowledge, its like the life jacket. That’s why good company, people around you also support you saying, move forward, move on. And you can move through any storms, they just come and they go. There is a part of you that none of these emotions, storms can touch.
Ques: When I am here in front of you I feel fantastic but it goes away when I go back. How to hold on to it?
#SriSri: Effect of anything stays for some time but then you have to recharge it again and again. But a time will come when it stays all the time with you, that feeling. Now if you have food, then you will good for some time. Afterwards you will feel hungry again. You never question, it was only yesterday that I ate, again I’m hungry?! We take it for granted, we eat everyday. The same is with knowledge, same is with energy also. That is why, again and again, whenever you feel there is a need, you just sit and meditate and listen to knowledge, immediately you get back.
Ques: What is the connection between yagna and karma?
#SriSri: Yes, yagna is also a karma. It is a good karma, doing which you can get rid of many negative karmas.
Ques: My neighbour’s sone drinks alcohol and creates trouble. What can I do to better the situation?
#SriSri: Yes, alcoholism is a big problem. I too am thinking what can be done about it. People drink and go from unhappiness to unhappiness. They drink because they are unhappy and then they get unhappy because they drink! It’s a vicious circle. To get them out of it get them to do Sadhana and yoga.