Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Satsang ( 8 Dec, 2015)
Ques: Sometimes I go into some other world of imagination. Is it a mental disease or a tendency of the mind? If it’s a disease, how to cure it?
#SriSri: It is the nature of the mind to wander. Focusing on the Self will stabilize it. When you are aware that your mind is wandering , you have to bring it back. You should bring it back into meditation.
Ques: So much time has passed but still I couldn’t get of my negativity.
#SriSri: You making an effort to get rid of your negativity is the reason its holding on to you. Just drop it and you will find peace.
Ques: They say we all have taken a body crores of times. May I know who you were in your past life?
#SriSri: With time you will know.
Ques: I am unable to do satsang. Even if I meditate my mind wanders into negativity. Even if I am with you and free over here I feel I am unable to do it. Why?
#SriSri: Its takes dispassion to meditate. You should feel that this is all a dream. Then you will be peaceful. Pranayama stabilizes the mind. Stability comes with merit. If you are unenthusiastic your mind will wander. If you have found the juice in bhajans and mantras, there are many ways of doing it. I have elaborated all this in Advance Meditation Program. Just do this program 2-3 more times, it will happen.
Ques: What are the reasons a person can come out of the spiritual path? Sometime back I felt I am Love and everything is Me. How can I have this all my life?
#SriSri: Well, don’t worry about it. Take it all as one experience. Your true nature is Love. You can never go away from it. Some clouds can come in between but that is only temporary. You feel you have fallen you have really not fallen. That is temporary phase, a transition you are going through.
Ques: I have forgotten to laugh from the heart. To bring back the laughter what can I do?
#SriSri: You are in the right place.
Ques: When somebody asked me about the World Culture Festive I told them that their strong impressions will get erased with the influence of high positive energy during the festival. Later I felt may be that is my concept. Kindly explain the knowledge of the festival.
#SriSri: A bigger event definitely brings a bigger impression on the mind. A festival is where everyone comes together to express the joy of life. Just tell them to come that’s enough, you don’t have to hard tell someone you must come otherwise you will miss the boat. Nothing like that. If it is convenient for you come, if it is too much of a stretch no need you can sit in front of the television and watch.No need to force someone to come, generally ask people to join. That’s the best thing.
Ques: If we are immortal and eternal, why so much pain in life?
#SriSri: The question ‘why’ is always attatched to pain. You never ask why there is so much joy? Why there is so much beauty? Have you ever asked that? No. You only ask why there is pain? Right? So, the pain is there so that you can go in and realize the source of life. So you can get detached. Even if there is so much pain you don’t get detached, if there is no pain there is no way you will be detached?
Ques: First it is said everything is Shiva tattva then it is nothing is.
#SriSri: There are 2 methods. One is analysis and another is synthesis. In analysis you say I am not this, I am not this, I am not this, that negation. You go to the the core of existence. That is what he said ‘Na bhoomir na jaapo Na tejo na agnir na vayur chidananda roopah shiviham shivoham’. I am not this earth, I am not the sky, I am not the water, I am the shiva tattva. This is one way. Another way is I am this, I am also this, I am also this, I am also this. ‘Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma’ All this is Brahman. ‘Sarvam Shiva mayam jagat’ This whole world is full of Shiva. This is another way. This is also correct, that is also correct. They are 2 methods that’s all. First you say not this, not this, not this and then you say everything is one.
Ques: What is the relevance and significance of Vanaprastha Ashram?
#SriSri: It’s very important. Today, Vanaprastha is very, very important. You have lived the life for yourself, now you have to live for society. There are four Ashrams. First twenty-five years is student life. In this student life, you do not seek pleasure or comfort. Because if you seek comfort, you won’t get knowledge. So either you are a seeker of knowledge or a seeker of comfort. So twenty-five years is the hardship of learning. Students in any discipline find it very hard to study, at least for the first year. Talk to any engineering student of first year or medical student in their first year, they find it so difficult. Once they go through it and endure the difficulties then it gets better. So that is twenty-five years of hardship of a student life. There is a beautiful proverb in Sanskrit that says if you are seeking pleasure, then how can you get wisdom and if you are seeking wisdom then where is there pleasure for you. Then next twenty-five years is Grihastha Ashram, it is time for your enjoyment. From twenty-five to fifty years, that is the time to get married, have children, have a household life. After fifty, twenty-five years is Vanaprastha Ashram, from twenty-five to fifty years. If you don’t want to start at fifty, you can start at sixty also, after retirement. After retiring from work, you still have a lot of energy, at that time you have to share your life with everyone. So far you have only been thinking about ‘me and my family’. But vanaprastha is not ‘me and my family’, limited family. The sense of family should extend beyond your biological family. That is Vanaprastha. Vanaprastha is when you can see every child is part of your family, everyone belongs to you, that’s it. A broader vision about your own self, your own life, that is Vanaprastha. And whatever you have heard, you have experienced, you share with the younger generation. You be with them and share your knowledge. Otherwise, you know, in Europe I have seen after fifty people feel that they are very useless and they get into depression. Suddenly they realize ‘oh I have crossed fifty and I am not wanted anymore’. The feeling of not being respected, not being wanted is a horrible feeling. And when it suddenly dawns then they go into depression. And this is happening in Eurpe, it’s started happening in this country also! I was once in Africa, and for a satsang our volunteers brought four to five buses full of people from old age homes. I just looked at their eyes and there was so much sadness! They are so sad, they felt completely destroyed because their children no longer care for them. Sometimes they send a card to their parents on mother’s day or father’s day, that’s it. They may visit during Christmas or they may not and just send some cards or some gifts. And some don’t even get that. The children have thrown them in the old age home and they feel so miserable. And this is misery is because they have not been in knowledge, they have not been exposed to wisdom. In Sweden they have made a TV serial, Ageing Gracefully. They wanted me to speak on that. It went very well in Sweden for a long time. Ageing gracefully was the title, how to age gracefully. Fortunately in India it is not a problem, because elders are respected, by and large. Here also, these days things are changing but from ancient times there is a tradition. If anyone in the big joint family is getting married, the invitation goes in the name of the eldest person in the whole family. It may be your uncle, your great grandfather. And you are supposed to go and take blessings from them during Diwali, on Holi, on all the festivals including your birthday. You have to go and touch their feet of the eldest in the family. That tradition is still alive, in the villages it is still alive. If you go to the village in this country, you still feel that the eldest person is very well respected. Whatever he says is the law. So this tradition of respecting the elders is needed all over the world today. It was their in the west also. But somewhere it got lost. In some villages, like the German villages, the eldest is still given a lot of respect. In China fortunately it is still there. The elder people do get respect. They even made a law, I heard, if chidren don’t visit the elders or parents, they will be fined!.. if you don’t take care of your elders, your parents, you will be taxed or you will be fined for that. It is an offence. So vanaprastha is that stage of life, when you have energy, you want to share your knowledge, your wisdom. We need to engage ourselves usefully in society. Why do people not respect elders in society? Because their life has been limited in small circles. But if you throw open our life, share it with many people, why would they not be respected? Why was Nelson Mandela respected till his last breath or even after his demise, and not with people from old age homes? Because you have not connected with the rest of the world, you have not connected with people or you have not done anything for the society. You have got your whole life holed up with ‘Me and my child’. And then one day the child washes his hands off and then you get depressed. Vanaprastha is moving away from the ‘Me, mine’ of the household life to ‘We, ours. The society is mine, I have to watch over everybody.’ That broader vision, taking responsibility beyond your biological family, this is vanaprastha. And then comes Sansyasa from seventy-five to a hundred, nothing is mine, I am nothing, I want nothing. That is the monk’s life. Monk needed be someone who has taken a vow to be a monk. Because even social activity and work have some obligations has its repercussions and attachments or lack of it. But that one stage in life you only think of the Divine and nothing more. Only think about your own origin, from where did you come and where you are going to go. Reeling in knowledge is the ashram is vanaprastha ashram. That can happen in seventy-five, it can happen any time. Sansya is not when you feel rejected or dejected in society and you feel dejected and you get so depressed you become a sansyasi.. Sansyasi is when you are centered and when you are happy when you are content and when you are connected with Divinity, connected with everyone around you and then you bless people, you gain the ability to bless. A body is not capable of doing much service, but your spirit is also powerful to bless people. And sanyasis are well respected.. So everyone can become a monk at a particular age. When you have done everything. When someone wants to become one at an earlier age, when you are satisfied with everything in life, you have no more cravings, no more aversions, you don’t want anything more from anyone, you say I would like to dedicate myself to serving the people.
Ques: Please talk about your father as today is his birthday
#SriSri: Well that was his broadmindedness. He was always a very broadminded, very progressive, very dynamic, extremely active person. He would go to remote villages from here, thirteen-fourteen hours he would travel, take a car or bus and serve the women of the remote village there and do some service activity there for the women, give them employment.. He was very fond of empowerment of the weaker section. He worked for the poorest of the poor people. Wherever they are he would go there. He nevre minded hardships, ‘ I can do this’. And always enthusiastic! Not one day he would look tired or depressed. Not one day, always very energetic and enthusiastic. His passion was serving the poor and the weaker section.
Ques: What is Bagavad seva?
#SriSri: Anything that you do very naturally is bhagavad seva, Jana seva is janardhan
Ques: What is 100% surrender?
#SriSri: See surrender itself is an illusion. Because surrender is an illusion to counter the illusion that you possess something! You wake up and see that nothing is yours anyway. The thoughts are not yours. Thoughts come and go like clouds in the sky. Everything in our body is changing, every cell of your body is changing all the time. Your mind is changing, your thoughts are changing, your feeling is changing. What is that which is yours? You think any good qualities are yours? Even that is a gift to you. You think bad qualities are yours? No, they just come for some time. So if your realize that nothing is yours, you don’t need to surrender at all.
Ques: Many people ask this ‘Who wants a Guru?’. What to answer them?
#SriSri: Who wants a Guru? The one who is asking the question. And anyone who answers becomes a Guru, anyone who asks becomes a student. You cannot say, I am not a doctor but I will give you medicine. And if someone says, I am not a patient and I need medicine, what will you tell them? Both are gone cuckoo! If you are asking for medicine you are cuckoo and if you are giving medicine, then you are a doctor. Let’s keep it at that.
Ques: Now that my mind is inquisitive about spirituality, it is giving me a lot of hardship. What to do?
#SriSri: Just relax.