What Sri Sri said today:

Particles, Music, Patterns… and a surprise
Bangalore ashram, March 30 (Monday), 9:15 pm: Despite an urgent prior appointment which went on till late, Sri Sri kept his commitment for satsang and came at 9:12 pm. It was a welcome surprise for the hundreds of people who were eagerly waiting for Sri Sri.
Amidst claps and cheers, Sri Sri said: “The present nine days are called Navratras (nine nights according to the Indian calendar). These are dedicated to the Mother Divine. Today is the fourth day. Auspicious pujas take place till Ram Navami (this day celebrates the birth of Lord Rama). Here in the ashram, we celebrate the second Navratras (which usually fall in September-October). This is the beginning of spring, of summer. It is a time for contemplation.”

He then asked, “Birthdays and anniversaries?” (It is a long-standing tradition that Sri Sri follows. Sri Sri meets all the people whose birthdays and anniversaries fall on that day.)
A 5-year girl rushed on stage with flowers in her hand. “Is it your birthday?” asked Sri Sri. When she shook her head, he asked, much to her delight: “Do you want a mala (garland) anyways?” And promptly garlanded her beaming face.

Earlier in this satsang this evening, a short film on experiments with chalk particles and music was shown in the Vishalakshi Mantap. With different types of music playing in the background, the particles arranged themselves in beautiful patterns. Sri Sri mentioned these experiments at the satsang only four days ago (on March 26). Sri Sri had spoken about the effect that music had on particles in the human body. “Harmony (between particles) is born in sound. That’s why satsang is important. It changes and reorganises the particles in your system.”

These words translated into a practical experience for the 750 people who sang, danced and meditated at the satsang this evening... with every particle in their beings!

© The Art of Living Foundation

What Sri Sri Said Today

‘It is only spiritual knowledge that can cut off a narrow mentality’

Bangalore ashram, March 29 (Sunday), 5:30 pm: Sri Sri spoke in Kannada, Hindi, Tamil and English on the request of the 5,000-strong, diverse audience that had gathered at the amphitheatre for satsang this evening. Politics, the upcoming elections in India, a solution to terrorism, the role of youth and the importance of spirituality …. this evening’s conversation covered a wide-range of topics.

On the many questions on politics and the upcoming elections in India, Sri Sri said: Vote for change. Be duty-0riented. Jana seve, janardhan seve – service to mankind is service to God.

Go around villages and tell people to bring a change.

When hearts are united, then whatever one talks, it is music. That’s why when lovers repeat the same thing ten times, one likes to hear it. That is because our relationship is from our hearts.

If the mind is not sweet, then the best of speeches can make one restless. If the mind is sweet, then the world is sweet.

There are three things to keep in mind:

  1. We have to do something for society.
  2. We have to spread the knowledge that we have received in our lives.
  3. How many of our acts have pleased others? How many have pleased us? If we only do things that please us, then others will be unhappy. And if we only act for the happiness of others, then we will be unhappy. We have to be attentive to this balance.

Our country is burning from all four sides. There are caste and religious divides. Our neighboring countries are burning too. We have to save society.

Wake up, the youth of the country, - wake up.

We have to awaken self-respect. When you respect yourself first, then you can respect others.

If you have self-esteem, then you can do that – if you don’t then you are walking around without a spine. Sadhana awakens your self-esteem. With meditation, emotions like violence cannot arise in you.

There is so much violence in our neighbouring countries. Last year, 400 bomb blasts went off together in Bangladesh. There were ten terror attacks in our country last year. America had one 9/11. In this country, every month has seen a date with terror.

Terrorism cannot be cut off unless spiritual knowledge is given. It is only spiritual knowledge that can cut off a narrow mentality. Without realising this fact, even if we pump millions into Pakistan to end terror, these attempts won’t be successful.

Only money will not make the change: the mindset has to be changed. We all have to strive for a spiritual education. Spread the message of non-violence, love and compassion. Then this attitude of violence, dominance and hatred will go.

We need religious education but not unscientific education. Take only that which is scientific. A broad-based, spiritual education is essential. We need religious education but fanaticism is no good. This continent is passing through a tough time but it will change.

There are three things that we must do:

  1. Everyone must meditate for some time everyday
  2. Do service to society
  3. Vote and encourage others to vote

(A person from the audience stands up and asks a question.)

Q. I feel so fortunate to be listening to a modern-day Vivekananda. How does one know which specific field you are cut off for? Then we can be more effective.

A.: Yes, its true…. All those who want to do some service activity, want direction, come here. Let us make a team, take specific targets and do service. We have adopted 38 slums around Bangalore. There are many of you who can go and inspire them and help them.

(Another visitor narrates his experience of hearing Art of Living bhajans when passing by a police station. Sri Sri says: “Even in prisons, inmates hear these bhajans all the time.”)

Q. When will all national boundaries dissolve?

A: When everyone starts to do the Sudarshan Kriya. (audience laughs and claps)

© The Art of Living Foundation

What Sri Sri said today:

‘Realising the self is our first aim, our first duty’
Bangalore ashram, March 28 (Saturday), 8:30 pm: Over 6,500 people from different parts of India sat in rapt attention as satsang with Sri Sri was held in the amphitheatre this evening.

Sri Sri: Are there any questions from participants in the advanced course?

Q: If we are spiritually connected to the Master, how does the physical presence affect us?
A: I have no idea!

Q. How important is knowledge on the spiritual path? One who does not know how to read/write, can they grow on the spiritual path?
A: Yes, one can. There are many examples in this country. Kabirdas (a famous saint in India) never went to a university. Guru Nanakdev (the Sikh prophet)…. there are lots of instances of famous people in this country.

Q. I have heard people talk about soul mates? Is it true? Are husband – wife truly soul mates?
A: Better be! Every husband and wife had better meet their souls. They meet everyone but not their souls. Realising the self is our first aim, our first duty. Ask the question: ‘Who am I?’

Q. Why has God created this illusion of space and time?
A: Just for fun!

Q. Guruji, what gift shall I give u? After undergoing the advanced meditation programme, I am going back with such a rich experience.
A: Bring peace, knowledge and spirituality to more and more people around you. Recently, I was travelling from Canada to America. A security guy at the airport came running upto me and showed my book – ‘Celebrating Silence’. “Are you the author of this book?” he asked. I said, “Yes.” He shared his experience with me: “Someone gave this book to me six months ago. After reading this book, my life has changed. I carry this book all the time.” He has not even done the Sudarshan Kriya!
Knowledge should be brought to everyone. You don’t know who needs the knowledge when and where.

Q. When we say let go, what does it mean?
A: Take a deep breath in and hold! You will know what it means to let go. (Audience starts to laugh and begins clapping). Hold the fist and keep holding it. You will know.

Q. I heard this statement in a religion that we have come on this planet earth so many times that the amount of our mothers' milk we have drunk is, as much as, water in the ocean. Is it not too much? Have we really come here that many times on this planet earth?
A: Never mind! Who keeps a count of how much you drink. There are better things to do. Every day you drink eight litres of water. The figure goes to 1,200 litres of water for a year. This is a conservative figure. If you’re forty years old – imagine how many gallons and gallons of water. And how many truckloads of food?

This lifetime itself is a lot to count. Why bother about other lifetimes?

Q. Is doing manas pooja to an idol/picture good enough, or should we actually perform it?
A: The word puja means that which is born out of fullness ( Pu – fullness, Ja –born out of). Just being grateful is also puja. Just offer a flower or even a smile. Seva is puja.
Jana seve Janardhan seve. Service to mankind is puja.

Q. What is the dharma of marriage?
A: Ask your spouse! They will give you long lectures on what your dharma is and what you should be doing. (Audience laughs)

Our ancient people spoke about saptapadi – the seven steps one takes in life. The knowledge was so scientific even 1,000s of years ago.
A sense of commitment, co-operation, compassion, caring and less ego – these are the benefits that one finds.

Q. I went to an astrologer and he suggested some remedies to dispel negative forecasts.
A: Chant Om Namo Shivay. It’s the best remedy. A bit of pujas is alright. Don’t spend too much money on them. Do charity with all your heart. Some chanting and meditation will help.

Q. I have been on this path for many years. Many juniors have gone ahead. I have not been taking enough responsibility….
A: That is why. You’re hesitating to take responsibility – this is the problem. Just come out of procrastination. Take responsibility. Have courage, faith and self-confidence. Work will be done then.

Q. Why do good people suffer? Is it because of karma?
A: Yes, yes! They also suffer because of their foolishness. It’s not enough to be good. It’s like putting your hand in the fire and saying, ‘Why did the fire burn me?’ You have to be smart, intelligent also. When there is knowledge, you will be happy and content in your life. Be centered in singing, meditation and knowledge.

Q. Is marriage important in life?
A: That you have to decide. What is important is that you are peaceful. Unmarried people also have lot of problems. Happiness and pleasantness is important in life: with or without marriage.
Got it? (laughter)

(A 10-year old stands up and asks a question)
Q. What message do you want to convey to the next generation?
A: Study well and excel. Make one new friend every day.

Children from the ongoing Art Excel programme performed a skit. Over 1,400 yuvacharyas (youth leaders) from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh participated in the satsang. Some of them shared their experiences.
The Urdu translation of Sri Sri’s book ‘Celebrating Silence’ was released. “Take this book to different places … Pakistan, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Lahore,” said Sri Sri. We need to give all our knowledge to India and Pakistan so that both countries can stay peacefully. With this knowledge we can eradicate terrorism.”

© The Art of Living Foundation

What Sri Sri said today:

‘People who meditate have double responsibility’

Bangalore ashram, March 27 (Friday), 8:15 pm: “Everyone wants to be happy in life, but usually are unhappy,” said Sri Sri to a 5,000–strong crowd at the satsang this evening. Held in celebration of the New Year observed today in many parts of India, the satsang took place in the ashram’s amphitheatre.

“There are three aspects which bring unhappiness:

  1. Disturbance
  2. Fear
  3. Poverty

How can we remove these aspects?

An unselfish feeling removes any disturbance.

Detachment erases fear.

Removal of greed alleviates poverty.

The greater the feeling, the faster we can tackle these challenges.

Today, the New Year begins, Every year is given a name. This year’s name is Virodhi – year of conflict.

Sadhaks and seekers have to calm this conflicting force. A bad person is one who will increase conflicts. A good person will reduce it. This year will test your character.

We need to use skill to remove this feeling of opposition. In some cases, we can use proper understanding, compassion or knowledge.

Virudh is necessary in life. Virudh was started so that we stand up against injustice. Conflicts have a place in life. There are disease-fighting bacteria in our bodies – that’s how we stay healthy. One should not quell opposition to injustice. If we want to stand up against any malaise, this year is the best time to do so.

Elections are coming up in India. Oppose corruption. We should stand against every instance of injustice. Don’t think, “The fire is in someone else’s house - that’s why I won’t act.” It won’t take long for the fire to spread to your house.

There are 10 types of conflicts that can arise this year. The first one is doubt. Doubt could be self-doubt, amongst people, nations and religions. When you are aware of a doubt unfolding, then you know that it will pass. It is only a matter of time.

This year, people who meditate have a dual responsibility. Not only do we have to maintain our steadfastness but also help others who are in trouble. This is the right time to get into knowledge, service and devotion. The first thought in our minds should be: ‘I want to gain self-realisation.’

God is all-permeating. It is truth, beauty, consciousness. When God is inside you and in everyone, why can’t the individual experience it? There are 5 reasons:

  1. Ignorance
  2. Ego
  3. Craving
  4. Aversion
  5. Fear

When these five aspects disappear, then you are moving towards divinity.

In this New Year, observe yourself: Has your ignorance reduced? Recollect the time when you did your first part one programme and advanced progamme:

Has ignorance reduced?

Have you become more natural?

Are you able to take insults?

Are you able to smile when others are frowning at you?

Has your fear reduced?

If not, meditate more. You will find that these aspects will reduce. Meditation, pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, padmasadhana and seva will reduce these five aspects and bring you closer to knowledge.

The difference between God and an ordinary life is that these five aspects are absent in God. In an intelligent person, these aspects are present in small proportion. A foolish man has them dominant in his character.

Gauge each year by observing how much these five aspects have reduced. You will find that there has been definite progress.

© The Art of Living Foundation

What Sri Sri said today:

‘This year keep your spiritual goal’
Sri Sri’s message on the festival of Ugadi (New Year), celebrated in different parts of India:

Bangalore ashram, March 27 (Friday), 12:00 pm: Happy Ugadi! Happy New Year! We are entering the 5,110th year… it has been 19 billion 729 million 49,100 years since the beginning of the planet earth.
A cycle (of time) comprises 60 years. Every year has a name. This year is called Virodhi (which literally means to oppose). There are more chances of people fighting in this time.
Antarmukhi, sadasukhi: When one is centered, then there is happiness always.
This New Year will be good. It will always be good, always evolutionary for the devotee – whatever the time and the prediction. It is time to move to a higher dimension.
Whatever happens, happens for the good. Chant Om Namah Shivay.
Meditation is important. Even if one percent of you all meditate, it helps the remaining 99 percent of the population. This year everyone has to meditate and do satsang. The rest of the population will thrive on your spirituality. This year keep your spiritual goal. The material goals can be kept aside.
Meditate, do satsang, read knowledge sheets. By doing that, you are helping others who have a hard time.
People eat neem leaves and sweets on Ugadi to remind themselves that life is a mixture of both – the bitter and the sweet.

© The Art of Living Foundation

What Sri Sri said today:

‘Harmony is born in sound’

Bangalore Ashram, March 26 (Thursday), 8:30 pm: “Harmony is born in sound,” Sri Sri told the 700-strong crowd, adding, “This is what happens in satsang.” Briefly speaking about the effect that sound has on particles, Sri Sri said, “Your body is made up of particles. Music has an effect on it. That’s why satsang is important. When you’re in satsang, just be immersed in it. Satsang changes the particles in your body. It reorganises your system. Experiments by a scientist have proved that particles – whether chalk dust or iron follicles – dance to music and arrange themselves in beautiful patterns.

On another note, Sri Sri referred to a German scientist Hans-Peter (Duerr) whose studies prove the essence of the Advaita principle: ‘Everything is nothing.’

© The Art of Living Foundation

Business & Spirituality

Often business is looked down upon by spiritual people, and spirituality is put off as impractical by business people. The ancient people conceived that spirituality is the heart and business is the legs. An individual or a society is incomplete without both these aspects. Business brings material comfort and spirituality brings mental and emotional comfort.
Spirituality brings ethics and fair practice to business.

In the body/mind complex, depriving either the body or the mind of comfort means depriving both of them comfort. You cannot talk of spirituality to the poorest of the poor people without taking care of their basic needs. They need to be supported materially. There is no spirituality in the world that is devoid of service and service cannot happen if material needs are ignored. Service cannot happen only through the lips, it needs legs to work.

Every system has its flaws. Capitalism exploits the poor while socialism dampens individual creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. Spirituality is the bridge between socialism and capitalism. Spirituality gives the capitalist the heart to serve and the socialist the spirit to innovate.

© The Art of Living Foundation

Protection and Transformation

Only that which is temporary, small or perishable needs protection, while that which is permanent, big or vast does not.

Your body needs protection; your soul does not.
Your mind needs protection; the Self does not.

Protection simply means prolonging the time in that state; hence, protection also prevents transformation. Transformation cannot happen in protection. At the same time, without protection the desired transformation cannot happen. A seed needs protection to transform into a plant; a plant needs protection to become a tree. Protection can aid or hamper transformation. The protector should have an idea to what extent he should protect.

Truth does not need any protection. Both protection and transformation fall within the purview of time and space and these laws have to be honoured in order to transcend time.

We are both protected and transformed. This is Hari and Hara: Hari, the protector and Hara, the transformer.

Protection is limited to time, to perishable things. How long can a doctor heal or protect someone? Forever? No. Peace and happiness do not need protection because they are not temporary.

© The Art of Living Foundation
Let the wind that blows be sweet
Let the oceans flow honey
Let all the herbs and plant kingdom be favorable to us
Let the nights be sweet and let the days be sweet
Let the dust of this planet be sweet to us
Let the heavens and our forefathers be sweet to us
Let all the tress be laden with honey
Let the sun be sweet to us
and let all the radiations be favorable to us
Let all the animals be sweet to us
Let our food be favorable to us
Let all our thoughts and our speech
be sweet like honey
Let our life be pure and divine,
Let it be sweet like honey

— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

© The Art of Living Foundation

Window Shutters

Awareness depends upon your ability to open and shut your windows. When there is a storm, you need to shut your windows – otherwise you will get wet. When it is hot and suffocating inside, you need to open your windows.

Your senses are like windows. When you are awake, you have the ability to open and shut your windows at will; then you are free.

If your windows cannot be shut or opened at will, you are bound. Attending to this is sadhana, or spiritual practice.

To the degree that you are awake, everything around you brings knowledge. If you are not awake, even the most precious knowledge does not make any sense.

© The Art of Living Foundation


Loyalty is the way in which a mature and integrated mind behaves. Loyalty indicates undivided wholeness of consciousness and shows richness of the mind. When the mind is not integrated, it is feverish, disloyal and opportunistic.

Disloyalty comes out of opportunism. Opportunism is being shortsighted about one’s destiny. Integrity or wholeness is essential to be healthy. A divided mind will gradually lead to schizophrenia and other mental and physical disorders. Loyalty is a real strength and will have the support of nature in the long run.

Fear and ambitions are impediments to loyalty. Loyalty is needed, both, in the material and spiritual plane. To destroy, create or maintain any institution, group or society, loyalty is essential.

Loyalty means believing in the continuity of commitment. Honoring commitment is loyalty. It takes you beyond the duality of craving and aversion.

Responsibility, dedication and commitment are the limbs of loyalty.

A loyal mind is a “Yes”-mind. The purpose of asking questions is to get an answer. The purpose of all answers is to create a “Yes!”

“Yes” is an acknowledgment of knowledge. This “Yes” mind is a quiet, holistic and joyful mind. The “No” mind is an agitated, doubting and miserable mind. Loyalty begins with a “Yes” mind and starts to perish with a “No” mind.

© The Art of Living Foundation

Freedom and Discipline

Freedom and discipline are opposites and they are also complementary.
The purpose of defense is to protect freedom. But is there freedom in defense? Do soldiers have freedom? No, they are bound, not allowed to put the right foot down when told the left foot. Their steps are measured; they are unable even to walk with a natural rhythm. There is no freedom in defense, yet this is what protects the freedom of the country!

Freedom without discipline is like a country without a defense. Discipline protects freedom. They both go hand in hand. Understand this and move ahead in life. You have certain restrictions that allow you your freedom. You can focus either on freedom or discipline, and be happy or unhappy.

Fences have a definite place and purpose. If you build a fence all over the entire property, then where will you put your home? Yet a well placed fence protects the property.

Love puts you on track. Fear also puts you back on track, as is the case with religions that have put fear as the main motivating force.

Nature itself induces fear in a child at a certain age. A child has no fear when very young; he gets 100% love and attention from the mother. But as he grows more independent, nature brings in an iota of fear; he learns to become cautious. With increasing freedom, the child learns to walk more carefully.

There is a state of absolute freedom, unlimited bliss, the freedom Advaita* talks about. But the Advaita Knowledge has been totally misused according to people’s fancies and conveniences. We need to be very practical. There must be freedom in the mind, love in the heart, and discipline in action.

Fear of losing freedom brings discipline and defense. And the purpose of defense is to eliminate fear.

*On this Path, Knowledge is your freedom - and also your defense

© The Art of Living Foundation

Surrender, Shame and Shyness

In surrender, the head bends and meets the heart.
A head that does not bend has no value. The head that is stiff will have to bend sometime, either in surrender or in shame. And the head that bends in surrender will never have to bend in shame.

Shame accompanies arrogance. Shame is inflicted by society and is acquired.

Shyness accompanies love. See how children are endowed with shyness; it is natural to them.

Shame brings guilt;

Shyness adds to your beauty;

Retain your shyness and surrender your shame.

© The Art of Living Foundation