Only speak Knowledge.

Only speak Knowledge. Don't repeat anything that someone tells you or opinions about anyone that someone states -- “That so-and-so said such-and-such about you.”

If someone comes to tell you such things, discourage them. Don't believe it.

If someone blames you directly, know that they are taking away your bad karma, and let it go. Don't believe in it, and if you're one of the Guru's close ones, you will take all of the blame of the world with a smile.

Conflict is the nature of the world; comfort is the nature of the self.
Amidst the conflict seek the comfort.

* When you are bored with the comfort, get into the games of the world.
* When you are tired of the games of the world, get into the comforts
of the Self.

If you are one of the Guru's close ones, you do both simultaneously.
Trying to end a conflict, prolongs it. Face the conflict by seeking the
comfort of the Self.

God is alive in the world, and has been putting up with all the ongoing conflicts throughout the ages. If God can put up with all the conflicts, you can too. The moment you agree to be with the conflict, the conflict disappears.

People who love peace do not want to fight, and those who fight do not love peace. Those who want peace want to run away.

What is needed here
is to be peaceful within and then fight.

The whole message of the Gita is to be peaceful yourself and then fight.
Krishna tells Arjuna to fight but be in peace at the same time. Does this ring a bell?

In the world, you resolve one conflict and another one comes up. For example, Russia is solved and then Bosnia arises. You make one better, and then another starts up. Your body gets a cold, then you get better; then your back hurts, then it gets better. Your body gets better, and then the mind goes. The world runs like this, isn't it?

Without any intention, misunderstandings happen. It's not up to you to try to resolve them.

Ignore them and be alive.

(Toronto, Canada, July 4, 1995)

© The Art of Living Foundation

What Sri Sri Said Today

'Mind and words cannot reach the truth' 

Bad Antogast, Germany, April 28:

“Truth is that which neither mind nor words can catch. Only when the mind becomes still, only then can you grasp it. For a few minutes, sit and reflect on yourself, on the truth in your life. Everything will vanish. All will vanish. What is the truth? Don't look for any answer. Just sit still. Sit for 10 minutes and reflect on this:

Mind and words cannot reach the truth.

What Sri Sri Said Today

‘Meditation, & compassion are the best education for the soul’

Sofia (Bulgaria), April 25 (Saturday): When disembarking from the flight to Sofia on April 25, HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was asked: What made you commit your life to building a world without violence? He said: “I do this work because of my love for humanity.” On his first visit to the country, HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was asked his guidance on many critical issues facing the world, including the role of religion in conflicts, and the Easter violence in Bulgaria. Following is an excerpt from an interview for Channel 1, one of the most popular national television channels in Bulgaria.

Channel 1: What would you say to all those who suffer from depression in the world today?

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Firstly, I would say that everything changes, and secondly that you need to see the hand of the Divine in everything that happens. Thirdly, look at the situation of those around you and you can certainly find someone who is in a far worse position than you. If you can help those who are worse off than you, your depression will be lifted. The fourth thing is to learn breathing exercises. This can ward off the depression before it even starts, just as vaccinations remove the danger of disease before they strike.

Channel 1: What do you think is the best education for the soul?

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation and compassion.

Channel 1: Can the soul travel in time and space?

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The soul can be compared to electro magnetic waves. The body is like the television itself and the soul is like the waves which are everywhere.

Channel 1: What do you say to those who are suffering from hardships?

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Hardship makes you deep, and strong. Sadness, and joy are complementary. Happiness causes expansion but misery brings a depth. Both are necessary.

Channel 1: Why is there so much stress in the world today?

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Because people have not learned yoga and meditation. It’s that simple.

Channel 1: Are bad thoughts harmful?

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Only if you act on them. Bad thoughts, and good thoughts come and go. Don’t become attached to them. If you try, and resist bad thoughts they will persist. Just let them be

Channel 1: Are you afraid of darkness and evil?

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, because I’m connected with the light.

Channel 1: What do you say to those who say true love doesn’t exist?

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I’d say come to Art of Living and learn true love.

Channel 1: Are you a happy man?

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What do you think?

© The Art of Living Foundation

The power of your vote

H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar walks the talk by casting his vote at the recent elections in Karnataka, India - April 23, 2009

India's problems are complex. And unfortunately these are compounded by vote-bank politics. Instead of uniting the different sections of society, many politicians divide it to keep their vote banks intact. If people are united, politicians won't be able to get votes through divisive politics. In such a situation, the only way for them to win votes would be through good performance.
As citizens, we must protect our country from those who manipulate issues for their personal gains and who lead by playing vote-bank politics. Those with vested interests support insensible decisions and oppose sensible ones. We have to steer clear of such leaders. We must encourage broad-minded politicians and leaders to come forward and take charge, and to educate and uplift the society - spiritually, morally and socially.
We need leaders who are satya-darshi (truthful), sam-darshi (equanimous), priya-darshi (pleasant), paar-darshi (transparent) and door-darshi (visionary). So, before we elect our leaders, we should examine their qualifications.
We must elect leaders who will do away with policies based on caste, creed, religion and region; who will ensure that every child gets a multi-cultural, multi-dimensional education.
We need leadership with a mission and a vision, leadership with a spirit of sacrifice, compassion and commitment. We must choose leaders who have a long-term vision and short-term plans to achieve it. They should have great personal integrity, and place the country before themselves.
Unfortunately, most of our politicians lack a sense of sacrifice and inclusiveness. Irrespective of the party they belong to, people perceive politicians as insincere. Today, people are fed up of them. This is when apathy sets in among people. They dismiss politics as a whole and withdraw from their basic duty of voting.
Our votes are an important tool to bring about a change in the system; they give us an opportunity to raise our voice against injustice. But many of us have developed a chalta hai attitude, because we fail to see the power of our votes. This attitude is dangerous for the country. By not voting we are encouraging the status quo.
Each one of us must not only vote but also encourage others around us to vote. When good, intelligent and well-educated people don't vote, they play into the hands of politicians, who use money and vote bank politics to seize power. People should not lose hope. Good politicians exist. And they must be given a chance to do the best they can for the country, for its people.
We have seen the shortcomings of capitalism, communism and socialism. Now is the time for humanism and spiritualism. Politics without humanism and spiritualism is bound to be dirty. Many people believe that spiritualism is not for this world, that it is not a practical tool to bring about societal transformation. But that's a misconception. Mahatma Gandhi was spiritual. He conducted satsangs every day and played an important role in bringing freedom for our country.
That is why today we need leaders who have a spirit of sacrifice, and who are spiritual in their outlook, to enter politics.

{ His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's article was featured on the IBNlive blog on March 30, 2009. }

© The Art of Living Foundation

Anciently innovative

Systems of education definitely need to improve. A total revolution is needed in the field of education. Today you don’t need to by heart the multiplication tables. If the same method of education is followed in our schools and colleges, it is a waste of time. We spend hours and hours learning by rote — rehearsing the Iliads and Shakespeares. This is outdated English and this is thrust on your children. Understanding Shakespeare by heart and knowing it by memory is a big drain on the brain. By following this old methodology of education, this country is wasting all the intellectual capacity and brain potential.

In this computer age, one can know all about history on just a click. Children spend hours and hours learning when the Mutiny happened, when Macaulay came to India and what reforms he carried out. Obsolete principles, theories, systems of education and methodology of transmitting knowledge need to undergo a change.

By the time a child comes to college, he or she is already worn out with so much pressure. He carries the books like a donkey, on his back -- huge loads of books on irrelevant subjects, totally irrelevant to them. This system needs to undergo a change and we need to harness a child’s capacity to digest more, understand more.

A good system of education must instill self-esteem and creativity, and stop copying from others. We need to have self-esteem and appreciate what we have, what we can do. If you take confidence away from a person, there is nothing he or she can do. We have to instill confidence in education, broaden the vision and deepen the roots. The education system shouldn’t make people fanatics. People become such narrow-minded fanatics because they glorify the past all the time. Religious fundamentalism is because people glorify only the past. And on the other hand, communism promises you a golden future and says the past is all rubbish. I feel both of them are not right.

In today’s education system, there is either communalism or communism. Both are hampering the growth of science. The scientific mind needs to be free from inhibition. The right education must harness a mind that is free, not obsessed with anything and neither angry about the past nor angry about the future.

The need of the hour is for a system of education where the roots are deep and there are fresh shoots on the tree -- a combination of the newness and the ancientness.

Sadly, we have done nothing to increase the capacity of our consciousness. At the same time there is a bombardment of information from visual and audio-visual media, movies and video games. This puts such a pressure on one’s mind. It would only turn children schizophrenic and attention deficiency syndrome will come up, because their brains cannot digest the information and reproduce it.

The methodology of education needs to change to eliminate a lot of the unwanted information. Creative methods of teaching will help children build their personalities. Creative sports and ancient techniques such as Avadhani, meditation, yoga and pranayams will go a long way. Dance and music should also be introduced again. Service is another good part of education; go and do some service in some place; that is good education. All facets of human life should be attended to and we can start that from a very young age. The key is to harness the ancient and be innovative with the modern.

© The Art of Living Foundation

What Sri Sri said:

"I have committed myself to building a violence-free world because of my love for humanity"

Bulgaria, Europe, April 25(Saturday):
Sri Sri is currently in Bulgaria. On his arrival, he was interviewed on 'Seismograph', a prime time show with Svetla Petrova, a leading Bulgarian journalist on the television channel BTV. Excerpts from the interview:

Q. You said in an interview that you see the world as one family?
A.: The world is one family - language is no barrier, religion is no barrier, culture is no barrier. It's the love in our hearts. The love in our hearts connects us all with one another.

Q. Then why is religion the reason for so many conflicts?
A.: I would say the differences should be celebrated. If you don't have distance you can't breed conflict out of nothing. Multiple cultures would bring in more tolerance, more learning and you have to relieve yourself from stress. We all need to create a stress-free and violence-free society. Actually violence is an outcome of stress. If someone hasn't slept well or is stressed they become aggressive. With the breath you can calm yourself. When the mind is calm and the person is happy it's impossible to commit crime. It's all in the mind. We don't learn anything about the mind at home or at school. We tell people don't be angry, don't get upset but we don't teach them how not to. This is how the ancient Indian teaching has helped people and should be available for everybody. It's so useful. A violence-free society. Disease-free body. Confusion-free mind. Inhibition-free intellect. Drama-free memory and a sorrow-free soul. This is the birthright of everybody.

There is a lot of violence in the media and in video games. Every emotion is connected with the breath. If you change the breath, change the rhythm, you can change the emotion.

Q. Is it possible to breath in a different way without thinking about it?
A.: We all have talents. We all have ten fingers but some can take a guitar and produce music and some can’t. But, everybody has abilities. If we learn about the different rhythms in our breath, we are able to have control in our lives. Take long deep breaths in and breathe out as slowly as possible. Deep inhalation and slow exhalation calms the mind. When one is working with a computer the eyes start worrying and it's good to do some eye exercises. This will build up the circulation. I just landed now from India after eighteen hours of flight. Do I look tired?

Q. Can you comment on the recent crimes over Easter in Bulgaria?
A.: There is violence in the youth today because they have emotions trapped inside and they are not taught how to handle their own minds so they just burst out into actions such as this violence you have recently seen in Bulgaria. It is absolutely essential to teach our children how to control their mind using their own breath. We have done experiments in America, in India, and people have been saying, in prisons for example – “If I had known how to handle my emotions I would not have had these problems.”
And the process is very simple, just four or five days and you learn the relationship between breath and the mind. I would like all the teachers to learn it. Many schools have started this program so that children learn how to handle their minds.

Q. What can we expect from the meetings you are having with Ministers?
A.: I would want to know how we can help. Probably we would like to train some youngsters who would like to volunteer and help prisoners get a peaceful, calm mind.

Q. What made you commit your life to building a world without violence?
A.: I do this work because of my love for humanity. When you have something precious it's natural to share it with everyone. It's a natural instinct to share.

Q. What did you have to sacrifice?
A. Now what did I have to sacrifice in order to do this! In the beginning there was a lot of prejudice, East-West prejudice and North-South prejudice. People outside India criticized but I said – “No, this is very good and everyone needs it.” I did not mind what people thought.

Q. Can you tell us about the process to discover the techniques you teach?
A.: For me personally, it was with limited food and ten days of silence and going with fruit juice and cleansing the body but, it's not for everybody. One has to listen to their own body. What they feel is good for them. You don't need to do all that; you just need to learn a little bit about your breath. That is for everyone.

© The Art of Living Foundation

Respect everybody as you respect me

Respect everybody as you respect me, but don’t expect from everyone what you expect from me.
You usually do it the other way: You don’t respect everybody as you respect me, but you expect them to give you joy and behave ideally. When they don’t live up to your expectations, you get frustrated and you blame or curse them. By cursing, you lose your spiritual energy. When you can bless, your energy goes up.

The world is full of differences; arguments are inevitable. With forbearance, patience and wisdom, skillfully make your way up.

Fools will make you wiser. The number of fools around you indicates the strength of your centeredness. Don’t try to get rid of them! If you lose your center, you will have no patience to put up with them. When you are established in the Self, you find that even fools come up with wisdom; they are your own reflection, there is no “other”.

© The Art of Living Foundation


When love glows, it is bliss.
When it flows, it is compassion.
When it blows, it is anger.
When it ferments, it is jealousy.
When it is all "no's", it is hatred.
When it acts, it is perfection.
When love knows, it is me.

© The Art of Living Foundation


Creativity brings a new beginning for "time". When you are creative, you break the monotony of time. Everything becomes fresh and alive. Creativity brings along with it a new round of enthusiasm. Both creative and procreative impulses in nature are associated with enthusiasm. When you are enthusiastic you are closer to the creative principle of existence. Deep silence is the mother of creativity. No creativity can come out of one who is too busy, worried, over-ambitious or lethargic. Balanced activity, rest and yoga can kindle skills and creativity in you.

© The Art of Living Foundation

‘You will soon return to your homes in peace’

Day 2: Apr. 21, Refugee camp, Vavunia: Sri Sri comforted the displaced people in Sri Lanka:
‘The Art of Living Foundation and I are right with you in your hour of need’

Day 1: Apr. 20, Colombo:
'We have to bring back the principles of non-violence & brotherhood’ , said Sri Sri

Read more on:

© The Art of Living Foundation

Alone, yet not lonely

If you think nobody loves you, know for sure that you are loved. The earth loves you; that’s why it is holding you upright. The love of the earth is its gravitational force. The air loves you; that’s why it moves through your lungs even when you are sleeping. The Divine loves you very dearly, deeply. Once you realize this, you will never feel lonely.

Someone's company cannot fill your loneliness. Even if it does, it is very short-lived. You can still feel lonely in spite of being in company. In a real sense, loneliness can only be filled by being alone. If you could be comfortable being alone for some time, then you will not feel lonely. When you don't feel lonely, you can spread joy to people around you.

If you enjoy being with your Self, you will not be a boring personality. If you are lonely, then you can be boring to others. And that will make you more lonely! And if your own company bores you, how much more boring must you be to someone else?

Those who are in company all the time look for the comforts of solitude and those who are in solitude feel lonely and want to be in company. Everyone is looking for a perfect balance. That perfect balance is like a razor’s edge and can only be found in the Self. If you take out some time, say one week in a year, to be with yourself and observe our own thoughts and emotions, then you will get a sense of what quietness means.

From time to time, keep a little distance from whomsoever close to you and take some time off for your own space. From the moment you wake up in the morning, you are always with people and your mind is caught up in worldly thoughts. So sometime during the day, sit for a few minutes and get into the cave of your heart. Then you will not feel lonely even when you are alone.

Live your life well. If you are useful to people all your life, there will be hundreds and millions of people to take care of you. Mother Teresa and Acharya Vinoba Bhave, for example, were sick in bed for a long time. Do you think there was nobody to give them company? There were hundreds waiting to take care of them and all they did was to be useful to people around them.

When you make service your sole purpose in life, it eliminates fear, brings focus in your mind, purposefulness in action, and long-term joy. Every time you are unhappy or miserable or lonely, you are just coming in touch with your own boundaries. It is limitation and boundary that is the real cause of your disturbance. You are peaceful and happy until come in contact with your boundaries. The moment you come in contact with it, then the mind goes on a trip and you move out of your centre. At that moment what can you do? You can just be grateful and pray for peace. That very moment, you will start smiling and however hopeless the situation is, you will walk through it.

Learn and unlearn from the past and move on with creative zeal and enthusiasm. The trying time brings out the best out of you. The rewarding time gives the best of the world to you. Life is a combination of both.

© The Art of Living Foundation

Sri Sri on a peace mission

"I don’t mind going to the end of the world if it helps to bring peace and lessen the suffering of the people,” Sri Sri had said in a television interview after a peace mission to Sri Lanka.

Sri Sri is currently in Sri Lanka, marking his fourth visit to the troubled island nation.

First visit: 2005, after the South-east Asian tsunami.

Second visit: April 2006, Sri Sri met many political and religious leaders as well as different stakeholders to resolve the ongoing conflict. “The main reason for conflict in Sri Lanka is a lack of communication between the two sides, a narrow understanding of issues, some basic mistrust and fear.” Sri Sri told 80,000 Sri Lankan Tamils, who are refugees in their own land. It was the first time that any spiritual leader has reached out to these remote corners in Jaffna to address the troubles of these people and renew hope for a peaceful life.“There is a lack of human values. The Art of Living is about peace. We will train the youth to become role models in removing misconceptions and prejudices among the people of Sri Lanka.”

Sri Sri then led the thousands into a meditation for peace.

Third visit: September 2006, Sri Sri went to the LTTE headquarters in the sensitive area of Killinochchi. Escorted by the Sri Lankan army and later by LTTE personnel, Sri Sri ventured deep into a forest by jeep and on foot to take his message of a peaceful reconciliation to the LTTE.

Sri Sri has also initiated trauma relief workshops and rehabilitation measures for the civilians caught in the violence.

January 2009, Mandapam refugee camp, Tamil Nadu: Sri Sri interacted with 3,000 displaced Sri Lankan Tamils at the camp.While distributing relief material, Sri Sri promised them that he would make “all efforts” to get them back to their country where they could lead dignified lives.

“I am going to Sri Lanka to pursue my mission to bring peace and harmony in the island," said Sri Sri.

We are eagerly awaiting news of the current visit and will keep you updated.

For more information, log onto:

© The Art of Living Foundation

Asuya and Anasuya

There is a certain mindset that always finds fault even under the best conditions. When you give such a person the best possible things, he find faults. Even with the ideal companion or the most beautiful painting, he will still find something wrong. This kind of mindset is called asuya; it can never know the sacred knowledge.

Asuya is finding a fault or seeing a malicious intent everywhere. Suppose it is windy and you shut the door, but at that moment someone else was just about to walk in. He will think that the door has been slammed in his face! This is asuya.

You have a friendship, and after ten years you find a fault and decide to break it off. Now you do not see any good from that entire relationship. This is asuya.

The moment you are out of the spiritual Path, you feel that everything on the Path was all wrong. This is asuya.

Asuya is when a child says, “Mother, you don’t love me!” The child’s vision is wrong; if the mother does not love the child, who will? It frustrates the mother. Asuya is when someone comes to me and says, “Guruji, you don’t love me!” If I don’t love them, forget about it. Who else in the world will? Yet a Master never becomes frustrated.

Knowledge is different at different levels of consciousness. At a particular point, you become anasuya.

Anasuya means being devoid of fault-finding eyes.

Krishna tells Arjuna that he is giving him the Royal Secret because he is anasuya: “You are not finding fault in Me, even though you are so close.”

From a distance, it is easy to miss a fault in somebody; up close, no fault escapes you. Even craters cannot be seen from afar; up close, even a smooth surface has imperfections. If you are interested only in holes, you will not see the larger dimension of things.

Unless you are devoid of fault-finding eyes, there is no point in giving you Knowledge because it cannot blossom in you. If a mirror is dusty, you can clean it. But if your eyes have a cataract, any amount of dusting the mirror will not help. You have to remove the cataract. Then you will see that the mirror was already clean.

Asuya – fault–finding eyes, give you the idea, “The whole world is not sharp, the whole world is no good.”

Anasuya is knowing, “It is my own vision of the world that is blurred.” And once you discover you have the wrong vision, half of the problem has already disappeared.

© The Art of Living Foundation

What Sri Sri said today

‘Life moves with commitment, not feelings’

Bangalore, India, April 18 (Saturday), 8:50 pm: Seated in the amphitheatre for satsang this evening, Sri Sri’s seat was beautifully outlined against the backdrop of the lotus-shaped Vishalakshi Mantap. As the sounds of the bhajans rang through the open sky, it generated an atmosphere of high energy. People in the audience danced, clapped, and meditated together.

Q. The people of West Bengal are suffering under the CPI government and their ideology since 30 years, it seems to be unending. Can we expect a change at all and how?
A.: Change can happen by educating people. People like you (points to the crowd) do padayatras (walkathons) and educate people. West Bengal is far behind. There’s little industry and business, it has obsolete ideology. Make people aware.

Communist China and Russia have changed their course. But in India, it doesn’t change because of lack of awareness. So, create awareness and meditate. Nothing is impossible. If something is impossible, then we can do it!

Q. Which limb of Asthanga yoga does Sudarshan Kriya belong to?
A.: It does not belong to any particular limb of yoga, it is a culmination of all the paths.
Everything comes together in the Sudarshan Kriya - meditation, yoga asanas and dharana.

Q. Are the customs and rituals of religions conducive to spiritual growth or are they obstacles?
A.: A vehicle is kept to the left in India. In the United States of America, cars keep to the right. Customs and rituals are there to guide society, steering society from going right or left.

They are made according to the time and the country. For instance, men wear unstitched clothes for a puja in South India. In North India, people wear coats. Perhaps, this is because the weather is cold there. When Muslim males go to Mecca for Haj, they have to wear unstitched clothes.

Yet, these customs and rituals are neither conducive nor act as obstacles on the path to God.
There are many customs when it comes to marriages. A coconut and a mirror are placed on a plate, when welcoming the in-laws in South India. It is as though to say: ‘Enter with a smile. See your face and feel complete. We are feeling complete here.’ When you see yourself in the mirror in the morning, you smile. You don’t frown when you see yourself.
People in Maharashtra welcome the in-laws with a betel nut and a gold coin on their head. This gesture says: ‘Your thoughts should shine like gold.’ This is an auspicious gesture.
There are other rituals in Bihar and Bengal. These customs from different parts of India should be studied thoroughly. Someone should take up this project.
In Kerala, a nirapara is kept at the entrance of a house to welcome people. It is a vessel filled with grains, flowers from the coconut tree and a diya (lamp). This custom signifies that the house which is being entered is full, there is happiness. It is a sign of prosperity.
Similarly, people gift each other chocolate eggs for Easter in Europe. It is a symbol of prosperity and progeny.
In India, people fast when going on a pilgrimage – say, to Shabri Mala, Vaishno Devi or Tirupati. Christians and Muslims in Ethiopia, fast too. They don’t eat vegetables or dairy products for some period of the year. These are rituals and customs. There must be some reason.

Q. Can I take a sankalpa for a change in someone else’s behavior?
A.: Do it, take it. Bless them to behave better. When you want to bless someone because their behavior hurts you, it doesn’t work. When you want to bless them because their behavior hurts them, that would work. That is compassion. Say: May you behave better, so that you can be happier.

Q. Meditation gives me a high. If I discontinue for a few days and resume, I get a greater high. I fear that I will lose this high.
A.: I think you have too much free time. If you’re engaging yourself in some creative activity, then where is the time to feel bad?
Anand Yog means communion with the Divine, which brings bliss.
Anand Bhog is doing things for enjoyment. It is not the best.
If we worry about whether we are high or low, then we get trapped in a self-centred cycle which may lead to depression. Do some seva. Do your practice. There are so many people who need you. Do some job.
If there is nothing creative to do, then you will feel like this.
The world doesn’t care – it shouldn’t care.
You stand up, wake up and say: ‘My life is going to move with commitment, not with feelings.’

Feelings are unpredictable. You can predict that the pigeons in the hall (pointing to Vishalakshi Mantap) will remain there, but you cannot predict your mind.

Q. My father is an astrologer. Whatever he says comes true. He told me that I will get mental disorders after six years. I’m scared. Please help me.
A.: Remind your father that there is upaya (remedy) also. There is no astrology without upaya. The mal-effects of astrology can be countered with upaya. The remedy is meditation and satsang. Sit and chant: Om Namo Shivaya. It takes care of all the mal-effects. All the five elements and the whole life force is present in Om Namo Shivaya. Don’t worry about it. On this path, you should drop those concerns and worries.

© The Art of Living Foundation

What Sri Sri Said Today

‘Silence is the mother of all virtues’

Bangalore, India, April 17 (Friday), 8:10 pm: Dance, laughter and high energy! The Vishalakshi Mantap at the Art of Living Centre was pulsating with the sounds of the guitar, dholak (a percussion instrument), a drum and tambourines.
The crowd erupted in cheers when Sri Sri opened his eyes after meditation and asked: ‘How are you all?’ (Sri Sri often asks this question in satsangs around the world.)

Excerpts from the Q&A session that followed:
Q. I repeatedly get stuck in the same behavioural patterns. How do I get rid of my behaviour?
A.: Why do you do the same mistakes again and again? We think it is giving us some joy, some pleasure. We should not eternalize or generalise problems.
Some people keep saying: ‘I’m always in problems’. If you are always in a problem, then how will you know when you’re in one! Knowledge always comes when you experience a contrast.
People say: ‘Everyone is sick in town.’ Perhaps, it could be only 40-50 percent of the population and not everyone.

Generalising and eternalising problems like ‘Everybody is bad’ will not allow you to rise above challenges. It will pull you down. Just by being aware about the problem, it will drop off.
If someone keeps saying: ‘I have to do this, ‘I have to do this,’ then you feel tired just thinking about it.
Just relax. Silence is the mother of all virtues. Let go. Silence is the mother of all qualities, all abilities.

Q. Are the thoughts in the mind created within or come from outside?
A.: You get more thoughts than me. Then you’re an expert at generating thoughts. You should know. Sit and find out.
Q. They say God is omnipresent and they have vahanas (vehicles). Like Nandi (the sacred cow) for Shiva and the mouse for Ganesha. What is the significance of these?
A.: The Divine energy is carried through different symbols. The Parmatma is One.
Yet different aspects of that Divinity are carried through different symbols.

It is so interesting. Our ancient people had the concept of opposites. The mouse is so small and the elephant is so big. Yet, the knowledge of an elephant (Ganesha) is riding on a small mouse (his vahana).

Kabir (a renowned Indian saint) did not study in a university. He had his Guru mantra. With one little mantra, he went into Samadhi (the deepest meditative state) and his consciousness blossomed.
The Divine Mother comes on a tiger. The Divine Mother is the most delicate feminine form of Divinity and She comes on one of the most ferocious of animals.

The commander-in-chief of the armies of the Gods, Karthikeyan, comes on a peacock. The peacock is associated with art and music.
There is a deeper significance to these symbols.
Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge) is sitting on a rock. The rock does not move anywhere. Goddess of Wealth (Goddess Lakshmi) sits on a lotus flower in water. Wealth is unstable. You don’t know when the share market is going to be unstable – how money can come and go.

The very fact that most Gods and Goddesses are sitting on a lotus flower depicts a fully blossomed consciousness. Only when the consciousness is fully blossomed, does Divinity ride on it.
Like the lotus flower whose petals transform from being concave to convex. Perhaps in those days, there weren’t any chrysanthemums. Otherwise, they would have put some Gods and Goddesses on chrysanthemums.

Your real wealth is your inner strength. Your inner sense of fullness and not your bank balance is your real wealth.
You may have lots of money in the bank, but if your mind is fearful and small, then what is the point?

Today a gentleman came from Mandya (a small town in Karnataka) to meet me. He has two houses and doesn’t have a job. He wants to sell one house and use the money to start a business. He wants to donate the other plot for a meditation centre.
He insisted that I take the land. The land costs several millions of dollars. He had even come with the land papers. I took the papers and told him: ‘This is mine, but it will be with you. You take care of it. You keep it. You start your business, make your life stable, make your finances better. I’m not going to accept it.’

What I’m saying is that those who have very little have big hearts to give. I appreciate it. This is the most precious offer. That man came with his wife and mother. They kept saying, ‘Guruji, please make a Temple of Knowledge over here. We have benefitted so much from the courses, we want others to enjoy.’

Just the gesture is enough. The heart that wants to do gets blessings.
Isn’t it so interesting? Values of humanness and generosity are still alive on this planet.
People with big hearts are still alive.
I remember on the last day of the Silver Jubilee (The Art of Living celebrated 25 years of service in 2006), I met all the volunteers. As I was leaving, a 25-year-old boy came up to me, gave me an envelope and began to cry. He grabbed my feet and hands and sobbingly said: ‘Thank you, please accept this.’

I took it and asked him what he did for a living. He was a labourer from Kerala (an Indian state) and had come to do seva for 15 days. ‘Guruji, I don’t know how to express my gratitude. My life has changed. Please accept this.’ (Pointing to the envelope.)

I opened it and saw that it had Rs 5,000. It must have been his salary of two months.
I asked him about his family responsibilities. He has a mother, sister and is the eldest of two sons. I took Rs 100 from the amount and told him: ‘This money is worth millions to me. Take the rest of the amount home.’

All that we need is to have a heart to do something. Nature will help you.
God will help you.

Q. How important is money in pursuing goals, career and achievements? If we don’t have enough, will we achieve our goals?
A.: If you go with a ‘lack consciousness’, then any amount of money won’t be enough for you. You will have thoughts like: ‘What will happen in my old age? What is going to happen?’
One day, however much you feed your body, it is going to go.

Money is a means. Earn money, don’t spend foolishly. People are ready to spend money on parties, weddings , garments…yet when it comes to giving to a good cause, I don’t know where that stinginess comes from.

You should put that sankalpa: ‘I will get what I need. I will never suffer from a shortage.’

Q. How much power is there in imagination?
A.: Well, there is a story.
Once, Mulla Nasruddin imagines that he is dead. He was so convinced that he is dead, that if someone asked him to sign a paper he would say: ‘How can a dead man sign a paper?’
If someone asked him a question, Mulla would say: ‘How can you ask a dead person a question?’
If someone called him on the phone, he would say: ‘Hello who’s this? Mulla Nasruddin is dead!’

This went on for months and years. His wife was fed up. She couldn’t live with him anymore.
On someone’s suggestion, she took him to a psychiatrist.

Mulla Nasruddin told the doctor: ‘All these people don’t believe that this (pointing to himself) is a dead body.’
The doctor asked Mulla Nasruddin: ‘What are the signs of a dead body? Blood is not there, the
heart doesn’t pound….’
Mulla Nasruddin: ‘Yes, you’re correct!

The doctor thought to himself: ‘I found a way to cure him.’
He took a pin and pricked Mulla Nasruddin. ‘Look, blood is here!’ the doctor told his patient. Mulla Nasruddin then said: ‘Ha, ha doctor. Today I discovered that even a corpse bleeds!’
Now you have a proof in me. Re-write your medical books!’

That could be the power of imagination!

Q. What is self-respect? How is it different from ego?
A.: Self-respect is respecting yourself irrespective of what others call you.
A thousand years ago, when India was attacked in the North east, a saint was captured.
The captors tried to humiliate the saint, chained his legs and wanted to sell him as a slave.
The saint kept smiling. He said: ‘A slave is on sale. Who wants to buy him?’

There are many examples of people who were humiliated in the world. Yet they kept on walking with their heads held high.

In self-respect, you keep your composure. Ego needs someone else to be there. When you’re all alone, there is no ego. When someone comes in, then the ego comes up. Your body language changes. If someone pokes you, then your ego gets hurt.

Nobody can take away your self-respect.

Just keep smiling and be happy,
Embrace the ups and downs of life and continue walking.
Do whatever you can do for others.

© The Art of Living Foundation