‘That beautiful combination of commitment, and dispassion is the most important thing’
Bad Antogast, (Germany), April 30 (Thursday): “Life needs to be a perfect balance between sound and silence, between dynamic activity and stillness, between being funny and jovial, and then being serious. If one aspect is missing, life is incomplete. If you are only serious, and not funny, then it’s not complete. If you are only funny, you become superficial. You are not deep.
Silence is our ability to switch between them, this is most important. Your ability to be busy, and yet relaxed.
Your ability to be concerned, deeply concerned, yet completely dispassionate. If you are deeply attached to something, you are prone to get angry, upset or frustrated.
At the same time if you are only detached, you will be careless, uncaring, uncommitted.
That beautiful combination of commitment, and dispassion is the most important thing.
There are five aspects that make the individual soul connected to the Divine, or make the individual soul different from the divine:
So how will you know whether you have grown in life? How do you know if you have come close to God? Examine these five aspects. These keep you separate from God. How ignorant were you five years ago, ten years ago, a year ago? How much more knowledge do you have now? Is there an improvement? Just imagine how you were before your first Sudarshan Kriya, and what you are now. Is there a difference?
HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your ignorance has reduced. That is Asmita. How unnatural were you before and how much natural are you now? How much more at ease are you? Are you less egoistic now? Are you thinking less about ‘Me, me, me, me, me’? Are you freer?
HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The aspects of avidya and asmita have reduced? You are more with the nature, more natural. There is less of “I, I.”
The third aspect: cravings. How strong were your cravings before and how much have they reduced? Is it less?
HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Aversion. How much is the aversion now? Anything that gives pleasure creates craving, anything that gives pain or displeasure creates aversion. Is it not less now?
And fear. Is this less? And it reduces further, as you practice. That is why, these practices are meant to reduce these five things in life and keep you close to Divinity, the Universal Spirit. And that is enlightenment.
Achieving enlightenment is reducing all these things to almost nothing, one percent - because as long as the body is there, this one percent has to remain. From 99 percent to one percent.
From the time you are born up to three years, these aspects are in a very small proportion. From the third year onwards, all these things increase up to ninety nine percent. And then through education and sadhana, you start to reduce them again.
A baby of two – three months doesn’t have much of these aspects - they are not afraid. Have you seen fear in a baby? Only when baby grows older - six months, one year – do the qualities of the mother begin to appear. Craving and aversion come in when the baby turns a year old. If the baby gets something sweet, then craving appears. When someone unfamiliar comes near, the baby will push them away.
That is when the individual spirit, soul, becomes more prominent. Before that it is only God, Universal Spirit. Universal Spirit gets back to individual spirit with this. Like air inside the balloon. When the balloon bursts, the air goes out. Like in life, when these five things are reduced – ignorance, ego, craving, aversion, and fear - then consciousness, scintillating energy comes up. It is satchitanand. Sat - truth, chit - consciousness, anand - bliss.
That is the balance - to have fun, but in the next moment, have the ability to be still, to be serious. To be very serious, but to be able to crack a joke. Serious people get annoyed when a joke is cracked. You should have the ability to switch from one, and tolerate more.
Similarly, music, and silence. Feel at home in silence. Some are always in silence, and some always listen to the music. Life is complete when you can switch between the spectrum. That is the Shiva element, Shiva dance. When Shiva dances, the world shakes, it is so powerful, such a dynamic dance. And yet Shiva can be absolutely still. These two aspects are expressed: one that is very innocent, and in the highest knowledge at the same time. There are people who are ignorant, yet innocent. Shiva is wise, and innocent. The complete range of life, consciousness, so alive.
HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Are the participants in the Teacher’s Training Course doing well?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have no choice. You know what is very important, in Art of Living, when you go out in the world, you shouldn’t get lost in the glamor or in the fun. Have fun, but don’t get lost in it. It will be there for a few days, few months, then you will find yourself empty. How many of you have had this experience? But you never thought about it, right? Art of Living gives a lot of fun to you, meditation gives you so much energy, your devotion, and energy brings so much joy, and fun. But when we put our foot, and just get lost there, all this goes. Then we wonder why our meditation is not good.
I have said in one knowledge sheet: If you follow wisdom, fun follows you. If you follow fun, misery follows you. The sutra is just to be in silence. So you can have fun, but don’t get lost it. Got it? Don’t feel guilty. Some people feel guilty: ‘Oh, I’m having fun.’ Balance it. Know that you should not get lost in it. It’s ok.
Do you know that there are two types of devotees? One is a monkey, and another one is a kitten. An intellectual person is like a monkey. Like a baby monkey, clings on to the mother monkey, and follows her everywhere. The mother monkey doesn’t do anything, and the baby monkey does not go far away. The baby monkey clings on the tummy or on the back. The mother doesn’t bother. This is an intellectual person, conscious, aware.
Then there are the others, they are like the kitten. A kitten plays around, and the mother takes it with her mouth, by the hair, and carries it around. The mother uses the same teeth to bite a mouse, but she doesn’t hurt the kitten. It is the same with nature – it takes care of us like this. It is the path of love, and devotion.
An intellectual person is taking an action. In the life of the seeker, sometimes it the monkey, and sometimes it is the kitten. Kitten is when you are in so much love, hollow and empty, and monkey thinks and analyzes. It is up to you, what do you want to be?
Both are good.
© The Art of Living Foundation