What Sri Sri said today

‘Through sadhana, we can regain the energy and strength’

Bangalore (India), June 9:
Q. Many people want to volunteer. What should we remember while training volunteers? What should I keep in mind as a volunteer for my own growth and for spreading knowledge?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: As a sevak (volunteer), you should remember that even if you get stones in return for seva, it’s fine.
If someone scolds you or curses you, you remain unfazed. Don’t make yourself sad or anyone else sad.
Remember this - you need nothing in return for seva - not even a ‘thanks’. Do not say: ‘I have never needed anything else, only a few words of gratitude’ - you shouldn’t expect even that. If you do seva without expecting anything, then that is bliss. If you expect people to praise you or thank you, then the quality of seva goes down.

Seva should walk hand in hand with sadhana (spiritual practices). If one is absent, you will not gain anything from the other. From sadhana you get strength to do seva, and from seva you get depth in sadhana.

But remember that sadhana is your first priority! You should make time to do sadhana, you should be smart in managing time. There is no end to work, there is always work everyday. So make time for sadhana.

Make it a rule - if you don’t do sadhana, you won’t eat the next meal. Promise yourself that you won't eat till you have finished sadhana. Then it becomes a routine. When doing sadhana, say: “Let me do a couple more bhastrika breaths* , a few more minutes of meditation...” If you make your own rules like this, then there is no limit to the strength you will gain.

By working, your energy and strength gets spent. Through sadhana, we can regain the energy and strength.

Another tip for volunteers: you should be emphathetic to people. When we are doing sadhana or seva, we shouldn't be too proud or too angry. If a volunteer is not sweet in his behavior to people and is always angry, then he won't be able to inspire anyone. Our behavior, our actions, our talk, everything should be inspirational.

Another tip: work should be delegated, and delegate work with trust. Many people don't know how to do this. They try to do everything themselves. If you do everything yourself, keep all the keys and try to control everything, then it won't work.
If you want to ride a horse, you can’t hold the bridle too loose or too tight. So also you should shoulder responsibility, but at the same time delegate work. This is an important point for a volunteer.

Remember to do sadhana and meditation while doing seva, and go ahead!

Q. Which is better: satvic guna (calmness, meditation) or triguna ateet (beyond the three gunas {roughly translated as energies})?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you do not have satvic guna, you cannot be triguna ateet.
You have to move from tamogun (inertia), to rajogun (that energy which is not used productively in activity and which becomes restlessness) and from rajogun to satogun.
From satogun, you will know mukti (freedom).
However, don’t get attached to satogun. You use soap to wash the dirt off your body. Do you allow the soap to remain on your body?
There’s a saying which says, drown your good deeds in a well. Otherwise, you become attached to them, and doing good deeds will make you arrogant.

When you are not attached to even mukti, then you will be triguna ateet.
There is a quote in Sanskrit:
‘Samam pashyanti sarvatra
up mam pashyati sarvatah’

Krishna says, ‘See equality in everything. The one who sees me in everything and sees everything in me, I won't be apart from him and he won't be different from me.’

* a type of breathing technique
(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)
© The Art of Living Foundation