'The mind does not wander, it is in search of more and more. This thirst for more will lead to the Supreme Self'

What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today:
'The mind does not wander, it is in search of more and more. This thirst for more will lead to the Supreme Self'

India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), August 28:

Q. I am beginning to experience the futility of existence. Why am I here? There is confusion, what should I do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Good Luck! It is good luck when the small identity dissolves and the bigger is attained. Everybody seeks pleasure for the mind (mann), but having a pleasant consciousness is something else! Every single part of the body is soaked in pleasantness. There is a difference between entertainment and enjoyment. Entertainment brings you short term happiness. Meditation penetrates the whole body in the form of vibrations.We assume that our likes and thought patterns, desires and frustrations are our identity. When that dissolves, one begins to wonder “who am I?”. This is OK, it is the first step. However, you need to establish yourself in Sadhana(spiritual practices) and the knowledge. Satsang is very important. All the scriptures also explain the importance of Satsang, otherwise the mind tends to wander and get lost in other things.

Q. I start my practises with enthusiasm but soon it dampens, something pulls me away. Why is it that even after knowing what is right one does not do it?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Because of rajogun anger and desires increase. When craving increases, desires also increase. We progress two steps due to the sattva and then we fall back because of the imbalance in rajogun. So even while on the path, a person tends to wander or be distracted. Ahara Shuddho Sattva Shuddhi - In the initial stages, a sadhak (seeker) has to pay attention to the nature of food he consumes.

Also, it is important to have it at the right time. For the perfected Sage, there is no need for this. His consciousness is untouched. Food tends to influence the mind, body and the behaviour. Due to increase in rajogun irritation comes up and anger follows. When we are in Satsang, sattva increases.

Q. Under your guidance, there is no discrimination on the basis of religion, then why are there different religious symbols displayed here (in The Vishalakshi Mantap, meditation hall)?

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : They are on the pillars and not in the mind and heart. If someone says he is a Hindu, Jain etc, we would tell them to hang it on the pillar and be free from within!

Q. During meditation my mind wanders a lot. When will it settle down?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : The mind does not wander, it is in search of more and more. This thirst for more will lead to the Supreme Self.
One glimpse of the self is enough to lead you back. At least you are aware that the mind wanders. This is a big thing. Sometimes people don’t even know this. Once you know this, it means it will come back.
Desires take you farther away from the Self. Small small desires can disturb your meditation. When you sit down to meditate, tell yourself that at this time “I want nothing”. The second is to tell yourself “I do nothing”. The third sutra (principle) is “I am nothing”. Do not think that you have to meditate, just sit and be hollow and empty. You do not have to make any kind of attempt. These three sutras are very important.

(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

© The Art of Living Foundation

When you are filled with Divine love, then there is no desire for liberation nor sadness due to bondage

What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today:
" "When you are filled with Divine love, then there is no desire for liberation nor sadness due to bondage "
India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), August 26:
Q. Women were barred from the knowledge of Yoga and Mantra in the past. Even today some institutions continue this practise. What is the reason behind this?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is not clear where exactly the practise discontinued. In the ancient India from a long time women would use Janeyu. Goddesses Parvati and Gargi are shown wearing it. It is there in the scriptures as well. Somewhere the chain broke, but it will be revived.
Q. Even after listening to knowledge, if attachment with a person arises and if it is not fulfilled will I have to take another birth?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The grip of attachment is released with kripa(grace), kaal(time) and seva(service). Assume that you already have grace and give priority to time and service. It is not that all your attachments and desires will be fulfilled. Whatever is needed and good for you will be given. That which is unimportant, an illusion of the mind be discarded - this should be your prayer.
Q. How to increase the seva bhav(intention to serve)?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do not intend to increase the seva bhav. We assume that we lack the attitude of service and then try to increase it, so it doesn’t happen!
That is why we assume we have seva bhav in abundance . What stops you from doing seva is laziness. You can get rid of laziness by giving importance to the right diet and some exercise. Doing seva by yourself might seem difficult, so do it in a group. That is why it is said,
Ekastapasvi, dhwiradhyayi” -when you have to do adhyayan( Study), do it in a group. When you do tapas(penance), do it by yourself. Similarly, when you do seva, do it in a group. That leads to a rise in enthusiasm and is less tiring.
Q. How to attain mukti(liberation) while living in a household?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar  Even while living in a household, the desire for liberation arises, right? If the desire is there then liberation is not very far. Usually when we are tired of something we wish to be free from it. When you are filled with Divine love, then there is no desire for liberation nor sadness due to bondage.

(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

© The Art of Living Foundation

‘The Divine energy pervading the entire creation is eternally dancing’

What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today:
‘The Divine energy pervading the entire creation is eternally dancing’
India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), August 25:
Q. In the Bhagwad Geeta, Lord Krishna says, ‘Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya ...Sambhavami Yuge Yuge.’ Please elaborate on that.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : The atma shakti (power of the Self) that destroys the evil and preserves the satva (purity) appears again and again. When we say that God is compassionate, it is not just words but the truth. The expression of compassion has to happen. Creation showers compassion on society. At different times God comes in different names, forms and qualities.
It is there in all religions - Jews are waiting for their messiah. Christ said that He will return again. So, Christians are still waiting. Prophet Mohammed came and left. People are still waiting for Buddha and Krishna to return.
I would say, don’t waste time waiting. Explore the depth of your Being and you will realize that the Supreme Consciousness is not someone coming in the future but is here, now. Faith in this knowledge is the sign of a seeker on the spiritual path.
People fight in the name of God and the messiah. Feeling the presence of the Divine is the art of living.
Q. It is said that there is a different Veda (scripture) prescribed for every individual. What is the connection and how does it work?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : At one time, people had divided Vedas into branches. Each group chose a different branch and learnt them by heart to continue the practice and preserve the knowledge in its pure form.
‘Tripathi ‘was used as a title for someone who has mastered three Vedas. ‘Dwivedi‘was used for someone with knowledge of two Vedas and ‘Chaturvedi ‘for a master of the four Vedas. It was a title like MS and MD. One had to read at least one branch of the Vedas. There is a connection of Vedas with families but you can choose to study any.
Q. What does the symbol of Natraja signify?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Natraja is a very beautiful symbol of the union of nature and the Divine. Natraja holds fire in one hand, representing the fire element. A damru* in his other hand depicts the space element. Many forces in the universe are represented by a shape similar to that of a damru, like a chromosome, or shapes of galaxies and so on. Time also is said to have a conical representation. ∞ is the symbol (shape of the damru) which represents infinity.
Shiva’s hair is open and flying representing the air element. One foot on ground symbolizing prthvi (earth element), another in the air. One hand is the symbolic abhaya hasta offering protection and the other points to his feet symbolizing surrender. With one foot already in the air, he has already taken a step towards the devotee. He says “You are dear to me” even before beginning.
Even in the Bhagwad Geeta, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna - “You are very dear to me”. When you know that you are dear to someone, there is trust and love arises in the heart.
Shiva is dancing. Life should be like this. If both feet are stuck in the ground then you cannot dance. Even to walk you need to take one foot up.
The entire creation is full of bliss
The entire creation is dancing in bliss
The entire creation is longing for bliss
Natraja represents the Ananda Tattva ( bliss) that the whole world is longing for. Every atom in the world is filled with the potential for action yet it is at peace. Shiva, the principle of infinite peace and bliss is not inert. It is peaceful, yet dancing.
Underneath his feet, there is Apasmaar**. He is standing with his foot on top of desires. If desire eats us up then we are in trouble. Only when we rise above desires and we are dancing on it, then it is a dance of joy and bliss. This is not just imagination. This is the truth. This energy awakens within us and we rise in dance. This is true. The Divine energy pervading the entire creation is eternally dancing.
Q. Please explain about the Chidambara rahasya.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Chidambaram is the place of Shiva symbolizing the akash tattva (the principle of space). Space is formless. In the sanctum sanctorium of this temple, there is a veil. Beyond the veil there is nothing, empty space. We can only know the secret of Shiv tattva by going within.
There are three types of space that is described. Bhutakash – the physical body, Chittakash – thoughts and emotions and Chidakash – the vast, Supreme Consciousness. The life-force energy is awakened in the Chidakash. The secret of the Chidambara can only be experienced through self-effort on the spiritual path.

Q. What is the difference between Shiva and Krishna?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : There is no difference between Shiva and Krishna. The soul of Krishna is Shiva. When Shiva manifests in the world and expresses all the kalas (units of consciousness) is Krishna.
The Brahmakumaris say that Shiv baba gave the Bhagwad Geeta. This Song (Geeta) can arise only from the space of Shiva through the body of Krishna.
*a small conical musical instrument
**a demon representing ignorance
(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

© The Art of Living Foundation

'When action and meditation are balanced then life blossoms naturally'

What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today:
'When action and meditation are balanced then life blossoms naturally'
India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), August 20:

Q. How to live without expectations?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you know that joy from expectations is lesser than unexpected joy, that is sufficient. You need not try to achieve this, it happens effortlessly.

Q. What is atma (soul)?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Who is asking this? Because you have life, you are asking. Since you have a mind you are asking this question and since you have a body, the mind asks.
One way is neti neti ( I am not the body, I am not the mind). The other way is ‘I am all’ (I am the mind, I am the body, I am the life force). Atma (soul) is the ocean, the life force is the wave.
Who made this beautiful body? The atma has to create, sustain and destroy. Just like how the water becomes vapor, then forms a cloud. The cloud then gives rain. The power to move from the form to the formless is there in every cell.

Q. How to attain moksha (liberation)?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Through knowledge. If there is bondage, there is liberation. To be free from ignorance you need knowledge. The mind should turn inward. Silence takes the mind inward and helps to recognize ‘Who am I’.

Q. How to attain silence?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is why you have come here. As your interest grows then silence deepens. Knowing what is permanent and what is changing is viveka (discretion). Thoughts are changing but the knowledge (learning) is with us.
In a shop you buy a vessel. The vessel is permanent but not the milk, or the rice which you fill in it. Houses will stay but the people change. The people who built the Tanjore temple have gone but the stones remain.
In our life some things are permanent - love, vairagya (dispassion) are like this. Knowing this difference is viveka.

Q. What makes a habit good or bad?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you see those who smoke, are they in bliss? No, but if you tell them not to smoke, their face shows anger and hatred. There is no joy in smoking but there is sorrow without it - this is a bad habit.
Those practices which bring short term effort but long term happiness are good practices. Knowing this is viveka.

Q. It is said that women cannot study Vedas (scriptures). Why is it so?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: At some point of time some selfish people said this. Some Brahmins made this mistake. Women from all castes can studythe Vedas. But you must convey it properly. Traditionally, if the rituals we follow are useful, then continue them. If they are foolish, drop them.

Q. What is the importance of rangoli*?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : It is our practice. Keep clean, take bath, and make a rangoli. Those who come to see you, even before they enter your home, they see something beautiful. The environment looks beautiful. Little ants and insects enjoy the food that is used to make the rangoli. Look at the villages where the practice is not there - the roads look messy. These little practices energize the body also.

Q. Why is discipline so important?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Discipline brings freedom. When we have discipline in some areas, we have freedom in them too. Bhakti (devotion) is beyond this, it transcends this. You don’t need to practice discipline where there is devotion. You need discipline only for what is not close to your heart. You need discipline to exercise, not to play cricket. When we have a sankalpa (intention) and we do it, it is good for us. If we don’t do, nothing happens to God, only we feel the pinch sometimes.

Q. Can mantras change what astrologers predict?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Mantras have power. It is good to chant. That is not to say that what astrologers say is not true. We should practice dana (charity), yagna (vedic ritual) as good vibrations come to us then.

Q. What is karma? Why are some people happy, some poor etc?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You will understand the law behind all this, when you explore your depth.

Q. How to make this life blossom?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Life blossoms in rest. Two things are important in life- when we are in Nivriti (meditation), we have to see everything as ok and believe that it is all being done by God and He is watching over. When we do this, strength, wisdom and devotion increase and then Pravritti (action) comes up automatically.
When we come to Pravritti and see fault in everything, then we can correct it but if the fault-finding tendency stays forever then we get frustrated. Thus we need a balance of both - ‘It is ok’ and ‘It is not ok’. We should also have the strength to correct what is not ok.
Pravitti is knowing that if it is not correct, we can and will correct it. The belief that everything is ok, will be ok in the future and ‘I am ok the way I am’ is Nivriti.
When Pravitti and Nivriti are balanced, then life blossoms naturally.

Q. What is the purpose of dreams?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : There are five kinds of dreams:
1. Dreams in which old experiences repeat in the consciousness.
2. The ones that display your desires and fears.
3. Intuitive dreams - that foretell what is going to happen.
4. The dreams which are not related to you but to the place where you are sleeping. For instance, if you are sleeping in China you may see dreams in Chinese.
5. This type is the mixture of all the other types.
99 percent of the dreams that you have belong to the fifth category, so it is wise not to give much importance to them. The wise believe this world itself to be a dream. Whatever we experience through the sense organs is the impression of the world on us. What you did a few hours ago is just like a dream in the present moment. It’s a memory. There is not much difference between a memory and a dream.

*Traditional colorful floor decorations

(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

‘When one rests in awareness, it is called Samadhi’

What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today
India, (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), Aug. 19, 2009:
Q. Do ratnas (stones) have an effect on us?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, everything in the world affects every other thing but the power of the mind and mantra is the greatest.

Q. In the Hindu religion, there are stories that are difficult to interpret and seem senseless. Your explanation of the Ganpati story yesterday had great depth. Could you speak more on such stories?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Firstly, people should know about symbols. It is said that there are millions of Gods and Goddesses in India. In other countries it is said that God is One. In the Indian culture, we talk of families of God. A Goddess is depicted as riding a tiger, Gods have children and there are disputes amongst Gods and Goddesses. For an argumentative mind such depictions are difficult to accept.
God is Sat Chit Anand (Truth, Consciousness and Bliss). He has five karmas (actions) – Srishti (Creation), Sthiti (Preservation), Samhara (Destruction), Anugrah (Blessing) and Tirdhana (Veiling).

He is everywhere yet not visible. Just like air is everywhere but we feel it only when the fan is switched on or when wind blows.

Rishis (sages) say that there are many levels of creation. Gold is one but we can make so many different things out of it. Similarly with wheat, you can make bread as well as chapatti.
Just like that, One God displays itself in many names and forms, one Omkar is present in Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Operator) and Mahesh (Destroyer).
When a single ray of sunlight falls on a drop of water, we see all the seven colors of a rainbow!

Before Creation, the Operator was there. Vishnu was present before Brahma. For instance, grass is present in creation and then the goat comes, a mother develops milk before she gives birth otherwise the creation won’t sustain! The Polar bear sleeps for six months and develops hunger only after the grass has sprung up.
Vishnu is depicted as resting in a lying down posture. The Master of the Creation is resting since the task of maintenance is so easy for him. This does not mean that man can afford to sleep all the time. Vishnu’s sleep is different- he is sleeping on a bed of snake, which is symbolic of heightened awareness. When one rests in awareness it is called Yog Nidra (yogic sleep) or Samadhi (Meditation)
In a human body, the navel is the center of gravity. Brahma, the Creator, emerges from a lotus risen from Vishnu’s navel.
It was only when Newton and Einstein rested that they could make new inventions. Newton rested under a tree and he received the knowledge of gravity as an apple fell on his head. When Archimedes was in the bath tub, he got the idea that he was looking for since a long time.
India knew about the Gurutvakarshan shakti (gravitational force) thousands of years before Newton discovered it.

The knowledge that the whole world is round was present in the ancient Khagoal Vigyan (orbital sciences including rotation, revolution).
Our ancestors had this knowledge that’s why they kept the Sun in the middle. In the most ancient temples which are around 2,000 years old, you will find that the Sun God is in the middle looking towards the East and all the other planets are kept around Him.
Nowadays, it is taught that Galileo discovered that the earth is round. That was just a few hundred years ago but our ancestors knew about this from thousands of years.
Today, the scientists say that in creative people the solar plexus inside the navel is bigger than usual. When the navel blossoms, one becomes creative. In ancient India, they represented this as Brahma being born through Vishnu’s navel.
Brahma, the Creator has four faces. This shows that he gains knowledge from all the four directions.
One drop of semen and an egg alone creates the entire human body. From just one anu (atom) different organs of the human body - nails, hair, ears etc are formed and even the texture of skin is different throughout.
So that One has the intention and capability to be varied. Similarly, in one God many God and Goddesses can be formed.
One human DNA has all the living beings in it, which means we can create all the living beings on the planet right from a lizard to an elephant from a single drop of the human saliva.
So this is the power in a one drop of chromosome. This itself is God. The whole creation is filled with God.
The Sanatan Dharma is very close to the modern science. When you listen to great scientists you feel as if you are listening to Vedanta.
Even if one animal is missing from this world, the balance of the creation will be disrupted. So we need all the beings. You cannot see the Devi Shakti (energy) but this devi shakti rides a tiger as its vehicle.
The peacock has the vibrations of Kartikey Swami, who is depicted as having a peacock as His vehicle. Yet that does not mean that to worship Kartikey Swami, we need to get hold of a peacock.
God is present in every atom of the creation, not just the outside world but within our body as well. That is why before worshipping, we start with invoking the energies within our own body.
Devo Bhuvata, Devo Bhuje – Be immersed in God and worship Him.
The weapons in the Gods’ hands have a deeper meaning. It is very easy to simply say that the ancient man was a coward so he placed all the weapons in Gods’ hands. Such an interpretation is the imagination of a fearful man. This is wrong. Do some research, go deep in knowledge, then you will feel amazed at the minds of the people who created the Puranas.
God-Goddesses are within us, are our very own so they showed human flaws of anger, jealousy etc in them as well. So that you don’t feel guilty when such emotions arise in you. The purpose of the Puranas was to bring you closer to God. Thus stories were created for the purpose of joy, entertainment, knowledge and science.
In Hindi the word ‘Purana’ means old whereas in Sanskrit, it means completely new, ultra modern.
(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

© The Art of Living Foundation

A promise made in ignorance has no importance

India, (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), Aug. 17, 2009:

Q. What is the benefit of Mantra japa?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Mantra japa definitely benefits you. Mantra increases mental power and energy. The seed mantra 'Omkar' is common in all Indian religions- whether it is Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism or Sikhism. You may chant Om Namah Shivaye.

Q. Duty whether towards the parents or God is equal for everyone. But why do only Brahmans wear Janeyu*?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Janeyu was a symbol representing that one has three kinds of responsibility- towards one's parents, guru and the society. Janeyu was there to remind one of his duties. Then after marriage it would be doubled, symbolizing the duty towards the wife as well. This is how it was- it was meant for everyone whether Brahman or Kshatriyas. But somewhere down the line the practice got discontinued. One should keep alive the intention of taking responsibility in one's heart, wearing janeyu alone is not sufficient.

Q. Guruji you arrive and the entire atmosphere changes. What can we do to achieve the same?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is your responsibility to transform the atmosphere wherever you go. You can do it too. By doing meditation and practices, our body produces such vibrations that everybody around us gets the benefit, not just us alone.

Q. It must have taken Krishna three hours to give the knowledge of The Bhagwad Geeta to Arjuna. What were the others doing all this while?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is said that it took a lot of time to recite The Bhagwad Geeta but what Krishna told Arjuna while giving the knowledge of The Geeta, for that it did not take that long. He gave the knowledge through his vision (drishti) and it started manifesting within Arjuna. Time is unbounded. To recall what you did in the last five years, won't take you five years. It will take you less than half an hour.
Similarly, there is no time in consciousness.
The knowledge in our consciousness is beyond time. So to recall and remember that, does not require time.

Q. How to attain the power of vision that Sanjay had in The Mahabharata?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By being centred. When you experience the depth of meditation then naturally you get knowledge. There is no effort involved, no roting of scriptures is required.

Q. How much should you trust a person? If someone breaks your trust what is to be done?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Educate them and forget about it.

Q. I made a promise to someone but now I know that it was not right. How do I get out of my promise?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If the promise you made gives peace to someone then you must fulfil it. If it causes pain both, to you and the other person then just move on. A promise made in ignorance has no importance.

Q When will India have a good government and when will we be free from terrorism?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All of you take interest in that, usually people say that once you are in the spiritual world you should not get into politics at all, it is not like that. You should work towards providing justice to the society. Atheism and communism increased in our country because the spiritual people did not work against the injustice. They kept quiet.
Therefore, people lost their faith. In big states like Tamil Nadu, atheism spread because of the inaction on the part of the believers. There was a lot of injustice that happened against the dalits but the spiritual, religious people did not do anything.

Q. In Sanskrit, each word has the meaning hidden in itself. So what is the meaning of Akshar?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Akshar means something that cannot be destroyed. Rice is also called Akshat because it cannot be destroyed. You eat rice and it transforms into the life energy and that leads to jeev (being) which again leads to life energy. It is always there in the body. That is why even a grain of rice is not destroyed.
In physics it is said that an atom can never be destroyed. Our ancestors brought this truth to light millions of years ago. Then they said that not even a grain is destroyed. It may lose its form but is never destroyed. Shar means destruction. Akshar means that which cannot be destroyed. Like a seed we sow is never destroyed, it takes different forms and exists in space. Its vibrations are never destroyed.

Q. How to be an instrument of the grace of the Guru (Gurukripa)?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By being more grateful. The one who is always complaining gets a little away from the Grace. When we are grateful for whatever God has given us, then we never lack anything and the grace continues forever.

Q. Even after doing Seva, Sadhna and Satsang regularly why does doubt arise in the mind?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Our doubt is always about the good thing. We don't doubt someone's dishonesty but his honesty. If someone is honest we question if he is really honest. We don't ask is he really dishonest? We don't doubt a thief, we doubt a good man. Then we doubt the existence of God.

*White string worn around the body

(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar)

‘Till love gets transformed into devotion, there is no satisfaction’

What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today
‘Till love gets transformed into devotion, there is no satisfaction’
India, (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), Aug. 14, 2009:
This knowledge sheet was given on the occasion of Janmashtami (Festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna)
We are celebrating lord Krishna’s 5139st birthday. He lived for 125 years. Krishna is not a vyakti (person) but shakti (energy). Krishna says: ‘People think I am in the human form, but I am ananta shakti (that energy which has no end). Those who see Me in others and others in Me are never far away from me. I will be with them always.’
All navarasas were present in Krishna. Krishna was poorna kala avataran (a complete incarnation).
Krishna is consciousness. The purpose of celebration is to realize that Krishna is in me and not different.
In the Bhagwat Geeta, Lord Krishna says, “One who sees everyone in Me and sees Me in everyone, for such a person, I shall never remain hidden and he shall never be far from me.”
Lord Krishna’s life has all the nine rasas (flavors). For instance, he was naughty like a child, a warrior, joy personified and a source of knowledge.
He was a perfect friend and guru. There never was and never will be a friend like Krishna.

To awaken the Krishna in our consciousness is the right way of celebrating Janmashtami.
‘Krishna is not far from me, not separate from me, he is within me’: this feeling will fill your life with Krishna.

To understand Krishna become Radha or Arjuna or Uddhava.
Three kinds of people seek refuge in God. The lover, the miserable and the wise. Uddhava was wise, Arjuna was miserable and Radha was love. So all are good. Arjuna was not saddened for himself but for the whole world. To be saddened for humanity is the dharma (duty) of a human. So when this pain for humanity is awakened in the heart and you don’t know what to do and what not to - then your life is filled with Krishna.

On the battlefield, Krishna tells Arjuna to become a Yogi. Krishna is also addressed as Yogeshwar (God of Yoga).
Follow what Krishna said, “See everyone in Me and see Me in everyone” and become a yogi.

Don’t be afraid of anything, be useful for everyone.
Krishna never scolded Arjuna, he did not let him feel guilty at all. He always uplifted Arjuna.
He reminded Arjuna that all the virtues are within him already. He did not need to work towards achieving them.

Krishna was born at midnight, when everyone was sleeping. When all the senses sleep, then the knowledge of the self is awakened. This can be interpreted spiritually. Deh (body) is Devaki*, Prana (life energy) is Vasudev*. When body and life energy unite, then the bliss that is born out of the union is called Nandlala**.

When Krishna was born, all the guards fell asleep. Guards represent the senses and bliss is beyond the senses. The jail represents the body and the river Yamuna, love. It rose to touch the feet of the little Krishna. This means that the love was so intense it could not refrain itself from touching the feet of the Lord.

Till love gets transformed into devotion, there is no satisfaction. So when love happens with a thing, person or situation - it is not fulfilling. However, love reaches its peak when it experiences the touch of the Divine.

The story has an amazing meaning behind it. That’s why our ancestors did not restrict a story to time and place- this is a forever continuing to flow, its happening everyday.

This is the essence of the Bhagwat.

*Devaki, Vasudev – Krishna’s parents
**Nandlala – another name for Krishna
(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)
© The Art of Living Foundation

‘Protect the mind with knowledge’

What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today:

‘Protect the mind with knowledge’

India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), August 10

Q. Could you please explain the five elements?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The whole world is made up of the five elements. Honoring the earth element means that we don't pollute the earth with plastic, poisonous fertilizers and chemicals. It means that we are environment conscious.
Honoring water does not mean putting flowers into water. There is a shortage of clean drinking water. First, we pollute water and then water pollutes the earth. In the last century, people did not know anything about soaps. In this country (India), people used only charcoal ashes, soapnut powder to clean vessels. They would use turmeric and many other herbal elements, which are bio-degradable.

There is a great tradition of honoring rivers. The river does not want you to offer flowers or fruits. This is not the way to do pooja (worship). Also by putting sewage or garbage into rivers, how can you say that you are doing pooja? Pooja means honoring and you can only do full honour once you stop dumping sewage, garbage, plastic into the rivers.
Nowhere in the scriptures is it said that you have to put flowers or fruits into the river. Of course, one way of honoring is with flowers and they are bio-degradable. However you have to stop dumping garbage.

A few years ago you could directly drink from a river. Today, no river is fit for drinking even from a hundred kilometers away from its source. Earlier even thousand kilometers away from its source, the river water was fit for drinking. We are pouring so much industrial waste into the rivers. This is not honoring the jal tatva (water element). The five elements are part of the creation. You have to honor this beautiful creation and sustain it.

Then there is the air element. We need to have clean energy. We have provided smokeless stoves in the villages of Maharashtra, which have been very successful.
Then there is the space element. This is very abstract. You cannot catch space. When you save your mind from negativity, you are filling the space with joy. Then the air around becomes like that. You can create a space of mistrust, anger, greed, jealousy and selfishness. Or you could create a space of fun, joy, confidence, and coherence. You could create an accommodating space around you. If we always speak negatively about all mistakes, then there is nowhere on earth you can really survive. Everybody is imperfect. When we try to see perfection in others, then we forget to see our own imperfection. Protect the space, save the mind at any cost.

Q. There are many things in my life which I think are not ok. I don’t know what to do about these things.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you say, ‘It’s not ok, its not ok’, the seed of ‘not ok’ is un-abling your mind to relax. When do you go to bed? When everything is ok, when there is comfort. When you are hanging on to the discomfort, how can you ever be comfortable? You have to accept things as they are. ‘It’s not ok, it’s not ok’ keeps you all outside. Those imperfections are there for a cause or purpose. It is going to be ok, it will take some time.

Things are ok the way they are now,
They will be ok in the future
Whatever happened in the past was ok.

When you understand this, you relax and in that relaxation you can meditate. When you want to retire, its nivriti but when you want to come out (of rest) its pravritti. Then you can act. When you are tired but you are hanging on to what is not ok - then you cannot retire. When you have to chill out, what do you say? ‘Everything is perfect,’ otherwise you can’t chill, you can’t act! It is neither pravritti, nor nivriti.

Dhyan yoga is nivriti, Karma yoga is pravritti. Most people are hanging onto the ‘not ok’ and are unable to relax, to enjoy life, to chill, to be creative. They are holding onto the seed of ‘not ok’. That person, this situation, the government, the administration - everything is not ok. Then it comes to you - I am not ok. Subtly, it reflects on you that you are not OK. Then you don't like that feeling and to cover that up, you make up many justifications and the mind is all confused.
If tamogun is too much, you don't know the pravritti or the nivriti. When there is Satva, then we know what to act, when to act, whether to act or not.
When Rajogun prevails then its half way through - you regret and act. Many of us act because we regret. Mother scolds her child, regrets it and then becomes nice.
In Satva, you don't regret, you retire and relax, there is clarity.

In Rajogun, there is confusion and chaos.
In Tamogun, there is total inertia and lethargy.
There is no strict border between the three gunas. It is very fluid, one flows into another.

Q. How do we protect our mind?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is a big job. In the Geeta it is said, even the most brilliant people are confused about what to do and what not to and how to handle the mind. Protecting the mind is a very great task but do it with knowledge. Upto this moment, see all that has happened so far. This Moment. It’s all gone! Finished.
Wake up.
When you are full of energy, prana, you suddenly see it’s all gone. Now! All that happened is ok. Think about what to do now. Sometimes 100 percent of what you do will be successful, sometimes not. A farmer knows that not every seed that he sows, will sprout. He takes the seeds and throws them in the field and does not worry that this seed will sprout, this won't.

From now on, it’s a new chapter. Everyday is a new chapter. Bring up this awareness again and again. The whole world is filled with my atma (soul) – it’s all Me. It’s one chetna (Consciousness). This one consciousness works through one person in one way, through another person in another way. It is one ocean with many waves.
If this vision comes to you even for just five seconds then there will be such a major transformation in your body and mind. Then a realization will spring in you ‘Aho!’

All worries are washed off. Just for a second, recognize that it’s only Me in my enemy. I myself have started the Game. Understand this but don't turn it into a mood making. Have this understanding only in the nivriti not in the pravritti mode. If we bring advaita (non-duality) in vyavahar (behavior), we only create more bhrama (delusion). In pravritti, see duality.
Taking up of the human form is impossible without pravritti. How much pravritti and nivriti one should have is a very sensitive matter. When there is more pravritti, then one becomes too negative and one is asked to be in nivriti.

In India, dand (punishment) is called shiksha(education). The word saja(punishment) comes from shiksha (education). Earlier, they would not punish someone out of anger but out of compassion. When there would be too much pravritti in someone they would put him in a room (jail) providing food, sleep and rest. Like a doctor puts people in hospital when the body is sick, when our kritya is sick then the karta (doer) is put in jail.

When you have both pravritti and nivriti you are successful.

(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

© The Art of Living Foundation

'Spiritual essence unites the hearts and minds of people'

What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today:

“Spiritual essence unites the hearts and minds of people.” said Sri Sri as he embarked on a ‘Spiritual Awakening Tour’ in Tamil Nadu from Aug. 2-10. Temple visits, tour of the Pancha Maha Bhootha Sthalas (temples that epitomize the Five elements), prayers and meditations were part of the tour.

Excerpts of What Sri Sri Ravishankar spoke at some of the different temples:

EKAMBARNATH, Kancheepuram
In Sanskrit, the world is called Prapancha. Prapancha means five elements in various permutations and combinations. The lord of the universe is here, is the dominating earth element.

Watch the video

Kalahasti is the Vayu Stala, the sacred spot of the wind element. Whatever desires you have in this place, will be fulfilled. People do abhishek (offering) here for all these five elements, by offering water and flowers.
When you leave from here, you go with a peaceful and happy mind.

Watch the video

BALAJI, Tirupati
Here, we pray for global peace and kshema (well-being and prosperity).
We crossed seven hills to visit Tirupati. In our body too, there are seven mountains. The seven chakras in the body are seven mountains, each chakra is like a mountain. Therefore, the master of the seven chakras, seven mountains is the Almighty.

When we are following Bhakti Marga, Gyana Marga and Karma Marga (the different paths of Yoga – devotion, knowledge and action), life becomes prasanna (blissful).

Watch the video

The fire element symbolizes knowledge. It also symbolizes lust. From the fire of lust, the element gets transformed into the fire of knowledge.
And that is the whole aim or purpose of human life. We are born out of fire - the fire of lust. We cannot simply remain in that state. We have to rise to the fire of awareness, knowledge.

This phrase is often used: Anbe Shivam which means love is Shiva, and Shiva means love. They are not two. The fools say love and Shiva are separate. The intelligent know love and Shiva are one.

Watch the video

(These were glimpses. Watch this space for the complete talks.)

(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

© The Art of Living Foundation

‘Don't fear’

What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today: Aug. 1

Q. There is insecurity at the workplace and a lot of tension about office assignments. Even when I am at the satsang, I am thinking about office. Why is it so?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ok, tell me have you been stressed before- were you stressed last year? You have lived through it, you didn’t die! Look back at your life- so many times you have gone through stress. Remember all that you have gone through and this will seem small in comparison. Have a look at yourself, you will understand that you have experienced this before. Don’t fear.

Q. In the Ashtavakra Geeta (an ancient scripture which documents the dialogue between Sage Ashtavakra and King Janaka), Sage Ashtavakra gives a lot of knowledge to Janaka but doesn’t clearly answer his question about what is real and unreal. Please explain.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are some questions that cannot be answered in words. Ashtavakra answered Janaka in silence.

(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

© The Art of Living Foundation

"Wherever there is duality(Dvet), there will be a dilemma "

What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today:

India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), July 30

Q. I am not in control of my mind. I am afraid becoming a teacher is taking me away from naturalness, humbleness. What should I do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is a prayer more than a question. Prayers will always be answered but not in words.

Q. Despite awareness I am not being able to do whats right because I lack will power. What must I do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : If you think I have no will power, you will never have it. You have locked your own hands, put a label on your forehead that you are weak.
Invoke the valour in you, take a pledge. You have all the force available for you when you need it. You have all the strength and energy.
If someone were to tell you that if you do pranayama for thirty days you would get one million dollars. You will not miss a single day. You may forego sleep, food but not the pranayama. Greed can bring in that power within. Similarly fear- if someone says you would fall sick if you don't do pranayama, you would not miss it.
Love, fear, greed- any one is good to increase will power.
To know intellectually what is good and should be done, you may take it easily and remain in your comfort zone.
Then will power goes down. So enhance your valour or love something with all your heart. Dedication to the cause, fear or greed- these can increase your will power.
Egoistic people are much better than other people because egoistic people have a sense of valour. It is easy to make them commit, get out of lethargy.
People with no ego have lot of love, surrender, its easy for them. Someone who has neither ego, nor valour, nor love, nor devotion, nor greed has no will power. Either become greedy or fearful. But these are very low category. Other one is enhance the love, surrender, true knowledge and enhance your valour.

Q. What is it about praise that even if it is false it makes us elated and happy and criticism even if real, pulls us down? Is it vanity?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This much realisation, you are already out of it!

Q When I get angry, I feel lot of energy and burnt inside. If I let it out I loose complete balance. What can I do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Do bhastrika that time.

Q. When I am in silence or otherwise, a voice in my head keeps talking. The more I ignore it, the more it stays. Is it a normal phenomena?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Talk to your teacher and ayurveda doctor. If too much words going in the head, there is pitta imbalance, vata derangement. When there is too much impurity in the system then such things happen. You can go for panchkarma

Q. What is character?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Character is that which you expect from others - faithful, loyal, integrated. Do you want others to keep their word? How do you feel if they don't? Character is that, 'do not do unto others what you would not want others to do unto you'. Character is that which is solid, strong, stable and makes you and other happy.

Q. I have feelings of absolute isolation and find myself alone among friends. There is no feeling of belongingness.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Do not sit and worry about feelings. They keep changing. Who cares? Why bother? One minute you feel very good, the other moment you feel bad. Put your life energy into some useful, social work, commitment, some direction. Bring some result in the world. You may suddenly feel good, suddenly very bad. The world doesn't care for your feelings nor does God. The Nature, world will ask you what have you done?

Q. There are problems in my life, to which I know the solution. How to apply that knowledge with a smile?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Keep immersing in knowledge, you don't have to apply it, it applies itself. Remind yourself of the knowledge. Focus on the knowlede, don't get entangled in the people around you. Satsang is to be in touch with the inner being. Instead you start judging, having different types of interaction with people, this is not satsang.

Q. Why are there so many hurdles at every stage on the spiritual path.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:  No, No. No its not hurdles, it is making your path more interesting. Its like flowing water, little pebbles create beautiful sound and sight, making it all the more beautiful. There are no obstacles in this path, just a fun in the path. Move over it, don't get stuck.

Q. What is the difference between knowledge and love? Should I be a Gyani( Wise) or Premi(Lover)
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What is the difference between head and the heart? Should a person be heady or hearty? Do you watch television or listen to it first. Mind and heart both together make a human being. Mind looks for new, fresh and latest. Heart wants old- Preet Puraani (Ancient love). Life is a combination of the two. Science and knowledge, love and devotion- all are required. And you have all of these. Now you are asking as a jigyasu(curious for knowledge). You have love that is why you are accepting the answer. If there was no love for knowledge you wouldn't ask or won't accept the answer. These are like four legs of a chair- pull one and all three come along. Similary, Yog, Karma, Gyan, Bhakti, Dhyan - all are legs of a table.
When Arjuna was confused, he asked Krishna “sometimes you praise the path of Karma, sometimes gyan, sometimes bhakti- tell me one I am confused.” Krishna says those who are unwise think of the paths as different, the wise know it is One. Just practice one, others come along. If you do seva(service) very well, you get the same merit as from dhyaan(meditation) or gyaan(knowledge)

Q. How can one balance between, household duties, business and seva(service)
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : How do you balance a bike? When you fall more to the left you bend right and when you are falling more to the right, you bend left.There is no theory, you just do it. It automatically balances. It pinches one if he doesn't do seva at all and is always bothered about himself. If you are in your senses it will pinch you otherwise one is not human. If you are not touched by others' misery then you are not human but stone. Similarly, if one is only into social service, then also it bothers.

Q. It is said that everyone's future is already decided. It is planned by the Divine. If this is true, then what is the need of Karma(action)
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Everything is happening, your karma too is happening, what is the need of an answer. Suppose I don't give an answer. When you are hungry, what is the need of Karma, sit, let it happen. Everyday hunger comes up , so whats the point! Sit quietly. Can you? This is useless brooding. Man cannot live without work- either a good deed or misdeed. If God doesit, then God is suffering, where do you come in between?
If God made you steal, then God came as police - what is the complaint? God told you to eat twenty rasgulla(a sweet), then God will have the pain and God will come as doctor.
Where are you different from God. The understanding that everything is God's is a very big thing. Then the mind silences and such nonsense questions don't arise. Till then, they will arise.

Q. Guruji, you said tear is ego. In front of you- uncontrollable tears come up. What to do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : No, No, this is different tears. There are many types of tears- like crocodile, then salty, sweet ones are of gratitude, love. Angels long for it. It is very good- the mind is healed and purified.

Q There are dilemmas in life and I lack decision making power. What should be done?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Wherever there is duality(Dvet), there will be a dilemma . Whenever you are in daily activities(vyavahar), there will be dilemma. There is no choice, accept it.

Q. Can the liver, eyes be donated after death?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Yes, you can donate them, there is no sin in this, neither will you face any problem in heaven. Instead it will increase you prospects in heaven. You can definitely donate them.

© The Art of Living Foundation