What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today
‘Keep your mind peaceful’
India (Art of Living, International Center, Bangalore), September 10:
Q. If mukti (liberation) is our nature then why are we in bondage?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Who says mukti is our nature? Our nature is bliss. Love and enjoyment can put you in bondage, if it is devoid of knowledge. With knowledge, the same love, the same enjoyment leads you to the experience of liberation.
Liberation and bondage go together. If there is liberation, there will be bondage and vice-versa. Liberation is valued because of bondage. If there is no bondage, what is there to be liberated from?
Similarly we can be liberated, that is why we experience bondage. With the desire for liberation we come to know that we are in bondage. If the desire for liberation has not risen then you will not even come to know of bondage.
Q. Sometimes while doing seva I lose interest. How to avoid this and what could be the reason for this?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Live life with moderation and balance. When you try to avoid the situation, it persists. Upanishads say tat vananeeta upasita , worship the Lord as if He is a forest. A forest has everything - tiger, sheep, cow, parrot, crow, flowers and thorns.
It is always in balance. We never see imbalance in a forest. It is complete in itself, it is pure and there is place for everybody in it. Worship the Divine like He is a forest, with fullness and equanimity.
Similarly in life, there is happiness sometimes and sometimes, sorrow. When one tries to escape from a situation then it persists. Thus, there is the first principle of the Art of Living, accept people and situations as they are. This is the path of nivriti – when you have to establish within yourself. When we are established within ourselves, then our capabilities, strengths, intellect and enthusiasm to work increases.
When all this is risen, then return to pravritti (action) and work with awareness and enthusiasm. Not only with awareness or enthusiasm.
Life is a combination of pravritti and nivriti.
Q. What is jeevan mukta awastha, the state of liberation from life?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A state where the four desires- jeeveshna, lokeshna, vitteshna and putreshna end or dissolve. That is jeevan mukta awastha. Dying while alive, experiencing that I am not there. The enjoyment and happiness in this state cannot be put in words.
Q. I wish to surrender all my powers. Help me to have a vision of the Infinite (Brahma Darshan).
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Brahma ka darhan nahi hota hai, Brahma hi toh darshan karta hai - the Infinite cannot be seen as it is the Infinite that sees. The seer is Brahma. Do not try to have a vision of it, just be at peace. Surrender the desire and be at peace.
Do that which has to be done, leave that which has to be left and be at peace. Be at peace before doing something and be at peace after doing something. Anyhow keep your mind peaceful.
Q. Can we achieve a goal within time? Please tell a way so that we may achieve a hundred percent result.H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a sukti in Sanskrit - Kriya siddi bhavati mahta, kriya siddhi bhavati satve mahta . An act is perfected by satva. The higher the satvaguna rises in us, an act is achieved easily and without hurdles. When rajoguna and tamoguna are increased, then it takes longer to complete a work.
Thus, to increase the satva, follow a satvic diet, meditate, do satsang, pranayama and yoga. With all this, sadbuddhi (good sense) is developed.
Q. I want to quit addiction to intoxicants and have come to you with a lot of hope.H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good. You have come to the right place. If you wish to get rid of a bad habit then there are only three ways for it.
The first is your love for knowledge, the Divine or some dear one - whether parents or Guru. By promising some dear one that you will quit the habit you will be able to get rid of it. This is the best way out.
The second way is greed. If you will not consume intoxicants for six months then you will get ten million rupees or that your luck will shine and you will succeed in everything. The third is fear - if one day you do consume intoxicants, then you will suffer a loss of one million or you will have to suffer from a major ailment.
If such a greed or fear enters you, even then you will be rid of your addiction.
Along with these three ways, do yoga and pranayama. The best is that along with yoga and sadhana (spiritual practices), you take a vow that you will not indulge in addictions. Take a vow for forty days, then six months and then a year. After that, you would have come out of the habit and won’t look back at it.
Q. No matter how much I try, I end up running after the Divine. Is this devotion or lack of self respect?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, no one can take away your self-respect. Yet it is seen that devotees sometimes go so mad with love that they forget everything else! I would say fine, you have ran enough. Now sit at one place. Look within yourself. When you will look within yourself, then the Divine will run after you. Not only the Divine, but the whole world will run after you! Relax and be at peace and do as much seva as you can.
Q. How does the Divine look so lovable and beautiful?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Look within yourself, you are no less!
Jaisa drishti, waisa srithti. Jaisa nazar waisa nazaare, nazariya. As is the vision, so is the world. Only a jeweler can know a jewel. Only the one who is beautiful can recognize beauty. Only those who are lovable will recognize love not everyone. But everyone has the capacity. If everyone recognizes what is within (the love and beauty) then the whole world seems Satyam, Shivam Sundaram. In the whole world the blissful consciousness will be seen.
Q. How to maintain consistency in whatever good work one does?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: After this (inconsistency) happens sometimes, then you get the answer as well. You come to realize that this should be done and it feels good to do it.
You did something good and then left it. Leaving it gave you a pinch. Then you resumed it and then left it again. Two, three times when you feel the pinch, you understand that it (the good) should not be stopped. If we do not learn from our mistakes, we will never learn from someone telling us. Your own mistake can teach you more than listening to lectures for hours. What you learn from your mistake is permanent, the rest is just what you have heard.
So it is alright if you make a mistake, but do not keep on repeating the same mistake again and again. Then you have not learnt anything! Make new mistakes but don’t repeat the old ones. Learn from it and move on.
Q. Why is it that doing something wrong is easier than doing the right thing?H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Is it? I thought to do a wrong deed, requires a lot of effort. See if you like something very much then all your energies go into that direction. Is it easy to slap someone? I don’t think so, I find it very difficult. If you think it is very easy to call someone names then it would be because of an old habit. A lot of people cannot use bad words, even if they wish to.
We have to bring a transformation within ourselves and bring in human values in our life. Make an attempt for it. Even if you try and do a good action, its result will be good. Even if someone does a wrong action very easily, its result would be very bad.
Q. If the soul is hollow and empty then how are impressions formed on it?H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are no impressions on the soul. Impressions are formed on the mind which is linked with the consciousness. The consciousness covers the soul. Only that covering has the impressions.
No fragrance or smell sticks to space but only in the space within the vessel. For instance, if garlic is kept in a pot, its smell will be there even after the garlic is removed. That is because of the empty space inside the pot.
Similarly, all the impressions are formed on the gross and subtle body not on the pure consciousness. The pure consciousness is like space.
Q. Please explain how is it possible for me to give my hundred percent and yet not be feverish?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You forget about feverishness now and just give your hundred percent.
(From the office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)
© The Art of Living Foundation