What H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankarsaid today
India (Art of Living International Centre, Bangalore), September 1:
Q. Each one of us has a message for the world, but maya (delusion) covers it. How to uncover that message?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When we are peaceful, free of attachment, our message to the world will come on its own.
Q. What is the importance of sankalpa (intention) and how to strengthen it? Does the world move on sankalpa?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The mind is full of sankalpa and vikalpa (imagination, fancy). Each work gets done through sankalpa. Even the act of moving our arm is preceded by the sankalpa in the mind. If twenty sankalpas arise in the mind then nothing gets done. When the mind is peaceful and restful then our sankalpa is powerful.
The sankalpa of a weak mind is weak and that of strong mind is strong.
We can make our mind strong by sadhana (spiritual practices) and knowledge. Then the sankalpa will also be strong. The wise makes one sankalpa in fifty days whereas the ignorant makes fifty in a day.
Q. If opposite values are complementary, then am I good or bad or am I both?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Why do you put a labels of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ on yourself? Take it off and be natural, be at peace. When we assume a negative quality as our own, we feel guilty and when we assume a positive quality as our own, then we become proud. Both of these are signs of being mentally unhealthy.
Surrender both the negative and positive qualities to the Divine.
A person who is surrendered will be good. Surrender brings focus and character in life. Without the development of these two, life is directionless.
Even a little bit of sacrifice helps an individual to blossom. Without sacrifice, the glow does not come up. Sacrifice does not lead to a long, sorrowful face. Renunciates are joyful, whereas the kami (one filled with desires) feels burdened and sad.
Unburdening the Self is surrender, is sadhana.
Q. Is one hour of daily sadhana sufficient for being established in the self (atmasakshatkar)?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Twenty four hours is not sufficient and even ten minutes or just two minutes of total samadhi (meditation) is enough. Sadhana is not samay saapeksh (bound to time). Make your entire life sadhana but don’t turn this into an excuse for not doing sadhana. Also, don’t think that the one hour of sadhana you have done is enough and for the rest of the time you may do as you please.
Q. I am centred on the Divine, yet there is restlessness, though on the outside everything seems perfect.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In every seeker’s life there comes a time when the heart is at unease, and there is restlessness. In the West, it is known as the “dark day of the soul”. There comes a time when satvik shakti (positive energy) is less and rajogun and tamogun are high, that leads to the restlessness. There are three kinds of taap (penance) and one such taap is known as adhyatmic taap (spiritual misery). Yet it is for a short while. Therefore satsang is very important, especially when you don’t feel like doing it.
Once in twelve years a lack in spirituality comes up. There will arise a doubt on the self, the path and the Guru. This is what the Scriptures say.
Therefore the Kumbh festival takes place once in twelve years and all the saints get together to clear all their sins. This tradition is very old.
A place where seekers do satsang and where Vedas are recited - kalyuga* never comes there.
Q. What is the importance of the understanding of the effect of time when doing some work?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Astrology is called the eye of knowledge but you cannot rely on today’s astrologers. Don’t run after astrology. It is a field of knowledge, shastra (traditional science) and is true, yet the everyday forecasts are not taken seriously by anyone. Sadhana is effective and powerful. Shivji is Mahakaal (One who destroys time). Whatever is the kaal (time) just say Om Namah Shivaya, as it contains all the five elements and there is nothing outside of it. This is a very powerful mantra.
When you chant, do not imagine Shiva with bhasma (ash) all over his body and a trident in his hand, that is just the imagination of a painter. Shiva is the Chaitanaya Tattva (consciousness), our soul, present all over, it is an energy field.
Do you know why we apply bhasma on the forehead? There are three kinds of mites on our forehead, unique to every individual like the thumb imprint. To keep the mites in their area, we put three lines on the forehead.
An experiment in Russia revealed that a place which was covered with gobar (cow dung) or had Agnihotra bhasm (ash from the Vedic ritual of Agnihotra), was less affected by the radiation from the Chernobly disaster.
In ancient times, sandalwood paste or ash was applied on the forehead to prevent the effect of radiation since the head is a sensitive place. The ash would also keep the mind cool.
Also, putting ash on the skin was a reminder that the skin that we see today will turn into ashes tomorrow. With this knowledge one cannot do any wrong.
The end of life is in ashes - if this is remembered then no mistakes will be made. Others are also going to turn to ashes - this realization can cleanse the system of all the negative emotions. Dispassion arises and anger, jealousy etc dissolve.
The reason for the tradition was wonderful. Today people know nothing behind bhasma, but apply it out of pride. To understand the underlying meaning is important.
Q. I feel very secure in the ashram and fear going back to the outside world. What can I do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ok, have fear. Awaken enthusiasm, whatever happens let it happen. At least believe that you are not alone, the Divine is there. Observe where the fear sensation is – heart, throat and other parts of the body. Do pranyama, bhastrika and Sudarshan Kriya. Keep yourself busy, do not give yourself a lot of time to think, then where is the time to fear?
* kalyuga – Iron Age, Age of Darkness
(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)
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