Q / A Session with Sri Sri in Bad Antogast, 25 Oct 2009

Q: How can we strengthen our Sankalpa (intention)?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : With devotion. If there is devotion, Sankalpa is strong. If you are hollow and empty,
Sankalpa is strong.
Q: Guruji, how can we get the best out of ourselves? How can we help to make the world better?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can get the best out of yourself when you are aware of your lethargy, your laziness, and you get over it; then it will automatically happen.  The only enemy to talent is
laziness, nothing else.
Two things: patience and getting out of laziness.
Q: In difficult situations, sometimes it’s hard to know if I am running away, or retreating strategically. How to resolve this conflict?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : When you see your strength is less, you cannot face the fight, that’s when you want to run away. So, when you see that, you have to bring more strength to yourself. You should take time. When you are clear about this; “OK, I should do more, I should meditate, I should strengthen myself, and at the right time I will strike, I will tackle the problem.” That is one way.
Second one is prayer. Your worries dominate you if your emotions are dry. When you have pain, you have no worry. When you have worry, you are stuck in the head. There are no emotions. If you are in emotion, you laugh, cry, pray, and you get over it. Worry is wanting to win and having no strength to win. When you realize, “I don’t have any strength and I can’t do anything about it,” then you pray. Prayer is with emotions, feelings.
Q: Guruji, what is the purpose of creation?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well… I don’t know the purpose of creation, but before asking the purpose of creation, you should ask: “What is the purpose of your life, human life?” We don’t know why so many galaxies are created, I have no idea! (Audience laughing)
Some galaxies, planets, have life. I don’t know why they are all in round shape, why there were no cubes! (Audience laughing) What is the purpose of keeping everything round? I have no idea!
But what is the purpose of your life? You will have to find that out. You can find that out. Your purpose of life is to enjoy the creation. What is the purpose of creation? Is it to bring joy to you? I have no idea!  (Audience laughing)
The purpose of your life is to bring joy and happiness to the maximum number of people around you. Isn’t it?
Q: Can you say something about how to make a relationship last?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are various ways but the best is intuitive, your intuition. If in the relationship, both come from the point of giving then there will be no problem, but if both want to take, there will be fights. I am here to contribute, what I can do for you? Then your relationship will last longer.
Q: When there is a problem in life and you don’t see a solution to this problem and time is running out, what one should do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A problem can be in different dimensions. If it is financial, you have to take action. It is not good to simply sit and wait for money to come from somewhere or run to an astrologer.  You have to take alternative precautions. Don’t be too choosy about your job. Take whatever job is available and move on. This is very important. You should have positive thinking and attention and then move ahead.
Similarly, where a relationship is concerned, you don’t sit and wait, not doing anything. In Sanskrit there is a saying “One who puts effort, one who is industrial, and who is courageous, towards such a one, the wealth runs.” So, Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) goes to him, who is putting effort and who is like a lion- brave and courageous.
But when we are concerned with enlightenment, we cannot just do, do, and do. Relax. Do nothing. Pray. Then knowledge comes.
Q: To change a habit I take 40 days to do something to change it, but I don’t even see it through.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Then again you start 40 days, you keep going. It’s good if after 38 days it breaks. (Audience laughing) Then you can do it again for 40 days.
Q: How are we able to get rid of very old patterns?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have to make an effort and change it. Serve, serve and serve.  In serving you are giving, when you are in the trip of only getting, then you cannot get over your patterns. But if you say: “I don’t want to be like that, I only want to give, I want to serve,” when you make that big shift, everything changes.
Why are you going to Satsang, for example? Are you there to get joy for yourself or are you going there so you can help, contribute. You go to Satsang and give some juice and cookies to everybody or do you just go and enjoy your meditation and kriya and walk out? These delicate, small things make the difference.
Q: I know you have a vision how in big corporations there can be spirituality. The corporate culture and spirituality conference is happening in only two weeks. I work for one such a big corporation and I struggle from the inside because when the times are tough, those values don’t seem to matter.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t get frustrated, at least you be strong. Have hope. Things will change.
Yesterday night I was watching on CNN about a problem on how young girls and children are being sold in Nepal and India and all these places. Why don’t we all do something? We already freed 600 girls from going to Bombay for prostitution - teaching them and making them economically strong. I think we can duplicate that in all these places. We can raise more funds in that irection and help so many women and save them from financial crises.
We should all focus on doing something about that problem.
Q: What went wrong that so many people lack self-esteem and what can we do to lessen this effect?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Yes!+’ and ‘Yes We Can’ programs are good for that. We have ‘Yes We Can’ program in Europe. 140 youths from all over Europe participated. You should see how they came, and how they are after the program, how much self-esteem they gained.
You know, in companies the big difficulty is the middle people, someone in between the supervisors. They want to gain the favor of the top management, so they complain about people below them.  Then people below them complain about the boss and everything becomes messier. Many companies broke down because of that; because of lack of skillful, honest communication. There is no honest and skillful communication. You have to tell your boss your honest opinion and he will appreciate you because of that. First, he may not like it, but later on he will appreciate you. If you tell him lies and one day he discovers that you misled him, then he will be unhappy with you also. So, a skillful presentation of facts, honest, even if it is bitter, and put in nice manners, is needed. These skills come when you become a yogi, skillful in action. Yoga means skill in action. When does this come? It comes when you unite with your Self in meditation.

© The Art of Living Foundation

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Sri Sri’s address at the 2009 Israeli Presidential Conference “Facing Tomorrow”, 22 October 2009

From H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s address at the 2009 Israeli Presidential Conference “Facing Tomorrow”, in a session entitled, “Stop the World, I want to get off!”
Families have become smaller today, and values are eroding. We don’t have the same system as we had a few years ago where grandparents used to take care of the children. Grandparents never used to get depressed because they had children to play with them every day, and they had something to do at home. Today the situation is very different: there are small nuclear families and the biggest challenge today is depression. By 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) says the second biggest killer in the world will be depression. Can you imagine 92% of Palestine is depressed? 26% of the population in the USA have some sort of mental illness and depressed. 30% of Europe is suffering from depression. The estimation for the next 10 years is that it may be up to 48%. That means every other person you would meet on the street would be depressed. 40% of school teachers are depressed. We don’t want to go into tomorrow, it is so depressing!
Unfortunately, people don’t even acknowledge when they are depressed, and two thirds don’t go for any sort of treatment. They suffer, they sit behind closed doors and they undergo so much pain and suffering because there is a taboo about mental illnesses.
We need to remove this taboo about mental illnesses and have people look at a healthy way of living. A change in lifestyle is necessary. If you look at our mind, we are angry about the past and anxious about the future. The only time we are at peace is the eight hours when we are sleeping and we are not active. Two thirds of our time on the planet earth we are on a treadmill running faster, but reaching nowhere.
We need to do something drastic. We need to take care of our health. A baby smiles 400 times a day, an adolescent smiles 17 times and an adult hardly smiles at all. A smile that comes from the heart of an individual is a sign of health, and to do that, a little wisdom is essential. We need to develop a vision for tomorrow and live in the present. Half our health we spend in gaining our wealth and we spend half that wealth in gaining our health back! 118 billion Euros are spent in trying to restore mental health in Europe alone. This is a shocking revelation for anyone. So we need to take care of the mental health of the people. I would say that we need to stop and think a little bit: What do I want? Am I happy? What race am I running? How can I have a sense of belongingness with everybody? How can I improve my surroundings and myself
As I was listening to Raheel Raza, I totally agree with what she says. We need to educate women. Happiness and freedom are not contrary. Freedom is not just waywardness. You know young people, teenagers; they just want to be free, not to be imposed under any restriction. I don’t call this freedom. Freedom is that which brings wisdom in life and educates people. If you are educated then you know what is good, what is right and you choose.
Pluralism and embracing people of all cultures should be part of our education. When an individual thinks that he belongs to this religion or that religion and gets closed up and doesn’t allow others to be part of his life. That’s when fanaticism begins. When I identify that only I belong to this and that and all others are no longer mine, that sense of narrow belongingness is the root cause of all problems. We need to bring about that multi-cultural and multi-ethnic approach. No community has ever been persecuted in India, including Jewish and Persian communities when they came from Iran. Even today Parsis are a big part of India. They are managing one of the biggest empires in India. Wealth and industries are with them. This sense of being in a multi-cultural society has been there for a long time. In Sanskrit we call it ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – The whole world is one family. This value of one family is preached by yoga. Sciences like breathing techniques and yoga can calm a person down and make him or her think from a level that gives a long-term vision. When I was coming to Israel they first asked me, “Do you want the Israeli stamp on your passport?” I said yes. People said, “No, don’t get it stamped on your passport. Take a separate sheet. Even at the embassy they do this. They allow you to get a visa on a separate piece of paper. If it’s stamped in your passport, tomorrow you will have a problem in going to all the Arab countries.” I said, “No way, I want it in my passport.” Even when I landed here, I said I want the stamp in my passport twice, one for coming in and one for coming out.
The world is my family. I am committed to Israel. I am connected to Jewish people. I am connected to Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, everybody. So we need to break this narrow-mindedness and make people realize that we are all part of one world family. As minorities we are talking. I would like to say one thing: we have not learnt the lessons from the holocaust. Today, what is happening in Sri Lanka, Burma, Pakistan, and Bangladesh is really appalling. In Pakistan there was a minority of only 18% Hindus. Today there is less than 1%. What happened to them? Where did they go? We need to wake up. As my predecessor in her speech said, a multi-cultural approach and tolerance have to be promoted. We all have to join hands to promote tolerance. Thank you very much.
© The Art of Living Foundation

Sri Sri's interview with Dan Shilon at President Shimon Peres' Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, 'Facing Tomorrow' October 21st 2009.

Dan Shilon: You must be very disappointed with this age.

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do I look disappointed?

Dan Shilon: The world is not going your way.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have patience and perseverance and I know it will come right.
Dan Shilon: How old are you?

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I am a little over half a century but I still have a few more years.

You know everybody wants peace. Peace is the innate need of people but they don’t know how to get rid of the negative emotions, tendencies, anger and frustrations. Education is needed in the world today to teach people how to let go of the negativity, let go of the past and move on to the future.

Dan Shilon: Your quote on how to measure your success by your smile, how does that relate to the world. The world is not smiling anymore?

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I know there is a lot of work that needs to be done. There is work for the reformers, work for the doctors. The doctor’s job is to treat the patient but if the doctor falls sick there is no hope for patient! So if we lose our smile we cannot bring a smile onto the face of others. We need to be centered; we need to work hard to bring the smile back onto the faces of the people.

Dan Shilon: When you say lets stop the world for an hour, for 10 days. What do you mean by that?

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Stopping our mind, stopping the racing mind. It is always thinking about the past or it is always thinking about the future. We are angry about the past or anxious about the future. To take a fresh look at the world, the situation, you need to wake up and see, - as Mahatma Gandhi used to say never look back. He would say lets see what we should do now and for the future. That gives a lot of energy, encouragement, enthusiasm, and lifts you up from the ashes even though there are ashes around you.

Dan Shilon: And all this starts in India?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Exactly, perhaps it may be in other parts of the world as well.
Dan Shilon: I wonder why so many of our children are going to India. Why are they so fascinated with this place?

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: India has a long history of spiritual upliftment. When you see that everything is collapsing, all doors are shut, and there is no hope and depression sets in, India gives a vision of something higher. The power of your thought and mind can create your reality, your world and allow you to move in that direction. You may not be successful immediately or tomorrow but the vision and the mission will always take you forward.

Dan Shilon: You are the one who tries to form a bridge between the business world and political world. Is it bridgeable at all?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Basically we are all human beings. There is humanness in everybody and I feel the reformers, the rulers and the providers they all have to work together only then can society really come together.
Dan Shilon: Are you a little concerned about this mixture between politicians and business leaders? Sometimes it brings corruption. We know it is in this country and in other western countries?

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is everywhere; even in India there is corruption. Corruption begins when the sense of belongingness ends. If you draw a circle of belongingness around you corruption only begins after that. Politicians need to be more spiritual. By spiritual I mean, have a sense of belongingness towards people. Mahatma Gandhi is an example of this, in this century. He was a spiritual person and at the same time he was a politician too. He had the sense of sacrifice. ‘I want nothing for myself but I want it for my people’. That spirit is going down somewhere along the line. That is why there is corruption and all sorts of unethical businesses have sprung up. We need to inculcate those value systems again, both in politics and in business. Trust is the backbone of business. From what we’ve seen in last 10 months, it took 10 years for communism to collapse, it took less than 10 months for capitalism to collapse, and the reason is that we have ignored our value system and ethics in business.

We have ignored the human values of caring and sharing, of dedication and devotion. If we can somehow re-inculcate these values in our youth, I tell you the youth are ready for it. They want this because they have seen the older generation just running. It is like running on the treadmill that is going nowhere.

Dan Shilon: What is wrong with the current leadership in the world and perhaps our visionary leadership?

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I would say that the sense of belongingness is shrinking. There is a more self-centered, self-serving attitude rather than a sense of sacrifice for the cause. The vision and mission is really lacking.

Dan Shilon: You once said that forgiveness is a cure. Is forgiveness the formula to make peace between Israelis and Arabs?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Let go of the past and find a new future. From independence to inter-dependence. That is what we have to understand. Independence was a slogan of the past era. Everyone wanted to be independent so that they could be prosperous, but today prosperity does not come from independence it comes from understanding the inter-dependence. This needs to be educated to people. There is also an identity crisis. A person thinks ‘I am a Muslim’ or ‘I am a Christian’ or ‘I am a Hindu’ or ‘ I am Buddhist’ and those who are not, do not belong to me. They look like an enemy.
They need to shift this type of thinking to: - first and foremost, our identity is that we are all human beings. Then, we belong to a certain gender of either male or female. The third identity is that of religion and then finally to a particular nation. If the priority of identity is in the right place I think conflicts can be resolved very quickly.

Dan Shilon: How would you like to see the stereotype of the future leader?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I feel through education we can change and unite the hearts and minds of people. This cannot be done by the people who are in power. People who are in authority cannot unite the hearts and minds of the people. It is the voluntary organizations, social workers and reformers that have to bring about this change in the mindset and bring the hearts and minds of people together.
Dan Shilon: Are you optimistic like Jimmy Wales?

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I am realistic. Optimism is just hope but when you see it is possible it is practical then I think I am realistic. It is going to happen. People cannot stand tension or stress for too long, somewhere one has to give up. You cannot hold a fist for so long at some point you have to relax and when you relax you see the whole sky is in your hands. This has already begun in the world. Take a look at France and Germany, and in Western Europe. There were so many conflicts in the previous era but now the borders are gone. It has become one currency yet it was unthinkable in the 19th Century. So in the same way I am sure the Middle East crisis could be solved through educating people with a multicultural, multi-religious and broader spectrum of knowledge.

The above is an unedited transcript taken at an event and maybe updated.

© The Art of Living Foundation

Q/A session with Sri Sri in Israel, 20th October 2009

Q: What is the way to free myself from attachments, especially emotional hurt of the past as well as trust and mistrust? How can I free myself to be able to trust again after betrayal and not remain suspicious or cynical because of that?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: One thing we need to remember is that the whole story will be finished here! All of us will be gone! We will all go under ground. Life will come to an end, right? If we look back and see so many people we once knew are now gone. Those who were with us, they are all finished. More will go. Everybody will go and one day we will also be gone. This is the permanent truth, the definite truth in life.
I was just thinking today is my mother’s 10th death anniversary. Already 10 years have passed! Time goes, things change, when we see life from a broader angle what is emotional hurt then? Somebody said something and it hurt us and we cried; somebody said a good thing and we laughed. What’s the big deal about it? Sometimes you’ve said something and it hurt someone, but that was not your intention. Hasn’t this happened to you? How many of you have experienced this? You have scolded your daughter/son many times haven’t you? What if they hold on to that all their life and say I will not forget that you hurt me. What would you say to them? “Come on let it go, I didn’t mean it”. Isn’t it? Or “I was stressed I was upset, I was not in a good mood so I said something”. Don’t you expect people to let go of the hurt that you have caused them?
You want people to let go of the hurt you caused them. In the same way don’t you have to let go of the pain they have caused you? If someone has hurt you earlier, it is due to selfishness and because they don’t know how vast life is, how beautiful life is. They are selfish because they are afraid. They are selfish or self-centered because they don’t have knowledge in their lives. Nobody taught them how to love people, how to be silent, how to be in this beautiful knowledge. It is not their fault. Is it their fault? If you have not learnt how to read and write, is it your fault? Society teaches you. Your teachers, parents take you to school, make you learn and then you learn. In the same way there was no system for them to learn about life from a broader angle. So you can only be compassionate towards them. They have not had a chance to learn, there was no guide, no teacher. They were not exposed to spirituality. They were not exposed to mannerisms. So they were small-minded selfish people. That was their up-bringing. So what will you hold on to? “Oh you hurt me!” Come on let go! Life is moving. When you die, you will be asked two things: How much love have you given and how much knowledge have you acquired in your life? It shouldn’t matter what others have done to you but from your side you should be compassionate. If people are good towards you, be happy. If they do wrong, have compassion. Life can only swing between happiness and compassion. There is no third option. In our life we have lost people who have been very dear to us. What do we do? That is how life has been designed. We move on. We will also die one day. So let’s move on with commitment. When we are sad, we pray for strength and when we are happy we pray for the strength to serve.
Q: Is wanting to find a lot of love in your life considered to be feverishness?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you are aware of the feverishness, “Oh I want it”, then it is feverishness. Otherwise you just relax. Suppose you want to go to Jerusalem. You think about it and then you go. Your feverishness is ‘Oh I want to go to Jerusalem, Oh I want to go…’ Feverishness is ‘Oh I want a boyfriend, or I want a girlfriend’. Looking at every girl and every boy, running after them, annoying them, this is feverishness. Have you seen sometimes how people annoy you? Girls here may know better. A boy is in love with you and keeps running after you. How many of you find it irritating? So, only you can decide if it is feverishness or not.
Q: How can I free myself from the polarity of dependence and independence so that I will be free for real?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is nothing called total independence in life. Forget about it. If you are thinking I want to be totally independent you are not. Till the age of 15, 16 or 17years you were not independent. You were born dependant. Somebody had to lift you up. Somebody had to change your diapers. Somebody had to wash you. Somebody had to feed you. Somebody had to bathe you, put you to bed. You were born dependant and in the end will also remain dependant. When you die you are not going to cremate your body. When you are sick somebody has to attend to you. You cannot operate yourself. You cannot be your own doctor. After 50 – 60 years, it becomes so obvious that you are dependent on somebody. To some extent you can’t say I am totally independent. Somebody has to do something for you. Just the fact that you pay them some bills, it doesn’t mean you have become independent. You are just getting it done as an exchange. You are helping them a little bit but you are still your dependant on them. Suppose no one wants your bills, nobody wants to work for you, what will happen to you? Because you have some paper bills and people want those currency bills it gives you an illusion that you are independent. Money gives you a false notion that you are independent. You may have money, but what if nobody wants money, then what will happen to you? You are dependant. So life is a swing between independence and dependence. At the same time you are independent to think, you are independent to act, you are independent to have a say over you feelings, control your feelings, if you want to feel good, it is your choice. If you want feel bad it is your choice.
You should listen to the Ashtavakra knowledge. I have spoke about it in this. Life is a combination of both independence and dependence. If you want to be kind you are totally independent to be kind. If you want to have good manners you are totally independent to have good manners. It doesn’t depend on others. If you want to speak sweetly its totally dependent on you to do that. If you want to blame somebody or be rude to others you are totally independent to do so. You have to choose what you want to be independent about and what you want to put yourself through. You may think financially you are independent, but I tell you if you cannot endure certain derogatory remarks from one of your friends or family or someone, you are not independent. If someone blames you or tells you bad things about yourself then you will come to know how independent or dependent you are. If you are really independent then nothing can bother you. You move with zeal, with vision, with a smile.
Q: How to get joy in life?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Forget about getting joy, it will come to you. You should just relax.
Q: I am a very happy woman and blessed with a lot of things, so why do I bother about being over weight?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know a man or woman cannot live without botheration. That is why I started the Art of Living, to get more botherations! So this is a good botheration, at least it will put a break on you not to take a second scoop of ice cream. You will not stretch your hand for the second piece of dessert, or second piece of apple pie. You will stop at half. It is good to have a little concern, otherwise when you grow older you may have to pay a lot of bills to the doctor. So it is better to keep a check on the weight unless you want the doctors to become rich. That is your choice!
Question: What do I do about the guilt I have of not being able to love some people in my family or even blood relatives?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t force love out of yourself. Take it for granted that certain feelings, connections or love is already there. You don’t examine it every day right? Do I love my mother or my father, or that person? - though you may not like their behavior. If your father and mother are old and cynical you may feel very irritated and may not like their company because they put you down or sing the same old song. Likes and dislikes arise from the head. I’m sure deep in your heart there is love, a certain feeling there. It is because it exists that you are asking this question. So it’s just that you don’t want to recognize your love for them although you love them. There is a deep connection of love but you don’t like their behavior, the way they act or their mindset. It’s just an external thing. It’s perfectly okay. Never doubt your love for people. The love is always there and it will be there. Just take it for granted.
Q: Whatever I did this year professionally did not work. I studied Hindi, Massage, Physiotherapy and Anatomy. I really want to succeed. Please help!
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a lot of work to be done. There are a lot of needs. 30% of the Europe is depressed and we have this beautiful knowledge that can help people overcome depression and suicidal thoughts. It would be very nice for us to work together towards a vision of a world with less suffering. I would like to have many youth to do Art of Living work full time. 3 - 4 days to go out and teach everybody. Once you become a teacher you can teach, create a community for Art of Living here. You can have your own ashram here. Meditate here. Each one can do their job, and still contribute. It’s a common pool where everyone can contribute. You can start up a community kitchen. You don’t have to worry about grocery shopping. One person can go shopping, one person can cook, and everyone can take it in turns. A small community of 60 to 100 people can live like this. There can be celebration, meditation and yoga.
The whole atmosphere will become so uplifting! In the Bangalore Ashram, we have 800 people living together. Before we were only 10 to 12 people. Now there are so many people who want to come and live here at the ashram that we don’t have place. It’s because nobody needs to worry about their electricity bills, house, tax, and food. It is all being taken care of and everybody can contribute in whichever way they want to. The same is happening in Germany, Canada, USA and has recently started in Argentina. Our life is too short to spend time on unnecessary and unwanted things. Half of life is anyway spent on sleeping. The Next 40 to 50 years or for however much longer you will live on this planet, do you need people to take care of you, do things for you, or do you want to do something for others and for the society? Helping others and serving society, wouldn’t that be a good idea? There should always be somebody to think about others, to care for them and to help them. I want you all to think about this. I don’t want to call it an old age home. These old age homes are very depressive. Ashram is a place where there are old people, young people, children, everyone lives together. So the younger generation is enriched by the experiences of the older generation, and the older feel enthusiastic with the young. We can create this type of atmosphere. What do you think?
Q: I am a coward. All my life I have been afraid of every little thing. I see risks and danger in my way and fear everything and everyone. I’m afraid to get hurt. How do I overcome all this?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all remove this label – ‘I am a coward’. Who said you are a coward? Drop this label. When you label, like the saying in the bible ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’ you go on encouraging that. You are wonderful. We are all here to support you, and I am here to support you, and everybody here will support you! Don’t think you are weak. Just drop it.
Q: Can one do hollow and empty meditations at home as well?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: At home you don’t need to do that. Just sit and it will start happening. You give a car to the servicing garage and then you when you get the car you simply run it. It’s already ready. Everyday at home you don’t need to service it. But everyday you wash the car, so similarly you should just close your eyes and meditate.
Q: I have learnt to accept people as they are. However we have also learnt the concept of responsibility. I have a 13-year-old son. He is mature, breaks rules, leaves school in between, doesn’t learn, doesn’t come home on time, and hangs around with friends. That concerns me. How do I complete my role as a mother, accept him and place limits?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are already doing it. It is very difficult to manage or deal with teenagers. Sometimes you need to be strict, and sometimes loving as well. It’s like riding a horse. Sometimes you can let loose but sometimes you hold on tight. So managing teenagers is like riding a horse.
© The Art of Living Foundation

Sri Sri in Israel, Oct 19, 2009

Peace and prosperity go together. If there is peace, there is more prosperity. The whole world today is interested in having peace in the Middle East. But we know that the problem that the world faces is terrorism, which is not going to vanish so quickly.
There are two major communities in the world which are struck by terrorism – one is India and the other is Israel. No other country is affected by terrorism as much as these two countries are, especially India. Every month in the last year there has been a terror attack. This is due to fanaticism and fundamentalism, which I feel can be quelled through educating children in a multicultural and multi-religious manner. When a child grows up thinking, “Only I go to heaven. Everybody else is going to hell,” they create a hell for everybody else.
So we need to change the mindset among children to embrace everyone with love. This is the effort we have been making irrespective of their religious and cultural backgrounds so the mind can become calm. The mind vacillates between the past and the future all the time. We need to bring this mind to the present moment, where it is able to move forward forgetting about the past and not being anxious about the future. I would say that we have all taught people everything other than how to learn to manage the mind. From childhood, children have anger, jealousy and hatred. We tell them don’t get angry, don’t get jealous, don’t be greedy, don’t feel depressed. But we don’t tell them how not to get depressed, how not to undergo all these negative emotions.
This is where I thought we have to use the power of the breath because the breath is the link between the mind and the body. With the power of the breath, we are able to calm the mind and improve our perception, observation and expression. Breathing has helped millions of people cleanse their own mind. Though some yoga techniques have been there since the last 5000 years, they were not shared with everybody, but kept to a few. They were very precious and only to be given to the right person. I thought that today we should open up and give this – which is so useful to people, to everybody, irrespective of their religious background, cultural identity – something that is useful to calm the mind and to feel happy from within. I felt that it is the property of the whole world, so we must share it with everybody.
Since then we started sharing this knowledge and we have got a very good response from the people getting rid of anger, hatred and also fear. Here also, in Israel, all along the border fence, people have had so much fear that they couldn’t sleep at all because anytime, at any moment, there could be an explosion, a bomb attack, or terror attack. These people also could get over those anxieties and become calm and have that endurance. This type of work is happening.
More relevant to the business world, as you know how business markets have crashed: It took nearly 10 years for communism to go from the world. It took less than 10 months for capitalism to collapse, just less than 10 months. It’s just the greed of a few people that has made millions of people suffer. This is unfortunate.
So we have this conference, Corporate Culture and Spirituality, where we have to sit and think how we can overcome this. There are many examples among you who have done your job with integrity, truthfulness, but your example has to come in front of people. They should see this company has been very responsible or this company has been doing business with integrity and honesty. That would inspire the young business people in the world. With this idea we have been doing this Corporate Culture and Spirituality conference where people realize that trust is the backbone of business and that if trust is lost then everything is lost. This idea is being promoted more and more so that young people have an opportunity to be inspired.
When we were all children we used to hear so many stories of Mahatma Gandhi and get so inspired by him. But today, leading examples are needed in the field of business for young people to do business with honesty and integrity. So we have started this project called Corporate Culture and Spirituality. Spirituality, to me, means that which uplifts the spirit – anything that brings up that joy, enthusiasm and harmony and creates more compassion and a sense of belongingness with everybody.
Today the Jewish community is so strong in America and very well organized. I have been a keynote speaker at their century celebrations two years ago, I think. They were so well organized and they contribute to the growth of the American economy. In India as well, we have the Jewish community. It’s a very small, but very powerful and strong community. There’s been an old Jewish community in Kerala for thousands of years and in Mumbai also. The two streams of thought, Torah and Vedas are the most ancient on the planet. The oldest of all the religions is Judaism on one hand and on the other hand the Hindu way of life, Hinduism.
There are a lot of similarities, we both say one thing: you say, “Shalom,” and we say, “Om Shanti, Om Shanti”— “Let there be peace!” Let us all be united. The world is one beautiful family. This message we need to take everywhere, to every doorstep. One is individual peace – peace is not just absence of conflict. It is a positive inner emotion. When we feel happy, only then would I consider that we are peaceful. That happiness has to be rekindled.
In Israel, among the youth, there is lot of frustration. Quite a few suicidal attempts are also happening. These youth need to be guided to inner peace, and this can happen just with the breath. I usually say we need to secularize religion, socialize business and spiritualize politics. Secularize religion means any religious leader cannot say I care for only my people. He should care for all the people in the world. An Imam cannot say my responsibility is only to Muslims. He should say my responsibility is to see that all the people in the world are happy. Similarly, a Christian priest or a Rabbi, they can only say I care for all. In Sanskrit we say, “Sarvejanah Sukhino Bhavantu,” – “Let all the people on the planet be happy.” This is what I mean by secularize religion. Then fanaticism and terrorism will disappear.
The second is to spiritualize politics. If politicians are spiritual, then they care for people. Corruption and nepotism will disappear from politics. We will get back to the era of Mahatma Gandhi where politicians really cared for people. Then socialize business, which means to say every business takes some social responsibility: helps out institutions, helps out women and children – not just gives them money, but also cares for their well being. If all your employees are happy, if they are integrated, then they will have integrity and commitment. If not, call them and sit with them, talk to them. If you don't have time for it, we can do it for you in what we call the APEX program for which four days are needed. Two to three hundred business companies have used this APEX Program where the youngsters who are the employees are given commitment and happiness from within because happiness is something that comes from within.
Q: Let’s take one idea - that the Imam will say, “we take care for all believers, not only the Muslims”, and the Rabbi will say not only the Jews, but for everyone. So what actually do we have to do to evolve because at the moment the extremists dictate the course of events?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all, inter-faith dialogues and education for those people is essential.
Second is that the people of the same community will have to identify the extremists and isolate them. For this, a neutral person needs to be there. A third party will have to come and facilitate the dialogue, re-orient them and bring them together. As you saw, we worked in Kashmir. There were 1500 Hezbollah Mohadin group terrorists who were transformed. These people came and shared, “We were doing something that was wrong. We were killing people.” They were caught in a prison in India with whom we worked.
So the first step tomorrow, I would say, is to work in the prisons with those terrorists. Through them contact other terrorists who are out there in the world. Bring them this education, this spiritual experience, a transformation in their mindset. I know it is not an immediate work; it gives results in the long term. In 2001 nobody could go into Kashmir. Businesses were shut. There were no electoral processes. The state of Kashmir was in a mess. Then, with our work till 2004, a big shift has happened. Today 69% of the people voted in Kashmir, and businesses have started though it took between 5 to 7 years. Drop by drop we would bring some difference, some transformation.
Similarly, if we can have 100 youth working for this cause in Israel and Palestine and train these people to think from a different perspective, I’m sure we can find greater peace, because I have seen this work in Iraq. I would like to give you an example of Iraq. You know, in Iraq we started the work between the Shias and Sunnis. There was such a big animosity between them. 8000 Sunnis were driven away from the Shia village. When we met one of the Sunni people, we took them to the Shia village and made them understand. Eventually they [the Shias] said that they [the Sunnis] may all come back. This is just one example.
I know there is so much more to be done. I know we have not achieved total peace in Iraq, but we have moved significantly. We invited about 50 youth from Morocco and 50 from Iraq to India. These people were so fanatical. They would not accept us because we are Hindus. Hindu means idol worshippers. But just in a matter of 3 weeks they started shaking hands and started dancing with us. There was such a harmonious atmosphere.
We had 22 people from Israel and about 150 from other Arab countries. When they first arrived in Bangalore, the Iranians, Iraqis, Arabs were so furious. They said, “Why didn’t you tell us that you brought Israelis also!” It was as though we had committed a very big crime. They said, “You have cheated us.” But just in three days there was a difference – they started liking each other and honoring each other. We had 150 Arab youth singing Shalom and Om Shanti. That gave us big hope that we can do something.
Q: A lot of our youth in Israel are leaving the country seeking opportunities elsewhere. Wouldn’t this adversely affect our economy? Please comment.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If it is just 25% of the people going outside, I would say it is good. They will create a sense of belongingness to their country, to the place of their origin. It is good that people go and spread this everywhere. At the same time, if it is draining the economy of a university, of a state – like suppose you support a child to get educated, but then the child goes elsewhere and does not contribute to the government or system – that drain has to be addressed. This is a universal problem. It is not just confined to Israel. It is there in Asia, Japan, everywhere. I would say it is the sense of responsibility to the university, to the government, to whosoever has given you education, to pay them back. That has to come into people.
Spirituality is uplifting the spirit, the consciousness. Money is for your comfort. It brings you comfort on the material level. We spend half our health gaining wealth and then spend half our wealth gaining our health back, and usually it doesn’t work. So take care of your health because your health is your wealth. It is part of spirituality. Money should be kept in the pocket, not in the mind. If you keep thinking about money all the time, you can’t even enjoy the money that you have produced. So money is needed, but something which is more necessary than money is that humaneness and that happiness that money cannot buy.
The present generation doesn’t worry what others think of them. They are not interested in showing off as much as the previous generation used to. Wealth is a status symbol, a symbol of respect, but that is no longer so in the younger generation. This is something very good. They earn money just for themselves and not to show their status, not to show it to others. And the younger generation, I would say, has become much more intelligent because they see that many people have a lot of money, but no happiness. They are not friendly, not happy, and they are always stuck. The younger generation feels that they need to get the maximum out of their lives. That difference is there. The only thing is that the generation gap needs to be bridged. This can happen with understanding, through education. I would say that youth are very brilliant these days, very thoughtful and useful, if they don’t fall into the trap of alcohol and drug addiction. This is the danger for them – if they are deluded into all sorts of intoxication, which is a sorry state.
© The Art of Living Foundation

Each one of you is a light to yourself , Germany, Oct 17th 2009

Today is the festival of lights. Diwali means the festival of lights. Each one of you is a light to yourself. This festival is celebrated throughout India, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad, and South Africa. People wish each other ‘Happy Diwali’ and exchange sweets.
During Diwali, we let go of all the past burdens in the mind. Whatever is suppressed in the mind, you light firecrackers and let it go. Like crackers, the past is gone, all burnt out and a fresh new mind begins. This is Diwali.
One candle is not enough. Everyone has to be happy and light up. Everyone has to be happy and wise. The light of wisdom is lit. Symbolically, we will light the light of wisdom and celebrate today. What do you say?
The Diwali message is: Let go of the past. Celebrate life with wisdom. Without wisdom it is not true celebration at all. The wisdom is in knowing that the divinity is with me.
Today is the day that you also look at all the wealth you have. You remember you have so much wealth and feel the abundance. Otherwise the mind is always in the space of lack, - ‘oh! This is not there, that is not there, sorry for this, sorry for that’. From lack, move on to abundance.  The ancient custom is to put in front of you all the gold and silver coins.  You bring all your wealth in front of you nd say, ‘look God has given me all this. I am so thankful! ‘
The Bible says,’ those who have more will be given to them; those who do not have, whatever little they have will also be taken away’. Feeling that abundance, you recognize you have been given plenty.
Then we do Laxmi Pooja. The Goddess of wealth and prosperity is worshipped, and Lord Ganesh – that impulse of consciousness that removes all the obstacles in our path to happiness – that chanting is done today.
For each country we will light one lamp.  There are 27 countries in Europe. We will light one lamp for each country.Then we will meditate for a few minutes.  When we meditate we thank the Universal spirit, power for giving us in abundance. We also pray for more so that we can serve more. Yes?
Gold, silver is all just an outer symbol. The real wealth is deep within us. There is so much love, peace and joy. What more wealth do you need than this? Wisdom is the real wealth. Your character, your peace and confidence are the real wealth.
When you move with a connection to the divinity there is nothing that is richer than this. That rich feeling comes inside you when you feel connected to the divinity, connected to the infinite.  When the wave remembers that it is connected to the ocean, that it is part of the ocean, that strength is enormous!
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© The Art of Living Foundation

"Good thoughts come you say come, come, come, bad thoughts come, you say, go, go, go", Oct 15th, Tokyo

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Talk at the One World Family Event in Tokyo, 15th October 2009
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti, Arigatougozaimasu, Hai
As Reverend Uchida and other dignitaries here already mentioned, we need to look at the world today from a different angle. We learn a lot from the past and there is a lot that we can plan for the future. If we see the world culture from the past, there are 10 major religions in the world. Four from the Middle East, six from the East and the Far East. You know, the 6 religions from the Far East never had any conflicts because the emphasis has always been on individual
development, personal development, family and peace.
I heard a story of an incident that once happened with President Nixon, He was in Japan and was sitting with a Buddhist monk and a Shinto priest. He asked the Shinto priest what is the percentage of Shintoism in Japan and the Shinto priest replied 80%. He then turned to the Buddhist monk and asked what the percentage of Buddhism was in Japan was, again he was told 80%. President Nixon got thoroughly confused. He said how is it possible that both of them had the same answer? There is no hard line between Buddhists and Hindus, and Buddhism and Shintoism. We mix and have a sense of belonging for all.
In India, there is no such hard line between Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism because there is a harmonious coexistence. The world needs to learn this. Don’t you think so?
If the world learns a little of what’s happening in Japan and India, then we don’t have to remove our shoes in the airport, and the problem of terrorism will be over. Terrorism rises when a person says that their way is the only way. My way is the only way to God. Isn’t that so?
We need to know more about Shintoism. Of course it is known in Japan but it is not so well known in India and other parts of the world. I have offered to open an institution in India to study Shintoism and Hinduism, a comparative understanding.
This is all about what is happening right now. The future is the language of science. And today’s science and spirituality have come together. One of the greatest scientists of our time, Einstein, when he read the Bhagavad-Gita, he said that it is the most transformative knowledge that he received. Whatever science is today, if you listen to a scientist speaking, you feel that you are listening to Buddhism; you feel that you are listening to Vedanta.
Whilst in Germany, I was saying that our bodies do not exist as we understand. It’s all just energy. If we analyze our body, every atom in our body is energy and it’s changing all the time. That is exactly what Vedanta says, that we are just like bubbles in an ocean, one energy. We are all are part of one energy.
This reference to spirituality is needed. Due to lack of this reference stress and tension fills our lives. When you are so stressed two things can happen you either become depressed and suicidal or aggressive and violent, that’s why crime happens in society and people commit suicide or go into a depression. These two things happen. You know it is so painful to hear that
every day, hundreds of people are committing suicide in Japan. Every time I hear such news I feel that I could have done something because this knowledge of breath, mind, and meditation helps people get over suicidal tendencies, get over depression and also get over violent tendencies.
The secret is in the breath, the secret is in a few minutes of meditation, and meditation helps one to raise the energy level. When the mental energy rises, the tendencies of depression and suicide simply disappear.
You ask me, what is the benefit? First it is a violence-free society. We have taught nearly 200,000 people around the world in the prisons. They have all had transformative experiences. I don’t think we’ve started it in Japan yet; we would like to start with the prisoners in Japan. They would completely come out of anger and hatred.
So for a violence-free society be it domestic violence, violence on women or between parents and their children, all of this can be put to rest, if we teach them to attend to their negative emotions by attending to their breath.
Yeah. Are you all still here?
So, violence-free society, second, is disease-free body. Scientists today have researched that if you do the breathing technique, Sudarshan Kriya, your resistance to disease goes up by 3 times. It can prevent heart attacks, blood pressure, diabetes, and many physical and mental illnesses.
So, disease-free body, quiver-free breath, confusion-free mind, inhibition-free intellect. People used to have prejudice in the past. That prejudice is going away today, much lesser in the world, but it has to become much less. Racial prejudice, gender prejudice, age prejudice, religion prejudice, language, nationality, all these types of prejudices, - and this happens, when you start meditating, naturally, because you start feeling connected to everyone in the world.
You know, I always felt at home where ever I went, whether it is the South Pole or North Pole.
So prejudice free and an all-encompassing attitude, and a sorrow-free soul.
  • Violence free society
  • Disease free body
  • Quiver free breath
  • Confusion free mind
  • Inhibition free intellect
  • All encompassing ego
  • Sorrowful free soul
Q: There are people who are doing very badly, who cannot meditate. Even if they hear knowledge, their hearts cannot open. For people who are really doing badly, what can we do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : This very thought to help people who cannot reach, if it comes into many people then it is possible. There are many volunteers that are doing work like this. Ruth Kuok, was just telling me, in Manila, when there was this flood, 300,000 people were rendered homeless. Art of Living volunteers jumped to do the work there, the relief work. And now the Red Cross wants them to teach them trauma relief, through meditation, breathing. Teamwork will help. All of us want to do something for others.
Q: When I read the newspaper, we hear about the environment, in 30 years the world will melt, what can we do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is my concern too. Last year, for the United Nations Millennium Goals, The Art of Living as an Organization, contributed to 25% of the millennium goal program. 10.8 million people planted 55.6 million trees in one-year. Like that if everyone starts contributing, polluting less, otherwise it is serious, I agree with you.
Q: Meditation – if you’re going to do it – when is a good time, and when you’re meditating, what should you think about, and how to realize your dreams?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all, when we should meditate? Meditate in the morning, afternoon, evening, before food. Before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner.
When thoughts come, normally what we try to do is chase them. The more you try to chase them, they become bigger and catch a hold of you. Good thoughts come you say come, come, come. Bad thoughts come, you say, go, go, go. You need to be skillful, okay come, be there, give them a hug, they disappear. They are more scared of you, so thoughts run away. That is why to begin with, it’s good to do it with a guided CD, or guided meditation. Soon we will make one
available. I have it in English and other languages. At the beginning, it helps and later you can do it without the CD.
Q: How to materialize one’s dreams?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When the mind is still, it gets the power to fulfill any thought. So, not only can you fulfill your thoughts, but also you get the power to bless others to fulfill their thoughts. It should be a thought that you believe in. It can’t be something like you go to the moon. Any practical, possible thought you put the intention on, it starts manifesting. The basis is no mindness, empty mind.
Q: What is emptiness, empty mind? Can you speak more on this.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sri Sri hand gestures empty space.
You got it? That’s emptiness. If no, then the mind is already empty.
Q: We have a chance to study Vedas. It says that you should not stick to the result that you should just do the action. That is difficult. Please give some advice.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See suppose you do some help to somebody, and they don’t thank you, what happens to you? You feel sad? Unhappy? Just a thank you from the other person can spoil your mind in spite of you doing good work, is it worth it? If they don’t say thank you, does not matter, at least you do not lose your happiness. This is exactly what it is expectations reduce joy. Anything that comes to you, as a surprise gives you joy. Isn’t that so?
Q: How to deal with people who say and do bad things?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all, accept that, that is how they are. Second thing is to see that they will change. Tomorrow they may change, next week, next year. Keep an open mind, maybe in 5, 10 years, in the next lifetime they will change. When you know that they are like that and that they may change, then your mind is calm. Any irritable situation, make fun of it. If you have a little bit humor, you are able to sail through irritable situations. If it is really unbearable, never mind that you get angry. But you should become normal again in 2 seconds. You know, it’s not worth losing our peace of mind. Because of someone’s behavior. Don't you think so?
Q: In India, Nepal, how do all these sages work together for a one world family?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Everybody’s intention is there to unite the world as a family. The goal is the same. The methods are different, areas are different.
The above is an unedited transcript taken at the event and may be updated.

“When we are upset it is an opportunity for us to know how much have we grown in knowledge...” Oct 9th, Dresden

After many years I have come here, after 6-7 years, Dresden is not the same place. So much transformation has taken place. So have we all, the human race, everyone changes. You are not the same person you were yesterday. What you were 10 months ago, you are not same today. We all progress on the steps of evolution. Our body changes, mind changes, feelings change, thoughts change, - (looking into the crowd) Alice changes! But there is one thing that does not change. Knowing it, recognizing it, holding on to it is what spirituality is. To recognize change you need something that does not change. Only that is eternal, stable. To feel stable in life you need to hook on to something that does not change. Because only that which is eternal, which is stable can bring relief, peace. No one is interested in temporary peace. Ok! You tell me are you interested in 10 days peace? No. We want permanent, stable peace. That knowledge which gives such peace, such love that uplifts your spirit, I call it spirituality.

Momentarily some clouds may come. Your feelings may change but you gain some stability. Isn’t it? For that stability see life from a broader perspective. Learn to relax, meditate a few moments every day.
Are you all here?
Now you are here. Now when I ask this question, suddenly the mind comes here? Isn’t it? You know we do not learn about our breath. Breath has so much healing potential and meditation has even more.

Q: What do you think about time? Modern physicists say time is evolutionary. What is your experience about time?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know Vedanta philosophy has said this long time back. Time and mind are connected. It is amazing to see the correlation between time and mind. We have a small booklet on time. If you are interested you can read that.

Q: How to handle fear?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Pranayama will help. Sudarshan Kriya will help. Meditation will help. Give it to me if you have any fear. You go back home with a smile.

Q: Where do you get power and ideas for so many widely spread projects? What do you do when you are not feeling well?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know all the power comes from only one source. Everything comes when you are connected to the highest source.

Q: What is really essential as human beings?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What is really essential for human beings' is love, and it is your very nature. You only need to relax a little. If you are tensed you are unable to realize your true nature. When you are at rest then you realize the purpose of human life.

Q: Can you please talk about farmer suicide and genetically transformed food?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Farmer suicide is a very big problem in developing countries. Some of the companies, which are producing genetically transformed food are buying original seeds from poor farmers and burning them. Some people out of greed join in hands with them. What is most needed today is educating the illiterate farmers. Art of Living has worked in 520 villages where farmers are given proper education. Now all these villages where volunteers have worked, and educated people, suicide has completely stopped. But there is still a lot more to be done. We need to work a lot more.

Q: How far can a violent person go until we decide to defend ourselves? How do we draw the line between tolerance or love or acceptance or understanding and self-defiance?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Tolerance doesn’t mean allowing anybody to do any violent act, but violence can’t quell violence. Through wisdom, without getting upset, tensed, the way a doctor treats patients you must shut the violence. You know what we do is to react to violence. Reaction to violence is no good but action to violence is essential.

Q: Dear Guruji I don’t know if I made a right decision. I had a relationship. I walked out of it then re-started it. Then my boy friend did the same. Is it a new beginning? Have I made the right decision?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, time will tell you. You know when we are upset it is an opportunity for us to know how much have we grown in knowledge. When we hold the responsibility – I have done something wrong to some one then 50% sorrow is diminished. The rest of the 50% is done when you know everything will change in the future. Once a gentleman was very angry with his wife. When he was asked why he is angry with his wife, he said, “Because of her, because I love her I am angry with her. If there wouldn’t have been any care why would I fight with her?” You fight because you have a sense of ownership, belongingness. Because of the sense of belongingness you fight and because of that sense of belongingness you come together. Isn’t it? But there are other people whom you should contact, I am not experienced in this.

Q: Why is it different with you and other people?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I don’t find any difference. If you find something you tell me. Perhaps I am always at home with everyone, wherever I go, all the time. I have no worries of my own. I don’t think what about me. May be you would also have thought like that. May be not. I am not afraid of anybody. I feel every single person whether they know me or not belong to me. You may also be feeling like that. It is up to you to know. Don’t you think so?

Q: How can I be stronger and committed to path like you?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are already committed. Don’t doubt yourself. You have all the virtues. In seed form you have all. Now look, a bud has everything that it needs to be a flower. Only it will take a little time. All the petals will open and it will be a fully blossomed flower. Though it is a bud but is has everything. In the same way every individual is full. You need little nourishment, little water. So know that you have all the virtues inside you. It takes some time. Do some pranayama, meditation and in some good company you will see it happens faster.

Q: I see a lot of people smoking and drinking. What do I do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I too have the same question! Education, Education! These people need to experience some higher joy. See with Sudarshan kriya how fast do they drop the habit and come out of it. We’ll do a program for that. We have done it in some countries and it has been successful. 65% of people stay without smoking. 30-35% come back to smoking but the quantity has reduced. Earlier they would take 10 packets, now they take 2 packets.

Q: Should I quit the membership of Church? (I belong to a Catholic Church).
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know that is your choice. You can continue to be a member or if you do not feel like it you can quit. It is your own choice. Whether you are a member or you are not is not a big issue. What is more important is are you a good human being? Are you full of love and compassion? Are you interested in helping others? Are you interested in connecting with others? Do you think so?

Q: How to overcome fear of real unconditional love?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh -meditation. When you go deep in yourself all types of fear disappear.

Q: How do you feel to have the energetic field and wisdom?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good! It is a very difficult question. You know wherever I go I feel I carry my own energetic field.

Q: Can you please tell us the translation of Mantras that we sing?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Mantras are just the sounds, vibrations. “OM NAMAH SHIVAYA” addresses the five elements earth, fire, air, water and space of which we are made of.

Q: Can you please tell us something about the next transformation in the world by 2012?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good times. People will be more spiritual, more kind, less greedy, less hateful, and more understanding. All is good. All is real good.

Q: What about new Art of Living centers in Berlin, and other places.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good Good. You all come together and make any center anywhere. The more and more people come to the center they benefit. That is all I want, everyone to be happy. We need to have these centers of happiness where people go in and come out happy and jumping. Where they can drop all their mental stress, tension and small mindedness.

Q: Why is it so difficult for people to understand each other?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Because they don’t understand themselves first. You do not understand your own mind and you try to understand others’. It becomes very difficult.

Q: Is homosexuality a disease? Can you please talk about it?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all if you think it is a disease, you have already made a mindset. All is a physiological inclination in the mind. These tendencies can always change because everything changes. Some people I meet turn to be homosexual after 40-50 years and there are some people who in the beginning are homosexual but later on they have a family and children. All types of tendencies are there in the world. We shouldn’t discriminate anybody because of this tendency. We should love everyone help others to move ahead towards their goal, whatever goal they have set for themselves. You know all needs of body are very little, small. If you are stuck in the needs of body we forget we are something great, something, for which we are born, the need of the spirit, the need of the soul. The spiritual need of everyone needs to be fulfilled. Unfortunately people are stuck in the small needs. Food, entertainment, companionship is what their concern is throughout their life and they forget the real purpose of our life – To connect with the universal self. The real purpose of our life is to connect with the universe.

The above is an unedited transcript taken at the event and may be updated.

© The Art of Living Foundation

Where there is thirst, water will also be made available

Q: Guruji any particular message you want to give us, anything at all?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Have a vision. Move with confidence. I am with you. Move with that vision in
your life and share this joy with others. The happiness that we have got, we need to bring this joy to more and more people around us, don’t you think so? How many of you feel your lives are transformed?
Audience: Yes
It is our duty to share and spread the happiness that we have got.
Q: Guruji, I did the course a few days ago, my experience was awesome. I am from
Dhanbad in Jharkhand and I want a lot of people from Dhanbad to experience this. Also I want you to come there to address the youth and guide them on to the right path.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes sure. You work there.
Q: Guruji, Do I have your blessings on me?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have a lot of blessings. I shower blessings in abundance.
Q: Guruji I love you.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have no choice.I haven’t left you with an option.
Q: Guruji, please take us along with you. I need to have a long conversation with
you. It is not possible here in one minute. We have to reach college in 5 minutes. Please do some miracle so that we can spend whole day with you.
Sri Sri: Where to take you along. I am everywhere. I keep on coming and going. You are studying at present. Do your studies properly, ok.
Q: Guruji I love you, and please be with me all the time.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sure
Q: Guruji, when are you coming to my home? I want to cook Rice pudding (Kheer) for
you and serve it to you.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you have to make a wish then make a great wish. This is just a small wish. If many people wish to do the same then I would have to change my name to Ganesh. So make a wish that everyone stops the use of alcohol and drugs, and takes interest in meditation. More and more people start to walk on the spiritual path and start to live in knowledge. Drop your small wishes and start blessing people with the wish that their work is done. This knowledge has such power that you can do anything in the world. All of us have that capacity. You start using your
will power, mind power. This will benefit you and others also. How many of you have already experienced this?  See a lot of people have such experiences. You know you keep stepping up from success to success. There is no option of stepping down.
Q: Could you please tell us something about ego and surrender.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ego is something that restricts your blossoming. Ego is you not having enough
confidence in yourself. Ego is not wanting to be a fool. One who doesn’t want to be a fool ends up being a fool. So you have no choice. You either have to accept that you are a fool and become wise or not accept that you are a fool and really become one. Egotism does not like that. It says I am not a fool. I am somebody. Trying to impress someone else and become a real fool. Got it? Self confidence is that which gives you comfort. At home feeling, simply a sense of naturalness with everybody. Sense of belongingness with everybody. And not minding being a …
Audience: Fool
Q:Guruji is there any special message for us?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Special message is that that you are very special. All of you. When I say you, it is not for any one person but for us. All of you are very special.
Q: Can a husband fast for a good wife on Karva Choth (Indian Festival)
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you keep a fast your whole body is cleansed. When toxins are removed from the body your mind gets sharpened. Then whatever wish, whatever goal you have in mind gets fulfilled. This is a faith, a law and it also has a scientific base. But along with fasting you need to strengthen the determination in mind. So on that day you have only one thought in the mind, that good happens for your spouse. In ancient days people used to fast with this wish only. It’s all the power of mind. That’s it. But if your mind is somewhere else and you don’t eat then it won’t have that much benefit. Yes but the machinery (body) gets a little
rest. The liver keeps on functioning 24/7. So this was a way to give it rest. Ok?
Q: What is sattva and what is it’s contribution in our lives?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sattva means that which brings harmony, that which makes you happy, that which makes you enthusiastic, that which brings knowledge in you. This is all sattva.
Rajas makes you go too much up and too much down. Either you get too excited and you feel I can’t even handle this excitement or it is so down. This is rajas.
Tamas is when you feel so lazy and so negative that you don’t want anything. You dislike everybody. That is tamogun. So When you feel tamogun get up and start working, then rajogun
will come. Then when you are too much into action, I would say just sit back and
relax then you will get into satva. So, before meditation do some exercise. When
you do all this the restlessness or rajas in you calms down. Then you are able
to meditate. Didn’t it happen to you today? (Audience:Yes). How many enjoyed the
meditation. Raise your hands (Lots of people raised their hands). You meditated
nearly 20 minutes.
Q: How do we rise above our senses?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You were sitting in meditation now? Your eyes were closed? Did u have any wish except to listen to my voice? That means in a way ears were also closed. Mouth was also closed? You were not speaking anything? So all senses were shunned, and then only you were able to meditate. Meditation happened, yes?. When you sleep for 6-8 hours, you remain in your senses or in non-sense.  Are you getting it? So rest. Be satisfied in the mind. Be happy. And when you are in that state of Divine love, nothing will bother. See, during exam time lust doesn’t bother you. When does it disturb you? When you have nothing to do, when you are sitting
idle, isn’t that right?
Q: This is for the youth of Yes+. What seva/service can be given to the youth of Yes+ ? We tell them to organise courses and bring more people into the knowledge. Is this enough or can something else can be done?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know you can do these things. Speed it up, and mainly introduce people to do more meditation, and courses.
Q: How to make the most important decisions in life, decisions that change our entire life?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: So far what are all the decisions you have made. Are you happy with all these
decisions? (Response: Somewhat, and somewhat not). So life will continue like that, got it? Sometimes you made good decisions, and then you see the positive side. See everything has a positive side and everything has its lapses. So if you focus only on the lapses then every decision you make you will regret. But if you see the positive side then you will be happy and contented. And the more you are happy and contented more such things will happen in life. Got it?
Q: I don’t easily get things in life? Recently, my case was going on and it got dismissed?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, you have made this notion in mind that you don’t get things easily in life. Who has said this? First remove this label from your mind ok? Whatever you want you
ask for that and go ahead with confidence, ok? Don’t think that you always fail, your things get haphazard. This is wrong. It doesn’t happen like that. Everyone faces some problems initially. It has never happened that nobody faces no problem initially, and it will never happen like that.
Q: I did the Basic course 4 days ago. Somehow I have gathered courage to ask this question. I haven’t ever heard you before. But this moment I am getting some vibrations. It’s different. I don’t know if I am able to express it or not. I want to ask what is the essence, the power in you?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have no idea.
Q: How do we free ourselves from bad karmas of previous births?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sri Sri sings “Paap kya punya kya to bhulade, kal kal kal ki chinta mitade” Forget what is bad karma, what is good Karma, be free from the worries of tomorrow. There is
nothing greater than Pranayama which can make you free from your past impressions. Seva, Satsang & Sadhana
(Service,Dance & Celebration and spiritual practices) will help.
Q: I have been listening to your talks and reading your knowledge sheets. Now I want to reach that level where I am able to live that knowledge, to be sensitive like you, being able to listen to the pain of plants also. I too want to reach that level.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ok, where there is thirst, water will also be made available. And if you have any conflicts in mind, don’t worry. Aren’t conflicts reducing in mind. This will continue to happen. Increase the level of Sattva in you & Conflicts won’t remain with you with time.
Q: I am not able to sustain any work I do. What should I do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Whatever work you do you’re not able to sustain it for too long. You don’t need to sustain it for too long. Do you sustain it for sometime at least? Sometime? Good. Then slowly increase that sustainability little longer, little longer, little longer.
Q: Sometimes I am confused whether it’s my mind or whether it’s my true self. How do I clarify which is which?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know doubts always come when something is positive. Do you know about it? How many of you don’t know? Raise your hands. You know if someone tells you ‘I love you very much’. You say ‘Really’? But if someone tells you ‘I hate you’, you never say ‘really’, - correct? And similarly you doubt your capabilities; you never doubt your weaknesses. If someone asks you are you happy you say oh I’m not too sure. But you’re so sure about your depression. Correct? So that’s why our doubt is always about something that is positive. We doubt in the honesty of someone, we never doubt in the dishonesty of someone.
Q: What do you mean by atheist?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Atheist? You know it is very difficult to be an atheist. Because an atheist says ‘I don’t believe in anything’. If he really says I don’t believe in anything then he should not even believe in the words that he is saying. I say I should not believe in anything except myself. That’s what he should say. And ask him do you really believe in everything that you say? Then that means you are stagnant. You are not progressing. Because when you progress in your life everything changes. So it is extremely difficult to be an atheist. If you have to be an
atheist you have to say I don’t believe in anything that means even that word that you say you don’t believe, you don’t believe in it also. Got it?
Q: Guruji in your weekly knowledge you have said never to have an ambition. Will you please comment on that?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I haven’t said like that. Be ambitious but don’t be over ambitious.
(From the Office of H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)
© The Art of Living Foundation

H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar key note address - Verbatim - WHO Conference , Oct 6 th, Sri Lanka

Om shanti shanti shanti , Honorable Minister, His Excellencies and Dignitaries on the dais, friends and distinguish guests.

As I was listening to our Honorable Minster of Health speak about mental well being, it came to my mind, you know the word for health in Sanskrit is SWASTHA that means one who is established in oneself, SWA means self STHA means one who is established in self, If you go to Bali island in Indonesia they greet you with OM SWASTHI RASTU – (may you have health), meaning well being, mental, physical, emotional, it includes everything, total well being.
In the east, as it was being earlier mentioned that 2500 years ago we have had this education, common masses, I would take it even further back 5110 years it was in Bhagvat Gita concept of well being, social well being is mentioned and even earlier Maharishi Patanjali made this whole treatise on yoga and how you can be happy physically, mentally and socially. If someone is obsessed with hatred, anger and jealousy they are not considered to be socially well, of course it is an ancient concept to have this mind which is a container of all knowledge, which is a container of intelligence, emotion and life force as such cleansed to keep it healthy and to get rid of this jealousy, hatred etc.
If you analyze today's problem there is hatred in society, there is greed, there is fear and because of this, depression sets. It was appalling to hear that depression will be the Number 1 disease in the coming decades in the world.  In Europe nearly 30% of the population suffers from mental depression, 30% of the population!!! I was invited to address the psychiatrists
in  Europe and they said you know "we expect this rate of mental depression to go up to 48% in the coming decade'' and you can't feed half the population Prozac or other anti depressant, you need other ways, you have to change life styles, bring certain changes in our life styles and educate our self, what I would call as mental hygiene, you know dental hygiene, oral hygiene we teach people how to keep their teeth intact but we are not teaching how to
keep our mind SANE or behavior pattern SANE.
I am happy that the World Health Organization has taken up this project now. It should have been taken a few decades before. We could have saved our planet from so much of this terrorism, hatred, ethnic conflicts, religious strives and emotional upheavals, traumas, but never the less we are now taking action. It has to take a fast track -educative and preventive programs
throughout the world, even if one small pocket of the planet is left uneducated about mental well being you are not in a safe world. Terrorism is one such example of extreme mental sickness. So, in this august meeting, we will all have to sit and think of how we can reach sanity to every nook and corner of the planet. One idea is to bring the spiritual knowledge, ancient knowledge we have in this part of the world, bring a more secular, scientific attitude or temperament so that spirituality is accepted by all sections of society.  It has
to be free from dogmas. Scientific and secular spirituality is what we need, that would give to the world a mind which is healthy which can take any stress or pressure that the modern society is posing in front of us.
It is unfortunate that in some countries yoga is banned. Yoga is a very simple way to keep your system free from stress, to keep happy, to keep contented. I think it is just because of lack of education. If the World Health Organization takes such a role to convey to the people, countries, and the health ministers of the various countries where they are trying to ban or
partially ban yoga and yogic practices, to realize the importance of it.
And usually we say there are 4 sources of energy, 1st source is food that everybody agrees and we all know and there is lot of education on nutrition today and the 2nd source of energy is sleep, you give someone enough food and you don't let them sleep they go mad, they go insane. A good amount of sleep, not too much and not too little, someone sleeps 10hrs everyday they get duller and duller day by day.  So the right amount of sleep 6 to 8hrs of sleep
would give you enough energy not less. 3rd source of energy is breathing as our honorable guest from Thailand emphasized on the breathing. I would say most of the illness can be handled through breathing exercises, proper breathing can improve the blood circulation, neurological health, physical health and mental health - breathing is very important for energising our system. 4th source of energy I would say is a happy mind, meditative mind.
A meditative mind gives you so much energy. You might have experienced in your own life you know, when there is a function at home and you have to work 16-18hours a wedding or housewarming ceremony or any new project which is very emotionally dear to you, you work 18hours, 20hrs you don't get tired but in the office you are asked to take 2 more hours to work you feel exhausted, so the mind plays an important role. The commitment in the mind, the focus in the mind brings lots of energy too. So meditation is the 4th source of energy. So you need to educate the population on this, and all the 4 different sources of energy so that they can benefit by attending to them.
Mental well being to me is improved perception, improved observation and improved expression. Like, the body grows from the time you are born to the age 21, 22 and then the body starts deteriorating, our mental age, our mental well being should grow simultaneously from childhood we need to keep improving our perception, observation and our expression this has no age, usually psychologists say 50 or 40 it stops, middle age our mental observation, expression starts deteriorating. I say if you are practicing yoga or meditation this doesn't happen. There is no decay of your mental well being. You know the other day a psychologist came to me, he has opened a clinic and says ''Guruji, please give me blessings ''. I said ''what?!!’’, I don't get patients, please bless me so that I get at least 3-4patients, I can break even, I can make some
money”.  Asking me to give blessing so that patients come to them, probably the psychologist would be happy to hear that there is one suicide every 40second so that there is dearth for patients.
There is a taboo about mental well being, it is not that there no mentally sick people but unlike going to a doctor if you have some other illness, if you are mentally not well you go to a doctor then that is taboo, there is stigma attached to it, so you feel very down, the family and the society looks down upon you. We need to correct this through education, educating people you know it is ok to go and see psychiatrist / psychologist and it is normal. In some countries it is a fashion, at least one member in a family goes to a counselor in Argentina, if you go to Buenos Aires you find lot of people go to psychologist even though they are well, they have no mental illness. It is a sort of fashion to go to a psychologist / psychiatrist / counselor, to talk about how you feel and what's your problem in your life, but in South Asian countries you have big taboo about it. We have to get rid of this stigma , we have to get rid of the stigma no doubt, also, we have to educate people in our own ways of meditation, of yoga, breathing techniques, of spirituality of community living, community service, singing, dancing,
participating in social activities, games, all these can help in the mental well being.
You know, I heard that a very well know industrialist in India, he would call all doctors at his house, anyone says he is a doctor he would invite him / her and give them the fees, take the prescription whatever they give and then get all the medicines as well ! So his attendant asked him,'' why do you call all these doctors?'' , he replied,'' so that they will live, make a
living'' Then the attendant asked, ‘why do you buy all the medicines they prescribe - Unani, ayurveda, alopathy, homeopathy- why do you buy all the medicines sir ???''. He replied,'' so that the pharmaceutical companies can live''. ''But sir, you don't take any of these medicines??''...he replied,'' So that I could live myself!''(laughter). You know the irony is medicine is not the answer for all this, placebo effect has demonstrated to the world over and over that it is not just swallowing pills that you can get well or taking more and more of these vitamins and minerals that you are going to be better. You need to
attend to lifestyle, you need to attend to your food habits, you need to attend to how you interact with people, what are you taking from every interaction.
As I am speaking, see if you observe the mind, mind is saying ''yes or no'', mind is accepting that which it already agrees and knows, or every few minutes mentally we go for a cappuccino or a cup of tea, or presence of mind is not there! And this is a problem in our schools and colleges, children say we study for who day but nothing remains in our mind,
retention power has become so less, you ask today's youth to narrate one movie or story he has seen, you know he can't do it completely he will mix it up with 2/3 movies that he has seen, because the stimulus bombardment to our mind is so high we are not recuperating that energy, that mental energy, a sense of well being. We are not attending to the container; we are simply dumping things into the container. Information is being pumped into the container; we are not
expanding the capacity of the container or attending to its cleanliness.

Mind is our container, container of our life, we need to expand it and this happens through a few moments of silence, few moments of meditation, few moments of deep relaxation and I am so glad that this breakthrough has happened in the world today through the World Health Organization recognizing this mental well being. Recognizing that the people's behavioral pattern had to be attended to, otherwise they are not healthy. You know in many meetings people
sit and talk for hours together and argue and counter argue really not being aware of what they are saying. I would like you to ponder on this, - come up with practical solutions, and create teams, combined efforts of NGOs, governmental agencies, civil society, everyone together, religious bodies, religious institutions should get on to this project, a combined effort of all
of us, of this different aspect of society, to make society, the world, a better
place, a better human being for the coming generations. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
(From the Office of H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)
© The Art of Living Foundation

Sri Sri in Sri Lanka, Oct 5th 2009

In his fifth visit to Sri Lanka yesterday Sri Sri Ravishankar blessed over 10,000 people with meditation, prayers and sacred chants at the country’s largest, Sugatha Dasa indoor stadium in Colombo. The mega event titled “Uniting Hearts and Minds” held on October 5th 2009 brought people from all walks of life and from across the country. Several Christian priests, Islamic scholars, Buddhist monks, Hindu Swamis and priests came together in a spirit of unity and faith. Several hundreds came to catch a glimpse of Sri Sri in trains and buses from Jaffna, Tricomalee, Batticaloa, Vavuniya, Mannar, Galle, Matara, Colombo and several other far-flung areas. As soon as Sri Sri entered the stadium, hundreds of school children sang Thevaram. Then Sri Sri conducted Sukshma Yoga Himself. After that he taught ''Naadi shodhan Pranayama'' before leading into meditation.
Meditation is doing nothing; being still, do nothing, - we say another 10 minutes I will meditate. I do nothing, I want nothing and I am nothing. If u think I am somebody, meditation will not happen, so, I do nothing, I am nothing and you can see how the mind automatically settles and become still. Don't concentrate. Meditation is not concentration, it is not thinking something. Simply relaxation - got it? Did u all get it? Meditation is simply relaxation. Om means peace, Om means love, - unconditional love. Meditation takes you inside and makes you realize that kingdom of God is inside. Love is God (Anmbe Shivam''ulla kadakkara kadal thaan kadavul'', leave all your botherations here. One rule when you come for satsang is that you can bring all your worries here, but you cannot take them back. You can drop them all here and go back smiling, and serve people who are in need. Smile and serve.
Question: What is the state of Tamils in Sri Lanka and Tamils all over the world? Sri Sri Ravishankar : Tamils should live without fear, they shouldn't be afraid. Fear is only inside their mind. They should drop their fear, they should be with everybody. They have great culture of peace, they should promote peace and join hands with everybody to build a very prosperous society. Peace and prosperity go together. So, have peace in your heart, in your mind, family and society and peace comes when you have trust and confidence. Nobody can take away your self-respect and dignity. You have all the opportunities in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the world to progress in your life. Spread peace, love and bring prosperity. Tamils everywhere in the world are hard working people, they definitely bring prosperity and what we need is unity of minds and hearts. Question: Does Karmas and tendencies get carried forward through generations? Sri Sri Ravishankar : It is not necessary that habits are hereditary, not necessary that every disease is hereditary. Of course our genes do carry the tendencies of mother and father, but we can change many of these tendencies, many of these Karmas. Karma means what? It means deep impression in the DNA. This is what Lord Gautama Buddha said, ''Karmas can be erased through Dhyana, through meditation', through Sharanagathi'' Question: In this selfish world why should I only have broad vision? H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Good and bad things happen in the world. But our consciousness can gain from all these situations. Like, when there is rain or too much of heat (sun), you take an umbrella and protect yourself. Same way, awareness, knowledge, devotion is that umbrella to protect you from all unpleasant situations. Peace and love are the foundation on which we progress individually and collectively and for the nation and for the world. You know, the word Pooja, - Poo means fullness and ''Ja'' means that which has come out of fullness. When your heart is full, you say gratitude to God: how do you say? with flowers, you tell God, ''my heart is blossomed like this flower'' . The world is made up of five elements - ether, air, fire, water and earth. Ancient people used all these five elements. Chanting or sound is space element, burning some incense is air element, camphor and lamp is fire element, and then water and earth element, different types of flowers, fruits, milk, curd, honey all these things are used. With the chanting you create the inner vibration all around us. Ancient chanting is there since thousands of years. What is the chanting? Namo Namo Namo, Mana is mind, the mind which goes outwards, when mind turns inwards it becomes ''Nama'', Namo means mind inwards. Oh Divine, you are in the child, you are in the aged, you are in the tree, bird, water, stones. You are in sun, moon, you are everywhere, there’s not a bit of creation that is devoid of You, and I adore you, dissolve in You and merge in You. Like camphor my life burns and dissolves in You. Like incense, my life spreads fragrance all around. Like flowers, I blossom and bring joy to everybody. Like fruit, all my actions become fruitful, let my intentions become fruitful. Like water, let us always we be humble. If water is poured, it goes to the lowest point. Isn't it? Like that, humility - let me take the lowest point to serve the society. Let me be like fire that always goes up, let my enthusiasm always go up. You do ''Aarathi'', having a lamp and say let the light of my life always be around God, around divinity, let it never go down, let the enthusiasm always go up and bring joy to everybody's life. This is what is called Pooja. With these feelings, with these simple little actions we do Pooja. And when ''deepa aarathi'' is brought, everyone takes meaning ''let me receive the knowledge in my life'' (while saying this Sri Sri is demonstrating how we receive the Aaarathi). Let the light that is the symbol of knowledge come into my life. Let me not be in darkness, let there be light in my life, so, I accept this beautiful light of wisdom in my life. And then you take the Mangala aarathi. And then little water is given, you sip that saying let my heart be cool, let there be pleasantness inside. And this is the universal message of gratefulness that is what is called Pooja, dawning out of fullness. If you go to any religious program, everywhere these feelings are there. Like, lighting a candle is in Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, everywhere we light a candle and keep it in front of Buddha statue, incense is lit and flowers are offered around Buddha. The same is done in Church, light a candle and keep in front of Lord Jesus Christ or Mother Mary. Offering of fruits is done in Buddhism, isn’t it? It is more of inner feeling that is important, more important than the external act. Just doing a ritual is not sufficient enough, it has to be meditative. It has to come from our feeling level. Today's Pooja is to bring health, happiness and peace to every individual especially in this continent to all those who have suffered to give them more strength and to eliminate all those negative vibrations and of pain and suffering and to bring peace and happiness to every single person and to clear the entire atmosphere in the country to bring more peaceful, loving and joyful atmosphere. This is the sankalpa/ intention we are taking today for the Pooja. After Rudrabhishek, satsang followed.
© The Art of Living Foundation