Bangalore ashram, (India), Nov. 13, 2009:
Q. How do we know what is true love?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: How do we know false love, tell me? My dear! Love is love, you can’t call it is true or false. Don’t doubt love. We don’t doubt hate. What is the guarantee that people hate you? May be at that time they were angry! Love is our nature. Because of desires and greed our love is sometimes not expressed. It becomes hidden. There is no prani (living being) without priti (love). Prana (life-force energy) has come from love. Thousands of atoms together form the body. Without love, all these atoms would be separated and that is nothing but death. When the Prana loves the body it stays in the body, there is life. When that love ends, there is death. We should not mistake emotions for love. Love is our nature, know the difference.
Q. When the Paramatma (Divine consciousness) is supposed to be ever-content, why does discontentment arise?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: So that the Paramatma has some work. An intelligent person recognizes the play of the Divine. It’s like being in a puppet show. When you are in the knowledge, you are like strings in the hands of the Divine. Without this knowledge you become the puppet.
Q. What is the significance of the jyotirlinga? (There are 12 celebrated pilgrimage spots in India called the jyotirlingas)
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Linga is a symbol. Jyothi is light. A jyotirlinga is a symbol of light. Ancient Rishis and sages have meditated and done their tapas (penance) in such places and those vibrations were created in that space. Here (in Vishalakshi Mantap) you have a jyotirlinga, you can’t see the linga but the light is there. Swayamhi tirtani punamhi Santah. Teertha (holy spot) is where a saint sits. Every pilgrimage spot is a place where a saint has meditated has done tapas (penance) and then transmitted that energy to the stone, water, etc and the place becomes vibrant with that consciousness. When the spiritual energy in a place decreases, then conflict increases. Dhyana (meditation), puja (prayer), seva, and a spiritual life should be there. Then the Chaitanaya Shakti (spiritual energy) increases.
Q. Even water takes a specific time to evaporate! How long will it take for my ignorance to disappear?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:'I am just an ordinary person. How is this possible for me?' Don’t think like this. Only an ordinary person can attain this knowledge. How long does it take to empty a vessel? Whether it is filled with silver, mud or gold, it takes the same amount of time to empty. To fill mud will take less time, it will take longer to fill gold. You have to make a lot of effort. But to empty it out takes no time and no effort. There is no expectation of qualification to attain the Divine. No need for any effort. Just be.
Akincana- I am no body
Aprayatna- I do nothing
Akama- I want nothing
When you see someone has done a lot of tapas (penance) and so they received the knowledge, know that the tapas was to empty themselves.
When the rajas calms down, all restlessness disappears. In that there is an experience of the Divine consciousness. Don’t think that somebody will appear and tell you this and that! That will only be a hallucination. Just relax. In rest and relaxation, there is no distance. It is just you and the Divine. So meditate for a while. And feel that nothing belongs to me. If you do japa (repetition) of mantras it helps you to move into meditation.
In any puja, first there is meditation. When the puja ends, there is meditation too. This practice has dropped. Without it, it is like riding on a horse without a saddle, blinkers or a whip. How will you control the horse?
Once Mullah Naseeruddin was being carried round and around the city on the back of such a horse. Somebody asked mullah where he was going. And he answered, ‘Ask the horse!’
Our mind has become like that. We run wherever our mind runs. Nobody has the time to think about you - whether you are happy or not. It is simply for the sake of asking most of the time. Nobody really wants an answer. How you feel and how your mind is, keeping it pleasant is your responsibility. If you make your emotions your responsibility, no one can make you happy or unhappy. Where you have to house the Divine why do you want to fill garbage? Keep the mind clean - that is meditation. Keep it free from craving and aversion. That is shishya vritti. A disciple should not have space for hatred. There is space only for the guru. The mind is nirmala (blemish-less). There will be 100,000 things that will try to disturb your balance. Offer your dislikes, mentally surrender it to the river and let it all be washed away or offer it into the fire and let it be burnt to ashes. This is agnihotra. Kama (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (attachment), mada (arrogance) and whatever other bad intentions - let them all be burnt in this fire. Let the nirmala jyoti (pure blemish-less light) be lit in me.
Again and again, being in the knowledge will clean your mind and intellect. Between you and the Divine is the intellect. Through knowledge, this separation can be removed. Through devotion, meditation and knowledge, the separation dissolves.
Q. How and when should I use the mantras?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Chant the mantra effortlessly and naturally. You don’t have to do japa (repetition) 24 hours of the day. Chant for a while and move into meditation. You don’t have to bathe 24 hours to be clean! A few minutes of cleansing is enough to keep you fresh for the day or at least half the day. Like that mantrasnana (cleansing oneself in the shower of mantras) is important.
Q. Guruji what should I do, should I be an atheist or a believer?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do you want to label yourself? One day be an atheist and one day be a believer. Are you ready to do that? Whatever you are, be authentic. Today the so-called atheists are not authentic. Atheists cannot say, “I don't know!” Atheists say, “There is nothing that I don’t know. What I see only exists, nothing else”. Believer says, “I know that there is the unknown”.
When you say that something does not exist in this creation, you need to know everything about the creation. Who knows everything about this creation now?
You can only say, “I don’t know whether it exists or not”. An atheist claims that something doesn’t exist. That is very difficult to say when you don’t know the entire time and space. Do you know everything in this time and space, in this creation?
Your acceptance of your ignorance doesn’t allow you to be an atheist. So you can never be an authentic atheist.
Q. Guruji, what is the purpose of my life?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are very lucky. So many people live life never asking this question. Nurture it. You have this question in your heart, you are very lucky. I will tell you one thing. One who knows the answer to this question will not tell you and one who tells you does not know.
“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
~ H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
© The Art of Living Foundation For Globalizing Spirituality