H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar inaugurated the MILK (Meditation and Inspiration Center for Living and Kindness) at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, India on November 26, 2009.
Later, students had an interactive session with Sri Sri.
Following are some of the excerpts:
While taking a look at the proposed plan of the meditation centre at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Sri Sri said, “Management is all about just going along with what exists. Not making something new but going along with what is there already.”
On Vishnu shakti
“Vishnu just rests on a snake, doesn’t have to do much. Brahma takes care of the rest. Brahma does the creation. Vishnu does the maintenance whereas managers do both creation and maintenance.”
Youth and a paradigm shift
“Youth have a great opportunity and can create a new world as the world is now looking for a paradigm shift. The world is currently facing some kind of stagnation. A new paradigm shift is needed and will emerge only from India.
Monetary prosperity is not actual prosperity. Inducing life, the spirit, spirit of enthusiasm – this is what India gave to the world.
Life is enthusiasm, life is love, life is compassion, life is creation and if these things die out in you then a corpse would just come out of you.”
Sri Sri laid emphasis on the need for innovation and creativity. He stressed on inculcating creative ideas rather than confining ourselves to managing what already exits.
One world family
“The whole world is a big family - Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. We never thought in those terms of being different. We believe in Viswamanav. We learnt teamwork from Japan, etiquette from the British, marketing from the Americans, technical skills from Germany and India gave human values to the world.
I’ll tell you an anecdote: “I asked all my devotees to do something creative as creativity is a reflection of the consciousness. Three months later, all came up with some great projects. One team came up with egg-less ice cream and started proving that their ice cream is the best in the world. Similarly, some other teams also started proving the same thing. One lady, who was very fragile, came with one project i.e. making handkerchiefs. She spoke about 17 points about how it is the best in the world. All points were logical. ”
“You see, marketing skills in the US are better than their products. We, in India, have great products but we lack marketing skills. “
There are 7 points that India can be proud of and that have not been explored yet.
Food: There are so many varieties of food in India. Tripura, a small place in India, has more than 200 varieties of food. North Indians don’t know the different kinds of South Indian dishes. Even South Indians don’t know the dishes from North India. We don’t market ourselves properly. We have the greatest varieties possible in the world, yet we don’t project ourselves.
Tourism: We have a great part of history which we don’t capitalize.
Music & Dance: There are so many types of dance and music which we haven’t even projected so far.
Dress & Jewelry: The Indian dress is appreciated the world over. We have no pride of what we wear. Places like Thailand and Indonesia are very proud of their dress and jewelry. We are not. We don’t feel good about ourselves. Low self-esteem is eating our attitude and culture.
Information Technology: This will take India to new heights.
Ayurveda: There are 280 kinds of flora and fauna available in India which is not available anywhere in the world. We don’t pay any attention to that. These are going to be the future medicine of 21st century.
Triphala: Foreigners have taken this formula and patented it. Similarly, things are happening all over the world.
Indian Spiritual Values: The yoga market is valued at $27 billion in the United States itself. 99% of local US people dominate this market. They started preparing materials for yoga which is a product of India and our gift to the world. People are invited to do mantra and chanting in some building in New York. All across India, in temples if someone is chanting, we don’t even bother to look at them.
Question & Answers:
Q. Do we have to be interdependent and do we need to look for interdependency?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You don’t have to be interdependent. It is just that you need to realize it. The word ‘independent’ is obsolete. It is nature that we are interdependent on. We have one nature, one ocean, one air, one earth and everyone is dependent upon it. People are one! We are interdependent!
Q. Why do we meditate with our eyes closed though we have to live our life with our eyes open? Is it possible to do meditation with eyes open?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is the second step. The first step is to go where the mind is involved – once the eyes are closed, once the mind is centered – then you can go ahead with the other ways as well. There are different kinds of meditation like walking meditation. Your every action comes from a meditative state.
Q. Guruji, you said life is simple, yet why does it turn so complex? It is very difficult to make decisions. Why can’t we avoid things which are complicated?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Life is simple while people are complicated. Why can’t we avoid things which are complicated? We have too much time in life so we make things complicated.
Life is very simple and life is very complicated! Both exist depending on the circumstances and our perception at that point of time. Life is a combination of both.
Q. According to Raj Yoga, it is said that practicing meditation is meant for people who are reclusive and follow a strict and definite approach to reach salvation. Meditation is difficult for a person with much responsibilities. You said everyone should meditate. What are the implications of this on a normal person?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are different forms of Yoga. Raja Yoga is Royal Yoga. In some forms, they spend a lot of time in practice. Some forms are for people like the prince who has so many responsibilities such that they can do the practice in a short span of time. Meditation is useful for people in all walks of life.
Q. You have highlighted the importance of innovation and creativity, but with that comes a lot of risk and uncertainty. It’s only after numerous failures that a successful new technology or product is evolved. So how should one manage the failures that come as a by-product of striving for innovation? How to rise up after each failure and restart the journey to discover something new?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Failure is a part of the process. Meditation will help you to go ahead in spite of failures. Innovation without failure is possible if you are able to use your intuition perfectly. Both should act perfectly to achieve zero failure in innovation. If intuition is not in proportion then failure occurs more often.
Q. In the Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna says that one must not care about the result of his work. But if we do not think about the fruits that follow our hard work, then what will motivate us to do that hard work?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no control over the fruit of action. If the attention is only on the end result, then you can’t perform.
Let us take a runner - if he starts looking behind at who is running, and not looking at the path he needs to run on, then ultimately he will lose, no matter how good the runner may be. You have to follow your own track, to complete the run whether you lose or win. Lord Krishna is utterly practical in his advises. Lord Krishna tells Arjuna: This is complex, but these are the ways to do it.
Q. There are so many practices, so many paths. Which one should I choose?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yoga is everything together. Everything comes along with it.
Sudarshan Kriya will help. This suits today’s young minds that are very busy with schedules all around, and can’t work with too many conditions. In a short time, with deep experiences and no side effects.
Q. Is it good to practice religious practices? As of now, I am on the path of meditation and sometimes don’t feel like practicing them.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s a matter of culture. It creates an atmosphere with a sense of joy. There is nothing wrong in celebration, fire crackers etc. Traditional practices help and bring a sense of belongingness to family and children.
In the houses of Maoists, there are no pictures or lamps. When children grow up (in such an environment), they grow up with a lot of emptiness.
In Russia, there was no religion for 40 years. There was a destruction of cathedrals and they built a swimming pool on that. Now, after that catastrophe, they re-built the church. If people don’t practice religion, they start feeling the vacuum. And finally religion helps them understand this.
For spirituality – there is no need of religious practices.
Q. Guruji why is it that Sanskrit language that originated in India finds its second reference in Chicago? This is still the case.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are asking my question! We are giving away our ownership over Sanskrit..
You know Dr. B.R. Ambedkar asked that Sanskrit be made our national language.It was seconded by Nasiruddhin Ahmed.
Malayalam contains 80 % of Sanskrit, Telugu 70%, Kannada 70%, Tamil 30% and Hindi 80%. Even many words in foreign languages are similar to Sanskrit: Swasa – Sister, Duhita – Daughter. However, we have lost the link somewhere and failed to establish the reputation of Sanskrit. You know what rain is called in Italian? Piyorja! The Sanskrit word is parjanya. They are so similar in many aspects.
Q. There are some schools of thoughts that say that you must always be aware of what your competitors are doing. Because if you don’t see your competitors, you will be like a bridled horse. You will end up making the best calculator of the world when the world has moved to computers. So how do you reconcile the two schools of thoughts?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The challenge is to manage the two contradictions - that is the job of the youth.
One should be aware of the competitors. At the same time, one should have an eye of Arjuna. Be aware of what’s happening around you and one-pointedness towards the goal.
Over ambitiousness will not lead to anything.
Improve your intuitive ability, enthusiasm, relaxation.
It will give you everything that you need to.
“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 Spiritualiyt