Meditation time!

Bangalore ashram, Jan. 20:
Sri Sri asked everybody, “Are you happy”? The audience replied enthusiastically with a ‘Yes!’ After a few bhajans, Sri Sri led everybody through a meditation which highlighted the principles of the Yogasara Upanishad. Later, everybody was surprised when they realized that the meditation lasted for 40 minutes. It seemed much shorter. Then Sri Sri concluded the satsang with ‘Jai Jai Radha Raman’.
“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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© The Art of Living Foundation For Global Spirituality

The centeredness of the mind is the most important thing in spiritual evolution

Bangalore ashram, Jan. 19:

Q: How important is prana (life force energy)? One, of course, is it gives life. How does one improve one’s prana?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Prana is present in everything. In fact, we are floating in air, in prana, an ocean of prana. When the unit of expression varies, it makes a difference. Stones have got one unit of prana. Water has got two units of prana. Fire has got three units of prana. Air has got four units of prana. Plants have got five units of prana. Animals have got six units of prana. Human beings are capable of holding from seven to 16 units of prana. The expression of prana is the whole universe. When prana is lower than one, that’s when you feel depressed. When prana goes further low then you feel suicidal. When prana is normal, you feel normal. When prana is higher, you feel enthusiastic. When prana is very high, you feel energetic and blissful. That is why when people are depressed, low just giving counseling doesn’t work, what needs to be done is to raise the level of prana. When prana is high there is joy, vibrancy, understanding. When prana is low, then the mind starts complaining, depression, lethargy, suicidal tendencies arise. All is play and display of prana.

Q: Guruji, the other day you talked about effort and effortless. But it needs lot of effort to be effortless.  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s worth doing it.

 Q: Why was Krishna’s navel called Padamnabha (solar plexus)?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The solar plexus is called the second brain or mid brain. For a yogi, the solar plexus is larger in size. Scientists have also said this. It is small in a person who doesn’t do yoga and meditation. A yogi who does meditation and yoga has a larger solar plexus. When solar plexus is larger, one is creative and generous. When it is smaller, one is jealous.  

Lord Krishna is called Padamnabha, his solar plexus was like a fully blossomed flower. Padma not only means lotus, it also means flower. Fully blossomed flower is usually referred to as padma.  

Q: There are so many attractions and distractions but still youth are so bored.  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Youth are bored and it’s their fortune. If they were satisfied, then growth would have stopped. When they are bored, then the quest comes in them. They are not satisfied with the things available around. And this is the stage when they can take a step to look within, a leap in their inner journey, a step towards spirituality. An interest in higher growth gets kindled, when you are bored with things around. When you find the source of joy within, then obviously everything around is also reflecting the same source of joy, then you find interest in everything. Continuous bombardment of senses by stimuli can cause inertia. Inertia is boredom, is a form of boredom. Again, when prana level goes up, you move from inertia to enthusiasm.

Q: Guruji, you give so much importance to Satsang. Is there any scientific reason behind?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Satsang means the company of reality, being in touch with the truth. Satsang is not just singing. Singing some complicated songs which you don’t understand is not Satsang. Music is a part of it. The second part is understanding the logic. The third part is sitting and reposing in yourself, in deep meditation, being with yourself.

Q: Why does the Divine answer and reward some while the prayers of others go unanswered?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, I don’t know why some prayers get answered and some are not. I have no idea. Perhaps it is good for you. Perhaps you may change your mind about what you want. People go for shopping - this often happens at least in India - go for shopping and ask shopkeeper, ‘Can I come later and exchange it if I don’t like it?’ They go home and don’t like it and get it exchanged the next day. The most unreliable thing you have is your own mind because you don’t know what it likes and when it doesn’t like that. That is why bringing mind to its source is so important. Its centeredness is the most important thing in spiritual evolution. Understanding what is transient and what is permanent, what brings you permanent joy and what causes temporary convenience and long term misery, what causes temporary discomfort and permanent joy and what causes long term discomfort. That is what is called viveka, discrimination, wisdom – knowing this from that.

Q: Guruji can a woman follow Brahamcharya (celibacy)?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Brahamcharya - it’s your personal choice. If you want to get married then marry. If you don’t want to get married then don’t marry. There are people who are married and miserable. There are people who are unmarried and miserable. All I want you to be is wise. Be wise in either case. Be centered. That is most important.

Q: Guruji, are there a fixed number of souls or one soul in the whole universe?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Infinite souls. It’s like asking are there fixed number of stars in the sky? There are infinite stars. Vedic shastra and Agma shastra says there are 224 earths, worlds like ours in this galaxy. There are many but mainly 224. These are the visions of saints who have gone deep in meditation and explored the universe.  

Q: You have talked about hidden meanings behind symbols in Hinduism which seems to be very illogical. Could you please talk about many crores of devtas?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Crores, koti means types. 33 crores means 33 types of Divine impulses. In our body also there are 33 types of divine impulses. There are 33 types of genes in our body. A particular type makes the eye, a particular type makes the nose, like that a particular type makes eardrums, hair, nails. All these are made up from a particular type of gene which are of 33 different types.

Like this, there are 33 rays of Divinity. There is one light, one God, one Parmatma yet there are 33 aspects. Devas are the 33 different aspects of Divinity. Here crores is not referred to as a number. The Divine has no form but ancient saints have said you can adore Him in any form or name. All the thousand names belong to God only. This is very, very deep science or deep knowledge. It’s amazing. When you go deeper into this, then you feel the ‘wow’. People - who have written this, have discovered this - have simply stupendous knowledge. The Universe is not so simple. It’s very complex. Modern physics also say that the deeper and deeper you go, there are so many different type of particles. So the universe is diverse. The Divinity which manages, rules, and has made this diverse universe is devta. The English name, David, is a Sanskrit word. Dev + vid, dev means Divinity, vid means to know. David means one who knows Divinity. Divinity is not somewhere up in the heaven. It is present in the world, universe, everywhere. And it has to be realized when the mind is calm, serene and settled in our heart and when the emotion and intellect merge into a serene blend in silence then you are able to perceive the subtle reality of Universe and that is devta.  

Q: When a disciple is dead what is the role of the Satguru?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Satguru knows that there is no death to the disciple. Atma never dies. Even after death he continues to get direction on the path.

Q: Guruji, is it difficult for a woman to organize something for she has to manage the home also. How does a woman do it effectively?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t think of anything as difficult. Even if it is difficult, it becomes more difficult when you perceive it to be difficult in your mind. If you get a difficult task to do, however much difficult it seems to be, know that we have an even greater power within. It is available to us and according to that we get tasks to do.

Q: Is the world permanent or changing?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can see that the world is not permanent.

Q: What is puja?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That which is born from purnata (fullness) is puja. When gratitude is overwhelming, the throat chokes in gratitude then whatever action you perform in such a state is puja. We surrender everything – that bhavana (feeling) is puja.

Q: To whom do I surrender?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To the Divine who resides within everybody, to that Divine I surrender.

Q: How do we remember the good things and forget the bad?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is better to forget bad things and it is good to remember good things. Both together are life but we forget this and remember all the negative things. It is important to remember what you hear in Satsang. Forgetting other people’s mistakes is important. Remembering not to repeat our mistakes is important. Remembering lessons from others’ mistakes is also important.  

Q: What is meaning of kodagana koli nungitha (a bhajan in Kannada)?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Its meaning is so amazing. I was thinking I was a big person but when I look at the Guru’s feet, so magnanimous. My ego, that I thought was so big and Guru’s feet small, but it was the reverse. The feet of the Guru swallowed my big ego.

Q: What is the meaning of Ashwamedha?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ashwamedha means to purify. Shwa means that which is the past or future. Ashwa means that which is present and medha means cleansing. Ashwamedha is when the cleansing of the mind and buddhi (intellect) happens in the present moment. Keep the mind/buddhi (intellect) in the present moment.

Q: How to increase atmabal?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Atmabal…do prarthna(prayer), pranayama, sadhana.

Q: What is Guru tattva and who is Guru?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Guru tattva is viveka, discrimination. Does it matter who the Guru is? It is enough to take the knowledge and move forward. Don’t worry who the Guru is.

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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© The Art of Living Foundation
For Global Spirituality

The moment you are aware that you are judgmental, you are already out of it

Bangalore ashram, Jan. 18:
Q: Why do we need to put in so much effort to physically meet you or is it that the Guru creates unavailability for some purpose?  
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Not at all! I am easily available. I am most easily available. You know you enjoy putting effort and whatever you get after putting effort, you enjoy more. You don’t enjoy what you get easily. This is normal human psychology.
Heart yearns for the old. Mind yearns for the new. Ego yearns for the difficult and unique.
Ego takes pride in doing difficult things. ‘Look I did such a tough job! I achieved such a tough thing! No one has achieved what I have achieved. I did something unique.’ Just be aware of these laws of nature, how the mind and heart works. I am not saying that is good, or that is bad. That is how it is.
Heart yearns for old. Heart takes pride in old friendship. Like wine is sold when it is old. New wine has no value. You don’t say, ‘This is my latest love, my fresh love.’ We go for the latest model - latest computer, latest car. We don’t say, ‘Oh this is a two decade-old car which I bought now’ - unless it’s an antique. We take pride in having the latest model or something which is unique. Like climbing the Mount Everest.
 ‘Oh, I climbed the Mount Everest.’ A very tough job. What do you get after climbing the Mount Everest? You don’t know! People go in hot air balloons across the world. Very tough job. Why you want to go in hot balloon when planes are available (laughter) and create so much heart ache, anxiety? Because the media is after you for you are doing something tough. Why do you want to do the impossible because the ego wants to do something. The memory clings to the negative. If ten positive things happen and one negative thing happens, the memory just goes and holds on to it. The Self is just a witness of all this phenomenon.
Untouched, unruffled, unconcerned with what happens to the mind, intellect, ego. It is just there, just enjoying. That is why if you have got just a glimpse of the Self, it doesn’t matter. The Upanishad has also declared that once you get glimpse of that unchanging aspect in you, the very central aspect of you, then everything else is futile. Knowing this, everything becomes glorified. When you are centered, ego becomes all encompassing, body glows, intellect becomes sharp, memory becomes sharp. All layers of existence simply glow when the Self is realized. I don’t like to use word self realized. It has been used so many times and distorted too much. I would say when you have a glimpse of Being.

Q: How does one know when to put effort and when to have patience once we are on the spiritual path?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you are getting onto the spiritual path, you have to put effort. You have to put effort to come here (to the ashram). You may not be getting a holiday or ticket. Or some distractions may come on the way.
Like this 100 obstacles and 1 million temptations may be there. There you put effort, ‘I want to go, I want to meditate, I want to be centered, I want to go within’. That much effort you need to put in. But once you reach here, you get so much relaxation. When there is no light, then you have to put effort to lit. Once that is done then you find light is pouring on you.

Q: Guruji, even after being on the spiritual path, feverishness is still there. What to do to get rid of this feverishness?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s good to have little bit of that feverishness. That’s ok. Maharishi Patanjali also said in the yogasutras ‘tivra savenganam asana’ If there is little feverishness, there is intensity of longing. It’s easy. It’s good. It takes away laziness in you. It takes away procrastination in you. That is why the path needs to be attractive so that it takes away lethargy in you. The Master has to be attractive. That is a professional need. (laughter) So that you are able to handle distractions, so that worldly, small things don’t hold you back. Movies and little pleasure hold you back and keep you in the same circle. I am not saying don’t watch pictures. But prioritize your life from small material gains to higher values. That is what spirituality is all about. That is what the Master is all about. Higher values have to be more attractive to keep you on the higher plane, higher path.

Q: What can we do on our level to get people of all cultures and religions together in celebration?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We are already doing it. We continue doing the same thing. Call everybody and say, ‘Let’s sing together, let’s do service together.’

Q: What is the relation between silence and prayer?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Silence is the best form of prayer. Often prayer is in some language – German, Hindi, English, Spanish. In fact, they all mean the same. But silence is one step further, one step beyond the barriers of language which the whole universe can understand. Nature resonates with it. Silent prayer! Prayer in words also has to lead you to silence in the heart. Purpose of words is to create silence. Purpose of action is to bring deep rest. Purpose of deep rest is to bring you fulfillment. In fulfillment you find joy, bliss. Purpose of love is to create blissful state deep within.

Q: What is the difference between prayer and meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have already said it. Prayer is asking, meditation is listening. In prayer, you ask, ‘Give me this, give me that, giving instructions, demanding.’ In meditation you say, ‘I am here to listen, what is it that you want to tell?’ Listening to God is meditation. Asking God is Prayer.

Q: How to be non-judgmental?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By studying your own past. Look at how many times you have been judgmental. Every time you have been judgmental, you have been on the wrong foot. So just be aware of that. The moment you are aware that you are judgmental, you are already out of it. You can’t be judgmental in the present moment. You are judgmental in the past.

Q: Guruji, you say, ‘I am you and you are me’. But I feel a difference. How to realize that I am you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In silence, in service.

Q: Why does our mind run after fame money and glamor? Is it necessary?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, you got this question! First, you understand that the mind is running. Then you get this question, ‘Is it necessary?’ I leave this question to you. It is very personal, very individual. I don't think it is necessary. But my answer will not necessarily suffice for you. It is has to come from within. Otherwise, it will be just a mood making. ‘Oh, I don’t want money’, but one part of the mind will say, ‘No, I need money.’ One mind will say, ‘I don’t need fame and another will say, ‘No, I need fame’. Like this, the conflict starts happening. But when you wake up and see, and see those people who have had all this - how shallow and hollow they are, then naturally you find there is no significance in all this. Then neither will you crave for it, nor will you make any effort to renounce it. People who say, ‘I don’t want fame’, inside, somewhere, the mind is saying, ‘Oh, I want fame, I want fame’. When the sun has arisen, what is the use of a torchlight? You are moving with a torchlight and suddenly you realize there is no meaning in moving with the torchlight, when the sun is there. Then that is your experience, your true experience. So when you run behind things which are illusive - you will realize that it is causing more pain, more suffering and ‘it is not giving me what I really want’.
Then there is fulfillment, centeredness, a subtle solid strength comes from within. Then if fame comes, money comes, it doesn’t touch you. It comes or doesn’t come, doesn’t matter to you. ‘I want it’ or ‘I don’t want it’ are two sides of the same coin. Somewhat we need to be – let it be.

Q: How does one handle disappointment when something undesirable happens or you lose a dear one? How one can still smile and be centered?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Come on, wake up and see. It’s all a dream. Things happen or don’t happen. It is still a dream. An intelligent person won’t sit and cry, ‘Oh, yesterday this happened in the dream, I was the Prime Minister’.
Just imagine someone is very happy because yesterday, (in his dreams), he was the prime minister or became the richest man in the world. What will you say? What to tell them? It’s foolishness, stupidity. You are overjoyed about a good dream and you are miserable about a bad dream. A dream is a dream. Come on. Wake up. Have a cup of tea. (laughter) Herbal tea. (Huge Laughter and applause) By the way, I don’t drink any tea, not as a habit. Sometimes, if I go somewhere and they only have tea and nothing else, just to satisfy them I will have.

Q: When to use dispassion and when to use compassion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you are bothered about an attachment, use dispassion. And at all other times, use compassion. In fact, you can’t use compassion. Either you are compassionate or you are not. It is not a screwdriver which you can use at sometimes and keep aside some other times. Compassion is like your nose. To realize it is there you have to be there and if it is not there, you are also not there. (Huge laughter) Got it? To realize you have a nose, you have to be there and to realize it is not there, you won’t be there.

Q: What is the alternative solution for white sugar and tea?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t be too fussy about anything. You can’t go to everywhere and demand jaggery products. Of course Jaggery is most desirable. But your body has got enough capability to adjust itself. Your immune system is strong enough. Organic food is most desirable. But sometimes if you don’t get organic food, don’t think you are immediately going to fall sick. People who are too finicky about food, their immune system keep on going weaker and weaker. When something challenging is given to the immune system, it gets a chance to work. So now and then, once in a while, the immune system should be challenged. Then the self defense will come up from within. Otherwise being finicky gives rise to frustration and anger. Your system should be flexible and adjustable. And that can happen when you resolve mentally that the type of food you are going to eat won’t affect your system too adversely. That doesn’t mean eat unhealthy food. But that means not to be too finicky about food and quality of food. Chose a middle path.

Q: When do we know we are on the middle path?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you don’t fall off, you are on the middle path.

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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© The Art of Living Foundation For Global Spirituality

Happiness depends only on your mind

What Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said today:
Bangalore ashram, Jan. 17:

Q: When everybody is sleeping, Guruji is awake. Don’t you face any problem because of that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a watchman in front of the house when you sleep. For someone with big problems, small problems don’t bother them. Yogis are not bothered about what people normally worry about. For yogis, anything is possible.

Q: Where should I go to have bhakti (devotion)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Bhakti – preeti – you don’t have to go anywhere to reach bhakti. With smarana (remembrance), you can do anything. Wherever you are, you can have bhakti. Can anyone stop you? While walking, eating, you can be devoted.

Q: The Art of Living has given me so much, I also want to contribute, serve? How can I do that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can come and serve in the Ashram anytime.
(The person then tells Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I’m very happy to have food with many people, with no differences between people and so much togetherness.)

Q: Guruji, my past disturbs me a lot. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Let bygones be bygones. Forget even forgiving. Even to forgive you have to remember. Think it as a dream. Does anybody analyze a dream? Like that you have to let go of your past. One devotee astrologer said one day, “I got my leg fractured. I slept at night and dreamt of fighting with a tiger. I kicked the wall and got a fracture. The tiger was in my dream, I should have kicked in the dream.” Don’t stop for any obstacles, keep walking on.

Q: Wherever I go, I find unhappiness. Where do I go and what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Antarmukhi (going within). Outside is a bazaar, a market. In the city market, below the bridge, people will be sleeping! You can learn from them. They can sleep in the middle of the bazaar. You can also meditate and be calm. Come here otherwise. You get peace. There might be 20 bad problems yet there are 100 good things. The mind is still stuck with 20 bad problems.

Q: I could not follow the instructions on the meditation CD.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do not try to listen to me in meditation, whatever happens, let it happen. Do it like you listen to advice. Listen in one ear and let it come out from the other! It’s enough if you simply sit.

Q: In society, everyone is living peacefully. Yet some people create disturbances. What should we do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometimes you have to, sometimes no. Asprushate (caste division) doesn’t help anyone. Don’t keep hatred towards anybody. In there is a dead snake and you keep beating it, your hand will get hurt. Yet, in some places, the stick is necessary. Don’t have dvesha (aversion) for it.

Q: I follow the principle of whatever you resist will persist. Yet, I find myself resisting some things.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The rule for the body and mind is different. What you resist persists in the mind, not so in the body.

Q: What is the definition for life? How to lead a happy life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is what Art of Living is all about. Life is beyond definition. Much more than whatever you can capture or define. It is so vast, so big, it can’t be encapsulated in a few words. When defining life you are limiting the scope of life. Happiness is a factor that we have to consciously pursue. Unconsciously we all are happy, but somewhere in the pursuit of happiness we get stuck and miss the goal. That is what spirituality is all about - bringing that one smile.
Once you are able to see the light, you see the entire past as a dream, move on. Wake up and see the present, you will find happiness is there, unconditional happiness. Then you are happy and not dependant on others for your happiness. Happiness depends only on your mind. When the mind is free of past impressions and future cravings, happiness is there.

Q. God in his infinite wisdom made the world the way it is, I don’t understand why should I not eat meat? I am a born non–vegetarian and I am not able to leave non-veg.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ok. What is it that makes you crave for non-vegetarian? (The lady answered smell and taste). What brings the smell and taste to the food is spices. Ok, forget all about taste and smell and spirituality. You know, what is the latest finding of non–vegetarian food? One kg of meat is equivalent to the meals of 400 people. If only 10 percent of the world population become vegetarians, the problem of global warming will be reduced.
On this count we have to save the planet. We will have to reduce the consumption of non-vegetarian food. For the sake of the planet, so that everybody gets food, for that we must be concerned. God has given us the sense to care for others and planet also! You have eaten enough, so consume a little less so that others who have nothing to eat can have a little at least, so that more and more people gets something to eat.
We are consuming 40 -50 percent more than we produce. Plant trees, be vegetarian, it’s part of being spiritual. Spirituality is not only meditation. India had 400 cows for every 1,000 people when we got independence. Now we have less than 100 cows per 1,000 people. In 20 years, there will be only 20 cows per 1,000 people. Children will not get the basic staple diet like milk, yogurt, ghee. We have to protect the animals, and save the planet.

Q: Guruji, man is always fighting. Will there ever be a world free of violence and which is all peace?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, that is what we should dream and work for. The whole world is one family. One world family is our ancient calling – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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© The Art of Living Foundation For Global Spirituality

You are a child of nature & nature loves you

Bangalore ashram, Jan. 16:

Q: Guruji, the way I feel so connected to you, do you feel the same?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: More than that. You know, connection means that there is a difference. I don’t feel connected for I don’t feel the difference. I feel you are a part of me.

Q: If truth is contradictory, how to find the truth?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Truth is something you can’t avoid nor confront. There is no effort. Truth simply comes out. If you tell a lie, you have to manufacture. To tell a lie, a lot of effort is required. You’re feeling cold, you’re feeling hot, that is how you feel. No effort is needed.

Q: Even after surrendering problems, I worry about them. What to do?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is to say, ‘I gave it away’ and even after giving you say, ‘I have it with me’. If even after giving it away again and again, it comes back to you like a ball you again and again keep giving it away. Don’t give up until you have totally given up!

Q: What are the characteristics of an ideal devotee?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (After a little pause) You are One. You don’t doubt that. And whatever additional quality you want to have, you can always develop.

• Someone who has a calm and serene mind,

• Wants to live in knowledge, has some knowledge and a desire for knowledge,

• No grudges, no hatred towards anyone,

• Has compassion.

Q: What do you expect from us?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A lot. You live in knowledge, you keep smiling, you keep serving, you keep connected. I don’t expect - I know you will do it. Only I am impatient. I want you to do it quickly.

Q: Guruji, telling the truth causes problems outside and telling lie creates problems inside (us)? What to do?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Solve the problem. Problems are to be seen as challenges. Someone who is brave like challenges and you are brave, I tell you.

Q: Guruji, when we say Jai Gurudev to someone, are we referring to the Guru in the person in front or we are remembering the Guru in ourselves?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I leave it up to you, whatever you want. It has so many meanings – Hello, How are you, Good bye, Welcome, Thank you…So many words come in that Jai Gurudev. You want to say, ‘Oh my God’ you say Jai Gurudev, you want to say, ‘Oh I give up’ you say Jai Gurudev. It’s just become a habit. I don’t insist at all. You say whatever you want to say.  

Q: Do I exist beyond body and soul? And if I do then in what form?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nothing exists beyond the soul. Beyond the body? Yes. When you realize, you see you are not your body and you will realize that yourself.

Q: Guruji, there are moments when I am enthusiastic, when I am very confident but there are two problems: 1. I forget things. 2. I fear of what happens if this state continues. This is predominantly from my wife’s side. What to do?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I remember in one course a gentleman with his wife participated. At each knowledge point, the husband would say, ‘Look, I have been also saying the same thing.’ Like I said, ‘Forgive and forget’ and she would say, ‘I told you the same thing, now Guruji is also saying same.’ (Laughter) I told him, these points are for you to apply and not to just pass on. Charity begins at home, Love begins at home. Start from where you are.

Q: I get physically attracted to many people. What to do? Is it ok to be physically attracted?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you see your mind, so many thoughts come. You can’t act on all the thoughts. If you try to act on all the thoughts, you end up in a mental hospital. Whether thoughts of attraction or repulsion come, you do not get attracted but you also feel repulsion for many people. For example, the mind says to strangle somebody, you have to act out of wisdom. You have to see what is right and what is wrong. You have to see what is evolutionary and what is not. You have to see what is giving you happiness in the long term and what is giving misery. You have to see what is permanent and what is temporary. That is discrimination, Viveka, is so important. Otherwise, it will be just senseless, thoughtless action leaving you in misery.

Q: We give so many botherations to you? To whom do you give all these botherations?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That you don’t worry. I have a processing unit where all garbage gets processed to manure.

Q: If atma (spirit) is neither created nor destroyed then from where do these new souls come? How is the population of the world increasing?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My dear, so many animals are also getting extinct. Very few sparrows are left, many crocodiles are missing. Like this, many other species are missing. Just imagine. I think you will get the rest of your answer.  

Q: Guruji, I do all practices when I am in problem but otherwise I stay away from path. What should I do?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This you figure out. When misery comes, everyone thinks of God. But to one who thinks of God even when happy, why will misery touch him? There is an old proverb which says this Sukh mein simran sabh karein, dukh mein kare na koi, Sukh mein simran jo kare to dukh kahe ko hoye This applies to us also. When you are doing pranayama, Sudarshan kriya, when you are happy, then that happiness will continue. Today, there was an article in the paper which says that the only way to cure depression is by meditation. Anti-depression medicines will make the depression come back. There is a rebounding of depression with anti-depression medicines but with meditation there is no rebounding. Today millions of people are suffering from depression and they don’t know something like this exists. They don’t know there is a way which can make them free from depression. When you go back tell everyone about meditation. It takes one out of depression, suicidal tendencies. Look at Rashid (pointing to a youth who has come from Kashmir), he is smiling after 12 years and is now doing wonderful service also.  

Q: When I come here I find so much peace and harmony. How can I take this same peace and harmony back to Kashmir also?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You also come up with ideas, I will also think. More youth like you should come from Kashmir, experience this and go back and serve. We will start the Art of Living in Kashmir and make it big. If you all resolve, we will definitely do it. We can do organic farming there. We can train more teachers, all can heal and bless them, bring happiness in them. We already have a residential school there. We all need to do more and more.

Q: If something bad happens to a person we say that the previous birth karma is responsible. Will you please speak about that?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Paap kya punya kyat tu bhulade’ Karam kar phal ki chinta tu mitade’ Forget what is sinful and what is noble. Be free from the desire of the fruit of action. Don’t sit and worry too much about all this. I have spoken more on this in Celebrating silence (a book written by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ravi Shankar).  

Q: It is said in the Gita, do your duty and don’t expect for the result. How to live this knowledge in normal life?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Live naturally. All Art of Living points are from life’s experience. There is no effort in it. Do some meditation, yoga you will see how life has transformed effortlessly and automatically.  

Q: Guruji, is it true you have some super power. You have stopped rain so many times just looking at sky, you can read thoughts.  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know love is the most super power in this world and that power is with everybody, not only with me. When mind is free from lust, greed, possessiveness, arrogance etc., when the mind is in the pure form with which we were all born with, then nature listens to you. You are a child of nature and nature loves you. When that manifests, when you are clear then two things happen - your wishes get fulfilled and you can fulfill others’ wishes also. When you are content, that is when blessing happens, Don’t think only Guruji can do it. This is no achievement and no effort is required. That is natural from our state of being, that state of innocence. Most of us have lost it but I still haven’t lost it.  

Q: How do you speak so sweetly always?  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s like asking jaggery, how can you taste so sweet? It’s the nature of the jaggery to be sweet. I don’t put any effort to speak sweetly. If I put in effort, it will turn to be salty. What I am, I speak the same. That’s why you find it sweet. And secondly, you are also sweet so you find me also sweet. If your mind is turbulent then even if I speak sweetly, you will find it salty. I also don’t know how to be otherwise. I am grateful that I never got an opportunity also to do something which is not in my nature. There was never a need to speak a lie or cheat someone. It has never happened that I pretend to be someone else which I am not. It doesn’t seem also I would be doing it in future. (laughter) But I don’t give any guarantee (more laughter). It hasn’t happened till now and God knows about future.

Q: Guruji I worked in a slum and I got so much happiness. I am feeling so blissful and life is so beautiful.  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Life is beautiful but we don’t crave for happiness: ‘Oh, life is beautiful. I want joy.’ When you are happy – serve. When you are sad – give up, have the courage to give up your misery. Adveshta serva bhutanam maitra karuna evacah| Nirmamo Nirahankarah samah sukah dukkah kshami|| Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that one who is dear to me, who doesn’t hate anybody, who doesn’t have any ego – I, I, me. One who is calm in success or failure. Whatever he gets - sorrow or happiness - he takes it all with a smile. The Gita also talks about the three gunas – Rajas, Tamas and Sattva. What type of food you should eat, how the cosmos affects. Ayurveda, yoga, psychology, all these subjects are there. People from Tamil Nadu had come for the satsang.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar welcomed them and introduced the Pongal festival which was celebrated on January 14. Pongal is the biggest festival in Tamil Nadu. The flavor of Pongal is a little bit salty, little sweet and is prepared with rice, dal (pulses), and turmeric in a clay pot and celebrated.  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said: The Intelligent celebrate everyday Fools fight everyday  

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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Beyond all phenomenon is Divinity

What Sri Sri said today: Jan. 15, 2010

Bangalore ashram, Jan. 15:

Q: Guruji, why don’t I have same experience in doing meditation here and at home?

Sri Sri: Places do have an impact – that’s only in beginning. The stronger you become, you start influencing places instead of places affecting you.

Q: Can you please talk about restrictions during eclipse like not to eat?

Sri Sri: The mind has a deep connection with the moon and the moon is connected to water and water is connected to the body: 60 to 70 percent of the body is water. Everything is interconnected. When a celestial phenomenon happens, it impacts the body also. For example, the way you feel early in the morning is different from how you feel in the afternoon or evening. Evening goes with romantic music and melodies, morning goes with wake up calls. You can’t play romantic music in the afternoon.

The mind has an impact on the mind and body complex. Time has an impact on the mind. Planets have an impact on mind and the mind-body complex. Ancient people have written about it. When the mind says, ‘It’s wrong’, you try to prove it wrong and when you can’t prove it wrong, the mind accepts it. For example, turmeric. In the 70s and 80s, people dismissed it as only being a pigment with no food value but now scientists say it has the best anti oxidant value like amla (gooseberry) and tulsi (basil). They have started rediscovering the ancient sacred herbs as being very useful and a must for healthy living.

The reason we say, don’t eat during and before the time of eclipse is because the food increases metabolism in the body. Increased metabolism doesn’t let the mind be in a calm state. If you have food, you would simply fall asleep. We advise this to soothe the system and not excite it during the celestial phenomenon.

Q: I would like to have self realization. I have come to the advanced meditation course. At what stage and in what course will my desire get fulfilled?

Sri Sri: It’s good. This is the highest desire, the only one worth pursuing. Whether you acknowledge this or not, everyone has come to this planet with this desire. If you have recognized this it’s very good.

Q: The advance course will take me to what level and how many steps do I need to take?

Sri Sri: Very few steps for enlightenment. What is enlightenment? Being unconditionally happy. Everyone wants love that doesn’t get distorted. Love gets distorted as hatred, fear, jealousy and other imperfections. Enlightenment is having such a love.

There are two steps to enlightenment:

  1. From being somebody to being nobody.
  2. From being nobody to being everybody.

And how to be nobody? Just wake up and realize that this is a vast universe. What are you in this? Who are you in this? You may be a great businessman or scientist or doctor but how long will you be there on this planet? In 70 – 100 years you will go and the earth will continue to exist. It has been there from billions of years and it will continue to be there. Who are you? Where are you with respect to this magnanimous universe?

From being nobody to be a part of everybody.

Q: Knowing that my life goes by karma, is it still alright to ask for something after prayer/puja?

Sri Sri: It’s like asking should I feel thirsty? If you feel thirsty, you will ask for water. Should I ask for water has no meaning, since you have already indicated that you’re thirsty. If a prayer comes, let it come. It just comes up.

Q: I have been on path for many years but I don’t feel your grace as people talk about?

Sri Sri: Don’t focus on what others want. See what is it that you want. When you stop looking inside and look at others, that is when you miss the boat.

Q: Can you please elaborate on the power of mantra? It is said that the power of mantra is greater than that of a planet. Does a sadhak (one who is on the spiritual path) need to pay attention to horoscope?

Sri Sri: Yes, mantras are very powerful. The power of mantras is greater than the power of the horoscope. Don’t worry too much about horoscope. Om namah shivaya , Om namoh narayana are much more powerful. Shiva has five letters which refers to the five elements. All the five elements earth, water, fire, air and ether are referenced when you chant Om namah shivaya. You don’t have to imagine that Shiva has a big trishul and is sitting somewhere. Artists had made that mistake. Shiva is not a person. Shiva is tattva.

It’s said in the Upanishad:

“Shivam shantam, advaitam, chaturtam, mannyante sa aatma sa vigyeya.”

What is Shiva? Shiva is so auspicious, so benevolent, so soothing, so beautiful, so comforting. ‘Chaitanya atma’ – the consciousness is Shiva, not a person but that energy.

In Kashmiri Shaivism, there is a book called the Shiv sutras. In some books of Kashmiri Shaivism, it has been so beautifully described. Some of these books are so precious, so nice - all that knowledge, those books are lost.

The main purpose is to express the timelessness of mind, the consciousness. That fourth state of consciousness which is neither awake nor asleep is called shiv tattva.

Q: I am in a dilemma. I am a second year student of engineering. I took engineering with my choice but now I find that it is not for me. I find journalism my choice. What should I do?

Sri Sri: Choice is yours blessing is mine.

Q: What to do when responsibilities come between you and your practices?

Sri Sri: Guru Nanak or one of the ten Sikh Gurus has spoken on how a student should be. Like water. When stones are there on the path of water, what does it do? Water rises above the stones and flows. Similarly obstacles are there in life. You rise above obstacles and move through it. Have patience and flow over them.

Q: Guruji there are so many people in the world who are suffering on behalf of ancient beliefs and rituals. Can you please talk about it?

Sri Sri: People are suffering with modern beliefs also. They think drugs, cigarette, alcohol gives them joy and then they suffer. Not every ancient belief is wrong and not every modern belief is right. We need to accept combination of both old and new. People are suffering because of superstitions which have no sanction of scriptures or science. People are suffering because of some rituals which are not at all part of ancient scriptures. It’s a lack of wisdom which make people suffer. Nothing else.

Q: How can we love someone who did a terrible thing to us?

Sri Sri: Don’t love them. Just accept them. First accept and then see the culprit not as a culprit but a victim. Due to circumstances they did so. If they would have had wisdom they wouldn’t have done it.

Just a few days ago, a lady came to the ashram. She has three children and her husband was killed by Maoists. Later she became an Art of Living teacher and when she went back, she taught the Maoists Sudarshan Kriya and pranayama. Maoists were so amazed. They asked her: ‘You are not angry with us, we killed your husband?’ She said, ‘No, you didn’t have knowledge of what you were doing. I want you to be in knowledge’. They all did Sudarshan Kriya, pranayama and left the path of violence. They were crying in front of her like babies. The way she described brought tears in everybody’s eyes. All those 2000 people present had tears in eyes.

This is the power of wisdom. It unites people of all roles and attitudes.

Q: Guruji, how much influence does previous karma have on our present life. Is one sad or happy owing to previous karma?

Sri Sri: I have already talked about this in a book ‘Celebrating silence’. You can refer to that for deeper understanding.

Our mind is ancient so it has impressions. Previous karma does have an impact but so does your present karma. Don’t be too much stuck into that. Don’t have a fatalistic attitude. You have a free will to change it as well.

Q: Guruji, I am very possessive about my things. I can share my things only with my dear ones and I don’t like others using them. What can I do to come out of it?

Sri Sri: Never mind. Others have accepted you as you are. You can think you have given a chance to accept as you are. Never mind. The time will come when you will rise above all this, me and I. Right now, don’t feel guilty. Allow your boundary to expand gradually. Don’t force yourself. May be after 10 years or 100 years! Then anybody can use your things. Then you can’t say only my grand children can use my things. (Laughter)

Mind is so tricky and so funny when it comes to possessiveness. It’s ok. There is a time for everything.

Q: I want to do a lot of work in society but I don’t know where to start, how to start?

Sri Sri: The seed is there and it will grow. You want to work for society, the seed will grow. Good. Let it grow. Satsang, sadhana will nurture this seed.

Q: Guruji, the surroundings I am in have many drug addicts and people in all such other stuff. Can we do something for them?

Sri Sri: Definitely. We can conduct courses there. We have many de addiction centers running. We will think about it.

Q: Guruji you often answer my prayers and questions but sometimes I feel you completely ignore me.

Sri Sri: Because you are so special. I pay attention to only ordinary people to make them extraordinary. You are already extraordinary.

Q: Guruji, under stress and tension for small things I have spoilt much of my hard work which has affected results also.

Sri Sri: Stress and tension can spoil anything, you understand this by your experience that’s very good. People keep on doing the same and then also they don’t realize this.  When stress and tension starts, become aware and do pranyama, Sudarshan kriya and get rid of it. That is why we have courses. It’s good you have acknowledged that stress is the culprit.

The second stage is to get rid of it. And the third stage is ‘Don’t let it come’. Here wisdom helps.

Practices are there to get rid of stress and wisdom doesn’t allow stress to come. We need to have both. Practices alone won’t work because more stress will come again. Wisdom alone won’t work because it will be only set of ideas. Both are required.

Q: What is the best form of prayer?

Sri Sri: Prayer happens in two conditions. One is when you are utterly grateful and second is when you are utterly helpless, nowhere to go. Both are authentic and always get fulfilled. Being both, helpless and grateful, is very rare and very powerful. It is a total form of prayer.

Q: Guruji, the more I follow you, the more attached I get to you. What to do?

Sri Sri: I don’t know what to do? (laughter) You know, what is it that you are attracted to? Good qualities. But if qualities are only superficial they will go and if qualities are your very nature they will never go. I tell you, all those qualities are present in you. Enhance those qualities more and more. Then you will find that you are me and I am you.

Longing and love are two sides of the same coin. You can’t say, ‘I love you but I don’t long for you’. And it is impossible to long for someone without having love. That is why it is said: ‘RadheShyam’. Radha is longing and Sham is love. RadheSham (longing and love) go together in life.

Q: How to see Divinity beyond the objects?

Sri Sri: Don’t try to see Divinity. Take it for granted. It is there, like the air. You know that the air is all there. You inhale air and exhale air. You can’t see air but you know it is there. Similarly Divinity is all there. Only the heart can feel. Eyes can’t see it. When you are totally relaxed you feel that the whole universe is filled with Divinity. When your mind is relaxed, your body is relaxed, you find that the chirping of the birds is Divinity,

the moving of leaves is Divinity,
the flowing of water is Divinity,
Even people fighting, & mountains - all - exuberate Divinity. You will find that beyond all this phenomenon, there is a field or phenomena that exists – that is Divinity.

Q: How to handle people who argue using kutarka (wrong logic)?

Sri Sri: Intelligent people never argue, especially bhaktas, lovers, devotees never argue. It is said in the Narada bhakti sutra that if you are a devotee, you are lover of God, you never argue. Arguments have got no loyalty. They can go this way or that.

There are eight types of kutarkas. I tell you our nation, Vedic philosophy has tremendous knowledge, insight on this aspect. Like one is ‘pitanga’ – conveniently quoting one line and forgetting the other line. The second type is ‘I am saying so it is right’. Different types of logic to confuse you and make you feel like you have won.

At the time of Adi Shankracharya, ancient time two garlands were put on people involved in arguments. It was believed that the one who is wrong, who is trying to prove something wrong, his garland will wither away and the one who is authentic and trying to put forward the truth, his garland will stay. That is how Adi Shankracharya won arguments from place to place.

Wise people don’t get into arguments. They say, ‘Ok you want to win, ok you win.’

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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‘Let there be sweetness in our speech’

What Sri Sri said today

Bangalore ashram, Jan. 14:
Today it is Sankranti in India, the harvest festival. Farmers celebrate this day all over the country. In South India, it is called Pongal. People exchange sesame seeds and sugarcane with each other. Whatever you receive first, you have to give away to somebody. We exchange things.

In ancient times there was no money, only the barter system. Almonds were exchanged for apples, sugarcane with rice, there was always give and take all over the world.

Today is the day everyone can exchange like that. Usually, sweets are given (jaggery and sesame seeds). We have this and say, ‘Let us speak sweetly this year, let there be sweetness in our speech.’ “Have a nice day, happy birthday” are modern day wishes, but in ancient times we say, ‘let us be sweet to each other, may you speak sweetly,’ meaning, ‘The whole year, may you speak wisdom’.

We had a huge program in Maharashtra, I have just come from there. In Maharashtra, it is said,

Tilgul ghya,
Gud gud bola.

(Eat tilgul (little balls of sesame seeds and jaggery); speak sweetly.)

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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‘It not your doing, but your Being’

Sadguru Pariwar presented the Sadguru Bhushan award to Sri Sri in Pune, (India) on January 13.

While accepting the award, Sri Sri said – ‘Maharashtra has been a land of Saints and will continue to be so. In every household there is a saint. In every child there is a saint and in every saint, there is a child. The Sadguru group is doing a wonderful job of keeping alive the traditions and cultures among children. This award is an excuse for us to sit together. There is only One doer. It not your doing, but your Being. You don't become a saint with what you have done, but with who you are. How much compassion, service, love one has in one's heart. The job gets done with the collective effort of so many people. But if we want our inner being to shine then your own intention is enough. The wave of devotion and karmyog in Maharashtra must be always kept alive. Our culture is to sing, dance and celebrate not to fight or dispute.

A girl from a village of Maharashtra - how she became a queen, she made 181 temples, created an army of women to preserve Indian heritage. Every child must know this story of Ahilyabai Holkar. Her life has been so well portrayed by a foreigner in India, Francois Gautier. This can be an inspiration for every child in India.

The Sadguru Parivar must take the light of knowledge everywhere and I hope that it never gets extinguished.

The inner light must always be kept alive.’

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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The source of joy is deep within

Bangalore ashram, Jan. 05:

Love is present everywhere. It is the intelligent who keep the love from being distorted. Love when distorted becomes greed, jealousy, fear and hatred.

When a person is involved– it gives rise to moha – obsession. Anger comes out of love for perfection.

Behind every emotion, positive and negative, there is love. There is no existence without love. We want love, pure love without misery, which brings joy and peace. Pure love turns into bliss. The spiritual path keeps the love away from greed and puts you on the other side - bliss and joy. This is the usefulness of these practices.

Q: Guruji, can you speak on the power of words?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Thoughts are energy, have power. When you are confused, your words don’t have an impact. The clearer you are in your mind, the more power your words get. If you are in confusion, the power of words is very feeble. Pranayam, meditation makes the mind clear. So the thoughts that come out of it are straight and clear. One who is content, their words have power. In India we have a custom of going to our elders for blessings. They are supposed to have a serene state of mind. From that space, when you give a blessing, it is more effective. For wedding cards, blessings are taken from the oldest member of the family. The same tradition exists in North America, Australia and New Zealand among the native people. All over the world, native traditions have the custom of respecting the elders. Without this, people above 50 are getting depressed. That has to shift. Parents should also become more happy and vibrant.

Happier as you grow older! The older you are, the bigger your smile – satisfied, fulfilled. You have led a good life. Now you only have to bless people of the coming generations. That is maturity. That is satisfaction. This comes when you become detached from day-to-day things. Wash your hands off anything that makes you unhappy. Take on your responsibility. Act for it but don’t worry for it. People who act don’t worry and those who worry don’t act. This shift has to come. Otherwise, you keep complaining, so and so doesn’t listen, daughter-in-law doesn’t listen.

You should not go to your grave with complaints. Do only what you can. Stretch yourself little by little. Like this we need to re-orient ourselves. Either we are complacent or complaining. Either is no good. Then you remain without doing any action. On the other hand, till the last breath, if you find fault with others, that is also no good.  

The more we violate the laws of nature, the body experiences pain. These things should not bother you. If at all you have to be bothered, be bothered about the world.

Q: When we say accept situations, how we can we accept something like a robber entering your house?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When a robber enters your door, you start shaking, shivering, questioning, it’s of no use. Why did robber rob you is a useless question. It’s his job! Accept he is a robber. Somebody cheats you. When you are caught up in asking why did he cheat? You become upset, and you can’t take action. When you accept the robber, then you call the police, etc. you can take action. Parents get upset over the child not studying. Accept. Then you can act better. If you don’t accept, emotions rise, intellect is clouded and actions become regrettable.

Q: How is meditation important for disaster victims?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Relief from trauma comes only through meditation. Counseling is only at the surface. The source of joy is deep within. Events are impermanent. You will not allow any event to stick on to the mind mirror. You are unfazed by events. Keeping the mind like a clean mirror – that is what yoga is all about. People not on the spiritual path never feel fulfilled.  

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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Letting go of all effort is called Sadhana

Bangalore ashram, Jan. 4

Meditation is effortless.

Whatever we achieve through effort will bring only ego. What we achieve through effortlessness is reality. In the Truth, there is no effort. So letting go of all effort is called Sadhana. Let go and relax. What you can’t do you need not do. Someone says you have to fast for 40 days, your system can’t take it. No need to do it. At the same time if you think you can’t do anything, you become lazy. You get nothing then also.

So now, let us close our eyes and meditate...  

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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The one who asks, the one who hears, the one who understands, the jeeva is all atma

Bangalore ashram, Jan. 3
 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Objects need me but I don’t need objects. After the first two becomes strong, then three. The car needs me but I don’t need it. This world needs me but I don’t need the world. You don’t have to reject externally but know in your mind. Even your body is an object. This is subtle. But when this knowledge dawns, there can never be poverty or lack. We keep thinking, ‘We need this and that’. But when we have the dharana that ‘the Divine cares for me and I don’t need anything’, then your needs are taken care of anyway.

 Q: Why this year called virodhi?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Maybe to keep a space for conflict also in society. It finishes in March. March ahead.

Q: Who is atma?
 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The one who asks, the one who hears, the one who understands, the jeeva is all atma.

 Q: Guruji, I have sinned in the past…
 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, forget all sin and merit, when you come here. Punya brought you here, and sin is all gone. Washed off.

Q: At home, how to handle the situation when people have different thoughts?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Accept that. There can be differences. And you will become settled. Can you say there should not be waves in the ocean? That is the nature. Similarly in this world, different people will say different things. You should just smile and move ahead. If I keep saying, at sometime, it will get into a person.

Q: People are talking about the end of the world in 2012. When I started thinking about the end of the world, I wonder – what is creation?
 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 2012 – nothing is going to happen. We will still do satsang like this. Only there will be more people! If creation was not made, how will you ask this question? It was made so that you can ask and I can tell!

Q: What do I do when there is duality while meditating and too many thoughts come?
 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t try to see something in meditation. Just relax. If too many thoughts arise, give them all a hug. Duality is what? Good and bad right? Right and wrong? These are the conflicts. Keep in mind three laws while meditating – I am nothing , I need nothing, I am going to do nothing - akincan, achah, aprayatna. If you have these three principles, you will be able to meditate.

Q: When will there be complete peace?
 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First, in you is there complete peace? Then there will be peace in the world. Waves come and go. In the world, all are happy at all times – this is not possible. The importance of food is when there is hunger. If there is no hunger in the world, what to do with food?

 Q: I am unable to fulfill my commitments.
 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What you can fulfil, focus on that! Be happy you fulfilled two commitments, next time go on with three, four..., focus on that.

Q: How to know you have given 100 percent?
 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 100 percent - you will feel! You know! I will ask 10 people to feed you in kitchen. Will run away! You will know.

Q: I want to contribute towards the environment…
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do u have balcony in your flat? Take a pot, add some tomatoes, coriander, chillies. Grow it.

Q: What is Shiva? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Shiva is called Mahakala – grand time!

Q: I am anxious about the results of my interview. What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do Ujjai breath, bastrika, meditation, sing and dance.

Q: When do you call something mature? I am confused?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When confusion is gone, then you call mature!

Q: Sometimes, I feel a disconnect with everybody?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good, that time close your eyes and smile. I am with you at that time!

Q: When will everyone embrace the Art of Living?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is nothing inside or outside the Art of Living.

Q: Why aren’t you hitting the world just like that? Why so slow?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You all need a job too!

Then Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said: The pink sky on Sunday asks you to sing a song! You know which song? Jai Jai Radha Raman Hari Bhol! 

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar
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Willingness to serve when joy arises should be the wish

Bad Antogast (Germany), Dec. 31  

Sri Sri pulls out questions from the question basket. Reads them one by one, smiles and puts the paper by his side. A child comes forward to put a no.1 sticker on Sri Sri's hands.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Another year is passing by, has passed. Let us welcome 2010. The past year has made us rich by its experiences. The problems it brought us brought more talents from within us. Whenever problems come, they beckon more skills and talents within us and the ability to handle them. We are thankful for that. Just imagine a life without any challenges. It will be so dull. Challenges or crisis will bring up the talents within you and make you aware of the abilities you have to overcome them.

In Chinese, there is only one word for crisis as well as opportunity - because every crisis is an opportunity to exhibit your strength, skill and abilities to endure any situation, circumstance. A crisis brings up that opportunity to exhibit your skills. The moments of pleasure or joy, of course, brings you an expansion and implies that you should serve. When you are happy you contribute to the world and you serve - not just remain in your own little enjoyment. Being happy coupled with service makes your happiness rich. Trouble and misery brings the strength to let go, to renounce. It brings dispassion and from this you learn a lot.

We often get attached to misery too. You know why? When you were a child, you made a sad face, immediately someone patted you on the back and tried to cheer you up. You were crying and parents attended to you. So there is a subtle sense of wanting attention whenever you start enjoying misery. You have to get over that and grow beyond that and that is when you gain the power to renounce.

In the New Year, wish for happiness in which you can serve and share so that it grows and if any trouble or misery comes, they come, like day and night, they are part of the world, ask for the strength to be centered. Willingness to serve when joy arises should be the wish. Not that the whole year everything should be rosy, that does not really happen that way. Most of the days will be one way or another. So with this prayer or wish, you will see the days of trouble will be very few, if at all, and they will only bring about the skills from within you, make you more skillful, strong and beautiful. That's the practical way.

So the New Year, learn from the previous year and move on to the New Year knowing you are timeless and those moments of meditation that you experience that timelessness. That is when the events don’t touch you, emotions don’t shake you, thoughts don’t disturb you, nothing whatsoever throws you off balance. In that serene space that you are, repose! Then neither pleasure nor pain touches you. You go beyond the duality. More satsang and seva is the way to reduce misery. Satsang and seva. We are so fortunate. We have this opportunity to even think, discuss knowledge and have an experience of that inner space. Imagine those billions of people who never know how to close their eyes and be peaceful, to take a dip in that inner serenity even for a moment! For us it is so natural to be happy and peaceful. For those who do not know how to be peaceful, it like those insomnia patients who are so restless and tired, so tired and exhausted with everything around them but so restless they don't know how to rest or sleep! Can you imagine that sort of situation? That's where your intervention is so precious, so much needed. Many times you don't have to talk much. Just you being around people who are not so peaceful brings them that wave of peace, that relief that they are looking for!

Q: Is it true that I have to love myself before others love me?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My dear, you are love when you relax. Let go of the feverishness and desire. You are love. You don’t have to sit and say to yourself, ‘I am love’. You don’t have to make an effort. It is a noun. Your name is love. During a course in Switzerland, I was talking on the yoga sutras of Patanjali. A couple of participants went to have a cappuccino during the break time. Nearby they met people, who said that they used to follow some other path and they were exchanging notes. They said, ‘We wake up at 3:00 in the morning. Sit and repeat I love myself for about an hour!’ We sleep well and love ourselves!

If someone tells you, ‘you don’t love yourself’ – it is not true. Even if you are inflicting misery upon yourself, even then you love yourself because misery brought attention to you. When you understand this you will snap out of this tendency.  

Q: I feel I’m too attached. How to break?

 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Serve, serve and serve to break from attachment. When you find something beautiful, you get attached. You want to posses it. When we try to posses, then it becomes ugly. Beauty is that which you cannot renounce/reject or capture. That’s why it is called beautiful. Serve, instead of wanting to posses. Whatever is beautiful we want to posses it, and then jealousy comes, pain comes. When you find something beautiful, just serve.  

Q: What if I don’t reach my goal and experience misery instead?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you are doing good things in the world, you will never find yourself in a bad spot. Misery will never come to you when intentions and actions are benevolent.  

Q: I feel very small and insignificant in this world. Is that ok?

 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All that is small is very beautiful. You are alive. That is important and you know that you are alive is even more important. Two things: I am small, little. Another is: I am useless. You are tiny, this you know. But thinking that you are useless, good-for-nothing is no good. Tiny like ping-pong, a star, is ok. Useless, dirt, hopeless- these sort of self realization you should not have. It is exhibition of self-ignorance not self-realization.  

Q: How is it that some people are peaceful by birth even though they are not really doing any spiritual practices?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you heard the yoga sutras of Patanjali – there are some people who are so by birth, some are peaceful because of their past impressions. They would have done these practices in some previous lifetime if not now. That has brought them peaceful impressions in this life time. If parents are very peaceful, mother had a peaceful time during pregnancy – that also creates strong impressions. Some people have had a tough life from the very beginning – things don’t disturb them – they have endurance to disturbances. Someone has lived in a noisy area, then any sort of noise doesn’t disturb them.

How much stress you could handle, how much contrast you have experienced in situations, makes the difference. In third world countries – arguments don’t bother them. They fight and have tea together. You are not used to fighting and then sitting with them immediately. These are all how we have trained ourselves, our mind.  

Q: What should I do to bring peace on this planet?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Keeping this question with you will do much more to fuel your engine to move forward. Again and again you will think and plan and that will help you to move forward. There is a lot to be done. We can all do it together.

I understand, in many countries there is continuous violence. 92 percent of the population is depressed they say, in Palestine. Afghanistan has a similar situation. Pakistan now, Iraq, Yemen are in the same condition. There is a lot that needs to be done. When you see the magnitude, you think what to do really! But don’t lose heart. Keep doing!  

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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For Global Spirituality

Wisdom once learnt remains with you like a solid rock

Bad Antogast (Germany), Dec. 30:

Q: Jai Gurudev Guruji. Why is it that nature has made man and woman so different? If it is so important to have equality, isn’t it just another step away from nature’s law? I am a man and I would like to treat a woman as a woman. And I would like to be treated like a man. My rules are decency and respect. Isn’t everything else obsolete? Of course, there should be equal rights and I know in some parts of the world education is needed. But in the western world, I think that debate is a bit twisted.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, the women rights’ activists sometimes forget that they have rights and they fight for that which they already have. When you are asking this question I think what’s bothering you is the feminist movement where they think the world is dominated by man. They are not totally wrong also. Most of the times, it is correct. But they are demanding rights. They are asking the men to be treated equally. I would say, who is to give you rights? You have it. You take it. Don’t ask a man to give you rights. When you are asking for it, you are already losing it. Assume you have it and you move on.

Q: How not to lose my mind and stop comparing myself when my partner is attracted or in love with someone else? I am losing myself completely in this kind of situation and it feels so painful. How not to lose my commitment when I, myself, am attracted or in love with someone else? Please help. With love and thanks for everything you are doing.

 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just wait. Time will tell you. Remember what your age is now. When the numbers change, you’ll not change. Got it? When you become older, you’ll grow over these attractions, these repulsions. Don’t blame yourself or blame your partner. See from this angle. Okay, you are getting attracted, so what? Then that attraction is not going to destroy your commitment and your relation. This much you must make sure because the mind always goes for something new but the heart longs for something old. You always want new fashion. What is the latest fashion, you ask. But when you are in love you say, ‘Oh I know them since ages. That’s my old love, my ancient love.’ You always connect, go back to the ages because the heart longs for the old and the mind wants the new. So when you are going for new, know that it’s only the mind’s work but your heart knows, heart always longs for that old connection, old love.

Q: I would love to become an Art of Living teacher. But I am not sure if I am ready. When is one ready to do TTC and become a teacher? With Love and Gratitude.

 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are ready. Don’t doubt yourself whether you are ready or not. You are ready. Even if you are not ready, you will be cooked very well and made ready. The processes are such in the teacher’s training. It is amazing, a blossoming of your personality. So don’t worry, just go for it.

Q: There are quite a few questions about how do I feel more connected with you or how do I feel the connection. Sometimes, I don’t feel the connection to knowledge or to you or to myself. These types of questions are there, couple of them in my mind.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Certain things you should take for granted. You should feel that you are connected. Are you connected to air? Do you say, again and again, is there air around me? Am I breathing or not? Is there air around me? My dear, there is! Is there a sun in the universe? There is! I don’t see the sun. If there is no sun, the earth would not exist. If it is not visible now, it is visible another six hours later. Or eight hours later - it will come to the horizon. In Norway, you’ll not see the sun for two months. That doesn’t mean it has disappeared from the surface of the planet. Similarly, your connection, your love is always there. Sometimes you feel it. When a cool wind blows on a hot summer’s day, it gives you certain elevation. It gives you a contrast. You were not connected, suddenly you feel connected. So this feeling of being connected often happens in contrast. Especially when you didn’t feel connected, suddenly you feel the connection, you feel that contrast.

 For knowledge, you have to have the opposites. When you don’t feel the connection, know that you are already connected. Don’t look for it. You see what I am saying? Okay. Move away from all the principles of the Art of Living. Drop your pranayama, meditation, singing, everything for one week, 10 days. Then you will see. You will feel the thirst. All this knowledge will pop up in your life time and again. Wisdom once learnt remains with you like a solid rock. You can’t get away from wisdom. Still try to get out of it for sometime and see. Then you’ll notice the connection. Sometimes astrologically, cosmologically, the sense of lack of enthusiasm, interest or spirituality or sort of dullness creeps in life. Vedic astrology speaks about a particular time in one's life where this could happen. But it is only for a short period of time. Especially they say, when the Jupiter is at the lowest energy, the spiritual energy in the world goes down and people become more gross. You don’t feel uplifted, elevated. But it’s only a short period of 11 months or even shorter. The Christian tradition speaks about the dark night of the soul where a spiritual seeker suddenly finds that all that he has been doing is useless or has not taken them any further. This type of a feeling had dawned in Mother Teresa also.

 In Patanjali Yoga Sutras, it is explained how to overcome such obstacles in the path of Yoga. These are the nine obstacles you can get – doubts will come. Self doubt, doubt about the teacher, doubt about the knowledge, the path and then some or the other ailments come. You’ll be fine. When you want to do is some practice you’ll get cold, cough, fever, this and that. Some physical discomfort, disease or mental dullness can come over you. These sorts of nine different types of obstacles to get perfection are also part of the knowledge, part of the path. But no obstacles can stay forever. They all come for a short time and they go, they disappear. So don’t keep looking whether I am connected or not connected. When you feel a sort of vacuum, lack of love, lack of enthusiasm or the initial high or joy you felt suddenly disappearing somewhere, just smile and be centered. You will see this wind just blows and then the sun rises back again. The sun is always there. It will be visible just in the matter of time. In the same way, your connection with your Self, with the teacher, with the universe is all intact. It will just blossom once again.

Q: How can I stop hurting myself physically when I feel guilty? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you feel guilty, just sing and dance. Do satsang, do bhastrika. Maybe three times you do bhastrika.

Q: There is a lot of information about the transition of human consciousness, which is part of evolution. They say it will happen in 2012. Can you comment on it?

 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: As I said, the evolution of human consciousness is a continuous process. It is happening even now. They are right. In the next two years, 2012, that’s when Jupiter comes to Aries, the first point of Aries, people will be more spiritual. They will be inclined towards spirituality. Spirituality will be the fashion and it will become the necessity. People will start walking the path. I remember in 80s and 90s people doing Yoga were considered to be little out there. Not normal. It was not a dignified thing to sit in the lotus position or stretch your legs and hands and knees and sit on the floor. Today many companies - when they want to depict relaxation - they make someone sit in a yoga posture. Today’s advertisements show people sitting in the lotus pose.

 Paradigms have changed. People’s thinking has changed. Prejudice has reduced. I won’t say it has gone totally, but has reduced to a great extent. Interfaith dialogue is the talk of the world today. I was recently in Australia, in the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and there were people from all over the world, of different faiths, 600 people, started respecting each other’s faith. This time I received a greetings letter from the Pope. He sent me Diwali greetings and I sent him Christmas greetings. He addressed me saying, “Holiness, we all have to work together in the world to do a great job to uplift the human consciousness.” Today they have recognized there are all other faiths and many ways. So the world is changing already. Isn’t it?

Q: I really want to find and go the way of truth. Please teach us to see it.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you are in the train, you don’t keep running inside the compartments. Just imagine you have to run to catch the train. But once you are inside the train, don’t carry your bag on your back and keep running thinking, “I want to run faster and faster”. You’ll not reach any faster running to the front compartment. Just sit and relax. Have your tea. You will reach your destination. This is a promise. Just relax.

You are in the right path. Read and study Ashtavakra and Yoga Vasishta. What’s going to happen in 2012? Silly question. The world is not going to come to an end. I am repeating the same thing what I said in 1999. In 1999, we were in Italy. We had the biggest course in Europe where 2000 people on the beaches of Italy were welcoming the New Year - 10 years ago exactly. Then people asked me the same thing. World is going to end in 2000? In Canada people had stored milk powder, ration everything in their basement. Cellar and basements were stuffed with food stuff. Because the world is going to crash and there will not be any food items for next six months till people find a way out. This was the fear. Wherever I go, everybody asked the same question. What will happen in 2000? I said everything will be business as usual. There will be no change. Just relax. Really! Many people sold their homes and property from the West because they said there was going to be a big earthquake. ‘California is going to go underneath the water. Let us be more smart. Before it goes down and we have to get into the boats to come up to Colorado. Let’s go now to Colorado. Let us be the welcoming party for the sinking people.’ This was the idea. Many people sold their homes. They went to Colorado and build their homes there!

Nothing is going to happen and we’ll continue. Yes. Some earthquake, some calamity happens all the time. It’s a continuous process on this planet. Birth and death is a simultaneous process. Today so many people are dying and today so many are being born. It’s not going to be one day that everybody is going to be born and one day everybody is going to die. No. The doom’s day or whatever day is not going to come. Don’t worry. Everyday is a dooms day. Everyday is a day of resurrection because the world is spherical. There is sun every moment on this planet somewhere shining and there is sunset happening all the time and sunrise happening the whole time. This is what the ancient Vedic science says. We read that Galileo was the one who said the Earth is spherical. No. Ancient Vedic times, they have said it.

 Bhugola - Earth is spherical

. Khagola – the universe is spherical. And millions of universes are there. There are 14 earths like our earth in our Galaxy. So, this universe is huge and unfathomable. So having attained this, relax in the peace of your heart. Content. Tonight go to bed with a smile on your face. With a feeling of contentment, not with lack.

‘I have had everything I need to have. I have had enough food, I have had all the pleasure that the world can give me. Whatever is needed for the body, nature has given. I am happy with it. If more is needed, nature is going to give me. If this body needs anything more, it will be provided in the future.’

With this faith and with this understanding, just repose in your Self.  

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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© The Art of Living Foundation
For Global Spirituality

Our innermost nature is what dharma is

 Bad Antogast (Germany), Dec. 28:

Q: How can we become as big and as fast as this (Art of Living)?

 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I wonder about that too. I think you should have brainstorming sessions, sit with them those teachers and people of that country we can try those other things too and then wait for the time. Yes, there are two things: One is that our efforts, our skills matters. Second is the right time. A combination of both will definitely work

Q: Guruji, please speak about dharma and sanga.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Dharma and sanga. Our innermost nature is what dharma is. Yes, our innermost nature is dharma and sangha is our association, our environment. So events and attitude are influenced by only two things. The first is by your own true nature and another by your environment, the people whom you are with, you know. In a group if someone says, ‘Come lets go and have a drink,’ we will say, ‘Ok, lets all go.’ We will go. In a group if someone starts talking negatively, slowly another person will join a little later, then the third and the fourth. Soon you’ll find that everybody starts talking negatively – this is the influence of the group A child is influenced upto 25 percent by the environment, by the friends in the environment and the school they grow up in. Another 25 percent is from the parents’ genes and tendencies. The next 25 percent is their own originality, their karmas, their samskaras, the impression that they come into this world with. The remaining 25 percent is through their own self-effort and their understanding. So parents have got only one-forth influence on their children. Only one forth. Similarly, our sangha which means our association has an influence on us. Usually what we call sangha is a group of people who are on the spiritual path. People on the spiritual path can help you with that much-needed energy, biodiversity energy for you to move on that path. That is why when you sit and meditate in a group, it is better than when you are alone. How many of you feel that way? In a group you feel like doing yoga, pranayam, even service activity. When you are alone, you get tired. You don't feel like doing it. But few of you join together and you do a lot of work. If you have to wash the dishes alone, you will feel so bored. But if 7, 8 or 9 of us are washing the dishes, time just flies like that. You don’t feel tired. I have told you don’t feel exhausted isn't it? How many of you have this experience? At home if someone is asked to wash that many dishes, you would crib. And here you do it with the smile, you do it happily joyfully. So sangha can or the group sangha can help you move up in life. It puts you in touch with the dharma; and sangha only happen with the enlightened. That’s why Lord Buddha said Buddham, sangham and dharmam. Three things - the enlightened one, the company of people and your true nature - all these things important and they all are one and the same.

Q. Guruji is there any wrong time for meditation? Is it ok to meditate any time?

 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can meditate any time when your tummy is not full. When you have eaten, you are full. When you sit for meditation at that time, that is not good. Either you will not have meditation, you'll fall asleep or you’ll have indigestion. There will some difficulty in metabolism

 Q: Why is there is a rift between migrants and local people?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Rift between the migrants and people living there... one of the reasons is that the migrants are not mixing with the local people. They remain in their own community and campus. They don’t adopt the country they are in. This is a big issue. That is going to keep people separate. There is an old saying, ‘Be a Roman when you are in Rome.’ So if you are in a country, you should adopt that culture, you should be with the country, flow with the norms of that country. This is essential for migrants to know and understand. Secondly, the fear. Migrants fear that they will lose their roots. This they need not do. They should strengthen their roots as well maintain their original customs – language, culture, religion, tradition. That is fine. They should do that. On the other hand, there is much awareness about cultural diversity. There have not been many festivals which integrate all kinds of people, of all different cultures, civilization, religions. This multi-cultural events, multi-religious events need to happen more often. That would bring people together, their hearts and minds together.

 Q: Guruji our politicians ain’t any good. How can you change corrupted ones like the one in my country?

 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well. I will leave that question with you. You may get some ideas. Share them with me too! We have to work on this issue. Politicians have lost the sense of belongingness with people. It has become another industry. Politics has ceased to be a place for responsibility and caring and protection of people’s welfare. Rather it has turned out to be self-aggrandizement, an industry of power and position and money. This has to change. You know, politicians will have to realize that they are servants of people. They have a responsibility. There are some very good politicians. Not that we should put them all in the same basket. But those corrupt politicians are the one we really needed to address. That can happen only through education and rising awareness of human values among them. I am very much concerned, especially about Africa, where people have very little to eat. The country is really going down and the politicians of Africa have hoarded billions - $280 billion - in a bank in England. When I was speaking to politicians at the European parliament, they told me that, ‘Guruji, we have good news. We have sent $79 million back to Africa to the people there because it’s the people’s money. But it’s not sufficient. It’s only a small portion of what presidents and prime ministers of the continent of Africa are holding there. Similarly, Indian politicians are holding huge amounts in Swiss banks. But it’s all been hushed up. There needs to be a wave of spiritual awakening, moral and spiritual awakening in the whole world, especially in this field. Only then can this be corrected So, it’s a big task. Everybody has to work for it. We need politicians like Gandhi and Martin Luther King who are spiritual and who care for people to uphold ideals in society. Isn't it?

Q: Dearest Guruji, can you please speak about guru and tatva?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is only one air, one sun, one earth and one moon. and similarly one consciousness. In the inside of us, the consciousness which is wisdom, which is light is gurutatva. Tatva means principle. To begin with, the five tatvas are earth, water, air, ether and fire. These are five tatvas and then there is the mind, intellect ego. Then there is the maha tatva which is beyond the ego. The one who has gone beyond the ego is called Mahatma. Finer than the maha tatva is the guru tatva. The guru tatva is that principle of discrimination, of knowledge and when it dawns inside you, that is guru tatva. In knowledge then you have no dearth for anything. Life’s mission is complete. Guru tatva always brings joy, freedom from misery and upliftment of the consciousness.

Q: Dear Sri Sri, please guide me on how I can serve humanity. Lots and lots of love.

 Guruji: Yes, come join the band wagon. Come join and think about what we can all do together. See alone when we do it, individually, it is a small effort. There is not much result. In fact, we burn out, we get tired. But as a group we can do a lot. Ok?

Q: There are many kinds of love but how to find out love of your life? To spend the rest of the life with only that person

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I leave the choice to you and give the blessings for it. And one thing, you know, whatever you choose, you should be aware of this danger: somebody else would have been better. So, it’s better not to choose anybody. One whom you choose, you'll regret you should have chosen somebody else. That situation is also very much possible. So choice is yours, blessings mine.

 Q: why does judgment exist? where does it come from?

 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Judgment is a set of concepts which appears to be obsolete. An opinion or a concept which becomes obsolete, you call it judgment. Not the judgment that the judge gives in the court, but the one you come up with. You have an opinion of a person or a concept or a situation, when that breaks then you look back and you say, ‘Oh, I have a judgment of it.’ If it doesn’t break that’s when you say, ‘Oh, I know it is knowledge, oh you know I know that’s how it is’. You call it judgment when it is obsolete that means it has broken or proved to be false. Right?

Judgment is opposite of intuition, intuition is the right opinion. Judgment is the wrong opinion.  

“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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For Global Spirituality