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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