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
© The Art of Living Foundation
For Global Spirituality