‘Every bud has all that it needs to be a flower’
Bangalore ashram, Feb. 23:
Q: Guruji, with your grace I got a new car but if you don’t sit in it, what’s the fun of having the car?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your body is the car of which the heart is the motor. It’s enough for you to have a seat for me there. What’s the fun of sitting in the other car! Make me reside in your heart.
Q: Guruji, I want something to happen so that I don’t even get a desire to ask questions?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your desire to have no desire to ask questions is a desire in itself. This is a problem. Jo jaisa hai theek hai - this is sanmati. (Whatever is there, however it is, it is alright. This is called sanmati or right mindedness.) Whether or not you have a question, it’s alright. Whether you get an answer or you don’t, it’s alright. ‘Everything is alright’ is the path of nivriti. Often we say, ‘This is not ok, that is not ok’ and then we retreat in ourselves. In that state you can’t rest. Because when you find something is not ok, your whole tendency is to act towards it. And you are trying to rest while restraining from action with an attitude of action. This causes tension and lack of deep rest.
We need to have two attitudes in life - pravriti and nivriti.
It is important to go within when you are tired of working in the world. Nature has made it that way: 12-hour day and 12-hour night. At some places like in the North and South Poles, the night is of around four hours and the day is around 18 to 20 hours. But then in winters, it gets reversed and day is only of four to five hours. So nature maintains that balance. 12 hours day and 12 hours night is the law of nature. Night itself means retiring from any kind of effort. Day symbolizes pravriti and night symbolizes nivriti.
Viveka (discrimination) is to understand what pravriti is and what nivriti is. We think nivriti is getting retired from your job at the age of 60 and being on a holiday. No, the Vedas say, ‘Again and again, adopt the path of nivriti.’ To go within and rest after getting tired of doing work is nivriti.
There are two types of rest. One is inert rest that we get in sleep. It does give some rest but the mind doesn’t get complete rest. Another is conscious rest: you are resting but inside you are aware and alert, that is meditation. Resting with awareness and conscious sleep is meditation.
Meditative rest is far superior for that alone brings real rest to the system. When we want to go into meditation, then the attitude that needs to be adopted is ‘everything is ok'. There is no lack and 'I don’t want anything at this moment’. When you think ‘everything is ok’, your mind calms down and you go within.
Now when you go within, you get lot of happiness, satisfaction, joy and peace, then you have to come to the path of pravriti. So pravriti is when you find things are not ok or perfect and nivriti is when you repose in the Self and find all is well and perfect. This knowledge comes to you with spiritual practices.
The human species is designed in such a way that no one can ever be in only nivriti or only pravriti. Both will continue to coexist in life. When we come to pravriti, we find this is not ok, that is not ok and nothing is ok. Only then do we get to work. And we correct things. (Points out very minute imperfections in the surroundings) Small and little things catch your attention and you feel like correcting everything. This is pravriti. But if someone gets stuck only in this attitude then, even with eyes closed one thinks of imperfections only and can’t go into nivriti. This makes one mad and full of stress. This is called asuri vriti.
Lord Sri Krishna has said this in the Gita. A person with tamoguna tendencies doesn’t know when to follow which of the two paths. He doesn’t have discrimination in him. While working, he thinks everything is going well. This is an example of using nivriti in pravriti. He thinks corruption is also ok, it is anyway present. He doesn’t work and adopts an attitude of indifference. He thinks what does he have to do with tasks getting accomplished or not. And then he uses the concept of pravriti in nivriti. The whole night he thinks and worries. Thinking alone doesn’t accomplish any task. When you think something is not ok and do not do anything about, it disturbs your health. When both the attitudes are taken together then your tasks get accomplished skillfully, successfully and without any stress.
It is also said in the Gita that the intelligent one knows what the right attitude is for retirement, nivriti. When you want to go inward, meditate or contemplate, the attitude you need to adopt is ‘not a grain of grass moves without God’s will’. Everything is ok and perfect. Then the mind settles down and you get deep rest and sink deep into meditation. Once you get out of meditation you become sharp and alert, and detect even small imperfections. When you find imperfections, you can correct them. Your mind will pick minute things and work to bring about perfection in every small thing. The ability in the human mind to shift from ‘everything is ok’ to ‘everything is not ok’ and vice versa is a skill in itself that one has to master. And that is what spiritual practices do to you. You are able to switch off to an attitude of ‘everything is ok’ so that you get deep rest and attain meditation. And you can never be in meditation all the time because you have to switch from inaction to action. Activity and rest are two sides of the human personality and you need both for human evolution.
You are also not to think ‘nothing is ok’. In nivriti you think, ‘God is looking after everything.’ This way by not letting the mind get stuck in either of the two, you bring back the mind to its source. This is an art. The whole life you will have to walk on this. How to meditate? Even amidst difficulties, you switch off your mind. This way you will find half of your task anyway gets accomplished and whatever rest is pending can always be done with the attitude of pravriti. So both are required.
Nature has brought in such a balance. In summer, days are longer and in the winter nights are longer. So somewhere nature maintains that balance. In one place it is cold and elsewhere, it is hot. So heat and cold, day and night, all are brought in some balance in nature. And it is telling you, in so many ways, that you have to balance between activity and rest in life.
Often people worry about their next births. The good work is not given for next birth. Work needs to be finished in this life time only. Just be happy. Be happy in pravriti.
Q: Guruji, I am so thankful to you. You have given me so much that too without expectation. I am so happy and thankful to you.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s not enough to say a couple of words to express thankfulness. I won’t take it. Are you surprised? If you are really thankful then you have to bring this joy and comfort to at least ten people around you. When it is very hot you use AC (Air conditioner) so that your body gets comfortable. And spirituality is AC for the spirit, mind, intellect and the self. Meditation is AC. You know what AC means in spiritual realm? Absolute comfort. Your absolute inner comfort is when you repose and relax - relax in faith.
Q: I want to trust everybody but when I begin to do that something stops me. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Doesn’t matter. Step by step, you will reach there someday. At least you are now aware that you doubt everybody. Doubt won’t stay for a longer period. And when doubt is not there, faith naturally happens. It will happen on its own.
Q: People take afeem (opium) as Lord Shiva’s prasad. Should I take it? And if it’s not ok, how do I make others understand this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are not to take it. You get more fulfilling prasad
here in satsang! Just look at the faces of people who take afeem. Do you find
any radiance on their faces? Are they in a very contented and blissful state? It
is not at all observed. There is no glow, vibrancy or smile on their faces. One
has no option but to be extremely blissful, contented and happy after receiving
the prasad of Lord Shiva. But this is not found with such people who take afeem.
I don’t consider it as prasad.
Use your understanding to make them drop this. Make them experience Sudarshan Kriya.
Q: How do I maintain consistency in life? I find myself going up and then suddenly I find myself going down?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your desire for consistency itself will set you on the right path. As long as you keep going up, never mind if you come down once or twice. If you are worried that you should never go down or if you go down and start blaming, then you get angry and stressed. So just take it.
(The person: But what can I do with the insecurity that I will fall down?)
Look back and see. If you have taken 10 steps forward, you can never go back all the 10 steps. Isn’t it? If you climb 10 steps, you may come down three, four or five steps but never all the ten steps. When you look at the positive changes in you, do you relate to the person you were before you started doing practices? (Reply: No).
That was a completely different person. So this gives you complete confidence that you have never come down completely all the ten steps. You are somewhere four, five or six steps down the line.
Q: Guruji, our tasks get accomplished with rise in sattva. Then what about those people in society who do wrong things. How are their tasks accomplished?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That happens for a small period of time. Later on you will find they will fall badly. There was Bernard Madoff in America. People used to strive to have a picture with him. He was such a big businessman that if he said something it would be immediately followed. Then what happened? Everything got revealed. He is now in jail. His own son got him caught.
So the ones, who walk on the path of untruth, enjoy some good times but later on they meet with a downfall. The problem with the path of untruth is that you don’t get sound sleep and feel restless. At least, the ones following the path of truth will have a sound sleep.
Q: Guruji what is one such thing that is beyond Asakti (attachment) and Anasakti (detachment)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Me! (Huge laughter)
Q: Please talk about the increasing student suicides in Maharashtra.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The rate of suicides among students was increasing in Maharashtra so we published an advertisement in newspaper which encouraged people to contact us even if they had a slightest suicidal tendency. We got around 250 phone calls in a very short time, two days itself. Then they came to the course and did meditation. One person shared that his father and he, both, were going to commit suicide but now after going through the course they won’t do any such thing. So this is the way. Make people do the courses and experience meditation.
Q: Guruji you say that there is no difference between you and me, then how come you have such radiance but I don’t?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You blossom and you will find light is anyway there. Every bud has all that it needs to be a flower. There is no much difference between a bud and flower. The bud hasn’t yet fully blossomed but it will be. If you will continue attending such satsangs, you will find you have no less radiance. It will start coming to you very easily.
Q: Guruji, even after surrendering, the mind gets stuck? What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: At least for some time the mind gets free. This is the how it is with the mind. The reach of maya is widespread. It holds on to you from so many directions. When you think it gives you some happiness then the mind gets attracted towards it. Finish it with surrender, bhog ke (bearing the pleasure & the pain) or with understanding. If nothing, then with time it automatically gets finished.“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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