2nd May 2010.
Q: Dear guruji, This might sound like a silly question, but I don’t understand money at all. Can you explain it to me? How important is it? Thank you for having me here.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is said in the Vedic literature, Dharma is righteousness. Then comes artha, which means- the means, money. And then Kama, desire. And then liberation, moksha. So, Dharmasya moolam artha. That is, righteousness is based on prosperity. If everybody is prosperous, nobody will steal anything. The root of dharma or righteousness is prosperity, is money. So, it is all linked. Money is important, but money is only the means. It is not everything.
Never link money with happiness. Even the poorest people are happy, if you see. In fact they are more happy. But money can create a false notion of security to you: You think if you have money, you have everything. The idea of money is for comfort. Isn’t it? Why do you want money? For comfort. But money can give you only one type of comfort.
There are three types of comfort: Physical comfort, emotional and mental comfort, and spiritual comfort - the inner comfort. Whereas money provides only one type of comfort, it doesn’t give emotional and spiritual comfort. It is essential. Like, we all eat to live. But if we live only to eat (laughs), then something is very wrong with us. Basically wrong.
Scriptures and ancient people beautifully describe how to make best use of money. You make five equal portions of the money. You use one portion for yourself, you save twenty percent, you use another twenty percent for your family, and immediate needs, and you make use of one portion for the society .One is called Aapad dhan. It is for emergency, for any need in the future. And there is another school of thought which says you spend 10 percent on charity, you save 30 percent, and you use 60 percent the way you want.
I would say, you don’t need to spend even 10 percent on charity. Keep aside at least 2% or 3% of your income. If you don’t do charity at all, your money will be spent on court cases and on hospitals. You keep aside 2 – 10 percent for the world. Then the greed will not happen in our mind. Greed kills the person and then kills his business also.
But ambition is ok. You should have ambition. You should aspire to create more wealth. Creating more wealth is not a bad thing at all. So, that balanced attitude for money must be there. Money should not be everything in life. It should be to sustain, and to give you physical comfort. And it’s only spirituality that is absolute comfort. When you are connected with the divinity, mental and spiritual comfort is there, you don’t even think about money. Things come automatically. Next year, this ashram will have completed 20 years. Before we had this ashram in North America, we used to hire places here and there. So many people used to come, and we needed our own kitchen for vegetarian food. It was difficult to have advanced courses in hotels here and there.Then I said that the next time I come, we should have a place where we can keep the atmosphere pure, where only meditation happens and where the vibrations of the place become more saatvik, more congenial and more in harmony with nature. Then some of our devotees went around and looked at places, but we didn’t have that much money.
First we put up some tents, and all the tents flew away. It rained. They had a kitchen here and wooden things. Everyone started doing a little bit here and there, and the place became beautiful. So, the whole place come up in some time. This is what is called siddhi. Siddhi means you get what is needed. In India, there is a proverb which says you really wished for nuts and it came to you when you lost all the teeth (laughs). You were praying for nuts, ‘Oh, I need nuts, I need nuts, I need nuts.’ And then when you got nuts, all the teeth were gone! That’s no use. You are praying for husband or wife, and they appeared when you are 75! It makes no sense!
We never ever worry for how things will be done! This is what is siddhi. When the spiritual power is there, spiritual energy is there, everything happens effortlessly. Move with faith and confidence. At the same time, don’t live too much in the air. Be a little practical also. Till you get to that level of spiritual inner dependence, you have to have the reasoning. Reasonably, you should be aware of how you should manage funds.
So, it’s like dance. How dance will happen? When one foot is on the ground, and one is up. If both legs are buried in the mud, can you dance? And if both feet are in the air, then also you cannot dance. You’ll fall. So, dance happens when there is one foot on the ground, and one up in the air. This is what is whole knowledge – practical yet ethereal, spiritual in approach. But I have seen some people who are too ethereal. They don’t do any work but they simply sit, ‘I want 20 million dollars, I want 100 million dollars.’ They don’t even think about small numbers. (laughs) They Pray for it every day. Nothing is going to happen that way also. Know that balance.
Q. Dearest guruji, sometimes I feel that I have not got over a death in my immediate family , and it prevents me from moving forward in my own relationships, and starting my own family. I’d want to move on but sometimes I feel I’m my own worst enemy. Please help me guruji. I am waiting patiently for you to read, and answer my question.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You meditate, you do bhajan. These vibrations reach them also. You be peaceful and peaceful vibrations from you go across to the other side. That is why spirituality is called ’Sadhana’ in Sanskrit, which means the real wealth, the real currency that can go even here and there (laughs). The other dollar currency cannot be used on the other side. That’s why we say when you do satsang, sing and meditate, these positive vibrations reach them. And then, these emotions when they come up just observe them, watch them. They will come, evaporate and disappear. Don’t make a big issue about it. Move on.
Q. Dear guruji, I am profoundly grateful for the beautiful knowledge that you bring to us. I am very curious to know from where these insights come from. When I meditate, I sometimes become calmer and more effective afterwards, but the secrets of the universe do not reveal themselves. Instead I seem to be either stuck in the same dramas or in some kind of self-hypnosis. The path is good for me. I am certain. But I feel so impatient. I found your words about the divine and nature to be the nectar for which I am hungry. Can you please elaborate on that theme. I used to feel a stronger connection with nature. I feel like a bit of a robot these days. Did I fall from grace or something?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, no. I think you have too much time in hand. You sit and think too much about yourself. Get busy. You know, the more good work you do, you create positive atmosphere and vibes around you. And when you create positive vibes, that helps you go deep inside. It is necessary to care for others and share with others. Do it in whatever manner you can. Involve in some projects. Do some meditation. Don’t sit and worry, ‘Oh, what experience I had today, what I will have tomorrow?’ No. They will come and they will go! You are more than all those experiences put together. For a seeker, what you do for any experience that comes, you simply have to say Hi and Bye. One hand you say Hi, and the other hand you say Bye. Don’t forget to say bye after saying Hi. And don’t forget to say Hi, and only saying bye. Then you are in trouble. If you are only trying to say bye-bye, then you are trying to resist them. If you say only Hi, then you are trying to hold on to them. That is why you are given two hands, you know! Hi and Bye. (Gestures hi and bye with hands.) All these experiences come and go, no big deal.
Q. Dear guruji, Last night you said that, ‘If you don’t do all that you can do, then your consciousness will prick you. I know I am capable of a lot, but sometimes it feels like such hard work. I always do my best, and always serve. How do I keep service from feeling like a burden?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, do only as much as you can. Sometimes you take commitment. At that moment, it appears too much. But that will be over. Finish that commitment. And don’t think about it. You know, It becomes a burden if you think, ‘Oh, how much I worked’. You recuperate everyday. So, you should never count how much service you did. It will be very small as compared to what we have consumed!
Q. My best comes out when I am pushed against a wall. It becomes a matter of do or die. That’s the time when I have laser sharp focus, composure, drive and motivation to fulfill all my desires and intentions. But when I’m happy, comfortable and joyful, I can’t seem to have that same composure and drive to motivate myself. How do I change that pattern?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Then ask someone to push you against the wall (laughs). There are no walls here. If you’re not married, get married. Tell your spouse to do it for you. Listen, if you think that your best will come out only if you are in danger and when pushed against a wall, then you have put such an intention in your mind, and that is what is going to happen all the way. You know, you can do it even when you are happy, when you are joyful, when you are free. So, when you have recognized that this is your pattern, it is your responsibility. Nothing else can help you, only you can help yourself. You can say, ‘Now, today I am happy, I am going to do it!’
Q. Dearest guruji, this is the first time I am seeing so much of your blessed glory. Can you tell me how to learn to love myself and respect myself so that I can become a good mother. I inflict harm on my body because I don’t feel worthy. What should I do? Your answer would be most appreciated. Jai Gurudev.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all, don’t think you don’t love yourself. Who says this? Even a person who commits suicide loves himself too much, that’s why he commits suicide. Such a person doesn’t want pain, can’t tolerate pain. So, when people who can’t bear some little pain or suffering, and want only happiness, they commit suicide. They love themselves too much. They don’t love others. If the person who is committing suicide loves his mother or daughter or wife or husband or his near and dear one, how would he/she commit suicide? If one care for others, he/she would never commit suicide.They should know if they hang themselves, they will bring problem to his/her fellow beings making them miserable and sad. So, one commits suicide because of loving oneself too much.So, never doubt your love for yourself. Who says you don’t love yourself? It’s impossible, because you are love. It’s only misplaced. Somewhere you don’t get it right. And you are in the right place. As of now, not a single mother is born on this planet who is bad. As a mother, don’t think that you are a bad mother. Impossible! So, just relax and move on with your work. Don’t analyze too much about what happened because there is always imperfection in any action we do. This is an important thing to know. No action, whatever, on this planet earth is perfect. Every action has a dot of imperfection in it. But we should keep acting. Even the worst act has got a good dot in it, whereas the best action has got one flaw in it. It’s either 98 percent good and 2 percent bad or 2 percent good and 98 percent bad. This is what happens in all the actions. So don’t focus so much on the flaws in an action. Keep acting, as long as it is 98 percent good. Ya?
Q. Dearest Guruji, what is ambition and what is greed? What is the line differentiating both? With love and pranams…
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Greed is when nothing matters to you - no people matter to you. Only money matters, only you matter, that is greed. Greed is beyond your capability, beyond what you deserve. Even at the cost of suffering for others or yourself, you want to have it.You aspire and you want it by hook or crook, that is greed. Ambition is you have set a goal, you want to achieve it. That is ok.
Q. Dear Guruji, I noticed that I am unconsciously always comparing myself with others. Tell me how to stop it please?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you are unconsciously stopping it, it will unconsciously stop also. Why do you consciously want to stop? Let it be. Got it? Your trying to stop it consciously becomes a problem. You get stuck. So just relax. Just relax and continue more meditation, more Advanced and Silence programmes. These will de-programme you from that thing.
Q. Dear guruji, how do I achieve balance and moderation? When I live my life 100 percent, I get passionate and attached to the events. When I live dispassionately, I become somewhat slow. Also, how to feel connected? I still feel the void and longing. Nothing seems to be an answer for these.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That’s very good. You are fortunate. When you feel the longing, you are really getting on the path. Very good. Don’t worry about it.
Q. Jai gurudev. Would you please explain about 2011? We are worried.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you remember, many people were so afraid and paranoid in 1999. In 1999, it was said that computers were going to crash. They were asking, ‘What do we do? We are not going to get food’. People started storing milk and food-grains in their basements! I think I was in Halifax at that time and people there asked me the same question, and they were also storing food! They said we have stored milk powder for three months, grains and stuff. I said, ”nothing is going to happen. There is going to be business as usual”. And I am telling you now, we will see 2010, 2013.. It will be business as usual. Only thing is people will be more and more spiritual. Have you noticed how young children, the Yes+ kids were asking questions? I think the older generation would be surprised to see how spiritual the younger generation is becoming. You know what questions you got in 40’s or 50’s, What is the meaning of life?, these kids are getting at the age of 15 now . I am asking this question to those of you who are above 50. Did you ever get this question at that age? The kids today are so much spiritual! As the time comes, you will see that more and more kids become more aware. They are not so much about showoff or buying things like you used to feel. The younger generation is completely off the clothes or jewellery or showoff. Of course, they have little bit more craze about gadgets and the cars. But even that is not as much as you would expect the things to be. Right? You find such difference in people! See in the beginning days of video games every body was so much on those video games. All those violent ones. But as times passed, it’s fading out. I feel that it is fading away. Isn’t it? It’ll happen. More people will be more inclined towards spirituality.
Q. Guruji, I did the Eternity Process and I saw many things from past lives. I experienced a lot of devotion and I even saw you. How much of it is true? Am I just making stuff up?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You don’t have to doubt it. As I said, these experiences are a mixture. One is from your consciousness and your deep experiences. Sometimes it could also be through your fantasy. So, sometimes fantasy gets into it. Then the experience comes up. You know, it’s usually mixture of it. Even if 20 percent of fantasy is mixed with 80 percent of reality, you don’t need to think or do anything. It’s an experience. Take it as it has come and move on. You are much more than all the experiences. You are much more than all the identities and the roles that you play. That is the Self-knowledge. That is the real spiritual knowledge. This is the Upanishadik knowledge.
“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
~ Sri Sri Ravishankar
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