When knowledge lodges itself firmly in your heart, then it is wisdom

Canada, November 26:

Q. Why do so many religions face east when praying? Is it good to face east when meditating?
Sri Sri: Different reasons exist. The sun rises in the east. So, in the morning, you meditate facing east. But in the evening, you face west because the sun sets in the west. Energy flows from where the sun is. So, when you face the sun, you are balanced. For prayer and meditation, you need balance - balance of mind, posture… See, it does not matter which direction you face when you meditate, as long as you are facing a direction and meditating.

Q. Why did God create so many galaxies, universes, people etc? What was His purpose?
Sri Sri: Well, he couldn’t find a better job to do (smiles)!
It’s obvious - you ask someone who is playing soccer. When so many people are fighting over that little ball, if an alien comes and watches 22 people fighting over one ball, he will ask, “This world has so many things, why don’t you just give a ball to each player? They are busy falling over each other and kicking that one ball into the net, and so many people are happy about this. Why cause such a commotion? Just give them a ball and let them put it through the net.”

For an alien, this appears unintelligent and purposeless. But fans of soccer will say, “Oh we had such a fantastic time!”  The one purpose of everything that man created is happiness. It is for the same purpose that God created all this. And He is enjoying it like He is watching a soccer game. No other purpose.

Q. I have gone through several relationships. I now feel detached from all relationships, but then I feel selfish. What should I do? 
Sri Sri: Love can resolve all relationships. See, it does not matter that people think you are a donkey. It does not matter! Just don’t kick them and prove them right! From your side, be pleasant. Expecting nothing from anyone is the way to be happy. When we start expecting, we become miserable.

When you are sad or miserable, have the strength to sacrifice the cause of sadness. All you can pray is, “When I am happy, let me do seva; when I am sad, let me have the strength to renounce.”

A lady once asked, “Why did God make this place so sad?” So that you can turn to Him. Even though the world is so sad, you still cannot drop it! Can you imagine what would happen if it was all good? You have to turn to the Creator through the creation, recognize the Creator inside the creation. It’s like a hologram.

During moments of misery, we need the strength of sacrifice. During moments of happiness, we need to share our happiness.

Q. I think the biggest botheration I have is my laziness. I don’t feel motivated. I want to do so much.
Sri Sri: Pay someone to be after you when you are lazy. Tell them, “If I am lazy, don’t let me sit and lie down. Come get me with a stick.” Laziness goes away when you have a buddy who is after you. Your spouse would be good here (laughs)!

There are three ways to get over laziness:
One, greed. If you are greedy for something, it will take you out of laziness. If someone tells you, “If you do this pranayama for 40 days, you will get $1 million.” You will say, “I will do for 45 days, just to be sure!”

Two, fear. Fear makes people fall into hoaxes. Some hoaxes even claim to cleanse Karmas. Karmas go away when you meditate. When you are in love, and serve, Karmas are erased. It is unfortunate that people don’t know anything about spirituality - they have neither the experience nor have they read scriptures. This is where the Vedic tradition is important. So many seers laid down the rules. And then authenticated it to make sure it’s not an illusion. But people still go into hoaxes, because of fear.

Three, love. When you are deeply in love, where is the question of laziness?

If none of these three work, revert to my first option. Pay someone to be after you!

Q. What are the qualifications to gain liberation?
Sri Sri: The fact that you are a sane human being is enough and the fact that you are a good human being. And ALL human beings are good!

Unfortunately, some scientists claim that human beings have dark and light sides. So the concept is that half of you is dark and half of you is light. That is not how it is. Just imagine someone coming up to you and saying, “You have a dark side. You could be a murderer.” You would say, “No, I didn’t even dream of something like that!” Then you start wondering, “Oh, maybe there is something like that inside me...” Then you put that seed in yourself and start nurturing that which was not there before.

There is a beautiful verse by the Indian poet Kabir, “I went to find a bad person in the universe, and I found none.” There are negative tendencies in people but that is not the basic human nature. That is only on the circumference. Why is someone behaving negatively? Because they are hurt. A happy, joyful, centered person will never do harm to anyone, even to animals. See, even lions go for prey only when they are hungry, not all the time. That too, they don’t kill other animals out of rage. They do it out of need.

So, these concepts that a person has a light and dark side are man-made, far from reality! Go into the soul, “Satchidananda”- true, blissful:  the Consciousness.

A desire has arisen and I want to ask you about this. Give me a glimpse of self-knowledge.

You are getting it. Just relax. See, to catch a train, you have to hurry up, pack your things, go to the train station and get onto the train or go to the airport and catch a plane. But once you are on the plane, relax. Running between aisles holding your luggage will not get you to your destination any faster! Once you are on the path, relax.

Lord Krishna tells Arjuna after he has told him all that Arjuna had to do, “Drop all that, I will relieve you from your sins. You drop all that you are holding onto. Drop even your dharma. I will relieve you from your sins.” Instead, people try to get rid of their sins. That will never happen. The Divine will relieve you of your sins.

All that you need to do is to let go of everything you are holding on to. It is beautiful. First, Lord Krishna makes Arjuna understand Dharma. Then, Arjuna is made to drop all of it. Lord Krishna says, “Take refuge in Me and Me alone. I will relieve you of all your sins.”

Q. Thank you for being a part of my life. I worry that I have missed my purpose, or that my purpose is not as great as the one I hoped for.
Sri Sri: You have an important role to play in this phenomenon called Art of Living. Next year, we celebrate 30 years. Drop by drop, what so many people have done has contributed to these 30 years. Be part of satsangs, seva projects. In Haiti and India there are so many seva projects. Even in Canada, Native Americans need help. There are so many things to be done here in the Ashram.

Q. I am practicing awareness all the time. Will it bring me peace?
Sri Sri: Just be natural. For God’s sake, relax. Don’t practice awareness all the time. Awareness is essential, but don’t practice it. Even The Gita says no extremities. Just relax.

Imagine listening to music being completely aware. No, music is to be enjoyed in relaxation. Doing is always limited. This applies to anything you do, including meditation. That is why meditation is something that must be allowed to just happen.
All the techniques create a situation for the mind to experience and go beyond its limitation. Even music creates an atmosphere to boost consciousness. Music is “Laya Yoga.” Laya is dissolving. This is the highest form of Samadhi (unity with the Divine) that should also happen.
Bring a balance between awareness and this dissolution.

Q. Please comment on animal sacrifices and tongue piercing in Hinduism.
Sri Sri: Hinduism is a way of life, and it has been around for millions of years. So many practices are just interpolations or add-ons. Imagine that in the winter you have a coat. You come into the house and hang up the coat before entering the house. This then becomes a practice and a rule comes that you can enter the house even in the summer only if you have a coat to hang up. The same applies here. Animal sacrifices have no scriptural sanction. The same thing is true for tongue piercing. Even Lord Krishna says that only a fool would torture his own body.

Q. During my meditations, I get sexual feelings. What do I do?
Sri Sri: This is only a stage. It happens in the beginning, when the energy is rising through the chakras. It will pass. Just observe it, honor it, and let it pass.

Q. Are we all part of the Divine Light Source?
Sri Sri: Of course. But until it becomes your experience, keep it at the back of your mind.

Q. Can you equate knowledge with wisdom?
Sri Sri: When knowledge lodges itself firmly in your heart, then it is wisdom.
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Have a combination of both – sensitiveness and strength

Montreal, Canada, Nov. 25: 

Q. How can I not see ugly feelings behind ugly words?
Sri Sri: Sometimes people say words and they really don’t feel that way. Don’t you do it sometimes? As children, you say things that you don’t really mean. Kids usually say things they mean. As we grow older, our feelings and words grow apart. They are not the same. Now, don’t worry about what other people are feeling. Feelings are fleeting. One day they feel good, next day they don’t. Don’t bother about this. Simply acknowledge that that person is not feeling good and that they are here to work on it. Our being angry that someone is feeling bad doesn’t make sense. Sometimes their feelings change but your feelings remain the same. Someone puts a doubt in your head and then they forget but you hold on to it. The same is with senior citizens who complain but then forget while you hold on to the complaint.

Look at the present moment - now, now, now! Wake up NOW! Everything else is stupid. All that has happened has gone into emptiness. Everything dissolves into emptiness. Your entire past - wiped out! All the things that you felt are gone. Good or bad, they are gone. So, wake up to the truth of the present moment. Divinity is in the present moment. This is yoga. Yoga is being established in the moment. And moment does not mean fleeting moment. The moment has the depth of infinity; it has all the past and all the future.

Who cares what you feel? Throw your feelings into the ocean. A little sensation or discomfort arises. Who cares? Are you doing what you want to do? And, in doing what you want to do, are you keeping the delicacy of your consciousness or are you being like a bulldozer (I will do whatever I want)? Being like a bulldozer is being insensitive. Being oversensitive and very weak and being like a bulldozer are both not correct. The best combination is being sensitive and strong. This is wisdom and this is what we have to work on.

The effect of past actions is limited. Past actions definitely affect you e.g. you drive fast, get a ticket, and you have to pay. Get three tickets and you have to surrender your license, no doubt. But don’t brood over it. Wake up. When you wake up, even the consequences you fear will not happen. You will be forgiven in that moment. The moment we acknowledge our mistake, we are forgiven. So you are innocent every moment you are awake. Now! Now! Now!

Take the challenge. Whenever someone is nasty towards you, do something so nice that it takes them by surprise. You will suddenly find there is a shift happening. If it does not happen also it is fine. At least you have done something good.

The world is a very funny place, I tell you. Either it is very entertaining or it is such a pain and so miserable! You can’t take it. Sometimes, you do so much for someone and they turn their back and do things that harm you. Many parents say, ‘I did so much for my children and now they are dissociating from me.’ Not just with parents, but same with employers, friends, siblings, and even spouse. Speaking of spouse, there are four stages of marriage. First stage is mad for each other. Second stage is made for each other. Third stage is mad at each other. The fourth stage is mad because of each other.

Q. Some days I feel so much love for the Divine. Other days, I feel like praying for desires.
Sri Sri: Just be natural. When prayer is happening, don’t create a conflict and confusion in yourself. Don’t say, “Oh it will happen anyways!” But prayer does not have to happen by compulsion.

Q. Please tell us what is so special about the tip of this nose?
Sri Sri: All the sensory nerves end in the tip of the nose. There are two points that are important for alertness and focus of the brain - the ear lobes and tip of the nose. They are the marma points. These are the secret points. If you keep your attention on the tip of the nose, your focus improves, especially for children. In the Jain tradition, they can multiply 100 numbers (avadhan). They focus on the tip of the nose. It’s amazing! They are faster than computers.

Shathavadhanis, as they are called. Avadhan is the technique of holding memories in your consciousness. It is like a photographic memory. People who follow this technique, Avadhanis, can tell you what date was Tuesday in 1700. This knowledge was systematically erased. That is the unfortunate part.

Q. What does ayurveda have to do with meditation?
Sri Sri: Ayurveda is a complete science. It describes dincharaya (daily routine) and ritucharya (seasonal routine). Dinacharya includes meditation for balancing of the three doshas (mind or body type). The mind has an impact on the body and all its doshas and gunas (three qualities of nature: sattva, rajas and tamas). So, the mind, breath, herbs - they are all linked. Similarly, ayurveda helps one to meditate deeply.  Too many thoughts indicates high pitta (one of the three doshas). So pitta must be treated. In ayurveda, combinations are referred to as ‘yoga’. For example, when two herbs are put together it is called yoga. So that concept of yoga is similar to meditation and to ayurveda.

Q. Where do you see The Art of Living 25 years from now?
Sri Sri: I leave that vision to you. Now each of you must think about how you want The Art of Living to blossom. It’s for you to think about. Today, The Art of Living is all over the world. See it was not too long ago that cell phones were introduced. But it has reached all nooks and corners of the world. Why? Because, it is useful. Similarly, the knowledge of how to connect to one’s mind, how to handle one’s emotions - this knowledge is useful and it will spread.

Q. How do you initiate your disciples? Do you choose your disciples?
Sri Sri: Don’t limit our relationship. Let love be love, don’t give it a name. For a master, no disciples exist. But for a disciple, the Master exists. See, if you do the Sudarshan Kriya, you are initiated.

Q. Does one have to become a teacher to progress on the spiritual path? Knowledge, experience or faith, which comes first?
Sri Sri: See, from a little experience knowledge develops, and then faith happens. They are all intertwined. In The Art of Living, we say first experience and then you go up, step by step. It’s good to become a teacher because then you can teach others and there is so much joy. But don’t think you must become a teacher. You still hold the same status whether you are a teacher or not. Don’t think that you are more evolved because you are a teacher.

Q. How does one come to embrace nature? Especially the terrible rain, snow in this country?
Sri Sri: I enjoy this weather. Maybe you should go to the Sahara desert and see how nice it is to be in such a cool country. It is in your mind. Accept it, or move to Florida!

Q. I have been on the path for so long, but I still get attracted to violent and non sattvic partners. What can I do? The attraction is almost irresistible.
Sri Sri: What can I say? Go for it! It will be beneficial to the nearby doctors and hospitals if you keep breaking parts of your body with violent partners! See, it’s about patterns… when you recognize that this is your pattern, wake up and say, “I will not be a victim of this pattern!” You have that strength! You will be given that strength.
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Everything is centered around wellness of the society

(continuation of the Sri Sri's address from the World Forum for Ethics in Business in Brussels, Nov.19)
I’m going to talk to you about another dimension of space, that is, the inner space:  the space that rules your life, the space from which all thoughts and emotions emerge, of which you are, simply, a puppet. There may be rules, but when your emotions rise high, you become a victim of your own emotions. If your thought patterns are prejudiced, are caught up in some Utopian or nasty concepts then you behave that way.

The difficulty with us human beings, normal human beings, is that we seldom take time to look at our own emotions, look at our own thought patterns, at what’s happened inside. We act before thinking; we act before even resolving our feelings. So when the feelings override your actions, your concepts and prejudices override your action, time to time crimes are bound to happen in society, whatever rules are there.

Inner rules are just like the watchman, the doorkeeper, but the emotions are the owner of the home. So when the owner barges in, the doorkeeper just gives way. And this is exactly what happens. If you just talk to any criminal anywhere they will either justify their action or they feel completely helpless, because they feel they, themselves, are the victim. So I often say, “Inside every culprit is a victim crying for help.” If we attend to the victim, the culprit disappears. And this is exactly what we need to do, whether it’s the crime that’s being done either in Kosovo and Serbia or Bosnia or Sri Lanka or anywhere. It’s the people who do that, and  ‘normal people’, as the honorable speaker mentioned just a few minutes ago. They’re normal people, but what makes normal people do abnormal crimes is the lack of education about their emotions.

Neither at home nor at school, are any of us taught how to manage our greed, our anger, our jealousy, our frustration and our rage. Nobody teaches you how to manage this mind by which we do all our actions. We don’t have to go to outer space to feel that the earth is very small, that we all belong to each other.  We can wake up here when we attend to our inner space.

Find out, observe, that whatever I am, everybody else is. So, we are all one, we are all part of one human family, human species. This awareness, this awakening has to happen within each one of us, within each individual on the planet and this is where individual education will lead to a collective culture. A culture in the society, it’s all an individual who forms the unit of a culture. So, it’s the individual who forms the unit of a society. So if individuals are educated, we have a literate society. There’s nothing like a society that can become literate; literacy has to happen through individuals. And similarly, education in handling oneself, knowing oneself, has to happen individually and that will have to lead to a collective phenomenon called a civilized, cultured society.

It’s superstitions, dogmas, prejudices that overrule our civilization today. You know what happened in the Middle Ages, in the Medieval period, either in the Spanish Inquisition or the witch hunting, in the name of some dogmas, or the caste system in the East. They all have proved to be disasters, a disaster to society, and education will make people overcome these ills. Similarly, corruption, what we are facing in the business community today –sort of low morals and somehow we’re lost…we don’t know what to do. So in these situations, an introspection and understanding about human nature, the nature of mind, the nature of our emotions, and in a large spectrum, the purpose of life.

As somebody recently said, that the GDP of a country should be now measured with GDH, Gross Domestic Happiness factor. You should see which state is happy, which country is happier than the other. Having a big bank balance and being depressed for the whole life is not prosperity. You should have the mind to enjoy that prosperity. You may have enough food and enough things to eat, but you suffer from diabetes and depression and heart problem. That doesn’t count to be a healthy society. So whether it is economy or politics, social entrepreneurship or any activity, everything is centered around one fact: welfare of the society, that is, wellness of the society. If the wellness is at stake no other factor will suffice for the society to be uplifted. So we need to look into that.

And ethics forms one of the backbones of wellness and business forms its wings. Without business, wellness cannot happen. So, we need to consider this. I’m happy that we’re all on the same page here, but from very different fields, pondering on something that would make a breakthrough in the crisis of today. 
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Ethical practices are essential for a good economy

(Sri Sri's address from the World Forum for Ethics in Business in Brussels, Nov.19)

2000 years ago, Rishi Kautilya had said that the basis of ethics is economy, the basis of economy is state and the basis of state is civil society. If the civil society is not following ethics, the state can't do anything about it.
And civil society has to follow ethics.

What can uplift the society?

Usually the youth are of the opinion that you can't succeed if you are not unethical. Now, people are becoming more aware after the crisis.

In Chinese, the same word means crisis and opportunity.  Recently a prominent businessman in India was asked why he doesn't take bribes. He replied that he wants good sleep. What people are looking for is an example. Many people can describe crisis, but only few can turn it around. Good ethics gives good sleep and good profit.

Ethical practices are essential for a good economy. We need to come up with practical solutions. 90 per cent of the population is honest! People are waiting for examples and support.

We need to caution people without creating fear and anxiety. Spiritual values can reinstate faith in humans.

Everyone has needs and responsibilities. See how we can reduce our needs and increase the responsibilities. This is absolutely essential in today's world. When the equation between needs and responsibility is disturbed, then we have chaos.

In Hyderabad a group of our people refused to give a bribe for getting license for their business. They said we are willing to come 50 times, we respect you but we cannot give bribes.  It completely transformed the mindset of the people. The group received 10 licenses. Young people, young blood can transform the way business is practiced.

We need to set examples among the state and stakeholders.
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When you take science and spirituality together, then you will progress in life

Bangalore, India, Nov. 15:

Q. When everything is God’s will, why is there a need for spirituality?
Sri Sri: We are made up of both, matter and spirit. The spirit needs spirituality, the body (matter) has some material needs and our spirit is nourished by spirituality. You cannot live life without spirituality. Do you want peace? Do you want joy? Do you want happiness? We think spirituality means going to a temple, church or a mosque.  Spirituality is human values. Without human values, life is meaningless. If someone asks, why do you need human values, you would say, it is a silly question. There is no point in living like an animal, when you are a human being. Living with human values is being human.

Man has some needs and takes responsibilities. When needs are less and responsibilities are more, life is good. When needs are more and responsibilities are few, life is not so good. Some needs could be there but if you take very few responsibilities, then you are unhappy. It is not a spiritual life. Bharathiyaar, Kamraj and Gandhi took responsibility for the whole country and see the way they lived - their needs were minimum.

Take more responsibility. If the father does not take responsibility for the children and their needs, will they listen to him? Only those who take responsibility, gain authority. People in politics ought to take responsibility for the whole nation. But if they rise in power by corrupt means, the fall is certain.
When we take more responsibility, how do we manage them? The ability to take responsibility beyond our capacity and manage it comes from spirituality.

Q. Why is it that even when I follow good things, bad things follow me?
Sri Sri: If you sow a neem tree, will mangoes grow in it? You have to be intelligent. You may be a good person, yet are you intelligent? If you’re good and you put your hand in fire, you will still get burnt. You have to be good and intelligent. Use your buddhi (intelligence) and use it well. We use our intelligence only for corruption and not to be a good person. We think we are good, others are bad. It’s not like that. There is some goodness in everybody. Spirituality increases it. Even when problems are there, they teach us something – we get a depth. Happiness brings expansion, Difficulties bring depth.

Q. What is your advice for our youth?
Sri Sri: Take both, the modern and the ancient, and move ahead. The roots are spirituality, our tradition and culture. The leaves and branches are science. When you take science and spirituality together, then you will progress in life.
Sometimes in the name of spirituality, we follow superstitions or thinking we are scientific, we ignore our traditions. That is not the way. You must take the middle path. Honor and respect our traditions, have a scientific outlook and whatever good we can do for others, keep doing.

Q. What is man’s highest duty?
Sri Sri: If you think something is your duty, there is no love in it. Sometimes you even get headaches because you feel burdened by the duty. When you do something with love, that is the best. When you take responsibility with love, then it is not a burden to you. It becomes like a puja and that is the best. If you think that doing puja itself is a duty, then there is no benefit in doing it at all.

If a father thinks, ‘I have to get my daughter married somehow and get rid of my responsibilities’ then it becomes a burden. But if he thinks of her marriage with love, then the whole event is a celebration and there is joy for everybody.  So, take responsibility with love and take responsibility for the whole world. Start with small steps. First your family, then neighbors, society, village - nobody should be sad in your village! This attitude will make your heart blossom. When the heart blossoms, there is happiness. Divinity resides in a blossomed heart. You don’t have to go anywhere and search for the Divine. His home will be in your heart.

Q. Why do disasters and natural calamities happen?
Sri Sri: We are exploiting the planet, using atom bombs, bursting them under water - so many nuclear weapons are being tested secretly under the water like this. The earth cannot bear it. Trees are being cut, so many toxins are being pumped into the ground, the earth is being mined and all the minerals are being removed – all this has to change. We must promote chemical-free farming methods. Our country’s corn is small. Imported corn is bigger. Our rice grains are small, imported grains are larger. But our grains are much more healthy. We must protect our indigenous seeds. Our cow’s dung and urine has medicinal properties. Protect desi cows and seeds. Imported hybrid seeds give good yield for the first two or three years but deplete the soil completely. Thousands of farmers in Maharashtra committed suicide because of this. We must encourage natural methods of farming.

Q. What do I do so that everything I wish for comes true?
Sri Sri: Think carefully! If everything you wish for comes true, you will be asking ‘why!’ very soon! A king prayed to God to grant him a boon – that everything he touched should turn to gold. God granted his wish and he was very happy - but only for a few minutes. He was thirsty and wanted water. It turned to gold as he touched it. His food turned into gold and even his little daughter, when he touched her. The king became very disturbed and prayed that the boon be taken away.

Just look back and see – as a child, what did you want to become? An engine driver? Nowadays children have many toys. Around 3—40 years ago, the only thing a child wanted to be was an engine-driver or a pilot. Many things that you desired, you have stopped liking them now. The Divine will give what is best for you. Move ahead with that faith. If you have a desire, don’t think that you should not pray for it. Just think – Let me get this, or something better.

Q. Why is communism opposed to spirituality?
Sri Sri: Whichever direction you take, you will meet at some point as the earth is spherical. Communism and spirituality may seem to be opposing to each other but they will meet eventually.
Did you know that the Chinese government has added the need for spirituality in the Chinese Constitution? Prosperity, development and spirituality must be made available to every person in China.
You know, very few people hate spirituality. Look into the depth of your heart. Either there is faith or fear in the Divine. What is the most important principle of communism? That everybody should get everything. Spirituality also says the same thing. See others as yourself. See the same good in all.

Q. If all are God’s children, why is there a difference between people?
Sri Sri: We make the difference. Some get ‘A’ grades or ‘B’ grades in school. We may have different talents and qualities. Some can lift 100 kilograms, some ten and some cannot even lift two.
Each person is unique in what they can do but at another level, everyone is the same. The blood in every person is red. Whatever breed a cow may be, the milk will be the same color.
No two people will have the same fingerprints. If you look at our qualities and talents, we are all unique. At the level of love, we are all the same. There is no difference.
A small child will not eat ten idlis. If you give an adult, a small cup and spoon, will it do? Capacities are different, yet everyone is the same.

Q. Can yagyas and mantras burn karma?
Sri Sri: Meditation and pranayam will burn karma. Yagyas also do it. However without being in a meditative space, yagyas do not give the same benefits.

Q. What makes a person an achiever: science or spirituality?
Sri Sri: While watching television, what is more important? Seeing or hearing? You need both.
In the same way, in life too, we need both.

Q. Why are spiritual leaders mostly men?
Sri Sri: Spirituality transcends gender. Men and women are equal. There are many vacancies here for women who would like to become swamis also! They should come to the forefront as well.

Q. What is the difference between mind and intellect?
Sri Sri: This is like asking me, what is the difference between a jack fruit and a banana? If they are the same, you would not ask. The mind is not in one place, it surrounds the body.

Q. Will seva help to destroy the ego?
Sri Sri: If you have ego, keep it in your pocket. Don’t try to destroy it because that effort will only increase it. Be natural like a child. If it’s there, doesn’t matter. When you feel a separation or distance between yourself and others, then ego arises. We don’t have ego with our family or those who are closest with us. Similarly we don't have an ego issues with people whom we don’t know at all. It happens only with people we know a little. We develop an ego. If everybody belongs to you, or nobody belongs to you, then there is no ego.

It is important to have child-like naturalness. When we are worried about what other people are saying about us, then there is ego. Even when you are doing good, there will be some people who will find fault with it. Similarly, there will be people to praise even if the person is corrupt. So, don't worry about it. If you make a mistake, accept it. That is intelligence. In the same way, others can also make mistakes. Don’t wait for them to ask for forgiveness. You forgive and move on. A mistake happened. Drop it. Don’t keep thinking of past mistakes and chewing on it like gum. It is like churning up a pile of garbage. You must save your mind at all costs.

If you save your mind, then you can be free from desires and needs. When you can bless others, even their needs are fulfilled. That’s why people take blessings from the elders of the house. As you grow older, you become more content. But that is not the case all the time. As people grow older, they collect worries and desires. Only when you are free from worries and desires, you gain the capacity to bless. At some point, you have to say, ‘I am content’. That strength comes from spirituality.
When you realize who you are, all your needs are fulfilled. Your biggest enemy is your mind. That is why we do so many things to calm the mind. Take blessings and be happy.
Many millions have benefitted from the Sudarshan Kriya. Many, many are waiting. Take a sankalpa – ‘Let the whole world also get the joy that I have got.’

Q. Should I listen to my wife or Guru?
Sri Sri: This is a trick question but I am not going to get caught!(Laughs) If your wife says something, you will say, ‘Let me listen to my Guru’ and if your Guru says something, you will say, ‘What to do, my wife does not agree!’ Finally you will do only what you want! This has been the case with man always! So I say, "Choice is yours, blessings mine!’

Q. Sometimes, doing seva, I get tired and frustrated.
Sri Sri: That can happen. When you’re in activity, there will be fatigue in the body, the energy levels can go down. Sometimes this happens due of the effect of time as well. However, we must simply continue and not stop. A little pranayam and meditation can restore your energy levels and refresh you. This is where satsang is so important. We are recharged when we sit in satsang and can do seva with renewed energy.

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Contentment in the mind gives you all the power to work effectively & bless

Punjab, India, November 12:

I am feeling grateful to be in the city of Saints. The ten Gurus of Sikh tradition have made so many important contributions and sacrificed their lives for  mankind. The grace of the Masters, from Sri Guru Nanak Dev to Sri Guru Gobind Singh is showering on this holy city. Doing Kirtan, (Satsang) we adore the old tradition. It is important today to solidify the voice of love. The one with a clean heart and enthusiasm can do this. The land of Punjab is the face of the whole of India. Yet the holy land is suffering because of evils like drug addiction and female foeticide. Seeing this, there arose a sankalpa in the mind to have a drug-free Punjab – Let the kids, elderly and everybody be free from addictions, and let the mind find peace and true intoxication in the Divine.

One more important issue that needs to be brought into light is to preserve the Indian seeds. How many of you suffer from body aches? (An astounding number of people raised their hands). This is because of consuming food with pesticides. So, preserving local seeds and adopting organic farming is the remedy.

Youngsters need to be awakened to the actual essence of the religion. We somewhere fail to present the actual relaxing and soothing aspect of spirituality or religion.

If the very root is spoilt, the tree withers. We need to respect our tradition, our roots. Sikh means one who learns and we can all learn something from everybody. We need to learn hospitality from the Japanese, precision from Germans, etiquette from the English and marketing from America and from India, human values.

Love is beyond language. When the heart finds a way, language is no longer a barrier. Yet to realize love we need to remove the label of being unhappy from our hearts. ‘I am unhappy’ – We put and encourage this label on us. And why do we do that? Because of stress and conflicts that arise due to it. We have to work to make each home free from stress. But before that, we have to free ourselves of the conflicts that are happening inside our mind. This is  self-knowledge. When stress is there, we become angry, making ourselves and others, sad. To get rid of stress from the very roots, we need to meditate regularly for some time. When you sit to listen toKirtan, just be immersed in that. But if your mind keeps running and disturbing you even when you sit to cherish Kirtan, then Pranayama, yoga and meditation all come to aid.

Violence-free society, disease-free body, quiver-free breath, confusion-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, trauma-free memory, sorrow-free soul, and an ego that encompasses all are the birthrights of everybody on the planet. We have been bestowed with knowledge since ages, but the tragedy is that we don’t know our own tradition. In Tamil Nadu, nobody knows about the sacrifice of the ten Gurus. The kids have studied a little about Sri Guru Nanak Dev and Sri Guru Gobind Singh in their school curriculum. Similarly, nobody here knows that there were 63 great saints in Tamil Nadu. There have been so many sages in so many countries. Five years ago, we held an exhibition about ten Gurus and that brought awareness. What is our heritage? What are our roots? Self-knowledge is the very base of  our ancient tradition. The very basis of science is spirituality, the ancient knowledge of our Scriptures.

Corruption has reached all fields. This is a burning issue that requires to be given attention. What society do we want to leave for the coming generation? If we do not give them a society better than ours, we will miss to fulfill our responsibility.

Sat sriakal, honoring the truth that is beyond time and honoring the treasure that is within each one of us, is one of the best greetings in the world. When you identify the treasure within, worldly prosperity automatically follows. The inner richness is anyway there, but that treasure is to be identified. There is a science behind the sound of Omkar. Scientists have found that the frequency of the Earth rotating around its axis is the same as that of Om. The graph plotted for the two frequencies is the same. So, whenever we chant Om, our vibes match with that of the Earth’s natural frequency, the natural law.

The same is said by our ancient Rishis as well. Maharishi Patanjali has said, “If you want to get rid of sorrow, contemplate on that one Divine principle/God. Think of that ultimate bliss called the Divine. Japji Sahib starts with that – Ek Omkar, The one Omkar. All sorrow diminishes, doubts shatter and you gain health cherishing that one principle. That is why in Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism and in Hinduism, ‘Om’ has got a special place. The same is true for Taoism and Shintoism. Even in Islam and Christianity, we see a glimpse of ‘Om’ in Ameen and Amen.

So, now we chant ‘Om’ for three times and we will enjoy the divine kirtan, immersing ourselves in the ocean of Divine music.

We will talk more, but let us do some meditation first.

(After meditation)
How are you feeling now? How many of you got rid of any body aches?
(Many in the audience raised their hands.)

When you are content and not bombarded with your own needs, you gain the ability to bless, and we need to learn that skill of being content. This can only happen through meditation. We have this beautiful tradition where we go to seek blessings of our elderly in all functions or occasions. This is very scientific. Ideally, elder ones are expected to be content, and hence they should have the ability to bless. Yet today that is missing somewhere. And contentment does not mean being lethargic or not working, and also one is not to wait till getting old to feel contented. There should spring a wave of contentment in the mind. Keep on doing your work but have a sense of satisfaction in mind. Sometime in life, one should reach this stage of feeling, “I am contented.” Without contentment, that power does not wake up within you. Many people who have done the Blessing course have this experience that whatever good they wish for others, it gets accomplished. How many of you have this experience? (Again many hands in the air.) Spend your life celebrating and enjoying doing Sadhana, Seva and Satsang. Be happy and make others happy!
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30th Anniversary of the Bangalore Ashram

November 13, 2010:
An Ashram is a place where there is no shram/effort. Keeping the mind at peace and letting divinity flow through you is effortlessness. And when does that happen? When you are at ease with yourself and the surroundings. And this is, in fact, the significance of the Ashram – where you are at home. 
Today is the 30th anniversary of the Ashram. This was a barren land before that, and there was nothing but rocks. The land has been transformed into a beautiful place. This has all happened because of the meditation, seva and satsang.

When you have experienced inner peace, then either the Ashram has no significance or all the places become an Ashram for you. Yet till then, the Ashram and its vibrations, do have an impact. So, on this occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Ashram, be at home, be at Ashram, and be at peace with yourself. Wherever you are, make it an Ashram. Every home becomes an Ashram, this should be our wish!

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With satsang, sadhana and seva our faith becomes very strong

Gujarat, (India) Nov. 5, 2010 

More happiness we share with others, more happiness we experience.Do you agree with it? Don’t just say yes. First you think and if you agree, then accept that. One can travel the whole world, but only in the Indian tradition you will see that even when the best of knowledge is spoken, one says, ‘You think about it, only if you find it’s right, then accept it.’

After reciting 18 chapters of The Bhagvad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, ‘You think about it, analyze it, if it appeals to your mind and if you agree then you accept it.’ This means the strength that is within us; the strength of the soul is what gives us this freedom. So now we have to utilize it in the right direction. So whenever we are happy and joyful, we should make an effort to spread this happiness, this joy to minimum ten other people. Will you all do it? Everybody? In my opinion each person has the capability to give happiness to a thousand people. Each one of you can bring light to the lives of a thousand people or more.

Like I said, spirituality is the only way through which we can be free from depression. Whether our society gets freedom from misconduct, corruption, injustice or not, we must spread spirituality. In every house, we must tell people to meditate, to get together and have satsang. In whichever village, people have gotten together and done satsang, all negativities have gone away. Mahatma Gandhi had once desired for an honest society that is now becoming a reality in many villages in India. Even in Gujarat, in many villages, this work is ongoing where people have left alcohol, drugs and with much joy and love are serving others.

One thing that is very important for you to remember: In everyday life, you may experience some lack here and there. Your mind gets upset or someone has tears in their eyes… this is all part of life, which keeps happening. It has never been like everything in life is perfect, ideal or rosy-rosy. It has never been like that, but to deal with problems we need strength and patience and that comes through sadhana. Don’t think of life as separate from sadhana, your life itself is your sadhana. Understand this and move forward. Don’t think that just by closing my eyes for a few minutes and doing something, sadhana is done. No! Whatever you do, walking, moving about, getting up or sitting down, smiling or getting angry, whatever you do in life is sadhana. We need to look from this perspective and then we experience so much relief. When in yourself, this cool breeze of relief and peace starts to flow then you will see how people around you will also start to feel the same. Already many people are feeling it, isn’t it?

It is said that devotion was born in Tamil Nadu, raised in Karnataka and blossomed in Gujarat. So here in Gujarat, devotion blossomed and became complete. Where is the blossoming of devotion? It is in service! We must do as much seva as we can. This does not mean we have to do what we cannot do. No. We have to do as much as is possible for us; and there is nothing as big or small service, the fruit of all service is the same. We must not feel that I have to do that service which is important or big, no, what is important is to have the feeling to be of help to others, and we serve with that feeling. It is in your nature to help and you are helping by doing that. That’s it! 

If any of you are feeling ‘I am doing a lot of seva, remove that from your mind today. Who are you doing seva for? Without doing something we cannot live. That’s why we are doing something and if others are benefiting by us doing something, then it is a very good thing, isn’t it. So we must not feel proud of our seva or proud of our good qualities, this is what we need to offer into the fire of knowledge. So offer your negative qualities, also offer your good qualities and good actions, and live life smiling, feeling light and at the same time being immersed into the depths of knowledge.

You don’t have to work very hard to achieve love and peace in your life; this is easily achieved in a state of rest and such rest we can experience when there are no small botherations lingering in the mind. Then you experience deep rest; and desires linger in your mind when you do not have faith. When you are thirsty then only the desire for water arises, but what will happen if you sit and think about water all day? Do you understand what I am saying? What does desire mean? A lack of faith that I am going to get what I need. So with satsang, sadhana and seva, our faith becomes very strong and all work gets done like it’s getting done in your lives right now.

How many of you have experienced that what you desire is getting fulfilled? So whatever you desire is getting fulfilled, then you should desire for big things. What is the use of desiring for small things? There is no fun in that.

I am not saying do this, do that, I am saying do nothing. Now just five minutes before I said spread happiness, now I am saying you don’t have to do anything. Just relax… the contradiction between these two states only is life. That’s why if you read the Gita you will understand everything is contradictory. Gita is our very life; it is not only a holy text. Gita is for everybody, it is our life and in life there are contradictions.

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Knowledge nugget from Diwali:

Sri Sri explained the significance of the Mahalaxmi Havan which respects the Panch Mahabhuta (five elements) i.e. aakash (ether), vayu (air), agni (fire), jal (water) and prithvi (earth). “We thank God for all that is bestowed on us. At times we grudge for not getting everything. But like a four or five-year old child pestering for a bike, we cannot get all that we desire. God knows the best for us.” 

Pointing to the beautiful statue of Goddess Mahalaxmi on the stage, Sri Sri explained the importance of the hand gesture of the Devi (Goddess): one hand showering blessings and another telling us to the patient. Sri Sri initiated the puja by asking the devotees to take sankalp (intention) and be in a state of samarpan (surrender).

More from the Diwali satsang in the next post...
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‘In the rush of our daily lives, we forget that Divinity is within us’

Rajkot (Gujarat, India), Nov. 3: 

There are many meanings of Dhantaras. In life, there should be all types of prosperity – usually money is associated with prosperity. Satisfaction is true wealth. The air, earth and time are also wealth. The right usage of time is very important. There is a wealth in knowledge. Its nectar should be in our consciousness. Whatever we have, whatever we can give, should be shared. We must practice charity. 

Today the priests performed a yagya with Vedic rituals. Prayer is an expression of showing your gratitude towards God. Eight years ago we performed a yagya here. Since then there has been no famine. Earlier there were parch lands everywhere, today there is greenery all over. We should thank Goddess Laxmi for bringing prosperity to Saurashtra.

Divine love is not somewhere far, it is with me right here. If we have this faith, then we can never feel separate from Divine love. I have come to tell you that you can never be far from God. If you understand this today then I will consider my work done.

Devi and Devtas are forms of God. Honor them and rest deep in your subtle Self.
Is there only one type of sweet, then how can God be of one kind? Yesterday 5,600 types of dishes were displayed. 35,000 children, who had never seen these many varieties of sweets, ate from the spread.
Two years ago an event called Brahma Naad was organized in Delhi where 1,200 sitarists performed.
People said it’s not possible. Yet to make the impossible possible is our work. In Pune, 2,700 vocalists came together. Then the Gujarat team came up with this idea of Annam Brahm.

All this is a part of Goddess Laxmi. There are eight kinds of wealth that come in everybody’s life.
We rekindled this spark of Goddess Laxmi in our consciousness.

Just know that whatever you want, you will get.
Lord Krishna said that leave all religions and come to Me, I will liberate you from all your sins.
But we do just the opposite. We keep clinging to religion and start our journey to save ourselves from our own sins.

In the rush of our daily lives, we forget that Divinity is within us.
Let us all take this sankalpa - Remembering again and again that the Divine music is within us, my family and I take this commitment that people all over the world should stay happy.

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Diwali is a time to drop everything and start afresh

India, (Gujarat), Nov. 3:
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s address at Annam Brahm, an event that showcased 5,600 vegetarian food items. This initiative also brought to the forefront the unifying power of food. People of all religions participated in this event with the aim to showcase the unique cuisines from different communities.
Sri Sri:
“We are part of a Smashta Jeevan - An individual human being is connected to the whole universe, with all its life forms. Birds, animals and the life of people should be respected. When we care for nature, nature cares for us. It makes us complete and completeness is the basis of a human being. We need to take care of plants and animals. One of the most divine expressions is to plant a tree. Then we need to take care of people. Ladies while cooking should take out one handful of grains everyday and once a week or once a month should feed the poor. It is said that two to three hundred years back, there was not even one poor or hungry person in India. Such a complete and capable country we had.
Once again we must resurrect this country to that state. We should all work towards this.

Life without joy,
Heart without compassion,
Mind without imagination,
And Intellect without intuition is incomplete.

Life is all celebration. Celebration happens when all come together, and a society without celebration is no good.

Gujarat is full of celebration. The amount of dance people do out here, one will hardly find anywhere else in the world. The whole of Gujarat rises to dance during Navratras.

We are having Diwali. Greeting each other and singing with each other, we light the lamps on Diwali and celebrate. A single lamp is not enough, and we have to light the lamp in every field. Let the light shine on spiritual, social, financial and all other fields – This is the message for Diwali. While involving in daily activities, we do get upset with each other, we get upset and we make others also upset. But how long can you burn in that fire? Diwali is a time to drop everything and start afresh. That is why in this region, Diwali is immediately followed by the New Year. So, on this occasion my wish for everybody is to have the light of wisdom and spirituality in their lives, and the waves of joy keep rising in all hearts.  

Today is Annam Brahma – the topic is food. It is said in all our Upanishads that Food is Brahma, and one should honor it. Like they say "Jaisa ann vaisa mann" – The state of your mind depends on your diet. Pure vegetarian food keeps our mind perfect, intellect sharp and body fit. That is why many scientists today are switching to vegetarianism.

We are not even aware of the huge variety of food which is there in India. From Tripura to Kerala and Kashmir to Kanyakumari, whatever type of dishes people eat, are present here today.

We offer prayers before eating. The food that we eat absorbs the vibrations. Respecting food means respecting farmers, we should always keep in mind that the one who is producing food should always be happy, because that is the origin of the thought cycle. This is our beautiful tradition, with such deep science behind. Food makes us experience the chaitanya (the consciousness), that is why it is called Brahman.

India is famous for its contribution in seven spheres. First is the variety of clothing available. Then is the huge variety of food. After this comes Nritya and Sangeet (Dance and Music) – India is being recognized in these fields also. Then comes tourism - Pravaas Udhyog, and the I.T Industry, and of course India is making its name in the field of Spirituality - Knowledge industry. Like this, India has made an extraordinary mark in these seven spheres. We have to popularize it. It is very important today. These things should be recognized as a world heritage.
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Knowledge nugget from Delhi:

Delhi, India, Oct. 31:
In life if you want satisfaction, then you need an ice factory in the brain, a sweet factory in the mouth and a compassion factory in the heart.
Whatever demands you have, surrender them to the Divine. As dukh (sadness) means tyag ka bal (strength to surrender) and sukh (happiness) means seva ka bal (strength to serve).

Q: Any amount of positivity I try in life, small failure makes me feel low?
Sri Sri: How are you feeling now? Failures come in life - do you do sadhana everyday? Chant Om Namah Shivay for ten minutes everyday.
The energy you get from chanting is amazing

In China, there was a popular person who had seven diseases. He started chanting Om everyday for two hours and the diseases got cured. Sage Patanjali said this many years ago: if we chant Om every day, it reduces negative energy at home.

​There are many health problems because of the number of chemicals used in food, soap and also radiations. We should keep our food satvic, do chanting and pranayama.

The incidence of cancer is increasing nowadays because we don’t give enough importance to food.

Q: How to do samarpan (surrender) in bhakti (devotion)?
Sri Sri: In the same way how we have sweetness in sugar.
Q: You always say we should be like children. I was careless and fearless as a child. Now as an adult a new fear has come.
Sri Sri: Just relax and keep doing sadhana. Don’t worry.
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