Bangalore, May 18:
I have seen that swamis, sadhus and people in ancient times would not like to listen to any conflict anywhere. If someone came and complained to them they would just plug their ears and say, “You deal with it.”
See, if you are part of the solution, your energy is high. But if you are talking about problems and problems, your energy comes down.
In the world there is always a play of positive and negative; some problems come, some challenges come and solutions also come behind it. The ancient people would simply focus on keeping their energy high. If your energy is high then when people come to you their problems will get solved.
Usually what happens when you talk to people? You get stooped into their level of problems. They talk to you about their problems and what happens? You get carried away into the problems. So just try this: one day let everybody come and complain 100 things to you, you simply keep your energy high, your sight inward, your mind inward as though nothing has happened. You will suddenly feel there is a freedom within you.
You try this: at home your mother-in-law will complain, your husband will complain, anybody can complain about anything, let the world go topsy-turvy, but hold onto the idea - I am going to keep my energy high. You just take one such step and see, because problems and challenges come so that you can turn your mind inward.
Instead of turning our minds inward when problems come, what do we do? We chase the problem and when we chase the problem we get totally drawn in that direction, dragged in that direction and then our energy goes down and we collapse. Isn’t this what happens?
Many times, in the name of compassion and sympathy you get drowned. Your compassion does not really help at all in solving the problem. It may be very shocking because in compassion the problem multiplies, and it doesn’t get solved.
Any problem comes so that a person can turn inward and look inside, get into a state of dispassion and calmness. Instead you give reasons and try to pacify the person. Pacifying a person in a problem is the worst thing. You should not pacify them. Let everybody bear their own cross. Bear your karma. If you are miserable it is your karma, if you are happy it is your karma. So you change your karma. This attitude makes a person more independent.
You show compassion and then they want more attention. You feel more compassion and give more attention and then neither compassion is there nor can you give any more attention. Only tension remains. It breeds tension in you, ‘That poor person is so upset and I have to make them happy’. Making someone happy is a big burden. Don’t try to do that at all. This is a new policy; don’t try to make anybody happy, you can’t.
There is a Sanskrit proverb that says ‘Kashtasya sukasya nakopi data’. Nobody gives happiness or misery. It is created by one’s own self, one’s own mind. When someone says ‘problem’, just turn and run in the other direction. Say deal with it, you deal with your own problem. Then you see independence comes, interdependence comes in people and that is how you make yourself self- sufficient.
I am talking about this to sadhaks, to all of you who are already on the path. But don’t use this when someone in the street is crying and they want a lift and you say, ‘Guruji said let them deal with it, I am out.’ If you have space in your car you should go attend to them. That compassion is needed there, but not in relationships. When you are relating with people, random acts of compassion are essential. To someone whom you do not know, be compassionate.
Be passionate about dispassion.
Just see your own mind keeps getting bogged down by that person’s feeling, that person’s tension and this lady’s misery and this person’s unhappiness - what can you do and where have you gone? What has happened to you? You are completely shattered. That is why they say cut all these cobwebs around you, all these strings around you, only one string to the Divine, only one string.
Even there, don’t say, ‘Guruji didn’t look at me, maybe God is angry with me’, this and that, no! Everything is prasad, if I am kicked out, it is a Prasad. If I am scolded, it is Prasad. Everything is prasad, This attitude is the best attitude. So: no attention, no tension. Good!
Q: Guruji, if we do that people will think we are so insensitive.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Let them say what they want. That is what you are trying to do, please them. ‘No I am not insensitive, I am sensitive.’
As I said, you do your job, whatever you should do you do, but don’t sit and listen to their problems, and don’t get carried away by it, got it!
Q: In the Part 1 course they have explained the three sounds and when they are put together they sound ‘Om’, ‘Amen’ and ‘Ameen’. I don’t understand how the three sounds form ‘Amen’ and ‘Ameen’.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No it’s similar, ‘Aa’ and ‘Ma’, two sounds are definitely there, it’s very similar.
If you see, English is a distortion of Sanskrit. Lots of words in English are derived from Sanskrit; I would say nearly 50 percent; brother: bhratru, sister: svasa, mother: mata, etc.
When the language changes usually distortion happens.
In Bengali, there are a lot of changes that have happened, ‘Vishnu’ become ‘Bishnu’; ‘Vishwas’ becomes ‘Bishwas’. The Bengalis say ‘eat water’, ‘jal khabe’; ‘khabe’ means eating but they say ‘jal khabe’. ‘Jal’ becomes ‘jol’; ‘jol khabe’. Every language has got its own characteristics, isn’t it?
In English also they change the pronunciation; instead of ‘West Bengal’ they say ‘Best Bengal’. Don’t ‘baste’ food; for ‘waste’ they say ‘baste’. That is how it is. You have to accept it.
‘You like bhite, you always bear bhites’; they are actually saying you always wear whites. ‘Guruji always bears bhites’ - that is the typical pronunciation. In Gujarat ‘lawn’ becomes ‘loan’ and ‘hall’ becomes ‘hole’; ‘the loan is in front of the hole.’
Q: We always perform Tarpana on Amavas in reverence of the departed souls of the beloved ones, is it really something scientific or just a ritual?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, Tarpana means ‘to satisfy.’ ‘Tarpa’ comes from ‘tripti’, which means fulfillment. Your ancestors had some wishes. Fulfilling them or taking them to be fulfilled, don’t crave for anything. That is exactly what Tarpana is: remembering the people who have departed once in a year.
In Christianity and in Islam also they do this for departed souls, particularly once in a year. So in India, in the ancient days, on amavas (moonless night) they kept remembering all the ancestors and they kept the full moon day to remember all the different manifestations of the Divinity. It is not only that every amavas you have to do something, but remembering them and doing some good work in their memory is good.
Q: Guruji, you have told us that the Guru’s work is to confuse the disciple. Then who will we go to for answers?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Where else can you go? Anywhere you go you will get more confused, isn’t it? From where the confusion has come, the answer will also come.
Q: Guruji, sometimes we are in a free state of mind when we can talk to anyone and sometime we are not. How to get that state of mind back?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You mean at home with the wife? It does happen and people complain, at home my husband does not speak, but when some guest comes my husband speaks a lot. When I am alone with him he doesn’t speak at all; this is the problem, right? Your mind is such - sometimes you want to speak and sometime you have spoken so much that you have exhausted everything. You don’t feel like talking and so the prana has to go up for you to feel like talking more. That is nature. You don’t have to force yourself to talk, so be free.
Q: Jai Gurudev, you are so attractive, is this the bondage in my path? If I get stuck in your form what should I do to see beyond the form?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: So that you get detached from everything else - and then this will also automatically dissolve. You will see me more, much different than the form.
Q: Guruji, please talk on angels, what is their role and purpose. Does everyone have a guardian angel that looks after them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, angels are just positive energy.
Q: What is Swara Yoga, could you please articulate on that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First do alternative nostril prayanama and then go more deep into pranayama then you will see how the breath in the nostrils change throughout the day.
Q: Guruji, can we do Tarpana for ourselves when we are alive?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, become contented through meditation. That is Tarpana.
Q: Tell us something more about prarabdha and sanchita karma.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sanchita karma can be reduced by devotion, whereas for prarabdha karma some of it will have to be undergone; you have to experience it.
Q: Guruji, my boss wants me to be diplomatic and feels it is very important for communication but I am a very straight forward person and cannot be diplomatic. What is the right thing to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do you put a label in your head ‘I am a straight forward person’ and why should a straight forward person not be diplomatic also? A straight forward person need not be rude all the time. Now you hide your rudeness behind that fact that you are straight forward, no you cannot justify the rudeness that way. Straight forwardness is necessary and diplomacy is also necessary, you have to have both. When you meet someone who is blind, you cannot tell that person, ‘You are a blind person’. You may say I am just straight forward, I am just saying the right thing, but you shouldn’t do that. So diplomacy is part of life; that is a skill you need to have. Diplomacy need not be that one is not being straight forward because it is not the opposite of being straight forward, not at all. These two things should go together.
Q: Guruji, how do you come to know what is going on in our minds even though we are thousands of kilometers away. How do you fulfill all our desires?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is my secret. If you attend the blessing course you can do that as well.
Q: Guruji, during amavas and Diwali we are told not to wander about at night and not to use sharp tools, what is the reason behind that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, the moon has an impact on the mind. On full moon days, you feel different; new moon days, you feel different. In the ancient days they used to say, since amavas is such a dark night, not to use sharp things as you may hurt yourself. That is what they said in the past but today with electricity that doesn’t apply.
Q: Guruji, what happens to the letters that are sent to you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They all come to me, don’t worry.
Q: Guruji, some people say that you must not go to funerals and some people say you should go to funerals. Which is right?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, we can go for funerals; there is a social responsibility. There is no problem in going. Usually, once you return from a funeral, you take a bath because the energy changes.
© The Art of Living Foundation