Wherever you are, you meditate and you find the divinity

25 May 2011
Q: Guruji, India is compassionate with Pakistan. Pakistan does not seem to like India much. America pretends to love both but actually does not love anyone. It is a very complicated love triangle. Will it ever get sorted out, what should India do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just continue to do what it has been doing, wait and watch. India and US are naturally partners. We both have liberty, secularism, democracy. Artificially, they are partnering with Pakistan and it is not working out as much as it should. So there is a basic conflict of interest and Pakistan is suffering a lot. That is why multi-religious education is a must in Pakistan to root out fanaticism. Unfortunately, in Zia-ul-Haq’s time they changed their whole history, they disowned their ancient heritage. So it is a civilization without deep roots and that’s why this is happening.

Q: The more I gain knowledge from sadhana, seva and satsang, my faith in worshiping idols and visiting physical temples is going down. What is that Guruji?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. it is okay that you don’t go to temple after temple. Wherever you are, you meditate and you find the divinity. The Divine is everywhere. You don't have to run to temples. That is the first stage; you have crossed that stage and have come to the second stage where Hari comes to you. There is a saying that when Kabir was calling, ‘Hari, Hari, Hari’ he didn’t find Hari. But when he started meditating, he said, ‘ab Hari lage peeche keheth Kabir, Kabir’, Hari is now coming to me wherever I am.

Q: Dear Guruji, are there many other planets where there are many other Gurujis or are you the only Guruji of the universe?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, why do you want to worry about other planets now? I think I am enough for you to handle.

Q: Guruji, I am an astrologer. Is it okay to listen to the problems of people and would that affect me in any way?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, you are astrologer and the work of an astrologer is very good. You can give people some direction, this will be beneficial. Sometimes people have Ashtama Guru, Ashtama Shani. Make them aware that they have Ashtama Guru, and they need to be a little careful. Those who have Ashtama Shani, this brings trouble to the mind. So advise people to be cautious.
Like this give advice to people. You must do that. That is how people will understand why sometimes too many thoughts arise in the mind or so many doubts come and one does not have any interest in doing anything. Then when an astrologer explains that this is reason why the mind is disturbed and it will get okay and these are the remedies, it will help. Everyone should chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, all the negative effects due to planetary positions will be neutralized with chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. Negative effects become very less, as good as gone.
That is why one field of astrology is remedies. There is a saying that an arrow was coming which was supposed to hit the head, just blew a few strands of hair and went away.

Q: Guruji, I have learned how to manage my emotional problems, please tell me how to endure extreme physical pain, my leg hurts a lot.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, when your leg is paining and you are watching TV for two hours, you forget that your leg is paining, isn’t it. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. If there is pain in the body, that happens sometimes here and there, do some Yoga Nidra, get massages done. Whatever can happen through some treatments, you do that. After that, don’t keep your mind on the pain, divert your mind, okay?

Q: Jai Gurudev Guruji, Indian higher education has moved away from Indian roots and has been captured by commercial educational barons. Doesn’t it need to be redeemed and if so how?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There could be many ways. You think. You all sit and brain storm what we can do, how we can change the education system. Education should have more compassion, not commerce. Of course it has to sustain, anything you make should have a self sustaining model but it should not be like a cash cow. That is what has happened now.

Q: Guruji, in day to day life spirituality does not always work; I have now come to understand this. I am not able to even ask people for money for the work I have done. Please give me a solution.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you are working then do your work giving your 100% and when you are doing charity do that also to your best. Charity in work and work in charity will create problems.

Q: Dear Guruji, I have already taken a mantra from a saint but now I am getting attracted to this path and to you. To be like you do is it necessary to take a mantra, if yes am I being dishonest to the first mantra that I have received?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, don't get so confused. You have served another saint and you have taken knowledge from him that is why you are here. He has made you progress. So just be grateful. Here you are doing kriya. Learn Sahaj Samadhi and in that you will get a mantra and continue to meditate. Even if the other mantra which you previously had comes to your mind while you are meditating no problem, it comes and goes, you just relax.

Q: If one member of the family is an Art of Living teacher, then will she be able to reform a husband who is an alcoholic? Please answer Guruji.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is very difficult. It is said ‘Ghar ki murgi dal barabar’. At home they already know you, even though you have become a teacher they won’t listen to you, you should not teach them. Take them to another teacher; they will listen to what another teacher says. If you teach them they will not receive it well, they will take it for granted. You should never teach your own family members. There are so many teachers. Take them to any teacher's class and you also learn with them.

Q: Guruji, I can understand being centered and doing sadhana and seva but when criticism and jealousy turns to harmful proportions, what should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be aware, be alert. Is it jealousy in you or in others? If it is in you wake up and see what are you jealous about, everything is going to finish one day. Know that everything is going to be gone, everything is going to finish, your jealousy will right away go down.
If it is others’ jealousy, don't recognize it, they will bear their cross.

Q: When my sister gets angry it disturbs the whole environment of the house. My parents get hurt and cannot correct her as it leads to fights and they want peace, what should we do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know it is very necessary to bring the knowledge to everybody, make everybody do the course. If you have done blessing course, give them blessings or have someone give them blessings and things will improve. Know that in your life things will always go forward. We need to have patience, yes.
There is so much strength in our sankalpa, we forget this. You have come here. Ask for what you want. You are getting what you want or not? How many of your works are getting done? See, so many people, their work gets done without asking. Have faith, with faith a lot can change.
But if you have a sankalpa in your mind that things will not change then it will take more time.

Q: Guruji, I see people dying in my dreams and sometimes it has come true. I fear the death of my loved ones, please help.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, don’t worry, this is all  illusory. Sometimes it can come true but it is not necessary that it always come true. Everyone has come at a certain time and will go at a certain time.

Q: What is Dharma? Is Hinduism or Islam dharma? If not then what is dharma. Between dharma and karma which is more important? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Dharma is that which keeps you on track, keeps you on the path. Dhriti (that which sustains), kshama (forgiveness), dama (piety or self- control), asteya (non-stealing), shaucha (cleanliness), indraiya-nigraha (control over the senses), dhi (intellect), vidya (knowledge or learning), satya (truthful) and akrodha (absence of anger). All these 10 rules are there of dharma, if you go on google you will know all the ten rules and what is dharma. Now knowledge is available at the press of one button on the computer.
What we don’t want others to do to us, not doing that to others, is dharma. Not treating others the way we would not like to be treated, that is dharma.
Now karma and dharma are very close, dharma is that which we have to do, which is our duty, which we hold on to. Karma is of two types, that which is for dharma and that which is against dharma. If you do karma which is against dharma that become adharma and karma which is for dharma is known as Sat Karma.

Q: I am very impulsive in nature. How to handle impulsiveness and emotional outbursts?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First don’t put a label in your head that I am emotional in nature. Every person has emotions. Who is not emotional? Everybody has some emotions. But if you label yourself as emotional by nature then you are giving a license to yourself not to be intelligent or you are giving a license to yourself to be weak. You can be emotional but you can't be emotionally weak. Wake up and see you are not weak, you are strong. You have to assume you are strong.
You have heard the story of Mullah Nasiruddin? Mullah Nasiruddin started thinking that he is dead. So walking here and there he kept saying I am a dead body, I am dead. If someone would ask him something he would say a dead body cannot talk, I am a dead body even though he was speaking. So his wife got very concerned, anything she would ask him he would say I am a dead body why are you asking me. So she took him to a psychologist, and the psychologist told him,' look you are not dead you are alive,' but he said,' no I am a dead body'. So the psychologist told him in a dead body there is no blood, there is water and he agreed. So the psychologist took a needle and pricked him and he started to bleed. Then the psychologist said see that means you are not a dead body, you are alive. Then Mullah says, ‘today I have found out that there is blood even in dead bodies’
So in this way whatever we believe our self to be, we become that. So we should not think ‘I am emotionally weak’. Who said you are emotionally weak? Wake up now and see that you are strong. Emotions are natural and it is very beautiful to have emotions. Otherwise you will become so dry. Even the elephant here has emotions. The birds, elephants, horses, cows and buffaloes, they all have emotions, even a dog has emotions and then how can you not have emotions. There are emotions in you as well but to think I am emotional, I am weak, this label which you have put on yourself needs to be taken off. You are fine with the emotions; there is no need to beat yourself up. You need to feel from inside that I am strong. If tears come sometime, there is nothing wrong in that. But don’t get too carried away with your emotions.

Q: My dear Guruji, I am devoted to you and after you I think I am devoted to chocolate. I love eating chocolate, everyone says it is not right, please tell me how do I stop loving it.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, if one day you are asked to eat a whole box full of chocolates, as much as you, and I tell you the same the next day, you will start nauseating, you will have trouble at least for a day or two. If you are ready to undergo that pain, one day sit and eat as much chocolate as you want, as you usually cannot eat. Do you see what I am saying? There is nothing wrong in liking chocolate but if you think it has become an obsession then do it for one day and see if you can get over the craving for chocolate.

Q: Guruji, masters have declared that enlightenment is here and now, this very moment. Then what is the role of techniques, yoga and meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: So that it becomes here and now really. Just reading a menu card your stomach does not get full. If fire is written on a paper it does not burn your hands. The difference between fire written on paper and fire in reality, this is the difference here, okay? You have intellectually understood that enlightenment is here and now but to experience it, it happens only in meditation. The techniques take the mind away from the cravings, aversions and all the obstructions that has come to be in the here and now.

Q: First time when a human being was born, the consciousness was pure. When and how did it become impure Guruji?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, during the course of time impressions started piling up on the consciousness. Consciousness never become totally impure, its only impressions which are on top of it and that goes away with meditation, seva, sadhana and satsang.

Q: In the wedding vows does the couple get to accumulate their past karmas or do they exchange it and carry it forward?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well all is possible.

Q: Guruji, how do I deal with people’s jealousy and greed that I may encounter on my spiritual path?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, don’t recognize it, if they are jealous, it is their problem. You, thinking about their jealousy, you get angry. So, they got jealous but you got angry. You feel disgusted because they got jealous. Don’t recognize it, that’s their problem, from your side you be hollow and empty.

Q: Guruji, after Sudarshan Kriya you chant some shlokas and it feels so good. What is the meaning of these shlokas?  
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: More than the meaning, feeling good is important. If you are feeling good then that is good enough.

Q: Guruji, in the past three years I have seen that every year your grace in my life increases. I fear whether this will continue to happen in the future. Does this grace come with a lifetime guarantee?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, definitely. With lifetimes guarantees, not lifetime guarantee.

Q: Guruji, what do you think of Anna Hazare’s  Lokpal bill or constitution?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: He is coming here to the Ashram in a few days. He will speak to you and you can ask what you want to ask.

The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation