The coming year is the year of bliss

Germany, 31 December 2011

According to the Vedic calendar this year is called ‘Nanda’ which means bliss. This is the year of bliss. Last year was the year of Certainty. The year before was of Chaos and Confusion. But now the coming year is the year of bliss and the year of happiness. So this year we must all resolve to spread more happiness in society.

If you see in life everything is geared towards happiness.
Entertainment is geared towards happiness. Politics is to bring happiness to people. Economy is to bring happiness, knowledge is to bring happiness. You take any subject or any avenue, all of it is geared to bring happiness. And somewhere our human society seems to forget this.
Instead of keeping the attention on the goal, we are lost in-between. We think the means itself is the goal. We think the road itself is home.
You are driving in the autobahn, on the highway and you forget that you have to go somewhere and you keep driving thinking this is home. That is what has been happening.
We think money is the goal, politics is the goal, entertainment is the goal; no! All this is only geared towards happiness. In fact happiness is unconditional. In spite of having this one can miss the goal or even not having these means one can still have the goal.
You can be happy come what may, that is spirituality.
Come what may, however everything is, topsy turvy or not, you can decide to be happy and you can be happy!
It is interesting to observe in the world today people are talking in terms of Gross National Happiness. It is not GDP but GDH: Gross Domestic Happiness.
I think they started talking in terms of this in England and then America and in Europe everywhere. Countries like Bangladesh and Bhutan which are very tiny, where they have very little resources have a higher GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) than those countries that have higher economic growth like Scandinavia, where there is very little happiness. What is the point? What is the matter and how do we look at it?
This is where we need to give a wakeup call to the world and tell them, ‘come on, wake up. Be happy!’
We need to bring a wave of spiritual awakening and a wave of human values. The lack of human values will reduce the human society into an animalistic world. Without values society cannot be called a human society. And it is not even fit to be called an animalistic kingdom because even animals live by some rules and they have some norms.
No lion will go for hunting if its basic instinct is satisfied; if it is not hungry. No animal in the planet pollutes the forests. For millions of years the forests exist but you will not find pollution in the forests. They keep everything clean.
It is the human society out of its greed and consumerism is spoiling the planet. Making it unfit for the coming generations. That is where this year is of significance. People will wake up to human values, spiritual values and ecological values, and as members of the Art of Living, you all have a major role to play. You are the pioneers and you have to create and spread this awareness in the society.

In the year 2011, we have seen many upheavals. All the suppressed societies woke up to the dictatorships, violence and selfishness of just a few people.
2011 has seen upheavals and revolutions in the Arab world.
We all hope this coming year will be a balm to heal the wounds of the people who are hurt. Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. So we all have this responsibility. We all have to wake up and mend and heal the broken hearts and give hope to the society.

The Art of Living has been having this vision of a society free from stress and violence for some time now. We are marching in that direction and our achievements are good.
We are proud of what we have achieved in the past years, both in the corporate sector and in general. We have been able to conduct many programs and bring solace to so many people and yet there is much more to be done. And so we will happily continue doing what we need to do.
Today already we did a very beautiful meditation for forty minutes; so still and enthralling meditation.
People from all over the world have joined in this meditation and I am sure this is going to bring a big change in the world.

Q: Guruji, it is very common to see good people suffer nowadays. Why people are not punished in the same birth when they commit sins and when they are aware of their sins?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See through my eyes. I do not see any bad people at all.
I only see the intelligent and the ignorant. The intelligent recognizes the truth earlier. The ignorant takes a little longer time and they suffer because of their ignorance, not because of their goodness. People are foolish that they don’t see the truth; the reality.

Q: Guruji, can you please talk about the quantum world.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The quantum world says that everything is just wave function.
Chemistry says there is a periodic table and there are so many different types of molecules.
Molecular biology says there are different molecules and different substances. But quantum says all these molecules are reduced into atoms; electrons, protons, neutrons. And then further down that molecule is all just wave function. So in the wave function there are no two things. It is all just one thing and that is what is quantum.
This is exactly what was said by Adi Shankara. He said the whole universe is Brahman.
‘Sarvam khalvidam brahma neha nanasti kinchana’, the whole universe is just made up of one thing.
It is nothing else, only Brahman.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today

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Collect back the scattered mind into its own identity

Germany, 29 December 2011

Q: Dear Guruji, can you please explain this sentence, ‘Only when you see that nothing has a purpose, the real purpose begins.’
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You say a sentence and you want me to comment on that? Why don’t you yourself comment? I would say we shouldn’t cling on to words, we give meaning to words. The essence is important. The essence is what? You feeling free and feeling the connectivity to the cosmos.

Q: Dear Guruji, you said at the Satsang yesterday that we need to soak the knowledge and wisdom into our soul. But in everyday life it can sometimes be confusing which knowledge point to apply to which situation. Please help me with this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just relax, they will all just pop up automatically on their own. Like how once you program the computer, the latest news from CNN pops up like a television channel on your i-pad. You open your i-pad and suddenly the latest news just pops up. In the same way, the knowledge will simply pop up in your consciousness, you simply have to relax.
There is no way to try and remember, and then apply at that moment. At that moment whatever comes to your memory that is what will be there. You can’t plan to get some memory at that particular time, memory is spontaneous.

Q: Intellectually I understand, conceptually I can visualize that all is one and one is all. But experientially I have had no luck yet. How can I improve my chances of experiencing all is one?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation, meditation and meditation.

Q: Guruji, when there is a lot of knowledge existing around us, then why are the five points of the basic course chosen as the main principles of The Art of Living? What is their specialty?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The main basic five principles are essential. They are like the foundation stone.
The first is to see that opposite values are complimentary, then the mind becomes settled and equanimity is established.
The second is to accept other people as they are because our mind is disturbed by not accepting others, or the situation.
So these principles bring the basic needed calmness and stability to the mind. Once the mind is stable, it is able to absorb more knowledge, and is able to rise high.
When the foundation is strong, you can build a hundred storey building on top of it. So for the higher knowledge you need the basics, and these basics relieve your mind from being stuck in the outer world and to come back to itself.
Our consciousness and our mind is stuck in these different avenues, small little thing, insignificant little things. So you have to retrieve all that back. Collect back the scattered mind into its own identity, to its own source. And to that effect, these points are very meaningful.

Q: Dear Guruji, is it possible for a soul to work through two or more bodies at the same time, by incarnating in more than one body simultaneously?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Usually not, but the possibility cannot be ruled out. The possibility is there in an enlightened being, or a very powerful soul can have a portion of its act in another body. But normally it is not possible.
Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today

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One day death is going to rob you of everything

Germany , 28 December 2011

Q: Dear Guruji, a lot of times I have hurt myself because of lack of knowledge. I have not improved much but at least I see what I have done. How do I stop torturing myself?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you know what you did in the past was not correct, then you already know what you should do. Spiritual path gives you the empowerment.
But if you say, ‘Oh! I can’t do that’, then you can’t do it.
If you put this thought, ’yes, I can!’, then you can.
I have heard people say, ’I can’t leave smoking.’ If you can’t leave smoking then nobody in the world can make you leave smoking. You should get up and say, ‘yes, I will leave smoking.’
Nature has kept that will power in every human being who can think and who can act. It is present in everybody. It is like you shutting your eyes and saying, ‘I can’t see, I can’t see.’
You first open your eyes!
You say, ‘I can’t open my eyes.’ If you can’t open your eyes or don’t open your eyes, how will you see?
If you say, ‘I am hungry but I won’t open my mouth.’ Nature has given you a mouth and it is hollow and empty, and nature has given you food. You have to connect these two things.
Food is in front of you and you say, ‘I won’t open my mouth.’ Even to say that you have to open your mouth.
So, the will power is in everyone. You have to say, ’Yes I can do it; I am going to do it.’
If you are in the bad habit of smoking say, ‘Yes, I am going to leave it. I can do it.’ Because that one thought, ’I can’t leave smoking’, is giving you power to keep smoking.

Q: Dear Guruji, I feel surprised when I see some people go back to fighting and blaming each other after coming out from an advanced course session. Why does it happen? Why does the message not go beyond, even after a course sometimes?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now see, a long habit of fighting, and enjoying the fighting, takes a longer time to go.
There are a small percentage of people whose behavior cannot be changed overnight, or cannot be changed even in weeks or months. It would take them a while provided they also have the willingness to change.
So, don’t judge people, ‘Oh! They came and did the silence program, they did the advanced course and still they have not changed!’ This is impossible, definitely they have changed, but it may not have come totally in their expressions.
Ask them how they feel; ’before you used to fight and now also you fight. Do you find a qualitative difference?’ You will find the answer in the affirmative. They will say, ‘Yes! Before I used to fight and the anger, the impression used to linger on in me. Now, I fight and I forget. I move on.’
This many people have said. This gives you a chance to accept people as they are, before or after.

Q: Dear Guruji, this question has two parts. The first part is: what is the connection between mind and soul? Is mind just a collection of thoughts?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Correct. You said it right.

Q: Where do thoughts arise from in the first place?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is for you to discover. It is an individual discovery.
It is like asking me how the food tastes.
If you ask someone, ‘how sweet is this dish?’, you have to taste it.
So, if you want to know where the thoughts arise, you better discover it. Thoughts are arising in you? So, you can discover it. The very process of discovery is a technique to understand another level of existence.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today

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Yoga and meditation are ways to avoid suffering

Germany, 27 December 2011

Q: Guruji, each time I am about to ask you a question, automatically the answer comes, is it true or is it just my imagination?Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If the answer is correct then it is true and it saves me a lot of work.

Q: Dear Guruji, how can I control the drives that are from the ego when they are impulsive and often lead to regret?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By experience!
When do you drop your ego? When it is painful. When you have had enough pain then you say enough is enough, and then you simply drop it.
Either through wisdom or through pain you get over the smallness.
If you have wisdom and a broader vision then no need to go through pain. But if there is lack of wisdom then pain and suffering will take care of it and it will take you out of it.

Q: Dear Guruji, I know that my parents love me but are not very affectionate. They do not express their affection the way I like it to be shown. How can I feel with these feelings and not be bothered by their actions?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t give it too much importance. Move on!
In life these events happen, such occasions come. Such negativity comes, pleasantness comes; so what! None of them will stay forever, they come for a minute and they go.
As I said, wisdom or yoga is a way to avoid suffering, avoid fear and avoid unpleasantness.
When this is lacking then you see suffering. That is why in Christianity they say suffering is essential because through suffering you reach the goal. When you suffer then you understand and you learn a lesson.

In the East they say suffering is avoidable and not necessary. Life is bliss!
You know why? This is because wisdom, yoga and meditation are ways to avoid suffering which has not yet come.
So suffering is not inevitable if you know yoga and meditation.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today

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Meditation purifies the soul

Germany, 26 December 2011

Do you want to see God? How many of you want to see God? It doesn’t take much time. Stop seeing the world. If you see the world, you can’t see God.

Either you can see God or you can see the world. You can’t see both. You have to choose one.
If you want to see God, I’ll show you right away: Stop seeing the differences. Stop seeing the world.

Quantum physics can see God. Know that this all is one, that everything is made up of One.
It is an illusion that there is this person and that person. It is an illusion that there is this object and that object. All objects are made up of One.
We are like in a hologram. One light beam makes the hologram. It appears to be an object but it is not an object, it is just light’s play and display.
This whole universe is a play and display of light which appears to be different. There is nothing but God on this planet.
If you sit in a movie show, whatever you see on the screen is just light passing through, that’s all.
Light is passing through a running film and appears to be different things, different people and different incidents. Like this, the whole world is a play and display of one consciousness. There is no matter and there is no energy. There is no you, there is no me, there is no this, there is no that. It is all just One.

That is it! You sit still.
In the Bible it says, ’Be still and know that I am God.’
It is the mind that sees the differences. The intellect perceives the differences. Transcend the intellect and be still. There is only one thing.
You can’t say One, because to say One, you need to have two. If you say something is complete, then you have to be outside of it and say it is complete. The ancient people were so brilliant that you would be amazed. They said, non-dual, there is no two.
To say One is wrong. Only two can say it is One. That there is no two is the best way to express it. That is what is called advaita (non-dual) but dvaita means dual.
This is like the pure science, like the quantum physics. You can experience, you can know it, but in practical life, you have to come one step down.
You have to acknowledge the duality, the multiplicity in the creation.
The table, chair, roof, door, is all made up of wood here and that is a fact. But you can’t use the chair for a door and a door for a chair.

From that level, you have to operate in duality.
So the Periodic Table in chemistry is also true and Quantum physics is also true. Both talk about the same matter.
Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today

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Yoga is that perfect balance between heart and head

Germany, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everybody.

2012 is just a weak ahead. It is a very good year, like every year.
Don’t worry about doomsday; it is not going to come. People will wake up to truth and reality and all the false people will go to the background.
People who have done wrong things will slide backwards and those in the right direction will move forward.
From March onwards a big change will come.

If you see the world through your heart, it is very different.
See the world through your heart and then you will find that there is so much beauty, so much love, so much innocence and such good intentions in people.
If we see the same world through the head then we find a lot of cunningness, a lot of mistrust and doubts. All These come when you see the world through the head.
When you see through the heart, it is a little world.

But both are needed. You can’t be naïve and see the world only through the glasses of the heart. Sometimes you need to see through the head, a perfect balance of the two.
There are some who are stuck in their head and some who are always in an emotional mess. Both are incomplete. Yoga is that perfect balance between heart and head.

We must all think how we can bring more spirituality to the Europe. We will do everything possible to bring spirituality to Europe.
130 members of Parliament learnt the Art of Living course in Mexico. A lot of work is happening everywhere.

Q: What to do when people do the course and then do not come for the follow-up?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They come back sometime or the other.
See when you have eaten a full mean you don’t think about food again because you feel so satisfied. But when you get hungry again then you come and look for food.
The basic course itself is so complete and so enriching, it doesn’t leave one hanging in the middle but it gives total fulfillment. So when people do the course then they are happy. This is one reason.

What Sri Sri Said Today
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Innocence with Intelligence is the right formula

Mumbai, 24 December 2011

The whole world is one family, so it is necessary that we live with naturalness and simplicity; only then life blossoms.
The second thing is, the wall that we erect between ourselves and others needs to be demolished. Drop all inhibitions between you and others. From your side you drop inhibitions. Go on and shake hands. This is what kids do. However, as we grow up, we tend to lose that. We create a wall between us.
We bring formalities between us and forget our naturalness.

However, in Mumbai that spirit is there, the sense of belongingness!

All those who are grown up physically, but want to be a child again, or think you are one, just go for it! Don't worry about what others think about you. If the world calls us crazy, let them say, but you be happy. Be in the present and be natural.
What is most important in the world is innocence along with intelligence. The innocence of an ignorant person has no value. Similarly the crookedness of an intelligent person has no value. What is most valuable is innocence and intelligence. Innocence and intelligence should go together.

We need to bring these things in the society.
In children there is innocence, naturalness, and ease. Together with that, intelligence should be sharpened, and our education system should be this way.
This is what I call spirituality - that which keeps the spirit uplifted. Not that spirit which one takes and experiences a temporary high! The inner spirit - keeping your spirit alive with enthusiasm, with innocence, with naturalness - this is spirituality.

Tomorrow is Christmas. In the Bible, Jesus said, 'Unless you become like a child, you cannot get into the kingdom of heaven.'
In Hindi, they say 'Bhole bhaav mile raghurayi' - one who lacks innocence can never find Ram.
So, maintain your innocence.
How to maintain innocence? Know that God is One for everyone and be natural with everyone.

Inside everyone there is a power.
Parama atma means what - that which is present everywhere; that which is omnipresent. So, will it not be present within us? If it is not present within me, it is not Parama atma.
And if it is forever, then it exists in the present also. It is not that it was present previously and will appear again in the future.
Parama atma is always there, and therefore is here right this very moment.
Resting with this knowledge is meditation - Parama atma is here, in the present, within me.
If you rest with this thought, all the restlessness in the mind will quiet down.
Once the mind is silenced, Boom! A radiance will be experienced.
This is what everyone had been in search of. For how many lifetimes we had been in search of this, and then one realizes, 'I am THAT!' Aham brahmasmi. 'Tat tvam asi' - 'You are THAT which you are in search of.'

If you close your eyes and rest and meditate a little bit in the knowledge of 'You are THAT', as you go deep, you will also realize, 'I am THAT.'
Once you experience this, all your work will get done effortlessly!

So, meditation is a very big gift to us.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
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Don’t speak sweet lies and unpleasant truth

Bangalore, 23 December 2011

Remember these three aspects - naturalness, simplicity and belongingness.
I have travelled to so many countries and met thousands of people but I have never felt that anyone is a stranger and does not belong to me.
When we do not feel that someone is a stranger then they too will not look at us as a stanger.
When will someone feel the belongingness? When we feel belongingness with them. Everyone is our own and no one is a stranger - this is the first mantra.

Second, whatever is inside is also outside. Just open up your heart and be natural.

Next is living a simple life. Living with the confidence that we will anyway get whatever is needed, that is simplicity. Right or wrong, I am what I am.
If we live like this, naturally, then there will not be any fear. Then there will be no doubts or blocks in life. This is the important mantra of Art of Living.

Now this does not mean that because you are natural and simple, you go to your office and tell your boss, 'you are stupid'. Don't do that! Use your brains a little.
‘Guruji says be sincere and natural’; so you go to a funeral, and say, 'I don't feel anything. Why are you crying, let us celebrate!'

I heard one gentleman went home after completing his Advanced Course, lifted his wife in his arms and happily went around the house. The wife asked, 'what happened today? Has Guruji said love your wife?’ Then this gentleman said, ‘no, no, Guruji said, carry your burden and botheration joyfully.'

Q: Dear Guruji, what is your message for the New Year? What should all the sadhaks focus on for the coming year?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A better world!
Our service should be focused on a better world and a better society.
And in personal life, have a strong conviction and faith that all is well and good is going to happen.
According to the Vedic calendar, you much have heard that this is the last year of the Mayan calendar and Doomsday is going to come. There are many movies about the World coming to an end. I am telling you nothing is going to happen and the world will continue.
According to Vedic Calendar, from March 2012, this year is called ‘Nanda’.
‘Nanda’ means happiness; the year of happiness.
First comes happiness and the year that follows is called Victory.
You will be happy and victorious, so do not worry.
Resolve to do some good work in society and spread knowledge. You will see by end of next year more and more people will turn to spirituality.
All those engaged in terrorism will be cornered and people who are in violence, their strength will be reduced. It will happen and you are a part of that happening.

Read more at What Sri Sri Today
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The Divine loves you dearly

Yelahanka, 22 December 2011

What is the Art of Living? It is understanding the truth in life. And what is the truth? Life is full of opposite values, highs and lows. Keep the mind steady in spite of ups and downs in life. During challenging times, have an attitude of sacrifice, face it, be with the knowledge that this will also change. During good times, have an attitude of service and serve everyone to your best capacity. This is the first point.

Accept people as they are. We expect people to be like ourselves. Have you found anybody just like yourself? If you find such people, you cannot spend even five minutes with them. You will want to run away. So, however a person is, accept them. This is the second point.

Another very important point in life is not to let your mind become a football of others opinions. We always think: ‘What will this person think about me? What will that person say about me?’

The truth is that nobody has the time to think about you. Everybody is lost in their own world. You worry unnecessarily about what other people will think about you. Give people the freedom to think whatever they want about you. Opinions keep changing. This is the third point.

If someone does a mistake, don't think they have done it intentionally. Similar to how you make mistakes, know that they made a mistake as well and move on. This is the fourth point.

The fifth point is to live in the present moment. If you hold on to the past, neither can you be happy nor can you make others happy. Live like a child, in the present moment.

Our life must be without blemish. How is that possible? It is possible through devotion towards the Divine.

When you get up in the morning, look at your palms and say, ’let nothing bad happen through my hands. Let my hands be full and have the capacity to share with others too.’

This is an ancient tradition in our country.
When we get up, we look at our palms and say, ‘let Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) reside in my hands. Let me bring wealth through these hands.’
One hand of Lakshmi is facing down, which denotes giving. The other hand denotes Abhaya Hasta, i.e., assurance that the Divine is with us and we do not need to be afraid.
We also pray that our hands help us in gaining knowledge.
Lastly, we pray that only auspicious work happens through our hands.

This is a prayer which we do every morning as soon as we wake up will come true if it comes out of your heart. Even if it doesn't happen sometimes, we still pray to the Divine to take care of us and ensure that it doesn't happen in future.
Dropping the past is the true offering.
The Divine does not want any gift from you. The Divine only wants your worries.
The prasad you get is pleasantness of mind. The Divine loves you 100 times more than your parents. I have come here only to tell you that the Divine loves you dearly.
Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
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We must always aim to attain the Divine

Bangalore, 21 December 2011

Two teachers have come here from Manipur. They have done a lot of work and have reformed 500 terrorists.
Bangalore has grown so much that it takes a few hours to travel from one end of the city to the other. Many people spend a lot of time traveling from far off places in the city to the ashram. I felt that it would help many people if we have satsangs at various parts of the city. There is a rule in our satsangs. You can bring your worries here, but you cannot take them back with you. Drop all your small personal worries. Instead, worry about the country.

There is a law in nature: If you take up a big responsibility, all your needs will be taken care of by themselves. If you constantly keep thinking about your own personal issues, you will go nowhere.

There is a verse in Sanskrit which says that there is no joy in anything that is small. Joy is always in something that is big. Life always flows in search of joy and the highest joy is in the Divine. We must always aim to attain the Divine. If you aim for the highest, your smaller desires will come to you anyway. If there is thirst you will get water. If there is no thirst one would not bother about water. Similarly, there should be a thirst within us to attain the Divine, to know the highest truth, to know what life is, to know who we are. When you come to the Guru, you need to give something. You don't have to bring me flowers, garlands and shawls. Give me all your worries. If you go back happily then that is my Guru Dakshina.

I don't just give sweets, fruits and flowers as prasad. I give you a pleasant state of mind as prasad. If people are stuck with their own worries, they cannot do anything for the society. There is a saying in Kannada: ‘Holding butter in your hand and lamenting that you do not have Ghee (Clarified butter)’. This is what we are doing in life. There is tremendous Sankalp Shakti (power of positive intentions) in our mind. However, we have not looked at this at all. We have never thought of spending a short while in meditation. We keep on crying all our lives. When I was about 10 years old, the Governor had invited my father for a ceremony at his house. My father told me to accompany him. However, I said, ‘if he invites me, I'll come’.
I wanted to avoid going there. My father went there alone.
After 4 years, the same Governor invited me. Someone had told him that there is a young boy who teaches meditation very well. My father was very surprised at this.

The reason why I am giving you this example is because I wanted to tell all the youths to have a big dream and see life from a broad perspective.
Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
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The highest flowering in life is being in love

Bangalore, 20 December 2011

Q: Guruji, I am a psychologist. I want to know how can spirituality add to my knowledge and make it more holistic.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation can turn around many psychiatric problems.
Study consciousness more deeply. Study the Bhagawad Gita, study Yoga Vasishta and then you will understand more about what consciousness is.
Read the teaching of Lord Buddha and Mahavir. They have spoken about the different aspects of consciousness and the different modules of consciousness. That will also help.

Q: Guruji, I understand that I am God but I do not experience it. Why is it so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Unless you have experienced it, you cannot understand it.
You simply have heard someone say it.
But that is okay. Keep it at the back of your mind and just live simply and naturally. Know that the highest flowering in life is being in love and acting through love.
You may not feel love all the time and everywhere. Many times we try to feel love as an emotion. Love is not an emotion, it is our very existence.
So, ‘God is love’ should not be taken as being more emotional.
You have just heard somebody saying you are God, okay let it be! Just go through your experience. You are nobody, you are an expanded awareness; know that much.
First understand what you are not then what you are comes to you spontaneously.

Q: What should I do as a believer when people criticize my Guru, my religious book or my belief?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just give a big smile.
Tell them you smile at their ignorance. That one comment does more work than getting angry at them.
If someone says something against what you hold dear, say 'I pity your ignorance.' That is all. What can you do? You can’t change someone's wrong thinking by force. They won't take it.
In those situations, sarcasm is the best way to handle it. Your sarcasm goes like an arrow into their mind and breaks the barrier which they might have created for themselves.
Tell them, ‘I feel sorry for your ignorance’ and that is good enough.

See, now there is an attempt to ban Bhagavad Gita in Russia.
I said this is injustice done to the people of Russia. We are anyway reaping the benefit of Bhagavad Gita. But the people of Russia being denied of Bhagavad Gita is an unpardonable injustice done to them by their own people. We don’t lose anything but they are at loss.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today

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Bury the past and move on!

Bangalore, 19 December 2011

Q: Guruji, I always have confusion between ‘Dvaita’ philosophy and ‘Advaita’ philosophy. Madhvacharya has spoken about ‘Dvaita’ and Adi Shankaracharya has spoken about ‘Advaita’. Please explain both.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Advaita’ is like quantum physics and ‘Dvaita’ is like chemistry.
In chemistry you say there are these many isotopes or you refer a periodic table where they categorize all the different elements.
But if you go to a quantum physicist, he will say, ‘it is all just wave function’.
A periodic table does not exist for a quantum physicist. He says everything is only atoms; wave functions.
Both are right. Chemistry has its utility and physics has its reality.
It is really brilliant what Adi Shankara has said and it is equally very interesting what Madhvacharya has said.
He said, ‘everything exists at their different levels and at that level it is good.’
On a practical note, Madhvacharya emphasised on love and devotion. For love you need two and in devotion you need someone to surrender to; a higher power to surrender to.
So this is a practical thing that Madhvacharya said, ‘surrender all your troubles and difficulties’.
Adi Shankara said, ‘hey! Just wake up and see it is all nothing’.
That is what Lord Buddha also said.

Q: Guruji, in the Bhagavad Gita there is a phrase, ‘sarvarambha-parityagi yo mad-bhaktah sa me priyah’ - one who renounces all beginnings and is not striving for some result is a devotee.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘I am beginning something’, drop this.
‘Everything is happening through me’, one who realized this is a devotee (bhakta).
A devotee understands that, ‘I am not doing anything, but through me it is being done.’
One who is in this witness consciousness is a devotee and this devotee is dear to me.

Q: Guruji, I get deeply troubled when I look at an elderly person's body. I realize that aging is inevitable, but it bothers me all the same. What can I do about it?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When the beauty inside blossoms, the older you get, the more beautiful you look.
Sacrifice, love and service, these three things should be present in life.
Look at Mahatma Gandhi, did he not become more attractive as he grew older. His smile was so nice and he had beauty even in his old age. So beauty is reflected from within, it is not an outer phenomenon.

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To experience the Divine you have to withdraw your mind

Bangalore, 18 December 2011

If you see the world, you will not be able to see the Divine. If you want to experience the Divine, you have to withdraw your mind.
What does the world mean? Limited identifications, limited understanding about life and judging people based on external behavior. We fail to see the ‘self’ within the person.
For example, there are several colorful lights here. If you just see the lights, will you be able to see the electricity that flows through all these lights? Similarly, if you just see the external behavior of people, you will not be able to see that it is the same consciousness in everyone. So, if you want to experience Divinity, you have to turn your mind away from the external world. By turning the mind away, it doesn't mean that you have to run away and live in a forest.
Turn your mind inwards for a short while. You have to come out of the chaos and conflicts that are clogging your mind. This process is called meditation.
Just for a short while, feel that the past, present and future is a dream.
When you know that everything is changing, you will be able to get a glimpse of something that is not changing. Just as you feel fresh after a good sleep, spending a short while in mediation will bring energy and enthusiasm to your life. Worries will disappear.

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Pooja means creating an atmosphere of Divinity and reposing in it

Bangalore, 17 December 2011

Q: Guruji, the waves in the sea goes up and then goes down. But you have said mind goes deep within and then dissolves. So, how do we take the mind deeper?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Stop trying.
When you think, I want to do this and I want to do that then you cannot let go of doing something. That is when the mind stays in the surface. When you have the ability to just let go, the mind sinks to the depth.

Q: Guruji, last two days in the TRM I have heard so much knowledge from you. How do I retain this so that when the right time comes, I can apply it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I tell you do not doubt yourself.
This is self-doubt, ‘I heard, but will this become practical, will this happen in life or not’, this doubt you should not have.
Like you learned in nursery school, 2 + 2 = 4, once you learn it, then it stays with you. When you have to count, you say, ‘2 + 2 = 4’, it has already come to application. You don’t need to try to apply it in life. Application is spontaneous.
So when you know, ‘accept people as they are’ or ‘present moment is inevitable’, whenever you are disturbed, automatically this knowledge comes up.
‘Oh, present moment is inevitable. Anyway, what can we do? It’s past. It’s gone.’
This knowledge comes to you automatically, as if you are programmed.
Listening to knowledge means getting programmed. Once you are programmed, it comes whenever and wherever it is needed spontaneously.
Now, ‘I need to apply this knowledge in life’, this thinking is a big struggle. It is a big strain on your mind. You think it is not there.

‘I want to feed this information in the computer’. When you say, ‘I want to feed this information’, that means it is not there.
I tell you, the moment you listen to the knowledge once; it is already feeding in the computer, in the mind which is the super computer. You have already fed it. So, it comes to your help spontaneously, automatically. Don’t worry about applying the knowledge and leaving the knowledge.
As long as you spend a little time refreshing it, turning the pages of the knowledge books or everyday listening to ten minutes of knowledge, then the application is spontaneous.
But if you have not listened to knowledge for a long time, you are completely out of touch then you will forget. Only thing is, if you remember, application is spontaneous, automatic, and immediate. And if you have forgotten it then somebody has to remind you and for that you have to come to Satsang, come for TRM, or to the course and again refurbish the knowledge, refresh your memory.

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Though truth is one there are many paths and all the paths are correct

Bangalore, 16 December 2011

Keep all other concepts on one side and just look into your own life; what have you learnt in your life? What are your experiences?

Look at all that you thought as truth that later turned to be not true.
What are the experiences which meant something at that time but after sometime meant nothing?
Observe how your judgements were all just bubbles on the surface of water; they had no facts, they had no stance. You had judgements and you thought that is how it is and later on you thought, ‘oh! It was just my judgement but not the way things really are.’
So your vision broadens, sharpens and heightens.
That which broadens your vision, sharpens your vision, heightens vision is ‘Swadhyay’.
Swa means oneself, studying one's own Self. Throwing light on your own ‘self’, examining your ‘self’, this is essential. By this introspection you blossom and that inner being is unlocked. Then one begins to understand everything - there is one light, which is within me.
Then you find the way and truth dawns and then you recognize that which is in all the Holy Scriptures.
Otherwise just by-hearting the Holy Scriptures and saying it like a parrot has no value. It has to become alive in our life and for that Swadhyay is essential.
Throw light on your own mind, on your own intellect, on your own life and the events of your own life, this is very important.
You will be amazed by just throwing light on events of your life what happens.
How you were, what concepts you had, how limited your thinking was and now how vast it has become. How your behaviours were and how your behaviours have changed. How your sense of belongingness was and how it has changed now.

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Let the divinity dawn in my mind and my intellect

Bangalore, 15 December 2011

Q: Guruji, in the earlier days it was a big thing to initiate someone into Gayatri Mantra. Today, you’ll find it playing everywhere.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you take the mantra in a ceremony as an initiation, like you take Sahaj mantra then you keep it a secret.
‘Om Namah Shivaya’ when it is sung in the satsang like music then it has different value. But when it is initiated as a mantra for you which is sacred, then you keep it a secret.
So that is the attitude with it today.

Secret and sacred went together in India from time immemorial. Anything that is kept secret is considered a sacred thing, contrary to the occident. In the West, anything that you need to be ashamed of was always kept secret.
In India, you will always keep your weaknesses out in the open. Anything you feel sorry for, you will keep it open infront of your parents, or Guru or your friend. Untruth was never kept a secret but was kept open.
So secret is always something that is sacred and respecting the secretness is considered a very big virtue.
In the west sacred was never kept a secret. Anything you need to be ashamed of in your life was always kept secret. If you are keeping a secret, that means you are hiding something, you are away from truth. But here in India, you are close to the truth when you keep something secret. These are two very different attitude towards secrecy.

In the west, secrecy is deceitful, trecherous, untruth, cunning and dishonest. These are the attributes that are conjoined with secrecy.
In India, anything that is secret is reverent, is holy, is personal, is intimate, is uplifting, is love and is connecting to the infinity, to the divinity. These are the attributes joined to secrecy here. That is why mantras are given as a secret.

When Gayatri Mantra is given, they take a blanket and cover the parent’s, the child’s and the teacher’s head and then the child will be given the mantra secretly in his right ear.
And the mantra is: Let the infinity, let the divinity dawn in my mind and my intellect
This is how the mantras are given in a very secret manner.
In those days especially Gayatri Mantra was not given to people for one reason: because it is very powerful. People would think, it is a very powerful thing and if everybody becomes powerful then the ruling kings would become weak.
Also, they tried to avoid giving it to women. It was a male dominated society and men were scared that if women practiced the Gayatri mantra they would attain enlightenment. Women tend to attain perfection sooner.
They thought, 'as it is there is trouble at home; if she curses me, I shall lose everything.'
This is wrong. That was not there originally.
Out of fear men took away the technique of mantra chanting from women. But nowadays, women are awakened and aware.
Mantras can be chanted by everyone. Some thousands of years back this ‘males only’ tradition started in India, previous to that it was not there. Men and women had equal rights. Sometime along the way, the priests, kings and ministers, in collusion, decided that only men should chant mantras. That is now a thing of the past.
So when you are given the Sahaj mantra, keep it a secret, but you can chant the other mantras aloud. There is no harm in chanting mantras aloud.

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Your questions will be answered even before you ask!

Bangalore, 14 December 2011

It is said in the Upanishads, ‘Ma grudha kasyasvid dhanam’

There are two tendencies that are within us, one of taking and the other of giving.
What is worth noting is which value system we are imbibing in our children.
If they are hesitant to take or ask, then that is a sign of good values. But if they are hesitant to give then there is something wrong there.
It is a good sign when people feel hesitation to put their hand out to take. But if people hesitate to extend their hands out to help then we need to change the direction of society.
Every person feels some hesitation to take from somebody or the other, especially if they have to take from relatives. When it comes to relatives, one would want to give more than take and this is a tendency that is naturally present in children.
If the child is sattvic he always makes an effort to share his belongings with everyone. But if the child is rajasic then he tries to take things from everyone.

We have been raised with these values of giving and sharing. When it would come to asking for anything, there was so much hesitation. Even to ask my father there was so much hesitation. I never asked him for anything. Yes, that is extreme.
We have got to imbibe the value of giving and sharing in children; happiness in giving and sharing and hesitation to take. They should feel hesitation to put their hands out and ask.
There are people who have enough yet they keep asking for more. This is very strange.

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You are complete!

Bangalore, 13 December 2011

There are two basic instincts in human beings, one is food, the other is sex. These you have been doing in all the lifetimes, when you were an animal and now as a human being. You are born out of these two - food and sex.

It is so beautiful that in this country (India) they connected both these with Divinity. Food is connected with God. In the Upanishads, it is said ‘Food is God’. When you consider food as God you will not over eat. You don’t simply stuff food but you eat food with so much honour. No festival in India goes without food. And when you go to temple the first thing they give is some Prasad. Prasad is just a little bit of food that is given. Without Prasad there is no pilgrimage, no festival. Food is connected with God.

Similarly, sex is also connected with God. Otherwise you keep sex separate and think this is my material life and think of God as different. But here the ancient people, they linked that to God so that no aspect in you remains away from God. A basic instinct doesn’t remain away from God. That is why they put Radha Krishna and Shiva Parvathi. Shiv Ling is a symbol of that. So when you honour sex and consider it as part of Divinity, then your obsession disappears, lust disappears and sacredness dawns.

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A disciple should be hollow and empty

Bangalore, 12 December 2011

Q: When I was doing meditation I could feel that my mind was dissolving. I am not sure where does this mind come from?

 Sri Ravi Shankar: This mind is my enemy and this mind is also my friend.
If the mind listens to me it is my friend and when it goes all over the place it is my enemy. So, there is no bigger enemy in this world than your own mind.

Q: It is said that after Mahabharata war India’s downfall started as we lost a lot of talented people and scholars during that war. What is your opinion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Of course with every war there is a destruction of talents, resources, human beings and values. But it is incorrect to say that India did not have greater talents after that.
Many others came much after Mahabharata, Chanakya, Shankaracharya, Gaudapadacharya, Suka Maharishi.
So this is not absolute truth but the partial truth.

Q: Krishna has said in the Bhagavad Gita that neither he likes anybody nor does he dislike anybody. On the other hand he says some people are very dear to me. Can you please explain this duality?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is Krishna’s specialty, to speak all the opposites and create confusion.
At different levels of existence and for different incidences he says these statements and both are true.
On one level he says people who are calm, compassionate, happy and loving, I like them the most. So, you are most dear to me - this is true.
Another time he says, don’t take me for granted, I have no likes and dislikes. Everyone is dear to me and I see myself in everyone.
The Bhagavad Gita is the most contradictory book you will ever read and it is the complete truth because it is so contradictory.

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Remember that you are innocent in the present moment

Bangalore, 11 December 2011

Q. When we are on the path of knowledge, how do we define the limits of fulfillment?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Wherever the mind can go, that is its jurisdiction. When a desire gets fulfilled, the mind goes away from it.
For example, if you want an umbrella, that is the area of desire. Once you get the umbrella, why would you think about the umbrella? Till you get the umbrella, the mind looks for it. Once you get what you desire, the mind moves away from it. This is a natural tendency of the mind. The mind thus keeps wandering from one desire to another.
In the path of knowledge, whatever is needed for us will come by itself.

Q. We say that Guru is a Garbage Collector. We give our thoughts, emotions and worries to you. What do you do with it? How are you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is not that Guru is actually a garbage collector. A Guru removes garbage, i.e., ignorance. Now, why are you bothered with how I handle the garbage? Just give it to me and be happy. I know how to process them! How do I appear to you? Fine, isn't it!

Q. Would you consider becoming an advisor of the government if they were more forthcoming?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, all of you should work together to ensure that such a government is formed. I keep giving advice, but some people don't listen to it immediately, they listen to it later. That's also good.

Q. What is the meaning of the rising sun and two swans in the logo of the Art of Living?

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Every beautiful thing should remind you of the divinity

Bangalore, 10 December 2011

Q: Guruji, this earthly existence is but a dream. Then how will performing meditation, sadhana and satsang in a dream facilitate the process of awakening from this dream?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are sleeping and in your dream a snake comes and bites you and you wake up screaming!
So, there are a few things even in a dream that can become the reason for you waking up from the dream.
That is why it is said, 'neki kar aur kuye mein daal' - do good deeds and forget about them as though they are also a part of the dream. When you drop those deeds and meditate, then you will awaken.
There are two aspects of sadhana: Nishreya and Abhyudaya.
One is awakening and the other is comfort.
Sadhana brings that comfort which one longs for and freedom is attained by it. We awaken from the dream and come out of it. So both these aspects of sadhana: comfort and freedom.

Q: Guruji, please tell us about 'purusharth'. Is it just our effort, such as the sadhana, seva and satsang that we do or is it something else?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Purusharth means attaining these four things: dharma, artha, kaam and moksha. Dharma is doing one's duty; kaam is fulfilling one's desires; artha is generation of wealth; and moksha is achieving freedom from all these. All four are essential.
This is what purusharth is.

Q: Guruji, it is said that the intellect, memory and ego are changing spontaneously. Everything is undergoing spontaneous change and we are nowhere in this picture. So who is to be liberated, and who is bound?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, all these are changing, but who is realizing that all these are changing? It is the soul, who is a witness.
When one identifies with these aspects they become bound. But once you realize that everything keeps changing around me, but I am not changing - 'I am not this, I am the witness of this' - then liberation is achieved.

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Krishna means ‘The Most Attractive’

Bangalore, 9 December 2011

Q: Dear Guruji, I want to know why do we have to get moksha?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is a natural tendency of every human being to be free. Freedom is not luxury, it is a necessity. Not just human being even animals want freedom.
Babies want freedom. If you tie a scarf on the neck of a baby it just wants to remove it. You put a chain on a baby’s neck and the baby wants to pull it out.
It is the adults who put jewelry around their neck but children want freedom, they don’t want any restriction that is why they throw their hands up and down; free!
Wanting freedom is innate to human beings as well as animals. Every life wants freedom and moksha is nothing but freedom.
You take a deep breath in and you can’t hold it there, you want breathe out. Only when you breathe out there is freedom. When you breathe out you want to take a breath in and that is freedom.
Freedom is a natural desire in every human being but when the mind get so muddled up in unnecessary day to day things, it forgets that it wants freedom. It is as good as someone who wants to sleep but has forgotten how to sleep.
So every life or human being craves for freedom. It is impossible to not want freedom.
Freedom is not running away from situations and circumstance. Sometimes the situation is stifling or unpleasant and we run away from it and think this is what is freedom, but that is not so.

Freedom means being unphased by circumstances, situations and the people around you; freedom from your own emotional garbage; freedom from the jungle of your thoughts that bother you; freedom from all the entanglement that you harbor in your head and freedom from fear and anxiety.
Anything that stifles you makes you small and you want to be free from that. 
Freedom (mukti) comes first and then bhakti. Only when you are free does love well up in you and bhakti comes.
If you think you are bonded labor you cannot be grateful.
If someone has brought you freedom you feel grateful, ‘oh I am so free. I feel happy!’
Only one who is happy and one who is centered can have gratitude or be in the space of love.
Now, is love not bonding? This is the next question.

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Observation brings wisdom and you need sensitivity to observe

Bangalore, 8 December 2011

Q: The meaning of ‘Aasakti’ is interest, inclination or intention, while ‘Nirasakti’ means the absence of interest or inclination. How to perform an action when there is an absence of interest or inclination to do that action?Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now I will ask you a question. You bathe in the morning. Do you bathe with a lot of interest? Do you brush your teeth with a lot of interest? No, you don’t.
Just because you have to do it, you do it! It’s natural and effortless.
Anything that is natural does not require effort.
Like when you smiling naturally that smile in effortless, but if you are asked to smile then that become a difficult task.
Doing an action that requires effort is ‘Aasakti.’ However doing a work that comes naturally and gives you inner peace is done in ‘Nirasakti.’
Let me give you an example: If you ask the women here to prepare food, they would be able to prepare it without much effort. However if the same task is handed to a man, he will flip through the pages of a recipe book again and again to prepare the same food. He will keep tasting the food to check the balance of spices.
So wherever effort is applied, the job is done with ‘Aasakti’, and this leads to feverishness.
You being feverish about going to Mysore is ‘Aasakti’; effortlessly driving your car to Mysore is ‘Nirasakti’.
‘Nirasakti’ is not disinterestedness or depression; it is just an effortless attitude.

Q: Please tell us about Sanjay. This is because Sanjay had the opportunity to meet Lord Krishna even before Arjuna. Please also tell us about his far-sightedness.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
: You must have experienced having a gut feeling where something deep inside tells you, I should do this or this is going to happen.

When such an intuitive ability gets enhanced in you then suddenly at one point of time the inner eye can feel and gather information and you understand what will happen in the future.
Initially it will come as glimpses.

Everybody has this ability. At some point of time everyone has little glimpses of what has happened or what is going to happen without perceiving it through the five senses or intellect. This is when the sixth sense dawns.
Sanjay was gifted with this sixth sense.
He meditated for a long time and from this state of meditation he saw all that was happening in the war field and started narrating it to Dhritarashtra.

Today, in America you will find that there are a number of psychics, but their narrations are not completely correct. It will be partly correct because they don’t really connect to that being and their own mind comes into action. So you have to be really hollow and empty and completely free from any cravings or aversions, then the intuition is clearer.

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