Consciousness is stronger than matter

Jan 25, 2011, Bangalore Ashram, India

Q. The more and more my love blossoms for the Divine – the harder I find it to give away my pains and worries. How can we give garbage to the most precious ones?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Never mind. Divine will take it. He’ll snatch it from you if you don’t want to give it. As long as there is connection, there is attention - there is always give and take. You will always receive blessings. You will always receive bliss and unwanted things will just drop off.
And it is nice of you to think that way - it also shows the level of consciousness. In this level of consciousness, drop this identity of garbage as part of you or yours. You find something pricking the mind, just see it as garbage, not yours or someone else’s.

Q. Dear Guruji, I’m feeling so lost in this world. You always say, ‘Life must be juicy’. But there is no juice anywhere. In every work, there seems to be complete emptiness. Don’t know what to do, where to go? Please guide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are in the right place. Just be here. Is it not juicy here? Is it dry and empty? Of course, it’s hollow and empty when you sit and meditate. But now, you see it’s so celebratory and fun. No one can ever say its dry here.
Look at everyone and the smile on their face. Yes, when you want to take something from the world, the world will appear to be completely dull and lack. But when you want to contribute, the picture changes drastically!

Q.Is peace a state of mind in which no desire or craving etc. arise at all or they arise and subside very fast. How to attain peace permanently?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you drop this wanting permanency, there will be peace.

Q. The soul takes staying forever and takes birth till getting moksha. Then, who lives in hell?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do you want to explore hell now? I have never been there, so I can’t tell you what it is.

Q. What is unconditional love and how can we love a person unconditionally, and when can we do that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you don’t want anything in return, that is called unconditional love. Not even a thanks or a sense of gratitude or gratefulness. A lot of times people help others but these little expectations are there and that is what bugs them and pulls them down. That is also a condition.
Unconditional love comes naturally as your consciousness blossoms. You can’t force it on yourself or cultivate it. I don’t know how to cultivate it. It’s simply a phenomenon. When your consciousness expands, rises, then, what comes out of it is unconditional love. You say, I’m here for you and I want nothing from you. This comes to you and it has come to you with some people but with many others, you have some expectations.

Q. Guruji, how do we handle situations where we feel we have been blamed unfairly?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just with a smile. In this world, there is place for ignorance also. If someone is blaming you, it is out of their ignorance. And if it is not ignorance, it is mal-intention or jealousy and I would club all these emotions as part of ignorance. So, the best is you move on and don’t get stuck because you have no way to control other’s opinion and you don’t need to - everyone can have their own opinion. The best formula is to educate and ignore. You have to; if someone says, you are a thief, you can’t say, let him have his opinion. You educate him. If they believe it or not it’s up to them. So, keep this as a formula in every relationship. Educate and ignore. If you just ignore in the beginning, you will only exhibit arrogance. Educate is also a little strong word. You can say inform and ignore, which is even better. In education, there is more effort. In anger, people say, I will teach him a lesson.

Q. Sometimes the inability to plan in advance and the resulting chaos is passed on as divine chaos. How to tackle such chaotic people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The person who has created chaos wants a cover and in the cover, he will always say to save his face and position. He will bring up many justifications. So, you understand that position
- may be you’d be doing the same thing when you are in that position. Don’t depend on what people say. Most of our problems begin when we lock on to their words and not their feeling or where they stand. A mother says to the child, get lost and she doesn’t really mean it but the words that come are very powerful and if the children take on the words, then, the child gets into trauma unnecessarily. I would say you should see beyond words.
Your communication should be more than verbal – it should transcend the verbal communication. Even if someone says all nasty things to you, can you just be grounded and keep your mind at calm. Then, you have achieved something. You are able to connect to people beyond their words.
Don’t expect that they should also connect. It’s always one way. I tell you communication is always one-sided. You have the skill, you can communicate and you can receive it in that sense. You do not worry about what their reactions are, what they blabber.
They usually say all these blame games are blabbering and you get caught up in this blame game. Someone blames, you get caught up in this blame game. You stand up and say - I have the master key and I know which button to press and how people will react and how things would change. You should have this confidence – the soul, the spirit in you is the master key. It can turn around the situation, the way you want it. You should have that faith. It may not happen five times but sixth time it will happen. It all depends on your conviction and persistence. And don’t bother about what they say. 

Q: Could you please explain how consciousness is stronger than matter?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, in the pressure cooker, when you are cooking, when there is more pressure – how is it built up? Water vapor! And is that more powerful than water or not? So, subtler you go, the more powerful the things are. Now, this thing (Guruji shows the small silver cymbals in the hands) has silver molecules. When you break the silver molecules down, you get into atomic particles, and, when you break them you get sub-atomic molecules, which is minuter than the minutest. Are they not powerful? Which is powerful – this cymbal is powerful or the atom is powerful? Atom is powerful.
The subtler we go, it becomes more and more powerful. Though, everything is made up of consciousness. This entire universe is made up of consciousness, when you become subtler and subtler, they become more powerful.
Today I was watching a research done with water in Japan by a gentleman. He kept a little water in a bottle and took a photograph. Later he has used the same water for prayer and then after prayer he has took a photograph. You can see the impact of prayer - the subtle thought vibration has gone into the water. It’s obviously visible.
He took a bottle of water and kept blaming it and then took a microscopic picture of it. With another bottle, he said some pleasing words and you can see the difference.
In India, this process is called Abhimantra. You take a pot of water, place your hand on top and then chant mantras. The mantras are supposed to be absorbed into the water. It is an old tradition in India. When you go to any holy man or saint, you take a pot of water and ask them to bless the water. Among the sindhi community, they do this a lot.
This Abhimantra - mantra chanting on the water - has a huge impact on the water, because 70% of our body is water. In the Rudrabhisheka, water is made to fall on a crystal lingam while a particular chanting is being done and then it flows down. That water is very charged and it helps to uplift the atmosphere.
Now it is visible in the microscopic images, the changes that happen by these practices.
Similarly a gentleman from Russia came and conducted an experiment in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu when they were doing the Aarti. He took the pictures and found that all the negative ions in the atmosphere suddenly disappeared; they turned into positive ions. It is the positive ions which bring changes. All these things are meant to create the positive ions; to bring the required changes. The same is the case with the use of fire. During fire ceremonies, when they put the mantra with the intention, there is a qualitative change that happens in the atmosphere.

Q: Dear Guruji, I believe in this: As we sow, so we reap. But many instances we see that a person is going through bad times, even if we don’t see any major fault done by him or her. Why it happens?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Karma! The ways of karma are unfathomable. Karma is like an ocean. This is not one lifetime. In many lifetimes, we have done so many actions and they all have repercussions. Which karma has sprouted from which seed and what fruit this karma will give is very difficult to pin point. That is why it is said ‘gahana karmanogati’ . Unfathomable are the ways of karma. Because it is not just one lifetime, many lifetimes, we have done many things and we don’t know which karma sprouts when. That’s why don't worry about the karma, just be active and follow your conscience.
Act with conscience!

Q: How to take full responsibility for your actions without feeling doership?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you are taking responsibility, just take the responsibility. Doership means brooding over the consequences.
Whatever has happened, the moment you take responsibility, you are empowered. You come to the present. You have already accepted the consequences.
When you are in action, don’t get into this philosophy of doership or non-doership else the mind gets confused. When you act, you act hundred per cent. When you are acting hundred per cent, suddenly you will realize I am not doing, it is all happening. Non- doership is an experience; it is not something you try to do or achieve.

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Beautiful science of mind, mood and time

26 January 2011, Bangalore Ashram, India

Q: Guruji, does choosing a Guru means one can’t follow the teachings of other masters? Can one have more than one Guru?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh! It’s so hard to manage one Guru, how can you…! (laughs) It’s not easy. Respect everybody but follow one path. Honor everyone and you will see, all the masters have said the same thing. There is only one truth, so, they have said the same thing, but the methods are different as per the needs of the time.
You don’t have conflict when you are on this path. Whichever path you were there, they have blessed you and that’s how you have come here. You have served those paths, those teachers, those masters and their blessing has brought you here, with this conviction you move forward. Ok?
It’s just that if you keep trying everything, you get so confused! So, I would say, see one in all and all in one as a principle.
Honor everyone and follow one path.

Q: What to do if your Guru or Mentor is displeased with you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You make fast progress! Guru is displeased with your progress. So, now you gear up and progress more. Run fast!

Q: Guruji, is there any connection with the mood and the timing of the day? Why do we feel different at different times, like one feels low in night time.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ya, ya! Time and mind are connected. You should know this. Time and mind are synonymous. There are eight substances: Vaisheshika, Kanada…all these people have said, ‘Desha, Kala,
Manah.’ Desha is space, Kala is time and, Manah - the mind. They are all tatvas, principles. And all these principles are connected. Desha and kala are connected. Space and time are connected. One day on this planet Earth is already many days on another…in the moon. In moon, it is different. So, if you are on Jupiter, one human year is only one month. In Jupiter if you have to experience one year, that is 12 years of earthly time.
Jupiter takes 12 years to go around the sun. Similarly if you are on the planet Saturn, 30 years is one year!
Similarly, pitras, people who have died, our human one year is one day for them. So our six months is only one night and six months is one day. So, for a soul which has departed our whole year is one day. There are different times and different space in different dimensions. So, time and space are connected. It’s called the time-space curve. The same with the third dimension that is mind! The mindless, transcendental consciousness is called Mahakala, the Shiva, the fourth state of consciousness.
It’s called Mahakala, means great time, and the no-mind. The no mind is great time.
So, morning from 4.30 to 6.30, just before sunrise, before dawn, it’s called the most creative time.
Brahma muhurta! And then, every two hours it’s called a lagna; which means, one unit of time. And this unit of time corresponds to the state of mind. And again this is connected with the moon’s position, the sun’s position. There are so many aspects! Ten different aspects influence the mind. So, not only the time or hour of the day affects the mind, also the quality of the days affects the mind. Every two and a half days, the mind changes! The mood of the mind! So, if you are upset, it can continue for two and a half days at maximum; it doesn’t have to be two and a half day. It rises to a peak and drops. But after two and a half days, you cannot have the same emotion with the same intensity.
Impossible! It changes. Switches! It is a great, great science, how mind, mood and time are connected.
Jyotish shastra has a lot of insight into this. You know the astrologers, usually, all these weekly column astrologers say, ‘Oh, good for relationships, good for making money, this and that!’ They write those things (laughs!). They generalize those things, ‘If you are born on this time then this is good for you and you do this.’ Of course, it’s too generic and it’s just a money-making thing that they do. But it is not hoax; there is an iota of truth in it. The underlying base has truth. The principle that the mind and time are connected is correct. 

Mind means moods, thoughts, opinions, ideas, all these things that we collect. And, no mind is meditation. Dawn and dusk are considered very good for mediation.  So, whenever you meditate, or whenever the bad time is there, you meditate. When you meditate you go off the influence of the mind and go into the self. The self is Shiva tatva. Shiva tatva means, always benevolent, caring, loving, uplifing. That consciousness deep within you which is caring, loving, uplifting and benevolent, will nullify the negative influences of the mind and the time.
So, in India it is a very common belief, whenever there is bad time just say, Om Namah Shivaye, and it’s gone. All that bad time is gone. ‘Manah’, when read from the other side, it becomes Namah. Manah is when consciousness goes outside in the world, and Namah is when the consciousness goes inward. Shivaye, towards the Shiva principle, the fourth state of consciousness, the subtlest aspect of the existence, the Shiva tatva! So, Namah, when the mind goes towards the basic substratum of creation, then it can change all that into more benevolent experience.

Q: How do you know the answers for all the questions?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I don’t have one for this!

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When our needs are less we are able to take up bigger responsibilities.

24 January 2011, Bangalore

Q: In the Isha Vasya Upanishad it is said, “tena tyaktena bhunjitha” enjoy the world by renouncing. How can we do this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 
This is a skill! If there is no feverishness, it happens. Have you seen how a child behaves when he sees chocolates? He eats a couple, then stuffs some in one pocket and tries stuffing more in the other. The child is in a frenzy. An adult does not have this feverishness. When such feverishness for the objects is missing, then only you actually enjoy the object of senses.
You experience, you enjoy, but without craving for it, knowing that the joy comes from within you. The object is only a reflection. When you realize that joy is within and not in the object outside then only you can enjoy.
This is little profound and it clicks to a mature mind.

Q: Krishna tells Arjuna - Don’t think you’re killing them - they’re already dead. If a terrorist also gives you the same reason in the name of their faith or religion, what would you say?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: These are completely different situations and you cannot mix them up. A terrorist does with hatred, with ignorance, right? You cannot take a policeman or an army man and a terrorist as same. They both shoot with guns, but a policeman does it for a different reason and a terrorist does it for an entirely different reason. The intention, the state of mind, is totally different. That is why Arjuna was told, “Fight the war for justice, but not with anger, hatred, jealousy or greed. Do it to protect the dharma, the righteousness.”

Q: They say we must dare to dream big. But what follows is desire. How does one handle this desire?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: With discrimination! Desires just come up. You should have your dreams but remain grounded.

Q: Is there a masculine and feminine side to everything? Then why do we categorize things as male or female?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
 Yes! There is a neutral gender also.There are 3 genders. Some things fall under the neutral gender too. In fact, there is a whole scripture on the gender of stones as well as trees. The Shilpa Shastra or Book on Sculptures elaborates on this. Hawaiians also say that different stones have different genders! They can identify those. But it doesn’t matter. The Self, or the Spirit is beyond gender.

Q: Should the student take the whole responsibility for not scoring good marks?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
 It is better if he takes full responsibility. You could blame the teacher, the environment, the parents and everything else and finally you blame yourself. It’s better to take responsibility than go on a blame game.

Q: What’s the value of sacrifice on the spiritual path?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
 It is essential. On the spiritual path you need to have that zeal and enthusiasm for sacrifice. Just today I met several swamis - all young people - computer engineers and highly qualified people. They’ve sacrificed their whole career, life, everything to bring education to poor people, to do service in society. They’re doing service day and night. They’re not wishing anything for themselves. They’re not thinking, “Oh, what will happen to me?” They have dedicated their lives to build schools and colleges and to bring education to millions. So, it is necessary for a bigger cause. Sacrifice brings a bigger joy! It doesn’t reduce your joy. When our needs are more, our responsibilities are less. When our needs are less we are able to take up bigger responsibilities. That is the happiest life!

Q: Guruji, how come you radiate so much peace and serene beauty?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
 Because you are beautiful too, that’s why I appear peaceful to you. If you were not beautiful then you would know nothing about my beauty. Whatever quality you have, only that gets projected onto the world outside. So, what you see in me, take that as your own. If you don't feel beautiful, become beautiful. What is stopping you? Become that.

Q: Does the cycle of life and death never end?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
 The whole world is like that. It’s all spherical: everything moves in cycles. You have to come back, but you have a choice. If you are born out of compulsion then it's the same old story again and again. But if you get liberated, then you have the choice and the will to be born when you want. When you come back liberated, it is joyful.

Q: Is it true that some places have negative and positive vibes? I have experienced that our group working in our suburb doesn’t get the success it does outside. What should we do to increase the sattwa of a place?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 
Keep working, keep doing. Everywhere it is possible to make a change. It’s just a matter of time.

Q: How do I control my anger? I get angry over very, very small things.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
 If you have to get angry, get angry at bigger things, not the small usual mundane stuff. Get angry at corruption in the system and injustice happening around you. Give a bigger dimension to your anger and see all the small things become simply insignificant. I want you to go and talk to every youth in this country and in the world. Talk to them. Tell them to take action against corruption. If the head of the government is shielding corrupt people, what can you do? People have to wake up. That’s what we all have to do. Everyone should speak out against corruption.

Q: What is the best way to make someone aware of their responsibilities?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
 Anything that works! Anything that makes them aware is good. Don’t sit and think what is the best way? Whatever ideas occur, you apply those and see which one works. The one that works is the best.

Q:Having been given an instruction by someone we put faith in or a mentor, should I follow just the essence of it or word to word?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
 See, you’re asking a very general question. And you will selectively use it the way you want, isn’t it? I’m not going to get caught up in this whole thing. (Laughs).

Q: Distractions and problems of everyday life come up again and again. Is it better to lead a detached, quiet life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 
Life is a combination of both: dynamism and silence, chaos and quietness. You shouldn’t be afraid of either. Those who are used to chaos, are scared of silence. Many times, in my public talks I have observed that some people can't even close their eyes, they’re so scared. Sometimes politicians and even professors can’t sit for 10 minutes with eyes closed.  They’re scared to do so. People are so scared of silence, of stillness, of closing their own eyes. Similarly people used to their silence, to their comfort zone are so scared of chaos and disturbance. Both are incomplete. You should feel as comfortable with silence as you are with chaos, and that is the art of living. We see dynamism in silence and silence in chaos. When you are at home with both of them you are able to contribute in both situations.

Q: The country is so full of gurus. I don’t know whom to accept as a Guru. Kindly advice whether I choose a Guru or a Guru chooses me? If I choose then how do I select one?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 
Well, I can’t give you any criteria. You choose. It’s up to you. It’s not something you choose intellectually. 
Something in your heart guides. You feel at home, you feel cared for, you feel comfortable, right? Otherwise, you can keep asking this question wherever you go. There’s no point, right?

Q: In spite of doing Sudarshan Kriya daily , still some emotions keep bothering me, lust, greed and jealousy. How do I get free of them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your desire to be free indicates that you’re already on the way out. It is already going away. Do not be too hard on yourself. Practices will help you a lot.

Q: How does one strengthen vairagya (dispassion) when desires arise in us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
 Know the impermanence of everything. Okay, you get a desire. It will be fulfilled. So what? Time will devour all. Time will change everything, so keep moving. When you know everything is impermanent and can still enjoy everything at the same time, that is vairagya or detachment.
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Knowledge feast: Short Questions extracted and complied!

Q: These days most Gurus have long hair and long beard. Is it a dress code?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
'Yes, you can call it as dress code. The long hair is like an antenna to receive messages from God and the long beard is like an earthing to transmit those messages to the people.

Q: Guruji what is Shanti(peace)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We must make you sit in a closed small room and play loudspeaker 24 hrs. And not some good music, some heavy music. Then after 24 hrs, when we switch it off you will come to know what is Shanti. (Laughter!!!)

Q: Dear Guruji, when we take responsibility, how can we tackle obstacles?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The test of your peace is only when there are obstacles. Be thankful for obstacles

Q: Do you get stressed?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The product really works well! Just last week I went to Kerala. They had organized 19 appointments in a day. I cancelled some of them before I went there. Yet, I ended up attending 22 appointments. I thought I would get irritated, but I surprised myself and didn't. Each one of us has tremendous energy within us. One single cell can light up the entire city of Bangalore for 24 hours.

Q: Can you talk a little about the Soul - the self or Atma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
It is step by step experiential understanding. Before going to atma, the self, you have to know the five elements of creation. What are the tatvas? Prithvi, ap, tej, vayu, and akash - Earth, water, fire, air and ether. Then comes the mind, buddhi (intellect), memory, ego, and maha tattva (self).

Q: How does God see the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: God cannot see two. For God there is no you and I! He can only see himself in everything and everyone!!

Q: Guruji, telling the truth causes problems outside and telling lie creates problems inside? What to do? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Solve the problem. Problems are to be seen as challenges. Someone who is brave like challenges and you are brave, I tell you.

Q: Sometimes it seems all this is untruth, we running after things knowingly or unknowingly. Sometimes I feel I am compulsorily driven away with the flow and that distresses me. What is it that doesn’t change? What is the truth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Truth cannot be spoken. Only in Silence, in deep meditation you can experience the truth!

Q: Why aren’t you hitting the world just like that? Why so slow?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You all need a job too!

Q: Is there such a thing life after death? If there is no life after death what is the meaning of our existence?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
It is good to have some suspense!

Q: Are there fixed number of souls? If yes, then how come so many people are getting reborn on the planet? Why is population increasing in the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Hmm! There are so many animals getting extinct also!

Q: What advice would you give to a skeptical non-believer?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
  A very good beginning point. See that you don’t become cynical and frustrated. Skepticism is perfectly alright, but not cynicism. That drains your energy. One can be skeptical to begin one’s journey and I would very much appreciate and welcome that. Because you would have gone through skepticism, the faith will be strongly built.

Q: Guruji, I appreciate the Sun and the Moon and the Nature, why can’t God appreciate when I do something good?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
He doesn't appreciate you, because he knows you can do better. If he starts appreciating you every moment, then your desire to perform better will not be there.

Knowledge Byte:
Truth is that which does not change. Examine your life and identify all that changes as "not truth." With this outlook, you will find that you are surrounded by only untruth.
When you identify untruth, then you will become free from it. When you do not identify the untruth, you cannot become free from it. Your own experiences in life make you identify your own untruth.
As you mature in life, you find everything is untruth - events, situations, people, emotions, thoughts, opinions, concepts, your body - everything is untruth. It is only then that Satsang – the company of truth - happens in the real sense. A mother cannot see the child as untruth until the child becomes an adult. For a baby, sweetness is not untruth, and for a teenager, sex is not untruth.
Knowledge is untruth if it is only words. But as existence, it is truth. Love as an emotion is not truth; as existence, it is truth.

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Meditation connects you with the Universal Spirit

Jan 21, 2600th Sam Buddha Jayanti, Colombo, Sri Lanka

On this occasion of 2600 years of Buddha Jayanti, there is this musical event that is organized. It is to bring back DHARMMA in to the society. When the value of DHARMMA is missing then there is suffering in the world. It’s because we have forgotten the values.
I am very happy to be with you all. The hope of Sri Lanka (referring to the mega choir of youth, students, music and cultural groups)! You know, we need to deepen our roots & broaden our vision.
When adharma took over, when people forgot the real essence of Dharma, Bhagvan Buddha came to reestablish Dharma. The message HE spread was “Ahimsa Parmo Dharmha”.
I am glad that in Sri Lanka, now there is fearlessness, people are able to walk everywhere. All the check posts are removed & people are able to move freely.
People of all ethnic backgrounds’ that are Tamils, Singhalese, Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist are together. More happiness has to come in society and that will happen when YOUTH becomes active. When youth become active, they contribute towards the progress of the nation. Dedication for development and an open mind for research should be the path of growth.
One of the top scientists told me that he had studied matter for 40 years only to realize that it does not exist. He said when he gives speeches on quantum physics, the crux always is “The Matter Is Nothing” which is conveyed in Buddhism and Vedanta.
What is the use of meditation for young people? This is a question many ask. Do you want to develop in to an all round personality? Then meditation is a must to be happy, healthy, compassionate, humorous, and loveable. All these human qualities blossom through meditation. Ok meditation has got 3 rules. The first rule is:
1) I don't want anything... how is it possible when I want better job, grades in school, family and prosperity? Only for next 10 minutes say “I want nothing”.
Can you say that? Remove your wants like a cap & keep it on the side. Just for 10 minutes
And then
2) I do nothing: When a scholar came to Lord Buddha, HE said just relax, become hollow & empty.
I do nothing for next 10 minutes. I don’t concentrate on anything, don’t focus mind on any thoughts: good thoughts, bad thoughts let them come & pass. I do nothing. Neither I welcome thoughts nor do I resist thoughts.

And the 3rd rule is
3) I am nothing
For next few minutes, put off the label of being student, corporate, male, female…anything. 
Now let’s meditate.
Meditation went on for 15 minutes (and as usual:))
How many of you feel that you meditated for 15 minutes? Are you feeling fresh? How many of you did not feel the time?
See that is it. Meditation means you do not feel the time. You get connected with Universal Spirit.
When done in a group, it is very good. Do it in a group SANGHA. Especially after your school prayers in the morning, just sit for some time with closed eyes and meditate.
Meditation can improve our ability. I feel happy to be with you. Become Talented and Compassionate world citizens. Learn good things from every part of the world.

One of the first country every Indian hears about in childhood is Sri Lanka. And how was SriLanka? It was golden. Lord Sri Ram himself says SWARNAMAYI LANKA. It was so prosperous. So I want all of YOU to dream about golden Sri Lanka where every youth is talented, vibrant and compassionate which is very very important.

May GOD bless you all!
The event concluded in its glory with:




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When your devotion is strongly rooted, Nature listens to you!

Mumbai, January 15, 2011
Anand Tandav – Meditating while being merged in the dance of creation! Shiva consciousness means that which is pure and complete. When both the shores of sound and silence, music and meditation are inculcated in life then only perfection dawns! We will meditate for some time now! There are three rules to meditation: For some time, I do nothing, I want nothing and I am nothing. Whatever you need, think of that afterwards. I am neither intelligent nor stupid, I am neither rich nor poor, I am neither sinful nor a noble soul. For next few minutes, Akinchan, Achah and Aprayatan!
(As usual, 20 – 25 minutes of meditation flies away in less than a tangible minute)
Yoga is the art of doing nothing. Being in a total calm and serene state of mind is yoga, and yoga enables one reach such a state of mind. Physical yoga is to reduce tamoguna*. A little practice of being peaceful before and after doing work gives such strength and erases so many distortions from the mind. More are the distortions, more sorrow one experiences.
Dhyan, Pranayama, Service and intelligence!

Q: How intelligent is it to be angry on the past? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Is there any profit of being angry at the past? A business minded person would never do that!
There is a story of Mullah Nassurudin. His son was about to hold an expensive electronic equipment and he slapped his son. When asked, he said what the fun would be to slap after it has broken! It is a sign of foolishness to be angry at something that had happened in the past. People ask me if I don’t get angry. But at what should I be angry at? Past that has already gone!
You get angry at something which is happening in the present. But reacting to anger with anger! What foolishness! If somebody does mistake again and again, you can show anger but don’t get swayed away with that. Arogya vardhak gussa – Healthy anger is that which stays only for that much time as a line drawn on water stays.
It doesn’t mean not to show anger when someone is wrong but it is unintelligent to flow away with that. Sadhana is to protect mind from any vikara (Distortion that takes one away from the self).

Q: Sometimes it seems nature putting obstacles on the path while doing something. Is it so? If yes, how to go about that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Nature may put many vikalpa on the way to shake your faith. Satsang, the right company would help. Which is the right company? That which makes you feel light, which makes you feel the problem is very trivial as compared to what you thought. That is no satsang which makes you perceive an exaggerated view of the problem.
Nature may put 1000 hurdles on the way but you come out smilingly with a much strong personality. This is just another way of Nature to strengthen the faith. An enormous strength rises in you. Your faith in God is no favor to God! One who has tasted the devotion, He knows. Sankalpa gets manifested with devotion. When your devotion is strongly rooted, Nature listens to you!

Q: Can you talk about grace of the Divine and gratitude for the Divine in life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Happiness comes by grace, Joy comes by grace, and even devotion comes by grace. Whatever one gets in life, that comes with grace. Every instant one is grateful to the God being beneficial for one self and for others also!
Live your life which radiates a fragrance which makes you and also others happy.

Q: How do we get our sankalpas accomplished?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
These cell phones are so powerful that you can reach anybody in the world through it. So, the mind which has made these cell phones, won’t that be more powerful than this? If these radiations can produce such effect, what effect would human radiations produce?
The Sankalpa that one takes for the goodness of society, that definitely gets accomplished. Drop your worries and the Divine will care of you. Be in the innocent state of surrender.

Q: We get inspired so soon but then that inspiration doesn’t stay for long. What can one do to have persistent inspiration?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Don’t make an effort. It takes its natural course. Never try to hold on to joy, happiness and inspiration. When you try to, it runs even more quickly.
Sri Sri invites all professionals to volunteer for the running projects in Mumbai. Doctors to take three free medical camps in Dharavi, Engineers to take up some project and teachers to take three tuition for free!

Q: How to deal with people who think ‘I know it all’?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
With a big smile! You can tell, ‘you have your right for ignorance’.

Q: sometimes lots of visions come in meditation. What should one do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Take it as a thought and leave it. Sometimes hallucinations may come as imaginations.

Q: Can you talk about Darwin’s theory of evolution?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Did you forget about Dashavatara? Darwin’s theory came much later and there are many loopholes in it. It is being questioned now. He was a linear thinker. Before quantum physics come into picture and ancient Vedic knowledge was revived, lot many were into linear thinking. According to linear thinking there is beginning to everything and everything comes to an end. But we were of spherical thinking – No beginning and no end. The Adwait (Non – dual) existence!
Everything here radiates vibrations, and those vibrations make things happen around you.  

Q: Sometimes I stuck up in some identity and I find myself stuck in that limited sphere of role. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The first and foremost identity is that you are a part of Divine. You are beautiful human being. Then you can be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, engineer, teacher or whatever. All identities come later.

Q: What is the line of demarcation between parents’ guiding the children and interference?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Don’t think it as interference. Elders should be guiding and later you only will be happy. They are telling something because of some reason. We have these workshops called ‘Know your child’ and ‘know your teen’. You can attend that if you wish to.

Q: How intelligent is it to identify oneself with a particular culture?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You are a global person, but at the same time one should not forget one’s cultural roots.
*Tamoguna: is one of the primordial three gunas, the gunas that regulate the nature. However, a little is required to relax but if imbalanced, causes lethargy, heaviness and downward flow in evolution.

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Bliss comes out of chaos and the ability to enjoy chaos is enlightenment.

14 January, Mumbai, India
Q: Can you talk about the greatness of Valmiki ji and that period of time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Valmiki ji was one of the contemporaries of Sri Rama. Many scriptures in the world were written much after the physical presence of the Master, but Valmiki wrote Ramayana at the very period when it happened. There was no division of casts in the society at that time. Honesty, human values and belongingness were so strongly rooted then.

Q: World is suffering so much because of religious fanaticism. Can you speak on that? How would you want us to take a stand on it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You know, the world once was a beautiful place to live in where all would celebrate diversity. But what happened that caused so much division? I would want all to rise above the differences and move ahead. Whatever your attitude is from outside but have that naturalness from inside. Have the skill to create belongingness with all.

Q: Sometimes our tasks do not get accomplished because of lack of Sattva (Luck factor). Can you please talk on that and how do we enhance that? And how do we bring that harmony back among ourselves which, you said, once was there in the society?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Do you all have cell phone? How does it work? First, it is to be fully charged. But if is charged but no Sim card! So you need a sim card, and then you need to be in the range of the tower. When all three are there, the cell phone works then only. Similarly, for life to be successful three things are required: Seva, Satsang and Kripa (grace).
Know that you have abundance of grace with you, and God is your very own. Satsang is the charger and Seva is the sim card. What happens with Seva? When you do Seva, you gain blessings and those blessings add strength to your life. And then Sadhana(Practices)? What is Sadhana – Which makes you establish connection with the Self, with the Divine, that infinite power.

Q: Can you talk a little about the God? How do I feel connected to the Divinity?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just a conviction, I belong to Divine, who so ever is Divine!
Divine principle is not someone in the sky. Inside you in the form of consciousness!

Q: What are the pillars of Society to make it strong?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Four pillars of society!
First one is economy system (Industry and business), second is religious and spiritual base, and third is Politics. And there is one more…and what’s that? I leave it to you to think over.

Q:  How do I gain more and more knowledge in the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Every instant we are getting something to learn from the whole world. All that is needed is awareness!
Each individual is a beautiful Scripture designed by God. Study your own mind and then observe the minds of people around. What do we do? We don’t observe our own mind but we keep on wasting efforts in judging others’ mind. First, understand your own mind and then you will be able to understand what’s happening in the big mind, in the minds of all.
You know, whomsoever I meet in the world, I feel that belongingness. I never feel I am meeting someone for the first time. So many times we have come to this World. I know a little bit, but you have forgotten. Keep smiling this time.

Q: I want to bring a social transformation. I understand that the work needs to be done on the very roots of individuals, which are changing but I do not how to go ahead with this. I appreciate the spiritual awakening and social awareness that the ‘Art of Living’ is creating but as I am new to this, can you please guide how to move ahead?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, you can bring social transformation. The spirit needs to be strengthened. Your spirits is very ancient and pay some attention to that also. Those who are devoid of spiritual knowledge are like undernourished people. Dividing in the list of priorities, the first policy is to strengthen one’s very roots, having that sense of proud in ones very roots.

Q: Can you talk about the complexes that are rooted in the mind of some children, may be because some historical events or past life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
When you think good of yourself, you think ill of others, and when you think others’ are good, you think you are not ok. Such complexes are there in many children today. So the attitude that neither I am bad nor anybody else is bad gives such a sense of acceptance of everybody and your own self. Sadhana enables one deprogram all past programming.

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19 Jan 2011, QA with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Q: Today is Porsha poornima. Are there any stories aboout Porsha poornima?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This porsha poornima is the first poornima of the harvest in South India, so people exchange all that they have harvested, they give - exchange. It is also called the full moon of the forest. In the north when there is snow, the leaves are gone. So the full moon is visible. Honoring the forest, nature, vegetables….

Q: How can one transform moha into love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Moha means I want something back. Love is only how I can be useful.

Q: How to arrive at what my dharma is?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Gut feeling, if it feels right, this is what I should do.

Q: How to deal with craving for attention?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Next :)

Q: I feel close to you but the closer I get to you, I seem to face tougher situations sometimes, is this something related to Guru mandala?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Longing brings out a lot of creativity in you. It can bring out a lot of poems. Longing is Radha shakti….Krishna. Be very fortunate.

Q: Is it ok to forego discipline to experience immense love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They go together. Discipline has to be followed. I have spoken about this in Narad Bhakti Sutra.

Q: Why is Krishna known as poorna avatar?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are many aspects of Krishna which are complete. I have spoken about it in Krishna - absolute joy.

Q: Can the soul come to the same world or can we born in other worlds too?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All possibilities are open.

Q: Why have miracles stopped happening in my life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is taking a little nap for you to exp the contrast.

Q: Isn’t insincere praise same as pleasant lies?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why should your praise be insincere?
Your praise cud be a blessing. Blessings are for the future only. So u can praise someone as a blessing. If someone is stingy, you say….. That praise can become a future blessing.

Q: Is it possible to be both ethical and practical?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. Your yukti should be like the salt in the food - just a little bit salt in your business. If there is too much salt, it becomes like food in the salt.

Q: I am a professor at IIT. Other professors are averse to ..., how should I ..?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don't recognize their aversion, you keep doing what you should do. Don’t try to convince someone out of the way. Keep your conviction. Every soul needs spirituality. If they are refusing ,then it is only at the surface.

Q: What about people who haven’t come to you yet?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They will come in sometime. art of living TV
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World is a play and display of Prana/Life force

Mumbai, January 13, 2011

Today we will not talk about stress and stress relief. Neither about relationships but something much deeper!

Remember your age? Whatever it is  25- 30 years!  Where were you before these 25-30 years? Where would you be after 50-60 or say 100 years :) Mumbai existed before you were born, this Ocean existed then too.
Do you remember how you entered your mother’s womb?
Do you remember how you came out in this world?
Until the age of five the child remembers his past birth. The child recognizes colors or says certain things but elders tend to overlook that.
You know, this whole universe is a play of Prana, the life force.  Everything here has some life force. However, the units of Prana differ.

Stone (Pathar) has 1 unit of Prana
Water (Pani) has 2 units of Prana
Fire (Agni) has 3 units of Prana
Air(Hava) has 4 units of Prana
Ether (Akash) has 5 units of Prana
Animals and trees have 6 - 7 units of Prana

Human Being has 8 units of Prana. Hence he is called as ASHTAVASU. But humans are born with a possibility to blossom into a fully blossomed state. Lord Krishna has highest units of Prana – 16.  That is why He is referred to as fully blossomed being

You often see that every GOD/ GODDESS travels on an animal. Goddess Durga riding on a tiger! It seems so imaginative. It doesn’t click to the intellect, but this is so scientific. Each animal brings certain cosmic vibrations on the planet. E.g. Peacock descends to the planet the vibrations of Goddess Saraswati (The Goddess of knowledge), Bull's body radiation brings Shiva Consciousness (The transformational and meditative aspect of nature). Right now all Devtas are here in this consciousness; all different energies are in this consciousness. All the mantras invite these auspicious vibrations.

Do you know the meanings of the months?

January, February….. November, December. You all keep saying the months and you don't know the meaning!

Do you know which languages these months belong to?
Audience: English

Sri Sri : No, they are all derived from SANSKRIT. Sanskrit was the ONLY Original language that was prevalent in the universe in the start.
Feb is referred to as "Fag End"
March means "To Go Ahead". Iraq, Iran, Kurdistan everywhere they celebrate NEW YEAR in the month of March. In some less affected parts of India as well! So December (DASH + AMBAR: 10th sky) makes the 10th sky.
You are older than the names of month. Go deep in meditation to experience all this. Else keep it in back of mind that I am much older than my age. Sometime in life it will come to you.
Do you permit ME to remove the cap now? (GURUJI was wearing a beautiful cap at the start of the talk and lots of people had objected/ requested HIM to keep it on)
(The Satsang ends with a joyful 10 – 15 minutes of meditation vaporizing in few seconds and concluding soothing bhajans)
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Ways to overcome bad Habits

Bangalore ashram,  10th Jan 2011

Q : ‘What you resist persists’- this knowledge point continues to puzzle me. Specifically, I wonder, should the smokers surrender to the next cigarette? Should the sick person surrender to the uncontrolled coughing and the tempted one surrender to the temptations?  How can I better understand the certainty of this? Can you please explain this unique knowledge?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you resist to smoke a cigarette, it persists and how to get over it, is that what you are asking? Well, you realize that the joy of smoking is not so much than the joy of not smoking- when you find that beyond smoking is a greater joy.
See what does the mind do? It just wants to go where we get some pleasure and joy. In search of pleasure it is trying to find where it is not there and so it gets addicted to certain habits. Habits don’t give you any pleasure but give only pain. As soon as the mind realizes this, it is very easy for it to get over any habit.
So there are three things to get over any habit –
Your intellect warns you that the habits are not good for you but the temptation of wanting is there in the mind. So which should win, your intellect or your mind or emotions? When you get more love and joy without habits, then the habits fall off. That’s what happens when people do sudarshan kriya and get so much more happiness. The urge of smoking or any other bad habit drops off with kriya, meditation.
Second thing that will help is,  greed. If some one tells you- if you don’t smoke for three months, you will win  a lottery, then the mind says- I don’t want to touch a cigarette for I don’t want to lose the lottery. So the greed works.
Third thing that will help you to overcome the habit is fear. If you are told that if you keep on drinking then it will give liver problem and you won’t survive, then the fear of getting some disease or getting into some trouble would shake you and will get you over the temptation of small pleasures.
Many people, who used to be promiscuous, stopped  being that when they heard about the disease AIDS. The fear of getting AIDS kept them more faithful to their spouses.
So love, greed and fear are the three things that would help you to resist those things which gives temptation and tempt you more.

Q:  In Yoga Vashishtha, Ma Saraswati takes Ram to different planes of existence and he shows leelas by living different lives simultaneously. And in each life leela is not aware of the other leelas. 
I was just wondering , are we also existing on different levels of existence, that we are unaware of, something similar to that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ya, ya! Definitely, there are so many layers of our consciousness- it is so amazing! There is a dream stage and different levels in the dream stage. And there are different layers in the  reality stage, right here! But it is better that you don’t get introduced to all the levels unless and until your spirit becomes very strong. This is very important.
That’s what happens to people, who are mentally imbalanced, that they get the taste of other dimensions as well as this present dimension. They lose the interest in this dimension and think the other dimensions are more charming. There used to be an elderly lady here from Turkey and she would suddenly see things. She was under medication at that time but refused the medication because it made her feel very dull. Without medication she would hallucinate and have all these ideas like the truck  pulling with her energy. She felt she was so powerful that she could do anything. All such things, no doubt, as  the consciousness of levels are  very powerful but one loses the touch with the present reality. So that lady would say- I feel so dull here, every thing is so boring, the other world is so fantastic! But when she started living in the other world, people in this plane had difficulty to deal with her!
So. Unless and until you are so centered, your mind gets established,  knowing the realms of reality is not warranted. That’s why Sararswati, the goddess of knowledge takes him by hand. Saraswati is the wisdom consciousness, it does not lose any levels of consciousness and keeps the demarcation very clear. People who are bipolar have this trouble, they suddenly see somebody or some vision and start talking, it appears so real to them. They see someone there in front of them and keep talking to them, but  from your side you see nobody.  These are the different planes of existence. So unless and until the consciousness gets well founded in wisdom, to distinguish between one layer of reality with other layers-this knowledge does not dawn at all.

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Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at Bangalore Ashram: 8 Jan 2011

Greater responsibilities and ambitions you have, greater is the need for you to meditate

Bangalore, India, Jan 5:
Q. Why should people meditate in our modern society? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 
If you look at the benefits that meditation brings in our life, you will find that it is all the more relevant. In ancient times, meditation was used as a way for finding the Self, for enlightenment. Meditation was a way to overcome misery and problems. It's the way to develop one’s abilities.
If you want, keep aside enlightenment. Today’s  stress and tension in society calls for meditation. If you take more responsibility, more meditation is required. Greater responsibilities and ambitions you have, greater is the need for you to meditate. If you have nothing to do, you may not need meditation as much.
The busier you are, the lesser time you have, the more desires and ambitions you have - all the more is the need to meditate. Because meditation not only relieves you of stress and strain, it also enhances your abilities,strengthens your nervous system and mind. Not only does it help eliminate stress and tensions, releasing toxins from the body and soothing the mind, it also makes you more capable, enhances you in every way. What else do you want?
I would say if you want to be happy and healthy, you’ve got to meditate.

Q: How does the Art of meditation help the mind, the body, spiritual aspirations and relationships and society as a whole?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation helps to change your perspective. It improves the way you perceive things. It brings clarity in the mind. It improves your interaction with people around –what you say, how you react and act in different situations, you become more aware. In general, from a stress-free society to peace and health in individuals and from a violence-free society to a sorrow-free soul – all are side effects of meditation.

 Q: What makes this form of meditation (Sahaj Samadhi) so unique?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is very simple and profound. Usually the common notion is that what is profound must be complicated and what is simple is not effective. But Sahaj Samadhi Meditation is a very rare combination of simplicity, profoundness and depth.

Q: Can you speak on the value of the Vedic tradition of Masters who have kept this knowledge alive for thousands of years?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: From thousands of years people have passed this technical knowledge. Usually, most Masters will test a student before even teaching meditation. They would give this knowledge only to someone who qualifies. They would wait for the right student to come to impart this knowledge. In the past, it used to be very tough, you had to please the Master before you could get anything from Him.
I took a very different stance, I opened the flood gates, gave it to everyone, let everybody progress as per one’s sincerity and capability.
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Sahaj Samadhi Meditation - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri's Talk on Meditation

Know that no mistake can be corrected with anger; Only with awareness can anything be corrected

Bangalore, India, Jan 4, 2011:
Q: When we do seva (service), especially us youth, how do we balance seva, studies and family?
Sri Sri : How do you ride a bicycle? Do you allow yourself to fall on one side? When you are more towards one side, you just balance. But one strong conviction should be there – I will do seva, I will do studies, I will take care of my family and respect the elders as well. These are not opposites but complementary. When you do seva, you get power and achieve merit, and that gives you good fortune. So, spirituality brings strength. Through meditation, you will progress in the world.
This conviction, ‘I will be able to do all’, works miracles. 
If you find any doubt, just know that it is temporary. The most important thing is to develop a strong personality. Going to college, stuffing your head with information and just passing the exam, no! How much strength and humility have you gained? Are you blossoming into a complete person? It is important to check this. Enthusiasm with awareness! Seva brings out the skill in you that will again make a difference in how you relate to all types of people. Softness and depth will come to you. With enthusiasm, there will be awareness. All can be threaded on a string.

Q. It is said that God likes innocent people and luck supports the innocent. What should I to do to be innocent?
Sri Sri: To be innocent, drop cunningness. Innocence is naturally present in everyone. You just need to blossom it. And how do you do that? Just be in meditation. ‘I am nothing – Akinchan, I don’t want anything, and all are my very own; I accept all and all accept me.’ When you know that everybody is accepting you, you move ahead with naturalness. When you think people are not accepting you the way you are, then you think of doing something to gain acceptance and you start becoming unnatural.

Q: I keep on asking the Divine for something or the other all the time. I don’t like this sometimes.
Sri Sri: When you get something after asking, your faith gets developed. And then even without asking you get what you need.

Q: Self-effort is required for enlightenment. But then you said effortlessness is the key. There is a paradox. So, what is the way?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both. To get into your train, you need to put effort, you take your luggage and go to the right platform. But once you are on the train, you put your luggage aside and relax.

Q: Some dreams don’t come true in spite of putting efforts. What should one do?
Sri Sri: You keep putting your effort. There is a proverb ’Try and try again and at last you will succeed.’ So, perhaps you don’t succeed the first time or second time. Yet if your intention is strong, it will happen.

Q: How does one develop a sense of surrender?
Sri Sri: Just assume that it is there.  Don’t put effort . Surrender is there – simply assume this and move on.

Q: I have been told since childhood that eating non – vegetarian is like committing a sin because we are killing helpless animals. Is it so?
Sri Sri: Don’t think those who eat non – vegetarian are sinful. It is only that tamsic tendencies are encouraged when one eats non – vegetarian. That won’t be good for them, for the world and for society. My dear, don’t make your stomach a graveyard.

Q: Can knowledge exist without faith or they are correlated?
Sri Sri: Faith and knowledge are correlated. Because when there is knowledge, there is faith. And where there is faith, there is knowledge. So you have faith and that is why you are asking. You have faith that I will answer it and you will take my answer. So, knowledge and faith are all connected.

Q: Is someone’s destiny fixed or  can it change as well?
Sri Sri: A part of destiny is fixed, and certain things can change.

Q: It is difficult to control anger. What should one do so that I don’t get angry?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First, anger is to be tamed. Know this: when the mind is so joyful and contented, when you are  in meditation and leave room for imperfections and mistakes, you don’t get angry in the first place. Know that no mistake can be corrected with anger. Only with awareness can anything be corrected.
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