Give me your troubles, live with a smile and engage yourself in seva, sadhana and satsang

Patna, 22 January 2012

The only purpose of my coming here is to tell you that the Divine exists and loves you very dearly. There is a couplet in Hindi: “Jo ichcha kariho manu maahi, prabhu prataap kachhu durlabh naahin”, which means that “With God’s grace, whatever you wish for will not be difficult to obtain”. This is a proven fact. However, you must first have the faith that the Divine exists. The Divine is omnipresent, which means that the Divine is within each one of us. The Divine is eternal, which means that it exists now, right this moment. We just need to have this faith and relax. There is no need to put any effort. Vivek (Discrimination), Vishwas (Faith) and Vishraam (Relaxation) - these three are important.
Whenever there is chaos, start a kirtan (devotional song) and the chaos will settle down. This is what happened when the country was trapped in turmoil. What did Mahatma Gandhi ji do then? He went to many places and started organising satsangs. Everyone started singing, “Ishwar Allah tero naam, sabko sanmati de Bhagwaan”, and the country was woven into one thread. The chaos and the turmoil were transformed into a revolution. Even today we require this. There is a need for a peaceful revolution in this country. Where there is ignorance, injustice, scarcity and lack of hygiene, that place requires a peaceful revolution so that the ignorance is wiped out, people stand against injustice, scarcity will end and cleanliness would reign over the place. Only kirtan can bring this revolution. Whenever this country was overcome by a problem, the sages, the intellectuals and the mahatmas (great souls) of this country came forward and gave the country a new hope.
Today, we are again standing at that crossroad, where the country essentially requires a wave of spirituality. What does spirituality mean? Sitting somewhere for a while and doing kirtan? No, my dear! Spirituality (Adhyatma) means the feeling of oneness. “Atmavat Sarva Bhuteshu Yah Pashyati Sa Panditah”. One who sees everyone in himself and himself in everyone will be called a spiritual person, a devotee. So, what does spirituality mean? It is a blossoming of this feeling of oneness. “Nobody is a stranger, all are my own”; if this feeling awakens in us, then it is spirituality.
Belongingness should increase. Where belongingness ends, corruption begins. Till this date, not a single person has been corrupt with his own people. He can’t do it. If corruption has increased so much, it means belongingness has ended. Misconduct, malpractice and corruption are not something one does with one’s own people. It is done with people who are not one’s own. Yes, we need a strict law for this, but I don’t think that law alone will remove it. I believe that law should be there, but the citizens should wake up. If we all wake up, we can remove corruption. Violence can be eradicated.
I read this morning that naxalites killed around thirteen to fourteen people. I had called out to them just yesterday. We had gone to the naxal-hit region yesterday, to the Aurangabad district. I was told that around four to five people will be surrendering today, but due to some unavoidable circumstances, they couldn’t. I congratulate those youth who, out of ignorance, had joined the naxalite movement and now understand that violence will not solve the problem. I want to tell you that these are brave boys, who are putting their lives at stake to perform penance in the forests. Their eyes are filled with tears and their hearts are pained only for the reason that they want poverty and caste discrimination to be wiped out from India and all enjoy equality. However, the path they have adopted is not right. That is why I keep telling them and also told them yesterday that they should forsake the path of violence and come forward; for we are with them. Even I want to see India at the top, the number one country. I want to see it as the mightiest and the best nation of this world.

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God resides in hearts that are full of devotion

Madanpur, 21 January 2012

You (referring to Naxalites) are not having a party there in the forest. You empathize with the poor and feel for them. We are all with you but don’t resort to violence. Leave the gun, come forward. We will vote for you and bring you forward in this country. You assume leadership because when honest and selfless people take responsibility and serve the country, they do it honestly. They don’t want anything for themselves but for everybody. This society needs such youth today. You shun the path of violence. Whatever Karl Marx and other communist leaders have said about equality, removal of ignorance, etc., Lord Krishna had already spoken about all this thousands of years ago.

We first need to remove ignorance, illiteracy, and stop child marriages. All the women here take a pledge that girls will not be married before eighteen years of age and boys before twenty one years. Here, children are forced to get married at the age of ten or twelve years. This practice must be stopped. Boys and girls should only be married after 18 years of age. Until then, they should be allowed to study.

Eradicating ignorance is our primary duty. In the state which was home to the Nalanda University and great scholars such as Chanakya, it is a crime if its people remain uneducated. About fifteen to twenty years back, schools here used to be empty – they were not ready to teach anyone and even the people were scared of sending their children to school. But now, the situation has changed. So let’s take a pledge today that we will provide hundred percent education and send our children to school.

Where there are no other schools except government schools, we are ready to open schools in those regions. We already have a school running here.

These days in Bihar, we don’t find people to perform pooja or to teach yoga and pranayama. So, we will train all those who are interested in learning these. I don’t want any man or woman here to be unemployed. The Art of Living runs a project for the unemployed youth. There are so many jobs available in our country. There is a need for business. I meet so many industrialists who tell me that they don’t find people to work. There is a shortage of drivers, cooks, plumbers, electricians, masons in our country – in every field, we can involve people. The statues of our gods and goddesses are made in our neighbouring country, China. Can’t we make these statues here in India? You take this project in one of your villages. You will make all the Ganesha statues required in Maharashtra. This way, the money which is going to another country will be used here.
Women can make papads (a snack) and other Bihari delicacies here. So much work can be done. Bihar has water and sunlight. However, there seems to be some problem in planning.

We should plan in a way that everyone gets justice, especially the farmers. Everyone should live happily. We should all work towards that. We have to first remove ignorance and then work towards creating justice. Caste discrimination should be removed. Our Vedas and Puranas talk about more than a thousand Rishis. Only a few of them were Brahmins. The rest of them were from different castes and communities.

In those times, there was no casteism like what exists today. Everyone is a shudra by birth. Who is a shudra? The one who runs around crying. Doesn’t a child do that? So every child is a shudra, but when he comes into knowledge and stops crying, then he becomes a ‘Dwija’. This is what is written in our scriptures. Therefore, all saints have got equal respect here, irrespective of their caste. It is a crime to discriminate on the basis of caste. This should not be done. All the youth present here take this pledge not to discriminate on the basis of caste and to consider everyone equal. Live in harmony and respect all.

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God exists; He loves you a lot and He is in you.

Bhodhgaya, 20 January 2012

Life is priceless. It is a gift from God. If we don’t care for it, we remain unhappy. When we care for it, we start receiving what we desire. I have come here to remind you one thing, do you know what? No, that is why I have come here to remind you of it (laughs). You don’t know why I have come here, right? I have come to remind you that there is one power that exists; God exists. If you don’t believe me then ask me. I’ll say, God exists. And He loves you a lot. Then you’ll ask, ‘Why did He give me suffering? If God exists, then why is there misery’? When we go against him or become ungrateful, then sorrow increases. When we are troubled, then we will have to seek God. Then we come to know that in times of pain, there has been someone by my side.

It is said that God measures and then attaches the tail on each animal. He did not attach the tail of an elephant to a goat, because it will not be able to carry it. Every animal is assigned a tail as long as it can carry. Similarly, every person’s problem is his tail. You face only those problems that you can handle. I have come to solve those problems that you cannot handle. All the Gurus and intellectuals in the society are there primarily to solve your problems. The whole world, and your friends and relatives are there with you. You are not alone. So, ‘God is there, He exists’; I have come here just to remind you of this fact. God is there and He loves you a lot and He is in you.

If for small and frequent intervals we quieten our minds, we will be able to establish that connection with him. Then, whatever you desire, will no longer remain impossible. ‘Jo ichcha kariho manu maahi, prabhu prataap kachhu durlabh naahin’ (A saying in a language spoken in north-central and eastern India that describes the previous sentence). This is a proven fact. All of us have gathered for a satsang here. The benefit should be that this smile that you are now wearing should never wither from your face. You have got your troubles here, leave it here, and go back with a smile, and be assured that your work will be done. It might take some time for it to be completed, but it will happen for sure. It may take some time, but it is not necessary that it will take time.

It has been thirty years since I have moved around the world. Today, you’ll find that in every corner of this world, the Indian culture and spirituality is being respected. If you go to the last city of the North Pole, Tromso, or to the last city of the South Pole, Tierra del Fuego, you will find people doing kirtan, pranayama and meditation. If you go there and say, Jai Guru Dev, you’ll find thousands of people. India is a wonderful place. The feet of God is attached to this place (referring to Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India where the satsang was organized). ‘Vishnu Paad’ (The feet of Vishnu) is attached here. This is the significance of Gaya. Buddha received knowledge at this place. Siddhartha became Buddha here and spread his knowledge all over the world. You are living on such a pure soil.

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The Master’s physical presence (Saanidhya) is to lead you to Union (Saayujya)

19 January 2012

After chaos there is bliss. After a storm there is peace. This is the way of life. Once I was in a satsang in Washington DC with about three hundred people. From behind came a tall and imposing man who started screaming, 'You are the devil!' In the name of Jesus he came to attack me. He said, 'This yoga, spirituality and Hinduism are all the works of the devil.' Everyone was frozen with fear. Nobody could get up. They were stuck to their seats with fear. As he drew close to me, I held up my hand and said, 'Wait! what is the matter?' As I said, 'Wait', he dropped to the ground and began crying. He had a change of heart and begged forgiveness.

So I remembered Maharishi Patanjali has written, 'Ahimsa pratishthayaam, tat sannidhau vairatyagah.' This proves that when nonviolence is established in one's life, all enmity and ill will disappears from the minds of those who come near him. So Maharishi's statement cannot possibly be false or wrong. This incident proves it. I got to witness this at three or four different places, where people came with such anger to harm me, and then underwent transformation. They even became teachers of The Art of Living afterwards!

What I am saying is that spirituality is not a short-term entertainment, where you read a book and feel somewhat satisfied, and then move on. It is a complete and proven knowledge. 'Jo ichcha kariho man maahi, prabhu pratap kachhu durlabh naahin' (With God’s Grace, whatever you desire is not difficult to obtain). I can say this with confidence that this is a power that works.

It works, doesn't it? How many of you have experienced this in your lives? Whatever you desire gets done, doesn't it? Extraordinary or not? Miracles happen or not? This is the thing. Otherwise, preachers give discourses, and the audience listens for a while, and then falls asleep. While listening they fall asleep, and sometimes, the speakers also speak while sleeping. I am not condemning anyone, but it has become a habit in our country to listen and to tell, without translating it into one's life.

When does it manifest in life? There are four things: Presence (Saanidhya), Closeness (Saameepya), Grace (Saarupya), Union (Saayujya). Saanidhya – Initially one sits in the presence of the master; then experiences closeness - there is no feeling of separation, that the master is someone, and I another. No! My very own. That is why there is also a shloka (Verse), 'Mannatha Shri Jagannatha' - my Lord is the Lord of the Universe, my Guru is the Universal Guru, my Soul is the universal Soul; this is the feeling. Once this feeling of intimacy and belonging awakens, Saameepya has occurred. Next is Saarupya, there is no difference between the master and I. Then comes Saayujya, Total merging, Union.

So, this Saanidhya is to take one to Saayujya.

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People say that they are unable to see God but I say I can see nothing but God

Dhule, 18 January 2012

What is the difference between paddy and flattened rice (poha)? Paddy is stiff and dry, whereas flattened rice is white, light and edible. What is the difference between rice and puffed rice (mudi)? Rice is stiff. It cannot be eaten straight. It needs to be soaked in water and cooked. When it becomes soft, it can be eaten. But puffed rice is hollow inside. It is edible. It has been cooked. In the same way, human life, through satsang, through seva (service), through a sense of belongingness, transforms from rice to puffed rice, and from paddy to flattened rice. This is divine grace. We blossom from within, become joyful - then life becomes worthwhile.

Otherwise, we cry for what we have, and for what we don't have. We keep crying. Some people cry that their marriage has not occurred. Some cry because of troubles with their marriage. Just be happy! Whatever you do, be happy. This is the message of dharma (religion).

Today, leaders of all religions are seated on the stage. They have come here to bless you all. The supreme saint of Vaarkari sect, Granthiji from the Gurudwara, and the Imam from the mosque have arrived.

This is India, a bouquet of all religions. We are all one. There is one light (noor). The colour of cows can be different, but the milk is of one colour. Milk is always white. Saints can be of different sects, but they have one view ('sab santan kaa ek mat'). What is that? Connect with God. And where is God? Not in the sky; God is in our hearts, within us. If you realize Him within, you will see only Him outside, everything becomes Him.

I often say, 'Log kehte hain, khuda nazar nahin aata, main kehta hoon khuda ke siva kuch nazar nahin aata' (People say that they are unable to see God; I say I can see nothing but God). Go and look in the eyes of each child, peer into the eyes of every old person, look into the eyes of the youth, within their restlessness, God dwells there, within everyone.

This is what Lord Krishna has said in the Bhagavad Gita, 'Yo maam pashyati sarvatra sarvam cha mayi pashyati, tasyaaham na pranashyaami sa cha me na pranashyati.' The person, who sees me everywhere and sees everything in me, will never perish; I am always with him and he is always with me.
My only objective in coming here is to remind you that God exists. He is not in some other place or someone who existed at a point in time - that is not the case. He is here, right now. God means the principle that is all pervading, omnipresent - that is God, and is in everyone, and is eternal. It is not as though He existed five thousand years or two thousand years ago, or existed at some point in time, but no longer exists. That is not so. He is present here and now, within us. This is all we need to remember.

If you ask, 'Guruji, what is the advantage of this?' To that I would say, 'What will you not gain?' Everything! Whatever we want, that work will get done spontaneously. There will be a sense of fulfillment; the body will remain healthy, there will be harmony in society, there will be peace, love, there will be an atmosphere of peace within the family, and whatever you desire will get done.

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Our lives should be rhythmic and harmonious

Solapur, 17 January 2012

What a beautiful atmosphere to behold, isn’t it! Taal Ninaad! The relationship that the Art of Living enjoys with Solapur is very old. Thirty years back, when I first thought of starting The Art of Living organization, I was in two minds; whether to start this movement or not. I could foresee that many people will benefit from this, but I was a little hesitant about getting into all this. I felt, I didn’t want to do anything, except meditate and be immersed in the adoration of God.

Then I had to take a decision at the railway station of Hubli. On adjacent platforms there were two trains, one heading towards Solapur and the other towards Bangalore. Had I gone to Bangalore, I would have not started The Art of Living organization. I would have remained in my company, doing meditation and yoga. And taking the train to Solapur, it was certain that I would have to lose all of this and do something.

So at the last moment, I was confused between Bangalore and Solapur. There were four others with me. And they had never seen me in a state of confusion like this before; whether to go or not go. But in that one moment, I had to make up my mind and came to Solapur.

Since I came to Sholapur, this sequence of Satsangs started. Where ever I am going, I can see people are so happy right now. Every tear that you are shedding is so pure, that even the angels are longing for it. These are the tears of love, joy, happiness and devotion.

The devotion for the Divine is not different to the devotion for the nation. Integrity and commitment to one's duty, both, should go together. If we are strong within, we can do our work well.

There needs to be a rhythm in life. If life goes out of rhythm and off-key then it will lose its harmony. Life needs to be led in a rhythmic and harmonious manner, this itself is knowledge. If devotion is the melody, then knowledge is the rhythm. When to do what, how to do it, how much to do and how much to refrain from doing, this wisdom is extremely essential in life.

We should change ourselves, taking our lives from discord to harmony. Our lives should be rhythmic and harmonious, then you will see how much peace, joy and happiness there is. A gloomy life means somewhere it went out of rhythm; the harmony was lost somewhere.

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Knowledge removes the darkness of ignorance in life

Pune, 15 January 2012

True education I believe is that by which the individual is strengthened and can be away from sorrow. If someone criticizes, one can listen to the criticism boldly, and when one has to offer criticism or comment, one can give them with patience and confidence, without hesitation. There should be no timidity, there should be joy, and a sense of mental fulfilment – this is knowledge. Knowledge removes the darkness of ignorance in life, makes you joyful. Without knowledge, we remain depressed in life. Whoever is depressed, understand that he lacks knowledge. What is the reason for sorrow? Whatever you have received, will eventually go away, we will leave it all behind. Nothing is going to stay here; everything will change. Nothing will remain static here, neither our body, nor our home, our profession, our prestige – we will go beyond all these one day. Then what is the fear about?

So, it is extremely necessary to eradicate ignorance. In many villages, people do not send their children to school. They do not study. Educated people are becoming scarce in the villages, in the backward regions. We need to impart education.

Similarly, in every region, we need to obtain knowledge. What food and how we should eat it, we have no knowledge of it. We eat only carbohydrates – potato, rice, roti – we only keep eating these. Potato is starch and carbohydrate, so is rice and roti. We get only one nutrient in our diet. By adding a little bit of lentils, the meal is not balanced. That is why acidity is generated, people fall sick, they get diabetes.

If you go to North India, what they eat is brinjal, potato, and tomato, only these three things. Besides this, they cook no other vegetable at home. If anything else is cooked, it is during festivals. So much oil and chillies, along with potato, brinjal and tomato. These three have zero nutritional value. They contain no minerals. Okra/Lady’s fingers (bhindi), ridge gourd (turai), bottle gourd (lauki), carrots and many other vegetables – we forget all these. There are so many vegetables in India – parval (pointed gourd) these are not grown. Different kinds of vegetables should be grown. One should have knowledge of food.

So, ignorance has to be eliminated, and next, injustice has to be put to an end; wherever there is injustice in the name of caste, in the name of religion. Recently, a communal violence bill is being introduced by the government. If you look at it, it is rather scary; a draconian bill. Even in the Lokpal Bill that is being introduced, one who lodges the complaint gets two years’ punishment, the person against whom the complaint is being lodged gets six months’ punishment!
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We are like a sesame seed with respect to this Universe

Mahasatsang at Pune, 14 January 2012

There is something about Makar Sankranti, Pune and me. Every year you do something around this time, and draw me here. So I will say again, 'Til gud gya, ani gode gode bola.'
Today it occurred to me that the sesame seed is black on the outside, and white on the inside. If it was white on the outside and black on the inside, it would have been a different matter. Today the sesame seed and jaggery has given a message to the country, 'Maintain purity inside.'
If you scrub the sesame seed, it will become white outside also. We are like a sesame seed with respect to this Universe. If you see, what is our significance in this universe; what is life? Next to nothing, like a sesame seed; a mere speck! We are minuscule. We need to remember this message.

We are tiny and sweet; delightful like sesame seeds with jaggery. So stay small and sweet and you will truly become big. And if you think you are very big and important in any field or aspect, the downfall will begin. This is the experiential truth. We see that this is what happens in the lives of thousands of people. The moment arrogance comes up, or the delusion that 'I am something', the decline begins. I am very powerful - that is it, power begins to diminish.

Here in Maharashtra lies the union of Shakti (strength) and Bhakti (devotion) - the Shakti of Shivaji and the Bhakti Tukaramji brought about the upliftment of India. It appears that people have forgotten this fact. Nowadays they are engaged only in the display of power.
Along with Shakti, Bhakti is also essential and strongly needed. I would say four things are needed: Shakti, Bhakti, Yukti (skill) and Mukti (freedom). If even one of these is lacking, life would not be successful.

To succeed in society, strength and skill are needed, and if you want to experience success in personal or spiritual life, devotion and liberation are needed. We need to move along with all four.

So this is the message: the union of Bhakti and Shakti. In our country this is what is required. This will strengthen the spirit of the people of the country.
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This nation is indebted to the Sanyasis of Ramakrishna Mission

12 January 2012

Aum Namah Pranavarthaya Shuddha Gnana Eka Amurtaye Nirmalaya Prashantaya Sri Dakshinamurtaye Namah.

Beautifully carved statues on the dais, and beautifully carved statues in the audience. The way you are sitting like a statue with rapt attention itself indicates that India is awakening. People go and sit for entertainment, but when they sit for any spiritual discourse, you find half of them dozing, their heads down, or half the time they are somewhere else. But, the attention with which we are all here indicates that we are moving in the right direction.

Swami Vivekanandji, has left the youth of this country with a dream. And when we carry this dream in our hearts, there is no other way than progress for the country. If you find lack of progress in this country in 200 districts from about 612 districts, it is because the Ramakrishna Mission has not reached there. If Naxalism or other violent activities are happening in some areas, it is because they have not had proper schooling.

You know when Kiran Bedi retired, it brought relief to many people. You can’t say she is a retired officer. There is no retirement for her. Now she has bounced back with an even bigger area of action. Today I see of all the prizes I give, five out of six are girls. Girls have really great emotive power, because they are charged and they can charge up the whole environment. They can inspire people. And if each woman of this country can come out of their comfort zone, they can bring a lot of change. When Kiran spoke of ‘comfort zone’, it felt as if she was giving an Art of Living discourse.

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Longing itself is God

Bangalore, 11 January 2012

Satsang means to stay with the truth. That is known as Sadhana also.

What is satsang? In our life what is the truth at this present time - this needs to be observed. What is the truth? Truth is ‘I am’.
The body exists and the breath is moving. Observe your body and breath. Observe the mind. What is the truth? Many thoughts are coming in to the mind and going away. Coming and going, rising and then quieting down, this is the tendency of the mind. In the intellect, some argument or reasoning is going on.
What were the decisions in life? What was the outcome of it? What was learnt and what was inferred? Pondering on these things is satsang.
Just doing bhajans is not satsang. Doing bhajans is also satsang, but not that alone. Sit and ponder, 'In my life, what truths have I discovered? What are my weaknesses and what are my strengths?'

Observe how the weaknesses are reducing and the strength is increasing. This is sadhana and this is the satsang you have to be in.
Your vivek (discrimination) is awakening; it was less previously, now it is one percent more! So there is progress in life. Whether slowly or quickly, it is happening.
When your focus is on the world, you will not see God. And when God is visible, the world becomes invisible. You can only see one of the two.
Instead of beholding the world 24 hours, if one can contemplate God even for 24 minutes, it brings so much solace and comfort. Whatever you do in life, for at least twenty four minutes in twenty four hours, if you sit quietly and think, 'This world is nothing; I want nothing from it. I have no expectations of this world' - just this thought draws the mind inward.
The mind will not withdraw inward as long as we desire position, prestige and wealth or appreciation from someone. For as long as one desires something, there is feverishness.
Even for a little while if we say, 'I want nothing from this world', then at that time vivek (discrimination) awakens and the mind becomes happy and peaceful.
This is indicative of the vision of God: ‘Prasanta-Manasam Hy Enam Yoginam Sukham Uttamam Upaiti Santa-Rajasam Brahma-Bhutam Akalmasam.'
Bramha consciousness, where there is no impurity, ignorance, confusion - such awareness, for a little while arises in our experience.
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I don't need to catch you because you all belong to me

Bangalore, January 10, 2012

The very meaning of Kailash is where there is only celebration, only joy, nothing else besides it. In the same way, Vaikunth is where Narayana resides, means a place where there is no lack of anything. Everything is in abundance, and there is all prosperity and all joy. That is Vaikunth. Are Kailash and Vaikunth somewhere far? Where are they? Right here!
And you sang a song Vishalakshi, meaning what? One with big eyes, who has a broad vision

Q: Dearest Guruji, it is said in Shiv Sutras - Gyanam Banda’. How can knowledge be a bondage?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You study that; I have spoken very well on that. Read the whole Shiv Sutra.

Q: Guruji, what should be the ratio of simplicity and ego in our life? How can I balance between these two? Because sometimes when I present myself simply, people take me lightly.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is your vivek, sense of discrimination. You know where to do, what to do. Best thing is to be spontaneous.

Q: Dear Guruji, my family is from Kashmir and we were forced to migrate to other places due to terrorism. When Kashmir had so much spiritual and religious knowledge and produced so many Saints and Sufis, why is there so much violence over there?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well times keeps changing. Fanaticism had entered Kashmir, but now the next generation of people are realizing it. So, keep your hold there. Go back to Kashmir valley. Still there are some people in the valley.
Now people are realizing that we have lost our Pandits here. It was such a nice atmosphere before, but now that is not there. So they are welcoming; you go back to Kashmir, buy land and be there or at least keep on visiting. Many people who have come back from Kashmir do not want to go back, that is the problem. Now the situations are different and you should go back and claim your rights there.

Q: Guruji, I want to be 100% both at my job and Art of Living. If I give 100% at one, then the other gets compromised. What do I do?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Need not be!
You know most of our trustees in Art of Living and Apex Body members all over the country, they have many other things. They do their business, their job and they are still very busy engaged. And there are thousands of teachers who do their business. Their businesses are doing very well and they are also teaching Art of Living courses. They are doing both. You should hear their experiences.
We had a Teachers Refresher Meet, and we had teachers from all over the country who came. There were 315 industrialists in one TRM alone and they are teaching courses. They said, ‘Guruji, before our business was dull and we were not doing anything. But now we are teaching the Art of Living course and we don't pay much attention to business, but it is also running very well.’ Some of them have made 4 to 5 times more turn over in their business. They were all sharing their experiences.
So, don't think they are contrary. Don't think either or. You can do both, this and that. Unless you see that you are ready to take a bigger responsibility for the nation and for the world. And you have very little requirement for yourself or no requirement, then you come and become full time and we will send you all over the place. But when you have some responsibilities and when you have some needs, you should do both.

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Intuition means that which simply comes up beyond reason

Bangalore, 9 January 2012

Q: Dear Guruji, I find it difficult to be natural with everyone. You have said we are closer to the Divine when we are natural. How can I be natural?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What makes you unnatural is the fear that somebody may criticize you.
Someone may think you are a fool. Why don’t you act like a fool for half a day? Then you will see that all the fear will disappear. Fear of committing mistakes makes you unnatural. Just see, it is okay to commit mistakes. If they are not big blunders, mistakes are okay. You should be afraid of committing blunders, but not small mistakes.

Q: Guruji, many times I promise you that I will never repeat the same mistake. I repeat it again, and I get very upset and I feel very bad after that.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is good. It is good to feel that pinch.
Once, twice, thrice or four times it happens, then the tenth time at least you will be aware of it and you will move away from it. Don’t worry, it is good to have that pinch, and keep promising me.

Q: Can going deep in sadhana and making people meditate take care of the problems of today’s world, of corruption and terrorism? Or do we need to make an effort on the physical level as well?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both! We need to make effort on the physical level and with the inner and spiritual strength. Both are essential.
They are like the eyes and ears when you are watching television. You need to see and you need to hear as well.

Q: Guruji, you said accept everybody and don’t leave them, just because they are not like you. But you have also said, if the company is affecting you, you can take yourself away from that company. Please throw some light as it seems like a contradiction.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, life is full of contradictions, and all the instructions will be contradictory. That is why it is the truth. That is where vivek (discrimination) is essential. You have to balance, see when, where, what!

Q: Dear Guruji, how to honor the Gunas and not indulge in them? Sometimes one is unable to resist the grip of indulgence. How to overcome this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The mind having an intention not to commit a mistake is like having a brake in the car. You are going somewhere and if there is a hand brake and it works well, then you put the brake anytime you want! And if there is no brake at all, you will be prone to accidents.
Similarly, when the mind says, I don’t want to do this or I shouldn’t do this, that is because it just promises joy but it doesn’t really deliver and gives pain.
Why something is bad? Because it gives pain to oneself and pain to someone else. That is the reason something is said as bad. It gives short term pleasure but long term pain to both you and to others.

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God exists and is listening to your pain

Mahasatsang at Kolkata

8 January

Today, the main purpose of my coming to Calcutta is to inaugurate Swami Vivekananda's one hundred and fiftieth birth anniversary celebrations.

Swami Vivekananda left behind a dream in the hearts of India's youth - the dream that India should walk with her head held high, in every field, whether it pertains to trade, religion, social justice, economics or politics. In every field, Indians should walk with their head held high; and to bring this dream to reality is the responsibility of the Indian youth.

A hundred and fifty years ago Swamiji came at a time when people did not give any importance to India's knowledge and religion. Our religion was considered to be a superstition. Swami Vivekananda presented our religion from a scientific standpoint and accorded it its rightful place in the world.

Art of Living has taken this inspiration forward and spread the light of our Indian culture and spirituality in one hundred fifty two countries of the world. Many volunteers have rendered service, whether in Iraq or Sri Lanka. Wherever seva (service) was needed, people got involved and are continuing to get involved in large numbers. Before I arrived here, I visited our de-addiction center where thousands of young men and women have been infused with the strength of freedom from addiction. The smile on the faces of those men and women gave me immense satisfaction.

It is said that if we can wipe the tears of even one person, we should consider our life worthwhile. But here, seeing that the tears of hundreds of thousands of people are being transformed into smiles, my joy is increasing even more. I want that all those who are gathered here should reaffirm the sankalpa in their minds that we want to see a beautiful, clean, secure India and a strong society and we will all work for it together.

Government keeps changing, but the government alone cannot do this work. If corruption is to be abolished, the common man will have to take the sankalpa, and listen to the hidden call of Swami Vivekananda within you, and propel it forward.

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There is only one God everywhere

Germany, 5 January 2012

Q: Guruji, do you believe that prisons are right?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I consider prisons to be like hospitals. Like when someone’s body is sick, you take them to the hospital; like that, when someone’s actions are sick, they go to prison, only to get better and come back.
But, unfortunately, today prisons have become a Criminal Idea Exchange Bureau. People get in there and they come out as bigger criminals, because it becomes a bank for them to understand crime.
Originally, putting someone into a room was meant to give them deep rest. When someone is active all the time, working and working, he gets so stressed that it is natural to commit mistakes.
What is Crime? Mistake of action.
So to correct that, they go to correctional homes. Nowadays in America, they no longer call it prison; they call it The Correctional Homes. You are supposed to go there, meditate, become hollow and empty and come back happily.
This doesn’t happen. So we need to do that, teach people meditation in all the prisons. Then you will see, better people come out of there. And this is what is happening. Lots of prison courses are happening in Art of Living, all over. Anyone who wants to get involved in it are most welcome, go ahead!

Q: When can a householder walk away from his wife to take up Sanyas?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: With her permission only!
If your wife says, ‘you can go, do whatever you want to’, then you do whatever you want to. But if you have responsibility, better fulfil that, isn’t it!

Q: Have you been in a casino before, just for fun?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I think I create one every evening, where everyone sings and dances and are happy. No, I have never been in a casino, where people gamble, isn’t it?

Q: Why do you allow singing during silence?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Singing in some strange way brings certain calmness to the mind. There are courses where we don’t sing and we go into deeper silence. That is in an advanced stage.
This is the beginning, where you are just keeping silence for three to four days. In the evening, it is good to have some music, so that it soothes the system. And if the music is there, the right brain activity is also stimulated. That is why we need both, some intellectual discussion, understanding and music, so that right and left side of the brain gets balanced.

What Sri Sri Said Today

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Let go and take refuge in the quiet corner of your heart

Germany, 3 January 2012

Q: How to overcome insecurity?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Insecurity is because you feel there is nobody for you. Wake up and see there is so much humanness, there is so much love in the world, and you don’t need to feel insecure.
You are walking in the street and somebody needs some help. They cannot carry their bag; won’t you go and help them? Right?
You know when we feel insecure? When we feel there is no humanness, there is no compassion, nobody is kind and nobody is friendly. Only then we feel the insecurity.
If you wake up and see, in this world there is so much love, so much compassion, so much a sense of belongingness, then there is no need of insecurity, okay!
Pranayama, breathing techniques and meditation definitely helps you to get over this feeling of insecurity. It has already happened. How many of you already feel that you have gotten over this feeling of insecurity? (Many raise their hands)

Q: How do I know if a relationship is good for me or not? Is he just pushing my buttons and I need to learn from this, or is he just not good for me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well I have no experience in this, so I can’t tell you.
Before you judge someone else first see how you relate to them. How big a heart you have, how much you can accommodate a person, and how much you can influence someone to change. This is what you need to look into.
Sometimes when you get doubt, the doubt is always about something that is positive. Have you noticed that? We doubt the honesty of a person but we never doubt the dishonesty of a person.
If someone asks you, ‘are you happy?’ We doubt, we say, ‘well, I am not sure’, but we never doubt our depression. Isn’t it so? Our doubt is always about something that is positive. So, see from that angle also.

Q: Dear Guruji, how to build a real pure relationship with others.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Best not to try to build any relationship. Just be yourself. Be natural and be simple. Relationships develop naturally.
If you try to build a relationship that is when you become a little artificial. Then your behavior becomes artificial which is not natural.
Just imagine someone is trying to impress you, don’t you notice that?
If someone is trying to impress you, what do you do? You move away.
See what you like, that is what others like as well. You like someone to be very honest, open, natural, unassuming with you, correct?! That is exactly what others also want from you.
Suppose you are a boss, what type of assistants or subordinates would you like? Someone who is open! Right? And that is also what your boss wants.
Don’t try hard to impress your boss, or impress your girl friend or boy friend. Then everything goes bad. Best is to be yourself, to be natural, to be forgiving and to be in the present moment. It makes a big difference
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Every time you are confused you grow one step higher

Germany, 2 January 2012

Q: Are our emotions linked with age?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. They are linked with hormones in the body and they are also linked with time, age and so many other factors.

Q: Guruji, when are you going to come to my city?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh, don’t ask me when I will come. I have everything in abundance, except time. I want to go to many places but time is very short. I have not gone to many places in a long time. I have not visited Africa in a long time. I have not been to England in the last five years. I have to go to Gaza; never been to Portugal, never been to Ukraine. I have invitations from so many places. From South America, they are asking me every day. What to do?!

Q: Guruji, where do souls come from?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Where do all these planets come from? Where do these flowers come from? Where do animals come from? Where do you come from? It is amazing how in the universe there are so many types of people, so many flowers, so many fruits, so many animals, so many mosquitoes, so many viruses; my goodness! It is such an amazing world, right?!

Q: How can I have more confidence?You are in the right place. Keep doing these things, asanas, pranayama, meditation will bring up the confidence.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are in the right place. Keep doing these things; asanas, pranayama, meditation will bring up the confidence.

Q: Dear Guruji, God created this world but who created God?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I will answer this question but first you should tell me, where is the beginning point of a tennis ball?
We have linear thinking, which means everything has to begin somewhere and end somewhere. Something begins and something ends. So the creation happened and one day everything is going to end. This is linear thinking.
But in the East, there is no linear thinking, it is spherical thinking.
They say three things are uncreated and they will never die or never end. What are they?
One is the Divine Energy which you may call God. It is not created and it is never going to end, like space. Can you tell me which is the beginning point of the space and where does it end? No!
Similarly, matter or this whole universe. The universe is ‘Anadi’, means without a beginning and ‘Ananta’, means without an end. So also the souls, the life has no beginning and no end. It appears to end but it is going to begin again. It is like the waves in the ocean. One wave comes and it appears to end, but it is coming back again. The same water goes and comes back again. So, souls have no beginning and no end, the Divine or God has no beginning or no end and the universe has no beginning or no end. In fact all three are one.
So if you want to see God you should stop seeing the world.

You know in what sense? Like a quantum scientist. If a quantum scientist had to see this flower, he would say there is no difference between the leaf, the flower and the stem because everything is made up of atoms. There is no difference, it is all one. Any one point anywhere on the flower will work. Similarly, a quantum physicist says, to find out your DNA just a drop of your saliva is good enough, or just one pinch of skin. It is all the same, this is what a scientist would say.
This is quantum science.
But on other hand, the petals are not stem and the stem is not the leaf, they are all different. So if you want to see God, just see the whole Universe as energy and that is it.

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Meditation is a journey from sound to silence

Germany, 1 January 2012
It is so nice to be back in Berlin.

So today we are talking about meditation, right!

What is meditation? Why do we want meditation?
In order to go deep within ourselves, to understand ourselves or to learn anything about ourselves we need to be in a cordial and homely atmosphere. A formal atmosphere is not congenial.
Do you all feel at home? Why don’t you take just a moment to greet the person on either side of you and behind you.

Now tell me, how many of you think that meditation is concentration? No! You will be disappointed, meditation is not concentration. It is de-concentration.
To do any work, you need concentration but to relax and expand you don’t need concentration. Relaxation is the mother of concentration and so if you relax well, you are able to concentrate better. Isn’t that so?
Now how do we relax? That is what we will see this evening.
As I am speaking, do you notice what is happening in your mind? Just notice, your mind says, ‘yes’, or ‘no’. Do you see a dialogue happening within you? It is very important to notice this dialogue.
So there are simple principles that we need to understand about meditation. Before we go into that, let’s see what the benefits of meditation are.

How many of you would like to know the benefits of meditation?
The first benefit of mediation is it improves the bio-energy in our body; in our system.
Have you noticed, sometimes you meet someone and for no reason you don’t want to talk to them. Whereas with some other people whom you have not met so often, still you feel some sort of closeness with them and you feel comfortable. This is because of the positive energy.
Meditation creates positive and harmonious energy around us.
The second benefit is it improves health. There are number of researches on how meditation helps in hypertension, diabetes, heart problems, skin problems, nervous system problems and a number of other problems.
Third, meditation can help one to keep a pleasant mood. It is a big help in preventing many of the mental illness and physical illness.
Apart from the health benefits, meditation improves concentration. It helps one to be in the present moment. The mind vacillates between the past and the future. We are either angry about the past or anxious about the future, all the time. So meditation helps keep the mind from swinging between the past and the future to be more in the present.

Meditation is a journey from sound to silence, from movement to stillness. I would say that meditation is food for the soul.
Music is food for emotions; knowledge is food for the intellect, entertainment is food for the mind and meditation is the food for our soul or spirit.

So let us do a short meditation. Let’s nurture our emotions with music first and then we will learn a little more.

(A short meditation followed)

There are a number of meditations in CDs that I have made. In the beginning you can put on a CD and meditate. Later on you can do it by yourself. And some breathing techniques, pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya will all help you go deep in meditation.

Do you have any questions? I will take some questions.

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