Most of what we convey to people is simply by our presence

New Delhi, February 26, 2012

(Satsang commenced with bhajans by a group of singers followed by an inspiring discourse by Poojya Swami Chidananda Saraswatiji).

Poojya Swamiji has already spoken on what the mystery of life - the Art of Living is.
Swamiji is so simple, he changed his schedule to be here with us and bless everyone. Many thanks to you!
Okay, do you all participate in singing when the bhajans are going on? How many of you were not participating? How many of you were not singing along but just listening?
In satsang it does not matter if you sing well or not, just join with everyone and sing together, that is all! Someone asked me just yesterday at the Hindu college, ‘What is the essence behind doing keertan/bhajan? What is the purpose of ‘naam’ (mantra chanting)?’
I asked them, ‘If someone abuses you, is there any effect of it on your body?’
They said, ‘Yes, absolutely!’
What happens? The mind becomes heated, there is anxiety, something happens in the stomach. In the entire body something happens and negative energy is felt, isn’t it?
If there is so much power in an abuse that it can impact your body so deeply, do you think there is no power in the name of God?

Read more at What Sri Sri Said TodayThe Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

Righteousness gives you a comfort that nothing else can

Bangalore, February 22, 2012

Jindal Awards at Delhi

(Sri Sri was invited as the chief guest, and to award the prestigeous Sitaram Jindal Awards 2012. The Jindal Awards is intended to acknowledge outstanding service for Indian citizens, with a motto of social upliftment. Sri Sri awarded the prize to Anna Hazare who was one of the 27 recipients of the prestigious award. Sri Sri also spoke to the congregation and said that, righteousness gives you a comfort that nothing else can).

Om Shanti my dear ones who are here to receive the award; on my other hand my dear ones who are giving the award, and the many eyes and ears who have come to witness this.
A budding youth politician came to me in Chennai and he asked me a question, “Guruji, what is the point of being good? What is the use of being good? We see all those who are doing corrupt practices and who are ruthless, are happy. They are moving in their life very well. Why should I be good? Please tell me.”
He said, “See, for example Ravana. He enjoyed all his life and when he died, he attained Moksha. Duryodhana, he ruled the whole kingdom. He ruled India all his life and when he died, he also went to heaven before Yudhisthira. So what is the point of being good? Why you say we should be good?”
This is a big challenging question for anybody - any historian or philosopher. Why should one be good?
I told him, “Look, forget about Duryodhana and Ravana. Have you done something wrong?”
He said, "Yes, Guruji."
“So when you did something wrong, that day could you sleep? Did you enjoy your food?”
“Guruji how can I do that? When I do something wrong, I cannot sleep. I go drink and then get myself drowned in unconsciousness.”
“See, that is what it is. When you do something wrong, you cannot have peace of mind. You cannot sleep. You cannot enjoy the things that life has provided you. So it’s not that being good will give you some reward sometime in the future, it rewards you right now.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

I am the answer to all the questions

Bangalore, February 21, 2012

Q: Guruji, please tell us what is Chitta?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Chitta is like Aakaasha (sky), that which is present everywhere inside us. Consciousness is also known as Chitta – Chaitanya Shakti (conscious energy). Chiti, Chaitanya, Chitta – just like water, ice and vapor – are all different forms of the same Chitta. When it solidifies, it is called Chitta, when it becomes fluid it is called Chiti.

Q: Why do we ring the bell in a temple?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Because there are so many thoughts wandering in your mind, with the sound of the bells you come into the present. Your thoughts come to a halt.
The drummers beat large drums, play the Naadaswaram, shehnai, bells, and conch. All these sounds are made so that your mind becomes quieter.
Your mind is like a kid. When a kid is crying, you cry louder than the kid and the kid becomes quiet. Have you noticed that? In the same way, when there is so much noise in your mind and too many thoughts, they blow the conch, ring the bell and with all the sounds, the mind comes to the present moment.
With so much noise around, the mind cannot think. It cannot wander. So it is used as a technique.
All outside sounds suppress the sound of the mind for a little while. This short-term suppression should lead the mind to silence. Once it goes into the depths of meditation, all words feel burdensome. But when the mind is full of words, and you are troubled by too many thoughts, these sounds bring relief. Have you seen in the Buddhist monastery, there is a big gong? They ring the gong and that vibration will keep you silent. So, from sound to silence, the journey is very important.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

You should not ask proof of Divine’s love for you

Bangalore, February 18, 2012

Q: Guruji, sometimes you tell us, ‘Karmanye Vadhikaraste’ (action) and sometimes you tell us ‘Vishraam mein Ram hai’ (rest). Should I be resting or should I be performing action?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Opposite values are complimentary. If you work, you will be able to rest well; if you rest, you will be able to work well. Without doing any work, if you just lie around, you will not even be able to rest, and if you keep working without taking rest, you will not be able to do your work either. So rest and activity both go hand in hand.

Q: Guruji, does one attain knowledge according to his karma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
For attaining knowledge the desire for knowledge should be awakened. Now if you ask me, is the desire for knowledge based on one’s karma? Yes! But knowledge eliminates karma.

Q: Guruji, what all should be done to maintain discipline in one’s life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First thing is there should be a desire in the mind to be disciplined, once that is there then consider it already done.
 Discipline is there because of three reasons:
First is love. Although in love there is no need for discipline, but through love, discipline can be achieved.
Second is fear. Suppose you say to someone, ‘If you don’t observe discipline, you will fall sick,’ then that person will become disciplined out of fear of sickness.
Third is greed. Suppose you tell someone, ‘If you don’t observe discipline, you will incur a loss,’ that person will become disciplined out of greed.
 So it is better to have discipline out of unconditional love; that is the best.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

Love for the country and love for God are not separate

Bangalore, February 17, 2012

Happiness should also be controlled. When we are happy, we should channelize our happiness. Sukh mein seva dukh mein tyaag – memorize this formula.
When you are happy, do some sevice, and when you are sad or miserable then surrender your sorrow. If you do not have the attitude of surrender, sorrow will never leave you. If one does not surrender even in sorrow, then there is no way out for that person. Surrender and service, both should go together in life.
The happiness that we are experiencing must be given a direction.
See how joyful we are – we have been meditating since morning and we all feel so good. We must think, what do we have to do so that everyone may experience this joy?
Do seva, we have to build a corruption-free, violence-free, and oppression-free society. For that we have to fight against ignorance. There are a variety of superstitions in our country and we have to eliminate those. There is illiteracy which we have to remove. We have to fight against ignorance.

To all those people who are watching (the webcast), I would tell them too that they should meditate for a little while every day. Meditation increases joy, keeps the body healthy, intellect sharp and makes one intuitive - whatever is about to happen gets reflected in the mind beforehand.
Embrace all bad thoughts. Why? Because if you try to chase them away, they will persist. So if you shake hands with them, they will immediately go away.
Kshane Kshane Uparameti – slowly, gradually, as the mind is released from the stream of thoughts, within two to four minutes, or ten to fifteen minutes, the mind settles. As we continue to practice this, such a joy and peace will arise and honesty will become the nature of our life. We will not have to make any effort to be honest; honesty will become our nature. We must keep ourselves open.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

A Guru is a mirror

Bangalore, February 15, 2012

Welcome back home everybody! You all have come from long distances, so rest well.
After many years we are having Shivarathri in the ashram. Usually Shivarathri program needs a bigger venue, but we thought somehow we will fit in and we will accommodate. We keep needing bigger places all the time. If there is place in the heart, there is place everywhere. But this means that you all will have to take a little bit of responsibility as well.

Q: Guruji, here in Russia some people say that they have found the Vedas in Russia too. Can you please comment on this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yeah, it is possible.
Once upon a time it was everywhere in the world, it was in South America, Mexico, in Peru. It was in all these places. The Mayan civilization in Peru went from Sri Lanka actually. So the whole world was connected at one point of time in history. That is why the Vedas are not to one particular country or language, it is universal.
If you listen to Russian language, the expert scholars say that the language has a lot of Sanskrit words. So does German.

Q: How to take a sankalpa and how to make one’s sankalpa strong and effective?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Being hollow and empty!
When sankalpa arises in your heart then take the sankalpa and expand your consciousness with the context of time and space in the vast universe. In this huge universe, in this huge time, I want this little sankalpa to happen and I am confident it will happen by God’s grace. This is what has to be done.
Take a desire and feel it will be heard.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

For knowledge to transform into experience you have to meditate

Neelamangala, February 14, 2012

If there is water available but no one is thirsty, who would drink water? Isn’t it? Similarly, the questions ‘Who am I?’ ‘What do I want?’ should first dawn in our minds.

What does everyone want? Everyone wants to be peaceful, happy and contented. Who doesn’t want to be happy? Now, what is the way to be happy?
If the mind keeps wavering between the past and the future, how can it be peaceful? We need to put effort to bring our mind to the present moment. This is called Yoga.

Maharishi Patanjali has said ‘Yoga Chitta Vrutti Nirodha’ (Yoga is the act of restraining or freeing the mind from the clutches of its modulations). There are five types of modulations of the mind, which can be painful or not painful.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

Spirituality is retaining a child-like nature even after growing up

Bangalore, February 13, 2012

Mahasatsang at Banaswadi, Bangalore

Do you know what satsang means?
Satsang means being natural, informal and simple.
Your smile is sufficient for me. There is no need to burst crackers for me. I just want you to be happy and natural. In a group of ten children, if you pinch one child and if it starts crying, all the children in the group would start crying. Though the pain is inflicted to one, all of them would start crying. All of us were like that earlier, isn’t it? Do you all have the memory of being a small child? Do you remember how your heart used to respond? If someone used to get hurt, was it not hurting you? If another person got hurt, it used to hurt us as well. However, as we started growing older, how did we lose this? What have we become? It is a big question that we have to ask ourselves.
Do you know what the spiritual path is? It is retaining that child-like nature even after growing up. If we do this much and if we keep our hearts clean, all that we wish for will come true. Not only what we wish for but we also get the ability to fulfill the desires of others.
Our heart should respond like a child. All of us have a small child hidden in us. We should awaken it. Now, you might get a question. If we get that innocence back then people might misuse us. Is it not? Don’t think that way. Nothing like that is going to happen.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today

The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

Every life has a purpose

Bangalore, February 12, 2012

Isn’t this bhajan so wonderful (referring to a verse by Basavanna, a 12th century philosopher from Karnataka)? It says that the body, mind and possessions belong to the Divine. Where is the need for worry? The sign of a devotee is one who doesn’t worry about anything. There will be good and bad times in life but you must keep yourself balanced.

If there are tears in the eyes due to devotional peaks, the mind gets purified. Knowledge purifies the intellect. Charity purifies wealth. Yoga and Ayurveda purify the body. Seva (service) purifies karma and meditation purifies the soul.

To purify the intellect, listen to knowledge. What is knowledge? It is the awareness that everything is temporary and I am the witness to everything that is happening. Let my mind merge with the Self. Mind is the wave; the Self is the ocean. We need to constantly direct our mind inward. Then you will see that all worries disappear and the mind becomes empty.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

Almighty never denies you self-realization

Bangalore, 7 February 2012

Q: Guruji, the season is changing once again. Can you please tell us the importance of ‘Ahar Vihar’, food and lifestyle to be maintained with every season. How does it impact us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ancient people have done a lot of research on that. Also the modern nutritionists have done quite a bit of research, and if you go and Google, you find a lot of things on what to eat in this season. Today all knowledge is available on the fingertips, correct!
According to Ayurveda there are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha seasons. Now when the summer comes, it is the Pitta that will go high, so you have to take things which calms the Pitta.
Nature is such that it produces only those things which are good for that season. Like in winter pumpkins and gooseberries grow. These are necessary for winter and in summer, they cut watermelons and sugarcanes and make sugarcane juice. This is the season of watermelon. Watermelon never comes in winter and they would not grow watermelon in winter. Watermelon comes up only in this season, now.
So the fruits, vegetables and everything, nature has done it in such a way to suit us according to the time and season. But now, we have gone so far away from nature and our body has also gotten adjusted to that. Otherwise when you are in a climate where bananas, papayas and mangoes grow, there apples do not grow. But now we eat apples also here. We bring apple from other regions. Where apples are grown, bananas don’t grow there in the same climate. Pears, apples, peaches, berries, strawberries and cherries, they all grow in one climate. Is it not?

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today

The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

Deep meditation is like being nothing and being nobody

Bangalore, 6 February 2012

Q: As a mother, how can I make my children more creative and less of information junkies?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: More human interaction. Allow the children to play with more kids. Get them to do some service activities. Make them do some work and make them mix with people of all socio-economic strata.

Q: Guruji, I am a young girl and a student. When I ask my parents, what should be my dharma, they say studies. Isn’t playing part of my dharma? Please guide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! Study while you study and play while you play.

Q: Guruji, if I do your work, can I get some discount on my bad karma and bonus on my good karma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Definitely!

Read More at What Sri Sri Said Today
The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

The intelligent spend their time in fun, music and literature

February 05, 2012

Book Launch: 2012-The Real Story by D. K. Hari & D. K. Hema Hari

There is a lot of scientific data, very good data in this book. I think everyone should have this book and the youngsters, the youth should read it. There are a lot of pictures and it is interesting.

Share this book with people, because there is so much fear about this year that the world is going to come to an end. It is not going to happen that way. I have been saying this all the time that the world is not going to come to an end. Don’t worry!

‘Kavya Shastra Vinodena Kalo Gachchhati Dhiimatam’ – There is a proverb in Sanskrit which says that the intelligent spend their time in fun, music and literature and the unintelligent ones spend their time in arguments, fights and being miserable. There are very intelligent people here, so we will hear the drums now!

Now, we have a drum performance (by Elitsa Todorova). She is a very famous drummer from Bulgaria and had performed at the thirtieth anniversary celebrations (at Berlin) as well. We have a dance performance by children after that. Let us all watch and listen to that.

Satsang continued with impactful singing performances by Elitsa Todorova, on the occasion of International Women's Conference 2012

The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

Meditation is moving from sound to silence

February 04, 2012

Satsang commenced with a beautiful Piano performance by artist Ingrid, on the occasion of the International Women's Conference 2012

Meditation is moving from sound to silence. What can we do when the piano is being played? We can just close our eyes, relax and sink into the music.
We will combine the music and meditation.
Meditation is what? Deep relaxation. So, we will sit, relax, keep our eyes closed and let the music flow through us. Our whole body is anyway hollow and empty and the music can fill it.

For a few minutes, everyone just sit, relax and meditate. When you listen to music, it is better to just be with the music. Usually, what happens is that we put on the radio and television and we keep talking. Music keeps going on or we sit in a performance with eyes open. We are just watching what is happening here and there. So we are not really absorbing the music or taking hundred per cent advantage of the music. To me, when you listen to music, you should just relax. Close your eyes and relax. When you are listening to flute music, you should feel that music is flowing within you. Through sound you can relax. Similarly, if you are listening to piano, it can be so meditative and so relaxing. This is the art of listening to music. It is very good!

Q: What is the best advice to give to young children?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: God has given you the greatest gift, your smile. Don’t let it be dropped by the adults. Maintain it when you grow old also. So, deepen your roots and broaden your vision.
Life is like the tree. The roots are old but the shoots are new. Life needs to be combined with old and new. Only old is no good and only new is no good. Life is a combination of the ancient and modern. What do you think?

The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation

Anything that uplifts your spirit is spirituality

Bangalore, 3 February 2012

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Inaugural Address at the International Women’s Conference 2012:

Wow! Surrounded by powerful women on the stage and in the audience! It is very difficult to speak. It is said that it is wise to keep quiet when women are in power.
Trade, technology, truth and traditions need revival again and again. If trade fallacies are not attended to again and again, if it is not revived or revisited and if we continue with the old trade policies, then trade can never progress. Many business women here will understand what I am saying. It is the same with technology.

Today, in the age of mobile phones you cannot still hang on to the phones with the cords; the land-line phones. The present generation does not even know how difficult it was to make a phone call thirty to forty years ago. We had to book a call and wait for the operator to call us back and connect us. One could possibly go to that place and even come back by the time the operator called back! It could be a city fifty kilometers away but we had to wait for two hours to get a connection.

However, technology has improved today. We now have mobile phones. At the tip of our fingers, we can connect to anywhere in the world. As one of our speakers just said, we are advancing in technology because we are updating it every day. Technology needs to be updated. Similarly, the truth about ourselves and our lives need to be updated. We need to revisit them and ask ourselves these questions again and again, ‘What do I want?’ ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ ‘Am I happy?’

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
The Art of living
 © The Art of Living Foundation

When we violate the laws of nature then we suffer

Bangalore, 1 February 2012
Q: What is the significance of Arghya (offering water to the sun)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Water is symbol of love. In fact, in Sanskrit, it is synonymous to love.
‘Apa’ means water and it also means love. That is why, someone very close to you, what do you call them? Apta – means very dear. Apa and Apta are very close.
So, giving water is not important, feeling the connection with the sun is important.
What people used to do was they used to hold water in their hands and let the water leak out of the hand slowly, and for that much time they used to do sun gazing. You look at the sun, gaze and allow the water to seep down. So you need to know timings - It will take a couple of minutes, maybe two or three minutes for the water to leak out. Till that time, you gaze at the sun and let the water leak out and you will see that your body gets energized.
That was the technique behind it. Not just giving water to the sun like that, it will not work.
Q: Guruji, you had said that this universe was created by the union of Prakriti (nature) and Paramatma (Supreme Being/God). So going back to the Paramatma, who is Poorna Anand (supreme and absolute bliss) how did this sankalpa (thought/intention) arise in Him?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is there in the Upanishads that earlier there was only Paramatma and He felt that He was alone, and He wanted to become many, so He became many. The intention happened on its own ‘ekoham bahusyama’.
Sankalpa is not a deviation. It is not considered as a deviation. When a seeker (sadhak) transcends from the small mind to the Big Mind, then he considers sankalpa as a hindrance. But from the point of view of the Big Mind, it is a step to go further. So if you think why did sankalpa arise in the Paramatma, He should remain unwavering (nirvikalpa) – this is not so. Sankalpa is also Paramatma, nirvikalpa is also Him and vikalpa is also Him. Like in an ocean, waves arise on their own, in Paramatma, a thought arose to become many, so He became many. Different types of nature, different types of people and different types of intelligence were created.
Day before yesterday, I was watching a National Geographic documentary on the creation of Earth. It said that about 400 billion years ago, there was only gas. Gas started spinning and fire erupted. Then from fire, water arose and then the Earth was formed.
I suddenly realized, ‘Oh this has been said in the Vedas! What new have they said?
In our Vedic knowledge, it is said in the form of shloka - In the space, first there was air, from the air fire arose, from fire water, and from water earth was created. The idea behind giving water to fire is that we go back to ourselves. From water to fire, fire to air and then, we do pranayama after giving arghya to the sun - we go to the air element. From the air we go to the space and then sit in meditation.
All these are different types of stories; examining them more deeply reveals something new.

Read more at What Sri Sri Said Today
The Art of living
© The Art of Living Foundation