Need to move away from fanaticism

Day and night, I am also thinking on how to make people drop these minority-majority differences and come together as one human race, one human family. I think we can do this through education.
Fanaticism is the biggest problem in the world today. The fanatics or terrorists have made all of us take off our shoes and slippers in the airport. What the temples or churches couldn’t make us do, the terrorists have done – make us take off our shoes, belt, and coats at the airport. It is such a sorry state of affairs.
Harmony in diversity should be part of our education everywhere. Singapore is such a fine example of this. Here, the Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists, all live in harmony, and for this we must really salute our past Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. He put his foot down and said, 'We all have to live together here'. It is such a great example.
I don’t like the word "tolerance". You know why? Tolerance means you don’t like something but you are still tolerating it. For example, you don’t like Protestants, Muslims, or Buddhists, but you tolerate them. No! We must love and appreciate and honor each other. The world is like a bouquet of flowers. So many traditions are there on this planet. Even if one tradition goes out of this planet, it’s a loss to world heritage.
You know, when the genocide was being carried out on the Yezidis in Iraq recently, it was the 73rd time it was happening. It had happened 72 times already! They were 27 million once upon a time. Today, they have been reduced to a mere 1 million. So some of them came to see me saying, "Please help us, there are 15,000 of our people, Yezidis, trapped in the Sinjar mountains with no water, no food, and nobody wants to help us".
So, Art of Living stood by them. We collected, in just 4 weeks, 120 tons of food grains and other materials which we air-lifted to that place. Nobody was even willing to air-lift that. So I went personally to America and spoke to the State department. We asked them to call Iraq and speak to the Kurdish government, and we successfully air-lifted that relief materiel and I am glad to say that we could save those 15,000 lives, who would otherwise have starved to death.
I told this small minority of Yezidi people that they have to save their culture, and preserve their heritage. They have a 5000-year-old culture. Of course, they are part of the world's heritage. There is no point converting people by pointing swords. This is what we need to tell people who are creating such a big havoc in the world today.
Let's all join together and brainstorm for greater ideas on how we can bring about this change. What do you all say? Religious education is essential, but not fanatic education. We have to move away from fanaticism.

Yoga: A New Dimension

Wow... and the celebration continues (of the International Yoga Day). Usually, celebrations are with balloons and champagne, and people have lots of things to eat, but this celebration has been different. In this particular celebration, people came with empty stomachs. All around the world, people fasted in the morning to come and do yoga, and they did yoga and they are happy. So the celebration today has been a celebration with a difference. No balloons, no pollution, but everyone coming together in a spirit of celebration.

True celebration begins from within. It is not a cosmetic celebration, but something that dwells up from deep within. And yoga is that which creates an informal atmosphere; an atmosphere like a family get-together.

Do you all feel at home here? Why not we take just a moment to greet the person behind you and next to you? Shall we do that?

We convey more through our vibrations than through our words. Our communication happens from a deeper level of our existence, and yoga is uniting with that.

You can hear a talk on love for two hours and you may not feel it. But just one glance from a baby or a puppy conveys that to you in no time. So true communication happens from a deeper level. And this communication is not just between two people or a few people. It is between us and this entire existence, and that is yoga. Yoga is not just doing some exercise. Yoga is much more. It is to bring a quality to our life. It is to expand our awareness, sharpen our intellect, and enhance our intuitive ability.

We are all gifted with sixth sense, but we seem to be losing it in the hustle bustle of life.

35 years ago when I would talk about meditation and yoga, people would say, 'This is not for us. It is for some others out there'.

The opinion of the general population of the world was that yoga is not something normal. How many of you have had this experience where you have encountered a lot of prejudice to this ancient discipline? (Some in the audience raise their hands)

Yoga means union. Do you know that the word yoke (which essentially means to unite) comes from yoga? Yoga unites our hearts, mind, body and spirit, and it unites us with the people around us.

Now, if you progress deeper into this field (of yoga), you will say, 'This is nonsense. Yoga is nonsense'.

Are you surprised? Are you shocked? (Everyone in the audience says, 'Yes')

Yoga is all nonsense!


This is true my dear because there is no two. You can only unite two things when they are separate. When there is no two, and when nothing is separate, where is the question of uniting; unity is an illusion. This is called Gyaan Yoga: there is no two, we are all one.

Uniting implies that there is an effort. If you had to unite the right hand with the left hand, it appears as an effort. But wake up and see, they are your own hands, they are already one. You cannot say, 'I am uniting my hands', they are already one. This is Gyaan Yoga.

Bhakti Yoga means - there is no other, everything and everyone is a part of me. A sense of reverence and deep love for all that is, is called Bhakti Yoga.

Then comes Karma Yoga. Doing anything with passion, with full attention to it, is Karma Yoga. Now we play many roles in life, but are we playing every role with passion, with responsibility, and with care and concern? This is Karma Yoga. Hath Yoga is (when you think you cannot do a particular thing, yet) stretching beyond your perceived ability.

So all these are the different types of yoga.

We are all one: this is what Quantum Physics and Quantum Mechanics also says. If you ask a Quantum Physicist, he will says, 'This is all just wave function', and this is exactly what Gyaan Yoga is.

In life we need both, an understanding of the Quantum Physics (i.e., an understanding of the absolute) and Classical Chemistry (i.e., an understanding of relativity).

There has been a big confusion in this field. I have had many people ask me, 'Why is it that India, in spite of having such great wisdom, has gone back in the last few centuries'.

This is because there was a confusion between Classical Chemistry and Quantum Physics. What we need to know is that they both have their place, and they both are essential.

See, in this hall, everything is made up of wood: this is Quantum Mechanics. At the same time, the door is not the floor, the floor is not the ceiling, and ceiling is not the sofa: this is Classical Chemistry. Both have their place, both are true, but there is a distinction. And seeing the distinction is called Viveka. Seeing what is temporary and what is permanent in life, and what we need to do and what we should avoid doing, this is Viveka.

Now after hearing all these things, you might think, 'Oh my God, this appears to be so difficult'. I tell you, just relax, yoga is fun. Yoga is something that brings humility and humor, both. And both are your very nature.

If we had more humility and humor, this world would have been a very different place. Don't you agree with me? All the wars are because of ego, and lack of humility and humor. Just a small word from somebody can cause such uproar in the world. Simple things have caused huge disaster because we lack humor. Yoga is serious and at the same time it is full of fun.

So, today, ask yourself, 'Am I being natural? Am I connecting to myself, and to everyone around me? Or am I bothered about my own self-image a lot? Am I sitting and thinking about what others are thinking about me? '

Do you know, this was a big issue when we started yoga in the initial days. People would come and do yoga very secretly and say, 'Don’t tell anyone that I am doing yoga, because they will not understand. They will think I am doing something crazy'. Fortunately, today that prejudice has gone. Paradigms have changed. With the UN declaring 21st June as World Yoga Day, it has encouraged those who were a bit apprehensive about yoga to come forward and give it a try.

Something that makes you happy, something that uplifts your spirit, something which makes you strong, vibrant, and powerful, why would you not do it? Again, it is not just an exercise. It is because people have no idea about it that they think it is just an exercise.

This morning when we did yoga and meditation at the UN, many of them there did it for the first time, and they felt so good. It brought such clarity to the mind and many of them said, 'Before every negotiation, we should sit and meditate'.

When you go for negotiations, dialogues, and talks, there is so much stress. And Yoga is something that can relieve us all from stress.


Thousands of miles away and your words here get into this cell phone which is not even connected to a wire. Usually when something is connected with a wire we take it for granted because we see that there is a connection, but here there is not even a solid connection. A cell phone is your hand, you speak and that gets transmitted in this empty space and goes and reaches somewhere so far away. If you just put your mind on this phenomenon you will be amazed. We take this for granted and we just speak on the cell phone and don't even notice the mechanism behind it.
If you look into the mechanism you will be in awe. This awe awakens the spirit inside you. That awe takes you to the state of meditation. 'Vismaya Yoga Bhumika': ASTONISHMENT is the preface for Yoga. If you are astonished/stunned, that is when yoga begins, means your spiritual journey begins, meditation begins. So you must be astonished in order to get into yoga or whenever you feel that 'wow', that astonishment in you, know that you are connected with the spirit that you are. You are in that state of spiritual elevation. Isn't it amazing, isn't it beautiful!!
How could someone think that the 'oh wow' could create such an elevation of the spirit. All present day crisis and problems can be solved by this change in the attitude, don't you think so?!

We must not hold anyone guilty

One day, one Swamiji who has a very big dental college came to our Ashram. He said he urgently needed fifteen lakh rupees and he would return it within two weeks.
I felt that since he needed it urgently for some work, maybe for some temple or something, we must give and so we gave him. Six years passed by but he did not return the money.
I said, ‘Oh! This is the matter. ’
I told him, ’Swamiji if you would have asked for donation, we would have given you as donation. But you asked for a loan. So, now you have to return it.’
This I did because I don’t want a Swami to be called a cheater. As it is, there are few honest Swamis in this world. And this Swami needed to be taught a lesson.
I told my people not to give up. Knock at his door every day until he returns it. Why should he be excused? We spend lakhs of rupees building homes for the poor, but giving charity is one thing. If someone plays crooked with you, you need to catch them, no matter how big that person is. At the same time, no matter how a person is, we do not have to be disrespectful towards them. It is not good to disrespect any one.
I asked my people to treat him with respect and request him to return the money in the same way as it was given to him, with as much respect and honour, but he refused.
Finally, I had to speak to him. I spoke to him in a straight-forward manner. He felt very embarrassed and promised to return the money.

To ensure that another does not commit a mistake, or be driven to make a mistake, is also a sattvic quality. This quality must be present in all of us.
A rajasic person will sit quietly and watch another commit a mistake and later will say, ‘See, he made a mistake.’

There used to be saint who would scold any person who came with a complaint to him about another person. He would say, 'so you were waiting for him to make a mistake so that you could come and complain to me about him?'
I call this The Supervisor Mentality
. We wait for someone to make a mistake; then we go and complain to the boss, so that we can be in the good books of the boss. The boss will think good of us, and punish the person making the mistake.
So, to take advantage of someone's mistake is also an asuric (demonic) and tamasic quality. To guide or protect someone so that he does not make a mistake in the first place is a sattvic quality.
Your daughter-in-law makes a mistake and you go and complain to your son. Instead, before your daughter-in-law makes a mistake guide her so that she does not make the mistake - such is a sattvic mother-in-law!
Even if a mistake is committed, not making her feel guilty is a sattvic quality. Many people enjoy making others feel guilty. This happens a lot between husband and wife also. So I have heard and witnessed too. 'This is what you did to me! I am right and you are wrong!'
Distance develops in a relationship when you make the other feel guilty.

A Guru will never do this to his disciple.
'You are wrong; you are stupid, I am right. Learn from me.' He will never say this. A Guru always takes the disciple to be part of him and leads by example.
'Come my dear, you are a part of me. Observe me and you will also grow and become like me.'
Setting an ideal for another to follow and not inducing guilt in them - this is a skill, an art. Uplifting a person in the skilful manner is the job of a Guru. This is when both the Guru and disciple are of sattvic nature.
If the disciple is so thick-skinned that he is unable to take hints and does not follow clear-cut instructions, then some Gurus, out of compassion resort to anger. But even then there is no guarantee that it will work.
I have seen many times after shouting and yelling, finally the Guru changes his nature, whether the disciple changes or not. The disciple influences the Guru instead and the Guru remains tense all the time.
There is a saying in Telugu – A music teachers tells the students, 'I have lost my prestige by teaching you. You have learnt nothing, and I have forgotten nothing.'
As per the rules, a teacher must forget all the knowledge after it has been taught to the students. Why? This is because whatever one has not forgotten becomes a bondage for the next lifetime.
So the best is to learn and then forget it all.
When to forget? Once you have taught it to someone you will have gained the right to forget.

Knowledge is considered to be like soap.
There is nothing more purifying than knowledge. But if you hold on to knowledge, it will turn into ignorance and arrogance. That is why it is said to learn and forget.
So if the music that we have learnt remains imprinted in our mind, then it becomes a problem in the coming lifetimes. Becoming hollow and empty, that is liberation.
But when? Only after the disciple has learnt, then! Otherwise, that knowledge will be lost. After gaining knowledge it should be imparted to someone, this is a rule.
A disciple gains respect when he is associated with his Guru. People generally say that this is the disciple of so and so Guru. And that is why the teacher loses respect when the students do not learn.
Now in this world there are all kinds of people and all sorts of things happen. So we must not hold anyone guilty. The important message of today is that we must set an example for others and not make them feel guilty.

Freedom And Discipline

Freedom and discipline are opposites and complementary. The purpose of defense is to protect freedom. But is there freedom in defense? Do soldiers have freedom? No, they are totally bound, not even allowed to put the right foot down when told the left foot. Their steps are measured and they are unable even to walk with a natural rhythm. There is total lack of freedom in defense. That which has absolutely no freedom is protecting the freedom of the country! So it is with the police; they protect the freedom of the individual. But are they free?

Discipline protects freedom. They both go hand in hand. Understand this and go ahead in life. You have some restrictions and it is this that allows you freedom. You can choose to focus either on freedom or discipline, and this makes you happy or unhappy. Freedom without discipline is like a country without a defense.

Fences should be fences; a fence cannot be built all over the property. If your fence is all over, how can you build on the property? That state of high absolute freedom is too difficult; we need to be very practical. Yes, there is a state of unlimited bliss, the freedom Advaita talks about. The Advaita Knowledge has been totally misused or used according to one's own fancies and conveniences.
There must be awareness in the mind, love in the heart, and righteousness in action.

Love and fear are two possibilities that put you on track. The Jewish religion put fear as the main thing so that life could improve. Nature induces fear at a certain age in a child. When a child is very young, it gets 100 percent time and love of the mother. The child has no fear. As the child grows more independent it becomes cautious. Nature brings in an iota of fear. With freedom, the child starts walking carefully. Fear of losing freedom also brings defense. The purpose of defense is to eliminate fear.
On this path Knowledge is your Freedom and also your Defense.

On Ethics in Sports

Sri Sri At The World Summit On Ethics In Sports (September 18, 2014)

Sports is such an integral part of life. A child starts playing even before it starts speaking. Language comes later, but sports come first. Games are so inherent in our nature, and after retirement also people sit and watch soccer with a cup of cappuccino, almost through-out their lives.
I think that the one thing that continues through-out life is sports, and sports contributes significantly in keeping up the spirit of life.
If the sports organizations take an active role in peace building initiatives around the world, then the thousand of youth who are taking to guns in search of some heaven can perhaps drops the guns and take footballs.
Today, WHO (World Health Organization) has said that one of the biggest concerns that the world will see in the future is depression. Mental depression, stress, unethical and unhealthy behavior are all components of not being sportive in life; not being enthusiastic in life. So sports contributes to the happiness of society and to every individual life. And sportsmen are also role models and they are seen as larger than life by many people. Now if these role models do not keep up the ethical standards in their lives, it becomes such a disappointment for the rest of the population. Doping, match fixing, corruption and other such things should be done away with.
First corruption starts in a small way, then it become bigger and bigger, and then ends up in crime, and this is crime against society. Perhaps people who do this are not even aware that they are committing a crime. They think that it is just part of the acceptable norms of corruption. So we need to create this awareness in people that they are cheating a large population if they are doping, match fixing or involving themselves in any unethical activities in their lives.
It is just a matter of awareness. When we create such an awareness in society then sports can really become a source of inspiration. It is a source of inspiration today, and it should continue to inspire millions of people. It shoudl inspire people to find happiness and to instill ethical standards in their lives as well.
Sports is one field that not only unites people of all generations, languages, religions and social standards, but it can also work as a peacemaker in the world. If the sports organizations take an active role in peace building initiatives around the world, then the thousand of youth who are taking to guns in search of some heaven can perhaps drops the guns and take footballs. When the energy of the youth is channelized towards sports, then we can move away from violence and crime in society. This is something we all have to think about. The tremendous energy of the youth needs to be channelized towards something productive, and sports is the best option. What else could be better than sports?
Mental depression, stress, unethical and unhealthy behavior are all components of not being sportive in life; not being enthusiastic in life. So sports contributes to the happiness of society and to every individual life.
I feel, we have a responsibility to give an organizational framework on ethics for both the sportsmen and for those who love sports.
This can happen with three C's:
1. Connectivity
2. Commitment
3. A Higher Context to Life. This is very important. See, a sportsman can handle his highs and lows successfully only when he has a bigger goal to latch on to. When a sportsman is given a mission to educate people or to serve the society, then that gives immense satisfaction to him. So engaging sportsmen in peace building initiatives and in social service activities to uplift the community outside of sports is important because it will bring that much needed continuity to their lives.
Whether one is an amateur in sports, or an accomplished sportsman, or a retired sports person, if they are engaged in service activities, then that sense of higher purposefulness will always be there. Otherwise I have seen many sportsmen getting depressed when they are out of the field. When they can no longer play they get into depression. So these kind of activities are important because it can help them get over such feelings as they have a higher mission in life.
Many of the sportsmen can work towards bringing ethics in sports, they can work towards glorifying sports in society and touching the lives of people with sports across the continents. They can work towards uniting people through sports, especially in areas of conflict.
I come from India, and no matter what the political equation between India and Pakistan, when it comes to sports there is a completely different spirit. The sportsmen from both countries play cricket with full enthusiasm. So sports has this magnetic quality in it to bring together people from various sections and backgrounds onto one platform and to make our world a better place to live in.
Engaging sportsmen in peace building initiatives and in social service activities to uplift the community outside of sports is important.
Happiness is a factor of life, and sports has a lot to contribute to it. Of course music, arts, science, etc., are other huge avenues that can enrich one's life, but sports plays an important role in bringing the much needed happiness in life. And this deliberation of The World Summit On Ethics In Sports can find itself as just the beginning. I think we need to take this across the globe and through-out the world and emphasize two things:
1. Fairness & ethical behavior in sports
2. Using the avenue of sports to further create happiness and peace in the world
Today, we are in a scenario where we are bothered and troubled by so much of violence and hatred. So if we can take this step, even in the field of sports violence can be reduced because we will have our goal constantly staring in our face, which is to create peace amongst people and communities.
Unfortunately I have to say that, today wars are fought like games and games are being fought like wars. This needs to change.

Is Guru responsible for your enlightenment?

If yes and you don't get awakened, then Guru is to be blamed. And if you get freedom then also the Guru is to be blamed because he has been partial to you. If Guru could set you free, he could have done it to the whole world. So Guru is not responsible for your awakening. And yet freedom is next to impossible without Guru. So Guru is responsible and yet not responsible. This is a mystery.