Worship A Sign Of Maturity

For a flame to go up, you need space above. In the same way, for a man to rise up in his life, he needs an ideal, he needs something to adore and worship. Worship is the culmination of love and appreciation. Worship prevents love from turning into hatred or jealousy, and appreciation into low self-esteem. In life, if you do not adore or appreciate anything, you will be filled with negativity. And a person who has nothing to worship or adore is sure to fall into depression.

Lack of adoration has led to many emotional, psychological and social problems in the society. If you have nothing to hold up high in life, selfishness, arrogance and violence are sure to follow. Adoring and honoring each other in society eliminates stress and fosters compassion and love.

In the previous century, it was thought that worshipping was an uncivilized and unintelligent thing to do. Worship was thought to rise from a slavish mentality. In fact it is just the contrary. Worship can only happen through gratefulness and not through slavish mentality.

In worship, a sense of belongingness, love, honor and respect all come together. Without a sense of belongingness, worship or idealism can bring low self-esteem. The ancient people knew this so they insisted that people should feel part of what they worship. They encouraged people to worship the sun, moon, mountains, rivers, plants, animals and people.


Ego And Self From A Different Angle

Ego is that something, which has two aspects – the positive and the negative. The creativity in you – are the results of ego. At the same time, when you break down communication, when you isolate yourself, when you’re in tears, when you’re stressed – that is also ego. We do not know about the ego, and so we don’t pay much attention to it. But just 2-3 facts, awareness of how ego works !

The self – the basis of life! You can call it the spirit, the soul, consciousness, the source of the mind – anything. It is that something, which doesn’t change in one’s whole life. After discovering about all these levels, what is left is the Self.

Everything is changing, isn’t it? Do you notice this?

Just look at yourself in the mirror and then look at your picture taken a few months or a few years ago. Isn’t there a big difference?

Your body is changing, your thoughts are changing, the mind is changing, emotions are changing, situations are changing… But still you feel there is something in me which is not changing. So that something which is the basis of all change, that something through which you notice the change is the self – the atma, the spirit. It is the most amazing aspect of our lives. Just a glimpse of it, a dip into your spirit energizes our whole system – and that is what meditation is.

Spirituality is the skill of nurturing, purifying and blossoming one’s all levels of existence.

The 3 things that stop you from being happy

Every child is nothing but a bundle of joy, but as we grow up, somewhere, we lose that joy. A child smiles 400 times a day. When a child grows up and becomes an adolescent, he smiles only 17 times a day, and when he becomes an adult, he smiles occasionally and that too when someone else smiles. The whole question is, how do we reverse this? How do we get back to the innocence we were born with? This is the quest.

There are three things that stops us from being joyful like a child and we need to get rid of all these three:

1. Stress

If you ask me, 'What is stress', in my opinion, I see stress as wanting to do a lot but having no energy and no time.

Now to get rid of stress, either you have to reduce your needs or increase your energy. In these two things, what is most practical is not reducing your needs, but increasing your energy levels.

Now how do we increase our energy levels? Through breathing exercises, pranayama, meditation, and yoga. All of these increase the energy levels of a person in a short period time of 15 to 20 minutes. There are number of breathing techniques that help us relax and get back a lot of energy.

Relaxation that you get from sleep is dull relaxation. Another kind of relaxation is conscious relaxation. That relaxation brings your energy levels higher. That is called meditation. Meditation is not sitting and thinking something. It is going to the source of thought.

So reducing and eliminating stress is the first thing.

2. Insecurity

Insecurity of what? 'Oh, there is nobody for me. Who will take care of me?' I tell you, there is so much love and compassion on this planet, and there is a higher power which is all love and it will give you what you need and when you need.

If you look at your own life, in the past, how many times have you felt insecure?
All those moments you have spent feeling insecure, appears to be such a waste of time, isnt it? Count and see how much time you have spent being insecure in the past 20 years. How many days you spent in a gloomy mood? It is such a waste of time and energy, and not only that, it created toxins in your body. Do you know, your health gets disturbed by the feeling of insecurity.

Three things you must do:
   1. Look back in the past and see that it was futile feeling insecure. This gives you strength
   2. Know that there are good people on this planet. They will always come to your help
   3. There is a power which is going to guide you and help you out
With this wisdom and understanding, get over insecurity.

3. Prejudice

Third is to get rid of prejudice. There are many types of prejudice. There is prejudice between generations where young people will not sit and share with senior citizens. There is a generation gap. There is prejudice about class, about gender, about religion, culture, language, and so on in many parts of the world; so many types of prejudices. Wisdom is to rise above prejudice and see the whole world as one family.

If everyone has this idea of a one world family, there will be no war, no crime and none of the problems that we are facing in the world today. See how many people are being killed. There is so much violence in the world. This is all because of lack of a broad vision and wisdom.

With meditation, yoga and breathing techniques, get over stress. With wisdom, get over prejudice, and reflecting on your own life and having the confidence and faith, get over insecurity.

Once you get over stress, insecurity and prejudice, then you are like a child, full of joy, and happiness simply wells up in you. Happiness is already there, it is just covered by these three things, and once you removed all these three things, it becomes obvious.


Often you do not have reverence for that which you own. Whatever you revere becomes bigger than you. When you have reverence in all your relationships then your own consciousness expands. Then even small things appear to be significant and big. Every little creature appears to be dignified. It is the reverence in every relationship that saves the relationship. Often you lose reverence for that which you own, and this happens unconsciously.
When you have reverence for the whole universe, you are in harmony with the while universe. Then, you do not need to reject or renounce anything of this universe. Reverence in ownership frees you from greed, jealousy and lust. Cultivate the skill of having reverence every moment in your life.

Life is a Dream, a Burden or a Joke

Often when you are happy you feel life is a dream because you do not believe in the reality of it. When there is misery you feel life as a burden. And we take trivial things very seriously. But one who has really gone through the pleasure realizes that pleasure is a burden. And if you have undergone misery thoroughly you will realize that life is a dream. In every miserable condition you have been walked or carried through and you realize life is a dream. When you see life is dream a burden or a joke only then can you be centered.
And when you have really gone through misery you have really seen life as a dream. And in between the pain and pleasure life is all a joke. Life is very uncertain. Before it takes you away, realize it is a dream, a burden or a joke.
A joke you do not question. If you question a joke, it is no longer a joke. Do not question a burden either. It is a waste of time to question life and its events.
The burden makes you go deep. It gets you to the core of yourself. Realisation of a dream wakes you up. And seeing life as a joke makes you light. The only certainty is that life is a dream, a burden or a joke and only when you realize this can you be centered.

Terrorism: The cause and the remedy

The act which is only destructive and inflicts suffering both on oneself and others is terrorism. In such an act, human values are lost in the process of achieving a goal.
Some of the factors that lead to terrorism are:
  • Frustration and desperation to achieve a goal
  • Confused emotion
  • Shortsightedness and Impulsive action
  • Belief in a non-verifiable concept of heaven and merit; a childish concept of God favoring some and angry at others, thereby undermining the omniscience and omnipotence of the Divine.
  • Terrorism induces fear psychosis in all, increases poverty, suffering and loss of life with no apparent gains.
Instead of solutions the terrorist looks for destruction as an answer. If you simply criticize without giving a solution, know that this criticism comes from the same seed as terrorism! Although there are certain qualities you can appreciate in a terrorist such as:
  • Fearlessness
  • Commitment to a goal
  • Sacrifice
You will have to learn from them things that you should never do:
  • Valuing some ideas and concepts more than life.
  • Having a narrow perspective of life and dishonoring its diversity.
The Remedy for terrorism is:
  • Inculcate a broader perspective of life -- value life more than race, religion and nationality.
  • Educate people in human values – friendliness, compassion, cooperation and upliftment.
  • Teach methods to release stress and tension.
  • Cultivate confidence in achieving noble aims by peaceful and nonviolent means.
  • Create spiritual upliftment which can weed out destructive tendencies.
Now how does one cope with the aftermath of terrorism? With faith and prayer. When disaster happens, anger is inevitable. To take precautions to ensure one does not react, wisdom is needed, not emotional outbursts. One mistake cannot be corrected by another mistake. Strive for multi-cultural and multi-religious education and spiritual upliftment to reach every part pf the globe. For the world will not be safe even if a small pocket of people are left ignorant.

Happy New Year - II

We need to have a vision for 2016. Once you revive the spirit, you have so much energy and enthusiasm, but what do you do with that? Unless you give a direction to it, you will become restless, or aimless. So have an aim, have a short-term and a long-term goal.
We also need to do what is needed in the world today. This should be part of our goals.
1. We need to protect the environment.
2. We need to clean the garbage that is floating in the river of time. This is necessary. By garbage I mean terrorism, stress, and violence in society. Violence is the garbage we dump on the river of time. Let’s resolve not to do it. Let's resolve to educate people that we all belong to one world family. The one resolution that you should all make for 2016 is "I will do as much as I can to clean and unite people's mind and hearts, and to see to it that there is more celebration, harmony, love and unity in people rather than acts of war both domestic and societal violence". This is the garbage we are dumping in the river of time. Let us educate people not to dump this garbage.
Just like how we resolve to protect the environment by keeping the rivers clean, and the oceans clean, in the same way we need to protect time. We need to keep time pure and celebrative, and for that we need to stop violent events from being dumped into the river of the year 2016. So let us see how we can remove negativity and process conflicts. In that sense, 2015 has given us many new clues with the FARC and the Colombian government coming to an agreement to negotiate peace. These negotiations have moved forward and peace has come to that province. Thanks to all the teachers and volunteers who have worked very hard for this. Next week also, in the New Year, we are having a very big course in Cuba.
We have done lots of programs in Iraq, in Irbil and in other provinces. Just in the last fifteen days, 3300 people have done the program in Iraq, and our long cherished dream of reaching Syria has also materialized. Just a few months ago, we conducted programs in Syria, Egypt; these conflict zones have opened up to The Art of living. While it is still just a small twinkling light in the dark space, but nevertheless a small candle has been lit in this region and this is very good news for all of us. Though a lot has yet to be done.
The unfortunate incident that happened in Paris, in some way, woke up people to unite against terrorism. At the same time, I want to tell them that it is important we don’t get into paranoia and prejudice. Our mind should not be prejudiced against any particular group of people or religion. We should not be paranoid, but we should keep a check on terrorism.
Recently, the Indian Prime Minister’s visited Afghanistan. He is the first one in many years to have done so. I don’t know whether you all know this or not, India built the Parliament House in Kabul and the Indian Prime Minister gifted it to the people of Afghanistan. Also, after twelve years, an Indian Prime Minister has set his foot on Pakistani soil and connected with the Pakistan Prime Minister and the people of Pakistan. I congratulate the Pakistani Prime Minister also, as it is the effort of both of them. Just one person’s effort would not work, both of them expressed the desire to resolve conflict and continue peaceful dialogue. And now peace talks have begun between India and Pakistan.
Since 1971, there has been border dispute between India and Bangladesh, and again the Indian Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh came together and said that we have to coexist and we have to resolve this conflict and put an end to it, and they resolved it so peacefully, putting an end to a conflict which had been going on for forty years.
This year has done so much good. Fifty years of conflict in Columbia has come to an end, forty years of conflict between India and Bangladesh has come to an end, and there has been a major effort to bridging relations between India and Pakistan. I am sure there are many such things happening in other parts of the world that we are not aware of. Conflicts between people in homes are also being cleared. On the other side, there are other conflicts that have become bigger.
Like I said, the river of time is carrying some beautiful flowers as well as some garbage also. We need to see what role we can play. So in the coming year, The Art of Living will give a message to the world that we are one big human family and for this, The World Culture Festival has been planned. Only 70 days ahead of us, we will be hosting one of the world’s biggest ever spiritual and cultural extravaganzas. You are all coming right? Everyone should come. Just come! India is waiting to receive you all. Massive preparation is going on. You can come to Delhi and Bangalore where your home is waiting to receive you. It is just a small family reunion of The Art of Living and its 35th year. So we will celebrate and send a message to the world, that the world is beautiful and the people of the world are beautiful. The power of goodness is much greater and higher than the power of evil. That has to be exhibited. 
There is a story in the ancient Puranas that when there was a fight with the demons, Mother Divine needed more power. So everyone contributed something which was their specialty to her. So the Mother Divine was given all these different instruments that all the devas (positive energies) possessed, indicating the unity of consciousness and all diverse energies which made her invincible so that she could dispel all the demons or the darkness in no time. This is what is called a yagna.
A yagna is when everyone contributes a little bit for a greater vision and greater good of the planet. So everyone just being there with everybody will send a message to the world, that the people from every part of the world are united in harmony, in celebration and in diversity, and we will continue to be.
See, when a person sits alone and meditates, it is called tapasya. But when we sit in a group and meditate, it is called yagna. The benefit of meditation is magnified several times in a yagna. So just imagine when 3.5million people are sitting and meditating, what will happen. It will create such huge vibrations of energy in the universe which is bound to bring a lot of good.
Just a couple of days ago, I met with the Indian Prime Minister and I discussed the problem that is ongoing between Nepal and India. In Nepal, when the constitution was made, not all rights were given to the people of a certain region adjoining India. So people in those areas started agitation, and because of that in the last four months, no supplies could move from India to Nepal. There was a blockade, and as a result, people were suffering. On that note, this morning a gentleman from Germany came here. He supports a school in Kathmandu in Nepal and there are a couple of thousand children studying there. And he said that the school is in such a miserable condition as there is no water, electricity, gas, or heating. 18 hours of no power and everyone is so miserable due to the conflict. He was so concerned and said that we must do something, and I told him that it has been resolved.
I asked the Prime Ministers of both countries to discuss and find a political solution on an emergency basis on a war footing. To get a political solution on war footing is not an easy thing unless both Prime Ministers are agreeing to it. So the misunderstanding got resolved this morning and both Prime Ministers spoke with each other and have agreed to cooperate with each other. There are no medicines and people are dying in the cold in Nepal. The Indian Prime Minister offered to send the medicines by helicopters. He told me this personally.
When there is a difference of opinion between leaders, then things don’t move and that is where we all have to play a role. That is where The Art of Living is very relevant and can play a role of bridging the gap, bringing people together and creating that much needed mediation to resolve conflicts. So this morning I got very good news that both Prime Ministers have discussed mutually and am sure that in the coming days, this conflict will get fully resolved.
Now, this is all about the world. Coming to our individual spiritual growth. This is very important, that is why I gave you the example of sitting on the bank and watching the events pass by. So when you see that so many events have happened leaving you untouched, you get a taste of eternity or timelessness . Do you understand what I am saying? Something freezes inside. It feels as though time has frozen. When time freezes, that is when you get the glimpse of eternity.
You are so lucky you are doing the silence program. Silence means time is frozen, there is no activity, and that is Samadhi (meditation). What a nice way to begin the New Year, through meditation, isn't it!
Happy New Year to everyone!

Happy New Year

Just imagine yourself sitting on the bank of a river and watching the river flow. You are watching all the different things flowing by in the river. A ship is going in the river, logs are floating, leaves are flowing, some ducks are going by, and unfortunately some garbage is also flowing in the river. You are watching everything moving, completely unperturbed. In the same way, when you sit on the bank of time and watch as time carries the events, you will be amazed as you notice that there is something in you that is not changing. You notice that you are not changing, and you are unaffected by anything. 
Reviewing an event helps you to be a witness to the event rather than being a participant of the event. Do you see what I am saying? Review all that happened last month, the month before, the month before that; like this the whole year has some wonderful things and some ugly things that have happened, and it has all gone.
So, just imagine that you are sitting on the bank of the river and watching the river flow. Every moment there is fresh water, many things floating in the water, many birds picking up food and flying away. Also see the swans and ducks, thought the water is flowing, they flow with it a little distance and then they come back toin their area. Also swans never get wet. They come out of the water, shake themselves, take a little warmth from the sun and again jump back in the water.
A swanm has a lot to teach us. It teaches us — be amidst the event, don’t to run away, but don’t let it stick on to you. If it appears to have stuck on to you, then go on to the shore and shake it. And celebration is the way in which you learn to be on the shore, and smile at the events which are passing by. So in life also, many pleasant events are happening and many unpleasant are also happening, and both have made you deeper in some sense, both have made you stronger in some sense. So take the lessons and move on, don't question that which has already happened. It is wise not to question that which has already happened. 
So review the past. When you review the past, what happens? Suddenly you will see that the past has left you. The past has anyways gone, but you’ll also find it leaving your mind. That which appeared to be sticking to your memory will also leave.
Review the past and revive the spirit inside of you. Our spirit is covered by dust, or ashes. The fire of the spirit is buried beneath the ashes. All that you need is do is to blow a little bit, and it will be rekindled again. So revive the spirit inside of you.
Look at the spirit of the children, they have such joy, such enthusiasm and such vibrant energy, then why are you like this (dull and droopy).
Do you know what we do? Instead of just clearing the dust from the carpet, we look for the reason for the dust being there? We think, "From where has this dust come, and why has it come" we get into this meaningless analysis. And if the dust has come from the window, we go the window and we say, "This is the window the dust has come from".
My dear, there is no doubt that it has come from a window, but whichever window it has come from, and also where it has come from is immaterial. That there is dust on your carpet, first vacuum clean it.
This is what we tend to do, we look and see who is doing what to us. Then we say, "That person is this way, and this person is that way". Forget about all of that, and see what impressions the other person is putting on your mind, focus on that. If there is any impression on your mind that has been made by somebody, first clear that. If x does not put the dust in you, y will put the dust on you. Who put the dust is immaterial, the point is why should you keep the dust. Just shake it off; clear it away, and celebration is the way to do that. 
This New Year, greet all those with whom you don't vibe well, and also those with whom you vibe well. Greet them! 
Review the past, and revive the spirit in the present moment. You are unphased by events. You are unphased by people's reactions. You are independent light, you are wisdom which is unaffected by events and surroundings!