Monday, March 29, 2010
Q: Beloved Guruji, this course is so wonderful. How can I keep this wonderful state at home?
Sri Sri: Don't try to hold on to the state of mind. Integrate wisdom in day to day life. Sometimes up & sometimes down. They'll come & they'll go.
Q: Don't you get tired of wearing white all the time?
Sri Sri: No. Because I am colourful myself! Isn't it?
Q: Dear Guruji, What to tell people at home who are very suspicious of what I am doing here?
Sri Sri: When you go back give them gifts, show them all the nice pictures, give them a big smile.The depth of silence, the depth of meditation no one can know unless one has experienced himself. What beautiful wealth we all possess in our Self, that we have not explored. Every human being can go into that depth of meditation. That little experience, little skill to do that is missing. We are so fortunate to go into such stillness within ourselves.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Sri Sri: To improve yourself is also a part of destiny. World is a combination of destiny and Karma. Some things can be changed, some things cannot be changed.
Q: Why are we reborn?
Sri Sri: I dont know about you but I am here just to have fun!
Q: Why are we reborn?
Sri Sri: I dont know about you but I am here just to have fun!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Just turn back and look at your life when you were a kid. How many times have you cried?
You cried as though hell has fallen on your head. You thought that was the end of the world and then sobbed and sobbed and then went off to sleep.
So what happened afterwards? Anything happened to you ? You remains unaffected by all these.
Try this :
You can come home happily and say with a smile, "today the entire job that I did flopped! There was no success in any of the work I did today." Anyway everything has flopped, so at least do not let the mind also flop.
You should have the guts to say "come what may I am not going to give up the smile on my face because I am much more than the event or the circumstances. Everything comes and goes, but I continue in spite of all the situations."
When somebody has passed away, you cannot say "Okay, now I am going to be happy" and smile and dance! No, you should not do that.
The ancient people had designed a methodology for this.
They said that if anyone dies in a house, the people of that house are in âEUR~ashoucha' for 10 days. For 10 days you can mourn and cry. After 10 days of mourning, on the eleventh day, they usually distribute sweets to the people, have a celebration, wear new clothes, have a family get together and have a feast.
On the day of the final rituals, they take some ghee and water and put it on their eyes which give a cooling effect and then they decide. "Okay, now we get on with our life."
If a spiritual person passes away, then even this not there. Then every moment is a celebration because the sprit is all pervading.
In the same way, there is shoucha when a child is born in a house for 10 days. You are so excited because a new soul has come into your family. So be with all the excitement and happiness for 10 days. You are free from all the social rules and obligations for you to enjoy 100 per cent.
Then come back to your commitments and responsibilities.
The sadness or sorrow is only in the circumference.
It is like a cloud covering the light that you are.
The nature of your being is joy. That needs to be uncovered.
Again, you need not make a mood out of it.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
By His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Holi is a festival of colours. This whole world is so colourful. Just like nature there are different colours associated with our feelings and emotions: anger with red, jealousy with green, vibrancy and happiness with yellow, love with pink, vastness with blue, peace with white, sacrifice with saffron and knowledge with violet. Each person is a fountain of colours which keep changing.
Puranas are full of colourful illustrations and stories and there is a story related to Holi. An asura king, Hiranyakashyap, wanted everyone to worship him. But his son Prahlad was a devotee of Lord Narayana, the king's sworn enemy. Angry, the king wanted Holika, his sister, to get rid of Prahlad. Empowered to withstand fire, Holika sat on a burning pyre holding Prahlad on her lap. But it was Holika who was burnt, Prahlad came out unharmed.
Hiranyakashyap symbolises one who is gross. Prahlad embodies innocence, faith and bliss. The spirit cannot be confined to love only matter. Hiranyakashyap wanted all joy to come from the material world. It did not happen that way. The individual jivatma cannot be bound to the material forever. It's natural to eventually move towards Narayana, one's higher Self.
Holika symbolises past burdens that try to burn Prahlad's innocence. But Prahlad, so deeply rooted in Narayana Bhakti, could burn all past impressions (sanskaras). For one who is deep in bhakti, joy springs up with new colours and life becomes a celebration. Burning the past, you gear up for a new beginning. Your emotions, like fire, burn you. But when they are a fountain of colours, they add charm to your life. In ignorance, emotions are a bother; in knowledge, the same emotions add colour.
One legend talks about the time when Parvati was in tapasya and Shiva was in samadhi. In facilitating the divine union of the two, Kamadeva, the Lord of Love, gets burnt to ashes by Shiva. Shiva had to come out of samadhi to join Parvati, `Parva’ is festival and `Parvati’ means `born out of festival’ - celebration! For samadhi to unite with celebration, the presence of desire was necessary. So, desire (Kama) was invoked. But again, to celebrate, you need to overcome desire. So Shiva opened his third eye and burned Kama. When desire in the mind is burnt, celebration happens and life becomes colourful.
Like Holi, life should be colourful, not boring. When each colour is seen clearly, it is colourful. When all the colours get mixed, you end up with black. So also in life, we play different roles. Each role and emotion needs to be clearly defined. Emotional confusion creates problems. When you are a father, you have to play the part of a father. You can't be a father at office. When you mix the roles in your life, you start making mistakes. Whatever role you play in life, give yourself fully to it. Harmony in diversity makes life vibrant , joyful and more colourful.
The joy you experience in life is from the depth of your Self - when you let go all that you hold on to and settle down being centered in that space. That is called meditation. Meditation is not an act; it is the art of doing nothing! The rest in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep that you can ever have because in meditation you transcend all desires. This brings such coolness to the brain and it is like servicing or overhauling the whole body-mind complex.
Only then we are able to understand the uplifted state of the being and see that the whole world is all spirit or consciousness. Celebration is the nature of the spirit and the celebration that comes out of silence is real. If sacredness is attached to a celebration, it becomes total, complete. It's not just body and mind but also the spirit that celebrates.
In a state of celebration, the mind often forgets the Divine. We should experience the Divine’s presence, the Divine’s light around us. You should have a desire to experience the something by which the whole world is running. To experience this through your prayers, there should be total involvement. If the mind is preoccupied elsewhere, then that is no prayer at all.
When you are faced with obstacles, deep prayers can work miracles. Prayer happens in two situations, or in a combination of situations. When you feel grateful or when you feel utterly helpless. If you are not grateful and prayerful, you will be miserable. The feeling that “I am blessed” can help you overcome any failure. Once you realise that you are blessed, then all the complaints disappear, all the grumbling disappears, all the insecurities disappear.
Celebration dawns spontaneously and life becomes colourful
Friday, March 5, 2010
Rishikesh, Feb. 27:
Q. Guruji, when I get bad thoughts, I am able to subdue them through the intellect.
But is it possible not to have bad thoughts at all?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:This is the skill. How you manage bad thoughts. Lots of thoughts come if there are impurities in the body, if there is aavaran (artificiality) in the mind.
Having too many thoughts indicates some weakness in the body. Consult an ayurveda physician and take herbs to cleanse the body. Through pranayam, the mind is purified. Through meditation, the consciousness gets purified. Sometimes the thoughts come because of the surroundings or company. Do not be afraid of bad thoughts. These thoughts are similar to the dark clouds that come and pass away.
Q: Could you please tell us something about prakriti and parmatma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:There are two things – prakriti and parmatma. Prakriti moves according to rules. Parmatma is free. Human being is a combination of both. With the increase in the parmatma element, man experiences more freedom. An increased level of prakriti means one is no different from animals, birds or trees.
In the human being there is a glimpse of the parmatma and there is prakriti also- it’s a precious combination.
Q: Guruji, these days when we are talking of saving the planet from pollution including our water bodies, is it wrong to throw the puja materials in the water?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:If you put natural things, then there is no pollution. They are bio degradable. If you put soap or plastic, it harms the water. Since centuries, in the forest so many leaves and fruits fall in water, but the water is not contaminated. But when we throw artificial things, the water gets contaminated.
When we put bowls made of leaves, and garlands made of real flowers into water, it doesn’t get polluted.
It is interesting , one who is familiar with the real stuff, to him even the fake thing seems real.
And to the one who is familiar with the fake thing, even the real appears as fake. This is maya. What is real and what is unreal has to be found out. Therefore you need an inward eye (antar drishti). This is possible through yoga and meditation.
Q. Guruji, what’s the difference nihilism and advaita?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:One is nothing and the other is complete. Truth has two aspects - we keep saying it’s nothing and then experience the completeness. Therefore in Yoga Vashishta, Maharishi Vashishta says in beginning, that the consciousness is empty like the sky and full like an ocean. We start with saying, “I am nothing” and move to “I am in everything”.
Q. What is swadhyaya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Do either of the two things:
Become such a devotee like Yudhishthir, who gets Lord Krishna who is full of cleverness or else become clever, awaken that element in you.
The world thinks you to be better than you actually are. The world thinks you to be less worse than what you actually are. If you think like this, then what you want, will happen. Whatever kind of sankalpa you release in the universe that kind of result will come to you.
Realize this now or later after a decade. Once you realize it, you will bow down to this Universal Self. Otherwise you will blame the world and become sad making yourself blemished. Some people indulge in self pity, “I am very good but people do wrong with me.”
Who says people did wrong? Who asks you to be stupid and be swept away in emotions? Some fall in love crazily, they talk so much and the other person doesn’t know how to handle it.
Wise know how to accept love and give. But everyone is not wise. We want everyone to behave like the wise but we behave like an ignorant.
a look at yourself. This is swadhyaya study of oneself. Swa – means self, adhyaya – means study. Swadhyaya doesn’t mean turning pages of books.
Q. Guruji whenever any problem comes, we keep aside all Gods and pray to one particular God. Don’t you think the other gods will become angry?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:There is a shloka - Sarve deva namaskara, keshavam pratigachchati.
Like all the water ultimately goes to the ocean, whichever God or Goddess you pray to, it goes to the One only. Don’t worry God won’t be angry.
Q. Guruji I want to increase my faith…
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Stop the struggle to strengthen the faith. Assume you have faith, if it shakes, pray to God to make it strong.
Q. Guruji, in night we see stars, does it mean to see truth we have to live in darkness?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Is the sun, during daytime, not visible to you? Don’t you see the moon in the evening?
It’s only in the absence of the sun and the moon that the stars are visible. Then you run behind the stars. Only those who haven’t seen the sun and moon of their own Self run behind the stars.
Opposite values are complementary. If there is a question, there is an answer.
Q. Guruji, some people have assumed that they are Radha, but there are so many Radhas, what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:The real Radha doesn’t see anyone other than Krishna, how did you see other Radhas?
Q. Guruji, I have lot of weaknesses and I feel bad about them. When will I become like you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:You have realized that you have weaknesses. That’s the first step. Now, do you want to remove the weakness or not? The very pinch of having the weaknesses will help you to come out of them. If you simply accept them and say I am an ordinary person only etc…. you will continue to have them.
Someone is there to take away your weaknesses. Have this faith. Ok, you slipped once, twice, thrice, doesn’t matter, keep moving ahead. People say take vows never to commit them again. Breaking the vows makes it worse. Surrendering is better.
Q. Please explain the meaning of seva (service).
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:One is our job, the other is seva. Both are different. You do your job for livelihood. Seva means seva- Doing like Him. God has given you everything, whether you remember him or not. He wants nothing in return. Do work and be in the way that will make the other person happy. The reward of seva comes only when when you want nothing in return.
Q. Guruji, in life we see good people suffering a lot. It seems God is hard on the good people. Why?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:No no, it only seems so. It’s not real. A person who seems successful and happy despite doing wrong actually is restless in the heart. He can’t sleep peacefully, can’t eat with joy and his fall will be greater than his rise. Have faith that if I am doing good, then good only will happen. If you think otherwise, it is an illusion. But being good doesn’t mean one should be stupid, use your intelligence. One’s heart should be clean.
Q. Guruji many people don’t donate eyes thinking that they will be born blind in next life. Can you clarify?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:It is not true that if you donate eyes in this life, you will be born blind in next life.
Q. Dear Guruji, in my prayers I keep asking the Divine for my wishes to be fulfilled, is it selfish?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:No no, keep asking, if you don’t ask the Divine where else will you ask? But remember, you will only get when the time comes.
Q: When will matter be united with the spirit?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:When were they separate? Who is listening to my answer? Is it matter or spirit? Matter listens or the spirit?
Reply from audience - don’t know
A dead body also has ears, the sound hits it. But does it hear? Who is listening?
When this small ‘I’ relaxes, it gets in touch with the Universal Spirit, and that is meditation.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Rishikesh, Feb. 26:
Q: Guruji, how to know whether we are making progress on the spiritual path?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:When you look back you will find that you are not the same as before. That person of the past is not there any longer.
See how strong you have become!
Sometimes the thought arises that despite so many years of sadhana, I still get angry. But see now, the intensity is far less. Sometimes the past impressions (samskaras) come up. Still, on this path if you have taken ten steps ahead, you will not slip back completely. You may go back four steps, not completely ever.
There is a permanent transformation that happens within us.
We are just not that same person. Walking on this path even donkeys turn into God, what to say of men? (Is path par gadhe bhi chal chal kar khuda ho jaata hai to aadmi ki kya baat hai.)
Q. How to quicken the progress?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:If you want to quicken the pace then keep listening to knowledge again and again. Read at least one page of Yoga Vashishtha, Ashtavakra daily. Keep doing satsang, seva, satsang, meditation.
Maya has long hands and the pull keeps happening. With the help of the rope, one to has walk away from the pull. Satsang, sadhna, satguru are all there for this only.
Q: I often speak the truth, but because of this people become angry. What must I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Speak the truth and speak sweetly as well. When you speak harshly then people get angry, not because of the truth. When it is very necessary to tell a bitter truth, speak it with sweetness. You don’t have to cut vegetables with an axe.
Q. How do we remember the Divine in every breath?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:The Divine is not so sub-standard that you will ‘have’ to remember Him. Remembrance happens. Don’t make an effort to remember. You have to remember something when it has not touched your heart. When the heart is kindled then you don’t have to make an effort to remember that.
Q: Could you speak about love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:It is not possible that a person does not know about love. It’s love that gets distorted into anger and anxiety. It is almost impossible to talk of love. Sage Narad said a little and after that he said it is inexpressible - Anirvachniyam.
Q: How to increase devotion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Open your ears wide and listen. You are a devotee and a true devotee. Don’t ever raise a doubt on this. The badness is imposed from outside. Inside you are one with the Truth. Your devotion is also true devotion. This is the way to think. Otherwise, the self doubt transforms into guilt and then you spoil your mind. Move with the belief that I am a true devotee. Hear this with open ears.
Q- Krishna ki chaturta, Ram ki gambheeta (Lord Krishna’s mischievousness, the seriousness of Lord Rama) … Guruji, which way to follow?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:See there is no fight here. They came at different times, so that there is no competition. They came to tell us that, “We are all one”. Here there is no conflict of which is better which is worse, everything is essential. Each one has a style, place and time.
It is like you sing different songs for different occasions in life. In a marriage you don’t sing a song that is sung at funerals.
Q. Guruji, how to establish harmony between material and spiritual lives?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:There is already a harmony. The more spiritual you are, the greater is the harmony in material life.
Whom would you like to interact with? Those who are happy and enthusiastic or those who are stiff and serious?
All our bodies create vibrations. From some people you feel like running away, while you want to spend more time with someone. The waves coming from inside a person can send people away. Being on the spiritual path makes the waves beautiful.
Q: Guruji whenever the Earth is burdened with sins it is said that God will come down. This is Kalyug, why hasn’t God come so far?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:The God is inside you. Let Him come out.
It’s been so many years since you came on the planet and still you haven’t given birth to the one inside you.
Log Kahte Hai Ishwar Nazar Nahi Aata
In Bando Se Poojho Ishwar Ke Siwa Kuch Najar Nahi Aata
People say that we can’t see God, Ask people here – They can’t see anything else other than God.
God is not an object to be seen. He is the seer. That’s why in yoga it is said that “become established in the seer.”
Shareer ko aram, man ko vishram, to ban gaye atmaram.
Give rest to the body, relaxation to the mind, and you will become established in the Self.
Q: Guruji, there is so much corruption in politics, should Art of Living enter politics?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Reform and administration are two different streams. It is essential for both the streams to flow. If the ruler becomes reformer and reformer becomes the ruler then both works will stop.
But spirituality will have to be brought into politics. Corruption will have to be dealt with. Though thousands of crores of rupees have been allocated under different programs, it is not reaching people at all.
I would say that you sadhaks should take part in it. Good people have been running away from politics as if it’s a dirty drainage pipe. With so many dirty drains flowing, Gangaji has disappeared. New direction will have to be brought to politics, we all have to work towards it.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Bangalore ashram, Feb. 25:
Q: What is ‘yashti’ and ‘samashti’?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you sing daily? (The lady said that she sang at home when alone.) When you sing alone, that is yashti. When you sing with everybody here, participate in the bhajan with everyone that is samasthi. Samashti means the entire creation.
Q: It is said that souls chose their parents. Why do abortions and cases of rape etc. happen?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is called janam rahasya (secret of birth). Many souls compete to get a body and only one can win. It’s like a running race. Like millions of people compete and only one wins, in the same way there is a rush and only one gets a body. That’s why it is said that the human birth and life are very precious. Don’t waste it on insignificant things. We eat to live and not live to eat. Many people start living just to eat. There are many possibilities – what soul can come and what not? The possibilities are infinite. Nobody knows.
Q: How does one deal with insensitive people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t let it affect you. When you say somebody is insensitive, you are branding yourself as very sensitive. The moment you give a license to yourself to be very sensitive, you start to justify yourself when you get upset. The world is big and there are all sorts of people in the world. We have to live with all and work with them.
Q: What is ‘stridhan’?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In ancient India there was a system. The man of the house used to give some money to his wife. This money was not to be touched. The lady’s money was always built up. The man would give a portion of his earnings, five – ten percent of his income to the lady at home and the man had no right to touch it. She would build that money up.
This used to be our system. All this is gone. All the good traditions have been ignored and we have adopted all the bad habits.
Q: Guruji, please talk on the story of Ajmila in Srimad Bhagwad.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In Srimad Bhagwad there is a story of king Ajamila. He had many vices. When he was on his death bed he called his son’s name – Narayan. And when he uttered God’s name, he got liberated. This story is there to build trust in people that however their past has been, there is no need to waste time in tension and guilt about the past. Even at the last moment if you chant Narayana’s (Lord’s) name, you have a chance to be liberated. This does not at all mean that you do whatever you want in life and at the last moment chant Narayana’s name. It doesn’t give you the license to indulge in vices. It only indicates that you don’t have to be guilty of your past and go on repenting the past. The past is gone. At least now be devoted and connected to the Divine.
Q: What is time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (making a gesture with his hand, turning it upside down) Got it? If you don’t get it, you will never get it.
Q: Is it necessary to be competitive?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: With yourself. Compete with yourself.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Bangalore ashram, Feb. 24:
Q: What is your wish regarding Sanskrit language?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:: I see beyond languages. Language, of course has its place but I am more concerned about the consciousness and the state of mind. How can we raise the level of consciousness in the world? Of course, Sanskrit is a great and a beautiful language. It is mother of many languages. Russian, German, English and other Indian languages, all have their roots in Sanskrit.
Q: In Patanjali yogasutra you said ‘Knowledge of sleep leads to Samadhi. Please explain.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:: Yes, Samadhi can also be attained with the avlamban (need) of knowledge of sleep and dream.
Q: How can we know if our devotion has fully matured or not?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:: Don’t worry about if your devotion is matured or not. Know that devotion is there. Never think that you don’t have devotion or you lack devotion.
Q: How does one balance between our heart and the brain when both say opposite things?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:: If you are dealing in business, then follow your brain. And if it comes to home or relationship, then follow your heart.
Q: Good and bad thoughts come and go in the mind. Do these form karma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:: No, when you are a witness (sakshi) to the thoughts coming and going, no karma is formed. When you feel sad thinking that your thought is bad, it is then when your mind gets affected.
Q: Please talk about karma and karamfal (fruit of action).
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:: You have asked this question – this is a karma. You are listening to my answer is also Karma. Life is karamfal only.
Q: Guruji please tell us something about Vedic mathematics?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:: We have Vedic mathematics department in the Ashram with several Vedic mathematics teachers in the department. There are some 16 – 17 formulas using which many mathematical problems can be solved. All lovers of mathematics should study that.
Q: What has more importance: moksha or Divine love in spirituality?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:: Those who don’t bother about happiness achieve moksha and those who are not even bothered about moksha attain Divine love. We will have to move ahead in two steps.
Q: Why is not every human being pure?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Every human is pure but filled with dirt. Every human being is like a diamond. the fact that the diamond is in mud, does not make it mud. You simply have to pick it up and wash it. and it shines again. the shiny nature of diamond is always there but covered with mud and slush.
Q. How does one balance between professional life and spiritual life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know how to ride bicycle or motor bike? How do you balance? You just do it.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Bangalore ashram, Feb. 23:
Q: Guruji, with your grace I got a new car but if you don’t sit in it, what’s the fun of having the car?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your body is the car of which the heart is the motor. It’s enough for you to have a seat for me there. What’s the fun of sitting in the other car! Make me reside in your heart.
Q: Guruji, I want something to happen so that I don’t even get a desire to ask questions?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your desire to have no desire to ask questions is a desire in itself. This is a problem. Jo jaisa hai theek hai - this is sanmati. (Whatever is there, however it is, it is alright. This is called sanmati or right mindedness.) Whether or not you have a question, it’s alright. Whether you get an answer or you don’t, it’s alright. ‘Everything is alright’ is the path of nivriti. Often we say, ‘This is not ok, that is not ok’ and then we retreat in ourselves. In that state you can’t rest. Because when you find something is not ok, your whole tendency is to act towards it. And you are trying to rest while restraining from action with an attitude of action. This causes tension and lack of deep rest.
We need to have two attitudes in life - pravriti and nivriti.
It is important to go within when you are tired of working in the world. Nature has made it that way: 12-hour day and 12-hour night. At some places like in the North and South Poles, the night is of around four hours and the day is around 18 to 20 hours. But then in winters, it gets reversed and day is only of four to five hours. So nature maintains that balance. 12 hours day and 12 hours night is the law of nature. Night itself means retiring from any kind of effort. Day symbolizes pravriti and night symbolizes nivriti.
Viveka (discrimination) is to understand what pravriti is and what nivriti is. We think nivriti is getting retired from your job at the age of 60 and being on a holiday. No, the Vedas say, ‘Again and again, adopt the path of nivriti.’ To go within and rest after getting tired of doing work is nivriti.
There are two types of rest. One is inert rest that we get in sleep. It does give some rest but the mind doesn’t get complete rest. Another is conscious rest: you are resting but inside you are aware and alert, that is meditation. Resting with awareness and conscious sleep is meditation.
Meditative rest is far superior for that alone brings real rest to the system. When we want to go into meditation, then the attitude that needs to be adopted is ‘everything is ok'. There is no lack and 'I don’t want anything at this moment’. When you think ‘everything is ok’, your mind calms down and you go within.
Now when you go within, you get lot of happiness, satisfaction, joy and peace, then you have to come to the path of pravriti. So pravriti is when you find things are not ok or perfect and nivriti is when you repose in the Self and find all is well and perfect. This knowledge comes to you with spiritual practices.
The human species is designed in such a way that no one can ever be in only nivriti or only pravriti. Both will continue to coexist in life. When we come to pravriti, we find this is not ok, that is not ok and nothing is ok. Only then do we get to work. And we correct things. (Points out very minute imperfections in the surroundings) Small and little things catch your attention and you feel like correcting everything. This is pravriti. But if someone gets stuck only in this attitude then, even with eyes closed one thinks of imperfections only and can’t go into nivriti. This makes one mad and full of stress. This is called asuri vriti.
Lord Sri Krishna has said this in the Gita. A person with tamoguna tendencies doesn’t know when to follow which of the two paths. He doesn’t have discrimination in him. While working, he thinks everything is going well. This is an example of using nivriti in pravriti. He thinks corruption is also ok, it is anyway present. He doesn’t work and adopts an attitude of indifference. He thinks what does he have to do with tasks getting accomplished or not. And then he uses the concept of pravriti in nivriti. The whole night he thinks and worries. Thinking alone doesn’t accomplish any task. When you think something is not ok and do not do anything about, it disturbs your health. When both the attitudes are taken together then your tasks get accomplished skillfully, successfully and without any stress.
It is also said in the Gita that the intelligent one knows what the right attitude is for retirement, nivriti. When you want to go inward, meditate or contemplate, the attitude you need to adopt is ‘not a grain of grass moves without God’s will’. Everything is ok and perfect. Then the mind settles down and you get deep rest and sink deep into meditation. Once you get out of meditation you become sharp and alert, and detect even small imperfections. When you find imperfections, you can correct them. Your mind will pick minute things and work to bring about perfection in every small thing. The ability in the human mind to shift from ‘everything is ok’ to ‘everything is not ok’ and vice versa is a skill in itself that one has to master. And that is what spiritual practices do to you. You are able to switch off to an attitude of ‘everything is ok’ so that you get deep rest and attain meditation. And you can never be in meditation all the time because you have to switch from inaction to action. Activity and rest are two sides of the human personality and you need both for human evolution.
You are also not to think ‘nothing is ok’. In nivriti you think, ‘God is looking after everything.’ This way by not letting the mind get stuck in either of the two, you bring back the mind to its source. This is an art. The whole life you will have to walk on this. How to meditate? Even amidst difficulties, you switch off your mind. This way you will find half of your task anyway gets accomplished and whatever rest is pending can always be done with the attitude of pravriti. So both are required.
Nature has brought in such a balance. In summer, days are longer and in the winter nights are longer. So somewhere nature maintains that balance. In one place it is cold and elsewhere, it is hot. So heat and cold, day and night, all are brought in some balance in nature. And it is telling you, in so many ways, that you have to balance between activity and rest in life.
Often people worry about their next births. The good work is not given for next birth. Work needs to be finished in this life time only. Just be happy. Be happy in pravriti.
Q: Guruji, I am so thankful to you. You have given me so much that too without expectation. I am so happy and thankful to you.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s not enough to say a couple of words to express thankfulness. I won’t take it. Are you surprised? If you are really thankful then you have to bring this joy and comfort to at least ten people around you. When it is very hot you use AC (Air conditioner) so that your body gets comfortable. And spirituality is AC for the spirit, mind, intellect and the self. Meditation is AC. You know what AC means in spiritual realm? Absolute comfort. Your absolute inner comfort is when you repose and relax - relax in faith.
Q: I want to trust everybody but when I begin to do that something stops me. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Doesn’t matter. Step by step, you will reach there someday. At least you are now aware that you doubt everybody. Doubt won’t stay for a longer period. And when doubt is not there, faith naturally happens. It will happen on its own.
Q: People take afeem (opium) as Lord Shiva’s prasad. Should I take it? And if it’s not ok, how do I make others understand this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are not to take it. You get more fulfilling prasad here in satsang! Just look at the faces of people who take afeem. Do you find any radiance on their faces? Are they in a very contented and blissful state? It is not at all observed. There is no glow, vibrancy or smile on their faces. One has no option but to be extremely blissful, contented and happy after receiving the prasad of Lord Shiva. But this is not found with such people who take afeem. I don’t consider it as prasad.
Use your understanding to make them drop this. Make them experience Sudarshan Kriya.
Q: How do I maintain consistency in life? I find myself going up and then suddenly I find myself going down?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your desire for consistency itself will set you on the right path. As long as you keep going up, never mind if you come down once or twice. If you are worried that you should never go down or if you go down and start blaming, then you get angry and stressed. So just take it.
(The person: But what can I do with the insecurity that I will fall down?)
Look back and see. If you have taken 10 steps forward, you can never go back all the 10 steps. Isn’t it? If you climb 10 steps, you may come down three, four or five steps but never all the ten steps. When you look at the positive changes in you, do you relate to the person you were before you started doing practices? (Reply: No).
That was a completely different person. So this gives you complete confidence that you have never come down completely all the ten steps. You are somewhere four, five or six steps down the line.
Q: Guruji, our tasks get accomplished with rise in sattva. Then what about those people in society who do wrong things. How are their tasks accomplished?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That happens for a small period of time. Later on you will find they will fall badly. There was Bernard Madoff in America. People used to strive to have a picture with him. He was such a big businessman that if he said something it would be immediately followed. Then what happened? Everything got revealed. He is now in jail. His own son got him caught.
So the ones, who walk on the path of untruth, enjoy some good times but later on they meet with a downfall. The problem with the path of untruth is that you don’t get sound sleep and feel restless. At least, the ones following the path of truth will have a sound sleep.
Q: Guruji what is one such thing that is beyond Asakti (attachment) and Anasakti (detachment)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Me! (Huge laughter)
Q: Please talk about the increasing student suicides in Maharashtra.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The rate of suicides among students was increasing in Maharashtra so we published an advertisement in newspaper which encouraged people to contact us even if they had a slightest suicidal tendency. We got around 250 phone calls in a very short time, two days itself. Then they came to the course and did meditation. One person shared that his father and he, both, were going to commit suicide but now after going through the course they won’t do any such thing. So this is the way. Make people do the courses and experience meditation.
Q: Guruji you say that there is no difference between you and me, then how come you have such radiance but I don’t?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You blossom and you will find light is anyway there. Every bud has all that it needs to be a flower. There is no much difference between a bud and flower. The bud hasn’t yet fully blossomed but it will be. If you will continue attending such satsangs, you will find you have no less radiance. It will start coming to you very easily.
Q: Guruji, even after surrendering, the mind gets stuck? What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: At least for some time the mind gets free. This is the how it is with the mind. The reach of maya is widespread. It holds on to you from so many directions. When you think it gives you some happiness then the mind gets attracted towards it. Finish it with surrender, bhog ke (bearing the pleasure & the pain) or with understanding. If nothing, then with time it automatically gets finished.