Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Are You Being Useful or Useless?

July 15, 2013

Montreal, Canada

Questions & Answers
l Q&A
Dear Gurudev, what is it about seva that makes people dynamic versus doing office work?
Sri Sri: See, we have to do something and we keep doing something. When we do something, we want something out of it for ourselves. Now if you do something for which you don’t want anything in return, but you just want to be useful in life, that is called seva. 
An action for which you are not expecting a reward, but you are happy just by doing an action, which would bring benefit to others, that is seva. 
An action for which you do not want any benefit for yourself, but instead you want to be beneficial to others, that is seva.

What is the purpose of Siddhis (paranormal powers)?
Sri Sri: Okay, when you want something, before the want arises if it is available to you, that is called siddhi. 
Suppose you want to get married and you don’t get anybody till you become 70, what do you do? That means there is no siddhi. Suppose, even before you want to get married there are 10 people who are telling you, 'Please marry me', that means you have siddhis. 

There is a proverb in India, when you had teeth you had no nuts, and when you had nuts you had no teeth. 
So you couldn’t get nuts when your teeth were intact. When you got nuts at that time there was no teeth. So this is lack of siddhi. You got what you wanted, but it was too late.

Now, if you want something but you got lesser than what you want, then that is also no siddhi. Suppose you want to go to California and you needed $1500, but you got only $1300, then that is no siddhi. So when before time, more than what you need appears, is siddhi
Things should just appear. If it appears later then no point, and if it is not enough thats also no good. So, whatever you need when it comes on time that is called siddhi. 
More than the need, before the time, the arrival of material thing, is called siddhis. 
More than the need, not to satisfy greed. So more than the need and before the time.

Gurudev, just being in your presence is so amazing. Why do we need all these meditation practices? Is it necessary to be regular with it?
Sri Sri: Yes, so that you have something to do and I have something to do. 
There are four levels. First is Sanidhya which means feeling the presence. 
Then Samipya, feeling close to the Guru or to the Divine. The feeling of closeness has to come from your side. Nobody can make you feel close. It has to come from oneself. 
Then is Sarupya, being one with the form. Which means there is no difference between me and you. 
And then Sayujya which means just dissolving in the Divine.

Gurdev, if Art of Living has everything to do with spirituality and nothing to do with religion then why do we sing so many bhajans about Krishna and Hindu Gods in general?
Sri Sri: Now, singing is part of spirituality. And the ancient chants that we sing are called mantras, they have vibrations that have an impact on you. So it is just a way of life. Om Namah Shivya is called mantra, and chanting mantras is part of spirituality. 
From the time you are born, your naming ceremony, your marriage ceremony and death ceremony are all according to religion. But spirituality is anything that uplifts life. So even though yoga, meditation, etc., are born out of the ancient tradition, it is a way of life and it is not a religion per say.

Someone asked the president of India Dr. Sarvepalli Radhankrishana who is a Hindu, the definition of the Hindu religion. He said, 'There is no way you can define Hinduism. It is just a way of life.' 
So because there are so many religions, the way of life also came to be known as a religion, otherwise Hinduism is not a religion, it is just a way of life. 
So these chantings have an impact on our system, on our mind, and our consciousness. The older the chants, the more it impacts the deeper levels of our consciousness. That is why it is said to chant Om. 
It is not Krishna or something, but it is the value of the mantra that is most important.

Gurudev, like there are different types of speech, are there different types of silence?
Sri Sri: Are there different types of emptiness. Silence is silence, emptiness is emptiness. If a bowl is empty, you can't ask what type of emptiness is it. But if it is filled you can ask what is it filled with.
In speech, there are four different type of speech, Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari. the gross level of speech, what we are speaking now.
Pashyanti is subtler than this. It is the speech without language. You get the vibrations, you get the idea, and you don’t have to verbalize it. This is pashyanti. 
A child never tells you, 'Oh, I love you!' But it just looks at you and you feel the love. Love and the emotions are conveyed without words. This is pashyanti: recognizing without language.

Madhyama is even subtler. Even before it comes to the field of expression. That is called madhyama. It is inherent in the being before it has even started coming into field of expression. It is transmitted without the medium. In pashyanti there is medium. It is transmitted without language, but there is a medium. In madhyama even that is not there.
Para is even finer. It is just the primordial language. It has no language, no words, but just knowledge welling up in the consciousness. That is para. 
So para, pashyanti, madhyama and vaikhari is the last one. That is it.

In the book called 'The Proof of Heaven’, the author mentions the communication without language. That is what he experienced when he was in coma. And he says that name of the Divine is Om. 
Have you read about this book? It is very interesting.

It is about a doctor in USA who is a neurosurgeon. He went into coma and people thought he was almost gone. When he came back he wrote about his experience, he wrote The Proof of Heaven. He wrote about how he went into other realms.
This is absolutely stunning, and it is the same thing that is in the Vedanta (Oldest scripture of Hinduism), in thePuranas (ancient Vedic texts), and in the ancient texts. Same ditto thing. 
He said, what I have been saying for many years, that there is a light and the name of the light is Om, i.e., omnipresent, omniscient, so loving and dear. 
He also says that he went through a tree where the roots are above the shoots are below. This is in the Bhagavad Gita. One passes through the roots to go to the other side. So he talks about these roots. 
Then he talks about the golden egg, what we call Hiranyagarbha. He says the core, which means the center, is atman. The atman is the core, and the golden egg (Hiranyagarbha) is a shell. This is exactly what you will read in the Bhagavad Gita. 
He then talks about the communication, and he says that the communication was without words, without any language, and this is exactly pashyanti, para, madhyama, and vaikhari. It is very interesting.

Dear Gurudev, when you see someone close to you caught up in their head, or in fear, or in concepts, how do you bring them to the level of heart?
Sri Sri: Just don’t worry, they will come back on their own. It is about time; time and place. There is a couplet in Hindi that says, the world has everything, the world has many gifts, but a person without good karma doesn’t get anything.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

How to Keep Faith During Calamities?

June 24, 2013

Bangalore, India

Questions & Answers
Expand all Q&A
Dear Sri Sri, in Germany and some other parts of Europe we have had very recently experienced devastating floods. What is your message towards our environmental duty and how can social media support us in that?
Sri Sri: Natural calamities occur and human mistakes add to it. In terrains where we know that such calamities can happen, our preparedness is very low. That is something that bothers me a lot.
In Kedarnath thousands of people have lost their lives in the most devastating flood. It is partly because of our negligence towards the environment. We do not care for the environment as we should. Deforestation is a big problem in the Himalayas. We have been cutting trees in the name of development. In the name of getting more power we have done many things that could have been done in a different way.
Secondly, the pilgrims in India are neglected even when thousands of people go there every year. I would say that they should have made better roads and alternative roads in these areas so that evacuation could be faster. Floods do come, devastations do happen, but at least we can save the lives of people.
In Calgary and Europe not so much harm has been done to people’s lives. We haven’t lost these many lives in the recent years since the tsunami. This is a Himalayan tsunami. Our Art of Living volunteers are there and are providing relief material to the people. Our Volunteers are working in Germany and Calgary as well.
I have not told any of these volunteer that they should go and do relief work. This is what happens when our consciousness rises. Our heart feels the human values. It spontaneously responds to such situations and people just jump in and do their best for fellow human beings.
These are the situations that really test our humanness; whether you are really a human being or a robot. In these situations we have to extend our hands to those unfortunate ones and those who need us. So people should come in big numbers and contribute wherever and whenever calamities happen.
The government should take care. The metrological department is there to predict such calamities in advance and to take care so that people’s lives are saved. A lot can be done in this direction. Disaster management is a science by itself. Well-meaning people should contribute and rise to help in such situations; and they are doing it. I really thank all those who are putting their effort to make the lives of the victims better.
Here also I would thank the Indian Army and the jawans (soldiers) who have risked their lives to help the people. Their dedication and help is invaluable and we must thank them for their efforts.

An unprecedented calamity hit Kedarnath and thousands of people lost their lives and have been misplaced. All of them went to the pilgrim to pray and have faced this calamity. The faith of many people may be shaken at this stage. How do we deal with this?
Sri Sri: First of all, let us understand that God is impartial. Nature is impartial. It does not see what is mine and what is yours. God is not living only in Kedarnath. He is all over. He is in your heart. He is everywhere.
The pilgrim spots where many tourists have been going, do not have enough amenities to handle the crowd and there has been a lot of negligence at all our pilgrim places around the country. They need better facilities, better roads, better communication systems, and this has not been attended to as it should have been.
Many incidents come where faith is shaken, but come what may we should hold on to our faith that truth will triumph, and good will find its rightful place. This is the time for prayer. When disasters happen, when fear overtakes our mind, prayer helps. Do not lose your heart. Every place belongs to the Lord. Calamities happen and in times of calamity your faith is tested. Hold on to your faith and see what you can do for people around you.
So many lives have been saved. Be thankful for those lives. And for those who have lost their lives, pray for the peace of their souls and their families. Let their families come out of this great tragedy. Let God give them the strength to overcome this tragedy. This is what we must pray. Pray for those who are saved and thank God for saving them in this horrible situation that they have gone through.
There are no words to describe the human tragedy. We must now wake up and make proper alternative arrangements knowing very well that the terrain is so hard and so difficult. We should place proper roads and proper communication and transport systems. This is an urgency. People have been going there since ages and this tragedy will not stop them from going back there.
Let us learn from this tragedy. Let this tragedy not repeat itself anywhere else in the planet due to human negligence. Beyond that we cannot predict or say anything. So we should reduce our human negligence as much as we can.

The recent demonstrations in Brazil has impacted all aspects of life here. How does one deal with it?
Sri Sri: When people do not get justice, or when they are tired of corruption in the society, it’s natural that they get agitated. People gather to demonstrate, they agitate. It’s a good sign that the people are waking up.
One way is to take everything as it comes, not be bothered about it and be a part of a corrupt system. The other way is to wake up and stand up against corruption, stand up against injustice, stand up against that which you think is not right. This is a welcome attitude. We must really appreciate that.
One thing that we need to really attend to is that the mob should not turn anti-social and violent. We need to see that the demonstrations are peaceful, that they are for a cause and not against a person, because people change and everyone has the ability to transform himself or herself. We must recognize that people do change. So we must maintain the decorum of such agitations and demonstrations with peace and purposefulness..
When we are not peaceful we also lose the purpose and target. I would say that non-violence should be the guiding force of any agitation. It should be for the cause and not directed against a person. No damage should be caused either to people or to properties. That is what should be the guiding line.
Well-meaning people start an agitation and then it becomes hard to keep it focused on the goal because some anti-social elements enter and create violence. This is where people should be aware of the harmful effects of violence and destruction.
If nonviolence is kept on the forefront of agitations and demonstrations, it should be welcomed. If violence happens then there is no other way but to quell it by using force. It becomes very difficult. I again emphasize that we should have a peaceful revolution, a non-violent revolution. This is much needed in today’s scenario.

Dear Gurudev, how do we defend our civil and democratic rights without using violence? How to create a sense of belongingness in the society where the government is reinforcing polarization and using a divide and rule policy?
Sri Sri: A great cause has many obstacles and many challenges. When the challenges are bigger that is when we have to hold on to our values. I know that it is difficult to be peaceful when there is injustice, and especially when there is violence. We have to take that extra care and keep our spirits alive. We have to say that come what may we will hold on to our goal of our democratic rights.
When you are strong in your resolution I tell you the small setbacks that you face will be nothing. You will still march ahead.
To want justice and want your human rights and human values is not that easy. It is a long way. There are vested interests in the society and there are people who just want to hold on to power. There are people who act without thinking and the only l language they know is of violence. When this is the scenario we have to take that extra caution to continue our pursuit peacefully and in a nonviolent manner.
Our people should be are given that moral support that truth will always win. When you believe that truth will triumph you will be able to move through the challenges with confidence and the much needed courage. 
When we get upset, stressed and angry, somewhere inside we are shaken and we lose energy. To take any big task we need enormous energy and this enormous energy comes with certain calmness within us.
Second is always be open to dialogue.
Third is, do not label a person or a set up as bad. Once you label, you close the door for communication. Mahatma Gandhi never labeled the British as the bad guys. He always had that line of communication open with them.Even after many atrocities he kept approaching them for dialogue. We should not think that the other people or the government is anti people. It will make us even angrier, and when we are angry we lose our energy even more.
The best thing is to keep of the line of communication open, be steadfast in your approach towards justice, towards democratic rights, towards peace, prosperity and progress. Be resolute and encourage people to be resolute and peaceful in there demonstrations. I know that it is easier said than done, but nevertheless we should move in this direction, for victory will be ours.

Dear Gurudev, Muslims in Pakistan are peace loving people, so how can we eliminate terrorism from Pakistan?
Sri Sri: To prevent terrorism, we need to see how we can establish communication and bring some sense into the minds of terrorists.
Second is, we need to accept diversity and enjoy diversity. Diversity is not a matter of conflict or contention, it is a matter of celebration
Everybody is different. Everybody is wearing different dresses, and everybody has their own lifestyle. One should accept diversity and have the vision of a global family. We are all one world family with different languages, different religions, different cultures, and different nationalities. This celebration of diversity needs to be inculcated in young minds. Once they know this, there is no way they can become extremists or terrorists.
Terrorism comes when they think that only they have the key to the heaven. This is a misnomer or misconception that has put them in that position.
I have dealt with people who are in the terrorist and extremist mindset. There are two types of extremists, one is religious extremists and the other is ideological.
The Maoists in India have a cause and they are ready to put their life for that cause. The only thing they do not understand is that bringing pain and suffering to others is not going to help them reach their goal or bring them any happiness. We need to bring this education of diversity to people, have an open communication with them and prevent people from falling into this trap of ‘I am only right and everybody else is wrong’ attitude.
If these people do a little bit of breathing, relax a little, and see the beauty in creation, the beauty in diversity, I am sure they will change. And I have seen many of them change their way of thinking. They have some wrong indoctrination, some unknown fear, or have been victims of some sort of violence. This could be cause of them taking up such extreme ideology which is self destructive.

How can we make the political class of Argentina understand that the best way to build society is through peace?
Sri Sri: We have to spiritualize politics, socialize business and secularize religion. This is the answer. Being secular means that religious people should think about the whole globe, not just their own religion or their own community. Usually a religious head feels belongingness only to people who follow his religion. He should come out of that barrier and pray for the whole world.
Similarly, every businessman should do a little bit of social engineering, or take up some social responsibility.They must be part of it.
Politicians should first think about the country, then about their party and then about themselves. Today what is happening is that most often they first think about themselves, then about the party, and if there is anything left, about the nation. This trend has to be reversed right away.
When they care for the higher good, for a large number of people in the society, then naturally they will be spiritual, naturally they will love peace and the shortsighted vision that is creating havoc in the society around the world will disappear.
Power and money comes and goes but the goodness that we generate by our attitude, by our actions stay forever. This is what a politician should understand. They should not have a shortsighted vision but long term benefit for maximum number of people. That is what they should keep as their agenda. That is the most ideal thing. So peace is absolutely essential. When we are peaceful we are able to come up with such ideas. When we are not peaceful, we are very disturbed and we only can bring about actions and thoughts which would bring in more disturbances and not peace. So everyone should meditate!

What is peace and how can we implement the principles of peace in our life through our religion, culture and family and in our education system starting from kindergarten?
Sri Sri: We need to learn a lot from children. We need to make them understand that they should make one new friend every day.
If you ask forty fifty kids in a classroom how many friends they have, they can usually count them on their fingers, and they stay with only those friends for the entire year. We need to bring out their friendly nature. And to do this we should tell them to make one new friend every day. Don’t mind if you are being insulted. Laugh and let go. Have humor and be sportive. Adore diversity.
If someone is dressed differently or is looking different or doing something different, don’t feel that they are alien but make them feel a part of you.
 These are some of the values which we can inculcate in children.
The goal of religion is to bring love and peace in one’s life. Getting connected with that one universal truth, universal spirit and universal love is the very purpose of religion, and also to be able to help the fellow human beings. So the essence of religion is the inner experience of Divinity, of light, of love and that is what we must aim and focus on.
Second thing is cultural diversity. Culture changes every few kilometers. You move a hundred kilometers and the dialect changes, the food habit changes and this diversity is the beauty of our creation. We must appreciate this. Instead of making this a point of contention we should turn it into an opportunity to celebrate. This is very important and to do all this we need energy.
When we are stressed how can we get energy? That’s where we need to do some breathing exercises, eat proper food and have some humor in life, and most important of all take those ten important minutes to relax or meditate every day. I would recommend this to everyone. For just ten to fifteen minutes, sit and relax, relax your mind, relax your intellect, go within, observe your breath, you will find that you are a fountain of energy, you are an ocean of love and you are a mountain of ideas.

The suicide rate in Korea is very high. The children of Korea are growing up in an environment where there is too much competition and very less culture and spirituality. Please send us your words of wisdom.
Sri Sri: When energy goes down you get depressed and when it goes further down suicidal tendencies arise. Through proper breathing exercises, some meditation and through good and loving company energy can go up.
Usually when we have some negative things in our minds we share it with somebody and our so called friends confirm our negativity rather than dissolving the negativity. They say, 'Yes what you say is correct and everything is hopeless'. Instead we should raise their level of enthusiasm and energy.
It is not only the poor people who commit suicide but those who are rich also commit suicide because it is the state of mind which is responsible for suicidal tendencies. It has nothing to do with material acquisition. I would say that anyone with suicidal tendencies should be led to someone who can teach them meditation, who can make them do some breathing exercises and raise their energy level. And this is possible.
Violence against oneself is as bad as violence against someone else. So the world is caught between societal violence on one side and suicidal tendencies on the other side. It is only spirituality which can bring them to the center and which can relieve them from these two extremities
If you find anyone with the slightest suicidal tendency please ask them to do some yoga. Get them around some good company, get them to sing and dance, and make them understand that life is much more than just a few material positions. Life is much more than blame or appreciation from someone. Life is much more than a relationship or a job. The reason for suicide is failure in relationship, failure in job and not being able to achieve what you want to achieve. Life is much more than the small desires that pop up in your consciousness, in your mind. See life from a bigger perspective and engage yourself in some sort of social activity; service activity.
Service or seva can keep people sane and keep them out of this mental depression. Mental depression is worse than an economic recession. One has to take responsibility to sail over this and help others around them. The Art of Living is very much involved in working with such people and I would like more people to join and work to eradicate this menace of depression and suicidal tendencies.

Addiction is the most serious problem in the society, how to come out of it? Also, what advice do you have for the children of addicted parents?
Sri Sri: Parents should create a barrier in the minds of children not to touch any substance which they can get addicted to and which are harmful to them. We should create a prejudice against it, a psychological barrier which will stop them from even looking in that direction. This is essential.
Like when a plant is being grown you put a fence around to protect the plant. In the same way we must protect the young minds, with certain mental barriers. This is essential. We have to give them certain concepts by which they do not move an inch in that direction.
For those who are already addicted, to bring them out, there are three ways: Love, Greed and Fear. If they love someone then ask them to take a vow or promise on their loved one that they will never touch it again. Or tell them that you will have so much more luck if you don’t touch these addictive substances.
Help them in whatever manner you can to come out of it. There are many remedies in Homeopathy and in Ayurveda. Yoga and meditation are also very good. I have seen millions of people come out of their addictions just by doing some yoga and meditation.

If somebody feels that if yoga, meditation and pranayama are non-secular, do you have any advice for them?
Sri Sri: People who think that yoga, meditation and pranayama are non-secular have not tried it and have a prejudice. An exercise or a technique is for everybody, it works on everyone. It helps to calm one’s mind and be more creative. So people should first try it and then they will find that it is so secular and so universal.
Yoga does not contradict anyone’s religion or their belief system at all. This misconception can easily be removed just by doing it once.

There are many religions in the world. Is religion the cause of division or does religion unite?
Sri Sri: Without knowledge, without wisdom religion appears to divide people. It becomes the core or the only way of one's identity.
First conflict arises between different religions, then inside the religion you will see inter religious conflicts arise and then groups are formed. All this happens due to lack of wisdom and lack of understanding.
A wise man would benefit from all religions. He will see that religion is adding more value to one’s life. Without this wisdom if you hold on to religion only for identity and not for your evolution then definitely it is divisive.
Our identity should first be that we are part of one light. The second identity is that we are part of one human society, one global family. And the third could be nationality or language. The fourth could be religion. And fifth could be the heritage or family.
You can keep the other identities, but when you forget that you are a part of one human society, one universal light, that is when religion is used to divide our society and destroy ourselves. With wisdom you would celebrate diversity and take the best from every religion so that you can evolve to be a good human being.

Sri Sri what is your message for everyone?
Sri Sri: Every face on this earth is the book of the universe, the book of God. Everybody is a fountain of love. Let this love be expressed, let this fountain flow, and enrich our planet at this time. Love and blessings to all of you.

Three Levels of Spiritual Practices

July 23, 2013

Montreal, Canada

There are three levels of spiritual practices.
This is something I have not spoken about before.

The first one is called Anva Upaya. The second is Shakta Upaya, . and the third one is Shambava Upaya. .
Shiva, Shakti and Anva. All practices in the world can be categorized into these three categories. So, Anva is the lowest; means the very beginning. All the japa, mantras, poojas, yogasanas, breath control, everything comes under Anva Upaya. They are called Upayas, which means remedies.
Above this is Shakta. Shakta is only mental, i.e., inside. There is no outer thing, no mantras in it. It is the effect of the meditative state, that is Shakta Upaya.
When you do singing, meditation, pranayam and Sudarshan Kriya (Kriya begins with Anva Upaya but then), it leads toShakta Upaya, when you are just energy. Here there is no effort, there is no doing. Just a little bit effortless effort is there.
Then the Shambava or Shiv Upaya is just pure awareness. Just a state of awareness.
Shambava Upaya means that there is no means (way) to do it, it is just a happening, it will just happen. Even then it is still called an Upaya.
So the purpose of Anva and Shakta Upaya is to go to Shambava Upaya wherein you become one with Shiva (the fourth state of consciousness). There is no two, there is no doer, you are Shiva, and that is Shambava Upaya.

Usually people like Jiddu Krishnamurti and others who have experienced some degree of Shambava Upaya, they simply discard the other levels. If you read, some people have said that there is no point in doing pranayama, or, there is no point in chanting mantras, or there is no point in doing Pooja. They are all talking from the level of Shambava Upaya,but all these practices have their own place too.
See, for example, if you go to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Mayor of St Mathieu's doesn’t matter much. But suppose the Mayor of St Matheius has a say as well, then even if you go to the Prime Minister the mayor of this town can put some hurdles, isn't it? The beaurocrats can put some hurdles.
So the ancient system is attending to everybody and giving everyone their rightful place. And that is how all this, Anva Upaya, Shakta Upaya, everything is maintained because they have some purpose.
This is deep knowledge.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sri Sri's Message on Guru Poornima

July 22, 2013

Montreal, Canada

(People from around the world joined the Guru Poornima celebrations with Sri Sri at The Art of Living Ashram in Montreal, Canada, on July 22. What started with a short pooja, offering gratitude to the lineage of Masters, continued with some reminisces of senior Art of Living teachers.
Perhaps the most awaited moment was when Sri Sri shared the message of the day.
This tradition has been going on for over 3 decades. His words were heard by people who joined in through the live webcast. We present the transcript from Sri Sri's talk.)

Aum Namah Pranavarthaya Shuddha Gnana Eka Amurtaye Nirmalaya Prashantaya Sri Dakshinamurtaye Namah.
(Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy, who is ever pure and calm, the embodiment of pure knowledge, and who is but the indicative meaning of the Aum, the Supreme.)

Once upon a time a Guru was sitting in the congregation and many people came and took his blessings. He was silent most of the time but when people came and asked him something, he said, ‘Oh, you’re very lucky!’
Even to be grateful there
needs to be two, and the
Master said, ‘Hey, come
on, wake up. You and me,
two? There’s only one!
There’s no you and there’s
no I’. There is only one
Brahman (divinity) that
exists and this is all a
drama, a leela (game).

So a student came to Gurudev and said, ‘I failed in my exam’.
Gurudev said, ‘You’re very lucky!’
The next person said, ‘Gurudev, I lost my job’, and the Guru said, ‘You’re very lucky!’
The third person came and said, ‘None of my friends are talking to me, everybody has become my enemy’, and Gurudev said, ‘You’re very lucky!’
Another gentleman came and said, 'My wife left me', and the Guru said, ‘You’re very lucky!’ So, everyone kept saying their problems and each time Gurudev said, ‘You’re very lucky!’
And strangely, something would suddenly happen to them and they would all feel happy and walk away.

Then one gentleman came and said, ‘Gurudev I am so lucky, I have you in my life. I am so grateful’, and Gurudev got annoyed and gave him one slap!
This man with all tears in his eyes and gratitude started dancing.

There was an onlooker who was sitting there and he got so confused! He said, ‘I can’t believe what I am seeing. Someone who says I am so grateful gets a slap, and all those who cry to him, he tells them that they are very lucky!’ He couldn’t understand.
Usually they don’t have the guts to ask the Guru so they ask the other devotees there, ‘Tell me what is happening. You have been here for so long. I can’t make out this Guru’s behavior. It’s completely illogical.’
As usual devotees have their own interpretation. So, one of the most senior most devotee said, ‘Yes, it is perfect what he has said'.

I remember a very senior gentlemen narrated an incident to me at the Bangalore Ashram. He said that in 1942 there was only one surgeon in Bangalore and this surgeon had failed his MBBS seven times!
In those days, whenever people had appendicitis operation, the doctors would cut a particular vein because of which some of the patient would die. They did not know which vein they were cutting. So this gentleman (who failed seven times) discovered that and became very well known and very respected. Later on he also got an international honor. But he had failed seven times in MBBS!
So if someone has failed in an exam, they study more.

If you just study once, by hook or by crook you pass the exam and that’s it, you forget it! But if you have failed, you become proficient in that. If you failed in mathematics then you really memorize the whole thing.
So every time someone fails an exam it is good because then he becomes a better doctor, or a better engineer! (laughs) It means he has to put in more effort to study the same topics.

So the senior devotee said, 'Gurudev said to the student that he is very lucky because he is now studying more'.
For the gentleman who said, ‘I lost my job’, the senior devotee said, 'Yes Gurudev said the right thing. When you are in a job you don’t think about yourself. Now that you have lost your job you have the time to sit back and think who you are and what you want. You have some time to think about your life! People who have a job they always complain that they don’t have time. Now, you have time!'
In life to get time itself is a big luck. Getting time to reflect on oneself, on the divine, on the truth, on ‘Who I am’ itself is a big luck.
The other gentleman whose wife ran away, he said, ‘You’re very lucky!’ So far he was living so insensitively. He did not bother to see what his wife needs.
When someone goes away, then you realize their value. Then you think about your mistakes. You become aware of the things you could have done better.
So he is very lucky to become sensitive to women’s issues.
Why would a woman run away if you were attending to her welfare, to her emotional, mental and physical needs? There is something that you have done wrong. She made you aware that you have to be sensitive towards women. He understood this and so he was also happy.

When someone goes away,
then you realize their value.
Then you think about your
mistakes. You become aware
of the things you could have
done better.

So like this, in every step of life, when you lose something you become so miserable, but every misery wakes you up.
There are three levels of human consciousness.
The first is being inert. In Hindi we say ghora jarata; being insensitive. There is so much inertia in you that you don’t feel anything. From inertia when you start realizing that life is miserable, then viveka (discrimination) and vairagya (dispassion) dawns in you. When dispassion dawns in your life, you are the luckiest!
So if all your friends have left you, they’ve given you time to reflect on yourself; on who you are, what you are, what is the truth? So you’re very lucky!

The first step is to realize that everything is misery. Life is miserable. Life has sorrow. That’s when people become religious. This is a step.
The next step is to see life is all blissful! First you realize that it is all misery. Then, from it is all misery you move to the next step which is, ‘Where is the misery? Come on wake up!’ This is where the Guru comes into play. The Guru’s presence, or when the Guru Tattva dawns, the misery vanishes and becomes bliss. Total bliss! Life is bliss!
Life is a game, it is a leela (game)! This understanding comes.

Now why did the last person who said, ‘I am so grateful!’ get a slap?
The senior devotee said, 'Gurudev slapped him because he was centered in the I; ‘I am grateful’. When he gave him a slap he realized, live as though you don’t exist.'
Usually people exist and don’t live. To exist without life is ignorance. Living as though you don’t exist is enlightenment. That one slap woke him up.
The ‘I’, ‘I am miserable', 'I am happy’. Where is me? I am not there. Live as though you’re not there.
This was the message the last gentleman got and when he got that slap he was so happy!

What is there to be grateful about? Even to be grateful there needs to be two, and the Master said, ‘Hey, come on, wake up. You and me, two? There’s only one! There’s no you and there’s no I’.
There is only one brahman (divinity) that exists and this is all a drama, a leela (game). Enjoy! When you realize this, misery vanishes from life. Every challenge is an opportunity and every opportunity is a step towards the divinity. That’s the moral of the story.

One more story!
Recognize the greatness in
you and recognize the
greatness in others. Then
there is no you and there
is no others, and that is
Namaste! That is fullness.

You have seen that all the fingers are different. No two fingers are the same.
So once, all the fingers got into an argument of who was the greatest of them all.
The thumb said, 'See, I am the greatest. I am the stoutest and whenever people win they only show me as a sign of victory. If they want to say, ‘Go ahead’, then also they show me as a signal, They do this because I am the greatest! I am the thickest. I am the real stuff! Even if someone is uneducated they use me and give their thumb impression'.
So the thumb said that he is the greatest!
The index finger said, ‘Come on! When people have to indicate, they indicate using me.’ Anyone who has wisdom, they show the path. So I am the one who gives direction to life. I am the greatest!
Then the middle finger said, ‘I think you all must be blind! Just hold anybody’s hand and see who stands tall? I am the tallest! Why do you unnecessarily argue? This is like arguing whether there is sun at noon’.
Then the ring finger said, ‘I can only laugh at all of you. Where do people put their jewels? Nobody gives jewels to the thumb. The rings are always adorned by the ring finger. I am the highest. World over people have recognized this and I am the greatest'.
The little finger simply kept laughing! All the other four fingers asked, ‘Hey, why are you laughing?’
It said, ‘When a dignitary comes, who is kept in front? (When the hands are folded together in Namaste or prayer, the little fingers are in front). When someone goes to a temple to pray, who is kept in front of God? The highest goes in front of God first! So I am the closest to God. Whoever is the closest to God, is the greatest! So, I am the greatest!'

So all fingers had their own way to say that they are the greatest.
So, recognize the greatness in you and recognize the greatness in others. Then there is no you and there is no others, and that is Namaste! That is fullness.

Buddha took you from inertia to realizing that there is misery, and from misery to the place of 'All is bliss', is theVedanta (Philosophical traditions concerned with self-realization by which one understands the ultimate nature of reality (Brahman)). I am nothing (shunyata) and I am everything (purnata); meditation and celebration, they all go together! And today is the celebration of both meditation and celebration (fullness)!

The Most Desired Transformation

July 01, 2013

Geneva, Switzerland


Your Excellency, and my dear ones and the audience. As Dr. Denis Broun just mentioned, crisis brings out the best and the worst in people.
When the recent Himalayas
tsunami happened, I didn’t tell
any of the volunteers to go and
do something. Without me telling
anyone, there were already
thousands of volunteers who just
plunged into various activities. I
would say this is real ethics, the
real feeling that comes from your
heart. When we inculcate this in the
educational system, bring attention
and awareness of one’s attitude
and behavior, we find a sea of
change in our society.

Just a week ago, there was a crisis in India. During this crises, there were people who plunged in to save others and there were some who exploited even for a glass of water.
It is in these moments of crisis that we can gauge ethics, whether it is genuine or cosmetic. Ethics cannot be cosmetic, it has to come out in a genuine manner. Now, how does one bring about genuine ethics in people, or make a person feel that one has to really be ethical.

I just want to narrate an incident. There is a corrupt person working in a bank, he is a trouble-maker and he does not listen to anybody. I asked them to send him to me, so I could have a word with him.
I told this gentleman, ‘Would you like your driver to be honest with you or cheat you?’
He replied, ‘I don’t like my driver to cheat me, it is obvious.’
Then I asked him, 'Would you appreciate it if a colleague is cheating on you?’
He said, ‘No, I don’t want my colleague or friend to cheat on me.’
I said, ‘Look, you don’t want your boss to be dishonest with you. You don’t want your subordinate to be dishonest with you. You don’t want your colleague to be dishonest with you. You expect honesty from everyone, sincerity from everybody; how about you?’
That suddenly made him sit back and think, ‘Yes, I don’t even want my maid servant at home to cheat on me, I don’t want my driver to cheat on me, I don’t want my colleague on whom I have to rely on to cheat on me; then why would I cheat on someone else?’ He had never thought about it like this before; it made him think, re-think!
'When my behavior affects so many people around me, and I am affected by others’ behavior; what I don’t want others to do to me, why should I do to others?'
This is the basic line of ethics.
This sense of awareness when it comes from within, then life is on a different paradigm. There is a very visible shift.

When the recent Himalayas tsunami happened, I didn’t tell any of the volunteers to go and do something. Without me telling anyone, there were already thousands of volunteers who just plunged into various activities. I would say this is real ethics, the real feeling that comes from your heart.
When we inculcate this in the educational system, bring attention and awareness of one’s attitude and behavior, we find a sea of change in our society.

If you have ever been to a prison anytime, I mean just to take a look at it; if you had a word or two with people in the prison, you would see that they are good people. These people who are condemned as criminals, there is a good person hiding inside them, there is an ethical and compassionate person hiding inside them too. That personality needs to come out, blossom and flower.
When I visited prisons, I spoke to thousands of inmates. They said they committed the crime in a moment of an emotional upsurge, when they were not in control, and then they regretted it.
How can we help these people who are corrupt and involved in criminal activities? I think it is possible. If we can educate them on how they can handle their own mind and their emotions then that would bring a big change.
They say, 'Neither at school nor at home has a broader vision about life been given to us. Nobody ever told us to attend to our emotions our minds.’
A sense of inner cleansing can bring about ethics.

There are four pillars of our
society and we need to attend
to all the four pillars - politics,
business, faith-based
organizations, and the civil
society. Unless ethics percolates
in all these four different areas
of our human society, we cannot
find the most desired
transformation happening.

Stress and violent tendencies in an individual need to be checked. I am sure if these tendencies are checked, and if people are given tools or counseled to get over these tendencies which they have acquired either due to ignorance or through difficult family situations, we can bring about the best of ethics from within them.
If those in correctional houses can be transformed, I am sure the common man can realize and live those ethics in their day-to-day life; it is not so difficult. I don’t find any reason for us to not believe in a more ethical and compassionate society for the coming generation. Of course, the present situation looks very bleak; we see crime and violence everywhere.
In the last year in America alone, there were 10 million acts of crime and violence recorded. If you go throughout the world, we have 7 billion people; I am sure there is a few billion acts of violence that is happening in the society. I feel it is high time we put our attention towards bringing back the ethics, not just in business, but in the social and civic society.
There are four pillars of our society and we need to attend to all the four pillars - politics, business, faith-based organizations, and the civil society. Unless ethics percolates in all these four different areas of our human society, we cannot find the most desired transformation happening.
Once again, I will reinstate the point that ethics needs to be inculcated, cultivated and nurtured. The seed is already present in every human being, it is already there, it just needs a little more nurturing - in politics, business, faith-based organizations, and also in civic society. If all these four institutions work together, we can definitely make a difference in this coming century.

With these few words, I congratulate the organizers, and all of you who have come here to deliberate on this very important topic of today’s Ethics in Business. Thank you very much.