Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly called as Guruji, the founder of Art of Living Foundation through which He relieves the stress at individual levels, thus reducing violence, sufferings and conflicts and spreading the love, harmony, peace throughout the world in various societies.
Saturday, 17. December 2016 Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
Did you know that on average, we spend almost 40 years of our life sleeping, 10 years working, 8 years eating, another 8 years in bathrooms and toilets, and about 5-6 years in traffic jams? Add all this and life is finished. If you notice how many hours or days in life we spend laughing, it comes to hardly 3-4 years; we don’t even spend 10% of our life laughing! Do we need to change our style of living so that we spend more time being happy? I would say, ‘Yes! That is The Art of Living.’
A violence-free society, a disease-free body, a confusion-free mind, an inhibition-free intellect, a trauma-free memory and a sorrow-free soul is everyone’s birthright.
It costs much more money to keep a young child in prison than to send him to University.
Anything that anyone does is to be happy. People do so many things to be happy, but the day doesn’t come! It’s like someone making the bed all night to sleep; changing the bed spread, the pillow case, but finding no time to sleep. We need to change this, and we (The Art of Living) can make a difference here.
Earlier today, when I was talking to the Governor, he mentioned that it costs much more money to keep a young child in prison than to send him to University. This is something very astonishing. I think we all need to focus on making Bahia free from violence. It is a very big dream, and seems very tough, but I think we can do it, we all have to work towards achieving this. Inside every culprit, there is a victim crying for help; we can heal the victim through meditation, and that is what we will do. I want more and more of you to become teachers (of spiritual practices). How many of you would like to become teachers for The Art of Living? Raise your hands. (Many in the audience raise their hands).
We need to give our children a better society than what we inherited. Just 20 years back, the crime rate was so low in Bahia. It was so safe; people could walk anywhere, anytime. Today, the crime rate has gone up and this is because we have not created a sense of belongingness in society. This sense of belongingness cannot drop from the sky, we need to create it. When there is a sense of belongingness, corruption, violence and stress will go down. So, let us all give one hour each day for our society, for our country. Let us all become volunteers for a better Brazil (VBB). Can we do this just for two years? (Everyone is the audience agrees)
My dream is to create waves of happiness. Just like how all of you here are so happy, I want to create the same happiness in every nook and corner of society. There is so much knowledge, beauty, wisdom and depth that I want to share this with all of you. But we need to create a platform for that, where society is more harmonious. That is why I ask you once again, how many of you want to become teachers or volunteers for a better Brazil? Just one hour for the country, you can keep 23 hours for yourself!
Inside every culprit, there is a victim crying for help. We can heal the victim through meditation.
I feel we should have Happiness Centres in Bahia; what do you think? How many of you would like to participate in creating them? These centres will be places where people can come, sit for a few minutes, feel happy and go back. Every place has restaurants, gymnasiums and hospitals, but you don’t find Happiness Centres anywhere. We do need such places, right?!
I want to share a few tips with you:
• Ensure that you have good food, especially organic food - It is important that you have the right type and the right amount of food.
• Pay attention to your health - A little bit of exercise, yoga and some meditation will help maintain good health.
• Relationships - This is something that disturbs everybody, and there are many questions about it. I have three pieces of advice, one for men, one for women and one for both. First, for women – never step on the ego of a man. The whole world may say that your husband or boyfriend or man is very dumb, not intelligent, but you should not say that; you should always praise him. A man should not be pressurized to prove himself at home.
Second secret is for men – don’t step on the emotions of women. If your wife or girlfriend complains about someone in her family like her father, brother or anyone else, you don’t join the chorus. If you do that, they would feel more hurt. And if she wants to go shopping, don’t question her, just give her your credit card!
Third, advice for both – do not question the other’s love for you. Don’t keep asking, “Do you really love me” or say, “You don’t love me!” This sort of complaining, demanding for love is no good. Demand destroys love, in you and in the other person too.
I want each one of you to be magnanimous; come from a space of, “I’m here for you!” Just imagine, when both say these words, there is so much harmony. When both want to grab, there is disharmony. When we move from the joy of getting to the joy of giving, we have matured in life, and this is a sign of success.
• Devote some time to knowledge and meditation.
• Be grateful to the Police - This is because they spend their precious time in protecting our society. Whether it is festival time or birthdays or anything at home, they always have to be on duty; especially if there is a big soccer match or something. They lead such a stressed life, making so many sacrifices for society; we must not blame them or put pressure on them.
• Enroll yourself in a silent retreat. I would like you to take a minimum of four days in a year to go deep into silence, and discover the enormous wealth that we have all been bestowed with. We have Advanced courses from time to time; just imagine, all of us sitting together for 4 days, meditating, learning more about our self, it will make such a big difference. It’s like getting your battery fully charged. You learn about your soul, about who you really are, and why we have come to this planet. What is the purpose of life; is it simply eating, sleeping, gossiping and dying one day or is there something more? We can discover all these things if we take a little time out for our self.
What is the purpose of life; is it simply eating, sleeping and dying one day or is there something more? We can discover all these things if we take a little time out for our self.
Definitely, a silent retreat once or twice a year can be very good. Then, you will see that nobody can take the smile away from you, nobody can disturb you as you become so strong from within. And many more avenues, dimensions within you open up.
I want to tell all of you this, give me all your worries; I only want to see you all with a big smile and serving society. How many of you feel that your wishes and desires are already getting fulfilled? Raise your hands! (Many in the audience raise their hands) . Very good. Now you have to desire and ask for something bigger; not small things. Desire for a violence-free and happy Bahia. We will help people who are sad, depressed, and violent; we will help bring the smile back on their faces.
(Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was welcomed at the Olympic sports Arena in Oslo, Norway on the 26th of October 2016. An event which saw the gathering of many sports persons was addressed by Gurudev. Below is the transcript of what Gurudev said…)
As I was listening to you speak it felt like you are echoing what we have been doing. You are uniting the world through sports and we are bringing people together from all different countries through culture, music and dance.
Recently in India, we had 155 countries come together and we celebrated The World Cultural Festival. I would like to present you a Video CD of this as well. The youth here may want to see it, or you may want to show them.
This is a World Cultural Festival in which 36,600 artists from 155 countries. It was almost like Cultural Olympics. So many people gathered on a 70-acre stage where they all performed different dance and music which was watched by 1.3 billion people in 767 locations. So, it was a big stage in which all kinds of artists with flutes, guitars, sitars, drums, tablas playing music from around the world.
Sports and music do go together and they unite people beyond language, religion, culture and nationality. I'm so glad that you agree that this is what we need today. We are a global family and our motto is a ‘One World Family’. So this is what I would like to present to your club.
Women have a very important role to play. If one girl is empowered, you are empowering the whole family. Women empowerment is also one of the agendas of our Art of Living Foundation. We've been doing girl child education and prevention of female feticide in many of the Asian countries. When people find out that the fetus is a girl, many of them go for abortion. So we are making a big campaign with UNESCO and other organizations to prevent feticide. This is one of the greatest agendas we have taken up many of villages. Women empowerment is very vital otherwise you will see half of our population live in darkness. If they are unhappy society cannot be happy. The aim of sports, culture, music, business and even politics is to create a happy society.
If sports are played like wars, then it is no longer a sport. In one of the sports club I spoke to a boy who was disappointed because he didn't get the prize.
I asked him, "Why are you sad"? He said, "I lost in the running race”. Then I asked him who had won the prize and he pointed out to another boy.
I asked him “Is he your friend?” to which he said, “Yes, he's my friend, he got the prize”. I asked him a question, “Suppose you had won and your friend was unhappy because you won, would you be happy about it. How would you take it?”
Suddenly the boy said, “No! I never thought about it like that”.
I said, “In sports it's not winning or losing, either you win or you make others win, in either case you should be happy”. A team spirit is needed.
We need to bring ethics in sports in the world. Sports without ethics will become war, sports without a friendly atmosphere of a win-win situation will only give more heart burns, more disappointment and depression. I've seen many young people who are in sports getting into depression. We need to re-orient them, tell them to do some breathing exercises, meditation and be happy. Happiness needs to be created whether you win or lose. That is what is sports.
The ancient cultures have said ‘Life is a sport, take life sportingly. Don't take it too seriously’. With these words, I thank you all for having me here and I wish you all good. Remember you belong to the whole world. Make the nation that you live in proud and at the same time nurture your own language, music, culture and religion. Norway is such a wonderful place which has given you this opportunity to progress in diversity.
That's up to you. If you want to play multiple roles, you can do that. But I think children should go to school and mix with other kids.
See things from a bigger perspective. The world is like a dream. If you are stuck to events, you can never see the being. Being is beyond events, so your purpose in life is to realize the being and stick to the being, not to the events. Events are just like a drama. An actor comes in several different dresses and performs and gets back into the screen. If your mind is stuck in the event, there is no better ignorance than that. You are so ignorant then you live in a small hole, you have to get the events out of your head. Pleasant, unpleasant, all events. Do you see what I am saying?
All that happened this morning – you standing at the airport when I came out of the VIP room, isn’t it all like a dream now? What is a dream? It's an impression in the mind. What is a memory? It is an impression, that's it. Everything that has happened till this moment is like a dream.
Why we say it's like a dream, because in the waking state you are experiencing a dream. In a dream, you don't have control. But in the waking state you can create, remember or recollect, that is why it's like a dream, but it is an impression. So, realizing the dream-like nature of the world moves you onto another dimension, and that is where reality begins.
What does it mean to love yourself and what is the implication of it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This simply means to realize that you are loved, that's all.
Love is not an act, it is what you are; your state of being. When you are calm, serene and subtle, that's what it is. Usually here in the west, if one is angry at oneself then it is understood as ‘I don't love myself’. If you are angry at others that means you don't love others, no. Love is there, you should never question it.
Love gets distorted when there is no knowledge. With knowledge, it remains pure. When love gets distorted it becomes anger. You love perfection and so you get angry. You want things your way and so you get anger. When you love objects, that is greed. When you love yourself too much that is possessiveness! This is all love coming forth as emotion. So, if you love yourself just relax in peace, don't be hard on yourself.
There are two occasions on which people are hard on oneself:
1. When they pity themselves.
2. When one feels, ‘Oh, I'm so righteous, I'm too good, I did so much and see nobody recognizes me, nobody loves me’.
Thinking about your goodness you can become hard on yourself, and thinking about your bad qualities you become hard on yourself. In either case, you go off balance. When you think good about yourself you will definitely find bad qualities in others.You will search and find the wrong in others, otherwise you can never feel too good about yourself. Also, when you think others are so good and I'm not that good, I have these negative qualities then you become hard on yourself. In either case, you have fallen, you are not on your bicycle, you are not balancing.
Usually we think that people who are hard on themselves are those who criticize themselves. When you praise yourself also you are hard on yourself! Do you see what I'm saying? When you stick to your good qualities you are hard on yourself, and when you stick to your negative qualities you are hard on yourself.
Gurudev, everything seems so simple and so easy when I'm here but once I'm out of here, that’s when all the challenges start.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
That's why it is necessary to be in the Guru's cocoon till you are able to fly as a butterfly. Knowledge is easier here. A worm's intention is to become a butterfly, but it does the opposite, it gets into a cocoon where it cannot even move out. Either you can be a worm or you get into the cocoon and then you start flying. That's why you find it easy here.
In the Yoga Sutras, you were mentioning that when you are meditating you get intuitive message. How do you know when to follow them and when not to follow them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just be spontaneous and don't try to follow it because you never know how much of it is Yoga Maya.
There are three types of Maya:
1. Maha Maya which is total ignorance. People who have no knowledge of spirituality. Just put yourself in their place for a moment. People who are not on the spiritual path what do they do? They wake up in the morning, brush their teeth, drink their tea, stuff themselves with burgers, run to work and do whatever they want to do there. Then they come back in the evening, eat a big meal and go to bed. That's it, their whole life is like that. They are not sensitive and they are not sensible. They are like stones. You don't find humanness inside of them, and they don't feel themselves either. They also don't feel anything about anybody. This is Maha Maya; the deep darkness.
2. Moha Maya which is attachment. I am centric everything else is around me. Moha Maya is all mine, this is mine, that is mine, my word, my thought, my thing. Day and night you are only saying mine, mine, mine, mine and that gives you a lot of miseries.
It doesn't let you see things as they are, this is Moha Maya. Attachment to very trivial things is Moha Maya.
3. Yoga Maya . Yoga-maya is these experiences, the subtle inner experiences of different siddhis coming to you, and different channeling., Ssome energies comey is coming and talking to you. and suddenly Gabriel has come and joined and she is saying things and Angel is coming and all that. See that love around? This is Yoga-maya., oOn the path of yoga you get these siddhis wherehis, some spirits come and start talking to you and then you totally get sucked into that. These experiences remain for a little while and then they go away and that leaves you in a deeper darkness. Many times, Yoga Maya is really tricky because there is some 60-70 percent truth in it, so you will start believing it. The reverse also happens, suddenly you feel ‘Oh, I've been cheated’.
I know about one lady, she was a very good meditator. She got into Yoga Maya. She would get different spirits coming and telling her ‘don't do this’ and ‘don't do that’. She would tell this to others, many times it would come true. Once that same spirit came and told her, "Your husband is a diabetic, don't give him medicine he will be fine”. Listening to her inner voice she didn't give medicine to her husband and he became blind. When your husband at home is blind, it is miserable it is for you too, and then she started questioning the spiritual path, blaming everything. That's when she came to me and I told her to stop listening to these spirits. So, this is what happens in Yoga Maya.
These are three types of Maya, and one has to cross over the three types.
Gurudev, how do you distinguish between intuition and Yoga Maya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Intuition is different. Of course, intuition is also a siddhi. But there is a very clear difference. In Yoga Maya, you will find someone coming and telling you. And you cannot avoid Yoga Maya.
Yoga Maya is not a bad thing. The way to win over it is go through it and not be attached to it; use your brain also. This is a very delicate balance – keeping your mind and also tuning into your intuition. You need to have that balance. Unless and until you are totally centered and hollow and empty, your intuition is always colored by your own cravings and aversions. When you win over these things then Yoga Maya is your friend and does not pose a challenge. That is why path is essential and the Guru is essential because the Guru can guide you and tell you, ‘This is Yoga Maya’. Or he will say, ‘Yes, you are right’. So, without the Guru you cannot win over Yoga Maya. A Guru is very necessary.
Though Lord Krishna was born a Siddha, he had to have a Guru and so he went to Rishi Sandipani.
Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, "Mama maya duratyaya". My Maya is very difficult to cross over but it can be crossed over only by my grace, and only through me one can cross over that. That's what he told Arjun. It's very interesting how this whole thing is. So always be aware, be cautious of Maya. It can just come from somewhere and hold you in its grip, and the mind starts buzzing. Sometimes you have to snap out of that and that happens also by grace.
When the Sun, Moon and Earth are in one line, there is a different cosmic energy pattern that happens. This time is very good for meditation and chanting.
The mind is connected with the moon, the body is connected with the Earth and the Sun is connected with both. The time when all three come in alignment is good for spiritual practices. It is not a good time to eat, or indulge in pleasures. It is a good time to conserve energy. So, from the ancient times it is said that you should not eat during the eclipse, and you should meditate.
What is fear?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Every seed has a membrane around it. That shell is there to protect the seed, but when you soak the seed in water, at some point the membrane breaks and the sprout come out of it. In the same way, fear is a mechanism around the life to protect it; at the same time, there is a way to go out of it.
If you see, very young kids, they don’t have fear when the mother is taking care of them. But when a kid starts walking on its own, then he looks around here and there very carefully. So, fear comes around that time, and it disappears when the mind or the intellect get mature. A mature intellect has no fear.
(A member of the audience asked a question which was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
In meditation there is no ego; there are no boundaries. Boundaries come when the spirit attaches itself to a desire, and then ego comes up to protect that. It’s all the play of ego, desire and intellect.
Three things obscure our spirit:
These three things cover the spirit and then you start feeling suffocated. Your intellect creates judgements – that person is like that, this person is like that, I like this person, I don’t like that person. Ego, intellect and desire are the three things that can make you miserable. But if your intentions are pure, if your intellect is broad and your ego is vast then the opposite happens; these three things bring you more joy in life.
See, you are doing some good work and ten people criticize you. What happens? It hurts your ego. It is the nature of people to talk. You don’t need to get upset if some people talk something against you. And if there is something good in what someone is saying, then take it and thank them. If there is nothing good, then know that they are just saying it out of jealousy, and it is their problem.
If someone is saying something for your good, you should only thank them. They have the guts to say that. If they are saying it out of ignorance, then educate them and ignore. The third option is to have compassion.
When the intellect is pure it sees beyond words. When the intellect is impure it sees conspiracy theories. It builds up a universe of conspiracies. The same is with the ego, when the ego is pure, then everyone becomes part of your ego. You are natural and you feel at home with everyone. When the ego is impure, then you think, ‘I don’t want to talk to them’, or ‘I don’t want to be subservient’, or ‘Why should I listen’. If you feel, ‘People are looking down on me’, that is your own ego. Do you see what I am saying?
Come on, wake up! The world has ignorant people, you can’t expect everyone to be enlightened.
Today, I met a gentleman who was called a cheat by the whole of Europe, and people were wondering, why is Gurudev meeting this person who is such a big cheat. A doctor is necessary when there is a disease. Knowledge is essential when there is a problem. And you cannot separate the honest people in society into one corner. They have to live with people who are dishonest and change them. We have to create an impact in society, and not run away. You can’t just have a group of compassionate people put away in a room. In society, all types of people will be there and we need to be strong enough to influence them and not get influenced by them.
Just before I started The Art of Living, I met this 108 years old man. He was a Pandit and has written around 700 books. He was a great astrologer. I was around 21 at that time, and he told me one thing. He said, “For any organization you need 12 people – four good, four mediocre and four hopeless people. This forms a good organization. The four hopeless people will bring out all the good qualities and the strength in the four good people. And the mediocre will learn their lessons from both side”.
I sometimes think to myself, ‘What wise advice he gave me, even before I thought of starting an organization’. In fact, I never wanted to start an organization. I was very happy; I am happy now also. At that time, I had my little suitcase, and I would travel from place to place, talk to people and give some knowledge. This is how I started and then the organization started happening on its own.
Don’t look into the behavior of others around you. If it is not inspiring, don’t look at it. If it is inspiring then definitely take, as they must be one of the four good people. If you are focused on the four hopeless then you will want to run away, you will want to blame others and yourself, and all this negativity will chase you like a shadow. And the farther you go from light, the shadow becomes much bigger and then you fight with your own shadow. When does your shadow get bigger? It is when you are away from the light, and when you are no facing the light. That is when your shadow is bigger than you.
The four good will never run away, they are like solid pillars. The four mediocre will try to run away because they are focused on the hopeless people. There was a saint who would give an example of a rose and say that a person is coming to you with a rose but because your eyes are on the thorns which are beneath the rose, you think they are coming to hit you with the thorns. If your sight is focused on the rose, the thorns will not bother you. You will see how you can put your hands in-between the thorns and hold the rose – that is the skill that you will get. If you have a little intelligence, then you will know how to hold and enjoy the rose and not be bothered about the thorns.
Diwali is a festival where you remind yourself of the importance of knowledge in life. When there is knowledge, there is no darkness. And when do you need knowledge? You need knowledge at the darkest time of life. When you are blissful and everything is okay, then who cares for knowledge. But when you have to face challenges, that is when you need knowledge, and that is when people don’t tend to look at knowledge. So, lighting a lamp is simply a symbol is invoking the knowledge and the wisdom within you.
When there is knowledge, there is no darkness. And when do you need knowledge? You need knowledge at the darkest time of life.
The second aspect of Diwali is distributing sweets. Sweetness in your words, in your behavior and in your relationship with others around you is the best sweet, and not the one with sugar. If you eat too much sugar, then you have exercise to burn all those calories. So, distributing sweets is to create and pleasant communicative atmosphere around us.
The third aspect of Diwali is fire crackers. Here, I would like to tell all of you, please do not pollute the atmosphere by doing it too much. We should always avoid noise pollution, air pollution and other types of pollution.
In ancient days, they would light a few fire crackers so that you can feel the explosion inside you as well. From explosion newness is born. Usually when something explodes, newness comes out of it. Usually we say, if some things are bothering your mind, you say, “Oh my head is going to explode”, isn’t it? This indicates pressure. So, when something bursts you feel a catharsis inside of you, and some pressure is lifted off from your system, and you enjoy this. That is why I am not saying that you should not burn fire crackers at all, but keep in mind how you can cause minimum damage to the environment. Especially the birds and animals, they get so scared. If you are near a zoo or a bird sanctuary, then I would suggest that you be very careful. Your festivity should not cause fear to the animals around.
You know, in cities, the dogs get so scared because there are fire crackers all over. People who have dogs lock them up in their homes, and the dogs really howl the whole time. So, minimum use of fire crackers is recommendable.
Now coming to some deeper wisdom!
Do you know what is the root cause of anger? When do you get angry? When a lie is said to you! Suppose you have to encounter a lie, what will happen to you? When someone lies to you, what happens to you? You get angry!
You want something to happen or you have a desire, and it is fulfilled, then you don’t get angry, you get happy. But when what you want does not happen, then that what you desired or wanted becomes a lie (because it is not the truth in your present reality). So, all the anger that you experience in life is because of ‘lies’ or untruth.
Now, what if I tell you, everything in your life, and your life itself is a lie. Everything is a lie, even I am a lie. Just for one minute think that – Everything is a lie; the world around you is a lie, the spiritual path is a lie, your sadhana is a bigger lie, your Guru is a lie, everything that you do is a lie, YOU ARE A BUNDLE OF LIES.
All your life you are searching for the truth, but with truth comes anger.
What are you going to do now? Why are you quiet? What is happening now?
All your life you are searching for truth, but with truth comes anger as well – that is what is Satyagraha. You insist for truth, now wake up and see, everything is a lie, what is there to insist? YOU ARE A BUNDLE OF LIES.
Tell me what is happening to you now, right this moment?
Audience: We are shocked!
How many of you are shocked? (Some in the audience raise their hands). Just a few of you are shocked? How many of you enjoying? How many of you felt a relief?
Audience: We realize that anger itself is a lie.
When everything is a lie, when there is nothing to hold on to, then where is your anger? Who will you get angry at when everything is a lie? If one of two people were wrong, then it is okay, but I am telling you that everything and everyone is a lie.
I want you to watch what is happening within you this moment. Do you have an explosion happening within you? See what is happening within you!
Audience: Feeling free! Feeling happy! Feel like dancing! Laughing for no reason.
Oh, but when I am saying that ‘Everything is a life’, how can you laugh? Otherwise, if you find out that someone has spoken lies, you get very angry, then now why is it that you feel like laughing. This is deep wisdom – when you realize that this whole world is an illusion, it is all lies. It appears to be, but it is not there – it is all a lie. When you realize this, then what comes out of you? Laughter! You feel freedom. This is real wisdom!
Somewhere you keep holding onto your search for truth - drop it. The moment you drop it, you recognize that everything is a lie.
Only reading wisdom does not help. Somewhere you keep holding on to your search for truth – drop it. The moment you drop it, you can recognize that everything is a lie. Then where is anger or disappointment? Where is run for success? Where is the competition and comparison? Are you going to compare one lie with another lie and see which is a bigger lie? Come on, wake up! All that you have been holding onto, all that which has been binding you to a limited existence and limited awareness suddenly vanishes – when? When you realize what I am saying now (that this world is an illusion.)
I am telling you, your seeking is a lie; everything is a lie. You asking a question is an even bigger lie, and the answer is also a lie.
Audience: We are so confused (laughter)
If you are laughing and saying that you are confused, that means that confusion seems to have worked. If you are really confused then you will not laugh, isn’t it? Can you laugh when you are depressed?
There have been so many ideas and thoughts that have come to your mind, have many of them proven to be false? (Many is the audience agree). When you realize that everything that you think and speak is false, even if it is just for a second, then what happens to you? Look at that! Then we will speak on this sometime later.