Monday, April 30, 2012

If you have meditated you should feel light like a flower

April 21, 2012
Secrets of Meditation, California
Meditation is the journey from sound to silence, from movement to stillness, from a limited identity to unlimited space.
Last night, I said that there are five ways through which meditation happens. Let us recapitulate.

The first is by physical manipulation. Yoga, Tai-Chi, all these come under that. By stretching and contracting the body, the mind experiences a state of awareness that you can call meditation.

The second is through breathing exercises and pranayama, the mind becomes quiet and still.

The third is through any of the five senses and sensory objects; one can experience a state of no-mindedness, no thoughts, calmness, serenity and inner beauty.
If you observe a child, a baby enjoying a lollypop or a toffee, you can see how the child is engrossed totally in enjoying that piece of candy. You ask the baby, ‘What is your name?’ It won’t answer. They are fully into it. Being 100% engrossed in a particular sensory object brings you to a state of meditation.
On a free day, just lie down and keep looking at the sky, a moment comes when the mind becomes still, there are no thoughts and you don’t know where you are, but you know you are. An experience of the center everywhere and circumference nowhere. Limitless awareness can happen through just watching an empty space, because our mind is also space; consciousness is a space.
You listen to music and then a moment comes when you are completely engrossed in the music and you snap out of it. You no longer hear the music, but you know you are and yet you have no boundaries. In the language of Yoga, it is called Laya Yoga, which means dissolving in it. That leads you to meditation.
Any wonderment or astonishment also leads you to that state. Whenever a ‘Wow!’ arises in you, there is no mind, there are no thoughts, but you just are.
Sense of touch, smell, taste, sight and sound can all lead you into meditation, provided you do it in the right way. It needs a certain skill to experience that.
Emotions can lead you to a state of meditation; both positive and negative emotions, not only positive. A state of shock can also take you into meditation. Again, it is a little risky.
You know, when you feel utterly hopeless, you say, ‘I give up!’ When you are very angry, what do you say? ‘I give up!’ It means, ‘This is it. I can’t take it anymore.’
During those moments, if you don’t slip into frustration or depression or violence, you will find that there is a moment where it snaps and there is no mindedness. So, whether it is positive emotions or negative emotions, like fear, the mind stands still, it stops. It can lead you into that spot.

The next is intellectual stimulation, through knowledge, through awareness you can go into meditation. This is called Jnana Yoga.
If you have been into a space museum, you are in a different state of consciousness when you come out of the museum. There is a different context, because you have seen yourself in the context of the universe. Who are you? What are you? Where are you? How are you in reference to the unfathomable, infinite universe?
If you have studied Quantum physics, you start to see that everything is just atoms, just a wave function, just energy. If you really listen to Quantum physics and then you study Vedanta or the Art of Meditation or Yoga, you will find striking similarities. You will find that the same language is being spoken.
Adi Shankara said, ‘All that you see doesn’t exist’.
One of the top scientists of our times, Dr. Hans-Peter Durr said, ‘I studied matter for the last 35 years, only to find out that it does not exist! I have been studying something that does not exist’. So, through knowledge also you can experience a state of meditation.
I won’t go into the benefits of meditation. You can go to google and find out. There are greater minds that have done a lot of research on meditation and have put it there – what are all the benefits of meditation. Any meditation has some benefits. But the secrets of meditation, that is what we are interested in. We are inquisitive about this – what are the secrets?!
There is a difference in the Orient and in the occident when it comes to secrets. In the occident, anything that is shameful is kept a secret. In the Orient anything that is sacred is kept a secret. I find a startling difference between the two.
If you say something is very secret, it must be very sacred. That is the attitude in the orient. In the orient, a shameful act is never kept a secret, it is always confessed. There is nothing to hide there. But what is to be secret is one’s mantra – a sound which is kept very secret in the mind.
Why is it kept secret? It is said that mantras are like seeds and seeds sprout in secrecy. You put the seed under the ground and cover it with mud and then the seed sprouts and becomes a tree. Of course the sprouts you eat are different. The ancient concept of mantra is a sound which is kept very secret in you grows from inside; means it resonates inside you. Anything that you keep to yourself as a secret does not leave you but it takes you deeper and deeper to the subconscious layers. That is one of the reasons for confession also.
Why do you confess and say something out? This is so that it does not go deep into your consciousness. A mistake or sin that you did, once you confess, it just goes out. It no longer goes in and bothers you. But the mantra; a sound which has been given, and that too by one who is deep into meditation, one who has mastered it, helps you go deeper. The sound (mantra) is given to another person, a student saying, ‘Keep it to yourself, it is your personal mantra, and let it grow.’
Here the meaning of the sound is not important, just the vibration is important. Understanding the meaning is superficial compared to the vibrational aspect of any sound.
It could be the same sound which everybody knows.
In olden days they used to do four days of celebration to give a mantra. They would call all the relatives and friends when the child was going to be initiated. They would bring horses and put the child on the back of the horse and have a procession.
This was the ancient way of doing it.

Spiritual journey is considered very sacred, very personal and yet a matter of pride. You are getting a secret sound and that is a big pride because it is sacred.
Meditation happens in transition. Actually meditation happens, you can’t do it. You can only create a congenial atmosphere for it to happen.
Somewhere in the teenage the mind starts drifting. It doesn’t happen before teenage. Before the hormones become active in our body it does not happen. A child’s mind is always focused on something and it sticks there. But as the hormones in our body starts functioning more and more, the mind starts swinging and wavering, and that focused attention becomes less and less.
In earlier days, before this happened, before someone gets into their teenage, they used to train him or her in yoga and meditation. So all through the teenage when the mind is swinging and going here and there, already a youth is trained how to handle the mind. It is a very good age to start, at eight or nine years old. Just before the hormonal changes start appearing is the right time to initiate one into meditation, yoga and all the martial arts. Body is ready and is flexible and mind is ready.
This is most ideal, but any time is good to start meditation, any age is okay. But the most ideal is to start at eight or nine years old.
Today, even eight and nine years old kids have such a wavering mind. So many things influence the child. Like food has an influence on the mind, environment has an influence, lifestyle has an influence. So many things have an influence. But all those influences are minor.
Let us understand, meditation is uplifting the energy and spreading it out. Uplifting the mind and spreading it all out. Sound does this to meditation. Sound uplifts you and sound can also shrink your consciousness. How? Okay I will give you an example, whenever you experience pain, what is the sound that comes out of you? You say, ‘Ha’.
This is all over the world, from Mongolia to Tierra Del Fuego. You go anywhere and ask any kid or anybody, what does one say when they experience some pain, they say, ‘Ha’. Nobody says, ‘Ho’, when pain happens.
The sound ‘Ho’ comes when there is astonishment.
Now when you say, ‘Ha’, where is the prana? You will see it is on the lower portion of the body.
Now when you say, ‘Ho’, the prana is in the middle portion of the body, the thorax region. This is when there is surprise or astonishment; ‘Ho! I didn’t know.’
We say, ‘Wah!’ This is when there is even more astonishment. Then the prana is high in the throat and upper region. The life force is higher.
And then when you laugh, what is the sound that comes out? ‘He he he he.’ There is a ‘He’ sound in every genuine laughter.
When you say, ‘He’, what is happening? A sense of genuine expansion happens. See whenever you have been happy, that happiness has been associated with a sense of expansion. And whenever you have felt miserable, that has been associated with a sense of shrinking or contraction. There is something in you which expands when you are happy and contracts when you are unhappy. But we never pay attention to what is contracting and expanding. We are only keeping our attention outside.
We see the reason outside, but that is really not the reason. We have not paid attention to the reason. There is something inside that is expanding and that is contracting.
One of the sages of the past, Gaudapadacharya, he has said, ‘There is something in you that is expanding that is worth knowing.’
Even a glimpse of this consciousness, this energy inside you, can make the smile on your face so strong that nothing whatsoever can take it away from you. Nobody can make you miserable; nobody can take away the joy from your life. Life assumes another dimension suddenly; just a glimpse of this, an idea about that something inside us that is expanding. So this expansion is always connected with laughter, joy and the sound ‘He’.
If there is a ‘Ha’ in one’s laughter, that is a villain’s laughter.
‘Ha ha ha ha! See I told you. You fell because you didn’t listen to me. Look what happened!’
Just by listening to the laughter you can find out what type of laughter it is. Whether it is sarcastic, it is teasing or it is out of arrogance or anger.
Even angry people laugh but it is a different kind of laughter. The sound is different. A genuine child like laughter has a ‘He’ in it.
So, today we are going to meditate using two sounds. We are going to say ‘Ho’ six times with full force and energy. And then the seventh time we are going to say ‘He’. We have seven energy centers in our body corresponding to the endocrine system. Again these are sacred centers.
Don’t confuse this to be a mantra meditation, no! This is a guided meditation. Guided meditation is good to give you a glimpse of meditation. When you want to do it on your own, it is better you take a mantra meditation – Sahaj Samadhi. Of course sometimes you can put on a CD and just sit and do guided meditation also. Time to time, but not every day; mantra meditation you can do every day and anywhere. Sit and take your mantra, let go and be with it.

Okay! Ready?! So buckle up.
Sit comfortably, spine erect and body relaxed.
You know, sometimes people sit with their body so stiff for meditation. The whole time they will be so body conscious and what comes out of them is only anger later on because they put so much effort, and that effort and stiffness doesn’t really bring in that meditative quality.
If you have meditated, you should feel light like a flower, where your inside feels so soft, beautiful, delicate, delicious and comfortable. But if you feel uptight, angry and upset inside then mediation has not happened. Now don’t sit and think, ‘Oh I have to feel very soft and gentle, and whatever Guruji said. This has to happen.’ It is not going to happen because the anxiety itself will be a block for that to happen. That is why I said it is a very delicate situation. You cannot expect things to happen, you simply have to be. Just be!
Experiences come, they change and they go. Everyday there will be different experiences, never mind, just the procedure needs to be correct. Procedure is what, not being uptight and at the same time not being loose in the body. If you start with your body being loose then it doesn’t work. If you start with lying down on your coach with your legs up, thinking you are meditating, you are fooling yourself. It is not going to work. It is not like the way you watch television, with a bag of potato chips. ‘Oh, by eating also you can get into meditation. Guruji has said it’, no! Your spine erect but body relaxed, your shoulders relaxed, you start like that. Not stiff but your shoulders are relaxed and head is straight. Then you close our eyes and let go.

During meditation if the head goes down, it is okay. Your head may go down or go to the side, whatever position it takes is fine. But you don’t start with that.
The best example is how a coat hangs on a hanger. Like that the body is hanging, just the spine is erect.

(Guruji guides the audience into meditation)

Q: Why is it that 10 minutes of meditation gives me more energy than 8 or 10 hours of sleep?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is how it is.
Meditation gives you a different kind of energy. Food gives you a different kind of energy. Sleep gives you a different kind of energy. Exercise gives you a different kind of energy. Knowledge gives you a different kind of energy, and meditation definitely tops them all.
Q: When we sit for meditation, do we necessarily experience a moment of transcendence and peace for a few minutes in every meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are no criteria I tell you. It can happen anywhere, anytime, or it may not even happen.
If you have eaten the wrong food or you feel very agitated then sometimes it may not happen. But never mind, sitting for meditation is important. Even if you sit for twenty minutes or half an hour, just sit then definitely you will find it is better than not sitting at all.
See, when you are happy anyways you can easily meditate. It is when you are agitated, that is when you cannot meditate, and that is when it is more needed for you to calm down. That is when you have the resistance not to do it.
Q: Sometimes my transition from meditation to work is really hard to adjust to. At times I get agitated and I react and regret later. Please guide me for a smooth transition from meditation to activity.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A little bit of yoga, pranayama, exercise and some singing and chanting, all these will help bridge that gap and will bring inner peace and external activity.
Q: I have heard that in the long run meditation has an effect on the body and even on the composition of our DNA.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Of course, mind has an impact on the body.
Again, search using Google and find. There are many scientific researches that are there on how meditation affects the mind and body.
Q: Guruji, you have said that prayer is speaking to God and meditation is listening to God. What can I do to hear the answers to questions and prayers in meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just relax! If you are keeping an intention or desire, or holding on to it, you cannot meditate. Only if you drop it you can go into meditation. Let go of all intentions or prayers.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Meditation is food for the soul

April 20, 2012
Secrets of Meditation, California

In the next three days we will explore all about meditation.
Are you ready for the journey? Then buckle up! Fasten your seat belt!
Do you know what the real seat belt for meditation is? Feeling at home, being natural! If you feel very formal, you can’t meditate. Meditation requires being informal and feeling at home.
I suppose you all feel at home, right? Of course, it is California, everyone always feels at home. We are very casual, isn’t it? That’s the great thing about California, very at home, easy!
So, we will explore the need of meditation. Why do we need to meditate and what are the ways to meditate. I won’t go into the benefits; I assume you all know the benefits of meditation. But the need and the methods, and how we can have a successful meditation, we will explore all these avenues; the different types of meditations.
Now, what is the need for meditation, why should you meditate?
The need is there in every human being because it is a natural tendency of human life to look for a joy that doesn’t diminish, a love that doesn’t distort or turn into negative emotions. This is very natural, isn’t it?

Is meditation foreign to us? Absolutely not! This is because you have been in meditation for a couple of months before your birth. You were in your mother’s womb doing nothing. You didn’t even have to chew your food, it was fed directly into your belly and you were there happily floating in the fluid, turning and kicking, sometimes here and something there, but most of the time happily floating there. That is meditation. You did nothing, everything was done for you. So there is a natural tendency in every human being, in every soul to crave for that state when you are in absolute comfort.
You know why you want comfort? It is because you were comfortable at one point. So that wanting comfort is again natural because you have experienced a state of comfort that is called meditation. Meditation is absolute comfort. So getting back to that state which you have had a taste of just before coming into the hustle, bustle of this universe, of this world, is very natural because in this universe everything is cyclic, everything wants to go back to its source, and that is the nature of the world. Everything goes back and everything is cyclic; except plastic if you don’t use it properly.
See, when the autumn season comes, the leaves fall and go back to the soil and nature has its own way to re-cycle them. The natural tendency to re-cycle all that we have collected in day to day life as impressions, getting rid of them and getting back to the original state that we were when we dawned on this planet is what meditation is. Becoming fresh again, alive again is what mediation is. Getting back to that serenity which is your original nature is meditation. Absolute joy and happiness is meditation.

A pleasure minus excitement is meditation. A thrill without anxiety is meditation. A love without hatred or any of the opposite values is meditation. Meditation is food for the soul, so there is a natural craving for food, isn’t it? When you are hungry, spontaneously you go to eat something. If you are thirsty you want to drink some water. In the same way, the soul yearns for meditation and this tendency is in everyone. That is why I say, there is not a single individual on this planet who is not a seeker. Just that they don’t know it. They don’t recognize it. We try to look for that food where it is not available, that is the problem.
It is like you going to a grocery shop when you want to fill gas in your car. It won’t work. You keep going round and round the grocery store saying, ‘I want gas for my car.’ It won’t work because you need to go to the petrol station. So that right direction needs to be found and that is what we are going to explore. What are the ways and how we can meditate, how we can experience that absolute comfort within our self.

So there are five ways:

First way is through physical means; through yoga and through physical exercise. When our body does certain postures, with a certain rhythm, it brings some tiredness and then the mind slips into meditation.
It is very interesting to see. If you are very active you can’t meditate, at the same time, if you are too well rested, you can’t go into meditation. But in a state where the body has the right amount of tiredness, yet still not that tired, in that very delicate balance, the mind slips into meditation, or your whole system slips into meditation. So first is through the physical.

Second is through prana or through breath. Through breathing you can get into mediation. This we all know, Sudarshan Kriya is one of the best examples. After pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya when you sit for meditation you slip into meditation effortlessly.
So a breathing technique is one way to get into meditation.

The third is through any sensory pleasure – through sight, sound, taste, smell or touch. The five sensory organs, related to five elements.
The world is of five elements, earth, water, air, fire and ether. A different combination of these five elements is what this universe is made of, and these five elements are connected to the five senses that we have. Fire is connected with the eyes, smell with earth element, taste with water element, sound with ether element and touch is connected with air element.

You know, if you are in water or a swimming pool, you don’t feel touch so much. Have you noticed that? Not so much but a little bit, this is because the five elements are present in each one of them. There is air element even in water, but to a small degree. So these five elements in the universe are connected to the five senses. And you can go through any one of the senses to transcend them and become one in a very deep meditative state.

The fourth way is through emotions. Through emotions also you can get into meditation.

Then the fifth is through the intellect. You just sit and know that this body is made up of billions of cells. Ah! Something happens to you, something gets stimulated.
If you go into a space museum, something gets stimulated inside you. Doesn’t it make you feel somewhat different when you get into a space museum and then get out of it? How many of you have felt like that?
Someone gets into a space museum or watches a movie about the universe, something happens deep inside; something triggers. You can’t just immediately come out of such an experience and yell at somebody. It becomes almost impossible because the context of life immediately changes when you become aware of the magnanimity of the universe. That is the context for life. What is our life? What is this planet Earth, and where is this galaxy? Some shift happens within you. I tell you, this is just a glimpse of how through the intellect also you can transcend and get into a meditative state.
So through the intellect, through emotions, through the five senses, through breathing and Sudarshan Kriya and then through some physical manipulation of the body, we can attain meditation.

So remember what I said, meditation is AC (absolute comfort). Who does not want comfort? Everyone wants it. Just that we don’t know how to be absolutely comfortable.
Meditation is the journey from movement to stillness, and from sound to silence. So let us grasp this one thing today and do some meditation.
See, you don’t have to be very serious in order to be in meditation. Meditation is being very natural, being at home. At home with yourself and at home with everything else in the universe, okay!

Q: What is your view point on God?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In every view point there is God!
We think God is somebody sitting somewhere in the heaven, no! God is love and love is what the whole universe is made up of. It’s non-judgmental, always available for everyone, at any time. That energy you can call God. It is beyond all explanations and beyond all comprehension.
Q: How to quiet the voice inside my head while meditating?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are several things you can do about it.
First is accepting it and not fighting with it. When you fight with it and feel that you should not have this noise and you want to get rid of it, the more you want to get rid of it the more it will stick to you. The principle of consciousness or mind is such that resistance does not eliminate it but makes it grow. So first is letting go and not resist it.
Second is as I mentioned, the five different ways you can get into meditation. Breathing will help you get rid of the noise. Proper food can also make an impact on meditation. Exercise, posture and refined emotions, good understanding, all these will aid meditation.
Q: Dear Guruji, I had a beautiful meditation where I was aware but had no sensation in my body. There was only ‘I Am’ and then my body jerked and I was back. What happened?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is good, you had a glimpse of that inner state, the consciousness that you are. That is normal and that is good. But now don’t sit and try to have the same experience tomorrow. ‘Today I want to experience that same state that I experienced yesterday. I want to feel that beautiful feeling I was feeling yesterday.’ No, it is not going to repeat. Everyday there is a new treasure that will come to you. So, just take it and do not latch on to experiences. You are much bigger than these experiences.
Q: During meditation, my mind becomes silent but I haven’t been able to transcend or go beyond my mind. Am I trying too hard?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you should not try to go beyond the mind. For your own sake don’t do anything, just let it be, okay.
If you are on a massage table, what do you do? You just let the masseur take care of you. The masseur does the job and you do nothing. Same in meditation, you do nothing, let nature take care of you; the spirit will take care of it.
Q: After meditating for a while I have become aware of my patterns of reactions, such as defensiveness and anger. How do I get myself to react differently?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now disown all that you think are your patterns, let them be.
If you start identifying that my patterns are like this, I am always angry, I am always defensive, then you are latching onto the past or some patterns. So disown them. They were there yesterday and it came in my space, so what.
Sometimes you see dark clouds in the sky, but the space does not own them. It just allows them to come and pass away. Similarly, these emotions come, sometimes pleasant, sometimes unpleasant. You should disown them. That is the first step. Let them come and go.
Q: I have heard that after years of meditation that one’s whole life becomes a constant meditation. Can you explain this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! That inner calmness stays whatever you do. You may be walking, talking, eating, chitchatting, watching news, and there is that certain serenity which continues. You get so used to it. It doesn’t leave you.
But again, ‘When will I get this sort of experience’, don’t keep saying that. It can happen anytime. Who cares! That should be the attitude. That is the best thing to say, ‘Okay, let it be.’ There is a beautiful verse of Kabir; he was a saint in India in the middle ages. He said that he went in the search of God all the time, looking here and there, where is God? Where is God?
He said, ‘When I went in search of God, I couldn’t find God, but when I left everything and I relaxed, now God is after me. God is running after me saying, ‘Kabir, Kabir, Kabir!’’
So when he stopped running after God, then God started running after him. This is very true!
You just need to know how to deeply relax. No effort, because whatever we gain through effort is material and is limited. Anything you want to gain from the spiritual plane, something higher ,then effort is not the language there. All effort should be let go of, do no effort at all then you gain something which is bigger.
The material plane is just 1/10th of the entire existence and 9/10th is the spiritual plane.
See, you cannot cultivate love by effort, you cannot be compassionate by effort, can you? Can you say, ‘I try hard to be compassionate’? Your trying hard is the impediment. You just relax and you will be compassionate. You are trying hard to be happy is the deterrent factor to being happy. So effort is the language of the material world. If you don’t put effort you can’t make money, you can’t study and gain good marks. You can’t obtain a degree if you don’t put effort. So everything in the material requires you to put effort. You need to put effort to build a home. It does not happen by just sitting and thinking. But to attain something spiritual just the reverse mechanism is needed – no effort! A few moments of sitting and making no effort at all whatsoever.

I know you may tell me it is difficult not to do anything. It is difficult to be quiet. But it just appears like that. A couple of days here and you will see how it is so simple, so easy!

Q: How does one go about leaving this realm of consciousness and entering different realms of spiritual and mental understanding? What is the best way to move past the physical world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is the fifth aspect which I said, knowledge!
You don’t have to leave things here and go, being here, amidst all the noise, still recognize that beauty, that thing that’s so beautiful, so wonderful, so fascinating, right here and now! But that right here and now will be tomorrow. Done!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wisdom is the best shock absorber

April 10, 2012
Mahasatsang at Taiwan

We all came to this planet as babies. We all carried smiles, joy and a sense of belongingness with everybody. Isn't that so? But as we grew older somewhere we lost that smile, we lost that friendliness and we lost that love for everyone.
What happened? This is what we need to enquire.
Can we become like a child again from inside?
We usually use coconut as an example of how life should be. A coconut has a husk around it, and when it falls from a high level it doesn't break. It has a shock absorber or cushion. So if our behavior is friendly, wise, and if we live a life where we are free from stress, it acts like a shock absorber. Wisdom is the best shock absorber. Our body should be like the coconut shell – strong, and our mind like the kernel inside – white and soft. And our feelings like the water deep inside – sweet. If it is the other way around then it is a problem. If the body is soft and weak, mind is harsh like a shell and there are no feelings, they are all dried up then life becomes a burden. And that is the reason why so many people commit suicide and people get depressed. Isn't it?
So we need to bring this change in ourselves, in the society and in our families, where we hold on to the values.
This afternoon when I was talking to the press they were telling me that Taiwan is losing its traditional values. I said they should hold on to their roots. Taiwan has a very long history of values and these values should be nurtured and preserved. Especially family values are very important. Personal integrity is very important. Don't you think so?
These cultural values need to be strengthened, at the same time dynamic progress, which Taiwan is anyways doing. Taiwan is very dynamic. And I also say that Taiwan has the most enthusiastic volunteers. In all our international programs, there is a group from Taiwan which is all the time full of energy and enthusiasm. And when the people of Taiwan go anywhere in the world, they always carry gifts. Everyone caries some gift. This joy in sharing is very precious and is original to this culture. We need to maintain the values which are very good and very great to each culture. We can only do all that when we are free from stress and our mind is at peace.
When Lord Buddha was in India, he traveled for forty years. He simply said, let us keep the philosophy on one side and understand one thing – there is sorrow, and there is a way to get rid of sorrow. It is possible to get rid of sorrow and become free from inside.
This message is universal, and this message is what we need today. We need to create a society free from stress and violence, and the way for it is through meditation.
Many times when we sit for meditation, the mind goes all over the place. That is where Sudarshan Kriya, which is a breathing technique, and yoga, both of these help the mind to calm down and become serene.
When your mind is serene and settled, and when you don't want anything for yourself, you gain this amazing power to bless others. When your mind is hollow and empty and when someone wants something and you bless them, it will happen. We have made a blessing course; once you attend this course for 4 to 5 days then you can start blessing people.
I spoke to one of the leading scientists in the world and do you know what this man said? He said, ‘I studied matter for 30 years only to find out it doesn't exist.’
He is a quantum physicist, and he says that these days whenever he gives talks, people ask him if he is teaching Buddhism or something like that?
He said, ‘These days when I give my lectures, people feel I am talking about Buddhism or Vedanta.’ Vedanta and Buddhism talk about the same thing; both talk about that inner consciousness, only in a slightly different way. The emptiness in Buddhism is the fullness in Vedanta. That is all.
So matter and everything is vibrations, and these vibrations keep changing, and it can change our life. It can change or bring what we desire or what we want for us. So when your mind is in the space of total fulfilment, you can bring fulfillment to others.
So today I want you to drop all your worries and problems here. I have come to collect all your worries. All that I want from you is for you to be happy.
Every day, for ten minutes meditate and become hollow and empty. Personal development is very important for everyone.
See, whatever and wherever we are, we should be able to do some service to society. Share our life with everyone. And whenever you have any difficulty or trouble don't think you are alone. You are not alone. Okay! You will be able to pass through any tough times that come with a smile. Yes! We need to make our spirit, mind and body strong and our bonding with people around us healthy and strong. This is what is The Art of living. Violence free society, disease free body, confusion free mind, inhibition free intellect, trauma free memory and sorry free soul. I feel this is the birth right of everybody.
So today, give me all your problems and go back with a smile.
Taiwan is a small country with a strong economy. If all of us here put a little effort we can make Taiwan strong in happiness as well.
We can think of a Taiwan free of crime; no violence, no unhappiness, no suicide. I want to see such a Taiwan. This is my dream for Taiwan. If we can achieve something like this in the next two years, it will be a very ideal situation in Taiwan, and this could become an example for all other nations to follow.
Do you know, the happiest country in the world is Bhutan. It is a Buddhist country and people are very simple there. Everybody believes in non-violence and in happiness. Bhutan is number one in happiness. Recently, couple of days ago, there was a seminar at the United Nation on happiness. It is not enough to have a high GDP but you also need to have a high GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness).
In fact, I was supposed to attend this program at the United Nation. The Prime Minister of Bhutan had invited me, but since I was committed to come here to South East Asia, to Singapore, Bali and then Taiwan, I said I cannot cancel my travel but I am taking the same message to all these countries.
So now today I am thinking we should have a dream, all of us collectively think, in the next two years, how we can all reach out to people and teach them how to get rid of stress and be happy. In schools, in colleges, at homes, we can have only celebrations.
See life from a broader perspective. 80 years of life we are living, is it worth being stressed, unhappy? In this short span of life, we should spend our time being happy and making others happy. Don't you think so? Let us all today have this dream.
So there are two things, a bigger dream for the country or the world. Another is your individual needs or desires that you have. Both can be fulfilled. You focus on a bigger dream and leave the small dream to me. Okay!
So today, since we meditated together, we are entitled to ask for one wish. Tonight, before going to bed you can think of that one wish. Think about the wish, let go and then sleep well.
Now, everyday take out some time and meditate, and commit yourself to do some service. At least four hours of service a month.
We have a big vision to create a stress free and violence free Taiwan. So we can go around in groups of 15 to 20 people and inspire people to be happy. We will create a wave of happiness in Taiwan.

Q: Today since I dropped my botheration in the basket, tomorrow when I wake up, will it disappear?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have dropped the botheration in the basket, now don't carry it in your mind. I can't tell you how long it will take, may be today or tomorrow or in 10 days or 12 months, but definitely the botheration will be over.
Q: How can I become like you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you were a child you were like me. I am a baby who refuses to grow up. Inside you there is still a child, just recognize it. Become hollow and empty.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If you are at ease with yourself everyone will be at ease with you

April 06, 2012

Bali, Indonesia
Contentment and happiness are very important. Other things come and go. We have come on this planet so many times, we will come again. Life is continuous; it is coming and going, coming and going.
Q: How do I keep my spirit high all the time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just remember why you are disturbed, it is because of small things and know that it will all be alright.
So when you see all these things come and go and everything will be alright, then you say, ‘I am not going to be disturbed by this. I am bigger than this.’ Yes!
Just that thought in the mind – I am bigger than this. Then the spirit is uplifted higher.
So I am not the body; body is undergoing so many changes all the time. Sometimes I feel tired, sometimes I feel strong. I am much bigger than the body.
People think mind is inside the body, this is wrong, body is inside the mind.
The mind is like a candle, there is a wick and there is flame above the wick. If you close the candle with a lid, it will burn only as long as there is oxygen. In the same way, if you put somebody in the room and close it, they will be alive only till oxygen is there in the room. So the mind is like the glow that lives on oxygen, on consciousness. So first there is the body and then there is the mind, so the mind is much bigger. When you remember this, that the mind is like a flame, it is much bigger then there is peace. Still if something bothers you then breathe (referring to Sudarshan Kriya). With fast breathing and Bhastrika, it becomes better.
Q: Guruji, why do relationships take away our freedom?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If there is wisdom in relationships, it does not take away freedom. If there is no wisdom, then there is no freedom. It is not the relationship that gives you or takes away freedom. It is lack of wisdom.
Q: Dear Guruji, what is my duty?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen to your heart. You heart will tell you what your duty is.
Q: Jai Gurudev, are the bad things in our life also grace?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you look from a broader perspective, you will see, those incidences which were painful has given you some depth and made you more mature. So the painful incidences give you depth and maturity. Whenever you are unhappy you should surrender. Usually when you are angry you say, ‘I give up!’
So you should have the power to drop things when you are unhappy, and power to do service when you are happy. Service in happiness and renunciation in unhappiness.
Q: Guruji, I want to make a difference in the world in a massive way. How do I discover the way to make that difference?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I want people like you who have this spirit to make a big difference in the world. Come and I will send you to different places where you can go and do a lot of work. You already have a ready-made platform. You don’t have to do it from scratch which would take another thirty years to do. You have a ready-made platform, take a jump from here and take it to another level.
See, I want to do something, is one thing, but another is, what is needed in the world we need to do that. I want to make a difference is different from we need to make a difference in the world. What is needed for the world let us all do that. This is the spirit that we should have.
Q: Dear Guruji, fear bothers me a lot, what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why fear, when I am here. You belong to me and I belong to you. When you feel that you are alone and you have nobody, only then you fear. Fear is when you feel loneliness, when you feel that you are not connected. Fear is love standing upside down. Never mind, just do some ujjayi breathing and attend satsangs, and it will change.
Q: Guruji, I think I am addicted to sex. I have no self control when it comes to sex. I try very hard, but I can’t control myself.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I think you have too much free time. If you are busy and you work hard and then you get so tired that you are waiting to hit the pillow, the moment you hit the pillow you will fall asleep.
Either you have too much free time or you are eating too much, then obsessions and addictions come up. It is always related to too much food and too much sex.
Q: On the spiritual path is it bad to marry and have children?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, you can marry and you can have children.
That is why I have started the department Sri Sri Matrimony, so that all the single girls and bachelors can put their names in it, and then one day we will have a swayamvar. Then you can choose whom you want to marry.
We have that already, it just needs to be developed a little. Someone needs to put a little attention into it; someone who is good at match making.
Q: Guruji, after all these years, I am still struggling, why? Love you Guruji!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You love me and then you are struggling. Struggling for what?
You are struggling for money, then don’t sit and day dream, do hard work. If one business does not work, choose another business and do it.
You can only struggle with two things, a job or relationship.
If you are not getting married, you have been too choosy and so things are not working. And if you are already in a relationship and then you are struggling, then of course the knowledge point comes here, accept people as they are. So you try to accept them more and more, but your mind says no. Know that it is because of the knowledge that you are able to sustain and survive. Do you see what I am saying? Somehow you are making things work.
So don’t think nothing works for you. I don’t think that is a fact.
The third issue could be health. There is no fourth issue. And being in The Art of Living always helps you to somehow manage all the three.
Don’t sit and day dream and only think about miracles to happen. Miracles do happen, but if you crave for miracles then they will take a back seat. Nature wants you to be dynamic.
There are people who have asked me, ‘Guruji, please give me some numbers for my lottery ticket. I just want to win a lottery so that I don’t have to do anything. Just do sadhana all the time and some seva.’ No ways!
First of all, decide what it is that you want from life.
Struggling with what? With money?!

You know money is something that you will always find people short of money. Always!
You can see for example, the richest country, the only super power on this planet is USA and it is under heavy debt; trillions of dollars of debt. You take big companies; many of them are in debt. The richer a person gets, the more expenses he has to do. At the same time, there are poor people who are contributing towards charity, poor people who take time to do service, which is amazing. They feel so much abundance.
The other day in India, a gentleman comes to me. He has a small shop; a small little kiosk for himself, and he had inherited two plots of land. So he comes to me and offers me one plot of land. He says, ‘I want to give this plot to you’, he insisted. He came with his whole family, his wife, his mother and said, ‘I have two, I want to donate one and keep the other one.’
The plot is in a very expensive location of the city and he could make a big fortune from it. But look at the heart in that guy.
I said, ‘Okay, I will take it, but it will be in your name only. You should keep it for me and you build your shop here. Sell the other plot and with the money that you get, do business.’
I could not say I won’t take this to him because he will feel hurt, so I said, ‘Yes this is mine, but it will be in your name and you should have it.’
Look at the broad mind of that person.
Another day, a very poor lady comes, and she had just one gold chain that she inherited. I was going in the car and she comes running and gives me an envelope in my hand.
Usually people give me envelopes with letters in it of some problems. So I took the envelope, and in it I found a gold chain. Then I told some people to go and find this lady and give the chain back to her saying, Guruji sent you blessings.
Do you know, during our silver jubilee, there is a beautiful story that happened! I came down from the steps on the last day and a small boy comes running to me with tears in his eyes and he gives me an envelope. I take the envelope and it had Rs. 5000 in it. I looked at that boy and I said, ‘What do you do?’
He said he is a laborer.
The money in the envelope that he had given me had two months of his earnings, and he said, ‘Please take this.’
He said, ‘I can’t tell you how much my life has transformed. Please accept this.’
I took just Rs.100 from that and returned back Rs. 4900. I told him, you know this Rs.100 is so precious for me, this is enough. I will take this.
2 months of his salary; someone who is a laborer who does manual work, he comes and offers. Such a big heart is there in people.
What I am saying is you too should feel abundance. You don’t have to be very rich to feel the abundance. In fact many rich people don’t feel abundance at all, they feel lack. They are not generous. But poor people are very generous; they have that feeling, that art.
Don’t imagine a situation where you will become super rich one day and then you will start doing some seva, no, nothing like that. You can feel abundance at any point of time. And the moment you start feeling abundance, you will see things will get better, got it!
Similarly, don’t be feverish about a relationship, just relax and you will find your relationship with people will improve and become better. If you are like a leech, clinging on to somebody in a relationship and bugging them, even though you say all nice words, that person will run away from you because they can’t handle it.
One aspect is to give love, and another is to know how to handle love, receive love as well. It needs only a centered, enlightened person. Now don’t expect that type of behavior from everybody.
You have to be very much at ease with yourself. If you are at ease with yourself, everyone will be at ease with you.
Q: Guruji, I want to fully surrender myself to you.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, don’t do it at all. Why do you want to surrender? Why do you have to surrender? No need. Just relax!
Your wanting to surrender becomes such a big work for you and for me; headache! You don’t need to surrender, just relax. What do you need to surrender? Your heart, mind and soul? No way, it already belongs to me. Everything belongs to me.
Someone was singing, ‘Oh, you stole my heart.’ Why should I steal something which is already mine? Why would I steal your heart? I feel everybody on the planet belongs to me already, got it! I don’t need to steal and you don’t need to surrender. You already belong to me. So just relax!
You know this word surrender helps when you have a load of negativity on your head. If you have negativity or hatred then you surrender that. You don’t need to surrender any good qualities or anything that is nice because it is already mine. What is not mine is all the negativity, and if you seem to have it, just give it up.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Our consciousness is very ancient

April 05, 2012

Bali, Indonesia
See the ocean, how non-stop the waves keep coming. It doesn't get bored.
Birds sing the same song, they don’t get bored. Every morning birds sing, all their life. They don’t get bored. It is human beings who get bored. ’Oh once again the same thing.’ And why do we get bored? It is because of memory.
You remember what you have done before and so you get bored. Memory is a blessing and also a curse. It is both. It is because you get bored that you feel the need to look for something different, something new, and that is how creativity comes up; you look for the ultimate. Otherwise you could have remained like an animal doing the same thing every day. But you can’t do it because you get bored. Isn’t it?!
So in that sense boredom is a blessing. Because you get bored, you move on, you look forward, you become a seeker and you rise higher. At the same time, boredom is also a curse because it doesn’t allow you to be stabilized in one place; stabilized in yourself, and your mind keeps jumping from one place to another aimlessly. You get bored about everything and you can’t enjoy anything. Do you see what i am saying?
Boredom is a blessing when it leads you to wisdom. And boredom is a curse when it leads you to frustration and depression.

These are the two different paths that boredom leads you to.
You are bored and so you can’t enjoy, and when you can't enjoy you get depressed and frustrated. You go into that direction. Or, because you are bored you wake up and you start with a quest. You move ahead and you look into the self which is fresh all the time! The self is ever new. Because you are bored with the ephemeral, the surface, you go deep into the self.
Are you getting what I am saying?
So boredom is both a blessing and curse. A blessing because it takes you away from the routine monotonous life, makes you aware and brings life into you. And it is a curse because it doesn't let you stabilize; both!
People who are in love don’t get bored. Heart knows no boredom. Head knows boredom. But in life both are essential, the heart and the head. If you are only in the heart, it is no good. You become mushy mushy. And if you are only stuck in the head, that is also no good. Balancing both, that is yoga. Spirituality is balancing the heart and head together.
This is especially for those people who feel they are a failure in their life. Anyone who feels that they are a failure, just wake up! So what?! Life is so eternal.

We have 365 days in a year and there are so many years in your life. For one day or two days you feel you are wasted, life is a failure, never mind! Similarly, so many lifetimes we have come here; we have been here so many times and our consciousness is very ancient.
See, the full moon is there. So on one full moon, if it is cloudy and the light cannot shine on the earth, the moon does not get upset. Never mind if on one full moon you cannot see the moon rising, so what? The moon is still there. Like that, inside you there is potential, there is divinity which is so complete. If it has not come to the surface on one day, never mind!
You have all the great qualities. If some does not exhibit on some particular days, never mind.
Don’t blame yourself, don’t analyze yourself too much. Are you getting what I am saying? We start analyzing ourselves too much to the extend that we feel so upset and we go down. We are so hard on ourselves.
Never mind, in so many lifetimes, if one life is wasted, so what?! I am saying this only for those who are feeling very down. Don’t mis-quote me and take it for everybody and then say, ‘Guruji said waste this life time. Let me drink and make make merry and forget about any practices.’ No!
I am saying this to those who are desperate. Who are feeling so bad about themselves. I am telling them, never mind, wake up! These many years are wasted, never mind, don’t worry. Future days will be bright.
All regrets happen only when you are looking towards the past. If you are walking and your head is turned backwards, then that is called regret. Turn your head and look forward, then it is always bright. If your head is twisted, then you will regret, regret, and regret. Just drop it and move on.
Q: Dear Guruji, I feel I have a strong connection with you. Is it still necessary to meet you personally for your blessings?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, not necessary. But when you ask this question that means there is some feeling or wanting to. Never mind, anyway you are already here now. We can exchange glances, and talk.
Q: How important is following ones dharma on this path. Is dharma determined by our profession or determined by our goal?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Dharma is determined by your commitment. That what you are committed to becomes your dharma. When you are on this path dharma is natural to you. It will automatically come.
Q: Guruji, If there is rebirth, does one take birth on earth or somewhere else?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: On Earth only.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

There is no short cut for making money

April 02, 2012
World Forum for Ethics in Business (Singapore)

What is most essential today are role models. Young entrepreneurs need to see role models; industries which have ethical practices, which are fair and which have corporate social responsibilities. This can happen and in fact this should happen, for there are ample number of businesses who have grown steadily following code of conduct and ethics. They only need to be highlighted and that is the main purpose of this forum, to highlight such businesses, which can be role models for the coming generations to be ethical in their practices.
You know, one can gain money in many ways, but one cannot gain good sleep in many ways. A good sleep and inner comfort will only come when you feel everything is clean; everything is straight forward. When there is transparency, clarity and sincerity.
Usually I recommend meals and meditation for everyone in the afternoon, in companies, in factories, etc. I would recommend people to meditate for 10 minutes to 20 minutes and share a meal together. You will find such coherence in the group. You will feel like working together, team spirit gets built up, creative ideas come up. So it is always good to have food together.
That is all! I believe in talking less and doing more. So, I have said what I need to say. If you have some questions, I shall take them.
Q: Earlier we had a very interesting discussion around ‘redefining the self interest’. Could you once again say something about that.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, self interest is very important. On a long term basis, you need to know that if you go about doing things in unethical ways for short term gains, then you are putting yourself into a risk of long term disaster. Then you are not doing it in self interest. It is actually self disaster. It may appear to be self interest, but in fact it will turn out to be self disaster.
Another angle I would say, in yourself, include more people, include the society also. When you say self, you think about only yourself, or your employees, or your company. Now, your company cannot stay on if there is no sustainable growth in the society. If there is no buying power in people, there is no point in you manufacturing so many things. Nobody has the power to buy them. What do you do? So, you need to in your self interest also keep in mind the buying power of the people. This is equally important as the manufacturing power that you want to possess. So this buying power of people also gets included in your self interest.
I think that is one good way to look at one's self interest in terms of the whole society.
Q: I teach leadership, particularly public leadership and am very interested in helping people when they are faced with pragmatism and corruption, how to make decisions. How do you make decisions on a bigger scale and how do you make sort of personal decisions in terms of contentment.
Could you advise on how to help people with these kinds of decisions, be it for inner contentment or decisions around pragmatism?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You just need to expand their vision. ‘Come on, wake up and see what you want to do. You want to evade taxes only to be caught again next year, and then you will have to pay fine. Or do you want to pay your taxes? Pay and move on.’
You know, this vision, this idea needs to be given to them.
Sustained development and sustained growth is possible when you feel clear from within yourself. This is the first point.
Second is, there is no short cut for making money. This point we need to drive in to the entrepreneurs; especially the young entrepreneurs. They just want short ways to get richer and richer, and then they have the risk of a big fall. This education is very important.
I see a big difference in the society; the attitude of the people today is very different from that which was five to ten years ago because today we see many of these entrepreneurs, in many companies that grew very fast and then simply collapsed. So nobody wants to be counted in that list. These examples have helped people to not walk in that wrong path.
Q: In this world of stress, violence and corruption, what is your message for youths starting out in business?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We must know that not the whole world is corrupt. There are a few people who indulge in corruption.
We must also remember that corruption begins where the sense of belongingness ends. This is what we should note. Nobody can do corrupt practices with those whom they think belong to them. Wherever there is sense of belongingness, corruption becomes simply impossible.
Corruption begins where sense of belongingness ends. So you need to educate people in values where the sense of belongingness is extended. This is what I call spirituality.
Spirituality is that which enhances the sense of belongingness among people, so there is that natural tendency to be honest and to care for each other.
Corruption simply becomes impossible in these cases.
Q: Guruji! We discussed about ethics, morals and personal interests. My feeling is that there should be a certain amount of spiritualism in evey human being, irrelevant of their religion. Some principles in mind that would help one think along the moral or ethical lines. Only then will one be fair and square. What are your feelings?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I want to give you an example. You know when there is a crowd there always are thefts, especially in countries like India. When there is big crowd, there are thefts. But, when the Kumbh Mela (mass Hindu pilgrimage at the river Ganges) happens, where 30 million people assemble in one place, not a single theft is reported. Why? Because there is some sacredness, some religiosity, and there is some feeling, ‘Oh! I have come for a pilgrimage!’ People just keep their things, keep their laptops and just move or walk around, and nobody would steal them, which is unthinkable otherwise.
Otherwise, even if you keep an old spectacle somewhere unattended, that would be stolen; your slippers would be stolen. And in a Kumbh Mela your laptop is also not stolen, it is an amazement!
Sense of giving, contributing to others, reigns more.
I would like to tell you of an incident. It was a very cold winter day in January in Allahabad; it was very cold, nearly zero or minus one degrees. So, at the night I set out with fifty of my volunteers to distribute blankets. There were some very poor people, who had come from far off to take a pilgrimage there and to take a dip in the Ganges there. They didn't have enough amenities. So we were giving out blankets to very poor people.
A boy was standing under the bridge and he was shivering. He was about 20 or 22, something like that. When we offered a blanket to him, he said, ‘No, I don't need it tonight. I will manage tonight. But you know there are those old ladies under the bridge, some elderly people. They would make better use of this blanket. Please give them.’ He pointed towards them, ‘You see, 500 meters away, there are these elderly people, please give there. They deserve it more, I can manage. I am young.’
You know this sense of caring for others, really touched me. This boy is also with the T-shirt, he is shivering there, but, he says, ’No! Care for them first. If anything is left, I shall take it.’ That sense of caring for each other is amazing and especially in poor people this is already there.
So, ethics, or spirituality, brings out the good qualities, the humane qualities that we all have. It just needs to be brought to the surface.
Three months ago the Police Commissioner of North West Delhi invited one of our teachers. He told him that he has about 350 rowdy-sheeters.
Do you know what rowdy-sheeters are? They are the anti-social elements who do robberies and other mischief. You cannot really put them behind the bars, but they are a nuisance to society. You call them goons in the society.
So the Commissioner put them all together, around 350 of them and he called our teacher and asked him if he could do something about them. He wanted to bring about some ethics or spirituality in them. It was very tough to deal with these people, but in 6 days what a big transformation happened in them. We spent two or three hours each day with them, and we took a few minutes of meditation, some breathing exercise, a few talks, and after 6 days they were totally transformed. The same anti-social elements started doing cleaning campaign, health awareness campaigns, and the crime rate in North West Delhi fell by 90%.
Of course the Police Commissioner was extremely thrilled and said, ‘Why don’t we do this all over.’
We said, ‘Yes, we are all the more ready to do it.’
See nobody teaches one how to get rid of stress. It does not go away by talking or advising. You need to teach them some techniques, some tools or mechanisms to get rid of stress and calm the mind. You need make them think from a calm and collected mind, this is essential. So we did the same thing in Panama also.
In Chicago, in many schools where the incidents of violence were very high, we taught them the breathing exercises and meditation. After we taught them, the number of violence incidents in class rooms reduced from 268 to just 60.
The education department was very thrilled. So finally we could do something about violence and something about stress. Bringing people back to themselves.
I think our education system should inculcate ways to release stress. Stress is such a common thing. I usually call it a mental hygiene. We teach dental hygiene, but forget to teach them mental hygiene. We need to teach children right from school and college days on how to keep their mind sane and not go insane due to stress and anxiety.
30% of Europe is reeling under depression today; I don’t know what the percentage of depression in Singapore is. May not be that high, about 20% people are depressed. This was not the case a few years ago, right. The stronger we are growing economically,we shouldn’t be facing these problems. But in fact we are. That is why we need to educate our people in spiritual values, what do you think?
Don’t you think so? Spirituality is something that helps you to be centered in all occasions; spirituality is not just sitting and following a religious practice, but to see life from a broader perspective. Of course religion is part of one’s life but spirituality is a little different. It is to see one’s own life with values and with a broader vision.
Q: Many counties in the world, they respect greed as good culture. We have been fortunate here in Singapore because our government tries to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor by intervention. But that is not the case in other counties. Guruji, coming to your teachings and the work of the Art of Living, and as volunteers we can participate in this. But, it is still a huge challenge, because we live in a society which is ruled by a system of laws and government policies, where greed, making profit, becoming a billionaire, are upheld as the values for human existence.
So please explain and give us some divine guidance.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, entrepreneurship and competition is very good. They are needed in society. But not following the rules of the game and trying to win a game without following the rules of the game will be disastrous.
So, one can be greedy to get a desired result, but not at any cost. Do you see what I am saying? You know, you should eat as much as you can. You want to eat, you eat. But, don't succumb to Bulimia, where you can't stop eating and you have to be throwing out in order to eat.
That explains very well, the disease Bulimia.
So, I am not against entrepreneurship, I am not against companies making huge profits. Get as much profit as you can, but ethically. And also the more profit you make, the more you should invest in the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). Do social work.
So, if that could be managed, then the business that you have started will go on. Otherwise it is very easy to go up fast and come down fast. And that is what the past years have taught people. Today people have become aware of that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The best gift is wisdom

April 01, 2012

Mahasatsang at Singapore

When you turn the candle upside down, still the flame always goes up. In life also, so many incidences will come where your enthusiasm is put down; your spirit goes down. At that time remember ‘I am like the candle and I will come out of this. Nothing whatsoever can stop my spirit and enthusiasm.’
Move on like that. Life force should always go up. That is why in Hindu and Buddhist tradition, whenever someone visits, Aarti is done on them. A lamp is lit and taken around them saying, ‘Be like the flame and let your life always keep moving higher, around the Divinity and knowledge’. Then they apply a little kumkum (vermillion) on the forehead saying, ‘Let the knowledge be with you all the time.’
The best gift is wisdom. Other things will come and go.

Q: We have around thirty more years of life and it is just going to go by in a flash. Till the time we are here, life has to have some purpose to it. I have to do something that makes me feel fulfilled. I haven’t found that yet and I am still searching.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Absolutely! You will find that.
Now when you meditated, did you find that inner peace? This is what is essential.
We need to be established in that inner stillness and peace and do whatever good to people around us. Some seva activity we should take up.
Q: Dearest beloved Guruji, please tell us more about 2012. What qualities does one need to possess in order to enter the new earth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The earth will disappear only in American movies, not in reality. All that you need to know is this is a new era, wherein people will become more spiritual and they will become more humane. Greed, jealousy, crime will all come down. People will become more caring and spiritual. This is what is going to happen.
In the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the Dragon and it is considered to be very auspicious. In the Hindu calendar, it is the year of Nanda which means bliss. It will be a very good year. And you don’t need to enter it, you are already there.
Q: How do we distinguish between duties and expectations?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Duty is what your heart tells you, when you feel ‘This is what I have to do.’ Expectation is what others want you to do. Have a balance between the two. Sometimes you can fulfill the expectations of others, but your duties are what you need to be more concerned about.
Q: I practice pranayama and kriya for about forty minutes every day and take it as a way or an attempt to silence myself to go deeper within, and also tune in to you. May I ask, what more should I do to advance deeper?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Once in four to six months, it is good to do an Advance Course. That can enrich your meditation. At least twice a year do the silence program. Like you service your car, servicing your body, mind and spirit with three days of silence, meditation, yogasanas, makes you fresh and happy.
Q: Can people diagnosed with bipolar condition do Sudarshan Kriya or the Silence Course?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I don’t advice them to attend the Silence Course, but they can attend the Basic Course and do everything except Sudarshan Kriya. Simple meditation, pranayam and some yoga is very good for them. They should do Sri Sri Yoga.
Q: If we desire to achieve something in our career or life, what should we do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Put your effort and ask for blessing.
With blessings, you can get many things. Both are necessary, blessings and effort. Blessings come to those who make some effort as well. This is like the sun coming and your window being open. If you want the sun to come into your home, you need to open the curtains. But in the middle of the night, you open the curtain and ask for the sun to come in, it won’t come. You need to wait.
Q: When you fail in all your ventures and still try to show the world that you are happy with your artificial smile, what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Never think that you fail in everything. You failed basically because your thought process failed. Thought process fails because of over ambition. When you are too feverish or too ambitious, then right thoughts don’t cross your mind. Negativity also does not bring that intuitive thought. So when you meditate, then your thoughts become positive and more intuitive. There is a proverb in Sanskrit which says that success comes because of the sattva and the harmony inside you, not because of the amenities or weapons you have. At least don’t lose your smile. By losing your smile, you will become a double failure. One failure has happened, never mind. At least don’t lose the smile which is your nature.
Q: For youngsters like me between age of twenty and thirty, how do we put spirituality into practice while ensuring we work and strive towards our material goal.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They are not contrary. Don’t think they contradict each other. You can do business ethically. You can work in your workplace being very honest and you can still go on. With intelligence and skill, you should just march on in your life.
When the Asian continent was at the peak of spirituality, it also prospered very high. India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, all these areas in 1200 AD accounted for one third of the world’s GDP. That was the time when spirituality was its peak. Several travelers from India and Macaulay have written around two hundred years ago, ‘I have travelled the length and breadth of India and Asia and I have not seen even one beggar, one poor man or one sick person.’
So when spirituality was at its peak, people also had a very good standard of living.
Q: What is the link between consciousness and prana?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They are linked like the body and the mind. They are different yet they are linked. Body, mind, prana, the breath and consciousness can be categorized as five different layers.
Q: What is the significance of Atma Ram borne in our body which is also called as the seat of consciousness and is a miniature form of the person?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: How many of you know the meaning of word ‘Ram’? English word ‘Rays’ comes from a Sanskrit word called ‘Rashmi’. ‘Ra’ means light, the rays. ‘Ma’ means me. Ram means the light in one’s heart.
Dashratha means the ten chariots or the ten senses, which are the five senses of perception and five senses of action. So your body is a chariot of five organs of senses and five organs of perception. Kaushalya means skillful. The body of ten chariots (eyes, ears, nose, etc.,) skillfully brought together the Self, the spirit deep within, beyond the senses, that is ‘Rama’.
So, Ramayana is happening in your body every day. Today happens to be Ram Navami (Rama’s birthday.)
Q: How does a child forgive her parents for certain behavior against her at a young age? What moral authority do the parents still possess?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, if they have done some mistake, they did it because they never had a better education, or a better opportunity. They did not know how to manage their own mind, their emotions, their body. So, it is unfortunate that they went through life like that.
So forgive them so that you will be at peace.
If they had the opportunity to be on a spiritual path or in knowledge, they would not have done what they did. So they did it out of their ignorance. Knowing this, you just forgive them so that your mind will be at peace.
Otherwise if you have grudge against someone all the time then your mind becomes so uptight and it creates toxins. If you are feeling negative, then toxins increase. These toxins cause so many illnesses, including cancer. So, we should always keep our mind free and that is why we forgive everyone so that we can be at peace.
Q: How can we keep a smile in front of all despite all the difficult challenges in life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you feel like that, give it to me. I am with you.
Whenever you feel a challenge, remember me. Give me your challenges and know that you are not alone. You will sail through those difficulties that I guarantee you. Alone you may feel it is difficult.
Everyone smiles when everything is okay. The real achievement is your ability to smile when things go wrong. When everything falls apart and you still smile, then you are an Art of living member. You are well soaked in knowledge.
Q: How can I know you as tattva’? How can I live with you 24/7, experience you and love you? I do not want to miss this lifetime opportunity.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just relax! Love is not an action. You don’t try to love somebody. You just relax knowing that love is there.
Q: Why does someone get addicted or attracted to non healthy habits like smoking, drinking, etc.?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Because you feel that you are going to get some pleasure out of it, that is why you get addicted to it. Meditation is a big help in removing you from addictions.
Q: What is the best way to forgive and forget?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Give it to me! Drop it.
Anybody that you cannot forgive or anything that is bothering you, I am here to take all that. The Guru is there to take all your problems and challenges away. So you can just push it here.
Q: Please talk on the origin of life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When we think linearly, we think something should start somewhere and end somewhere. But we should think spherically.
Can you tell me where is the beginning point of a tennis ball? No! So when you can’t find the beginning point of a tennis ball, why do you try to find the beginning of this universe?
The mathematics is wrong. There are two types of thinking, one is spherical thinking and other is linear thinking.
The world has neither a beginning nor an end, this is spherical thinking and this is what the Vedic concept is. The Vedic understand is that three things are eternal: The universe, Divinity and Life. They have no beginning and no end, they just go in cycles.
This is the most interesting and most scientific understanding of the universe.
Q: Mid-life crisis. How to get interest in living after fifty plus?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just look at me.
I need you, come and be with me. We will go around the world and we can do a lot of work. I need more and more hands. If you are fifty plus, and have done everything in your life, settled your children, then come over. Even if you are not settled, take one month or two months off and travel.
We need more teachers. You can go and impart to others how to be centered and calm. Whatever little knowledge you have gained, you can impart to others. There is so much more to learn and you can go deeper, yes! I tell you, there will be an abundance of miracles, there is no dearth for it in The Art of Living.
Q: What do we do when we find life monotonous and boring?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Get busy!
Q: Guruji, how to forgive. Please tell us.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you find a person to be a culprit, then see then from a broader angle. The person is a culprit because he is a victim himself or herself. They don’t have knowledge, they are ignorant and they have scars and pain in their own heart. They are a victim and so they always inflict pain on others. They never came to know about knowledge. So have compassion for them.
When you see inside every culprit, there is a victim crying for help, you will be able to forgive them.
You must go to visit the jails for this reason. Go and talk to the culprits there, you will really feel compassion for them. You will forgive all their sins that they have done. Poor people had nobody to guide them. No guidance and no love and so they did all the wrong things that they did.
Q: On one hand you mentioned that we are insignificant akin to dust. On the other hand, you said look back through out your life and see how you overcame challenges. See that there has been a guiding hand. The question is, if we are insignificant, why is there a guiding hand in the first place and if there is a guiding hand, is it fair to say that we are insignificant?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Till you know that there is a guiding hand you are really insignificant. But once, you know that there is a guiding hand and you are part of it, you become very significant.
Charcoal and diamond are made up of same material. Coal in itself is insignificant but when it becomes a diamond, it becomes very significant. Truth is always contradictory.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Trust in the goodness of people around

March 30, 2012
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

See life from a bigger picture. How many of you think that you are going to be here forever?
How many of you are thinking that you are going to be here for the next thirty years, raise your hands. How many of you are thinking that you are going to be here for more than fifty years, raise your hands. And how many of you are going to be here for the next hundred years?
We don’t see life from a bigger perspective. My dear, you are not going to be here forever, just remember. But all of this is going to be there, Malaysia will be there, Kuala Lumpur will be there, but you won’t be here. This was here even before you.
You will be here for the next thirty to forty years, then what, where will you be? What is life? Who are you? These questions should arise in you and when they do, that shows that our intellect is maturing. Are you with me? Do all of you agree with what I am saying?
So when we see life from a broader perspective then small, insignificant things fall off, all that little quarrel, worries, what that person said, what this person said, it all falls away.
So what if somebody insulted you; so what! The person who has insulted you will no longer be here. Everybody will pack-up; they won’t even pack up, they will simply go. There is nothing to pack here.
On your journey you at least have to pack your luggage, but here you will simply disappear one day, that is it. See this temporary phase of life from a broader perspective. When you see life in a broader picture something will shift from within you, you will wake up and see, ‘Oh wow, what am I worried for.’
Just turn back and see, ten years back you were worried and you are still here now. Five years back you were worrying over nothing, you are still present now, alive! How much time you have wasted in judgments, worries and in unproductive thinking, yes or no?
Yes, we should learn from our own experiences. How much time we waste in complaining and all our life energy gets drained and diseases come. Blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc., all of these are a result of unproductive and negative feeling. So we need to shift this whole cycle. We feel negative, then we see everything negative and then we feel depressed, and once we feel depressed then we feel there is nothing else positive and like this you go into a vicious circle. You need to come out of it and meditation, yoga and pranayama is all about this – How to manage your mind and how to uplift your spirit, and that is really the blessing.
There are three types of trust essential in life; one is trust in the infinite power that is governing this world. Second is trust in the goodness of people around. There are good people in the world, if you think everybody is bad then you will become bad as well. If you think everybody is okay then you become so small, you shrink and you will also be part of them. There are good people on this planet, trust in the goodness of people.
Third is trust in yourself. Many times people don’t trust themselves and that is the problem. So trust in yourself, trust in the goodness of people and trust in the infinite power. These are the three types of trust essential in life. Then you are healthy, otherwise you are paranoid. Have you seen people with paranoia, how they behave? They are very scared of everything and they try to lock themselves in the room. It is a mental disease. If you have to get rid of this mental disease you have to be healthy and know the three types of trust.

Now, to understand trust you should know doubt. Doubt is always about something that is positive, have you noticed this? You doubt in the honesty of the person and not in the dishonesty of a person. If someone says that person is dishonest, you will believe it, correct! We doubt in another’s honesty.
If someone comes and tells you, ‘I love you so much’, you ask them, ‘Really?!’
If someone comes and tells you, ‘I hate you’, you don’t ask him, ‘Really?’ You take it that he hates you. So doubt is always about love.
If someone asks you if you are happy, you say, ‘I am not sure’, but if someone says, ‘You look depressed’, you never doubt your depression, but you doubt your happiness.
When you are unhappy you are sure you are depressed, but when you are happy why are you not sure? Our doubt is always about something positive. We doubt in the goodness of people, we doubt in our capabilities, but we never doubt our weaknesses. You are not sure about your abilities but you so sure about your weaknesses. We need to bring a shift here. How many of you agree, raise your hands.
I am making you raise your hands again and again because usually in a spiritual discourse people go to sleep. Because spiritual discourses are like a bed of roses, it is so soothing to fall asleep. And in a movie you don’t fall asleep because they are like thorns, it keep you awake, especially if it is a crime movie then you can never fall asleep.
If you go to any Hindu temple, they always keep a coconut. Do you know why? A coconut is a symbol of human life. It is a shock absorber and that is how we should be in our lives, shock absorbing. A coconut falls from such a height but it does not break because it absorbs the shock. Our behavior should be like shock absorbers in the society, so that nobody can hurt our mind or emotions. Our body needs to be hard like the shell of a coconut and the mind should be like the kernel inside, soft and pure white and bringing feelings like the sweet water inside. So this is why they break a coconut in the temple and they keep it to signify, ‘Dear Lord, may my life be like a coconut, body firm and mind soft, pure and clear.’
If it is the other way around, body is weak and mind is hard like a stone then you are in trouble. This is the problem today.
We should have a cool head, warm feet and soft belly; this is the secret to good physical health. If your belly is very hard, then there is something wrong with your digestion, your intestines are not moving properly. So belly needs to be soft, feet need to be warm. If it is the other way around, cold feet, hot head and a hard belly then you are sick. It is a sign of sick people.

A sign of health is warm feet, soft belly, cool head and warm heart.
Some amount of whatever we earn we should give in charity. Just 3% of what we earn. We can’t use the entire 100% we earn for ourselves. We should give a little bit away in charity to the society; to the poor children or people who need it.
With charity, money is purified. By service, our actions are purified. With music, our emotions are purified and with knowledge our intellect is purified. ‘What is this life all about?’ – this knowledge makes the intellect pure. With yoga, pranayama and exercise you purify the body.

Q: My husband is unfaithful, what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have no experience in this. But still I will tell you something, husband may get attracted to other people but his love for you will be more if you understand him in a broader perspective. If you have a broad mind and forgive him two to three times and then you put your foot down on the fourth time and say no, then he will learn. You should not put your foot down on the first time. Three times you forgive him, but the fourth time put your foot down.

There is a secret about relationships, do you want to know?
The secret for women is that you must always praise your husband. Never put him down. Pump his ego. The whole world may say your husband has no brains, but you should not say that. You should say, ‘You have great brains, but you don’t use it.’
If you put the ego down of a man he becomes like a vegetable. Never tell him, ‘You are a vegetable, you are good for nothing.’ You should tell him you are the perfect man and you should encourage him, give him lots of praise and boost his ego. Got it!
The secret for men is you must never stamp on the emotions of your wife. If she complains about her brother or father or mother, don’t join her bandwagon but just keep quiet. If you complain about her family she can’t tolerate it. She can complain, but you should keep your mouth shut, then you will have peace at home. And if she wants to go for shopping, don’t say no; give her your credit card. For religious functions and for shopping you should not stop her. Being spiritual helps us to perform the duties towards the family better.
How many of you have experienced this? See, if your mental health is good and you feel strong and wise, you can keep everybody happy.
Q: I seem to have trouble sleeping.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You should do the Ayurvedic treatment. In Ayurveda we have the Shankhpushpi Syrup which will help you to sleep well. Also yoga and pranayama will help. You should do pranayama at night, just before going to bed. That will help you sleep.
Similarly some Chinese herbs and Ayurvedic herbs are there which are used to cleanse your body, cleanse your intestine and stomach. Once in a while you must take these herbs. Triphala is an Ayurvedic herb which cleanses the liver and the intestines. Once in a week it is good to use these Ayurvedic herbs. And regular practice of yoga and pranayama makes the body better.