Friday, December 27, 2013

The Holy Saints Of India

November 30, 2013

Bangalore, India

Gurudev, after the Asaram Bapu incident (referring to a recent scandal wherein a spiritual leader was accused of inappropriate conduct with a female devotees), my friends have started questioning my faith in the Art of Living. What can I say to them to convince them that the Art of Living is different?
Sri Sri: What can one say? Just tell them not to be paranoid. Tell them that sometimes accidents do take place on the street. But just because accidents happen, you do not stop walking on the street, isn’t it? If you do that, then that is called mental imbalance or paranoia. The same is the case here also. 
For example, in the medical profession, there are doctors who steal kidneys. There was a big scandal in which it was found that the doctors were stealing kidneys. But just because some doctors were found stealing kidneys, that does not mean you stop going to doctors, right? There are companies and businessmen who have cheated people of their money, but that does not mean you stop investing in companies. 
So first of all, a gentleman has been accused of doing something wrong. And it is not even proven. Suppose he is proven innocent in this case? Like what happened in the case of the Kanchi Mutth’s head Shankaracharya (referring to the recent case of acquittal of the Head of the Kanchi school of thought and a spiritual institution in India). Nine years ago he was accused of a murder. Today, he has been acquitted of all charges. For nine long years he had to carry the burden of false accusation. What would you say about it?

I want to tell you about an incident that happened in India some 17 or 19 years ago. In 1998, a top scientist of the country was accused of spying (espionage). He went through so much torture. There were auto rickshaw drivers who would point fingers at him. He is one of the top scientists who has done research on Cryogenic technology and had prepared this spacecraft that would cost only one-third of what America had made. It was much more efficient and yet it was one-third the cost of what it usually takes to make the spacecraft. Russia wanted to partner with him in this project. Even the US wanted to partner with him. He was invited by NASA and the President of US had told him, ‘I want to offer you US citizenship. Please stay here and continue your work’. 
He was in NASA for 10 months. Then he called the Head of Space Research here in ISRO, Vikram Sarabhai. Mr. Sarabhai told him to return to India to continue his work. So he came back and was working with Mr. Abdul Kalam, who became the President of India. Both of them were working together as colleagues. 
Then there was one gentleman in the IB (Indian Bureau) who put a false case on this scientist, stating that he is spying. He accused him of spying and accused him of selling all our secrets to some lady in Mauritius or Maldives. 
There were in fact two ladies from the Maldives, who were only eighth-standard pass. They happened to stay as guests in the house next to where he stayed. So the case went on and on for ten years. After ten years he was finally proved innocent. By this time, all the research work that he had done was finished. 
He suspected that the CIA had given money to these people to put a false case against him, so that the whole technology programme would collapse. After that, things came to a standstill and the country did not discover anything new in its Space research. He was telling me this whole story. You must have seen this story. It was also aired on Times Now news channel.

What I am saying here is that many times the case could be false. And sometimes it might be true also. It is possible that the man in question may have committed some mistake. In such cases we can only have compassion towards him, for we do not know what made him do something like that, what made him commit such heinous crimes. It is unthinkable that a 75 year old man would do such a thing.
Secondly, we start hating the person who has committed the crime instead of having compassion or pity towards him.You know even for the worst criminal, or for a person who is proved to be a criminal, our attitude towards that person should not be that of hatred. Rather we should have pity. And thank God that such things did not happen through you. Feel fortunate that you did not commit such mistakes or blunders. What can one do? There are such people in every field. You know, Ravana came disguised as a sanyasi (here meaning a holy sage or ascetic) and cheated Devi Sita. This is nothing new.
Do you know how the Vijaynagar empire collapsed? It was because of five crooked people who acted as sanyasis.
The Vijaynagar empire was so strong and powerful that no one could shake it. How many of you do not know this story? (Many in the audience raise their hands).
The Vijaynagar empire spanned and ruled almost half of India, and in fact its reach was in Sri Lanka also. It was the most prosperous province on the planet at that time. The Chinese travellers have described it as something unbelievable. On its streets, the merchants would measure diamonds in ‘litres’. Pearls were measured not by weight but by volumes. 
This empire had a huge armed force. It had 10,000 elephants and one lakh soldiers. But the whole empire was finished in just 10 minutes, without fighting any war. Do you know what happened? Five of the Bahmani Sultans came dressed as Sadhus or Swamis (holy sages) and they stayed on the other side of the river in a tent. They sent a message to the king saying, ‘Please come and visit the Swamis. They will not cross the river and will not come to the palace. So you must come and visit them’. 
So the king came with all reverence to meet them. As the tradition goes, the king goes to the holy sages or saints and bows down to receive blessings.

They said, ‘We want you to come visit us alone and not with all your armed forces’. 
So the king went simply dressed, carrying flowers and fruits to meet the saints. But they were not really saints. They were the Sultan’s generals and soldiers in disguise. They beheaded the king right there and his head was hung from a pole in the centre of the city of Hampi. In ten minutes, the entire kingdom was conquered without war. 
When the king was taken (killed), what could the people of the kingdom do? So they had to surrender to the invaders. The Bahmanis vandalized the kingdom after that. Their armies too were waiting in disguise to plunder the kingdom. It is said that it took them six months to loot that city.

After independence, Jawaharlal Nehru had this great idea of hiding Indian history, because he did not want the bad incidents to be highlighted or known. He did not understand that this would have taught a lesson for people to not repeat such acts in the future. Instead he covered them all up and pretended that everything had been nice. So he pushed the true stories under the carpet and very conveniently forgot all the glorious days also. 
Thus our country’s history became bland, having no taste, neither sweet (referring to the glories of Indian history) nor salty (referring to the dark and troublesome periods or incidents in the Indian history).

The people who aided these efforts were the communist historians who wanted to portray that the past was all rubbish and was not so glorious. If you read their philosophy, you will find that they project communism as the only way ahead. So they conveniently brushed aside all the historical figures of Indian history as mythological figures – like Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, etc. They even said that the great Mahabharata war never really happened and was simply a figment of someone’s imagination, as fiction. 
Just imagine, just because Jesus walked on water or multiplied bread and wine, they say that these are all stories and it never really happened. This is very similar to picking on some miracle and saying that it never really happened because it does not appear ‘logical’, it does not seem to make sense.

So the communist historians started introducing such kinds of distortions of Indian history. Their philosophy was that India was a land of uncivilized and uneducated lot of people who were divided, who believed in lots of superstitions and had no culture at all. This was their contention and they want to prove this. This has been most unfortunate. 
They do not know the A-B-C-D of Sanskrit. The basis of this country is the Sanskrit language and it was what united the whole country as one, at one point in time. Every other language in this country has sprung out of Sanskrit. If you do not know Sanskrit, or if you do not know the Pali script, you cannot know the history of this country at all. 
The same goes for the south Indian languages also. Tamil is a very important language. None of these (communist) people knew Tamil, or Malayalam, or Telugu, or Kannada, or even Sanskrit. They only know little English and a little bit of Hindi, that’s all. Yet they have written volumes of books on Indian history which have been proven today to be totally obsolete. It is a complete waste of time studying those books. Yet they are still occupying the shelves of many libraries.

The entire Vijaynagar empire was conquered in ten minutes without war, by a few men who were in the disguise ofSadhus and Swamis. Such things have happened in the past. But because of this, you cannot say that there are no good people in this country anymore; or that there are no saints in this country. 
Saint Kabir Das was blamed by people who had vested interests. Even Jesus was tortured and blamed. Lord Buddha was tortured by his own cousin, who turned against him. How many of you did not know this fact? (Many raise hands in the audience
Lord Buddha was teaching meditation and his own cousin who was also his close disciple, grew very jealous of Buddha. I do not know what happened in his brain. May be some damage in his (brain) circuits! 
So he went to the top of the hill behind where Lord Buddha was sitting and teaching meditation. There was a huge boulder at the top of the hill (And you know in incidents like this, there are always some people who follow and support such things), and with a few of his followers he pushed the big boulder in Buddha’s direction. The boulder just missed Buddha’s head where He sat. Despite this, Lord Buddha sat, unshaken by all this. All the other devotees and disciples who sat there were shaken and shocked to see this. Lord Buddha just smiled in deep compassion. He said, ‘The poor fellow (who did this) has so much pain and anguish inside him’.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It Is Impossible That The Divine Hurts You

November 29, 2013

Bangalore, India


Gurudev, if a person feels hurt by the divine where does one go?
Sri Sri: There is nowhere to go! It is impossible that the Divine hurts you!
There is a beautiful couplet in Kannada that we used to learn in school. It says, the more you squeeze sugarcane, sweeter is the juice that comes. The more you cut a diamond, the more it shines. The more gold is hammered, put in fire, the more it shines. The more you grind sandalwood, the more its fragrance spreads.
Nature puts you through many different tasks and tests, and you come out shining from it all. You must remember that nature will not give you a burden which you cannot carry. 
God first measures the tail and then puts it on the animal, so it can easily wag its tail. Just imagine if a rat had the tail of an elephant, which it cannot even lift! 
Nature is very intelligent, it only gives you that problem which you can handle.

Gurudev, I have a deep rooted secret that I can’t speak about. If I say it, I will lose everything and everyone. I am in a materialistic world, I cannot surrender completely, and I am afraid of failure. What should I do?
Sri Sri: You see the consequences, then why do you do something when you are not going to get anything out of it?
There is something called confession. Now, you can’t go and confess to any Tom, Dick or Harry, but you can confess to a wise person who keeps things in confidentiality. This is maintained in churches also; there is a cabin in the Church where you can go and make confessions, so even the priest does not see who is talking to him. When you go and confess, then from that little window, the priest gives you a remedy, so that you feel uplifted.
That is also why you are here, to become hollow and empty. You write your botheration, put it in the basket, and feel free.
Whatever unpleasant event has happened in the past, is finished, it is gone. Why do you cling on to it, and make your present and future miserable? So write, and let go!

If you feel that there is some benefit in saying, or if by not speaking out, it is going to harm other innocent people, then speak up, with compassion towards others, so they don’t get into a trap. But if saying it is not good for anybody, then there is no point in raising such issues and dwelling on it. Confess to a wise person, just one person, or write it and give it away to the Divine, and be free!

Why are the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer? How is God taking care of poor people when they are struggling to get a full square meal?
Sri Sri: My observation about poor people is that they are poor not because God has punished them to be poor; it is liquor that has kept people poor. A laborer earns almost the same as the average white collared job person in the city, but he spends two-thirds of his earnings on liquor, so he remains poor.
The second reason for poverty is laziness. Even today if you see a poor boy or girl, if they strive hard, they can really come up. There are many examples of people from the bottom of the pyramid really rising to the top. You need that zeal, will, and enthusiasm to do it; many times people lack this.

When we first came here to this place in Bangalore, the Ashram was just a barren land, nobody wanted this land. Nothing grew here; no grass, no trees. There was only one tree in 60 acres of land. Just imagine! There were no other trees! There was nothing here, it was rocky, uncultivated land, with no water. 
In those days, Philip, Pramila, Kiran, Vinod Menon and many others who were here, planted all these trees. In the initial days, they would pour buckets of water to the trees. 
All around the Ashram, people lived in thatched roof hutments. If I remember correctly, there was only one tiled roof home in the neighboring village, belonging to the Sarpanch (head of the village). Every other house was a thatched roof that would leak in the rain, and blow away if there was strong wind. This was the case, not only in this village, but all around here. 
Moreover, on this Kanakpura road, there were only two buses - one in the morning, and another in the evening. And there would be trucks that would carry sand from the river below to the city. (You can hear the sound of trucks even in the Sudarshan Kriya tapes!) 
At that time, to come from Jayanagar to the ashram, you had to catch two buses.

When we came to this place, it was a totally rural area. We got all the children together from the neighboring 20 villages and opened a school for them. The people around were very poor. We, at The Art of Living, also had limited resources. Often we would take a little overdraft from the bank for the Ashram, and after two-three months we would pay them back.
Sometime in the nineties, maybe, I called all the poor unemployed youth from around this area; they must have between in the age group of 20 to 35. I told them that I wanted them to have some employment. They were simply a burden on their families doing nothing, whole day sitting around, listening to the radio, playing cards or cricket. And in the evening, they would go and drink. We made schools for children, but the youth were unemployed. They had passed their tenth standard, and did not want to go to field and work, or do any agriculture. Their attitude was that agriculture is done by those who never went to school, or those who had studied only till primary school. Why would they do agriculture? They did not want to work in the fields.
I called the Director of Small Scale Industries from the Government of Karnataka and asked him to present all the projects that he could to these 200 unemployed boys. I wanted them to do something. (Even we had a thatched roof hall where we used to give Ashtavakra discourses; in the same place, I called these boys and this Director.) 
The Director came very enthusiastically; with painstaking efforts he tried to explain nearly 225 hundred projects for three to four hours. And the boys had an excuse to say how this will not work, and that will not work! Every project that the director would explain, they would say, ‘Gurudev, it is not possible!’ Finally I asked them, 'What will work?' 
They said, ‘Please get us a job in the Police department or make me a bus conductor.’ 
How many jobs you can get with the Police, or as Conductors in the government? No one wants to be an entrepreneur, no one wants to make any effort. 
These people want to remain poor, what can you do? 
This is when we started the Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP). We put all of them through three months of vigorous training; made them exercise in the morning to get them out of their lethargy. When they started doing kriya and meditation, we gave them employment for three months. However, we told them that you have to do something. Today, many of them have become entrepreneurs.

Now, can you see any thatched roofs around the ashram? No! People have built homes; not only in this village, but all the villages around are now flourishing. The economy is booming; now you don’t get laborers from this area, they come from other areas.
Similarly, there was one boy who used to be our gatekeeper here. Today, he has 400 employees working under him. This boy’s story is very interesting. As a child, he was a trouble maker in school, he would fight with every other boy, and no school would accept him. His parents were sick and tired of him, so they came and left him here. They told us to do whatever we wanted with him, they did not want him in the house as he would beat everybody, break everything, and create so much trouble all around. So he would just sit outside Shakti Kutir, and stop people from coming to my room. Those days we never had any other security guard, he was the only person! He would stop everybody, even my mother! Many times, she had to fight with him to come with the food.
You see, just being here, there was such a big change in him. Then he went back, and got married. He started a big business; he has not studied much, yet he has around 300-400 employees.
This is the case with many other people; there are many other examples, not one; the lethargy has to go away.

One of the Ministerial candidates of this country used to be a tea vendor at one time. He came from a very poor background; today, he is a State Chief Minister. 
Another example would be Ramnath Goenkaji, he started The Indian Express, a newspaper that even took (the late Prime Minister) Indira Gandhi head on! He had studied only up to the second standard. He used to sell fruits and vegetables in a trolley in the streets of Mumbai. Today he has built an empire, even though he came from a very poor background.

You need to bring that spiritual force, confidence, and willingness to come out of poverty; this is what we need to do. Just doling out food and things for the poor is not going to work.
Ethiopia is another example; there was a famine in Ethiopia for seven years. Since the country went through a famine for so long, people did not work. In the eighth year, even when there was rain, nobody wanted to work! This is because they got used to getting aid from other countries. They expected someone else to give them aid, food and material. Even today, Ethiopia has such huge masses of land but it is the Chinese and Indians that are buying and cultivating the land in Ethiopia, because that zeal in the people to do something is gone.
There is another very strange thing in Ethiopia. For six months in a year, people don’t use any dairy products due to some religious belief. So now, no one wants to set up a dairy products business because for six months the product will not be sold. 
Perhaps in the ancient days, they might have said that one should not take cold milk in the cold season, or there may have been some other logical conclusion. However, people not drinking milk for six months or using any dairy products as a religious belief makes the whole industry suffer a lot.
One needs to have a proper mindset to come out of poverty. And I tell you, it is more self-inflicted, rather than someone getting into it with a victim conscious. People say, ‘I am a victim, somebody has money, I don’t have it!’ 
Why you don't have it? It is because you have not worked for it. 
Of course, there are other sides to the picture where people are being exploited, and that is also not correct!

Gurudev, my in-laws force me to wash my hands after I touch cooked rice. During my menses cycle, they don’t allow me to enter the prayer room, kitchen or touch clothes. Why do they follow these customs? Is there any scientific reason behind it?
Sri Sri: You need scientific experiments to be conducted to prove or disprove any custom. Unless an experiment is done, you can’t say whether a custom is wrong or right! For example, in traditional homes, before going to the toilet, people would tie the sacred thread around their ear; many times this looked absurd. The explanation given was that maybe the sacred thread is long, hanging down too much, tie it on the ear, so it does not get caught anywhere. However, a scientist in New York published a study which stated that the back of the ears and the ear lobes are connected to the bowels. So when the ears are squeezed, the blood pressure comes down and the bowel movement is better. 
So the custom does have an impact on the system. This is why you cannot say that it is superstition; although at one level it was a superstition, on another level, there was a scientific validation to the practice.

Similarly, people thought the use of turmeric in food, and washing vessels was also a superstition. In a lot of the food preparations, they would put a Tulsi (basil) leaf on top of the food after it was cooked. Scientists in the eighties targeted turmeric for a long time, saying, ‘Oh this is just color, pigmentation; it has no big value, there is nothing sacred about turmeric, it does not add any value to the food.’ By the nineties, scientists discovered that turmeric is the best antioxidant. 
The Ayurvedic Vaidyas (physicians) said that turmeric acts as a vayasthapan, i.e., a process that stops aging; but nobody believed them. MBBS doctors would say all this is nonsense. Later, scientists proved that turmeric is very good for health; it even stops cancer. So, you cannot discard any practice unless it is proven wrong. 
Again, I am saying that we have to keep an open mind; maybe it is proven right at one time and disproved later on.

There was a big wave in this country that peanut oil is very bad. In South Indian homes, they would use only peanut oil and gingelly oil (sesame oil). A company that wanted to promote palm oil said coconut oil is bad; these other oils are bad; palm oil is the best oil. Suddenly everyone started using palm oil.
Now research has disproved that, and found that groundnut oil, i.e., peanut oil is very good, it is the best; they sing the glory of peanut oil. In fact, people used groundnut oil here for centuries, millennium! In Tamil Nadu, gingelly oil is called Nalla ennai, i.e., very good oil. It is supposed to do so much good to our system.
Since the oil market had to import all that Malaysian palm oil to India, some researchers made these sorts of stories. The research was funded by the company, and it created a wrong impression. So, the research conducted should be authentic, and we should keep our mind open for further research. In the future, if another research comes up and says this is wrong, we should not hold on to it, we should be ready to embrace it.
The beauty with the ancient Ayurvedic System is that it is time tested for 5,000 years! That is why tradition cannot be overlooked. Having said that, many times tradition has been interpolated; a lot of things have been kept in the name of tradition. 
For example, people say you should apply hot kheer (rice pudding) on the body of a small baby, then the child will grow well; or dangle the child upside down for a few minutes, maybe some God will be pleased or something; these are all stupid things. These practices are very remote; maybe some people follow these practices in the name of religion in some villages; it is ridiculous.

I am not saying that we should follow all that tradition is saying; simultaneously, you cannot totally discard tradition; the middle path has to be chosen.
If someone has passed away or a child is born in the house, they have sutak, i.e., they are untouchable for ten days. This would be practiced by very close relatives. They won’t celebrate anything or go to anyone’s house; no one will take or eat food from their house. What is the reason behind this? Whenever someone dies, people are overcome with such grief that the vibration of their grief is in their homes, in their atmosphere, so they are free from all obligations, that is all. It is not that if you touch somebody, something will happen to you. It is just the vibration for ten days is like that, filled with grief.
Suppose someone has no grief! If someone was sick in the family for a long time, when they die, the family is happy. They say, ‘Okay, well he got liberated, I am happy for him and I am happy for myself.’ Then there are no negative, depressive, sad vibrations, because they are happy for them! Everybody has to go some day!
Similarly, when a child is born people are very excited, too happy; even then the vibrations are not calming. So people say at such times also one is free from all obligations. But, people stretch it to such an extent that it does not appeal to your intellect.
When the menstrual cycle happens a woman is supposed to take good rest. So, it is just to keep that barrier, to tell women not to get involved in any work, that this tradition is maintained. It is to let women just rest, sleep, relax, read, do some knitting or whatever. Otherwise, when women start working, they do too much work.
About the rice and cooked food; in the ancient days, cooked starchy food was sticky. It would usually overflow from the pot. You touched the pot and then touched anything else, everything would become sticky. If you touched the food, it would stick to your hands, so it would be better to wash your hands; this is the reason. Today you don’t touch it by hand, you use spoons. 
In those days, the hygiene consciousness was so good; so when you touched starchy foods, you have to wash your hands. They would even keep fruits separately. However, someone should do research on these customs.

Even the Jews have a similar tradition; if you touch milk, then you don’t touch meat; they have certain rules. 
The Japanese also have such customs; orthodox Japanese people keep separate set of cups and vessels for guests; they have a separate cupboard in which the guests’ washed vessels are kept. They don’t use the guests’ vessels and they don’t let anybody else use their vessels either. I was very surprised to see this in Japan. Even in India, some people used to follow this tradition of keeping their cups and plates separate. In Japan, this is very prevalent in the traditional family homes and in monasteries.

Many of these habits do not have a scientific background, or reason for it, then we should stop practicing them. If some practices are there, we should see if it is good, or at least do some experiment in that direction.

Gurudev, how do you accept a person who is addicted to drugs, continues to hurt himself and others? How do you draw a line between his passion, valor and surrender?
Sri Sri: You have to do all that you can to get him out of it. Yukti (skill), Shakti (strength), priti (love); with love, skill and through some force, somehow, you must help him to get out of it. The best thing is to put them in a rehabilitation home. We have one in Kolkata, and there are many other rehabilitation centers all over. Take him to such a center, make him do the Sudarshan Kriya. If he learns the kriya and pranayama, it makes a big difference. Many people have left drugs and alcohol when practicing the Sudarshan Kriya.

Gurudev, these days a lot of people are suffering from cancer. How can one curb this disease? What should the patient and his family members do to reduce the suffering?
Sri Sri: A change of life style will be helpful. When you go to bed, make sure you put off all your electronic devices, your iPhone, iPads, WiFi, put everything off when you go to sleep. It is not good to have so much of electronic vibrations all around.
Often, you eat things which are not correct. If you don’t meditate enough, then the body takes its toll. Eat proper food, at the proper time. Take TriphalaChyawanprash. Use turmeric; all these are antioxidants that should go into the body.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Overcoming Jealousy

November 27, 2013

Bangalore, India

Day before, we had a very successful and large meditation in Pakistan. People are standing up for peace in Pakistan, and it is very good.
Questions & Answers
Gurudev, how to overcome jealousy?
Sri Sri: Just know that you are going to die and the other person is going to die too. The person whom you are jealous of will be finished, you will be finished and everything will become ashes. What is there to be jealous about.
Once Mullah Nasruddin and his friend, both were taking a nap under a tree, on a hot summer afternoon. After the nap Mullah woke up and said, 'Ah! I saw a great dream. I saw this beautiful lady falling in love with me', and the spark was still in his eyes. He looked so joyful and so his friend said, 'I am so jealous of you. Why don’t these beautiful ladies come into my dreams? I only get horror dreams of my wife, and I perspire.' 
Mullah said, 'Do you think I do not perspire thinking about my wife. It’s a dream. Why don’t you also dream. Why should be jealous about my dream. At least you have freedom to have you own dreams, even if it becomes reality now or later'.

When you are jealous of somebody, you are looking at life from a very limited perspective. So go beyond that. That is why dispassion is important. It will bring stability and make you centered. And then everyone will be jealous of you.

Gurudev, the reality of this world from eyes of a dog is different from a monkey, and the perception of every man is different from one another, then how does one know the absolute truth? How do we know what is real?
Sri Sri: There are different levels of reality. As the consciousness expands knowledge also changes. From a baby’s eyes, the world is different and from child’s eye it is different. And then as you grow up it all changes. So knowledge is structurally consciousness. As the consciousness expands knowledge also expands.

Gurudev, Shankaracharya was acquitted today of all the charges. Why a holy person like him had to undergo this ordeal? No politician or media is saying sorry for it.
Sri Sri: They should say sorry for it. The politicians and media should apologize. They did not do this to an individual, they have done it to an institution. An institution which has been there for two thousand years. And the head of institution, who represented the Sanatana Dharma (The Hindu Faith) and so many people were disturbed for so many years. For nine years it was long ordeal for a saint. But for him it was tapas. He doesn’t mind. A saint never minds whether it is praise or blame, he smiles through it. But for a system, for the faith of the people, it is a big question mark. 
There are certain people who want to malign and take away the faith of people. See if people have strong faith in religion and spirituality, they don’t go and get into drug culture, or gun culture. People who are devoted do not go for alcohol parties. These people want to sell their products and so they always try to destroy anything spiritual and religious. It is nothing new, from a long time this has been happening. So people who don’t even kill mosquitoes or cockroaches, they put such serious charges on them. And after nine long years it is proven that all 32 are innocent. Justice should not be delayed. It should have happened immediately within six months. But it took nine long years. Anyways truth will always triumph, and we must always have faith in this.

Gurudev, out of the ten incarnations of Vishnu, which is the most beautiful incarnation? And please tell us something about Kalki incarnation.
Sri Sri: Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder. Whatever you like seems beautiful to you. Where does beauty not exist? Even thorns are beautiful, and leaves are beautiful too. Once you change your perception then you will see beauty everywhere. Each incarnation has some good qualities and some bad ones, both.

The Right Perspective to Dealing With Hurt

November 26, 2013

Bangalore, India

You know, many of you often say, 'Oh, I feel so hurt'.
You fall in love and then you get hurt, isn't it. How many of you have had this experience? (Many raise their hands)
You didn’t expect a certain action or reaction from the people whom you love, and you get an unexpected response and you feel hurt.
What happens when you are hurt? You start shutting down, you start withdrawing. And if it happens more than three times, your whole personality gets affected. Then you become a very rude, rough and angry person. Isn’t that so?

Let us say someone hurts you, how do you behave the next moment? You become rough, rude and angry. This is one reaction. There is another way to look at it.
Why does someone hurt another person? Only two kinds of people can hurt you. First, one who is wise can hurt you, because when you get hurt you wake up from your slumber. The hurt wakes you up, somewhere it makes you stronger.
Second, one who is himself hurt or who is ignorant. The person is ignorant, or is experiencing anger, hatred and hurt. Now there are only two categories of people in front of you, through whom you can judge about your own hurt.
So when you get hurt by someone’s actions, think that there is a lesson for you to learn, and that is why it is coming to you.

This is what the Gurus in the ancient tradition used to do. Blame a person for something when he has not done anything wrong. Why? Because when you take that blame, you become stronger. You can smile through the blame for a mistake you have never done and take the lesson from it that you need to learn.
If you know that there is some karma getting washed out, you realize that you are becoming freer.
So consciously taking out that hridaya daurbalyam (weakness of heart).

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna first hurts Arjuna by saying, 'What a coward you are, you want to run away from the battlefield? What will the world think about you! You are such a coward and you are so foolish. Do you think you are intelligent? You are talking like a great scholar and you are crying for things which you should never cry for'. He stops just short of saying, 'You are so stupid!'
Hearing these words from someone so close, Arjuna thinks this is his world! He thinks that he is right and his world is right, so he challenges Lord Krishna and tells him, 'Why are you putting me in this place? Why do you want me to fight this war? What do I get? Don’t push me into such wrong things'.
So Arjuna thought he was right and Krishna was wrong.
Arjuna was known for his valor, and Lord Krishna tells him, 'You coward!'. If you call the most valorous man and tell him he is a coward, there cannot be a bigger hurt than that.
Now, when Krishna said this, Arjuna did not argue. He did not say, 'No, I’m not a coward', he just took it.
He said, 'Krishna, I hear you. You know me better than I know myself'.
So when you feel hurt, don’t shut down. Look into the situation.
If the actions of a wise person, or someone who you have a lot of regard for, is hurting you, then know that it is for some good reason.
If a friend is hurting you, know that some karma is getting released. 'I must have done something in the past to this person, so this person is just returning that back to me'.
If the hurt is coming from an ignorant person, then have compassion. Poor thing, that person must be having so much pain, and so they are giving that back to me. They don't know what else to give me. Whatever people have, only that they will give. If someone is so hurt, and so pained, they can only give what they have with them.
These three attitudes can make your whole personality shine.

I remember once, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, had asked his colleague, Swami Satyanand to enroll 1000 kayastha (a caste or community of Hindus) boys for some administration project and train them. He strongly believed in the DNA of thekayasthas. The kayasthas traditionally were administrators.
So he asked Swamiji to go to Allahabad and enroll 1000 or 10,000 people; some big number. After three months of hard work, Swami Satyanand calls Maharishi and tells him, 'I have enrolled 10,000 kayastha boys and youngsters'.
Maharshi was so upset, and he said, 'Who asked you to do it? Why did you do it? This is wrong. You should enroll everybody. Why did you enroll only kayastha boys'.
He himself asked Swami Satyanand to go and do it, and then he asks this question! This was a big shock for the gentleman, because he was doing the work very sincerely.
These actions, of a very wise person, should be seen in a different light. Do not judge these things from a human mind, but judge them from a bigger perspective. Not from the emotions, thinking that he has a grudge on me or he thinks bad about me, no! Not in the same way you judge all the time.

There was one great man called Gurjyev in Russia. He used to do this, give shocks to people. When you give shock treatment again and again, it is like an immunization to getting hurt in the world. You will never get hurt again by anybody.
Same thing with mothers at home. If mothers don’t scold their children at all, the children become so weak because they become so timid. Sometimes this is a problem with kids from very wealthy families, because their mothers never scold them. So they cannot withstand a simple criticism from someone outside. They are not immune to criticism. The mind becomes so weak.
So if you get hurt from a wise person, or an elderly person, or from your mother or father, then know it is for some good reason, for some learning. So it does not even touch you.

If a friend is hurting you, your attitude should be, this person has hurt me, there is some karma getting released.
And people who are miserable, if they try to hurt you, your attitude should be, compassion. So then the hurt does not cause hurt, but the hurt brings another level of strength within you. And you become much stronger, you smile through it. Otherwise, if you brood over it all day, bruised and upset, you tend to get so negative.
This is a choice for you. Either you get so negative, or you use every opportunity, whether it is hurt or misery, to become strong and grow in wisdom.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Four Ways Of Looking At Hurt

November 28, 2013

Bangalore, India


Questions & Answers

How to keep on loving without expecting. How is it possible? In love expectations arise and if not fulfilled, it hurts.
Sri Sri: Yes, you will have to go through these gymnastics. If you have wisdom, you don’t have to go through the pain to learn. When there is lack of wisdom, you go through pain, but you will come out of it in sometime, don’t worry. This is why it is important for one to have a larger context to life. When you have a larger context, all these trivial things don’t really bother you. They are all like waves on the surface of the ocean, they rise and fall; like ripples in the lake, they rise when the wind blows, and when there is no wind, there are no ripples. 
So, have a bigger context. That is atma gyaan (knowledge of the self); nothing can shake me, I am much bigger than the emotions, I am much bigger than the world around me, people around me. Their praise and their blame doesn’t matter. I am much bigger than all this! 
This awareness uplifts us, then one does not drown in the ocean of emotions, and hurt.

There are four ways to look at hurt. 
1. Someone who has hurt you is pained. They have scars, they are unhappy and miserable. They can only share what they have. They are hurt and they are sharing the hurt with you. 
So with those people who are inflicting pain on you or hurting you, which you think they are doing purposefully, in fact it is because they do not have happiness inside them. They don’t have joy, they don’t have peace. They have pain and they are wounded so they are causing you hurt. 
So, for a wounded person what is required? Compassion. So you have to be compassionate on those who hurt you, because they are hurt and wounded themselves. This is number one.

2. Those who are causing hurt to you are ignorant. They don’t have a broad vision of life. They don’t know themselves and they don’t know what they are doing. They are ignorant and arrogant. You can only feel sorry for them and hope that someday they will become intelligent. They don’t know that their actions are hurting others, and you wish for them to be more sensitive.
3. It is just karma. You had to get this hurt and if not this person then someone else would have given it to you. We must have caused some hurt to someone in the past so nature is bringing it back to us now. When you know that it's just the karma being repaid, you feel very settled. Isn’t it?
4. It is being done to make you strong. Nature is bringing this to you so that you become strong; so that you discover the strength and power within you. 
Usually in the pandals (temporary shelters/structures made of fabric and bamboo poles). After putting a pole in its place they shake the pole to see whether it is strong enough or not. Hurt is just that, to see whether you are well established in yourself, whether you are in wisdom or not.
Every hurt is trying to shake you, to see whether you are strong or not. It tests your strength. It is to make you stronger. If you think a wise person or someone intelligent is hurting you, then you should be thankful because there is some purpose in that. They want you to be strong. 
If your mother is scolding you, she is not doing it with a bad intention. If your father is scolding you, you can’t say, ‘Oh my father hurt me! My mother hurt me!’ 
Your parents are not hurting you; they are coming from a space of care and concern for you. We must recognize that they are doing things out of their limited understanding and love for you.

There are two major things that you feel when you are hurt - lack of communication and lack of understanding. Another reason for hurt, if you want to count is being over sensitive to irrelevant or ephemeral things. Events are all ephemeral, they are all moving. Everything is changing. You don’t need to become over sensitive, ‘Oh he said this thing to me, she said this thing to me!’
In Kannada, there is a proverb that says, ‘God has not put a bone in the tongue; the tongue rolls, moves in all directions.’ Never mind what words come out of people’s mouths.
This is a big issue in the world today. The root cause of so many diseases and conflicts is that we don’t know what we should put in the mouth, and we don’t know what should come out of the mouth! 
People keep stuffing all sorts of things in their mouths. In this little hole, tons and tons of food goes in, and volumes and volumes of garbage come out; this is the misery of the world.

Again, a poet in Kannada said, ‘All the fun people have in the world, is only by words!’ 
Jokes and comedy happens because of words, all the conflicts and hatred is also through speech. It is speech that entertains, makes you laugh, and again, it is speech that creates divisions in the society, and hatred amongst people. 
All different types of wealth come to you by your speech. Speech is a real gem in the world. So all hurt is only speech. Some words come out and someone says, ‘Oh, I am hurt!’

Now, if someone is trying to physically hurt you, you just be careful, equip yourself. I am not saying if someone comes to hurt you, you fall at their feet. No, you be intelligent, and protect yourself; especially ladies and girls, they should not go alone here and there.
The problem is that the consumption of alcohol has gone up three times more, and proportionately violence has also increased in the world. Men are not bad, but what makes them bad is alcohol. Don’t think that India has all bad men, and so many bad things are happening to women; it is the influence of alcohol. 
The only bad act a person does is he gets drunk. When he is drunk, he is not himself, and women are not safe around drunken people. Women should take up this cause of shutting down all this alcohol business; instead women are joining hands and drinking with them! 
This big thing happened for women’s protection; hardly anyone spoke about prohibiting alcohol consumption or production. In states of India where alcohol prohibition has been introduced, crime rates have come down as compared to states where there is no prohibition.

Even all the god and goddesses have weapons to protect people. Sri Ram has a dhanush (bow and arrow), Sri Krishna has a sudarshan chakra (a weapon in the form of a disc). So, don’t be too naive and move around anywhere. Especially when there are elections and holidays around, alcohol consumption goes up, people drink more, you have to be watchful in those days.

Gurudev, I don’t get the things I want the most. Is my want an impediment?
Sri Sri: Have patience. Three things are needed to achieve what you want.
1.Real intention - There should be a real need to have whatever it is you want. Our wants keep changing, but if it is our need, we will get it. The want has to become our need.
2.Self effort - One has to put effort for whatever you want. You can’t simply sit, and keep wishing, ‘I want this, I want that!’ Have you put your effort? Has the want become your need? Have you worked towards it? Have you put your 100%? This is necessary.
3.Time or karma - If karma is there, the time is right, you will get it! Suppose, I wish to see the moon now, on a dark night. No matter what intention I put, how can I see the moon now? I have to wait for another 15 days to see the full moon. On the new moon day, if you are wishing for the full moon, then you have to wait. 
If you plant a pomegranate tree today and say, ‘No, I want the fruit now!’ Come on, you have to wait for another three years! The pomegranate tree will give you fruit only in two to three years. So, time or karma is a factor.

Why do we have to love a form to reach the formless? Hasn’t this whole idea distorted the truth and created more misconceptions rather than helping people find their path?
Sri Sri: Emotions can only flow towards the form. You cannot have emotions towards the formless. See, you can only communicate with me, you can’t communicate with the empty space next to me. If you say you are communicating with an empty space, then something is wrong. You can only see, touch, smell, taste, communicate and express your emotions to a form. The completion of any emotion leads you to a space that is totally formless, which is the source of all forms.
There are two beautiful words in Sanskrit, virupaksha and vishwaroopaVirupaksha means eyes without the form; many people use this word as a name. Virupa means no form, and aksha means eyes, it means eyes without the form. 
When you go a little deeper, then you see that the consciousness can see without the eyes, feel without the skin, taste without the tongue, and hear without the ears; this is Yoga Samadhi. Such things start happening in deepsamadhi, just like in dreams? You dream without any of the five senses; you smell, taste, you do everything, right? So virupaksha is the consciousness that has eyes but no form.

Vishwaroopa means it is in every form. The universe itself is the form of the Divine; the Divine is in the form of trees, mountains, rivers. The whole universe is nothing but the manifestation of God; body of God. God is not sitting somewhere in heaven, away from the creation, He is the creation. 
God and the creation are not different. It is just like how there is oil inside a sesame seed, similarly, in every atom of this creation, there is consciousness. It is like how the dance and the dancer cannot be separated. If you are watching a dance, it means you are watching the dancer. Can you watch a dance without the dancer? So this universe is the dance, and who is making it dance? The dancer!

What is the life in every tree, in every animal, in every human being? That is God! God is pancha bhootatmika, in the five elements. He is the Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether; He is the soul of the five elements. The Divine is present as five elements, and as consciousness. It is a wrong concept to say that God is sitting somewhere else in heaven.
Another very simple example, there is air everywhere. Even now, there is air. Without air you cannot exist. However, sometimes when you feel hot, you don’t feel the air; then when you sit near a fan that is blowing air, you can feel it. Other times, when you are feeling hot and humid, you are not feeling the air, but it is there. You can’t say that there is no air. Yet, when you sit near an air conditioner or a fan, you can feel it. That is what happens with meditation,samadhi, enlightenment.

Gurudev, I am confused as to what is it that I really want. I come to the Ashram to ask for material things that I desire, but I end up asking for bliss and take it home. Bliss is good, but does that mean I won’t get material things in life?
Sri Sri: Many times you say that you want something, and then you cut your own wants, by saying, ‘No, I don’t want it!’ Your own sankalpa (an earnest wish or firm resolve) gets cut by your own vikalpas (doubts). When you really want something to happen, it will definitely happen. When you ask for blessing, it happens.
In the Mahabharata war, Lord Krishna went three times to Duryodhana to tell him, ‘Don’t fight, let us not have this war. Come for peace negotiations. Let us sit, let us agree.’ 
Lord Krishna knew that the war was going to happen, and the Gita is going to come out of it, still he went three times to make peace. Why? Because you need to keep doing what should be done at one level.
Suppose, in the Mahabharata, Duryodhana had agreed to Lord Krishna to give five villages to the Pandavas and no war was to happen, just imagine such a situation. There would have been no Gita! Even the Mahabharata script would never have come!

When someone asks, ‘Why are you doing this when you know very well that this action is not going to bring results?’ The answer is, ‘There is a bigger purpose for every action, and it is not related to the fruit of the action. What do I get from this is not the question; did I act in the situation or not is the question.’
In the hospital, doctors put all their effort to cure a patient knowing very well many times that the patient will not survive. The moment the doctor knows that the patient will not survive, will they stop caring for him? No! As long as the heart is beating, the breath is moving, the doctor takes care of the patient, even though he knows there is no use in it. 
So there could a small example of the cosmic phenomenon, when things are supposed to happen the way it should happen, but we cannot say, ‘Let it happen; anyway everybody is born, everyone will die. Sick or healthy people will die anyway, so why should anybody take care of anyone? Let us keep quiet!’ This is not the right thing to do; we have to attend to it.

When the Tsunami occurred, Swami Sadyojatah and I went to Sri Lanka. Our Gulf centers had sent several shipments of clothes, and medicines, and our volunteers were also there. 
There was this one Sinhalese pilot, from the army who was helping us in the South Eastern region of Sri Lanka. He made a very sad confession to me. He said that he was asked to bomb a hospital and a school, on the Tamil side where 600 children were studying. He said, ‘My heart broke when I had to do this job, and I resigned from my job.’ 
Then, of course, he did the Sudarshan Kriya. After he resigned from his job, he dedicated his whole life to do seva (service), to make life better for children; he helped in orphanages. That one incident, where he had no option but to follow the orders of his superiors, changed his whole life. He is a Buddhist, and he knew violence is such a sin. It was so hard on him for so many years. 
When the Tsunami occurred, this man did so much seva with The Art of Living. It takes so long for someone to get out of such trauma, but with the help of knowledge, Ashtavakra Gita, Kriya and meditation, this man said, ‘For the first time I am able to smile; joy has returned in my life.’

This knowledge, this wisdom, is immensely valuable. It is immensely beautiful, and immensely powerful. It can take people out of such deep scars, guilt, hurt and misery; it can give a new light and uplift one’s spirit. It is so touching.
Earlier, the Ashtavakra Gita was not given to public. Even in India, we had only two to three sets of tapes in each center, and we used to conduct these courses only for people who were a little advanced. Then I decided that we cannot wait for people to get to that level. Whatever level they are in, wherever they are, even a few sentences can make a difference in people’s lives. It is after this that everyone was permitted to listen to The Ashtavakra Gita; we opened it up. 
Ashtavakra Gita is high knowledge, it is like learning higher mathematics. You cannot do it without basic knowledge of mathematics. This was the argument that ancient people had. Quantum Physics cannot be taught in Primary School. However, lifting one from doership and seeing facts as they are, is very valuable knowledge from the Ashtavakra Gita.

Dear Gurudev, whenever I want to do some important work, or study, my mood comes in my way. I’m completely dependent on my mood for most of my actions. How to get rid of moods?
Sri Sri: First, the realization itself makes it half done. Now you have realized it’s the mood which sways you, that means the intellect is waking up. It says, ‘Come on, I’m not going to be so moody.’ You take that determination.
There are many situations in life where you cannot act on your mood. For example, if you’re in a plane and suddenly you feel you don’t want to continue the journey, though your mood has changed halfway you cannot get out of the plane! You got to be there. It’s not a car that you’re driving where you can turn back. Even for the car you have to find the exit where you can turn back. You can’t turn anywhere. 
So, life teaches you hard lessons if you don’t respect wisdom. Know that life goes with commitment, not moods. Mood is very unstable, they come, they change. But commitment and wisdom always brings the best results.

Gurudev, is there something that God cannot do? What is it?
Sri Sri: He cannot be surprised! God cannot take revenge on you; it is impossible!

Gurudev, can you please explain ‘Yogah Karamsu Kaushalam’ (excellence in action)? How can I apply it to my life?
Sri Sri: This very question indicates that you want to be skillful; that is it, you are already skillful. If you are wanting to be skillful, you are already skillful; just move on. If you want to learn, you are already learning. When you go to vote, you have already voted, got it? So I want to learn, means it is already half done, learning has begun.