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January 22, 2010(Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)

Q: Guruji, the world knows you as a spiritual leader. Would you please share your experiences of your knowing that you are endowed with such spiritual power?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What do you want to know? I am like this from the beginning and I will continue to be like this in the future also. Usually, people come to the spiritual path when they get some disappointment. This is not the case always, but usually it is such. People take sanyas (renounce the world) when they have had failures in their love lives, or some problem or another. Nothing like that, at all for me. In fact, every child is born with spiritual knowledge but when you grow up, you start losing that. A yogi is becoming a child again, getting in touch with your pure essence.

Q: Guruji whenever I think of you I become very emotional, tears begin to roll down and my heart starts melting. What to do? Is it good or bad?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t tag your emotions as good or bad. When your heart opens up tears come, it’s natural. Let it be. It is said in scriptures that tears of love are so precious that even angels run to collect them. Even on heaven, there are no tears of love. The most wonderful thing on the planet, on earth is to have tears of love, tears of gratitude. That indicates that our life is glorious. That makes our life rich and fulfilled. Fulfillment in life is when you have tears of gratitude and that comes by luck. You can’t manufacture tears of gratitude; you can’t put glycerin and have tears of gratitude coming in. When you realize what all you have received in life, your heart opens up.

Q: Guruji, sometimes I feel connected to you and sometimes I don’t. I am confused if you are my master or someone else. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know on these matters I don’t give any clarifications. I create even more confusion for you to work on that confusion .You are given an exercise so that you do it. The teacher gives you the problem and he wants you to find a solution to the problem. In schools and colleges you are not given solutions and asked to find problems for that. A teacher’s job is to create confusion so that you can exercise your intellect, your mind, your intuition and your inner voice to see and come up with a solution.

Q: Dear Guruji, our brain is more than a computer. Scientists say that we use very little of our brain. Einstein is said to have used 32 percent of his brain. If we want to use 40 – 50 percent of our brain what efforts do we need to put? What will be its consequences if our brain becomes overactive?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That’s a problem. So we need to first learn how to calm our mind down. Only a calm mind can come up with collective thoughts. Disturbed and chaotic mind will give rise to chaotic thoughts only and chaotic thoughts are coming in abundance. How to streamline the thoughts is an art in itself, the art of silence. How can you do it? With meditation, the mind becomes calm and collective, thoughts become focused, meaningful, purposeful and focused.

Q: Does man need money or God?
My Answer Both.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Some think God is money. Many think money is God and very few know that God himself is money. God is love and when you have richness of love in you, you will see how abundance flows in life. There is a saying in sanskrit:‘Udyoginam purush sindh mupayi tilaxmi’God comes to you in the form of money – wealth is a consort of God. Consort of God, spirit of God comes to you as abundance when you put effort, to one who is working and not to one who is lazy. And one who has confidence and courage. So the one who has courage and confidence, and who puts in effort will get money. Don’t keep buying lottery tickets and sit at home. This is the biggest problem – you want money but you don’t want to do anything. So we have to put in effort. Money is just a means not an end in itself. You will need that but is it everything? No. You may have a lot of money but if you can’t eat, you can’t sleep well at night then that money is of no use. It loses it’s utility. So many people come here who have a lot of wealth and are depressed. They want to quit everything, their job, everything.


The World Health Organization (WHO) says that in the next 20 years, 40–45 percent of the population will be depressed. What’s the point in having so much money and prosperity in the world when so many people are getting depressed? That’s why you need to have balance in life, balance of material and spiritual life. Isn’t it? Often people think spirituality means do nothing and sit quietly.

My feeling is next generation will be of spiritual generation. After computer age we will have spiritual age. Spiritual people will be on great demand. Anything done for spirituality will be highly demanded. We can see some of pattern starting these days.

 No, it is not so. You should work. Even in the ashram there are 600 people who work -day and night. There is no Sunday and no Monday for them and they work round the clock. People come here all the time and they work. Kitchen people are working so hard. The kitchen never takes rest. You have any idea how much food they cook everyday when there is no big program? 600 – 700 Kg of rice is being cooked daily, 70 Kg of salt is put in, and 100 kg of vegetables are cut every day. So much of work they do. The housing department works tirelessly. And they are still smiling. And there are people who go and work in the fields. They are working in slums. There are teachers who are working worldwide. They work day and night. In Karnataka, itself, we have 78 slums and there are many different classes being run, educational classes, computer classes. Seva is a part of spirituality and definitely you can’t do charity with an empty bowl. You need money for service. But here nobody worries about money and charity happens, everything happens spontaneously. So these are some of the things we need to keep in our mind. You have money, you earn money, it’s good but you should keep aside some part for charity, whatever your capacity is 3 – 10%. Keep it aside.Along with it do your spiritual practices daily.

Once in a year, keep seven days completely for spirituality and then you don’t sit and calculate money. You come here and be 100 percent here, and take care of your health, do yoga, pranayama, meditation and learning. It is a very common experience when businessmen come here leaving their jobs for some time and do seva, meditation and the advance course, they start getting better contracts. Their wealth on the other side starts increasing. What they used to get putting in a lot of effort, starts to happen with very less effort. That is when sattva in you rises. Sattva is positive harmony within you and when that dwells up, your work outside also becomes smother and better.

Q: What is enlightenment? When is one said to be enlightened?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you say a word, you have already heard a definition for it. I would say enlightenment is a connection with the universal spirit, realizing that you are part of it, you are that. Living unconditional love without any effort, you don’t have to put any effort for that. Being like an open book, being natural and all these qualities are there in every individual. It only needs a little nurturing and then it starts blossoming. So when you walk, walk like you are enlightened, you are open, you are like a child, and you are free – emotionally, mentally and intellectually. Enjoy the freedom. When you don’t have any cravings and aversions of your own, then you can give yourself a certificate that you are enlightened. But you should be over all your cravings and aversions.Clear heart, clear mind and clarity in action are all part of enlightenment. If you look at a child of two-three years, or a baby of six months – there is unconditional love in his eyes. Every baby has all these qualities but minus wisdom. When you grow old keep all these qualities in you like innocence, and have the depth of wisdom along with it. That is what it is.

Q: What does a Guru want from a disciple and what does a disciple want from his Guru?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A Guru only wants the disciple to progress, to blossom, not to be unstable, just be happy, unselfish and serve people. And whatever a disciple wants from Guru, Guru keeps on bestowing that. Initially, a disciple asks for little things and then asks for great things. The Guru sometimes give him the little things he wants and sometimes doesn’t. (laughter)

Q: Guruji, Kabirdas has said Nindak neare rakiya angan kuti shava,bin pani sabun bina nirmal kare suhayHow to identify a good critique?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: How can a critique can be classified as good or bad? (laughter)Nindak neare rakiya angan kuti shava,bin pani sabun bina nirmal kare suhayThe great Indian saint Kabirdas has said that keep someone who criticizes you close by, that will keep your house, your mind clean – without soap and water. Like you need soap and water to keep your body clean, like that one who blames you, you should keep close by.

If everybody around keeps praising you, they may not keep all the facts in front of you. Someone who is criticizing you, will show you your pitfalls. Welcome criticism, anybody who criticizes you, welcome that. Don’t shy away from criticism. Isn’t it a part of DSN? (an Art of Living program) You all have done DSN? You should be able to give constructive criticism and also take criticism. That is the strength. And there is no good critique or bad critique.Keep them nearby means that don’t run away from critique, don’t stop talking to them. You stop talking with someone who criticizes you. Yesterday if somebody criticizes you; you talk to them normally today. Don’t shun them.

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You also should be strong and instead of running away from negative influence you must positively impact any negative environment
October 14, 2011(Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)

You know it is not important how high we sit, how low we sit, as long as we are so clear in our heart and in our mind. That is what is important. Usually when we have the conference of religious leaders, it’s a big headache who will sit high and whose seat should be how high. All these protocols, my God! Usually I tell them, if sitting high is the sign of enlightenment, crows sits on top of all the trees. Crows should be the highly enlightened persons. I’ve seen there have been big fights and arguments about seating arrangements. Even in the UN Conference of Inter-Religious Dialogue; where that bishop should sit, where this priest should sit, where that Imam should sit; my goodness! The world is fragmented with so many small minded, narrow ideologies, concepts and fights. We need to make a difference, don’t you think so? Bring a shift, be simple, natural and feel connected to everybody in the world, doesn’t matter what their religion is, what their culture is. Basically everyone is part of one large human family, one beautiful divine family.

Yesterday, I said about three types of knowledge. Three type of knowledge with the three levels. Today I want to tell you about three type of space. One is the external space, in which all the five elements, four elements are there. Then there is the second type of space that is inner space, where thoughts come and emotions come. That’s inner space. When you close your eyes what do you? That is inner space. And then there is the third space. That is the space of energy where there is no thought, no emotion but you just feel energy. In deep meditation you experience that, isn’t it? Or after kriya you experience that space, there are no thoughts, nothing but space. The three types of space exist. One is called the Bhut Akash the outer space, second is Chit Akash the space where thoughts and emotions all these come and third, Chid Akash space of consciousness. Consciousness itself is another space deep within us. Three type of spaces.

So we seldom understand; pay attention to these three different spaces. Whenever you are frustrated what do you say? ‘Give me some space.’ That is it, ‘I want my space. I want to be by myself.’ It’s very important. All inventions come from these three types of space. In the Chid Akash, in the consciousness it’s already there. All knowledge there comes to Chit Akash through thoughts and emotions. Songs come as emotions, science comes as thoughts and ideas and then they get manifest in the outer. Meditation is recognizing these three spaces. So that’s why sometimes you sit and watch the vast space, put your attention there so the mind also becomes blank. For how many of you it has happened? On a nice day cloudless sky, when there are no clouds at just bright stars are there. Just lie down and just keep gazing at the sky. When you gaze at the sky what happens? That space gets created inside too. A sort of emptiness and you get into a meditative state. So, all the thoughts, ideas, everything we do remains in this space. Maybe in the future sometime someone will come with the device to try to tap the Akashic record. You can find out what happened in 2010, 2011. What knowledge came, where and who was thinking what all that can be recorded sometime in the future because time has inscription of all ideas.

See, in a cell phone you send a message, how does it go and reach another cell phone? So far away and exactly the same words and the same font get printed there. From the time you press the button here to send, it reaching there, how did it travel? In the space! So the space in which all your telephonic conversations travel, all the messages travel was recognized some thousands of years ago.

So the nature of space is knowledge and sound. ‘Shabda gunaka mahakaasha’, a Sanskrit saying; nature of light is sight, sight is connected with light; sound is connected with space, taste is connected with water and touch is connected with air. You know when you have to feel the touch air has to be present. Inside water you do not feel the touch, have you noticed it? It’s different. Inside water you can’t feel it soft or hard, you can’t feel it. Rather whatever is the temperature of the water you can feel. Touch is related to the air element, and sound is related to space. So in the space everything is there. Like objects you’re thinking is there in the space. Sometimes you go to a place and you get thoughts and you wonder, ‘oh why did I get these types of thoughts’, do you see what I am saying?

There is a beautiful story. There was a small hill in a garden and it was situated in one of the very well known famous cities of those days. So it was a beautiful garden with fruit trees, lots of fruits and flowers. And there was a gardener in that garden and the gardener would go on top of that mound and he would invite everybody to come. From there he could see the people walking in the streets. This was in a town called Ujjain and he would invite everyone, ‘hey come, we have so many fruits, all of you come. Why don’t you enjoy the beautiful flowers and fruits? Please come and take. I just want to give them away, come.’ And the people would come and he got down that hill his mind would change and he would chase them away and say, ‘how dare you come to me, this is trespassing’, and he would chase them away. The people would get shocked and they would go and he goes back to the mound and again he begs, ‘oh please come, please come’, and he would apologize, whatever it is.

But again same story, he would chase them away after going down the hill. So people in the town who knew him they termed that he’s a crazy guy. He’s not sane because his behavior didn’t sound like he was sane. But then the wise people in those days what they use to do is whenever someone is insane or would do something wrong, they would get together and find out in what space is he in? So then one wise man said, dig the mound and let us see what is inside. So he got the order from the king to dig up that mound. So when they dug the mound they found a big throne, a golden throne that belonged to a king called Vikarm Aditya. This king was such a generous king. Even today the era in India is in his name Vikram Samvat. So it is the 2068th year now, about 50 years ahead of the Christian era. It is 50 years ahead of AD, means he was 50 years before Christ. So today in India it is not 2011, it is 2068 or something like that.

So this Vikram Aditya was such a pious, such a generous king of such good character that he was sitting in that throne for as long as 50 to 60 years. He ruled the country sitting on that throne and so the vibrations still existed. And so whenever the man went on top he became so generous. He got into the generous space. And when he came down he became nasty. So the space you are in matters.

You may have noticed in your own life, some places you get jittery and angry. How many have experienced this? What has happened? In that space there are people who have been angry or agitated. So you move into that space and it affects your whole behavior. And when you’re in good company what happens? You feel so much lighter, uplifted inside, totally at ease and at peace. Hasn’t this happened to you? How many feel this has happened, tell me? So the company matters, really matters. That doesn’t mean you should avoid people because they are not good company. You also should be strong and instead of running away from negative influence you must positively impact any negative environment. And sitting and doing your meditation hallow and empty, these long meditations will help you be very strong and stable in that space. So wherever you go you carry your space and you make an influence rather than you get affected. Not be a ping pong ball but be the bat so you can influence the space around you. (Clapping)

This you must strongly know so that you don’t run away from a situation unless or until it is so bad that it is swallowing you. Then you gently move away, don’t run away. Are you getting what I am saying?

So when children are playing the space is beautiful. When you are singing and everyone is singing the same tune, that space generated is harmonious and serene, especially the ancient songs, the old songs. The Sanskrit chants have an added influence because these have been in the Akashic record for the last 20,000 to 50,000 years. Maybe more, you don’t even know since when it was there. So those vibrations make it very benevolent and have a strong influence on the system.

I heard that Hasan and Ali had written that the first book of wisdom was written in India. I was invited to address a Shia conference. There they had put that Hasan Ali say, ‘the first word of wisdom was written in India’. Wisdom is same, whether it is India, North America, South America, Australia, or Germany it doesn’t matter. In all different languages, wisdom is the same, as long as it is there. You do yoga, whether in South America or Mongolia, if you do the same pranayama it’s going to impact you wherever you are. So this universal knowledge is not limited to a particular culture, religion or tradition. It is simply universal. Unfortunately people started forgetting that and they say, ‘this is not mine and this is no good. This against my religion and this is all just ignorance’. Anything that is Divine is always universal. Are you getting what I am saying? Yes! Culture is different, religion is different, ways of dressing is different, music is different, different places, but the space is the same. The inner space is the same. And it is amazing that this science was known thousands of years ago. Good, good, good!

So many of you have just come today and you must be just relaxing. How many of you feel that as soon as you entered the ashram already you feel lighter? A different experience, a different space; you could feel that right! It’s obvious; even in Bangalore ashram, because there is meditation happening there everyday people say, ‘I just come in and wow, I already feel lighter. My mind is clearer’. It’s interesting how the universe functions, very good!

(After a Native/First Nations dance/music) That’s so nice they have preserved their tradition, their culture. Very nice! You know that is what we need to encourage. Every part of the world has its specific flavors, specific cultures, and specific traditions. As a global family we must honor each one of them and encourage them. Even if one’s culture is lost, it is a loss for the whole world, isn’t it?

Some have just come today. They live in such harsh climates up in the north, very difficult place to stay and still they maintain everything of their tradition. It is so amazing if you see the tribal people in India, in Arunachal Pradesh, in Tibet, in New Zealand, there is such a striking similarity. So it seems around the world, once upon time there was a similar culture. It is really amazing. They honor all the four directions, honor Mother Nature. It’s very important to honor Mother Nature. In the native culture they’re so close to nature, there is certain innocence in them, but unfortunately this community is facing such hardship. There is so much suicide happening, alcohol is so prevalent. So our teachers are doing a lot of work to get them out of alcoholism and bring more hope and life into that community, it’s very nice.

Q: Jai Gurudev, please talk about mental and physical addictions to something. Say tobacco, alcohol or marijuana. How to break free even if it feels like past the point of no return?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya. It has helped millions of people.


Q: Dear Guruji, you have said that the present moment is outside time and space and has great depth. I think you’ve said the past, present, and future are all in that depth. Since there are different dimensions perhaps other realities, can the present moment be entered like an access point to different dimensions of existence since they all exist here?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Absolutely, everything exists in the present moment. What exists is only the present moment, yes.

Q: Dear Guruji, I know this sounds a little funny, but I’m having some difficulty relaxing. You’ve mentioned this word a lot in meditation. Can you please expand on it a little? I’m having trouble relaxing.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are having difficulty in relaxing? Then tense more and more and more. How long can you be tense? Some point you have to give up. That’s relaxation. So if you have difficulty in relaxing take a deep breath and don’t breathe out, hold on! You will know when to let go. And when you let go and breathe out, relaxation happens.

Q: Dear Guruji, I have a big problem. I’m not able to handle the hatred that I have for one person in my life. I have to be in touch with this person all my life because she’s currently related to me. Every thought of her moves me away from my centeredness. How can I tackle this hatred?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a challenge you need to work on, this itself is your sadhana. Just see that person as a rag doll. A battery operated doll. And how does a battery operated doll function? It has a definite program and so that’s how it functions. Why do you want them to change? In fact she can increase your ability to tolerate, your ability to accommodate you know, which is amazing. You should know that they are in bringing more skills into your own life. Yes!

Q: Dear Guruji, are there many levels of truth that unfold on enlightenment. Do people get enlightened at different degrees, or is it just like in a flash; the one and only truth is revealed?Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both are possible. Some people suddenly get a flash, some people gradually they move into a space where they are happy all the time, nothing shakes them, nothing disturbs them. That type of thing spontaneously comes.



Q: Yesterday you shared the insight about how intuitive awareness comes from letting go of the mind and the intellect. Is this something that just happens or can we do something to allow it to happen faster?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What you’re doing here is exactly what you should be doing. Taking some time off and doing some deeper meditations and sitting in satsang. This is all good enough.

Q: My desire is to drop my work and to devote the rest of my life to bringing you comfort and furthering your purpose in the world. Is this possible? If so when?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What’s that? Yes, yes, you can do a lot of things. If you have no other responsibility you can take bigger responsibilities. More work on a bigger cause. You can do that.

Q: Dear Guruji, how can one be both attached and detached in a relationship. When I say detached I mean not too entangled but still caring. Please talk more on this as a lot of our course participants are going through serious relationship problems for various reasons. Thank you. Jai Gurudev.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know what? Now you be detached to this question. Let’s have one or two bhajans singing and see how you can be detached for a little while from the answer to this question. Got it? We’ll sing couple of songs then we will talk more.

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