Archive for the ‘Relationship’ Category

What is relationship ?

Jiddu Krishnamurti on Relationship

Question: You have often talked of relationship. What does it mean to you?

Jiddu Krishnamurti – First of all, there is no such thing as being isolated. To be is to be related and without relationship there is no existence. What do we mean by relationship? It is an interconnected challenge and response between two people, between you and me, the challenge which you throw out and which I accept or to which I respond; also the challenge I throw out to you. The relationship of two people creates society; society is not independent of you and me; the mass is not by itself a separate entity but you and I in our relationship to each other create the mass, the group, the society.

Relationship is the awareness of interconnection between two people. What is that relationship generally based on? Is it not based on so-called interdependence, mutual assistance? At least, we say it is mutual help, mutual aid and so on, but actually, apart from words, apart from the emotional screen which we throw up against each other, what is it based upon? On mutual gratification, is it not? If I do not please you, you get rid of me; if I please you, you accept me either as your wife or as your neighbour or as your friend. That is the fact.

What is it that you call the family? Obviously it is a relationship of intimacy, of communion. In your family, in your relationship with your wife, with your husband, is there communion? Surely that is what we mean by relationship, do we not? Relationship means communion without fear, freedom to understand each other, to communicate directly. Obviously relationship means that – to be in communion with another. Are you? Are you in communion with your wife? Perhaps you are physically but that is not relationship.

You and your wife live on opposite sides of a wall of isolation, do you not? You have your own pursuits, your ambitions, and she has hers. You live behind the wall and occasionally look over the top – and that you call relationship. That is a fact, is it not? You may enlarge it, soften it, introduce a new set of words to describe it. but that is the fact – that you and another live in isolation, and that life in isolation you call relationship.

If there is real relationship between two people, which means there is communion between them, then the implications are enormous. Then there is no isolation; there is love and not responsibility or duty. It is the people who are isolated behind their walls who talk about duty and responsibility. A man who loves does not talk about responsibility – he loves. Therefore he shares with another his joy, his sorrow, his money. Are your families such? Is there direct communion with your wife, with your children? Obviously not.

Therefore the family is merely an excuse to continue your name or tradition, to give you what you want, sexually or psychologically, so the family becomes a means of self-perpetuation, of carrying on your name. That is one kind of immortality, one kind of permanency. The family is also used as a means of gratification. I exploit others ruthlessly in the business world, in the political or social world outside, and at home I try to be kind and generous. How absurd! Or the world is too much for me, I want peace and I go home. I suffer in the world and I go home and try to find comfort. So I use relationship as a means of gratification, which means I do not want to be disturbed by my relationship.

Thus relationship is sought where there is mutual satisfaction, gratification; when you do not find that satisfaction you change relationship; either you divorce or you remain together but seek gratification elsewhere or else you move from one relationship to another till you find what you seek – which is satisfaction, gratification, and a sense of self-protection and comfort. After all, that is our relationship in the world, and it is thus in fact.

Relationship is sought where there can be security, where you as an individual can live in a state of security, in a state of gratification, in a state of ignorance – all of which always creates conflict, does it not? If you do not satisfy me and I am seeking satisfaction, naturally there must be conflict, because we are both seeking security in each other; when that security becomes uncertain you become jealous, you become violent, you become possessive and so on. So relationship invariably results in possession in condemnation, in self-assertive demands for security, for comfort and for gratification, and in that there is naturally no love.

We talk about love, we talk about responsibility, duty, but there is really no love; relationship is based on gratification, the effect of which we see in the present civilization. The way we treat our wives, children, neighbours, friends is an indication that in our relationship there is really no love at all. It is merely a mutual search for gratification. As this is so, what then is the purpose of relationship? What is its ultimate significance? If you observe yourself in relationship with others, do you not find that relationship is a process of self-revelation? Does not my contact with you reveal my own state of being if I am aware, if I am alert enough to be conscious of my own reaction in relationship?

Relationship is really a process of self-revelation, which is a process of self-knowledge; in that revelation there are many unpleasant things, disquieting, uncomfortable thoughts, activities. Since I do not like what I discover, I run away from a relationship which is not pleasant to a relationship which is pleasant. Therefore, relationship has very little significance when we are merely seeking mutual gratification but becomes extraordinarily significant when it is a means of self-revelation and self-knowledge.

After all, there is no relationship in love, is there? It is only when you love something and expect a return of your love that there is a relationship. When you love, that is when you give yourself over to something entirely, wholly, then there is no relationship.

If you do love, if there is such a love, then it is a marvellous thing. In such love there is no friction, there is not the one and the other, there is complete unity. It is a state of integration, a complete being. There are such moments, such rare, happy, joyous moments, when there is complete love, complete communion. What generally happens is that love is not what is important but the other, the object of love becomes important; the one to whom love is given becomes important and not love itself.

Then the object of love, for various reasons, either biological, verbal or because of a desire for gratification, for comfort and so on, becomes important and love recedes. Then possession, jealousy and demands create conflict and love recedes further and further; the further it recedes, the more the problem of relationship loses its significance, its worth and its meaning.

Therefore, love is one of the most difficult things to comprehend. It cannot come through an intellectual urgency, it cannot be manufactured by various methods and means and disciplines. It is a state of being when the activities of the self have ceased; but they will not cease if you merely suppress them, shun them or discipline them. You must understand the activities of the self in all the different layers of consciousness. We have moments when we do love, when there is no thought, no motive, but those moments are very rare. Because they are rare we cling to them in memory and thus create a barrier between living reality and the action of our daily existence.

In order to understand relationship it is important to understand first of all what is, what is actually taking place in our lives, in all the different subtle forms; and also what relationship actually means. Relationship is self-revelation. it is because we do not want to be revealed to ourselves that we hide in comfort, and then relationship loses its extraordinary depth, significance and beauty. There can be true relationship only when there is love but love is not the search for gratification. Love exists only when there is self-forgetfulness, when there is complete communion, not between one or two, but communion with the highest; and that can only take place when the self is forgotten.

Source : from Jiddu Krishnamurti book “The First and Last Freedom”


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Jiddu Krishnamurti on Purpose of Living

Question: We live but we do not know why. To so many of us, life seems to have no meaning. Can you tell us the meaning and purpose of our living?

Jiddu Krishnamurti: Now why do you ask this question? Why are you asking me to tell you the meaning of life, the purpose of life? What do we mean by life? Does life have a meaning, a purpose? Is not living in itself its own purpose, its own meaning? Why do we want more? Because we are so dissatisfied with our life, our life is so empty, so tawdry, so monotonous, doing the same thing over and over again, we want something more, something beyond that which we are doing.

Since our everyday life is so empty, so dull, so meaningless, so boring, so intolerably stupid, we say life must have a fuller meaning and that is why you ask this question. Surely a man who is living richly, a man who sees things as they are and is content with what he has, is not confused; he is clear, therefore he does not ask what is the purpose of life. For him the very living is the beginning and the end. Our difficulty is that, since our life is empty, we want to find a purpose to life and strive for it.

Such a purpose of life can only be mere intellection, without any reality; when the purpose of life is pursued by a stupid, dull mind, by an empty heart, that purpose will also be empty. Therefore our purpose is how to make our life rich, not with money and all the rest of it but inwardly rich – which is not something cryptic.

When you say that the purpose of life is to be happy, the purpose of life is to find God, surely that desire to find God is an escape from life and your God is merely a thing that is known. You can only make your way towards an object which you know; if you build a staircase to the thing that you call God, surely that is not God. Reality can be understood only in living, not in escape.

When you seek a purpose of life, you are really escaping and not understanding what life is. Life is relationship, life is action in relationship; when I do not understand relationship, or when relationship is confused, then I seek a fuller meaning. Why are our lives so empty? Why are we so lonely, frustrated? Because we have never looked into ourselves and understood ourselves. We never admit to ourselves that this life is all we know and that it should therefore be understood fully and completely.

We prefer to run away from ourselves and that is why we seek the purpose of life away from relationship
. If we begin to understand action, which is our relationship with people, with property, with beliefs and ideas, then we will find that relationship itself brings its own reward. You do not have to seek. It is like seeking love. Can you find love by seeking it? Love cannot be cultivated. You will find love only in relationship, not outside relationship, and it is because we have no love that we want a purpose of life. When there is love, which is its own eternity, then there is no search for God, because love is God.

It is because our minds are full of technicalities and superstitious mutterings that our lives are so empty and that is why we seek a purpose beyond ourselves. To find life’s purpose we must go through the door of ourselves; consciously or unconsciously we avoid facing things as they are in themselves and so we want God to open for us a door which is beyond. This question about the purpose of life is put only by those who do not love. Love can be found only in action, which is relationship.

Source: from book “The First and Last Freedom” by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Related Article:
Jiddu Krishnamurti on purpose of Existence

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Never be faithful to your wife ?

Question – Osho, I know for sure that my wife is utterly faithful to me, but still doubt goes on lingering somewhere inside me. What should I do to get rid of the doubt?

Osho – Avinash,IN THE first place, why should you ask that she should be faithful to you? It is from there that doubt arises. The very desire that your wife should be faithful TO YOU is the beginning of doubt. Why? Who are you that she should be faithful to you? She should be faithful to herself, you should be faithful to yourself.

That’s what love is. If you love the woman, you would like her to be faithful to herself, because you would like her to be authentic. You would like her to be an individual in her own right. Why should you demand that she should be faithful to you? Who are you? – just a stranger.

YOU need not be faithful to her, you have to be faithful to yourself. This is my basic approach; it has to be understood well. Down the ages it has been said: be faithful to your husband, be faithful to your wife, be faithful to this and that. Nobody has told you: be faithful just to yourself.

And that’s exactly what my message is: be faithful to yourself. Then doubt disappears. Doubt is not good, but doubt is a by-product of a desire, a wrong desire – that she should be faithful to you. And how can you except anybody to be faithful to you? In that very expectation, you are asking something so unnatural that doubt will arise.

Who knows? – she may come across a beautiful man, far more beautiful than you are. And you know there are men who are far more beautiful. Fear, doubt, are bound to be there. Who knows? she may be getting fed-up with you!

In fact there is every possibility that you yourself are fed-up with yourself. You know how ugly you are, how ugly your habits are; she must have come to know by now. In the beginning things are different. When you meet a woman on the beach, just for a few hours things are different.

The full moon creates great illusions, and the ocean, and the vibrant air, and the silence, and the night, and the unknown territory… the woman. She is unknown to you, you are unknown to her; both would like to explore each other’s geographies. You are tremendously interested, she is, but once you have travelled the geography so many times, the same contours….

You know you are fed-up with your wife, so deep down the doubt arises that she may be fed-up with you. Don’t ask for faithfulness, ask for freedom. Give freedom so that you can have freedom. And if out of freedom you go on loving each other, it is beautiful. Out of freedom everything has beauty.

But out of a certain duty, if she even remains faithful to you, it has no value. When she comes across a beautiful man on the road and a longing arises in her heart to know this man, to be with this man, but she knows this is not right – she represses it. She has already gone away, she is no more with you. You may be holding her hand in your hand, but she is no more with you.

Her whole being has gone in that moment. She may not ever do anything, but in her fantasy, in her imagination… You cannot control her fantasy, you cannot control her imagination. In her dreams she may be making love to other people. And who makes love to one’s own husband in a dream? Have you ever heard of such a foolish woman or a foolish man? Have you ever made love to your own wife? – one always makes love to other people’s wives in dreams.

In dreams you are free and private. The magistrate is not there, the policeman is not there, the wife is not there, nobody is there. You are again free. So just on the surface you can fulfill formalities. The doubt is arising because you have a wrong expectation in the first place. I cannot help you to drop the doubt unless you drop the desire that your wife should be faithful to you.

Drop the desire that your wife should be faithful to you. Drop that, and then if you can create the doubt, it will be a miracle. Then how can doubt arise? We never go to the very root of problems, we only go on changing the symptoms. My help is available to you only to go to the deep root of the problem, to the very foundation of it. Change it there!

And you say, ”I KNOW FOR SURE THAT MY WIFE IS UTTERLY FAITHFUL TO ME.” How can you be so sure? You are just trying to convince yourself by using these words, that ”I am sure” – just using great words to hide something! You are not sure. See the cunningness of the mind. You are not sure, hence you are using the word ’sure’: ”I KNOW FOR SURE THAT MY WIFE IS UTTERLY FAITHFUL TO ME.”

Just faithfulness won’t do? Utterly faithful? Is there some doubt? Why UTTERLY faithful? A circle is simply a circle. You cannot say that this is a complete circle, UTTERLY circular. If it is a circle it is a circle! You cannot call it a perfect circle, because if it is not perfect it is not a circle, it must be something else. Watch, meditate on these words.

”BUT STILL,” you say, ”I DOUBT. SOMEWHERE DOUBT GOES ON LINGERING.” You doubt your wife? Are you certain about your faithfulness towards her? Maybe that’s why the doubt arises. You may be fooling around, if not actually, then in imagination. And then naturally the inference is there that your wife may be fooling around, if not actually, at least in imagination. And the male ego is such that it cannot allow even the wife to fool around in imagination.

The story is told of Mulla Nasruddin, who got married and spent a pleasant honeymoon with his bride. But one day he came to the office with a rather glum expression on his face. When his fellow clerks asked him what was bothering him he said, ”Gee, I pulled a terrible boner this morning. Getting out of bed I, like an absent-minded jackass, laid down a ten rupee note on the table.”

The other man consoled him. His wife wouldn’t think anything of it, they assured him.

”That isn’t what bothers me.” he answered. ”She gave me three rupees change!”

It may be your own mind. When a beautiful woman passes by, does something happen to you or not? Only in two cases will nothing happen: either you are dead or enlightened – which mean the same! Otherwise something is bound to happen. And then the suspicion: the same must be happening to your woman too, because she is as unenlightened as you are and as alive as you are. Maybe the doubt is there because you are not loving her as much as she would like you to love her.

And it happens to couples – how can you go on having the same peak of love that was there in the beginning, the honeymoon peak? One has to come down. Sooner or later one has to come down from the hills to the ordinary, mundane life.

Sooner or later one has to forget ali poetry, fantasy, romance. And then a fear arises: maybe I am not taking as much care as I should? Maybe this will become an opportunity for her to move with somebody else? Look into yourself….

A husband comes home and finds his wife in bed with a man. He is furious and wants to leave at once. The wife pleads, ”Give me a moment to explain. This man came to my door an hour ago and asked for something to eat. I gave him a sandwich.

I noticed that his shoes were worn out, so I looked in your closet and found a pair that you haven’t had on your feet for five years, and I gave him the shoes to put on. Then I saw that his jacket was very tom, so I went back to your closet and found a jacket that you haven’t worn for eight years. When he took his old jacket off to put yours on, I saw that his shirt was falling to pieces, so I opened your bureau drawer and gave him a shirt that you haven’t worn for the past twelve years.

Then as this man was going out of the door he turned to me and asked, ”Is there anything else around here that your husband doesn’t use?”

Avinash, it is not a question of your wife, it is a question of your own mind. Just look deep down… have you been with her? For how long have you not been with her? – I don’t mean physically, I mean spiritually. For how long have you not seen her face? – just remember; for how long have you not looked into her eyes? Figure it out, and you will be surprised that for years you have taken her for granted, and that may be the cause of your doubt.

Remember, problems are always part of your mind. Go deep into them. In the first place, don’t ask that she should be faithful to you; that is violent. Nobody has the right to ask anybody to be faithful towards him. Help her to be faithful towards herself.

And secondly, look inside your own being. Are you still in love with her? If you are, then the doubt is not possible. The doubt simply reflects that your love has disappeared. Life has become a drag; you have started taking her for granted.

Love is no more there. Now it is only a hangover, hence the doubt. Bring the love back, bring the poetry back, bring the romance back. And those who are intelligent, they can bring it back every day. Every morning they can look at the wife, at the husband, with fresh eyes.

Go on dying to the past experiences, so that you can remain available to the present, fresh, young, utterly intelligent, and then life has a totally different flavor. Then these stupid things don’t arise in the mind at all.

Source: from Osho Book “The Guest”

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How to keep excited in relationship?

[A sannyasin, returning to the West, says that the joy and fun has gone out of his relationship with his girlfriend, though the love is still there.]

Osho – There is some misunderstanding in your mind. The joy is not gone, joy has never been there – it was something else. It is excitement that has gone but you were thinking that excitement was joy. Joy will come now; when the excitement subsides only their does joy come. Joy is a very silent phenomenon. It is not excitement at all, it is not feverish at all.

It is tranquil, calm and cool. But in the West that misunderstanding has become very prevalent. People think that excitement is joy It is a kind of intoxication one feels occupied, tremendously occupied. In that occupation one forgets one’s worries, problems, anxieties. So it is like alcohol: you forget your problems, you forget yourself; at least for the moment you are far, far away from yourself. That is the meaning of excitement: you are no more inside; you are outside yourself, you have escaped from yourself.

But because of this being outside yourself, sooner or later you become tired. You miss the nourishment that comes from your innermost core when you are close to it. So no excitement can be permanent; it can only be a moment’s phenomenon, a momentary thing. All honeymoons end, they have to end, otherwise you will be killed. If you remain excited you will go berserk. It has to subside, you have to be nourished there again.

It is just as one cannot remain awake for many nights. For one night, two nights, three nights, it is okay, but if you remain awake for too many nights you will start feeling tired, utterly tired, exhausted. And you will start feeling dull and dead too; you will need rest. After each excitement there is a need for rest. In rest you recapitulate, you recover; then you can move into excitement again.

But excitement is not joy, it is just an escape from misery. Try to understand it very clearly: excitement is just an escape from misery. It gives only a pseudo experience of joy. Because you are no more miserable you think you are joyous – not to be miserable is equivalent to being joyous. Joy is a positive phenomenon. Not to be miserable is just a forgetfulness. The misery is waiting back home for you: whenever you come back it will be there.

When excitement disappears, one starts thinking ’Now what is the point of this love?’ In the West love dies with excitement, and that is a calamity. In fact love had never been born. It was just love of excitement, it was not real love. It was just an effort to move away from oneself It was a search for sensation. You rightly use the word ’fun’; it was fun but it was not intimacy. When excitement disappears and you just start feeling loving, love can grow; now the feverish days are over. This is the true beginning.

To me, the true love begins when the honeymoon is over. But by that time the western mind thinks that all is over, finished: ’Search for another woman, search for another man. Now what is the point in continuing? – there is no more fun!’

If you go on loving now, love will take on a depth, it will become intimacy. A great grace will arise in it. It will have a subtlety now, it will not be superficial. It will not be fun, it will be meditation, it will be prayer. It will help you to know yourself. The other will become a mirror, and through her you will be able to know yourself. Now is the time, the right time for love to grow because all the energy that was being channelled into excitement will not be wasted: it will be poured into the very roots of love and the tree will be able to have great foliage.

If you can go on growing in this intimacy, which is no more excitement, then joy will arise: first excitement, then love, then joy. Joy is the ultimate product, the fulfilment. Excitement is just a beginning, a triggering; it is not the end. And those who finish at excitement will never know what love is, will never know the mystery of love, will never come to know the joy of love. They will know sensations, excitement, passionate fever, but they will never know the grace that is love. They will never know how beautiful it is to be with a person with no excitement but with silence, with no words, with no effort to do anything.

Just being together, sharing one space, one being, sharing each other, not thinking of what to do, what to say, where to go, how to enjoy; all those things are gone. The storm is over and there is silence. And it is not that you will not make love but it will not be a making really; it will be love happening. It will happen out of grace, out of silence, out of rhythm; it will arise from your depths, it will not be bodily really.

There is a sex which is spiritual, which has nothing to do with the body. Although the body partakes in it, participates in it, it is not the source of it. Then sex takes on the colour of Tantra, only then.

So my suggestion is: watch yourself. Now that you are coming closer to the temple don’t escape. Go into it. Forget excitement, it is just childish. And something beautiful is ahead. If you can wait for it, if you have patience and can trust in it, it will come. And to know love is to know God….

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Q: Guruji, I think life is miserable. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You think life is miserable because you are hanging onto desires of the past, impossibles of the past, you are not accepting the present, you are not moving ahead or you are hoping for something too much. Correct? Be practical. Life is a mixture of problems and pleasure. What does your mind do? It messes up the problems and blows it out of proportion and makes oneself miserable. So who isresponsible for your misery? Yourself. So when is the program? When is the program not to be miserable? 

(Laughter) Now, right now have you gotten over your misery right now? (A dim ‘yes’ from the audience) The ‘Yes!’ should be louder (A strong ‘Yes’ this time). That is it.You know, if the room is dark for 20 years, it doesn’t take another 20 years to bring light in. it just needs one connection, one switch on and the whole darkness goes away. Your life may have been miserable in the past, but wake up and see, so what? Problems come and go in everybody’s life. Look at your past, problems came and they have all vanished. Right? We forcefully make the problem stay, just wake up and see, where is the problem? The problem is not there. You can have some physical problem in the body sometimes, some pain here and there but is there anyone who has never suffered physical illness?Everybody has some physical problem at some point in their lives and when you violate laws of nature, pain comes, suffering comes. Pain is inevitable, suffering isoptional.

Q: Guruji, is there any past birth and rebirth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This question is futile now. You know why? Because it is proven by the scientist community, it is beyond doubt now. Parapsychological department in psychological clinics have done experiments and past life regression is used as a therapy in most of the clinics and many people have gotten well. You can also do an eternity process hereand ask the teacher to take you deep in it. Have your experience, it’s not a big thing.It is beyond question now, it is a fact.

Q: How to overcome fear, anxiety and insecurity?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Fear, anxiety and insecurity are same shades of the same color. One is slightly brown, another is dark and the third one is the darkest brown. Grey is a better color, light, medium and dark gray. Meditation, pranayama and the faith that you are not alone, faith in the Divine will definitely help. Divine faith is very abstract, at least faith in the Guru, teacher is there, Master is there, faith in yourself, faith in the universal spirit, faith in the goodness of people around. There are good people in the world. When you thinkeverybody is wrong, everybody is bad then insecurity dawns. Suppose this is not your experience and you have found wrong people, who had deceived you all the time then at least look for good, enlightened people. Ok, now if you understand all this intellectual stuff and still anxiety comes, then what to do? Sudarshan Kriya,pranayama and meditation.

After the Tsunami (in South-east Asia, 2004), so many people could not sleep, they couldn’t even see the ocean. A lady witnessed her three to four children being washed away, she had a child in her arms and she couldn’t do anything for she had to look for her own self. Such incidents happened in front of so many people. So many families, somebody’s children, somebody’s wife, somebody’s parents were flooded away. All people were saying, ‘Take us anywhere but not the ocean’. And all those were fishermen. What would a fisherman do on mid land? After the earthquake, people couldn’t get into their homes. For days, people slept outside their houses on roads till our workers, our volunteers went there and taught them Pranayama, bhastrika and meditation, and then they went to their homes. That is where trauma relief, meditation, pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya helps tremendously. We have hundreds and thousands of such experiences and you should go through their experiences. In a matter of two days fishermen said, ‘Give us boats and we want to go out into the ocean’. They had come out of fear, anxiety.

This hashappened with thousands of people.I am telling you we have such beautiful knowledge, practices that can take us out of misery, worries, anxiety, conflicts and suicidal tendencies. Just in the recent past, 20 students in Bombay alone committed suicide. In Bombay, Maharashtra, suicidal tendency among youngsters is so high that we have announced that anybody having the slightest tendency to commit suicide, call us at the Art of Living helpline. Our volunteers and teachers are working 24×7 to help them out.

The YES!+ program (Youth empowerment seminar) has helped 1000s of youth to come out of suicidal tendencies. All this happens because we don’t see life from a bigger, broader perspective; A girl got 92 percent and committed suicide for she could not get admission in the college of her choice. Because you don’t give them spiritual education, a bigger vision and ask them to only perform and perform that the pressure of performing better, pressure of marks becomes bigger than life itself. Don’t pressurize children too much, we have to give them a broader vision. Never mind you lose one year. Life is more precious than your profession, your success, your so-called success, your finance, and your prestige in society. Finance is for life and not life for finance. These all are only periphery, accessories for life and not the core of life, existence. This vision has to be brought to children.

Wake up and see everybody is caught up in their own things. Whether your financial status goes up or down, whether your relation is going good or bad, who cares insociety? I tell you, nobody cares. Don’t worry about what others may think, what will my status in society be? If you are doing well they are jealous of you, if you are not doing well they don’t even count you. In either case, you don’t have to worry about others’ opinion about you, to show yourself up. And these inter cast marriages; parents are worried what others will think of their children. Who has got time to think to whom your son or daughter got married to?Whether it is in outcast or same, let it be, let it be outcast, you be more free, happy. (laughter and applause) These are silly, insignificant things that people have put in their minds and worry. Wake up and see, there is so much love in life, there is so much wisdom in life.

Q: Do impressions in the mind have a role to play in the next birth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, your impressions in the mind are responsible for your next birth. Your strongest impression is the factor.

Q: Yesterday, you said there is no significant purpose for the universe but it is also said that every individual is born for some purpose. Isn’t it contradictory?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Truth is contradictory. Every little thing has a purpose, at the same time, it has no purpose because this whole thing is a game. If you consider the world as a game, then there is no purpose. A game has no purpose, it is an expression of joy. Dance doesn’t have a goal because dance in itself is an expression of happiness.What is the purpose of you laughing? Does laughter have any purpose? You are happy, so you laugh. You don’t have to wait for a joke to laugh. You know, children don’tunderstand jokes but they laugh, babies do laugh. If you think jokes are the only reason for one to laugh then babies would never laugh till they understand your jokes. You have an illusion that you have to listen to a joke to laugh. Laughter has nopurpose because it is an expression of being, an expression of joy.

Love has no purpose because it is your very nature. The sun has no purpose to send its rays. If you ask me, why does sun shine, what does it achieve? I’ll say, ‘Oh my God, you are such a businessman, you need a purpose for everything!’ The sun shines because it is its nature. It can’t but shine. So, in this context, I said, ‘Whenever you think, ‘what is the purpose?’ you are caught up in the cause and effect phenomenon. 

No doubt, the cause and effect phenomenon is there, it is a law of nature but truth is beyond the cause and effect phenomenon. Divinity is much bigger, more vaster, Divinity is beyond that. It is much bigger and vaster, so in this sense I said, there is no purpose.Sun shines because it is its nature, wind blows because it is its nature. What is the purpose of the tsunami? Was it just to kill people? If it’s purpose was to kill people only then it must have hit only those areas in which people lived. But it hit those areas also where there were no people. Nature is beyond cause and effect or conclusion, theory, understanding or misunderstanding. It is the existence which is total, beyond purpose. So you can say, virtually there is no purpose. If at all you have to pin down to a purpose then the purpose of nature is to take you to the Source, is to remind you of the Source, connect you to your Source.

Q: How can the Self be love, joy and peace? Aren’t they all different?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Can there be joy without peace? (No, said the audience). If you want to make a distinction, then peace is very mild and always connected to disturbances, love is more to the heart and could be hate or love. Then joy, you find small or big joy. But they are all your nature. Like you can see, you can hear, you can smell, you can taste, but it is all you. There is something deep inside you which unifies all. All emotions are part of you. Their functions and expressions are different but all are in you. All arise in your mind. In this sense, they all are one, in another sense they are all different.

When you smile you are different, when you sleep you are different, when you eat you are different but all are you. In this sense, they all are one. When someone dies, people stand up and say, ‘Let’s have a moment of peace’. Certainly that is not a joyous occasion and nobody will say, ‘Let’s have a moment of joy,somebody has died’. In some joyful celebration, like marriage, people don’t say,‘Let’s have a moment of peace’, that will always be called a moment of joy. My dear, all are part of you, all arise in you and in that sense all are one, all are linked.

Q: What is thought, Why it comes and from where it comes?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Is this a thought? It came in you? Why did it come? Now find out. As soon as you realize this, the question is, itself, a thought and it has come in you, you have answers for the first two questions. And why does it come? Because of a lack of any other questions.Now I want you find its source. When you start finding source of thought, you have started on a journey for which you are here. Our journey is to find the source, from where this thought has arisen. I want all of you to be scientists. Scientist goes on experimenting, asking questions. It’s a very goodopportunity to find out where it comes from? What is its origin? Since it comes in you, you find its answer. If it doesn’t come in you and somebody else, then I’llanswer.

Q: There is so much conflict and violence in world in the name of religion. Is there a need of religion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Communists opposed religion for 50 years. They didn’t get success. Communist people think religious people, especially in Russia and China are very authoritarian, they don’t give freedom. So they want to be done with religion but did they not unleash much more violence? In Stalin, Lenin and Mao Zedong, millions were massacred in the name of communism. Religion ruled with fear, fear of you being sent to hell. Religious leaders were authoritarian, trying to get hold of society by creating guilt and fear in people. Communist also did the same thing but not with guilt but with fear. They remove only guilt but they couldn’t remove fear, instead they instill more fear and violence in society. I don’t think communism did any better. It didn’t make people rich. After 50 years, people have come back. A big church in Moscow was demolished and a swimming pool was made instead of it. Today that swimming pool is demolished and a church is made again. I think it is humanism which is most important. If humanism is there in religion, it does good. And when humanism disappears from religion, it becomes like a mafia. In the same way, communism also ignored humanism. So when humanism went away, violence and fear dominated even in communism. These Maoists party! Did it do any good in the country, in all 213 districts? Itdidn’t make anybody rich. So you can’t be done away with religion.
We need to have inter-religious communication, inter-religion faith. Every child should know a little bit about other religions also. Yes, we don’t need religions if all become spiritual. If we can transform this world into a higher plane of religion, which is spirituality then it will really be an intelligent thing to do. But just opposing religion ascommunists do, can’t serve any purpose. It is like throwing the baby with the bath water. Because religion has some moral values, some human values, it gives somestrength and solace, and if you also take solace without replacing it with spirituality then you are doing injustice in the society.

Q: Why are love marriages and arranged marriages increasingly leading to divorces?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, divorce is happening day by day while family values are eroding, the generation gap is widening and interdependence is being forgotten.Husband and wife forget that they are interdependent. They need each other and both look for independence. I haven’t done any research on this why this is happening. (laughter) but if some of you do that research and publish a paper it will be good. Atleast people will be aware of these pitfalls. Whether it is a love marriage or arranged marriage, marriage is always a chance, if it clicks it is a chance. Sometimes it may appear to have clicked for a short period of time but in the long run, it becomes a question mark. And vice versa also. Sometimes in the beginning it may appear to be completely incompatible but as time goes itbecomes very compatible. It is like a chameleon – changing colors all the time. If someone can see this, they have a hope. And if it appears to be not so, then move on without guilt because there is no point in suffering life long. If you have given 100 percent then you better move on your path and let the other move on his/her pathrather making the whole live of both, miserable. But the question is whether you have given your 100 percent, have you made all the effort to make it work? That is important.

Q: What is the importance of horoscope matching when it comes to marriage?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Astrology is a science but all astrologers are not scientists. (laughter) First of all, you don’t know whether the time of your birth and all other factors are right or not. Sometimes, we don’t keep records and there are variousfactors. There is probability in all those factors. So, if you find someone who is good, the astrologer says, ‘Good, it does have a value but it is always with a pinch of salt.’It is said that there was a great astrologer of this country and he made all thehoroscopes of his daughter. But his daughter’s marriage didn’t work. It was quoted as a probability factor.In all scientific experiments, there is always a probability factor – may be, may not be.So we must take it with that probability and not as definite.

Q: What is the difference between God (Parmatma) and Devta?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Parmatma is the sun, devta is its ray. Without the sun, there is no ray and without the ray, there is no sun. A ray has all seven colors, these all different devtas. God is the combination of all the seven colors. God is certainly not made of one color. When all colors combine, white is obtained and that is Parmatma. You can understand this like different organs – eyes, ears, nose, all combine to form you. Your eyes are different from ears, your nose is different from tongue but all is part of you. The totality of the whole creation, with all the energies is given a name and it is called Parmatma, Parampita (supreme father). In ancient terminology, God is called Parmatma, Parampita.
Why only Parampit , He is also Parammata (Supreme mother).Why should God be called father only? God is also the mother. God is father, mother and God is also the Self. All Gods, goddesses are like rays of the sun, one sunlight and all the rays together is God but these are all different aspects of God. All are different aspects of the one Divine like in one human being, one cell somewhere becomes the eyes, somewhere the ears, somewhere the nose, and all this has happened from one fertilized cell, embryo. So, God is the sum total of all Divine elements and in the Vedic times, ancient rishis identified all these elements and called then devtas. They designated 33 types of Divine energy and called them devta and they tell how these are connected with the cosmos, like the eyes are connected with the sun. They established connection between the micro cosmos and macro cosmos. …It is very amazing analysis, amazing science of unity of the universe. It is not too many Gods, it is aspects of God. Though you are one, you have different functions. When you sleep you are different, when you smile you are different, when you eat, you are different. Crore means category, 33 crores means 33 categories of devas. Crore is also a number, 10 million but here it is not referred to as a number. 33 crore means 330 million and so people started taking that way.

Q: What is difference between prayer and meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Prayer is asking, meditation is listening. In prayer, you ask, ‘Give me this, give me that’, giving instructions, demanding. In meditation, you say, ‘I am here to listen, what is it that you want to tell? Tell me, whenever you are free, I am here. Culmination of prayer is meditation. Prayer goes to the peak and that is meditation.

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January 25, 2010(Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)

Q: I feel so good and full here but at times when I see rich and famous people, I feel I am nothing, I feel lack. Please help.

Basically my feeling is different. Famous and rich people has lost a lot. Becoming famous requires a lot of energy. A loss of life. Money on the cost of life. what a business. basically it is your ego that is feeling jealous. that’s why you have such kind of feeling.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, if you want to become one of those stars then go for it, it’s not so difficult. Whether you are a hero, heroine, you will find once you are in the field which you are finding very great – it is just ok. If your calling is very strong then go for it, it is not difficult.

You know, our body is constantly emitting energy, vibrations. You are emitting energy all the time. And when you know your vibrations is what makes things happen in the world, you will know that you are in control. So when you are thinking that things are going to be negative then that is what seed you are putting in the universe, and that is going to happen. So with your positive thinking, positive ideas, positive sankalpa… It is said, that let positive vibrations come out of you.

Negative thoughts arise in you, yet you tell, everything is positive. And how does that happen? Not by just thinking, but by relaxing. Cutting a thought with another thought is only superficial but cutting a thought by silence, by letting go, bydevotion, by faith, by surrendering to God, it is deeper.

Maharishi Patanjali says that poise of mind happens when you offer all that you can’t handle yourself to God, to the universal spirit.

The universal spirit is all around you, all the time. It doesn’t have a form, a name but it is around you all the time and you surrender your desires to that universal spirit. Be sure and know that your problem is going to be solved. That is siddhi,perfection. You notice in your own life, be centered, relax and let go and you will see things are happening effortlessly, it has to happen that way and if you don’t find that way, then there is some screw in the mind that is loose, that needs to be fixed. People ask for blessings and I give blessings in abundance, blank cheques of blessings but you should know how to fill it, encash it and the way to encash it is, ‘it is going to be done’, ‘my needs will be taken care of’, ‘best will be done’ without a question. Sometimes we don’t know what we desire, or we desire for something that we don’t deserve, or we desire for something much less than what we deserve. Ask and it will be given. When we deserve for more and desire for less, ask skillfully. So what is the way? Ask skillfully, and how: ‘I want this or anything better than this’.

And have that positive frame of mind because it’s all neurons. One of the scientists says that our brain has different types of neurons, and there are certain neurons which create barriers. When a person in front of you touches someone else, the brain says, ‘You are being touched’ but there are certain neurons in hand which sends a signal to the brain that says, ‘it is not you being touched’. If your hand is given anesthesia and then if someone touches someone else, you will also feel the touch. And he (the scientist) says, we all are nothing but neurons, we all are connected,everybody is connected. The subtler we go we find there are only vibrations, and there are no neutrons, protons, electrons but all that exists is – vibrations. And then he says numbers are very important.

In Rudrapooja we say ‘ekachame, trisraschame…’,yesterday only we understood why do we say that. We chant odd numbers first and then even numbers in the Rudrapooja. He said if numbers won’t be there, the whole universe will collapse. Everything exists on numbers, on figures and if one number goes missing, the whole universe will collapse. It’s like on a cell phone you want to make a call and if you dial one wrong digit the call never goes to the right person. One can’t argue saying, ‘If one digit is wrongly dialed, how come I can’t make a call?’ And if everything is right, then life gets connected, so numbers are so important. And it is all just vibration.

One of the greatest physicist who was in the team of creating first nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki says. ‘I studied matter for 35 years to find out it doesn’t exist. What exists is just vibration’. Everyone of us is emitting andabsorbing vibrations. And chanting, singing creates such a positive vibrations, you become a source of energy.

What is the difference between a bulb which is lit and a bulb which is not? One is emitting energy and in the other, no energy movement is there. And all singing,chanting and meditating is like lighting the bulb. Have you noticed the difference between those who are doing all this with faith and someone who has never done this? It reflects on their face. If you haven’t started noticing you better start noticing! (laughter)

What happens when you are worrying all the time? Suddenly you find the brain, the upper part has become like a stone, the heart has become like a stone. Similarly what happens when you hear a negative comment about yourself from somebody, the whole body has become heavy. You can’t avoid people saying negative things about you. How many have this question? And how many have this experience? When someone says something negative about you or when a close friend of you is feeling very low, suddenly you also start feeling the same, your whole energy gets down. That is why satsang is that important, this knowledge is that important.

 When you focus on someone who is depressed, you also feel the same and when you participate in a satsang your whole focus is shifted to knowledge. That’s why the Guru is important because when you think of Guru, when you shift your focus to the Guru in a few moments, your energy gets restored, you get back to your normal self. How many of you have experienced this? 

There is an old proverb ‘Guru bina gati nahin’ means there is no progress without the Guru because there are so many people around you and you are being tossed and turned by everybody’s moods, emotions and blames, and you are stuck, you can’t notice that. But when a Guru is there nothing of this will matter to you and even if it does it is only for few minutes or hours and then you are able to push through it, move through it. Like you have a rain coat and if it is raining you can always protect yourself from rain. In this context ancient people in India, Korea, Japan even in China had said that spiritual teacher, master or a person who is on the path is so important, so that you don’t have to keep feeling this negative vibrations, heaviness for daystogether.

Secondly, if you find nobody is available, no commune is available then what you do? Chant, do pranayama, nature walk, Vedanta or this science that everything is just vibrations.

Numbers are very important, so we chant ‘Om NamahShivaya’ 108 times, in Islam also they put a number 786, right? In Rudra Abhishek we chant an odd and even sequence of numbers. That changes the vibrations. Even pundits don’t have answers of chanting numbers in Rudra Abhisheka. We have to listen to the scientists to understand. They say this whole space is curved. Space is also like water, like you put a ball in water it curls. Water is a medium, like that space is also a medium and this was also said thousands of years ago in Vedas and that is why, it is the fifth element. Space is where vibration travels, it is a medium like water, air, fire and earth. And the same thing, scientists are saying today. It is amazing to see how people 10,000 years ago knew that space has a curvature, it is a medium and there are not one but 10 dimensions, which is the spirit. These facts open your mind to a higher reality.

Q: How can dispassion be practiced with close relations like family? Won’t that make me indifferent?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know when you broaden your vision, dispassion is there, it comes naturally. It is not something that you force yourself to practice and say, ‘I am going to be dispassionate’. The mind says, ‘You want to do this’ and you say, ‘No, I need to be dispassionate’. It is not an intellectual exercise but a phenomenon. Dispassion happens when knowledge expands, awareness expands and when you are more alert. The state that comes in you is dispassion.
Q: What is the meaning of surrender? Does that mean not to do anything, let things happen and nature will take care of you?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No no. You do your 100 percent and when you can’t do any more instead of saying, ‘I give up’ in frustration, you say, ‘I give up’ with a smile and that is surrender. When you say it with anger it is frustration and when you say it with a smile; that is surrender.

Q: Guruji, it takes effort to start sun salutation but then I start finding intoxication in it. Will you please describe the phenomenon behind?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you should do sun salutation. A little effort is needed for a beginner and a little effort is essential to begin with. What is happening with effort? The ‘rajogun’ or the restlessness in body is getting channelized. Thetendencies to act get fulfilled and then what you are left with is simple harmony and that is sattva. So rajogun (restlessness) gets exhausted by your exercise and sattva brings you into meditation. So it’s good to put some effort in the beginning and in the end you let go and relax, there lies the reality.

Q: What karma should I do that I don’t have to take birth again?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why not take birth again? We don’t want to take birth again because we find this birth miserable but when there is joy in this birth, you are doing satsang daily, then why not take birth again? When you are in joy, doing satsang and serving people around then you will say I should have hundred more births like this. When you are so tired of this birth, when hopes and desires have tired you, whendesires have burnt you then only you say, ‘I don’t want to take birth again’. Whatever desires you have, fulfill those and those which are not to be fulfilled, drop those and be happy.

Q: What is the difference between a dream and an aim?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you talk about an aim you think it is practical, but when you say I have a dream, you think it may be or may not be practical. When you say, ‘I have a dream’ there is a little doubt about it but you feel stronger about having an aim.

Q: Guruji, does healing work?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: From your side, definitely. If it heals from your side other’s will get healed.

Q: Guruji, you are so beautiful, so serene that I can’t move my eyes from you? Who are you?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First ask yourself, ‘who am I?’ and when you get this answer you will also know who I am.

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‘I am independent means I am inner dependent’
January 26, 2010(Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)

Q: Guruji, during the course I feel very good but once I go out, I feel misery again. What to do to get rid of that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Imbibe this knowledge. Independence means depending on the inside. Your independence is only when you are dependent on the inside. You are miserable when you want things from others for your comfort. How much can you take? And even if you take everything, it is of what use? This is what I think. I am independent means I am inner dependent. So I want nothing from anybody. Just this aphorism, reminder of this, time and again, will take your mind, which is sticking to the outside, come to its center. You will feel the relief. Misery simply means you are stuck to the outside. Joy means you are in your element which is inside. If you depend on others for your comfort, you lose your joy. First, have this faith that nature will provide whatever I need or I deserve, it will never happen that nature doesn’t provide you with what you need. Secondly, I want nothing from anybody. And third whatever I have, be it be intelligence, great voice, qualifications, skill is only for others and not for me and I serve others as much as I can. Finish! Where is the misery then?

Q: Guruji, you love each one of us so much. I feel my love for you is much less as compared to your love for me. How can I increase my love for you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No way, you can’t increase your love. It is already there. You simply have to relax and realize it is there. Never question or doubt your love. You think, ‘Oh, others are having tears in their eyes and I am not having any’. Never mind, never look from at things that angle. Every child from the mother’s womb is complete. It is not that the first child is more complete than second and third is further less. Every mother knows that every child is full, complete.

 Same way your love is total, complete, at its height. Never doubt that and never compare it with others.If you feel your expression of love is less, it is because of your selfishness. All that you can do is be generous, be less selfish and you can’t do it overnight. Day by day, slowly be more generous, be more centered, and be more dispassionate. Then the love which is inside you, will start expressing itself.Even in the expression of love it should not be too much or too less. It should be the middle path. The problem in the world is that in the West, they express love too much. Husband and wife keeps on saying ‘honey’ and then they become diabetic (laughter), can’t touch honey any more. (laughter) It is just the opposite in the East, they never express love at all. Both ways are extreme. There should be a middle path. It’s like you want a seed to sprout, it neither sprouts when buried deep down in the soil nor when it is put on the top. It needs a little bit of soil and put in it and that’s it. Take the best of the orient and the best of the occidental. That is the middle path.
Q: What is surrender? Does that mean doing nothing and letting nature do whatever it wants to?
My feeling is yes. Let them happens what ever happens. But this does not mean one has to lazy. Basically it gives a lot of patience of working.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This word ‘surrender’ has been used, misused and confused so many times. I think we should use some other word. (laughter) Just relax, be in your element, feel the connection, have a sense of belongingness. In fact, the connection is already there, you simply have to feel it. This is a better word. What is it that you have that you can surrender? Worries, anxiety, tension, and depression! And those, too, you don’t know how to surrender.I want to be done away with this word ‘surrender’. I want none of you to use this word hereafter. It’s like a straw out of which juice has already been taken out, like sugarcane straw that you keep chewing and nothing comes out of it. Some better word is to be used now. Let go, relax, feel the connection and that’s it.

Q: How to be one pointed on the path? There are so many distractions pulling us back.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: With wisdom, you come back. This very question tells you that that you are coming back, in fact, you have already come back, you are not distracted. Through wisdom or misery, you are brought back to the center. When you go off center, you are beaten, you start crying and then come back to your center. The wise come back to the center through wisdom. The not-so-wise face problems here and there and then come back to the center. This is the law of nature. This is how things are.

Q: In my country, most people are of the opinion that you can’t raise a child without a non – vegetarian diet, as the body will lack amino acids and the brain won’t function properly. What should I do?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ample research has been done to contradict this theory. Look into that. There are millions of people who are vegetarian in the West and they are very brilliant. In fact, all the genius people in the West, including Einstein were vegetarian. Many of the top scientists have been vegetarian. This theory that the brain doesn’t work needs to be questioned.

Q: While Ayurveda is considered to be an indigenous system of medicine then why did English (allopathic) medicine have permission by a government to take over Ayurvedic medicines? Also English (allopathic) medicine claims to have a faster recovery rate?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, statistics show contrary to this. Even in modern medicine, the probability factor of medicine not affecting is very high. Research says that the placebo effect with modern medicines is nearly 40 percent. 40 percent of the effect from medicines being administered can be brought about using a placebo. Modern medicines are being discovered every day and those which were used 10 – 12 years ago are being discarded. The problem is that these pharmaceutical companies have a lot of western interest. It is the economy which is ruling modern medicine rather than their effectiveness. I feel we should have a combined, holistic approach. Ayurveda has some very good qualities, allopathic medicines also have some very good aspects and also homeopathic. Holistic medicine is the best. It is wrong to completely discard modern medicine and it is equally wrong to discard natural cures, ayurveda. In case of emergency, allopathic does well and ayurveda has a unique way of attending to the root cause of disease. Not only symptoms but also healing without side effects. Today, much research has been done on this and many have experienced this. For instance: The probability of remission of piles by allopathic treatment is very high but in the case of Ayurveda it is less than one percent. These are the things one should adopt about Ayurveda. Ayurveda is, anyways, adopting modern methods of investigation. So, the best is to adopt the holistic approach. Our aim is not to benefit pharmaceutical companies but people.

Q: What is the spiritual path? How does one know if one is on the spiritual path?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Anything done to uplift your spirit, to make you walk towards the truth, that brings up human values within, that connects you to the innermost and outermost is spiritual. Meditation, pranayama, yoga, service, singing, chanting, creating happiness around you are all part of spirituality.If you create misery, then that is not spirituality. If you can create joy, it is spiritual. But not momentary joy. Such joy, in the long term, creates misery that is not spiritual. Alcohol, drugs can create momentary joy but they are not at all spiritual. That is the spirit.

Q: Krishna is ‘bhavana bhahit’. What does that mean?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have used some phrase, you tell its meaning.God is hungry for feelings. He doesn’t need your sweets or flowers. So if you sit with feelings, that is enough. See Krishna everywhere. Lord Krishna says in the Gita, “Wherever you see in any form, I am there. I am knowledge in a knowledgeable person, wherever there is knowledge I am there, I am strength in the strong, beauty in the beautiful, all is me”. Read the Gita deeply and best is to meditate. Be a yogi, yogi is the best.

Q: Why do some people not smile at others but are happy with themselves only? What is good? To maintain happiness with oneself or to be happy with people around also?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (Jokingly) Ok, somebody didn’t smile at you and was smiling at himself being adjacent to you, is that your problem! (laughter) The world is like that, some people don’t smile at you, you don’t smile at someone. Leave others. Are you smiling? We maintain our smile that is good enough.

Everybody has one’s own set of problems and if that much compassion has arisen in you then you go and ask, ‘What is your problem? Why are you not smiling? Do you need any help?’ But then see whom are you asking (laughter) and in case you are slapped by someone, then give them your second cheek too. (Huge laughter) If that compassion is there, then ask everyone, ‘Why are you not smiling?’

Once in Switzerland, we were waiting for some conveyance and we saw that nobody on the road was smiling. I thought, everything is here and still people are not smiling. I had so many flowers with me and so I asked the devotees who were accompanying me to give flowers to those who were not smiling on the road and ask them to smile. That was such a fantastic program. After that we raised a wave called ‘Spread your smile’ in Netherland, France, Germany, Switzerland where people give flowers and said, ‘ Please smile and make others smile by passing on this flower’. Some people were shocked initially that nobody till that day bothered about their smile and suddenly somebody coming and asking them to smile.

But if you are in India, take care before giving flower to anybody. (laughter) Be a little cautious before giving a flower here in India. In India, if a girl smiles at a boy it is taken in a different sense. It is not normal, and a boy giving a flower to a girl is not taken as a very nice gesture. (Huge laughter) But in Europe, it is not considered bad. (Somebody from audience asked, ‘Let’s start this in New York also’.) Yes, we are doing there also, something called ‘A Rose of friendship, Pass it on’.

Q: Guruji, I am from Kerela. I want to ask – what does it mean to do puja (worship)?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a saying that talks about puja. Yen ten prakaren,Yatra kutrapi dehina,Santosham janaye pragyaTadaye vishva lochanCreate patience in people. When you bring a wave of happiness, wherever you go, that is puja. Whatever way when you create happiness and patience, that is puja, truly worshiping God. How beautiful it is!

Q: Guruji there are mental hospitals for mentally challenged people, what is the place for people who are in love with the Divine?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: For them, this whole world is their own. Such madness is welcomed everywhere. Everybody will invite them; everybody will welcome them and would love to talk to them. Because they know, we spread such fragrance.

Q: I feel lustful at times. What to do and how to get rid of that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When there is no joy in life then lust increases in you because then you get joy in that only. But when you find joy in life otherwise also, then the frequency of such desires starts reducing. When you start finding joy in sadhna (spiritual practices), joy in service, joy in satsang, joy in devotion, joy in surrender – that is the only way to come out of lust. No other way exists. When all are done together slowly, you come out of lust. Otherwise, you will have to wait for age. May be then you will be out of it. You won’t be capable physically to do it but you get rid of it from the mind or not, that is not sure.No guarantee is there. Usually very old people see all obscene stuff and try to get satisfaction from it.

Q: South Indians are deep into rituals. Are rituals very important to reach the spiritual path or the ultimate goal?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Man can’t be without ritual. Let’s be clear about it. Today is the Republic Day of India. What happens today in New Delhi and the capitals of other states is a ritual. There is a particular way you walk, a particular way you hoist flag, a particular way you behave. It is a national ritual. Even in communist Russia in Kremlin, three guards shot three gunshots in the sky everyday and perform a ritual.This is a ritual. Human beings can’t be without rituals. If your ritual is meaningful and environment friendly, then all the more better. A wise ritual is offering flowers, lighting a candle, creating love, planting a tree, distributing sweets, these are rituals with more meaning. And not killing an animal, that is not at all a good ritual. We don’t have any right to transgress other life. Violence or anything that pollutes environment can’t be a ritual. It is not a kind gesture to nature. If caring for the planet is considered a ritual or worship, that is the best ritual.In ancient Vedic times this is what they designed or considered. In one other school of thought around the world, going to temples and give bali (animal sacrifice) is a ritual. I won’t approve of those inhuman rituals. Ritual should be something that uplifts your spirit, that which elevates your spirit.In ancient times they call ritual puja. Puja – pu means out of fullness and ja means born out of it. So when you do something with full of gratitude, it is ritual. Even that has been distorted today.Human beings can’t be done away with rituals altogether. You can’t say, ‘I don’t want ritual at all’. Have you noticed in homes where no ritual is performed, the energy is low? For there is no celebration, no vibrancy. Performing some sort of ritual, some sort of chanting or reading in home creates positive ions in the atmosphere and also has a good impact on children. That’s why I would say don’t be stuck too much with ritual but also don’t drop rituals altogether. Adopt a middle path. Like on Christmas you light a candle, you put up a Christmas tree.On Diwali you light lamps, decorate homes, exchange sweets, burn a couple of incense sticks. Also on Eid you clean homes, perform prayers, there is function. Whenever there is little bit of ritual, it creates a good atmosphere especially for children and develops a healthy, social, religious and spiritual kind of mind. Don’t you think so?

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