Archive for the ‘sri sri ravishankar’ Category

world will be the same

October 23, 2011(Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)

Q: Guruji, I love you. What happened or what will happen in Europe after the big celebration in Berlin in July?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: People became more aware of Art of Living, isn’t it? We got a very good coverage in the press. More people are doing the course and a change in the subtle has happened. There is more positivity is what I feel.

Q: Dear Guruji, I love you and I feel so much of love only thinking of your presence. And I feel complete and I don’t feel the need to come and talk to you. But my stupid and poor mind wants your attention when you are around and then gets trapped in stupid things, please guide.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Never mind! And yes come and talk to me. I know many questions are anyway stupid but never mind, just come and talk to me anything. See when our connection is much deeper, then just a little bit of talking doesn’t hurt at all. I don’t base my judgment on what you say, what you talk, not at all. You know in all these 56 years I have never said any bad thing about anybody, never once; have I? Anybody who knows me will know, no never do that. It is not that I did a great thing, it is in my nature, I can’t. If at all I something negativity about somebody to somebody, if I feel they are getting entangled or it is not going to be good for them, then I say, ‘you know, he is not so focused’, that’s all I would say. ‘And this person is not suitable and he is not doing well and he is telling too many lies’, if he is telling lies only, otherwise I won’t say that. But I have not done any special thing to have this; this is just there from the beginning, nature. What I am saying is you don’t judge yourself too much, just be natural. If you just feel like saying hello or hi, just come and talk. And you if feel it is not needed then no need, okay. And don’t just keep these things, ‘oh, Guruji looked at that person and patted him on his back, he hugged that person, but he didn’t look at me’, these are all immaterial. Whether I look at you and say hi or no, we are all connected from a very deep level. How many of you feel that way? See, so many!

Q: Can you help me find the balance?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are balanced, take it from now, I am telling you are balanced and move with that. If you think you don’t have the balance, then you struggle more, got it? Look back and see how much you have grown, there is so much balance that has come in your life, yes. Very good! Okay now, people the way they are we simply need to accept them. Some are incorrigible, some people you cannot correct them. Some come and some go and I give them a long rope; I give them enough chances to reform. If they don’t then it is their problem and why should we get upset over it; are you getting what I am saying? Yes, and so from your side feel that inner freedom but don’t shut your door to anybody, keep interactions, what do you say?!

Q: Yesterday you said whatever you do or don’t do the . So actually I was wondering by doing what we are doing here how are we making it a better world if the world will be the same all the time.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, this is the balance. When you get too concerned, ‘oh I have to improve the world; that is not ok, this is not ok, that is not ok’, and then what is happening? Your mind gets too much caught up in that and you are losing your energy, your strength, your balance, everything. Then you are not going to make the world a better place. At that time you should remember, okay I will make seven million people good in the world now, but then what? After a hundred years there will be a different seven million people. You can’t correct them, you won’t be here. So when you are getting tired then you should know, well the Divine is taking care; I am not going to impact a change. Then you are able to be calm and strong. So there are two attitudes, one is pravritti action, when you find this is not ok, this is not ok and that is not okay and then you act. 

And then nivritti action when you say everything is okay, everything takes its time, everything has its one role. Then it is Nivritti, then you retire and when you retire, when you get into your being you get energy. Then you are able to meditate, you are able to tap into your source by doing nothing. So the act of doing nothing is as important as the act of doing something out there. So these two attitudes you need to balance, everything okay and nothing is okay. Is it clear?! When you are in this world you have to do something, and you are given a job to improve this world that you have to do. But don’t think you are the person who is going to bring the perfection and keep it forever, that is what I am saying. You cannot keep the perfection. 
You cannot keep this hall clear forever, but you have a duty to clean this now, correct! So similarly we need to improve our world, definitely. It is our sacred job, but at the same time, suppose you are not there, somebody else will improve it. So don’t feel the burden on your head, ‘oh I have to improve it’, but at the same time be responsible, ‘yes I need to improve it’. Do you get the balance? Is it clear now? You are assigned a job to improve this world, definitely. At the same time, whoever has assigned they know if you cannot do it, they will assign somebody else. That supreme power will know. See, suppose you are a head of a team, you give the job to somebody and that somebody does half job and then they are so tired that they become sick, and then what do you do? You say, ‘no, you go rest I will send someone else to do the job’.
 But as long as they did the job they had been very committed to it. In the same way you have been assigned a job, you have to do it. At the same time don’t feel that mental pressure because the boss is taking care of it, yes! As long as you know there is a boss and you are connected with the boss you feel you can tell that I can do this much and I cannot do this much. Not like the modern day bosses who don’t care for people working under them. What I am saying is the Divinity, the nature itself is your boss, the Divine is the boss and that knows, okay you can do this much, then do this much, otherwise rest. There is compassion, think of a compassionate boss who says, ‘okay if it is difficult, never mind, don’t worry’, okay. Good!

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January 16, 2010(Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)

Q: Guruji, the way I feel so connected to you, do you feel the same?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: More than that. You know, connection means that there is a difference. I don’t feel connected for I don’t feel the difference. I feel you are a part of me.

Q: If truth is contradictory, how to find the truth?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Truth is something you can’t avoid nor confront. There is no effort. Truth simply comes out. If you tell a lie, you have to manufacture. To tell a lie, a lot of effort is required. You’re feeling cold, you’re feeling hot, that is how you feel. No effort is needed.

Q: Even after surrendering problems, I worry about them. What to do?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is to say, ‘I gave it away’ and even after giving you say, ‘I have it with me’. If even after giving it away again and again, it comes back to you like a ball you again and again keep giving it away. Don’t give up until you have totally given up!

Q: What are the characteristics of an ideal devotee?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (After a little pause) You are One. You don’t doubt that. And whatever additional quality you want to have, you can always develop.
• Someone who has a calm and serene mind,
• Wants to live in knowledge, has some knowledge and a desire for knowledge,
• No grudges, no hatred towards anyone,
• Has compassion.

Q: What do you expect from us?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A lot. You live in knowledge, you keep smiling, you keep serving, you keep connected. I don’t expect – I know you will do it. Only I am impatient. I want you to do it quickly.

Q: Guruji, telling the truth causes problems outside and telling lie creates problems inside (us)? What to do?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Solve the problem. Problems are to be seen as challenges. Someone who is brave like challenges and you are brave, I tell you.

Q: Guruji, when we say Jai Gurudev to someone, are we referring to the Guru in the person in front or we are remembering the Guru in ourselves?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I leave it up to you, whatever you want. It has so many meanings – Hello, How are you, Good bye, Welcome, Thank you…So many words come in that Jai Gurudev. You want to say, ‘Oh my God’ you say Jai Gurudev, you want to say, ‘Oh I give up’ you say Jai Gurudev. It’s just become a habit. I don’t insist at all. You say whatever you want to say.

Q: Do I exist beyond body and soul? And if I do then in what form?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nothing exists beyond the soul. Beyond the body? Yes. When you realize, you see you are not your body and you will realize that yourself.

Q: Guruji, there are moments when I am enthusiastic, when I am very confident but there are two problems: 1. I forget things. 2. I fear of what happens if this state continues. This is predominantly from my wife’s side. What to do?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I remember in one course a gentleman with his wife participated. At each knowledge point, the husband would say, ‘Look, I have been also saying the same thing.’ Like I said, ‘Forgive and forget’ and she would say, ‘I told you the same thing, now Guruji is also saying same.’ (Laughter) Itold him, these points are for you to apply and not to just pass on. Charity begins at home, Love begins at home. Start from where you are.

Q: I get physically attracted to many people. What to do? Is it ok to be physically attracted?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you see your mind, so many thoughts come. You can’t act on all the thoughts. If you try to act on all the thoughts, you end up in a mental hospital. Whether thoughts of attraction or repulsion come, you do not get attracted but you also feel repulsion for many people. For example, the mind says to strangle somebody, you have to act out of wisdom. You have to see what is right and what is wrong. You have to see what is evolutionary and what is not. You have to see what is giving you happiness in the long term and what is giving misery. You have to see what is permanent and what is temporary. That is discrimination, Viveka, is so important. Otherwise, it will be just senseless, thoughtless action leaving you in misery.

Q: We give so many botherations to you? To whom do you give all these botherations?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That you don’t worry. I have a processing unit where all garbage gets processed to manure.

Reader: I am laughing a good joke.

Q: If atma (spirit) is neither created nor destroyed then from where do these new souls come? How is the population of the world increasing?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My dear, so many animals are also getting extinct. Very few sparrows are left, many crocodiles are missing. Like this, many other species are missing. Just imagine. I think you will get the rest of your answer.

Q: Guruji, I do all practices when I am in problem but otherwise I stay away from path. What should I do?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This you figure out. When misery comes, everyone thinks of God. But to one who thinks of God even when happy, why will misery touch him? There is an old proverb which says this Sukh mein simran sabh karein, dukh mein kare na koi,Sukh mein simran jo kare to dukh kahe ko hoyeThis applies to us also. When you are doing pranayama, Sudarshan kriya, when you are happy, then that happiness will continue.Today, there was an article in the paper which says that the only way to cure depression is by meditation. Anti-depression medicines will make the depression come back. There is a rebounding of depression with anti-depression medicines but with meditation there is no rebounding. Today millions of people are suffering from depression and they don’t know something like this exists. They don’t know there is a way which can make them free from depression. When you go back tell everyone about meditation. It takes one out of depression, suicidal tendencies. Look at Rashid (pointing to a youth who has come from Kashmir), he is smiling after 12 years and is now doing wonderful service also.

Q: When I come here I find so much peace and harmony. How can I take this same peace and harmony back to Kashmir also?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You also come up with ideas, I will also think. More youth like you should come from Kashmir, experience this and go back and serve. We will start the Art of Living in Kashmir and make it big. If you all resolve, we will definitely do it. We can do organic farming there. We can train more teachers, all can heal and bless them, bring happiness in them. We already have a residential school there. We all need to do more and more.

Q: If something bad happens to a person we say that the previous birth karma is responsible. Will you please speak about that?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Paap kya punya kyat tu bhulade’Karam kar phal ki chinta tu mitade’Forget what is sinful and what is noble. Be free from the desire of the fruit of action. Don’t sit and worry too much about all this.I have spoken more on this in Celebrating silence (a book written by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ravi Shankar).

Q: It is said in the Gita, do your duty and don’t expect for the result. How to live this knowledge in normal life?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Live naturally. All Art of Living points are from life’s experience. There is no effort in it. Do some meditation, yoga you will see how life has transformed effortlessly and automatically.

Q: Guruji, is it true you have some super power. You have stopped rain so many times just looking at sky, you can read thoughts.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know love is the most super power in this world and that power is with everybody, not only with me. When mind is free from lust, greed, possessiveness, arrogance etc., when the mind is in the pure form with which we were all born with, then nature listens to you. You are a child of nature and nature loves you. When that manifests, when you are clear then two things happen – your wishes get fulfilled and you can fulfill others’ wishes also. When you are content, that is when blessing happens, Don’t think only Guruji can do it. This is no achievement and no effort is required. That is natural from our state of being, that state of innocence. Most of us have lost it but I still haven’t lost it.

Q: How do you speak so sweetly always?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s like asking jaggery, how can you taste so sweet? It’s the nature of the jaggery to be sweet. I don’t put any effort to speak sweetly. If I put in effort, it will turn to be salty. What I am, I speak the same. That’s why you find it sweet. And secondly, you are also sweet so you find me also sweet. If your mind is turbulent then even if I speak sweetly, you will find it salty. I also don’t know how to be otherwise. I am grateful that I never got an opportunity also to do something which is not in my nature. There was never a need to speak a lie or cheat someone. It has never happened that I pretend to be someone else which I am not. It doesn’t seem also I would be doing it in future. (laughter) But I don’t give any guarantee (more laughter). It hasn’t happened till now and God knows about future.

Q: Guruji I worked in a slum and I got so much happiness. I am feeling so blissful and life is so beautiful.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Life is beautiful but we don’t crave for happiness: ‘Oh, life is beautiful. I want joy.’ When you are happy – serve.When you are sad – give up, have the courage to give up your misery. Adveshta serva bhutanam maitra karuna evacah|Nirmamo Nirahankarah samah sukah dukkah kshami||Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that one who is dear to me, who doesn’t hate anybody, who doesn’t have any ego – I, I, me. One who is calm in success or failure. Whatever he gets – sorrow or happiness – he takes it all with a smile. The Gita also talks about the three gunas – Rajas, Tamas and Sattva. What type of food you should eat, how the cosmos affects. Ayurveda, yoga, psychology, all these subjects are there. People from Tamil Nadu had come for the satsang.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar welcomed them and introduced the Pongal festival which was celebrated on January 14. Pongal is the biggest festival in Tamil Nadu. The flavor of Pongal is a little bit salty, little sweet and is prepared with rice, dal (pulses), and turmeric in a clay pot and celebrated.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said: The Intelligent celebrate everyday Fools fight everyday

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October 15, 2011(Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)

Q: Guruji, we have focused a lot on the solar plexus this week, the solar plexus is also known as our second brain. You said it’s usually the size of an almond but it grows in size as we meditate. Can you comment on the importance of the solar plexus?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Solar plexus is the center of gravity of the body. Your body can be balanced with a stick on your solar plexus. It will balance. And all the functions of the brain are done by the solar plexus, so it’s important. Your emotions get locked up there. And I heard from a doctor, a scientist he said that the solar plexus is small, but in those who do yoga and who are yogis who do a lot of meditation, it really becomes much bigger, almost 3 or 4 times the normal size. So then you have control over your parasympathetic nervous system and all those things. Also much more control over your body, your senses and your mind. That’s what a very well known doctor said, and it is also the experience of many people.

Q: Guruji, many of us who are surrounded everyday by electronic devices, TV, Internet, cell phones; do they leave an impression on us? Do the electronic emanations from all the devises have a harmful effect on our spiritual life?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes you can’t avoid them. Use them but don’t use them too much. You can have one or two televisions at home, but having it in the bathrooms?! I don’t consider it a wise thing to do. At least in one place you should leave your mind to be free. Don’t keep newspapers and magazines in toilets and bathrooms. (Laughing) We should limit our use of electronic devices. These days you cannot avoid them. There is radiation everywhere, there are TV towers everywhere, and there are telephone towers everywhere. You hardly find a place where there is less electromagnetic radiation. In the ashram there is no cell phone, it doesn’t work, even for me. In a way it is good. So you come to ashram, there is no cell phone in the ashram, finished! No cell phone communication for ten days. But still internet and other things are there.

Q: Guruji, can you please talk about who your Guru was or is? And also the tradition of teachers that you come from, thank you!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have already spoken about it in a Guru Purnima talk, but another time we’ll talk about it.

Q: What is the significance of looking at the moon and then towards the beloved in the karva chauth offering?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See festivals are celebrated with significant events in the history. You celebrate Christmas because there is a significant event. People celebrate Eid because some day in the past something good happened on that day. So, like that we celebrate. So each festival has a story behind it or has an astrological significance. Like that, Karva Chauth is the 4th day after the full moon, where women fast the whole day for the well-being of their husbands and then they celebrate and eat. This is practiced and there are some stories behind that. Like Diwali, several stories are connected with Diwali, the festival of lights, one being the coming home of Lord Rama after 14 years of exile. Another story is how a wicked person who was bothering everyone was defeated and when he was defeated he was asked what your last wish is? He said that on this last day on which I am exiting this planet I want everyone to light lamp and get rid of darkness and celebrate my leaving this planet. See that’s a very good wish of someone who was like Hitler, who tortured people.

Lord Krishna wife Satyabhama, she defeated him. He was so powerful that no man could defeat him, but when woman stood before him, he took it very lightly. What can this woman do? But really, the woman defeated him. Krishna’s first wife defeated him and Krishna was behind it. The name ‘Narakasura’, which means man of hell; this came because he created hell for everybody and he tortured people. So then he was asked, ‘what your last wish is now that you are dying?’ He said my exit should bring light into everyone’s life. So everybody should light a lamp, light as many lamps as possible, celebrate their life, forget all the bitterness and celebrate life and so Diwali came to be. So like that there are so many stories. Karva Chauth, there is one story. There was a King Satyavan and his wife was Savitri. He lost everything and he lost his life also. When death came to take him she prayed and her sankalpa was so strong that she brought him back to life. The soul which left the body came back to life again. So that is known for Karva Chauth. And there are so many mythological stories. She said sun will not come and sun did not come for that many hours, whatever. Something like that, there are many stories. So Karva Chauth is one other festival. Celebrate, doesn’t matter for what; fast and then feast. That’s all life is about. Isn’t it?

Q: Dearest Guruji, I’ve been noticing in the midst of the course that I’ve been getting emotions of love, which then change to fear, to hatred and then to love again changing from one to another constantly. What can I do to keep my consciousness coming out of love only?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Take life in its totality. Don’t try to choose, relax. Got it? That’s a trick. Because you always say I want only love. Suppose it doesn’t happen, you get angry. You’ll start blaming yourself, start blaming others. You will start blaming the technique, so the best way is to be hollow and empty. Allow things to come the way it is coming and move on further. Just be aware of it and then move on further. Only love should come is not possible, unless you are so detached from everything. If you have total detachment then nothing but love comes from you. And to grow into that level is natural on the path. Once you’re on the path, in this knowledge, you’ll suddenly see you are growing. ‘Oh wow! This is it, this is it’, that awareness just comes up, isn’t it? Tell me for how many of you it’s already happening? See look at that, so many.

Q: Dear Guruji, I have had thoughts of suicide many times in my life. Please help me. What happens if one commits suicide?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh ho! Suicide is the most foolish thing a person can ever do. It’s like someone is shivering in the cold and they went out and removed their jackets. What do you call them? Foolish! You are already so cold. You are feeling cold in a heated auditorium, in a heated hall and you go out and say, ’I’m cold, I’m cold, I’m cold’, and remove all your jackets. Leather jackets, your t-shirts, and your inner garments, everything you are throwing out. Will the cold become any less? No! People who commit suicide find themselves there because they are so attached to life.

They are so attached to some pleasure, so attached to some fun and joy that they want to kill themselves. So when they kill themselves they find themselves in a bigger soup. ‘Oh my God, this restlessness, these desires which has created such an intense agony inside has not gone. Body has gone but the agony has remained’. It’s only through the body that you can dispel the agony; you can get rid of misery. Instead you destroy the very instrument by which you can get rid of agony. That is why this knowledge is so important. If people do pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, meditation they will realize that, I’m not the body. So what? What is it that I’m hankering for in life? Hankering for love? Attention? Money? Pleasure? What is it that you are hankering? These hankering are boiling desires and it’s creating this foolish idea inside you to commit suicide. 

Dedicate your life for social cause, for some higher cause. If you feel you have to commit suicide, I tell you I need you to do my work, (clapping) so you better stay back. When you think only about yourself, me, me, me, me, what about me, then this is what happens. Depression comes in. Forget about yourself, you die for a cause but don’t kill yourself. It’s worth dedicating your life for something higher. I need you. You come here do work there is so much work to be done; help me out. Know that you are useful to me. At least if everyone else says you are useless remember, no I am here born at this time because I have to be, I have some use and Guruji needs me, so I’m not going to commit suicide. Got it?! So, do my work, if you cannot do yoga, meditation, then sweat and do my work. And I have lots of work that I can give you. I can give some work for the entire nations and entire population. I have plenty of work to do. So whatever you need, a square meal I will provide you. You need a roof above you, I’ll provide you. I guarantee you, but don’t kill yourself.

Guru Ji If you have said thing five years back then perhaps, I have joined you.

 The human body is so precious you know! After so many different lives and different bodies we get human body, human birth. Being a frog, a scorpion, and being a chicken somewhere, being a mouse somewhere in some hole, and after being a cat jumping around here and there and a dog somewhere, and a bird somewhere, and worm somewhere, then you get a human life after going through all those births. It’s so precious. Your hankering for pleasure is causing depression in you. Wake up and see all pleasures are momentary. How long will it stay? See they are so momentary, 5 to 10 minutes you find joy in them and it’s gone. Then what other things do you hanker about? Some people appreciating you? My dears it has no meaning. People may appreciate you in front of you; behind you they may feel jealous about you. That’s what happens. They praise criticize you today, tomorrow they criticize you. So what? Do you see what I’m saying? What are you hankering for? Appreciation from people? What is appreciation? Just a few thoughts that are passing their mind and you think they are going to do it forever? They have limitations. So what? 

Good comments come; some people have bad comments, so what. They criticize you, so what? Those who criticize you are also going to die, so what? All finished! And you the one being criticized will also die one day. Why are we so much bothered about adulations, somebody’s appreciation, or criticism? Why can’t we just be our self? You know it takes such a big load off our head, not being bothered by anybody’s criticism, anybody’s adulations we are just ourselves, natural. If you live so lightly where is the question of depression? Do you see what I’m saying? So those who get these thoughts of committing suicide, it is just your prana which is low, so do more pranayama and dedicate your life to a higher cause. There are millions of people who are suffering more than you, look at them. When your suffering becomes smaller you will never think that you want to commit suicide, number one. Second, you know that you are needed, you are useful. You have to do something in the world. Know that. Third is, forget about what people think about you. People commit suicide because they think they lose their prestige, their status. What status? What is prestige? Who has time? 

Everybody is entangled in their own problems, their own mind. They can’t step out of their own mind. Where they have time to think about you?

You know I remember a case of a very respectable lady in India, she was very proud about her family and her children. Her son went and married a girl from a lower class, lower strata of society. They are from a higher class and much wealthier and he married a girl from a very poor area and it was not a match because her shape and look was very different than him. It was very different. So the mother got so upset, so upset she said how can I go meet anybody. I cannot see anybody. And she went into such depression. I called her one day and told her, ‘look, who has the time to think about you?’ The whole time she was like, ‘how can I show my face to others?’ ‘How can I go to others weddings? They will all make fun of me’. I said, ‘who has time for you? It’s all in your head.’ She would not go to any other party, anybody’s wedding, nothing. She would sit in her own house; blame herself or her daughter-in-law or son for being very miserable. I told her, ‘no! You get up and go.’ You know it just needs that little push.

 Once she started going she found suddenly, she realized that yes, I was just caught in my own maya of my own mind. Everyone welcomed her properly, there was no need to put her head down and melt in such shame. 

These types of tendencies come because you think others are going to disrespect you. Many people do this. Honor killing that happens in Pakistan and other places, it’s horrible. Honor killing is not because God is going to be angry at you. It is, ‘how to face the society, how to face people around you?’ This is what bothers many people and they commit suicide. I tell you it is worthless; what the society thinks of you is useless. Recently it did happen, that one monk, a Swami wanted to marry. I said, ‘yes, you can marry, no problem. I don’t mind what people think, don’t worry what people think. If you want to marry you marry.’ But I said, ‘you don’t remain a Swami. You should write a one line letter that I don’t want to be swami because this life, monastic life is very difficult for me. So I would like to renounce this and not be a swami’, and everyone will accept. There is no problem. It’s okay he couldn’t be a monk he married, so what? But he said, ‘no, no, I want to keep it secret. I want to be a Swami and also live somewhere else in Europe secretly, six months there and six months here.’ I said, ‘I won’t like that. I would not let anyone deceive anybody else. This is deception. On one hand you pose to be a Swami and on the other hand you want to keep it a secret.’ I said, ‘I will not talk about that. Why you are worried what people think about it? Do you see what I’m saying? These are the things that because a person inner anxiety so natural and be open.’ I don’t find it is difficult, I find it’s the easiest.

Q: What if somebody commits suicide not because they are upset but because their body is in a suffering state?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Someone commits suicide because the body is in a suffering state that is okay. Suppose somebody is in deep, deep coma or has incurable diseases or something where the body is a big, big botheration. Then I would say it is okay, that is my personal opinion. But even then it is not the best because anyway you have to finish that karma. Why not just prolong it, whatever another 6 months suffering. There’s no need even there to commit suicide. But those people who go like that they come for short period to experience that period you know. That is the aborted children or children who are born dead. Sometimes these people have those sort of karmas in which in a short period they come to the world and they go and then come back again. But mainly we must realize that suicide is the worst thing and we need to help people who have that mentality. That is one of the major reasons that we should conduct Art of Living programs as much as possible. Wherever we can conduct that we should do. At least now they have something to hold on to. Do you see what I’m saying? When it starts, the breathing (Guruji breathing) and couple of bhastrika, it’s all gone! (Clapping)

Q: Jai Gurudev, can a Guru change the karma of a disciple? Basically stop something from happening or change the course of one’s life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, knowledge and wisdom is that which change the karma. You should read Celebrating Silence, Intimate Notes to the Sincere Seeker. The very first one I spoke about karma. Seven years we did it every week. Once every week we did the knowledge for seven years. I would send it to all the satsang groups. There is so much knowledge. Three hundred and sixty five days of knowledge sheets. You must use that, you must read that. You see what I’m saying? One knowledge sheet per day, that’s profound.

Q: Dear Guruji, is there anything in reality called negative energy or negative vibes from other people that can affect us? I have a tendency to fear certain people whom I think pass on these negative energies to me.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, in the absolute sense, no but in relative sense there is. You can feel those things but it is not a permanent thing. It is limited by time. Like smoke comes; smoke is not a permanent thing. Smoke you could find in somebody’s farm when they are burning the leaves then smoke comes. But it’s not going to be there forever, you are not going to live amidst smoke 24 hours. Smoke comes and it vanishes. When fog comes, planes wait for that little time. Once the fog is clear the planes take off. You think planes are worried about the fog? No. It’s just matter of time. Similarly some negative energy comes, you feel it, you feel upset, you feel something in the stomach, you feel something in the body but it’s only for a few minutes and it just goes away. See it goes even faster with a few pranayamas, bhastrika and mediation. All this will chase away those negative vibes. Why do you have to be worried about negative vibes? You should never be paranoid about negative vibes. Negative vibes are just like passing smoke or fog. You know of course in L.A. there is smog but the people don’t leave L.A. The city is not deserted. Millions of people live there.

It just comes for a while and then disappears. And negative vibes don’t even come as regularly as the smog in L.A. They just are there for a few minutes, at the most few hours and then they go. And you have the key to get rid of them. Excellent! And one more thing is salt. Bathing in salt or putting salt in the bathtub can also take away any negativity. You know why people feel so happy in the ocean? Because there is salt in the water that cleanses the subtle and not just the gross. But when there is mantra chanting it’s even more powerful than the ozone or salt in water. That’s the strange thing in India. You will find the beaches are empty, nobody goes to the beach. Do you know this? Nobody goes. Even if you go to Bali, the Balinese people are not fond of the beach. They don’t go to. Only tourists go into beaches. Same in India, you will find local people do not go to beach.

 It’s not a favorite spot. Maybe in evening they may just take a walk. If you are in Chennai it gets very hot so you get little breeze. They are not fond of salt water, going into ocean. People seldom do because there is no inner craving, that it gives more than the inland. Are you getting what I’m saying? You already get so much energy so your system doesn’t crave to go near the ocean or take a swim in the ocean to feel better because on the land mantra chanting has been happening for millenniums, for ages. So it’s still vibrant. So prana is already high. It’s not especially high along the coast.

Q: Guruji is it alright to do Reiki or other healing techniques on yourself or other people? I’ve heard that some healing techniques pass on the healer’s karma or create a spiritual debt. Can you speak more about this? Thank you.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it does. It’s okay, sometimes you can do Reiki, it doesn’t matter. But I would say just meditate and bless, that is better. Blessing doesn’t bring you any karma, it keeps you free.

Q: Guruji I’m waking up in the middle of this course and discovering that I have played the role of a victim throughout most of my life. How can I step out of this role and not fall into it again.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have already done it now. By not wanting to be a victim, you are already not a victim anymore. Got it? You know, when you go out to vote, you have already voted, so relax. You know, I’ve seen people ask, ’How? How? How? How?’, A student keeps asking and the teacher keep saying, ’Do! Do! Do! Do!’, and both the student is tired and teacher is tired. ’How? What I should do? What I should do?’ And teacher says, ‘Do this! This! This! This! This!’ So you have to do this and this and this and this but oh my God! But then, ’How? How? How? How? How?’ (Laughing). Relax. Don’t ask me how? (Laughing) Then I’ll be in trouble. You are in the train and train is moving. You are in the flight and the flight has taken off. No point in running in the flight from this end to that end, you are not going to reach any faster. Got it? Did you get the clue? Relax!

Q: You’ve said that many souls take bodies to cleanse themselves, to purify themselves for some other purpose of growth. Are there other reasons that people take bodies? And how did you choose this life or this body for this lifetime?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, one is you come to cleanse yourself. Another is you come to cleanse others. Two options; One is you’re a prisoner and you experience your sentence, whatever 6 months, 8 months, 2 years, 3 years or 20 years life imprisonment. Another is you are a jailer and take care of them and bring them out. These are the two options that I know of. And how you choose your parents depends on the energy field that you are. When someone leaves the body the last thought matters. If the last thought is about chicken you will find yourself in the poultry farm. So there are many stories in India about what your last thought should be. It should be of something wonderful, of service, of love, of compassion or something bigger. Think about God; think about some generous act or good people. And also first thing in the morning, there is a word in India which is very commonly used, ‘Pratha Smarana’. Pratha smarana means one who is worth remembering first thing in the morning. You know don’t remember your enemies in the morning, but remember the wise people.

 So you should aim at becoming pratha smarana. Everyone should become the one that could be remembered first thing in the morning so that everyone feels fresh and energetic the whole day. That’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?! That word is so beautifully called; people whom you can remember in the morning. And whomsoever you remember in the morning, the same person you’ll remember last in the night also. So whatever is your last thought in the night will be the first thought in the morning. I think this is in all traditions.

Just before going to bed, mums tell the kids to pray, isn’t it? Pray before going to bed. It’s an ancient tradition all over the world I suppose. Just pray, think about nice things when you go to bed. And when you wake up first thing look at your hands and what do you say? ‘Oh let me do good things from my hands this morning’. You look at it feel let my luck be good, let my lines be favorable and let me do good things. Let there be knowledge, let there be good work happening, let there be good wealth coming to my hands; this is the Morning Prayer. The old ancient Vedic prayer is. ‘God of the wealth is in the beginning of my palm, residing in my palm. God of wisdom is residing in my palm. God’s valor is residing in my own palm. So let the good things happen through me’. This is how we are supposed to wake up and look at our hands.

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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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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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Stop Alchohol

January 24, 2010(Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
As it was Sunday and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar usually talks in Kannada, there were many people in the ashram who didn’t understand Kannada. So Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, ‘If you don’t understand kannada it doesn’t matter. Just be a part of everything. Laugh when everybody laughs and clap when everybody claps’.

Q: I am little nervous in front of you and my heart beat is also rising. While doing the course I heard that our existence is eternal. I want to know what is connection of this incarnation with the eternal presence?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To know that everything is changing you need to have a reference point. That reference point is the unchanging in you. There is a non-changing, eternal element in you because of which you can experience change.

Q: I am coming from Tamil Nadu. I took the course. After the course, I underwent lots of struggles. The more I do my sadhana, lots of challenges, problems are coming. What to do?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a saying in Tamil which means that ‘God created the tail of the goat according to its capacity’. Be bold and face the problems. Don’t worry, only that kind of problem will come in life which you can handle, which is within your capacity to handle. So handle it, go through it all boldly.

Q: I do seva for the society by organizing courses and I sometimes fail to do my home duties. In that case, my parents scold me saying, I am not taking care of home. Should I take care of the society or home? What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your know, how to ride bicycle? How do you balance? Like that, you have to do both and balance the duties.

Q: I want to know the relationship between the conscious mind, sub-conscious mind and the infinite intelligence of the sub-conscious mind?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! The sub-conscious mind has infinite intelligence. Whatever you put in the sub-conscious mind, it will manifest. If you put the thought that you are poor, that will start happening and if you put positive thoughts that everybody is good then that will start happening.

Q: In 2003, you came and started good work from the temple. All good work is happening till now. We request you to come again and bless the people.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, in Tamil Nadu, you have to do lots of work. There is a lot of problem regarding caste. You all have to do something, work for it.

Q: I am coming from Polachi. I was having a spinal cord problem before taking this course. I took the course and now I can sit and do all my work without anybody’s help.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, what doctors can’t do, pranayama does. It can do wonders 

Q: After solving one problem, one more comes up. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Have the faith that you will be helped and your problem will get solved.

Q: After solving one problem, one more comes up. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Have the faith that you will be helped and your problem will get solved.

Q: Guruji, I am physically handicapped. I was thinking, how can I contribute to society? Now I am working with the Divine Karnataka Project, presently, in the Sheshadripuram slum (in Bangalore). I am feeling very confident.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We have to work a lot in slums. We have to make them literate and we have to eradicate castism from slums. For that we all have to work together. In Bangalore alone there are 400 slums and Art of Living is working in 105 of those slums. People in slums are addicted to alcohol and we have to stop this. Those very places and countries have lost their culture where people were too much into alcohol. People in these areas earn good money but they spent more than half of that onalcohol. How can we stop them? By giving them an alternative source of intoxication, by bringing them to satsang and making them experience intoxication and the joy of meditation. Do you feel intoxication in meditation and satsang? (‘Yes’ from theaudience) So, you feel change after doing all this. All DKP yuvacharyas (youthleaders) have to go to slums and work in these places. You may face some obstacles but walk ahead and keep working. A member of the audience shares an experience:“I did the basic course three months ago in Andhra Pradesh. The happiness I haveexperienced in the last three months, I didn’t experience in the last 26 years of my life. I am very thankful to you.”

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