Friday, October 31, 2014

Gurudev, please explain in detail about Saama, Daama, Danda and Bheda (referring to the four ways of persuasion or dealing with people).

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
These are four ways of persuasion:
When someone does something wrong or misbehaves with us, what do we do? First, we gently make them understand how they are wrong. Many people unknowingly commit a mistake, so once they understand that they are making a mistake, they do not repeat it the next time – this approach is called Saama (meaning to explain by persuasion).
You cannot blame someone for a mistake that they have made unknowingly. So Saamameans to explain to the other person the mistake he has committed and to make him aware of it.
Now, even after explaining the mistake, if they still go on repeating it, then what should you do? Then you should forgive them by saying, 'See, you realize that this is wrong, is it not? I forgive you, now do not do it again'. This is Daama.
So, at first, you make them aware without making them feel like a culprit. If they repeated it, then you make them feel responsible for the mistake, and forgive them.
You should never make a person feel like a culprit in the very first time of committing a mistake unknowingly. See, if you create guilt within them by blaming them at the very first instance, then they will never improve their ways. They will never be able to gain awareness and overcome their wrong ways.
So after Saama comes Daama.
Suppose even after doing all this, they continue to repeat their mistakes, then you need to adopt the approach of Danda (punishment). And if punishment also does not work, then one needs to adopt the way of Bheda (meaning to change one’s behaviour towards the other person).
Then you tell them, 'Okay, since you continue to repeat this mistake even after my telling you so many times, I am not going to behave the same way with you anymore'.
This will make them feel a pinch of guilt about what they have done, and they will understand the pain of their mistake.
Danda is the last measure one needs to adopt. When someone does not listen even after doing everything else, then you need to pick up a stick to make them understand. Someone who does not understand and improve their ways even after explaining and persuasion, will only understand through punishment (Danda).

Dear Gurudev, if your heart wants something really bad, but your intelligence comes to a conclusion that it is not possible, which should we trust?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You have said your answer in your very question.
Your heart wants something which your head knows is not right. Do you know why? It is because your heart thinks, 'Maybe I will get some pleasure out of it'.
A little bit of temptation does that. In those moments, you should follow your head.

Gurudev, for a Yogi this world is a penance, and for a Bhogi being alone is a penance. Can there be life beyond penance?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Penance makes us strong.
Yogi is all alone in the forest and he feels happy. But when he is amongst people, and they pounce on him, pull his leg, or cause him pain, yet if he does not get angry and remains calm in his mind, then he has won.
For a Yogi being alone is very easy. But for him to be comfortable and happy amongst people is a penance and a skill, which is necessary.
Similarly, a Bhogi is very comfortable in a crowd. But if he gets depressed being alone, then eventually he will be unhappy being in a crowd too. Why is this? It is because there is no fulfilment inside.
If you cannot be happy with yourself, then how can you be happy with others? 
That is why, when you spend some time in silence, and sometime by yourself, you become so content from inside. Then you will not long for attention, or for some praise from others.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Gurudev, I am very enthusiastic about fighting the elections, but I have stage fear. How to get rid of it?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Go for the DSN course. And also do the happiness survey. This is the best thing.
How many people have done the happiness survey? All those who have not done it, take the happiness forms, make a group of 2-3 people and go door to door. Some people will close their doors on your face. Never mind, move on to the next house with a smile.
When people criticise you and still you smile, all the fear will be gone. Your personality will blossom. So definitely do the happiness survey.

Q: Gurudev, This natural calamity has brought a lot of disaster around, but it has also brought about a spirit of oneness and belongingness. How can we maintain it?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You know, feelings cannot be maintained. You cannot have the same feelings all through. Feelings are like waves, they come and go. They come up and go down. So, you should not worry about maintaining the feelings or oneness. Just take it for granted that there is oneness and move on.

Gurudev, what is the best way to control the mind?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Why do you want to control the mind? You want the mind to stay in one place, right. That is what you mean by control.
Why is it going here and there? If there is a nice program on television, do you need to control your mind to watch it? You love a child, you love your spouse, do you have to try to focus your mind on them? No!
Whatever you love, your mind is already focused on that.
When do you need to focus? When you do not like something. Even there, if you do not like something, you don’t need to focus, as the mind already does not like it
.
Focus is needed when your mind is looking for something else other than what is right now. In such situations, breathing, Sudarshan Kriya, and yoga will help.

Gurudev, I have a girlfriend and we truly love each other and want to get married, but she is Manglik. My parents are against our marriage because of this. Please tell me what to do.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Look, if your parents believe in this and they have a strong feeling for it, then as you sow, so shall you reap (meaning: what you believe in, is what will bring the outcome).
But if you say, 'God is beyond all that, and I have deep devotion in the Divine, and he will pull me out of all this', then it is a different thing.
So you have to take steps in agreement with everyone.
Whenever any Yagna (fire ceremony), or any auspicious work is to be done, the first step is to know everyone's agreement. In the beginning only, they generally ask, 'Is everyone in agreement to do this work? '
If everyone is in agreement then everyone will participate.
So, all of you, sit down together and look at the situation and make a decision. If all of you feel that 'God’s grace is above all this, and with devotion and prayer it will all be taken care of', then all planetary affects will be nullified.
Also, just by chanting 'Om Namah Shivaya', everything will be alright.
Yesterday, somebody in Pune told me that he met an astrologer. The astrologer told him, 'How are things going well for you. You chart says that you have many problems'.
He told the astrologer, 'By the grace of God, everything is going well'.
This is very true; devotion, grace and blessings are above all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gurudev, how to control emotions in times of crisis?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Breathing, breathing, and breathing.
Breath is the biggest secret that nature has put in you. It is linked to your emotions. Through breathing exercise technique, you can control your emotions. I think many of you have experienced this, isn’t it? (Many raise their hands)
Those who have not experienced this, you must do a little bit of breathing exercises regularly, then you will have more say over your mind.

Q: Gurudev, When natural calamities happen, is there God's hand in natural calamities, or does man play a role?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
It is both. Sometimes it is a mystery; you cannot explain how it is happening. And many other times, we have not been kind to nature. We have been exploiting it beyond the limit. And that is why nature responds in a furious manner.

Q: Gurudev, How to love someone who I do not understand?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
As a baby is born, it looks into its mother’s eyes, and starts loving the mother. The baby does not know anything about the mother. It does not know the name of the mother, or the school she went to, what subjects she studied, or how old she is. The baby does not even care, it does not even know.
In the same way, the puppy or the dog in your house does not know you. If the dog knew you, perhaps it would not love you! (Laughter)
So, you don’t need to know someone to love them.

Gurudev, how to overcome the fear of losing my loved ones?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, if you don’t have much to do, and you have a lot of free time then fear will come to you in some or the other form. The fear of losing a loved one, or the fear of catching a disease, of the fear of dying; many different fears can take over you.
The antidote for fear is love and service.
If you keep yourself busy in doing some service, where is the time to think about anything? It is the same energy which manifests as fear, hatred or love. So if you channel the energy towards love, then it will not manifest as fear or hatred.
So, keeping busy, being active in doing some selfless service will help.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Q: Gurudev, How should one balance life between social service, business and responsibilities at home?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Do you all drive cars here in Bahrain? Yes! When you drive a car what do you do? You look at the side mirrors, rear view mirror and you look in the windshield as well. How do you balance all three?
You can’t say, 'I will only look at the rear mirror', or, 'I only look in the front', or, 'I only look at the sides'. You have to simultaneously do all the three and you do that?
Exactly same way!
Rear view mirror is like knowing the past. You should have little memory of the past. If you have done some mistake, it should not be repeated. Front mirror is like the vision of life ahead. That is why, the front windshield is very big and the rear view mirror is very small. Then there are side mirrors, these are for you to be aware of what is happening around you all the time.
So how you use all three? Exactly same way!

Q: Gurudev, I find it tough to apply knowledge in such situations, when there is no food and no power.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You do not have to apply knowledge, just be spontaneous.
Knowledge is already inbuilt in you. You have to accept situations, live in the present moment and serve people. This is the knowledge. Do not try to apply any more knowledge; it is not needed. Be spontaneous and have the faith that something good will come out. Have the faith that your prayers will be answered.

Q: Gurudev, What does it actually mean to have a spiritual teacher?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
To have a spiritual teacher means to feel at ease, to feel comfort and to have the confidence to go on a journey to the unknown. A spiritual teacher means: There is somebody to take care of me. If I fall, someone is there to hold me.

Gurudev, you have written a book called 'God loves fun', and yet you say that if we follow fun misery follows us. It is correct?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes it is very correct. If you follow fun misery follows you, but if you follow wisdom then fun will follow you.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dear Gurudev, what is the main mantra or key to happiness in life?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The key to happiness in life is to not stay stuck in 'I…Me…Mine' (meaning one’s own personal desires or material gains). Dedicate your life to some larger goal, or to the service of others around you. Then you will find that only happiness flows through your life.
The second thing you need to remember at all times is this, 'There is someone (the Divine) who loves me very dearly, and is taking care of me at all times. He cannot be without me and He is all capable of removing any lack that I have'.
Knowing this too brings such joy in one’s life.
See, when it comes to doing things in life, you cannot possibly go on doing something or the other all your life. Also, you cannot do something which is beyond your capabilities. So all your actions are limited by your capabilities and by time. 
For example, a new-born child is not able to do many things by himself until he becomes 5-10 years of age. Until then he is dependent on others for many of his needs. In the same way, when we grow old and become 70-80 years of age, we find that there is very little that we can do on our own. We again become dependent on others around us.
This intermediate time in our lives is when we are capable of doing something. And in that time period too, we will still be able to do only as much as our capabilities allow us to do.
The same person cannot become a doctor and an engineer and a bureaucrat all together at once. He can only become of these three. So everyone has different capabilities, and the limitations that time places on each person are different (meaning depending on the age of a person).
Everyone has different strengths. There is a limit to our capability also. You will not be able to do something today, as well as you could do it 10 years ago when you were younger, isn’t it so?

What you are doing now, is something you will not be able to do so well, after 20 years from now. So we are dependent on both time and our capabilities.
But when we remember this – that there is a Supreme power which belongs to us so totally, which is capable of fulfilling all our needs and wishes, and which is with us at all times – then this strong faith alone can keep us happy at all times. 
It does not matter what you call this Supreme power, whether you call it the Guru Shakti, or the Paramatma (supreme soul or Consciousness), or God. When you have this faith in you, then you can be happy at all times; regardless of your capabilities. Then you will not feel weak and insecure in your old age also because you know that there is someone who is all-powerful who is taking care of you and protecting you at all times.
So just having this faith alone can make us so happy.
As age progresses, our strengths and capabilities diminish. This is natural.

You see many people, as they grow old they become so dejected and insecure. Their face reflects only misery and sorrow. The older they get the more miserable they become. But a devotee is not like this at all. For a devotee, the older he gets, the more joyful and happy he becomes. He smiles more and more, and is happy at all times. 

A devotee thinks, 'Oh, I have seen it all. I have known and understood it all. I am happy and content from within. And God is there with me at all times to fulfil all of my needs'.
So with this deep feeling of faith, a devotee will remain happy at all times. This is something we all must remember.
Once, I had gone to South Africa and the people from an Old Age Home there came to visit me. Huge crowds of people gathered there to meet me. I felt so disappointed looking at their faces. I just kept wondering what had happened to them. They looked so miserable.

Their children had thrown them out of their own homes and put them in an Old Age home. They became so depressed thinking about their children that it showed on their faces. It looked as if they hadn’t smiled in ages.

I met our Art of Living teachers there and told them, 'Make these people attend The Happiness Program. Teach them to do sadhana and bring them on the path of knowledge'.

After a certain age, one finds it very difficult to learn something new. Why is this? It is because as we grow old, our sight and hearing start to diminish gradually.

Even if we are able to see or hear things, the mind is not able to grasp and understand what we have seen or heard. Then even if we listen to some knowledge, it remains at the external level only, it does not sink deep within. Such is the state of a person in old age.
So I told the other people, 'Just see what happens in old age. So keep your life dedicated to some greater goal and be in knowledge. Do not get caught up in attachment and desires, thinking only about your children, or your home, etc.'
One can hardly imagine what difficulties those people must have gone through in their lives. How they must have earned money to raise and educate their children, and after all that, the same children brought them to an old age home and paid some money for their parents to be looked after. Once in a year they visit their parents, or write a letter to them if they cannot come to meet them; like during Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day, etc. The fate of those poor old parents is really very unfortunate.
But when we have this unshakable faith that there is a Supreme Power with me at all times which loves me dearly and belongs to me, and will never leave me; then the strength we get from such a faith makes us glow with happiness, and our face lights up with a smile that never fades. This is why Spirituality is very essential in life. It is spirituality that brings happiness, enthusiasm, intuition, self-realization and the fulfillment of all that one wishes.

Q: Gurudev, How do I always be happy and not get entangled by the boundaries set by body mind and thought?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
If you drop this always, you will be happy. Never mind if you are unhappy for a little while, so what? If you think I should never be unhappy, then that becomes a cause of unhappiness.

Q: Gurudev, Why do you think attaining spirituality is necessary?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
It is because you want to be happy unconditionally; you want peace which does not get disturbed by small things. And this is quite natural.
Wanting spirituality is as natural as wanting deep rest, as wanting to be loved, as wanting comfort and happiness.
The definition of spirituality in Sanskrit is attaining greatest happiness, attaining greatest freedom (Nirvana) 
. It is natural. Like water flows down, and fire goes up, human beings want enlightenment.

Gurudev, sometimes there seems to be conflict between love for my own country and the idea of a One World Family. Can the smaller be dropped for a bigger cause?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I do not see any conflict between the two. One can have love for one's own country, and at the same time have love for humanity.
You can do both.
It is just like how a family person serves his family, but at the time also comes out and serves the society.
It is not that if you are into social service, you must neglect your family. That is not right. You have to do both, you have to attend to the family and also do your social service.
Now, if a family member is upset for no reason, then what can you do. But from you side, you should make sure that you do not do anything to upset anyone.
In the same way, you can serve the country, and also be part of a One World Family.
Moreover, hating somebody is not patriotism. Patriotism does not mean that you are against the others. You not against anybody, but at the same time you protect your country, and work towards its development. This is Dharma.
In Mahabharata also, Lord Krishna never advised the Pandavas to hate the enemy. He never spoke about hate.
Lord Krishna said, 'Yudhyasva vigata-jvarah'. Fight without feverishness.
If you fight with feverishness in your mind then you will be disturbed. Fight with a calm mind.
That is why he said, 'Yogastha kuru karmani'. (Meaning: Be steady in yoga and do whatever you must do. Give up attachment, be indifferent to failure and success. This stability is Yoga).
India has fostered such high ideals and have set an example for the rest of the world.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gurudev, how much money should a person earn in life? Does earning more than one’s needs mean hoarding of money that is someone else’s share? Also, what is the difference between being resourceful and self-sufficient?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, put in all your efforts and earn as much as you can. But follow certain rules. It is not right to earn money by committing crimes, or through any other wrong means.

If you do, then the result will only be misery and suffering. If you adopt wrong means to earn money, then your own conscience will prick you from within, and you will feel, 'I have stolen from someone'. It will pinch you from within.

So do not use wrong means of earning money. You should put in all your effort to earn money, making the best use of time available to you.

Q: Gurudev, Aggression is considered as a sign of power these days, how to change this?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
If aggression is the power that brings positive change, the world would have changed a lot through all the aggression that has happened and is now happening in many parts of the world. But that is not what we see.
Where there is aggression, there is distress. There are more issues, more problems, and more poverty. With aggression, we move backward. Wherever there is aggression, you see that the people have gone backward; at least fifteen to twenty years backward, if not more. Co-operation is key.
The world has seen many aggressions which have not given great result.
Sometimes, people think war is very good because war can change laws. They think that war can destroy what was there and bring a change of law. But you know, for that to happen, several generations suffers.
In this age of information and technology, I think people are intelligent. We don’t need to go through that suffering. I think we are much more intelligent, and much more informed, so we don’t need war. All that we need is awareness.

Q: Gurudev, How do you bring peace to a relationship with a lot of conflict and arguments? Do you stay in it?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
There are two ways to handle it:
• Move away from that place at that time - because when everybody is angry, things are heating up, everyone goes deaf. Angry people do not listen to anyone. The best thing is move away a little bit and wait for things to cool down.
• Be there, with patience - First, agree with the person, say, ‘Yes, I agree with you.’
Suppose your husband or wife is arguing with you, don’t say, 'No', say, ‘Yes, you are right, I agree with you.’ The moment you agree, the temperature comes down. Then in a little gap, as the temperature comes down, say, ‘But…’. This is the secret.
Sometimes people come to me with big ideas. I tell them, ‘Your idea is brilliant, very good, but it is impractical.’
Use your skill to calm the situation, and then get across what you want to the other person.

Q: Gurudev, How do we free ourselves from the pain we have received till now, and what to do so that we do not receive the pain in the future?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yoga and meditation is the only way.
Here everything is painful. Even an overdose of anything pleasant becomes painful.
Wanting something pleasant causes pain. After having gotten what you want, then also there is pain because there is a fear of losing it. And when it is gone, the memory of it gives pain.
Something unpleasant anyways gives pain right away. But the pleasant also gives pain because wanting or craving for something pleasant, is painful. This is what happens many times.
Someone wants to get into a ministerial post. Before getting into it, there is so much pain to get into the post. Once they get into the post, then maintaining it is painful. And then when they leave the post, then also there is pain, because no one respects them. But when you feel completely unattached to it, that is when the pain disappears.
That is why it is said, 'Tena tyak tena bhunji thah'.
Know that all this belongs to the Divine, so just let go of attachment and enjoy!
I am not saying that it is bad to get into a position, or bad to experience pleasantness, no! But you should be detached from it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Gurudev, what is the Atma (soul)?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
It is the cause behind your very existence. Without it, you would not exist. The Atma is that which listens through the ears, perceives through the eyes, smells through the nose, tastes through the tongue, and which is the reason for everything that happens

Q: Gurudev, How can we stop thinking the same recurring thought?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
There is no way, because you recognize the thoughts only after they have already come. Isn’t it? They come and then you recognize it.
So when you recognize it, get busy. If you simply sit, you will keep thinking a lot. If you keep acting, you will feel that you are more with the flow.

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