Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Gurudev, it has been said in the Yoga sutra ‘Tivra samveganam asannaha’ (Those who seek liberation wholeheartedly without feverishness attain liberation quickly). For liberation does one need speed or peace?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, you need a quick pace. Often when we need to do something good, we say 'Inshaallah!' (an Urdu wish meaning ‘May God will it so’), and we often say that if God thinks it best it will happen, etc.

When it is for ourselves, if we want a car or a job, we put in our full effort to get it. However, for other things, we say, if God wishes it will happen.
If it is about coming to the Ashram, you conveniently say, when Gurudev wishes, he will call me there. When have I ever told you not to come, or not to meditate, but you say, when the calling comes, I will be there.
If you have to go out for a movie or to a restaurant, then you don’t say that only when God calls you will go. For your own entertainment, you do things at your own will, but when it comes to doing your sadhana (spiritual practices), you say that only when God wills, it will happen. Your mind is very clever at doing this.
Whatever gains you want in life, leave it to karma or fate, but liberation is in your hands and depends on your purushartha (efforts).

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gurudev, how can one be in choiceless awareness, so that we know what choices need to be made in the present moment?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
If a piece of charcoal and a banana is kept in front of you to eat, what is your choice? Is there a choice? Think about it.

When you don’t know that it is a banana or charcoal then there is a choice. But if you know that the banana is edible and the other is a charcoal, then where is the choice?
Knowledge brings wisdom which brings clarity. Confusion means lack of wisdom and no clarity at that moment. Then how to bring wisdom? Relax and meditate.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Gurudev, love is a divine quality. It is said that love can liberate us, but it is seen that love actually binds us. Marriage is also seen as a bondage. So how can this bond be beautiful?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
When there is no selfishness in the relationship then it is beautiful. If there is willingness to sacrifice in the relationship, then it becomes beautiful.
Look at the relationship of Shri Ram with his brother Bharat. It was such a strong bond but both of them were willing to sacrifice anything for the other. Such a relationship where there is no selfishness, is a beautiful one. In such a relationship, there is lot of love and peace.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Gurudev, is it more important to keep oneself happy or others around happy?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, both are important. If you have become a saint or a sanyasi(one who has renounced everything), then you need to keep others happy, but if you are a samsari (one leading a worldly life), then you need to keep yourself and others happy.

Like a cycle has two wheels, you need to balance both. If you are only trying to make others happy, then you yourself will become sad and if you are sad, then how will you keep others happy?
If you are only interested in keeping yourself happy, then the people around you will be sad and if they are sad, how can you stay happy? Both are dependent on each other, so take the middle path and be happy and keep others happy.
Take time out for yourself. Take care of your own health too and then you can keep others happy. You mustn’t be adamant to always get your way. Sometimes you need to give in and keep others happy too. You must not always insist that only what you say or believe should be followed. No, adopt the middle path. Sometimes listen to others, and sometimes also follow what you feel.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Gurudev, in your occupation, is it a big occupational hazard that people get attached to you? How do you handle it?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Don’t even ask me that! (laughter) There are many occupational hazards. Many times I keep walking and someone holds my legs from behind. I have to balance myself to not trip and fall many times. People should listen. See now you are all sitting. When I exit also, you should remain seated. Nobody should get up and run.
I say it all the time and when you get up, that is when you give a chance to these thieves to steal. They come in groups. One will push the others, and pretend to show a lot of devotion and the other will pickpocket at that time.

Can you imagine that they have a gang? They have psychologically studied us very well. When Jai Jai Radha Raman (a concluding devotional song in Art of Living Satsangs) is being sung, everybody is totally immersed in the bliss of the Satsang, and that is the time when they will push someone and pick their pocket from behind.

You all should cooperate and stay seated to prevent such incidents. Anyway, I meet everyone.
I don’t feel comfortable when people fall over each other and elderly ladies and children are pushed down on the floor. Some people will run ahead and overtake the others and approach me before them, saying, 'Gurudev, please bless me'. Then I feel there is something wrong.

So one person will push and try to come forward, and his partner in crime will then pick your pocket from behind in the midst of this confusion.
Some of these old time devotees, though you can’t even call them devotees, they just won’t listen at all. They will jump over people to come to the front and sit and create chaos. I don’t know what to do.
(A member in the audience suggests that such people should be punished). Yes, I am thinking what punishment to give them. They spread indiscipline. It is not in my nature to say no to someone or to be harsh, but these people don’t let me be myself. I have never used any bad words other than calling someone ‘stupid’, or scolded anyone. I don’t know how to be stricter than this. But they are testing my patience.

It is okay. There are all kinds of people in this world and we need to accept everyone.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Gurudev, if peace is our nature then what makes violence arise?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Weakness or fear is the root of violence. The fear of extinction or rejection causes violence. Stress causes violence. Stress is also a kind of weakness. Stress or tiredness and no strength is weakness and causes violence. Lack of awareness of one’s strength causes violence.

You can think about what are the things that cause violence and you can make a whole list.
Attachment also causes violence. Extreme passion without wisdom can cause violence.
You hear all these stories in the newspaper. Two people who initially love each other and they later become so violent to each other, that they kill each other. Haven’t you heard of these things?

All over the world, you hear of people who have fallen in love and then later stabbed each other. It’s unbelievable. So wisdom is essential. Just love or passion is not enough.

Love without wisdom is misery. If you don’t have wisdom and are not balanced, then that can cause violence. But if you are totally dedicated to something, then that is different. Then you don’t lose your wisdom.
Nowadays when you read the newspaper or switch on the television, every day, you get some such story, and there may be many more such incidences that go unreported.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Gurudev, when opposite values are complementary, does it mean that when more people meditate, more people will express negative tendencies like jealousy and violence?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You never know (laughter).

All these negative emotions are distortions of love. They are off-springs of love. If there is no love, there can’t be jealousy. If there is jealousy that means there is love.

Arrogance is too much love for oneself. Jealousy is too much love for another person. Anger is too much love for another person or object. Greed is too much love for objects.

Anger is love for one‘s own concepts and perception. An angry person will think, ‘I perceive things to be like this’, and if they are not like that, then he gets angry.

So, almost every negative emotion is a distortion of love.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gurudev, it has been said in the Yoga sutra ‘Tivra samveganam asannaha’ (Those who seek liberation wholeheartedly without feverishness attain liberation quickly). For liberation does one need speed or peace?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, you need a quick pace. Often when we need to do something good, we say 'Inshaallah!' (an Urdu wish meaning ‘May God will it so’), and we often say that if God thinks it best it will happen, etc.

When it is for ourselves, if we want a car or a job, we put in our full effort to get it. However, for other things, we say, if God wishes it will happen.
If it is about coming to the Ashram, you conveniently say, when Gurudev wishes, he will call me there. When have I ever told you not to come, or not to meditate, but you say, when the calling comes, I will be there.
If you have to go out for a movie or to a restaurant, then you don’t say that only when God calls you will go. For your own entertainment, you do things at your own will, but when it comes to doing your sadhana (spiritual practices), you say that only when God wills, it will happen. Your mind is very clever at doing this.
Whatever gains you want in life, leave it to karma or fate, but liberation is in your hands and depends on your purushartha (efforts).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gurudev, there are so many people who come on the path and then leave. Why does that happen? They are so involved and suddenly they stop coming.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
How many people have done that? There would be just a few, and there could be various reasons.

Some people come on the path like going to a restaurant. After you eat in a restaurant, you don’t think about the restaurant for many hours, right? So they are fulfilled and they don’t come back.


There are other people who might be going through a difficult time and they walk off the path maybe due to their bad habits. But then they do come back also. I have seen people come back to the path after 15, 20 or even 25 years. We don’t have to worry about it.

Your job is to throw the seeds out on the field. Wherever it grows, it grows. You can’t be watching out for every seed to see whether it has grown or not.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gurudev, yesterday you said that everything is Shiv Tattva (fundamental element or principle). So what is your message for the devotees of Krishna? Also, I don’t pray to Shiva but only to Krishna. Is it okay?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva are the same. In Chapter 10 of the Bhagavad Gita, on Vibhuti Yoga, Lord Krishna himself says, 'Rudranam shankaras-chasmi vitteho yaksa-rakshasam. Vasunam pavakas chasmi meruh shikharinam aham' (10.23)

Lord Krishna says, ‘Among the Rudras I am Lord Shiva’.
In the next verse He says, 'Purodhasam cha mukhyam mam viddhi partha brhaspatim. Senaninam aham skandah sarasam asmi sagarah'. (10.24)

Lord Krishna says, ‘Among the generals of war, I am Lord Kartikeya’.
So Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva are the same. There is no difference.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gurudev, Shiva is called Bhoothnath (lord of the ghosts) and he is surrounded by ghosts and spirits. Do ghosts really exist?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
If you ask me whether Shiva exists, I can answer, yes! But I don’t know about the ghosts around him (laughter).

Yes ghosts do exist but they are not different from him. They are in him.
The 5 elements are known as the Panchabhutas. So Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Space are collectively called the five bhootatmas. Some souls also become ghosts and that is because even after leaving the body, they are not able to drop their vasanas (impressions due to cravings and aversions of the mind). That is because even after the soul leaves the body, the realization does not dawn that it is the eternal light, or consciousness.

It is like, the food is in front of them and they are thinking of eating but they can’t actually eat it.
The word ‘Bhootkaal’ means the past. This is because it has already passed, but still one is holding on to the impressions of it and unable to drop it. Ghosts are also souls but they have lost their power. They are powerless as they have not realized that they are souls.
When the soul attains self-knowledge, then it becomes powerful. When they realize this, they no longer remain as ghosts (they are called earth bound souls).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Gurudev, yesterday we were told that Shiva’s seat is Nirvana (liberation), and His presence is bliss and he spreads joy all around him. Can you please elaborate on this?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Why are you troubling me? I don’t trouble you to understand so why do you trouble me to make you understand it?

All these are aphorisms given to you and you are given the intellect to ponder upon and understand the meaning of these.

Gurus need not give long sermons. They will only give you the essence. You must dwell upon it and reflect on it and it will open up within you.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Dear Gurudev, ancient India has been witness to many age old ancient traditions which are now extinct. One such tradition is the Devdasi tradition. This tradition has given the world the traditional Indian dance forms, like Bharatanatyam, Odissi, etc. The practitioner of Indian classical dance forms would know that these forms are yoga (here implying the union) of body, mind and soul. There seems to be a connection between art forms and spirituality in India. Can you please talk a bit about that?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes of course. Art, dance, music and spirituality are connected. But in the medieval ages, during the Mughal rule, this was not considered very good by the kings who ruled at that time. Especially in North India, the dancers and practitioners of these art forms were looked down upon. This happened only in the Middle ages. Before that, musicians and dancers were honored.
But when they were looked down upon, the women who were dancing and dedicated their life to dance and music were sort of kept aloof (from the mainstream society). People would not marry them and it was not considered a good thing in the family to have people of that caliber. So it became a class of its own, and then it was calledDevdasi. That was unfortunate. But later on this stigma was removed.
You know, one of the very famous singers of India also known as the nightingale of India, Mrs. M. S. Subbalakshmi, when she started singing, almost the entire society made her an outcast. And one man married her and brought back the whole system of music and gave it the dignity that it very much deserved. Mr. Kalki Sadasivam is a very great thinker and a journalist. Before M. S. Subbalakshmi, the music and dance forms did not enjoy that high respect that was due to it.
Of course male singers were appreciated but female singers were not. If anyone took up acting in movies, then that was it. Their reputation was finished then and there. There was a huge stigma attached to acting in movies also but fortunately we have crossed those dark ages when people had so much prejudice.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gurudev, one day you spoke about duality and non duality with examples of door and window and seeing all as wood. So where does the philosophy of Vishisht Advaita (a sub-school of thought of the Vedanta philosophy) fit in with the same example?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Well, Vishisht Advaita says that both (the duality and non-duality of Creation and Consciousness) are true. So as per Vishishta Advaita, that is also true and this is also true. Advaita usually doesn’t consider the other things as true (implying that Advaita believes in the essential non-dual nature of Creation).
You know, the whole idea that the creation was ‘created’ is false. Who said it was created? It was never created. A mirage is never created. A mirage is an illusion of what appears to be but is not in reality.
You put a pen in a beaker of water, it appears bent. When was this bend created? It was not created. It just appears. So in that sense, nobody created this universe. It simply is. It just appears to be that way. It is not real.
When the sun sets, it does not really set. It appears to set. That’s all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gurudev, in the Bhagavad Gita it is written that, 'Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja . Aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma shucah'. Does the definition of Dharma (here meaning one’s religion) become different before a Guru?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, having said all that He had to, at the end of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, 'Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja, Aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma shucah' (V 18.66)
Drop your religion or any other belief you have, and take total surrender in me. O Arjuna. I shall liberate you of all your sins and sufferings.
Dharma is like soap. But just because you have washed you clothes with an expensive soap worth 100 Rupees, you will not say that ‘Oh, I am going to keep the soap on my clothes because it is such an expensive soap’. You have to wash it off.
There comes a stage when one moves above such attachments and entanglements in life (here referring to religion), and becomes a Sharanagati; surrendering totally to the Lord, with this deep feeling of devotion that 'O Lord! I am yours and yours alone'. This is what has been explained in this verse.
Lord Krishna had to say this to Arjuna, otherwise, no matter what knowledge He gave to Arjuna, he would just get stuck with it and not let go.
If Lord Krishna would advise Arjuna by saying, ‘Do it this way’, then he would simply follow and do only that much. So that Arjuna does not get stuck, in the end, Lord Krishna said to him, ‘Drop every religion or belief and simply come take refuge in Me. You cannot liberate yourself from your sins. I shall free you from all your sins and sufferings, so simply come to Me’.
Suppose you commit a wrong deed and you go on repenting saying, ‘Oh! I have committed such a wrong deed. How can I be free from it? What do I do?’ You cannot liberate yourself from your sins by making efforts. This is why Lord Krishna says, ‘I am ready to bear all your sins and sufferings, so just drop everything and come and take refuge in Me’.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gurudev, there is a five faced (Panchamukhi) Ganapati idol in the temple of Gurukul. What is the meaning of Panchamukhi?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
We have five senses in our body: the sense of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing, and there are five elements in the creation: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. There are five senses and five elements, so in this way there are five facets to God. So that form of Divinity which is capable of removing any obstacle in these five is calledPanchamukhi Ganapati.
Everything in this creation is made up of the grouping (Gana) of these five elements. For example, the Water element has many diverse forms, like milk, curd, etc.

In the same way, the Air element is not of one kind alone. You can see that there are so many different gases like carbon-dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen, etc. So this group (Gana) of different gases collectively constitutes the Air element.

Similarly, different types of fluids (a group or Gana) collectively make the Water element. Water has one group, Air has one group, and in the same way the Earth element has a group of different metals and minerals within it, such as gold, silver, copper, stones, and soil etc.

The Space element too has its own group within it, like the inner space, and outer space, etc.

Lord Ganapati (another name for Lord Ganesha) is the lord of all these Ganas or groups. And since there are five principal groups, that is why this particular form is called thePanchamukhi Ganapati.
The main essence here is that God, who is Nirguna (one who transcends or is without attributes) and Nirakaar (the formless all-pervading Divinity) is worshipped by representing Him in this form by chanting sacred mantras.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gurudev, even after death, a man in the form of a soul keeps on looking for a body. Why there is so much attachment to the body?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This is because the body is the instrument of carrying out one’s Dharma (one’s duties or karma). It is said, ‘Sharira madhyam Dharma-khalu sadhanam’. It means that if one has to carry out one’s duties or one’s karma, it can only be done through the means of the physical body. Those who are Asariri – meaning without the physical body - cannot do it.

That is the reason even the Demigods (Devtas) have to take a human form to carry out their Dharma for attaining liberation.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Q: Gurudev, Why are we here? When all this is not reality, why are we made to come back again and again to live our lives?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
First, (we are here) to ask this question, and second, to find an answer to it!
Many live their whole life without even asking the question, ‘Why am I here?

Wake up, ask this question, and pursue to get an answer. Do not be in a hurry for the answer. The answer falls into your lap at the right time, so keep asking.

No books will answer this question, because this is the question of ‘life’. Your life itself is an answer.
Every day, if you ask, ‘Why am I here?’ then all the unnecessary things fall off, and the right things come up.

However, before asking the question (why am I here), ask, ‘What can I do for this world, before I exit? Anyway, I am here!’

This may be a better question to soothe you in those moments when you feel nothing is enjoyable, or everything is meaningless.

When you feel sad, depressed, suicidal or unhappy, at that moment you should say, ‘Let me stop thinking about myself. Let me see what I can do here. Anyway, one day I must go. Before I go, let me do something good here. Where am I needed? Who needs me? Where can I help out?’
These questions can bring some intermittent relief in between.
So do some service (seva). When you do some seva, you make others happy, that vibration of bringing comfort to others souls will bring you merit that will help you realize who you really are.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gurudev, what is the purpose of the mind? I only see bondage and sadness associated with it. Do we really need that layer of existence?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just let it be! That is the secret to handle the mind.

If you try to get rid of the mind, it becomes a monster. If you just let the mind be, it will vanish!
When you are not aware of the tricks and the mumbo-jumbo going on in the mind, then life is misery. This is because life is based on the mind.
When you recognize that all this is in my mind (judging people and situations, holding concepts about the self and others); you recognize that you are making a mess of everything in your mind.

'This is how it should be', or, 'It should not be like this', whenever such thoughts come, it means the mind is coming into play; this is all part of the world. This is where you need to latch onto that non-changing, abstract, invisible energy or power. When you latch onto it, you are no longer caught in the grip of the mind.
When we are in the grip of the mind, we make ourselves and others miserable.

Look back at your mind, not at others, and see what drama and pain has been caused by it. When you do that, it is no longer pain, it is entertainment. It is like a multi-channel television, a movie channel that has caused so much comedy, suspense, drama, and misery in your life.
This is the reason why all the great saints and poets always addressed their own mind, ‘Oh, my dear mind, how fascinating you are, why do you get caught up in so many things! Why do you not recognize that which is so magnanimous, and so beautiful?’Rumi, Kabir, all the great saints, have sung about their own mind.

In The Bhagavad Gita also, it is said that the mind is responsible for your freedom and bondage.
The mind is a friend and an enemy. When the mind is your enemy, it ties you down to your past impressions and experiences, because it does not let you see things with a fresh new eye. This is because everything we perceive is through the mind; even knowledge is perceived through the mind. When the mind is your enemy, it makes you judgmental, brings misery, stiffness and unhappiness.

When the mind is your friend, it makes you relax, smile, brings happiness, freedom, and liberation. So, the mind can be our greatest enemy or our best friend.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Gurudev, if our virtues and skills are not ours, they are the play of Yakshas (angels), are Yakshas a separate identity or part of us?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Is there something called my own air? Do you say this is my air? The subtler you go, 'mine' does not exist. The subtler we go, there is only a field, and you share the field and the quality of the field.

It is best you keep all this knowledge, these concepts to one side. Relax in the oneness, which automatically comes in deep meditation.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Q: Gurudev, Shiva is complete, then why does he get married to Parvati?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This is like asking if God is complete, then why did he create this world.
A spider is complete, yet it creates a web by its own saliva, and moves within its own web. Waves rise in the ocean, then where do they go? Are they going somewhere? Why do they rise? Got it? The ocean is complete, yet it comes up with waves.
Shiva and Shakti are the same, that is why the concept of Ardhanarishwar, who is half Shiva and half Parvati. This is true in all of us; in each one, there is a mother’s DNA and a father’s DNA; a male aspect and a female aspect, and together you become complete. Physically, you may be a woman, but you have your father’s aspect inside of you.
Is it that only females are born out of females and males are born out of males? No! Inside each one of you, there is a male aspect and a female aspect.
Shiva and Shakti are one, yet they are different. Parvati means Shakti (the manifest world, i.e., air, earth, fire, water, air, mind, ego and memory), Shiva is the unmanifest. The form and the formless are married; like your mind is formless, the body is form, and they are married.
Yet, it is all just one wave function when you go to Quantum Mechanics; there is no male, no female. However, when you want to have a baby, you cannot say that it is all one Quantum Mechanics, it is different there.
When you want to eat food, Quantum Mechanics does not work there. You should know what to eat and what not to eatn correct? So, the world of differences and the world of unity co-exist, yet they are different. That is why it is said that the unmanifest Shiva tatva has no parallel, there is no two; it is complete.
As Shiva, as a male energy, (it is) consciousness; then there is female energy, i.e., the manifest universe or the body. When you talk about body and mind, then there are two things, the manifest and the unmanifest. But when you talk about atoms or wave function in Quantum Mechanics, it is all just one vibration.
When you watch television, you see an episode, but if you see it from another angle, you perceive electronic waves. On the other side, you are seeing an episode, and getting some information; they are not opposite. In fact, they are interwoven in nature.
This is a little bit scientific; if it does not go in, just relax. At some time, you may get it. If you are a Physics student or interested in Physics, then you will catch it easily.
That is why in ancient India, one had to first understand the five elements. They would say that you do not worry about atman (soul), self or God; save that for a later time. First, learn about the five elements and their special permutations.
Several years ago, a nuclear scientist had come to the Bangalore ashram. In a satsang, I spoke about the five elements. He said that nobody knew about the fifth element; scientists discovered the fifth element recently. The Greeks knew of only four elements.
I told him that he did not know of the Indian philosophy. Since ancient times, they have spoken of five elements in India. Then I told him about the three types of space; he was startled to know that. I asked him to read Yoga Vasishta; it is published by New York University Press. This knowledge has been there.
So, first they would say that one should understand the five elements and then go to the next three, i.e., mind, intellect and ego. Then, you will come to the Self, to God; before that, they would say do not even think about it!

Q: Gurudev, I feel happy and peaceful here. My heart is really contented. All negativity comes when I go out. I encounter all problems like corruption and bribery. How to face these problems? How to maintain the same positivity when I go from here?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You forget strength in you – prayer and power of your Sankalpa (positive intention). You keep doing practices and your things are taken care of. Don’t ask for small things in your prayers. Ask for big things – Let government be good and stable, let this knowledge reach out to many more people. It is up to you to make a divine society. You can start a collective moment. There are many good people, and a very few people who cause disturbance, but their influence looks like they are many. You come together and you will find what difference you can make.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Q: Gurudev, What is the significance of Kumbh mela?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The Kumbh Mela is one of the most sacred pilgrimages in Hinduism. The word Kumbh has been derived from the Sanskrit word Kumbh meaning 'pot' or 'pitcher' and Mela means 'festival' that is why it is known as "the pitcher festival". It is a fair that energizes your mind and soul) Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ganga is a symbol of knowledge and Yamuna symbolizes love. Prayag (where Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati meet) is the unity of love and wisdom. When love and wisdom meets, celebration happens. Kumbh means coming together of saints, scholars and katha vachaks (story tellers). They participate in discussion and meditation with the sankalpa (positive intention) of universal benefit. People needn’t go to all the different places. They can all come to one place. The concept of mela started in India. Nowadays we call it expo. There are expos for motors, books, clothes to present all the products in one place. On similar concept all the saints used to congregate in one place once in 12 years. In those days transport facilities were not so extensive and traveling would take so much time. Kumbh mela provided an opportunity for people to converse and exchange knowledge with each other. If you see it from planetary perspective, Kumbh happens when Jupiter enters Aquarius. By bathing in the Ganges, the chitta (consciousness) becomes joyful. Your consciousness is purified. The sins are washed away. It's so beautiful. The sins are so superficial that just by a dip in the Ganges they can be washed away. The ever-pure consciousness can never be dirtied.

Q: Gurudev, If whatever we do is in search of happiness, then why is there so much pain and misery in the world?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
There is a story of Mullah Nasserudin. His wife was pregnant and the time of delivery had come. But the baby was not coming out. When doctor told this to Mullah Nasserudin, he ran to the market, bought a toy, and kept that toy in front of her wife. He said, “After all this is my child, so he will surely come out with greed”. Whole our life we keep on running behind things with the hope of getting something. We keep on looking for some kind of profit. How would such person experience happiness? Neither does a greedy person get happiness nor does a person who is bombarded with too many desires. The one who relaxes in his consciousness, is happy. One who is centered, experiences the true happiness. I am not saying there is no happiness in the outer world, but the happiness you get when you go within is incomparable. The world is running in search of happiness. The body gets baked, the mind gets baked, the intellect gets deluded but still we keep on getting stuck in the same repetitive cycle. When you meet the Guru, you come to know that you are the source of happiness. Then the mind calms down, and you realize that you are the one in whose search you kept on running here and there.

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