Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dearest Gurudev, it is possible to restore trust in a relationship after a partner cheats? How to get past a cheating partner?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I can tell you one thing, suppose you were in your partner’s place and you made a mistake; not willingly but unknowingly, or due to some compulsion. If your partner does not forgive you and holds it against you, how would you feel?
Get into your partners place and see. If you were the person who made that mistake, and your partner is not forgiving you, would you feel okay, or would you beg your partner to give you one more chance? This is good enough for you to take a clue.
You expect your partner to be an enlightened person. You expect him to behave in an enlightened way. This is expecting too much from your side. If they have made a mistake once or twice, you should forgive them and give them another chance. This is why spiritual knowledge and the spiritual path is so essential for someone to grow in integrity and in honesty. Without this there cannot be honesty. 
If they have made a mistake, your bigness is in forgiving them, you should not make someone feel guilty all the time. If they have done some mistake, you should say, ‘Never mind, forget it! Let us move on'. But we don't do that, instead what do we do?We walk with a finger pointed towards them, which says, ‘You did it!’ Then how can they be friendly with you?
Nobody wants to cheats anyone, it is a temptation or a craving for something more that drives a person to do unethical things. Your soul does not stop until it finds itself, until it finds the ocean of joy. Until then, it keeps going for something more, thinking, ‘I may get something here’. This is what drives a person.

Gurudev, India is growing richer day by day. We are getting technologically strong and we have a global representation but at the same time our culture and spirituality is becoming weak. When we talk to people about spirituality they say it has to be done after 60 years of age. Is there a way to create awareness among the people?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
We have designed a program for the youth, it is called ‘Youth Empowerment Seminar’. Just tell people to do this ‘Happiness Workshop’ Or the ‘Youth Empowerment Seminar’ and you will see how they enjoy it. It is not for people of 60 years of age. It is for young people who have a hope for a bright future. The program gives them hope, energy and enthusiasm.
One thing I want to tell you. Unfortunately Bangalore has been labeled as the suicide capital of India. The maximum number of suicides has been taking place and it is a shame on all of us. So today, on this Independence day, let us all take a vow to work against suicide.
At The Art of Living, we have created a happiness survey with just eight to nine questions. You should all take this survey and you should also get the people in your neighborhood and on the streets to take this survey. It takes only five minutes to find out if people are happy or not, and if they are not happy why they are not happy.
From this we will make a data bank and we will know the main reason why people are not happy and what we can do to bring them happiness. That responsibility we will all take, you only fill the survey form.
Those who have suicidal tendencies, we will give enroll them into our program. I have seen thousands of youths who have come out of suicidal tendencies around the world after doing our program. And we do it in a more intense way here at Bangalore.
If we do the happiness survey we will know what is the cause of depression, and how we can get them out of it.
As I was coming to Bangalore on the first of this month, a lady came to me and said that her son tried to commit suicide that morning. A young good looking boy of 24 year old. I said, 'Just bring him to the three days happiness program and then you will see that he will be smiling, laughing and completely transformed'.
I tell you that there are millions of such examples. When we have something in our hands by which we can change people’s tendencies of depression and suicidal attitude we must do it. Let us all join together and do the happiness survey.

Gurudev, I have heard that we are enlightened until we realize it. What is the meaning of getting enlightened then? Is it just a realization?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, that is why it's called Pratya Bhigya which means Realizing.
See the elephant that is here does not know its power. With great love, he holds your hand with his trunk and pulls you. He doesn’t know that he can break the person’s hand whom he is pulling. For him it’s a play. In the same way, we do not realize our inner potential. We think we are just this body mind complex with a few emotions, some little thoughts, little likes and dislikes. The truth is that we are much beyond these things, and that is why enlightenment is like the peeling of it.
The word enlightenment is used so many times, that is why it is so confusing. Enlightenment is simply the peeling off layers and becoming hollow and empty. Get to that spot where you feel absolute comfort and absolute freedom. That is liberation, that is nirvana, that is self-realization, that is yoga, and that is unity. You can call it by so many names. And too much reading also confuses you about it. That’s why I say be natural, be simple. Read a few words, or a few sentences and let that knowledge sink inside.
Just take the five principles of Yama
1. Ahimsa (non-violence)
2. Satya (truth)
3. Asteya (non stealing)
4. Brahmacharya (celibate)
5. Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)
Even if you take the above five, or just one of the above, let us say Ahimsa. Then see,am I being on the path of Ahimsa? Let me adopt non-violence in my life. Immediately you will see all the tension, and aggression simply dissolves. Your relationships improve.
Then truth: am I truthful to myself? I tell you, if you are honest and truthful to yourself, you will get enormous strength. And when you are strong then anger disappears. Anger comes only when you are feeling weak. When you feel strong then whatever you wish for and what you want, will happen. This confidence will come in you.
Then the five Niyamas
1. Shaucha (cleanliness)
2. Santosha (happiness)
3. Tapas (penance)
4. Swadhyaya (introspection)
5. Ishwara pranidana (surrendering to the divine)
These are so beautiful:
Shaucha: I want to be clean from inside and outside. Whenever you feel dirty from inside, then there is something wrong. So cleanse yourself and do do some pranayama and kriya, and then you will be out of it.
Sadhana gives you so much benefit. You feel clean from inside, you mind gains more focus. All this leads you to joy, SantoshaCome what may, I am not going to lose my happiness. This one determination in you and life changes.

Q: Gurudev, For any issue in this country people are not taking a hard stance. People are not listening to others views. We see a society which is fragmented. Please guide on how we can move forward united.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
There is only one way, and that is to improve communication between people. We teach people all other things but we don’t teach them how to communicate. We don't teach communication even in schools or colleges. Nowhere do we learn communication skills when it is absolutely essential.
In Kannada literature it is said that your words can bring you wealth, your words can bring laughter and humor, and your words can bring you problems as well. So we need to educate our kids how to communicate.
There is a lot to be done in the education sector. We need to turn it around. Education has become just stuffing of some information into the young minds. The current education system does not develop the personality of the kids per say and this is what we need to do now. We need to develop the personalities of the young people because information is easily available now.

Q: Gurudev, India is known for the age old science of Ayurveda, what is the way forward to make it global?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
First we start using it here. The world has already started recognizing Ayurveda.
I want to share with you one incident that happened in 1980. I had organized a meeting of Ayurvedic doctors and doctors of modern medicine in New Delhi. It was in Vasant Vihar and there were about 50 to 60 doctors on each side. As the conference was going on, the discussion of turmeric came up, and I vividly remember this discussion of turmeric. All the allopathic doctors said that turmeric has no value, it is just a pigment. They dismissed the Ayurvedic doctors who said that turmeric is a vayosthapan, which means it arrests ageing, and it creates the more ojus (vitality) in your system. This is what the Ayurvedic doctors kept saying but the allopathic doctors said that it is all total nonsense.
Today allopathy has recognized that the turmeric does the job of 19 life saving drugs including cancer. Turmeric is an anti-viral agent if you have viral fever. Usually allopathic doctors say that there is no medicine for viral fever, just take some fresh turmeric with fresh lime, and that will do.
In India, we make pickles of turmeric, ginger and lemon, and this is the best. Turmeric is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and an antioxidant. It does the work of aspirin, it is blood thinner, and it stops blood coagulation. It does the work of 19 important life saving drugs.
In our tradition, on any auspicious event, the first thing what we buy is turmeric and then we buy clothes and other things. I remember when we got new clothes my grandmother used to put a little turmeric at the corner of the cloth. If it is a new cloth put some turmeric at the corner. Turmeric is given so much importance in our country and today.
Ayurveda is the medicine of the 21st century. Of course not all Ayurvedic preparations which people do are hygienic or scientific in nature. We must not ignore science, but along with science we must take Ayurveda.

Q: Gurudev, Genetic engineering has many benefits in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, nutrition and different other aspects. The intention encompasses a noble cause to help the poor and I would like to have your opinion on this.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
When genetic engineering is banned in many countries, why should we invite them here? When it is banned in Canada, when Europe has banned it, when USA has banned it then why should India be open to it?
Second point is, experiments are okay, but we should first look into the pros and cons of doing it on a mass scale. Without that we should not step into something which will cause us to regret later. We have done that with the BT cotton and you know the consequences that followed it. It is very serious.
For your information, the employees of Monsanto (An agrochemical company) went on strike and said that they wanted food to be GMO free in their canteen. This says a lot.

Q: Gurudev, Beloved Guruji, I have been practicing to give a percentage of my income to uplift the society for the last twenty years. Would you please elaborate on the idea and power of charity as a spiritual practice? Love and Gratitude!

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Ya ya, giving something back to the society is very important. You know, there is a proverb that says, “Rice is purified by a drop of ghee on it, the money is purified with charity”. Rice or any food, starch or carbohydrates quickly gets digested, but it takes a little longer to digest that if it has a little bit fat. Then there is less chance of you getting diabetic or heart problems. So, a cardiologist said, “it is necessary to have a little fat in carbohydrates so that it becomes complex to digest it”.
In the same way the money gets purified by charity. When you give a portion of what you have earned for a good cause then the rest of the money that you have is pure money. Similarly, the mind becomes pure by meditation, body get pure by bathing, by a shower; mind becomes pure by prana, pranayama and meditation; Intellect becomes purer by knowledge, by wisdom. See, what we are listening make us pure. There is something that happens in you when you are listening to knowledge or read Yoga Vasistha. Right? You listen to Ashtavakra and that wow sprouts from within. Knowledge makes the intellect pure. And life becomes pure when there is dedication.

Q: Gurudev, I am 21 year old girl in the second year in the college. I find Starbucks more interesting than visiting temples. How can I cultivate an interest in Gods?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You cannot cultivate an interest in God, just relax. Know that it is already there. When you try to cultivate it, it becomes a pressure on your mind. So don't try to cultivate it.
How long you can sit in Starbucks? When there is an examination, or when there is some problem, you automatically go to the temple. Or if you just pass a temple, automatically your head bows down. When there is uncertainty or insecurity in your life, or when you desire for a higher rank, or some prizes to come to you, you will run to the temple automatically. In moments of need and in moments when you feel so grateful you will always remember a greater power and at that time prayer happens.
Prayer is a happening and it happens on two occasions:
1. When you feel so grateful then prayer happens. In moments when you feel that you just got saved, at that time you don’t say Starbucks. When you get saved from an accident you say, ‘Thank God’. When you are saved from a mishap the first thing you remember is 'Rama'. Or immediately the words 'Om Namah Shivaya' comes out.
2. When you want something then too prayer happens. When you are in a running race or when you have applied for a job, do you pray to Starbucks to get you the job? No! You automatically remember a higher power when you need help. That is quite natural for anybody, even the most proclaimed atheist.
Atheism is very superficial. It is very tough to become a true atheist. If you are a true atheist you will become a true spiritualist as well at the same time, simultaneously.

Q: Gurudev, Is this conspiracy theory of the new world order true? Are people’s minds being controlled by chemical or biological agents?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
There are many conspiracy theories, and if you read some of them they will appear absolutely shocking and may be very true. But I tell you don’t be paranoid. Do not pollute your mind with all these conspiracy theories. Of course the pharmaceutical industry has a big lobby and we know very well that many of the pharmaceutical products are not too good for human consumption yet they are pushed through. So, we need to be cautious about this.

Q: Gurudev, The new government has put a lot of emphasis on skilled development. What can we do to enhance skills?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, skilled training is separate, and The Art of Living is also doing it. Get in touch with our SSRDP (Sri Sri Rural Development Program), we have many teachers who are training the youths on handling electronic equipment, so that if anything goes wrong, they know how to repair it. We need to teach these things them.

Q: Gurudev, As a house wife, how can I play a role as a nation builder?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, women should stand up. Even if you are a house wife, stand up. You have equal rights, and you have great responsibilities. Never feel you are weak, you are empowered, you must do and you can do many things.
Keep aside one hour every day for serving the nation. Women love talking, you should go and talk to the people on the streets, in the slums, and to the under privileged people. Go in groups to these areas where there are underprivileged people and sit with them, talk to them, and give them some solace. Just by talking you can reduce the burden and worries of many people. You can bring down their tension.
Instead of just sitting and talking about movies and fashion, or jewelry, why don’t you go and give some solace to people who are suffering. You can contribute a lot. I see many ladies here who are doing such great work in old age homes.

Q: Gurudev, How can we promote other sports other than cricket in India? India seems to be stuck with cricket.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, so many people stand and watch only two people playing. In that sense I think soccer is most engaging game, everybody is active on the field. Though cricket increases your alertness, you have to be alert to catch the ball at any time.
We should promote our Indian games like Kho Kho, Kabbadi, etc. Our village games are very good, so we should encourage them.

Gurudev, why are all the famous temples of our country constructed on top of a hill or a mountain? Why have they made it so difficult to reach the temple?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, there is a scientific reason behind constructing the temple on top of a mountain. When you climb or walk such a great distance, your blood circulation greatly improves and the pace of your breath also changes. It becomes sort of like doing pranayama. When you climb the great distance to reach the temple of Vaishno Devi (a temple in Jammu and Kashmir dedicated to the Mother Divine, situated at a great height), then you feel you have done a lot of pranayama in reaching the main temple. The moment you reach the temple after walking so much, your mind instantly becomes empty and you go into a meditative state. When the mind becomes empty, then any wish or desire that you have at that time instantly manifests. This is a great secret.
When you finish doing the Sudarshan Kriya, then at the end your mind becomes so empty and at the same time, such happiness dawns from within. You feel so strong and energetic. When all this happens, then any sincere wish or desire that you have starts to manifest and come true. How many of you here have had this experience that whatever you wish for starts to happen? (Many in the audience raise their hands) See! When you do pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and meditation, then any wish in your mind immediately gets fulfilled. Isn’t it so? You never have to cry or strain yourself for getting anything. Whatever you wish for starts happening. So, do not wish for small trivial things in life. Wish for something big that will benefit everybody.

Does contentment come after indulgence or without indulging (the senses)?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 
Contentment comes with an elevation of your consciousness. It is a higher experience. It comes when you do not dwell on something again and again. That is why in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Maharishi Patanjali answers the question, 'How to get Vairagya(dispassion)?', by saying, 'Drishtanu shravikavishaya vitrush’asya vashikara sanjna vairagyam'.
If you keep focusing your mind on all that you have seen, all that you have heard, etc., then you will only get more of that.
In the Bhagavad Gita also, Lord Krishna says, 'Dhyayato vishayan pumsah sangas-teshupajayate. Sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodho 'bhijayate'. Krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrti-vibhramah. Smrti-bhramshad buddhi-nasho buddhi-nashat pranashyati'. (2.62 & 2.63)
It means: If you keep thinking about food the whole day, then the moment you see food the more you will want to eat, even though you are not hungry. It is only because your mind is dwelling on it. The capacity of our senses to enjoy is limited, but the hunger in the mind is unlimited. When there is disproportion between the mind and the body, there is disharmony.
The needs of the mind and the body are different. If the mind and the body are not in harmony and sync with each other, then it causes a great imbalance. It causes huge embarrassment, and a host of problems follow. These disorders like Bulimia, etc., are the result of all this. So, for contentment the first thing to do is to put a brake on the mind. You have to first decide that you want to put a brake to this (habits or tendencies of the mind). And then, to counter what follows, you have to give it some substitute.
For example, someone has a habit of smoking, and you make them give up smoking. They cannot immediately give it up, you need to offer them some substitute for the smoking. And the best substitute is Sadhana (different pranayamas etc.) By doing sadhana, a different kind of joy rises within. That is what is called Pratyahara.
When the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Art of Living were happening, Mr. Prasanna and Commodore Rao were active on the field the whole day. They did not have food, they did not sleep. They were working day and night. Other teams too were working very hard. Swami Pragyapadji and others in the Ashram were putting in their heart and soul in the event, because their only goal was to ensure that this particular event has to happen very well. They were putting in their 100% at all times, and did not think about anything else. There was only one thing on their mind and that was that this event has to be finished successfully.
So many times, a deadline for your work brings a different kind of energy from within you. At that time nothing else matters. No sense gratification is an issue then. When there is a dedication in life to do some work, or when there is an emergency to get something done, then all your energies are automatically channelized in the fulfilment of that work. All cravings and aversions simply get subdued automatically. Now you cannot have that all the time. But having a goal or a cause from time to time will help you come out of your hunger for insatiable desires. So, by being one-pointed towards a task or a goal through the help of your Viveka (sense of discrimination) helps.
The second thing that helps here is Sadhana (spiritual practices). And greater than these two is the state of being in utter love. When you are so deeply soaked in love, then you simply do not bother for anything else. In that state, following rules and discipline also does not feel like a burden to us, because our love and dedication is focused towards a goal.

Gurudev, it is said that the meaning of Rudra is one who cries or howls. Is this correct?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, there are many meanings associated with Rudra. Yes, this is one of the many meanings of the word Rudra – meaning one who makes someone cry. See, any change makes you cry. There are many other deeper meanings to this, but we will take it up some other time.

Q: Gurudev, What are the five things that the youth should do to make India unstoppable?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You want only five things, I have twenty five things.
1. The youngsters today should be proud of their roots. If they are not proud of their roots then that will show up as a weakness in their personality. So take pride in your roots, then your self esteem will go up.
If you have a good self esteem then you can do anything in the world. In India, many people suffer from a lack of self esteem.
2. Stay away from intoxicants.
The province of Punjab has been destroyed by drugs from across the border. It is a sad thing. The youth don’t want to do anything because they are so addicted to drugs. Not just the province of Punjab but the same is in Kerala as well. I had a delegation of youth who came and met me couple of days ago. He was telling me how drugs have taken root in Kerala, in Mumbai and in Bangalore. It is unbelievable. We must chuck the intoxicants. I request the youth to stay away from all types of intoxicants. Drugs and alcohol de-addiction is a must for a progressive country.
3. Engage yourself in some form of social activity, at least for one hour a day. Give one hour to the nation.
4. Do some random acts of kindness.
5. For the youth, this is the time to improve your talents. This is the time to be creative and multi-dimensional. You have to be multi-talented. Though you may pursue one line of education do not ignore to equip yourself with others skills. You may be studying for engineering, but also learn some cooking. Suppose you don’t get an engineer job at least you can cook somewhere.
When I was a youth like you, I use to think, what else can I do, thought I was anyway going to do spirituality. So I used to put my hand everywhere. Even if you are not a master it is good to be a jack of all trades. That can at least explore your ability to be a multi-faceted personality. So it is very important to improve your personality by engaging yourself in many areas.

Q: Gurudev, Is spirit of enquiry most important or dispassion?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
When you watch television, what is important, seeing or hearing?
Be natural. Don’t sit with too many concepts. Free the freedom. Don’t burden yourself with too much understanding. Too much analysis is as bad as no analysis at all. Take the middle path.
You need to breathe in, that is passion. You need to breathe out, that is dispassion. Both are essential. You can’t say I only want dispassion. What do you want dispassion for? There is something in you which is beyond dispassion.
Dispassion is breathing out. Why should one breathe out? So that you can take a breath in again. Why are you breathing in? So that you can breathe out again. So, in life, all three are needed: passion, dispassion and compassion.

Gurudev, what actions should a person do to increase his paatrata (the ability to receive Grace or blessings)?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 
Just having the intention to increase one’s paatrata itself does half the job. When this desire arises, then one also understands one’s shortcomings and can make efforts to overcome them. That too happens by itself, just by having this sincere intention.
The most important thing to achieve this is to be natural and simple, and to be humble.One should have humility from within, then you will see that paatrata naturally increases.
Also, do not have this fixed thought in your mind that everything that happens in life happens according to one’s paatrata. It is not always so. Sometimes even a less deserving person also gets good things. It is just a matter of poor timing.
For example, there was a chief minister in our country who met with an accident and was in a coma for six months. Despite that he did not resign and continued to rule, though he was in a coma.
There is a chief minister of a particular province in India who has Dementia. Do you know what Dementia is? It is a brain disorder in which a person becomes forgetful. A person who has Dementia forgets people and things. So though he is the chief minister, he does not do any work. It is his secretary who does all his work, and he just sits there on the chair. He speaks whatever the secretary writes and gives to him. He does not remember anything by himself.
Then, there is another chief minister who becomes furious at the drop of a hat. He gets angry just by seeing the rustling of leaves in the wind. We have such people in the administration. Such people become the chief ministers in our country, when they should be in a mental hospitals instead and get themselves treated (laughter).
So you have only two options. One is to see that everything is a play of Karma. The less-deserving person also must have done some good deeds in the past, because of which he is reaping the merits now. Either you see it as the play of time, or you can go on thinking about it and make yourself weak. Then you will also become shaky and will stray from the path of truth. Or you will feel dejected and think, 'Oh! What good did I get by following the path of the truth? I too should adopt some crooked ways like this to get what I want in life'.
I will tell you a secret. If you think like that and adopt the same wrong ways, you will sink even deeper in misery and suffering.
Suppose you see that a man is prospering by stealing from others, and you think that you too should do the same to become rich. I tell you, he will still escape the hands of law but you will get caught and have to suffer the punishment for it. It is because such wrong actions are not in your nature. If such wickedness was in your nature, you would never come to Satsang and listen to this knowledge from me.
If you are sitting here listening to knowledge, then it means that wickedness is not in your nature. It is not there in your DNA at all. Maybe that other man must have earned some merits from his past good actions, due to which he would be managing to escape. But if you do the same thing, you will surely get stuck.

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

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

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