Monday, September 29, 2014

Gurudev, in the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says that among the months of the year I am the Margashirsha month (corresponding to the period from the third week of November to the third week of December). Please explain.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, in our country, every month of the calendar has been associated with some event and so each month has its own importance. There is also a special month called the Purushottama Maasa (literally meaning the month of Lord Vishnu) that is considered very special and important by the devotees of Lord Vishnu.
Devotees of Lord Shiva consider Shraavan to be most important. Devotees of the Mother Divine consider the months of Chaitra and Sharad (autumn) to be important. The festival of Navaratri is celebrated in the month of Sharad. So every month has its own significance and importance.
In our country we do not have a single school of thought or tradition when it comes to spirituality. There are so many sacred Puranas and scriptures, and each scripture prescribes something different and unique for each month of the year. But the essence of it all is that one should honour Time and give it due importance. Do not waste it unnecessarily on eating and drinking, or in useless gossip.
The message is that Time is sacred. Consider time as a Prasaad (a sacred offering) from the Divine.

Gurudev, are you an Avataar of Lord Shiva or Lord Krishna? I have been asking myself this question for a long time, so please remove my confusion.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Have you read the Bhagavad Gita? I would say that first you read the Gita. It is not enough to read it once. You must read it again and again. Lord Krishna says, 'Wherever you see any divinity, that is a part of Me and Me alone'. He says that I am present everywhere, in the plants, in trees. I am the strength of the strong, I am the magnificence and glory of the radiant ones. There is nothing beyond Me in this creation'.

Q: Gurudev, Why is Lord Shiva called Bholenath?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Lord Shiva is bhola (innocent) so He is called Bholenath (meaning the innocent One). He is easily pleased, and gives a boon to anyone who asks Him with love, and then He Himself gets caught into trouble (when the seeker of the boon misuses it or uses it against the Lord Himself). He innocently gives a boon to anybody who meditates upon Him, be it a demon or a demigod. He gives them whatever they want, that is why He is known as Bholenath.
Another meaning is when you become bhola (innocent from within) then He is yourNath (Lord or Master). You must have heard the saying, 'Bhole Bhav Mile Raghurai'. It means that when you become innocent and pure from within, that very moment you become one with Divinity.

Gurudev, when death is the ultimate truth of life, then why does one take the guidance of astrology?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Are you asking this for yourself or for somebody else? If you are asking for yourself then just become aware that all of us are going to die, for sure. The important thing is that while we live, we shall be happy and have fun in all that we do.
While man is alive, he usually gets entangled in thinking, 'Oh, what will happen to me? What if there are some difficulties tomorrow? How will I be happy?'
This urges him to acquire wealth for a sense of security. The main aim of life is to be happy and comfortable with what we have, but often the path one takes brings misery instead of happiness. This is utter foolishness.
So what does an intelligent person do? An intelligent person knows for sure that God is with them, God loves them and belongs to them, so they don’t need to worry about anything. This feeling of deep faith gives them confidence. This is the secret of confidence. So they are able to do and achieve what they want.
See, if you are in the driving seat then you can turn the car in whichever direction you want, and spirituality gives you that strength to go where you want to. Hasn’t this happened for you? How many of you here have experienced that whatever you wish for starts happening? (Many in the audience raise hands in agreement).
This is the magic of being in knowledge, of having tasted the nectar of the spiritual path.
What is the use of behaving like a beggar all the time? There is a saying, 'Ram jharoke baith sabka mujra le' (Meaning: Repose in the faith of the Divine and see everything as a passing event). So when the connection with the Divine happens, no matter where you are, you can achieve and get what you wish for. Whatever blessing you give starts to manifest. Many of you have had this experience. This is the great wealth of spiritual knowledge.
We have such great knowledge with us in this country but many people are not even aware of it. People go to the temple, just break a coconut, give money to the priest to perform Aarti (act of rotating the sacred lamp before the deity) and keep wondering on how to improve their life. They come back home and get stuck again in craving and aversion, criticizing others, belittling others, and getting entangled in feelings of jealousy and greed. They spend their whole life like that.
To improve your life you should find joy in spirituality. Once you find this joy, do not run away from your family responsibilities; stay at home and attend to your family responsibilities also. Balance both so that your spiritual life as well as your family life improves.
This is such beautiful knowledge and this is what we must practice also.

Gurudev, why was this world made?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
It was made for Me! (laughter) And if you ask why are there so many problems made in this world, then I would say they were made for you! (laughter again)
These problems were made so that you don’t get stuck and attached to this world. You get stuck with this world even though there are so many problems. Imagine if there are no problems, then you will never want to leave this material world! Correct?

Q: Gurudev, What is the difference between Spirituality and Astrology?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Well, spirituality is related to the Atma (soul) and astrology is related to planets. Astrology deals with observing the movements of the planets and making calculations related to the events that are yet to happen.
The science of Vastu is related to direction, to space, while astrology is related to time. But the One beyond space and time is Mahadeva (Lord Shiva). That’s why for remedying any ill-effects of Vastu or any of the astrological movement of planets, just pray to Lord Shiva. He is the Lord of all planets and He can move them to favourable positions for your benefit.
(Note: The discourse was given in Hindi. Above is a translation of the original talk.)

Gurudev, you spoke about listening to the Anaahat Naad in silence. But if I try to do that, I feel very awkward as if I have some disorder. Once when I told my doctor about this he said that I must be hearing things and that I have some mental illness.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Relax in the sound that you hear from within. We try to fight with that inner sound, we try and get rid of it. Don’t do that, instead relax with a calm mind in the sound.
For example, the people in Mumbai and Delhi who have homes near the main road, or in New York have a home by the highway hear the sound of heavy vehicles 24 hours in a day. If you go stay there for one night after having stayed in the ashram, neither will you be able to sleep nor will you be at peace, because here you have become so used to sleeping in an quiet peaceful environment. Every five minutes you hear the sharp noise of a vehicle passing by, and not just that, you feel the vibrations also, as if it passing right over your head. Since we are not used to these sounds we keep fighting with them.
In foreign countries, if you have your home near the highway or some main road, then it is very difficult to get some peace there. You lose all your serenity. If someone new goes to live in such a place, they become very uncomfortable and lose their sleep. Without sleep, your entire body becomes shaky and you feel fearful. But those who have been staying there since a long time become habituated to the noise, so they do not have a problem sleeping despite the noise. They sleep very easily, snoring away the whole time, because they have gotten used to it. The same is with the people in Mumbai. . Those who stay near the main road can hear a lot of noise in their house but since they have gotten used to it over time, they are not troubled by the noise.
Similarly a voice arises within us and we think we have some disease. We go to a psychiatrist who gives us a medicine which instead of resolving the problem creates another problem, making it worse than before. So all I am telling you, accept the subtle sound and relax in meditation.
Just imagine that you are gently soaking into the sound. Accept it lovingly and you will see that everything will change.

Q: Gurudev, I’m a teacher of a junior high school. 15 year old girls say we might die tomorrow so we have to enjoy now. So they say alcohol and sex is important. They don’t take care of themselves. What should I do?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This is misplaced knowledge. When anyways you are going to die, why do you have to drink and spoil your health. When anyways you are going to die, why do you have to have sex. Relax, anyways you will die. You can talk the other way around as well.
When kids want to do what they want they will come up with any excuse, any knowledge. Anything they will use as an excuse. You have to educate them. Tell them to forget about all that, they are not going to die tomorrow. They are going to live and they don’t want you to live with sickness. Parents have to educate them.
Bring them here. It’s become difficult all over the world with children getting into sex, drugs, and alcohol. It’s a big challenge. Everyday so many mothers and fathers come and cry to me about how their children are going astray because of bad company. Maybe we should have our own schools everywhere.
As parents you must see that your kids have proper company. Invite all the friends of your kids home and talk some good sense to them. Friends of your kids will listen more to you than your own children, so become a good uncle or aunt. Tell them nice stories, play games together, get them engaged in some service activity. Parents must do all this.

Gurudev, our horoscope is based on our birth time. If the birth time is unknown, does that mean our horoscope is wrong?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
If the timing is correct, interpretation is right. You can never say that it is 100% right. There is a probability of it being 80%-90% correct. And there is always an adrushya (invisible), i.e., an unknown influence. It can happen anytime and that is what is called grace. So grace has the ability to change anything at anytime.
Shastras (scriptures) have their significance.
Like for instance, a boy was born and the father went to the astrologer to show his son's horoscope. The astrologer said that your son is very great. There will be many cars around him all the time around, and he will have the ability to stop anybody at anytime. So the parents thought that their son is going to become a big minister, or the president, and he will be surrounded by a fleet of cars but the son became a policeman. Today of course there are traffic lights which have come, but twenty years ago there were not as many traffic lights but only policemen who direct traffic.
The father came and fought with the astrologer, 'You told me that my son will be surrounded by a fleet of cars, but he has become a policeman'.
The astrologer said, 'See my prediction has come true even now. He is a traffic policeman and he is surrounded by many cars'.
Another astrologer said to someone, 'You will be hit by a bullet in your head'. But what happened one day, the person was wearing a big hat and something did come, but it hit the hat and took the hat away.
So there is a saying in Tamil, 'What came to head went off with my hat'. So a big trouble which would have come, by grace it went away in a small way. So here the scripture is also proved right, but at the same time you were in a right place at the right time.

Q: Gurudev, Speak on longing. Why do I have so much longing?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Longing itself is God. When there is longing for the Divine in the heart, when longing arises in life for God, then one acquires siddhi (extraordinary abilities) in life. Without longing there can be no love, no perfection, no contentment and no playfulness in life. Hence longing is essential in life.
We keep longing for small and trivial material things, but once the longing for God arises then you become a Chakravarti (a term in ancient India used for an emperor who was a sovereign and whose chariot could go anywhere without any opposition or hindrance).

Q: Gurudev, Silence, music and logic are the three essential ingredients you have spoken of. How does logic relate to knowledge or consciousness?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Logic is essential. If you see an idol of Goddess Saraswati, she is sitting on solid rock. She has a book in one hand which is logic. In the others, she has rosemary beads for meditation and veena (a musical instrument). Logic, music, mauna (silence) are all essential for total development of consciousness. Knowledge is logical understanding of existence.

Q: Gurudev, What should be the role of an entrepreneur in taking India forward?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Entrepreneurship should grow many fold and so plan for it. Also it is important not to forget to do your CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). Definitely you can be a part of the inclusive growth if you participate in CSR activities. Don't do it just because it is a law and you have to do it, but do it willingly with all your heart.
If the law says that you have to contribute 3% and that is mandatory, why don’t you put 4% or 5%. If you add that 1% more it will show your commitment towards the country.
Competition is very good but in competition there should be no bitterness. And how can you have competition yet no bitterness? With spirituality. Spirituality gives you that inner confidence and tranquility that helps you to be competitive yet not cunning or unethical in your attitude and behavior.

Q: Gurudev, You have talked about hidden meanings behind symbols in Hinduism which seem to be very illogical. Could you please talk about many crores of devtas

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Crore, Koti means types. 33 crores means 33 types of divine impulses. In our body also there are 33 types of divine impulses. In our genes also there are 33 types. A particular type makes the eye, a particular type makes the nose, and like that a particular type makes eardrums, hair, nails. Like this there are 33 rays of divinity. One light, one God, one Parmatma but there are 33 aspects. Devas are the 33 different aspects of divinity. Here crore is not referred to as a number. Divine has no form but ancient saints have said you can adore him in any form or names. All the thousand names belong to God only. This is very deep science or deep knowledge. It’s amazing. When you go more and more deep into this, then you feel wow. People who have discovered this and written this have simply stupendous knowledge. The universe is not so simple. It’s very complex. Modern physics also says that deeper and deeper there are so many different type of particles. So the diverse universe and the divinity which manages, rules and has made this diverse universe is devta. The English name David is a Sanskrit word. Dev + vid, dev means divinity, vid means to know. David means one who knows the divinity. Divinity is not somewhere up in the heaven. It is present in the world, universe, everywhere. And it has to be realized that when the mind is calm, serene and settled in our heart and when emotion and intellect merge into a serene blend in silence, then you are able to perceive the subtle reality of Universe and that is devta.

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