Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gurudev, if the same person keeps annoying me again and again, how do I deal with him without getting angry?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Did you ask him if he is also annoyed by you? Go and ask him how annoyed he feels because of you.
See, these things are always two sided. And if someone is annoying, what can you do? Some people are like that! No matter how many times you try to make them understand, they just do not understand. So what is point of losing your peace of mind by getting angry at them. That is not a very intelligent thing to do.
You explain to them again and again, yet they just do not listen. To top it off, they even misuse the knowledge. They will use knowledge to their advantage. What can you do with such people? Even I don't know (laugher). Be as patient as you can!
Also, there are some people who will cause you to change your nature as well. However hard you try to live in peace, they will act in such a way that you will end up getting angry.
In such a situation, save your mind at any cost, and pray to God to either give them some sense, or some punishment.

Gurudev, what is Pitr? And what is Pitr lok?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
After leaving the physical body, the place where soul departs to isPitr Loka.
These lokas are present here only. It is like TV channels. If you change a channel on the television, that does not mean the other channel disappears. It is still there, but you just can't see it.
Similarly, we can see only this dimension, but there are other dimensions also that are present here, which we cannot see.
The mind is like a television box, and the soul is where we have all the channels. This is so interesting.
You know, it is so mind-boggling, there are so many layers to this creation; one layer is of human life, another layer is of the departed souls, another layer is of the deities (everything happens from this layer). Then there is the layer of the Gandharva (the realm of music).
Any renowned musician you meet, they have a Gandharva soul attached to them.
Like this, the creation has many layers.

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).

Gurudev, are love and devotion the same? What should I do if the person whom I love betrays my trust?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Even then be grateful to God.
What good is the faith that shakes? Faith is that which remains firm even during tough times. Suppose you place your trust in someone and got betrayed. Then just remind yourself that it is all a play of the Divine. Think that God wanted to make you learn some important lesson, and so he came in this person’s form to your life.
So just see the situation with this understanding.
Why am I saying this? See, in the end, it is all one consciousness which assumes different forms and different ways to teach us something important in life. So have this understanding and just move ahead.
Do not go looking for faults in others. If you do so, then you will find numerous flaws even in all the avatars (incarnations of the Divine).
You will find flaws with Narasimha Avatar (a fierce incarnation of Lord Vishnu as half-man, half-lion); the Vamana Avatar (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a young Brahmin boy seeking alms). In Lord Parshurama you will see so many flaws. You will also find faults with Lord Rama. And don’t even ask about Lord Krishna! (Laughter)
If you get stuck in this habit of finding flaws, then you will find flaws and shortcomings everywhere and in every person.
To improve one’s understanding, our Puranas (sacred Hindu scriptures of mythology) have linked even flaws and shortcomings with some or the other form of Divinity. So in the Puranas, you find stories in which even the ever-blissful Lord Shiva gets angry; Devi Parvati (a form of the Mother Divine) also gets angry, and the ever-smiling Lord Vishnu too becomes sad and dejected.
So our Puranas have shown all these flaws and distortions in the deities also, to make you understand that Divinity is truly all-encompassing, and even flaws or shortcomings are an aspect of the Divine.
Be it perfection or shortcomings - there is nothing beyond the Divine. So the Puranashave portrayed even the deities with a few flaws, to make you capable of accepting such things with ease, rather than getting entangled with it.
Divinity is all-encompassing and beyond all attributes – whether good or bad. That is why when we worship the Mother Divine, we say, 'Prakratim vikratim vidhyam'. It means that both good qualities and their distortions are in the Mother Divine.
This is how our scriptures have mentioned about the Divine. This (understanding of duality) is a step towards the Advaita Siddhanta (the philosophy of Non-duality of the Divine).
The Advaita philosophy is the highest of all, and it is also the essence of everything that exists. It says that everything is one and everything arises from that One Divinity only, so that you do not forget the totality of Divinity, or misunderstand the Divine in any way.
Our wise sages have described the aspects of Divinity in a very beautiful manner. This is why even flaws have been given a rightful place and have been shown as an aspect of the Divine.
All the six distortions that we know – anger, greed, lust, jealousy, attachment, false pride and delusion – are represented through various deities, to only strengthen your faith in the Divine. The wise sages did this to pave a path for you to move forward towards the Divine.

Gurudev, I am very troubled thinking about all the karmas of my past life. Please advise and guide me.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just know that the seeds of all such karmas of the past lives get burnt once you come here. So just relax and be happy.
Suppose you have a house that has been locked away for a 100 years. Now you will ask, 'O Gurudev, how can one remove the darkness of 100 years in just a day?'
I tell you, the moment the lamp of knowledge has been lit in your heart, all the darkness (of ignorance and negativity) vanishes away in an instant. In the same way, the seeds of all your past karmas burn away as you go deeper and deeper into Self-knowledge.
When you realize with awareness that 'I am not this body, I am the eternal spirit', any negative effects of your past karmas will simply disappear without affecting you.

Q: Gurudev, How do we know what our capabilities are and how can we enhance them?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, sometimes we become aware of our own capabilities, and sometimes we come to know about them when someone else speaks about them, or when we hear about it from some third person.
For quite some time, Lord Hanuman was not aware of his strengths too. Someone had to tell him that he was endowed with so much strength and so many abilities.
Sometimes we also get to know about our capabilities from others.
Now, what should you do to know more about them? When you think, 'I am able to do only this much', then just take one step further and see for yourself how you fare. Do not stop by thinking, 'I am not able to do this'.
Just think, 'Let me see how much more can I do', and take one more step ahead.
Yoga is what helps enhance and sharpen one’s capabilities. Yoga is not limited to doing Yogasanas and Pranayamas. Yoga means to unite totally with what you are doing; to become one with the Divine.
All these (yoga) practices enhance our capacity and capabilities. How many of you here felt that ever since you came on the path of Sadhana, your qualities and capabilities have increased much more? (Many in the audience raise their hands) Do you see a difference between what you used to do earlier and what you are doing now? When you came to the path of knowledge, your capability increased, isn’t it? That is what it is.

Gurudev, everything in the world is natural - the good and the bad. Then why are we always trying to convert the bad into good?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Because that is also part of our nature.

People are being born, and people die, then why do you need to save anybody from dying? Close down all the hospitals, shut down all the services. Anyways people die, what is the point? How does it matter if they die a little earlier or sometimes later? Sooner the better. This type of logic doesn’t hold good.
Our nature is to help. Our nature is to bring light. Our nature is to bring comfort to others, and make everyone feel happy. We can’t be in anyway different from that.

If you ask alum, 'Why do you clean the water?' It will say, 'It is in my nature'.

If you ask Sun, 'Why do give light to people?' It will say, 'That is my nature'.

If you ask a star, 'Why you twinkle in sky? It doesn’t help anybody'. It will say, 'That it is in my nature, to twinkle'.

So it is our nature to help others, and to bring comfort to life.
Every individual is in search of happiness. Even people who are doing bad things, are doing it in search of happiness. It is just that they don’t know that they won’t get it.
If they knew that they won't get happiness by doing bad things, they would never do it.
They are doing all the wrong things simply because they do not know that they won’t be able to get happiness out of it.

So it is our job to make them aware, 'See, if you keep doing all these wrong things, you are only going to get more miserable. It is better that you do good things, then you will be happy'.

Gurudev, if I do not do sadhana, seva and satsang, are you still with me?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes! However you are, I am always with you.
But the real question is, will you always be with me?
See, if you do sadhana then I am already with you, and you with me (referring to the union through the medium of sadhana).
Now if you like me, and you want to be with me, you will do at least a little bit of sadhana to be with me (through the medium of sadhana).
Sit quiet for a little while every day, do some meditation.

Gurudev, is it good when young people leave everything and become full time Art Of Living teachers. Isn't that neglecting family responsibilities?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
It is case to case actually. If someone’s parents are into business, I do encourage the children to join the business, and take it further. But if some of them are doing small jobs and are not satisfied, and if they have the zeal and enthusiasm of doing something big, then I would tell them to travel around the world and teach, and gain a better personality. And all their needs will anyways be met.
I don't easily encourage people to become full time teachers. I usually tell them to get permission from their parents, and if the parents are okay, then it is fine.

Being a full time Art Of Living teacher is not a difficult thing. It is not about undergoing severe penance, or walking through forests, or shaving your head and eating only once a day.

Being an Art of Living teacher is a very respectable position. In fact, it is more respectable than many of the other professions that people take. Art Of Living teacher do good for the society, and for that they are definitely rewarded.

Gurudev, you say 'Accept People As They Are', but my husband drinks a lot and troubles the whole family. What to do?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Even I am wondering what to do.
So much is going on because of alcoholism. It has ruined the lives of millions of people. Millions of families are troubled because of alcoholism.
You bring him here. We will get him intoxicated in a different manner. When this intoxication happens, then others will be cured.

Dear Gurudev, in my daily life I catch myself breathing very slowly and deeply. In this state it is hard for me to do physical work, or get connected to the situation in hand. Please advice.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Do some yoga and do some exercises. Very shallow breath is good while you’re meditating but not while you’re in activity.

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