Friday, October 17, 2014

Gurudev, I tend to hurt people whom I love and push them away. Why do I do so? I am scared of love now.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Listen, these patterns will change, don’t be scared. If you love somebody, serve them. Don’t latch on to them, don’t police them. Be centered.
You go and tell someone, 'I love you, I love you, I love you'. They say, 'Yes, okay'.
But then what will they do? They don’t know how to respond, so they feel like running away from there.
We should not express our love too much. If you express your love too much, the person to whom you express doesn’t know how to handle it!
If they are enlightened and centered, they can smile and they can take it. If they are not enlightened, they don’t know how to handle the love.
Like people don’t know how to handle anger and hatred, they also don’t know how to handle love. This is the reason why many times people run away.
So, you should be very measured in your expression of love. Got it?
See in the west, they express love too much. And in the east, they don’t express love at all. So it should be somewhere in the middle.
You can’t bury a seed deep in the soil, it will never sprout. In the same way, you can’t keep the seed on top of the soil, it won’t sprout there either. You should take a little mud and sow the seed close to the surface, then it sprouts. Love is also the same. Don’t express it too much and be centered. Always remember that you are love.

Gurudev, when I meditate I am asked to keep leather items away. I am told that Lord Shiva is in Vajarasan on tiger skin, is it so?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Somebody asked me, 'Shiva also drinks alcohol'.
I said, 'First Shiva drank poison (halahal). Can you drink poison? Then we will talk'. Don’t think on these lines. Those days that was the only seat.
In Gita it is written that sit on a deer skin. That means, be natural like a deer.
There are already so few animals. If you kill them to sit in meditation then that it is not correct. They ask to keep leather away because there can be obstruction in flow of energy.

Gurudev, it is said that the relation of the Earth element is with our nose, or smell. Please tell us about the elements and our senses.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, the Earth element is related to smell, and hence the nose.

Water element is related to the taste, or tongue. There is saliva in our mouth, due to this we are able to taste something. So water element is related to taste.

The fire element is related to light or eyes. If someone is having eye problems it is related to the stomach. Stomach suffers and so the eyes suffer. Indigestion affects the eyes. So you will observe that before getting spectacles there is surely some indigestion or some stomach related ailment. This is because the stomach is related to the fire element.

Gurudev, thousands of Art of Living volunteers worked hard to spread voter awareness in the country. So what project to pick up now?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The Happiness program. We all should create waves of happiness.

You know, the sign of a good friend is that after you sit with your friend, you feel uplifted when you leave the friend. Your problems should appear very small. Then that is a good friend.

If you go and sit with somebody, talk to them for half an hour, tell them your problem and when you come out of there, you feel heavy and feel your problem has become much bigger than what you thought, then that is not a good friend.

Gurudev, devotees who visit the Tirupati temple donate their hair as offering at the shrine. Also, in India there is a tradition of shaving off one’s head when a dear one passes away. Why is this so, and what does shaving off one’s head have to do with our mind and our actions?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This is more of a conventional norm that has become a tradition over the years. It is not prescribed as mandatory by our scriptures anywhere.
There are two aspects to any ritual in India. One is that prescribed as a norm or a social convention, the other is that which is mentioned and prescribed elaborately in our scriptures, which becomes tradition and for which the scriptures also narrate the benefits of practicing that particular ritual or practice.
For example, many people wear collared T-shirts. Why is the collar there and what is its purpose? In winters, in the foreign countries, people fold the collar up and protect themselves from the cold, and in the summers, people loosen the collar so they feel a little cool.
The English began this, and slowly everyone else adopted the same style. So it is just a custom, that’s all. There is nothing more to it.

Gurudev, if God is everywhere, why are we told to pray in the prayer room only?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You can pray anywhere, but if you sit and pray in one room you make the vibrations very nice.
You can eat anywhere, you can eat in the verandah, you can eat sitting in the drawing room. But there is a dining hall where you sit on the table, and there is water, there is everything, isn’t it? Like that, when you eat, you have a place to eat. So it is nice to keep a place to sit and pray also.
You can sleep in the living room, you can sleep on the sofa, why do you only go to the bedroom to sleep? Because there is some arrangement. Similarly, in the pooja room there is a little arrangement. There is a lamp burning, there are some flowers kept and you can sit there and do your prayers.

Gurudev, you have talked about Solah Kalas (referring to the sixteen extraordinary abilities or Divine qualities). Which are these and what is their importance?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The word Kala usually refers to the extent by which the moon waxes (or wanes) in one day. So by this understanding, the Moon possesses 16 different Kalas (different phases of the Moon). You can observe this from one Amavasya(No-moon day) to the next Purnima (Full moon day).
So if you count the number of days from one Amavasya to the next Purnima, it turns out to be 16. And the transition from No-Moon to the Full Moon also symbolizes moving from Zero (nothingness) to Fullness.
On the no-moon day you don’t see the moon at all, and on the full moon day you see the complete moon. This does not mean that the Moon is not there on the day ofAmavasya. No, it is still there. So by this understanding, these are called the Solah Kalas. On the day of solar eclipse, for example, the Moon is there but it cannot be seen, that’s all.
So the word Kala is a unit of measure of one’s power, or by what degree one has blossomed or progressed. So, someone may be like a half-moon, someone else may have reached to three quarters of the moon and so on. This was a means of measurement in the ancient days.
In those days, it was said that the life or Prana in a stone is equal to one Kala, the water element is said to have two Kalas. Fire has three Kalas, Vayu (Air element) has four, and the Space or Akash has five. Plants and trees are said to have six Kalas. Animals have seven Kalas. Human beings have eight Kalas.
If it is an extraordinary human being then he is said to have nine Kalas. It is said that Lord Parashurama (one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu) had nine Kalas. They say Lord Rama has 12 Kalas. Lord Hanuman is greater than Him in this regard and is said to have 14 Kalas. That is why he could help Lord Rama. Only a person who is stronger than us can help us.
The Devi (Mother Divine) is called Shodashakala (The One with all 16 Divine qualities or attributes). It means that she possess all divine and noble qualities, and lacks nothing.
Lord Krishna too is said to have all 16 Kalas, which is why He is called as the Solah Kala sampurna or the Purna Avataar.
To have all 16 Kalas means to possess all the 16 qualities or signs attributed to the total blossoming and manifestation of Divinity.
If you see the Devi, on one side she is so beautiful and full of love and grace, but on the other side, she is also Maa Kali (one of her more terrifying and violent manifestations).
She is graceful and serene, but at the same time she also has a terrifying and violent aspect to Her as. Goddess Durga is very terrifying and awe-inspiring, while Goddess Lakshmi is very calm and graceful.
You can see all the opposite aspects of Divinity coming together in the Devi.
The all-bestowing Goddess Lakshmi rides the harmless owl (the mount), and the vanquisher of evil and ignorance, Goddess Durga rides the fierce lion. Just imagine, where would you see both the owl, and the lion!
In the same way Lord Krishna is also said to have possessed all the Solah Kalas. Why is this so? In Lord Krishna, you see the complete and total manifestation of Divinity in every way. He is so complete.
He is the King of thieves. He does not steal small things, he steals away your very mind. That is why He is called as Chita-Chora (the beautiful One who completely captures and steals away the mind).
He is also called as Ranchhodrai (meaning the cowardly one who flees the battlefield) in Gujarat. They say that He ran away from the battlefield in the middle of the war. But on the other side He lifted up the Sudarshan Chakra (the Lord’s divine discus) to defeat Bhishma pitamaha (the grandsire of the Pandavas and the Kauravas in the Mahabharata) . So He is very brave and valiant too.
So, on one side he is very brave and on the other side he is like a coward. One cannot even imagine how complete he is. He is obedient as well, but He is also the one who breaks the rules.
In the Bhagawat, it is mentioned at many places that Lord Krishna is perfect and complete in every possible aspect. That is why it is said that one should not emulate Lord Krishna (Laughter). Follow the path of Lord Rama and listen to Lord Krishna. Don’t walk in the way that Lord Krishna did. If you go and steal the clothes of a lady, you will be in big trouble (jokingly referring to one of the pastimes of the Lord where He steals the clothes of some ladies bathing in the river and hides them on a tree).

Q: Gurudev, Expectations lead to sadness, yet goals are also expectations. I am confused. Please clarify.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Goals are needed.

Set some goal and keep moving in that direction. An aimless life will lead to depression. But when you have a goal, ‘I have to do this. I have to learn this. I have to do this service', then that aim will move life in the right direction.

Expectations reduced joy. You must understand that I don’t mean that you should never expect. Expecting is part of life. We simply need to know, surprises give us more joy.

Gurudev, to walk on the path of Yoga, two things are essential: Practice & Dispassion. How to develop these two separately?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Knowledge takes you towards dispassion, and action results in practice. For practice, we need to do something; we need to do pranayama, meditation, etc. Dispassion happens through knowledge and awareness.
Just wake up and see this again and again – Everything is Nothing.
Before doing anything, there is nothing. After doing anything, there is nothing. So,nothing is really what everything is!
You cannot become a true believer without first being an atheist. It is necessary to be an atheist. So first be an atheist. 
What does it mean to be an atheist? When one does not believe is anything.
When you say, 'I don’t believe in this, I don’t believe in that, I don’t believe in anything. This is all nothing. Whatever I see is all nothing', and you discard everything, then you will be able to see what is.
So you cannot become a true believer without being an atheist in the first place.
That is why in the beginning, don’t believe anything. Don’t believe in anybody’s words. Then, don't believe even in what your mind is saying.
So by negating everything one by one, you arrive at nothing. And when you arrive at nothing, you then realize something, 'Oh! This nothing is everything! 
This is the most beautiful knowledge.
In this way, through total disbelief we reach a place of total belief. From an atheist, you become an enlightened. In fact, only a good atheist can be a good believer.

Q: Gurudev, If being one with nature is the most natural state, then why should one make any effort doing that? We start to identify ourselves with the mind and the body, and that’s why we suffer. But we don't do this on purpose. We grow up and it happens.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, that is correct, that is part of growth.
You know, in a seed, first there is a membrane around the seed. And that is necessary. At a particular time the membrane gives way, so the can sprout. Like that, in life, first the identities come and then you get out of these identities. This is a natural phenomenon.

Gurudev, how to transform thoughts into actions with the same enthusiasm of the thought itself?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Look, don’t sit and think too much. When a thought comes to do something, and there is enthusiasm, then you cannot keep quiet, because that is whatenthusiasm is.
When a thought comes along with enthusiasm, it automatically translate to action, and there is no delay in this.
What is important is, don't be lethargic. If you have a good thought but you are lethargic, then that means there is no enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm itself is the medium that translates thought into action.
This is why, if you want to do something, then instead of doing it alone, do it in a group of two to three people. So even if your enthusiasm goes down, the others will pull your hand and take you forward.
Sometimes, motivation or a push from someone also helps the enthusiasm to go up. So whether it is studies, or some practice, do it as a group of three to four people.
Today, on my way here, I was thinking that we should start some music classes two to three times a week. Whoever wants to learn music, can come here and learn.
Every Saturday and Sunday we can keep classes. How many of you would like to learn music if we do that?
Many of you come here, instead of wasting your time loitering here and there, sit and learn the tabla, harmonium, flute, etc., and keep yourself busy. It is good to learn.
We can also have some classes for learning the Shastras (scriptures); Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, etc. We can hold weekly classes in the Ashram. People should keep learning and doing something.
You should do seva and do this as well. This doesn’t mean that you stop doing seva and just start playing the flute. That is not acceptable. Seva is a must.

Dear Gurudev, my mother and father don’t have peace. How can I help them be friendly.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This is a very big task my dear.
You do one thing, ask them to do The Happiness Program. Individually convince them and I tell you, don’t take it too seriously.
Sometimes they are happy fighting. If there is nothing then they will feel very empty. So never mind if they fight now and then.
You know, many kids are already keeping their parents together. It is because of the kids that the parents are staying together. It is happening more and more. So just your presence and your being there is putting them in their places. Don’t worry.

Gurudev, what should we do when someone in our class teases us a lot? Should we scold, shout or hit them back? Even though we keep calm, they keep teasing us.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You know, when someone teases you, you should laugh louder than them. Then you will see that they will be baffled. They will say, 'I am making fun of you and you are laughing?'

You should clap and say, 'Yes, you are so funny. Why don’t you tell me nice things like this every day?'

Just say this once and see how they react.

See suppose they make the same comments about someone else, will you laugh or not? So think that they are making fun of someone else and laugh louder than them. Got it?

Beloved Gurudev, I have a vatta imbalance. My mind is so restless most of the time. It is almost impossible to meditate deeply. What to do?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
These imbalances are not permanent. You call it imbalance because it is impermanent. It can’t be there for too long.
If vatta imbalance is there, it is going to go away. A little rest, an ayurvedic massage, a little attention on food, and some good sleep, it will be gone.
You shouldn’t sit and worry about it too much. It is the nature of the body, sometimes it gets very stiff, sometimes it becomes very loose. Same thing with the head! What do you do? That is how the nature is.
Do what you can, and do what is to be done, and just move on.

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