Monday, October 20, 2014

Gurudev, however spiritual, compassionate and service oriented I may be, if fate has something else written for me then no matter how good I am to others, they still turn against me. Then what to do?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Don't worry. It's okay if people turn against you.
See how our Prime Minister Narender Modi is. He was bashed so much. I don't think anyone in the country had been bashed so much. People called him all sorts of names, but he came out of that.
We have many such examples. Even if you do only good to people, and have done nothing wrong, there are people who will only see bad intention behind it.
It is so surprising that people who want to find fault, they can find fault in anybody, anywhere
. But such people are very few, so don't worry, let them be.
Even for The Art of Living, some people say that we have grabbed land. I have heard this. They don't tell us which land we have grabbed. Let them come and show us.
Someone says the Art of Living has 50 acres of land in Maldives. We don't even have a small place in Maldives. They should come and show us the 50 acres, we can take it at least.
They say Art of Living has grabbed government land. It's the other way round. We had to give our own land, for which we had already paid money. But there are people who say such things, what can we do? Just ignore them.

Gurudev, you say, 'Don’t expect anything', but aiming for something is also like expecting. What is the difference?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
No, I am not saying that you should not expect anything at all. We only say that expectation reduces joy, that is all. It is a very clear statement. You can have less joy sometimes, no problem. Sometimes even that is essential.

Gurudev, have you seen God? How does he look like?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Exactly like you. You are made in the image of God.

Q: Gurudev, Ram was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, then why was he born only with only 10 kalas when he could have been born with 16 kalas?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Don’t worry what Ram was born with, or not born with. All these great men have said some wonderful things, and the essence of it all is, honor nature, honor yourself and honor people around you. The essence of all the teachings in the world is love. Just Love! 
Narada has said, 'Sa tva asmin parama prema rupa', unconditional love!
Sri Ram’s love for the people, for dharma; his love for his brothers, and his ability to make everyone a part of him, that is what is most inspiring.
You know what Vishnu means? That which is in every atom of creation. One who is present in every atom, in every particle of the universe. Vishnu a conch, disc, flower and a gada (golden mace), it symbolizes the four elements. The sudarsan chakra (disc) symbolizes the fire element, conch symbolizes water element, flower symbolizes the air element, and then the gada symbolizes the earth element. Vishnu is depicted in blue color, that is space element.
When you say Vishnu, it means that power that is present in all the five elements. This world is called prapancha. Prapancha means permutations and combinations of five things. What are they? Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether, and everything here is an avatar, or born out of these five elements.

Gurudev, it is said, 'Sattvashuddhaira karyasidhhi' (Meaning: One achieves his desires by increasing purity and positivity, i.e., sattva). Is purifying one’s sattva sufficient to achieve what one desires, or is it one of the many factors for success?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
There is a verse in Sanskrit, 'Raviryartevantyam pratidinam-uparasya narabhasyah. Kriyasiddhir bhavati Sattve-mahatam nopakarane'.
(From the Raghuvamsa by Sri Kalidasa)
It means that one cannot achieve desires by upakarana alone (Upakarana implies the means or medium used to accomplish one’s desires). By enhancing one’s Sattva(positivity) one is able to accomplish what one wants. But this does not mean that one can achieve something without using any material means or medium.
You can understand it like this. You can bake bread on the stove only when there is fire (here referring to Sattva). If there is no fire, the bread will remain uncooked. But to make bread, you also need wheat flour, water and a baking pan (these being the materials). Only then can you prepare the dough. So, just having dough, or just having fire alone cannot bake bread.
If you just keep saying, 'I am very positive, I am very Sattvik', and think that everything will be accomplished by that alone, then that is not going to happen. You definitely need the tools to accomplish what you want.
There also comes a stage in which, the moment a thought or a wish arises in the mind, it gets materialized and fulfilled instantly. This is called Naishkarma Siddhi and it happens in very rare individuals. It means having all your wants and desires fulfilled even before the thought arises in the mind. And who gains such ability? One who is totally content from within and free from all actions and their attachments, attains Naishkarma Siddhi.
It also happens to a devotee who is so totally soaked in devotion and desires nothing at all. Such a devotee too attains Naishkarma Siddhi. But for that they have to strive for a long time in their life to attain such a state. Once a person attains such a state, then whatever he thinks immediately starts happening.
Such a Brahmajnani (one who has realized the Brahman or the Supreme Consciousness) effortlessly acquires Naishkarma Siddhi. But a Brahmajnani also attains this Siddhi over due course of time. When the time is right and the person has become ripe, then he attains Naishkarma Siddhi.
How many of you have experienced this that whatever you think of starts happening? Yes, this is called Naishkarma Siddhi. Everyone surely gets a glimpse of this in their life, but it may take some time to attain it completely.
(Note: The discourse was given in Hindi. Above is a translation of the original talk.)

Q: Gurudev, Why does Shanmukha (Karthikeya) have six heads?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
So that he can recite all the Shad Darshanas (six Hindu philosophies) at once.
Six faces - this has a significance. We say, 'The four directions', North, South, East and West. Brahma has four faces, which means that, he gets knowledge from all the four directions.
But Karthikeya is special, he has six faces. Sixth face is an indication of the sixth sense. It can also be interpreted as, he get knowledge from all the four directions and from above and below. In this way, you can interpret it in any manner.
Then there are six imperfections (vasanas) which trouble the human mind. Karthikeya is there to remove these six imperfections, i.e., Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed),Moha (attachment), Ahankar (ego), and Matsarya (jealousy).
These six imperfections are removed by the six faces of Karthikeya. These are the six enemies, and these six enemies are eliminated by the six faces of Karthikeya.
There are six Darsanas
1. Samkhya (strongly dualist theoretical exposition of consciousness and matter)
2. Nyaya (explores sources of knowledge)
3. Yoga (a school emphasising meditation, contemplation and liberation)
4. Vaisheshika (school of atomism)
5. Mimamsa (school of orthopraxy (emphasis on conduct))
6. Vedanta (knowledge in the Vedas)
Then there are six Vedangas (Limbs of the Veda):
1. Jyotisha (astronomy)
2. Chandas (meter)
3. Nirukta (etymology)
4. Vyakarana (grammar)
5. Shiksha (phonetics), and
6. Kalpa (ritual)
These are the six Vedangas and the six Upangas, and Karthikeya is a symbol of imparting this knowledge.

Gurudev, it is said that Lord Krishna forgave the 100 wicked deeds of his cousin Shishupala. But when Shishupala committed the 101th wicked deed, Lord Krishna hurled the Sudarshan Chakra (the Lord’s divine discus) and beheaded him. If Lord Krishna had tried warning Shishupala at the 99th deed, maybe he would have stopped. Please speak about this.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Lord Krishna gave a warning every time a wrong deed was done.
In fact, despite warning him the 99th time also, when Shishupala did not stop, Lord Krishna had to take that step of beheading him. It is not that Lord Krishna forgave him without making him realize his mistake. No, He forgave Shishupala each time only after making him realize the wrong he had done.
What is the use of forgiving someone without making them realize what mistake they have done? They will never realize otherwise. So every time Shishupala did a wrong deed, Lord Krishna would make him realize what wrong he had done, and only then forgave him.
See, mistakes do happen. But what we often do is go on repenting, 'Oh! I made such a mistake', and we feel guilty. Or we pretend as if the mistake has not happened at all, and strive to prove that it is not a mistake at all. Both these approaches harm a person.
So one is the denial mode, which is to deny that you have made a mistake. The other mode is that of getting stuck in guilt and shame about the mistake; so much that you fall ill because of it. One should adopt the middle path between these two.
So when you have made a mistake, do not go on repenting over and over again about it and become miserable. At the same time, do not deny that you made a mistake. The middle path here is to realize that you have made a mistake and that you have learnt something from it. And move on!
So by following the middle path, you accept that you made a mistake but at the same time you do not get stuck in the guilt of it. You learn from it and move ahead.
You should remember to adopt the middle path for yourself and for others too.
If someone else makes a mistake, then repeatedly scolding them and nagging them so that they realize their mistake will only ruin your relationship with them.
Just think about this. Suppose someone continuously keeps nagging you for a mistake you have made, would you like to be with them? You would feel like moving away from such a person who constantly keeps reminding you of your mistake.
No one commits a mistake deliberately. Mistakes simply happen because of a lack of awareness. Once awareness dawns within you, then you should simply realize that you made a mistake out of ignorance, and by realizing this you come out of the mistake.
Once you have that awareness, you become innocent and free once again. The moment you gain awareness, you also become aware of your innocence.
So just move ahead knowing that you are innocent, rather than chewing on your mistake. It is important to have complete faith in your innocence.
At the same time, pointing out someone else’s mistakes all the time and making them feel guilty about it is also no good. Then they will go on distancing themselves from you. So do not do this.
Making others realize their mistakes without making them feel guilty is also a skill. It is an art. You have to skilfully make the other person realize their mistake without making them feel guilty, and then pat them on their back encouragingly and say, 'Come on, move ahead. It is alright. Mistakes happen. I have forgotten it, so you also forget about it'.
Do not let anyone stay stuck in guilt or continue feeling like a culprit. A person who is made to feel like a culprit all the time will only go on committing more and more wrong deeds. He will never improve his ways. So to save the mind, you have to first save it from this culprit consciousness. Do you get what I am saying?
Having this culprit consciousness means to continuously think, 'I am a culprit. I did such a wicked deed'. This feeling of guilt consumes a person completely and does not let him progress on the spiritual path.
The first step towards spirituality is to free oneself from this guilt consciousness.
The next step towards spirituality is to be free from ego. Often people boast that they did so-and-so great thing. 'I am the greatest', this is also not conducive to spiritual progress. You need to become Akinchan as well (meaning: to feel ‘I am nothing’).
Now this does not mean you keep thinking that I should become nothing. Do not get caught up in a web of words. If you get caught in words then you end up creating a totally different web of thoughts and impressions. This is why I say that you should just be simple and natural. When you are simple and natural, then all problems and entanglements get resolved effortlessly by themselves.

Q: Gurudev, How to get rid of negative karma? How does it come into existence?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I want to ask you a question. When the lights were not on in this room, there was darkness here, right? When the lights came on, where did the darkness go? Did it go to that room? Did the darkness escape through the window? Got it?
In the same way, if negative karma is there, there is little darkness, there is no light there. Put the light on, it vanishes.
How to get rid of negative karma? By meditation, service and knowledge. Serve the needy. Know that it (the negative karma) does not touch you; a shadow does not touch me.

Q: Gurudev, How can I find my life's path? How do I know when I have found it?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
If you have a doubt, that means you have found it. This is because doubt is always about something positive.
You never doubt something that is negative. You doubt in the honesty of a person, you never doubt in the dishonesty of a person.
If someone tells you, ‘I love you so much’, you ask them, ‘Really?’
If someone says, ‘I hate you,’ you never ask them, ‘Really?’
You doubt in your happiness. When someone asks you, ‘Are you happy?’ you say, ‘Well, I am not sure.’ You never doubt your depression!

Q: Gurudev, How to open my heart for more love?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Don’t try to open your heart. You cannot do an open heart surgery on yourself. Leave it to me!

Dear Gurudev, how do I increase my self-worth and self-esteem?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
There is no way on the planet Earth. You cannot increase your self-esteem even if the Sun rises in the West and sets in the East. Even if that is possible, it is impossible to increase your self-esteem. Just accept it. Finito! 
My dear, if you think you don’t have it and you try to have it, it is not going to work! You simply have to recognize that it is already there.

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