Sunday, March 1, 2015

Q: Gurudev, Gurudev, at what stages can you solve a problem by violence? Saam, Daam, Dand, Bhed? (The four ways of making someone do a task as stated in Chanakya Niti)

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
When nothing works then the final is Mahabharat. But only when nothing else works. Lord Krishna gave a thorough example of this: he went three times, not just once, but three times for mediation (between the Kauravs and Pandavas); he went three times!
There is a question people ask, 'If Lord Krishna knew that there is going to be a war, why did he go three times begging Duryodhan to accommodate the Pandavas. Why did he go for peace talks?'
Lord Krishna has set an example, that one should do whatever is humanly possible and not worry about the result of it.

Gurudev, there is a five faced (Panchamukhi) Ganapati idol in the temple of Gurukul. What is the meaning of Panchamukhi?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
We have five senses in our body: the sense of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing, and there are five elements in the creation: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. There are five senses and five elements, so in this way there are five facets to God. So that form of Divinity which is capable of removing any obstacle in these five is calledPanchamukhi Ganapati.
Everything in this creation is made up of the grouping (Gana) of these five elements. For example, the Water element has many diverse forms, like milk, curd, etc.

In the same way, the Air element is not of one kind alone. You can see that there are so many different gases like carbon-dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen, etc. So this group (Gana) of different gases collectively constitutes the Air element.

Similarly, different types of fluids (a group or Gana) collectively make the Water element. Water has one group, Air has one group, and in the same way the Earth element has a group of different metals and minerals within it, such as gold, silver, copper, stones, and soil etc.

The Space element too has its own group within it, like the inner space, and outer space, etc.

Lord Ganapati (another name for Lord Ganesha) is the lord of all these Ganas or groups. And since there are five principal groups, that is why this particular form is called thePanchamukhi Ganapati.
The main essence here is that God, who is Nirguna (one who transcends or is without attributes) and Nirakaar (the formless all-pervading Divinity) is worshipped by representing Him in this form by chanting sacred mantras.

Gurudev, how can I attain Moksha (salvation) and what does one get by meditation? All my friends ask me this same question many times.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 
Meditation makes your body stronger and brings vitality. It sharpens the intellect, and brings happiness to the mind. It helps improve and enhance your behaviour and the way you deal with the people around you. It eliminates stress. What else does one need? And apart from all these benefits, it helps you in realizing God. Meditation is the only way to realize and attain the divine.
There is a saying, “Nanya pantha vidyate ayanaya” (Verse from the Purusha Sukta, Rig Veda). It means: there is no other path to the realization of God other than meditation. Meditation alone can help one unite with God.

Q: Gurudev, My dear Gurudev, I want to dedicate many more hours a day to The Art of Living but I have kids and I need to be with them as well. What should I do?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You know, do not think kids are a hindrance. There are many who have had small babies and have still been doing tremendous work. We have many teachers who have very small children and still they are working.

Janice is one such example. She has done so much even when she had two little kids. And there is another teacher of ours in Poland, she had three little ones, and with the kids she would teach a hundred or two hundred people.

So we should not think that we cannot do something because of kids. You should definitely not neglect them, you have to take care of them. Give attention to kids, but at the same time, if you have an intention to do something for the society, you can do it. Keep some time for it.

Q: Gurudev, What is the significance of karva chauth? What is the story behind it? Can only married women do it? Is it really a good time to meditate on this day?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
There are so many festivals in India, almost as many as the number of Sundays in a year.
Karva chauth is one festival where women pray for their husband’s longevity, and there are stories associated with it. I don’t know much about these stories.
It seems that women were very powerful in ancient days. If they tell the sun not to set then it would not set. They said women were powerful to that extent. There are many such stories, and they are all inspiring stories to remind one of a higher cause. So, this is one such festival in India.
Fasting and prayers are somehow connected. In almost every religion and every tradition of the world they have connected fasting and prayer together.
When you fast you are not pleasing some god out there by your fasting. It simply helps to detox your body. When the body gets detoxified then thoughts become positive. When there are too many toxins in the body, and the pancreas, liver and intestine are all congested then your thoughts are all negative and unclear. So fasting is done to have that cleansing effect on your body, not to please a god.
Fasting also has some rules, but people don’t follow even the fasting rule properly. People think fasting means that they can eat certain things and cannot eat certain things. You can eat lots of nuts and fruits but not eat cooked food, or rice, or bread. This is not fasting.
Someday people eat boiled potatoes and sweets and say they are fasting. They are fooling themselves. And sometimes, some people who want to fast all day get up before sunrise and stuff themselves with food. Then they fast and as soon as the sun sets, again they stuff themselves. It is a very bad way of fasting.
Fasting has to happen scientifically. Fast with juice and water, some fruits so that the enzymes are generated in the body. The indigested food gets digested. It is very bad eating very late in night on fasting days because your digestive fire is not there to digest that food. So you should not do that.
People fast in an unscientific manner. Fasting should be rational. Almost in every tradition people fast this way – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus – they all should know the scientific way of fasting.
The Ayurvedic way of fasting is very clearly mentioned. Little bit of fruits, juices, water and lemon. And if your endurance is there then fast just on water, one or two days. This is what we need to educate people.
Even during the month of Ramadan, they fast whole day, the pitta rises, and in the evening they eat so much. This is wrong. In the evening when they eat, they should have salads, fruits, and something light; something that gives rest to the system.
Hindus do fasting during navratri, and they eat jalebis! They eat all the sweets, and boiled potatoes – that is starch! This is not the correct way, there should be only fruits and fruit juices.

Q: Gurudev, In Bhagavad Gita it is said that your Soul itself is the friend and the enemy. Isn’t enmity an action by another? Are we ourselves the reason for the enemy?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, enmity is an emotion which arises in our mind. If another person considers us an enemy then that is their doing, not ours. It is their headache; from our side we don’t consider anybody as an enemy.

If it seems that somebody is an enemy, then act accordingly. I’m not asking you to go hug them or make them your own. If an enemy brings a gun, you also stay ready. If they come with bricks and stones, you also get ready accordingly. You also be ready to protect yourself. Use your intellect.

At the level of emotions there is no benefit in considering anybody an enemy. Never feel anybody is an enemy.

Gurudev, if Isha is the force that protects us, what about people who are in poverty, disease, losses and danger? If it is their karma, isn’t the divinity protecting people with karma?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Protection is relevant only when there is a challenge. A doctor is relevant only when there is a sickness. Did you get it?

You have to rethink your question. How do you even know that there is protection by your side? When there is an issue, then you realize, ‘oh I’ve been protected!’


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