Posts filed under ‘Talks By H.H.Sri Ravi Shankar’
“If you are not happy, upset, sad:
1. Know: Everything is changing. It is impermanent. It’s a passing phenomenon. Have conviction about this.
2. You have the capacity to face it. You are much more powerful than a situation or problem that is in front of you.
3. Look at those who have greater problems than you. People in Sri Lanka, people in Iraq, even here in inner city areas – see what crisis or problem they have. And do something for them. When you start doing something, then your problem will appear like nothing, miniscule. Your problem will get solved…because it appears like nothing big.
4. Know: You have always been helped. Haven’t you been helped? Look back and see…Have that faith: I will get help. I will move through it. Nature will take care. God will take care… It will be handled.
5. See: In this whole cosmos, everything is nothing. Every particle is nothing. I am nothing, we are nothing, this is all nothing. A few moments of that awareness that everything is nothing brings enormous strength and courage in you. And love… See when you are angry, you say ‘I give up.’ When that comes from knowledge, the ‘I give up’…intense prayer happens: I can’t handle this. I give up.”
HIS HOLINESS SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR
Creating a Stress-Free Mind and a Violence-Free World
‘We need to attend to the human aspect in today’s times’
Excerpt of Sri Sri’s address at Infosys Technologies’ annual Strategy & Action Planning meet (STRAP 2009), Bangalore (India), February 27, 2009
Bangalore is called the IT city. IT, I say, stands for the city of inner transformation. You need transformation in society, in technology, in our outlook and in our environment. There are three aspects required for transformation – perception, observation and expression. There are four Ts that have to be reviewed and renewed again and again – truth, tradition, technology and trade. They have to be renewed again and again. You all know about technology, but I am talking of the experience of reality. Buddha gave one technology – how to control your mind. He refused to answer irrelevant questions – among them on God. He said, ‘I will
not talk to you about that which you think you know. I will talk only about that which you don’t know.’ He did not even say that which you don’t know. He said that which you are not aware of. He said, ‘There is sorrow, there is a cause for sorrow and there is a way to get rid of sorrow.’ Few thousand years later, this became a concept too. Then Adi Shanakara came and renewed the knowledge. Time and again, this renewal is necessary. There are four sources of energy – food, sleep and the breath. Breathing is an important source of
energy and intelligence. We can bring intelligence in those who are dull by making them breathe correctly. The fourth source is a calm and peaceful mind. When you’re working at home for a festival, you can work for hours without getting tired. But in the BPO if the boss says work for two hours extra, you say ‘Oh no’. We can perform better if we know about the seven layers of existence – body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego and self. Whenever there is a crisis, the share markets plunge and ashrams get fuller. When there are deadlines and stress, ashram makes the hearts fuller. So there is an inverse proportion! Two months ago, I was in Iraq when the Iraqi prime minister said, ‘There are big powers in the world but they cannot unite the hearts and minds of people. This work can be done only by a spiritual leader.’ That is the power of spirituality. Would you like to start a company in a Naxal-hit area? You want a secure, peaceful place. We
need to bring that transformation.
I often say, inside every culprit is a victim crying for help. Of course, it takes time! Some time ago,the Bangalore police sent a bunch of rowdy sheeters. In four days, we sent them back as better material! Today, they have adopted 18 villages. What I am saying is that we are not attending to the human aspect in today’s times and we need to do this. If we can transform a violent person, we can also transform a lazy, uncommitted person. Time and again, the human aspect has to be looked into. Tiredness can also be overcome by attending to the mind, to the breath. This is what I call Inner Transfomation. Are you all here? Everyone? Psychologists say if one keeps taking for 10 minutes, the mind goes out for cappuccino at least three times. You motivate somebody how long does it stay? Two weeks? You give a raise or a bonus – how long it stays? One day? I would like you to notice the difference between inspiration and motivation.
Motivation is material-oriented. Inspiration is goal-oriented, value-oriented and stays for a long time. You see these highly motivated Maoists? You will be surprised. In the prime of their life they go through the forest. They don’t live a comfortable life. They are inspired by Karl Marx or Mao. Can’t we use the same inspiration in a creative manner? They should know that what they do will contribute
to a larger cause of humanity. Mahatma Gandhi inspired people and so the entire nation united. This inspiration has been used politically, religiously – what makes a young boy of 22 put his life in suicide missions? If he puts this into science, technology – what couldn’t be achieved? These days, people enter R&D if they have nothing else to do. What can accelerate invention is inspiration. We are all entitled to have a violence-free society, disease-free body, prejudice-free intellect. Often, our minds are filled with prejudices. In India, we have this ceremony of lighting a lamp. It takes quite some time to light the lamp. Some ministers cannot even light that lamp. A
small boy in our school gets an idea and puts some camphor. And it will easily catch fire. A small boy! Any good idea coming from any corner has to be welcomed. A violence-free society, disease-free body, prejudice-free intellect, trauma-free memory: all these
are the birthright of every individual. We can achieve it.
A question and answer session followed the talk. Following are excerpts:
Q:When there is intolerance around you, how to retain equilibrium?
A: See life from a broad picture. See intolerance as a lack of education. That is one thing. Second is patience and perseverance.
Q: Do you get stressed?
A: The product really works well! (laughs) Just last week I went to Kerala. They had organised 19 appointments in a day. I cancelled some of them before I went there. Yet, I ended up attending 22 appointments. I thought I would get irritated, but I surprised myself and didn’t. Each one of us has tremendous energy within us. One single cell can light up the entire city of Bangalore for 24 hours.
Q:Where does Obama get his inspiration from?
A: Today, the global problem is terrorism through wrong ideology. I feel that we need to emphasise a broad spectrum of education for the future generation. If each child knows about other religions,it won’t think other religions will go to hell. Even in India, madrassas are getting CBSE status because of the vote bank. I’m not saying all madrassas are bad but there is an 80 percent chance of narrowing vision. We need to have a long term goal and long term vision in everything. An education which has science and spirituality – head and heart is the only solution.
Q:What inspired you?
A: In school I used to say I have family everywhere, I am going to go everywhere. Sometimes you get that gut feeling or inner premonition. My mother was my inspiration. She was so alert, so awake. She never made a mistake, never said sorry in her life – can you imagine!! Another inspiration was my teacher who was associated with Mahatma Gandhi for 40 years.
Q: How do I handle criticism?
A:When someone criticises you, they are taking a risk. Who wants to take the risk of making enemies! When they are doing that, you appreciate them. Stand up to criticism. Also have the courage to criticise for their improvement. But if someone is criticising you out of jealousy, you smile, it is their problem.
Q: How do you ensure that conflicts, backbiting, politics doesn’t happen in your organisation?
A: People are people wherever they are. I can count on my finger how many times I got angry – seven times maybe! If you fight, fight a new fight, don’t fight the same fights! Intellectuals don’t walk like sheep. They don’t agree many times, they don’t walk the same way. That is the fun.They should know how to de-stress themselves. Let out the steam, get into the team!!
Q: You emphasise education. Yet, most problems are caused by educated people.
A:When I say education, I don’t mean only a degree from college. Unfortunately, in recent times, pride has got attached to aggression. If you lose your equanimity or calmness, it means something wrong. This shift from pride getting attached from aggression to non-violence must happen.
Q: Do you have any goals?
A: I just inspire people to set their own goals.
Q:What are the two-three mistakes the organization has made. How has it learnt?
A: Our biggest blunder is our first principle: ‘Accept people as they are’. I cannot reject anyone! Drug addicts, fools, riffraffs everyone comes. We can’t reject anyone and we lose a lot of time!! We cannot discard even the incorrigible. Second is we don’t have a hierarchy – it becomes difficult to manage and track! Everywhere, people are starting on their own. Now after 28 years, we are streamlining.
Everyone is a spokesperson – that becomes difficult to control. During our Silver Jubilee, we had such a hilarious time. The program was mesmerising, but behind the scenes, every department was in a mess.
Q: Are we getting too caught up in the negativity of today and forgetting the big picture that this will pass?
A: There are natural calamities where we can wait and watch. But in manmade calamities, we can’t afford to take that outlook. Change is not possible if you don’t do that. For some things, we cannot be just fatalistic and say this will pass.
Q: How does one make a balance between the heart and mind?
A: Yes. You do your business with your mind, and service with your heart. In both cases, there is a third component – intuition. Never be with in the business with heart. With family, be with the heart, don’t use your mind there. Do both with the gut feeling!
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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of Art of Living, was invited to address the 29th National Meeting of the Jamiat-Ulema-i-Hind, the largest Islamic body in India on November 9th.
He urged the audience comprising 6,000 clerics to prevent youth from treading the wrong path of terrorism. He also appealed for unity between the Hindu and Muslim communities, in the face of attempts made by vested interests. He also appealed for unity in the Muslim community itself. The Shias and Sunnis are like two eyes of Islam and both should remain united. Unfortunately, Muslims are being branded as terrorists and this attempt can be fought only when the community remains united, said Sri Sri, citing his travel experiences from Iraq where people from both sects in a village came together after his appeal
Over years, I have observed Gurudev give wonderful one liner answers to people’s questions at satsangs. Belongingness to Silence – Talk by Gurudev is a classic example of Gurudev’s wit, humor and wisdom.
This post marks the beginning to compile all such one liners.
Rakho Pair Garam, Pet Naram aur Rakho Sar Thanda
Phir bhi agar vaidya aaye, To maaro use danda.
Kuch Maan Ke Chalo, Kuch Jaan Ke Chalo.
Sab Ko Prem se Gale Lagate Chalo.
( Assuming some, knowing something, hugging all with love – move ahead in life)
Mat Phaso. Mat Phasao
( Laugh and Make others Laugh. Do not get entangled and Do not entangle others)
If you have any such one liners, Please share with us firstname.lastname@example.org
Experiencing the formless through the form
By His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated on the day on which Lord Ganesha is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees. Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati, is worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Though it is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the symbolism behind the festival is much deeper.
The essence of Ganeshji is brought out beautifully by Adi Shankara. Though Ganeshji is worshiped as the elephant-headed God, the form (swaroop) is just to bring out its parabrahma roopa. Ganeshji is described as Ajam Nirvikalpam Niraakaaramekam. This means that Ganeshji is never born.
He is Ajam (unborn), he is Niraakaar (formless) and he is Nirvikalpa (attributeless). Ganeshji symbolises the consciousness which is omnipresent. Ganeshji is the same energy which is the reason for this universe, from which everything is manifested and it’s the same energy in which the whole world will be dissolved. Ganeshji is not somewhere outside of us, but the very centre of our life. But this is very subtle knowledge. Not everybody can perceive the formless without the form. Our ancient Rishis and Munis knew this; so they created the form for the benefit and understanding of people at all levels.
Those who can’t experience the formless, over a period of sustained experience of manifested form reach the formless Brahman.
So in reality, Ganeshji is formless; yet there is a form to which Adi Shankara prayed and that form carries the message of the formlessness of Ganeshji. Thus, the form serves as the starting point and gradually the formless consciousness begins to manifest.
Ganesh Chaturthi marks a unique art of reaching formless Paramatma called Lord Ganesh by repeated worship of the manifest form of Ganesha.
Even the Ganesh Stotram, the prayers recited in the praise of Ganeshji, conveys the same. We pray to Ganeshji in our consciousness to come out and sit in the idol for us for a while so that we can play with him. And after the puja, we again pray asking him to go back to where he comes from; that’s our consciousness. While he is in the idol, we offer back whatever God has given us through the puja of the idol.
The ritual of immersing (visarjan) the idols after few days of worship reinforces the understanding that God is not in the idol, it’s inside us. So experiencing the omnipresent in the form and deriving joy out of the form is the essence of the Ganesha Chaturthi festival. In a way such organized festivity and worships lead to an upsurge in enthusiasm and devotion.
Ganeshji is the lord of all the good qualities in us. So when we worship him, all the good qualities will blossom in us. He is also the lord of knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge dawns only when we become aware of the Self. When there is inertia, there is no knowledge, no wisdom, nor is there any liveliness (Chaitanya) or progress in life. So the consciousness has to be awakened and the presiding deity of consciousness is Ganeshji. That’s why before every puja, the Lord Ganesha is worshiped to awaken the consciousness.
Therefore, install the idol, worship it with infinite love, meditate and experience Lord Ganesha from within. This is the symbolic essence of Ganesh Chaturti festival, to awaken the Ganesha tatva which is masked inside us.
P.S This article can also be found at http://www.artofliving.org/Founder/QA/tabid/231/Default.aspx