We are in an age of technology. Technology has shrunk the globe into a village. We are in a global village. I would want to see it as a Global Family. This is my dream, to see the world as a One World Family.
It is so fortunate that this world has so many diverse cultures, traditions, languages and religions. Do you know what intelligent people do? They always celebrate the differences and the diversity. And the foolish fight and create wars.
Isn’t it? What we want to do in the world is to educate people. The reason why people are so ignorant and stupid is because they have had no opportunity to expand their vision. The goal of The Art of Living is to provide such a broad vision to life; to turn every tear into a smile, anger into compassion, and hatred into unconditional love.
Let us all join hands to see such a world – a world free from violence, disease, sadness and poverty!
First, we need to dream big. When I was in school, when I was a boy – even now I am a child only – I used to tell all my friends that my family is all over the globe. They would come to my mother and ask if we had a family in London, in Germany, in France, in America, and my mother would reply, ‘No’. She would pull my ear and ask, ‘Why do you tell lies?’
My mother would say, ‘He never tells lies, but this is the one thing he keeps saying, that he has relatives and family all over the world and that he knows people from all over the world.’
I used to tell my friends, ‘What do you want? Stamps or coins or currencies? I will send it to you, don’t worry. I have everybody all over the world.’
Why I said this is that deep inside all of us, there is a spirit that connects everyone.
Every human being is born with joy, enthusiasm, love and wisdom. But as we grow up, somewhere we tend to lose it. We should not lose it. We should maintain this gift that we all have received.
Okay, if we have lost it, we should regain it. And how do you regain it? By broadening your vision, and creating a sense of belongingness with everyone around you.
I would also like to mention that some of the Bulgarian singers and dancers also visited India and we had their performances in India as well.
So, we need to bring people together. This is wisdom. A violence-free society, disease-free body, confusion-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, sorrow-free soul, trauma-free memory and a stress-free life is the birth right of everybody. This is what The Art of Living and all its volunteers are working towards. I am so happy and I congratulate them, there are hundreds of volunteers here who are tirelessly working day and night to bring smiles on the faces of people.
So, I will give you just 5 points or 5 secrets on how to be happy.
Once a wise man drew a line and told his student to make the line shorter without touching or erasing it. How would you do it?
You have to shorten a line without touching it.
An intelligent student then drew a much longer line underneath that line. So, the line automatically became shorter. The lesson here is that if your difficulties appear to be very big, lift your eyes because you are only focused on yourself. If you lift your eyes up and look at those who are in a worse condition than you, you will suddenly feel that your burden is not as bad as you thought it was.
If you think you have some big problem, look at people who have greater problems. Suddenly, you will get the confidence that my problem is much smaller, and I can manage it.
So, the first point on how to be happy is to see the world where there are greater and bigger problems. Then, your problems will appear smaller. The moment your problems appear smaller, you will get the energy and confidence to deal with it or solve it. In simple words, serve those who are in greater need.
Second, look at your own life. In the past, you had many problems. They have all come and gone. Know that even this will go and you have the energy and power to overcome it. You will get self-confidence by understanding and looking at your own past.
Third, and most important, do some breathing exercise and relaxation.
Fourth, you know, in anger we say, ‘I give up’. Without frustration or anger, say, ‘I give this problem up, I cannot solve it, let the Divine help me’, and know that you will always be helped. Have the confidence that you will be helped; a power in the universe is going to help you.
The fifth one – what do you think is the fifth one? I leave it to you. You think about the fifth one. I can go on up to 25 or 30 points, but I would like you to come up with it. We are always looking for solutions from someone else. We forget that if we turn our mind inward, we can get some ideas, some solutions. This is the fifth one – Spontaneity! Be spontaneous. Spontaneity will come when you take a few minutes to go deep within yourself. There is nothing great in smiling when everything is normal, and when everything is going the way you want. But if you awaken the valor inside of you, and say, ‘Come what may, I am going to keep smiling’, you will notice tremendous energy just rises from within you. And the problems are like nothing; they just come and disappear.
I would also like to mention that our volunteers have done such good work in all the prisons in Bulgaria. After doing the course, the whole lives of hundreds and hundreds of people who are in prisons have changed. That is so nice!
This is what intelligence is. Intelligence is bringing out the good even from within one who is a criminal. Within the worst criminal there is something nice inside; there are some good qualities. We need to bring those out. That needs intelligence. To condemn somebody does not need much intelligence, but bringing out compassion from those who have been condemned needs some work; and I really congratulate all our volunteers and teachers who have, without any selfish motives, gone to the prisons with just one wish – to bring back human values in their lives.
The foolish people try to paint everybody as demons and ‘bad’, even for pious persons. People say everybody is bad. The whole world is bad. That is so unfortunate; it is not good company. Last week, when I was in Canada, a couple came to me; they were all in tears. Their teenage son had committed suicide. In the suicide note, he had written that the whole world is bad; it is not worth living. Good people have got no place on this planet. All evil and bad people have taken the reins.
How much pain that youth must have experienced, because everyone tells you how everyone else is so bad. That is not good company. Even inside a bad person, there is a good person hiding that has to come up. When the goodness comes up, the negativity automatically disappears.
Q: What do we do when we don’t enjoy our work anymore?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You should work for making a living. But for joy, you should do some service. Engage yourself in any social service. You will find that it brings you contentment and happiness. I knew this question was coming, so I said that there is joy in giving. Find the joy in giving rather than taking.
Q: How do we maintain a good relationship with our children in today’s fast times?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We have designed a course for that. It is called KYC – Know Your Child and KYT – Know Your Teen. It is just for two hours per day, for two days. You will get many beautiful ideas in this course. It has become so popular all over because it is very effective.
Our relationship with our children changes and the way they respond to you also changes.