Q: Dear Gurudev, when we meditate we experience such bliss, how can that state continue with or without meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: With knowledge and with dispassion. When you see the whole world is a dream, the meditative state remains in activity also. But do not make a mood out of it; you should not do mood making. Live life naturally, as everyone else lives; simple, natural. Do not make a big mood out of it, yes!
And do not try to hang on to peace also. If we try to hold onto peace then there are more problems. Do not try to hang on to something, become empty. It is okay if disturbances step in sometimes, so what! Never mind. As long as you know this is the nature of the world.
There is a beautiful couplet in Kannada which says, ‘What can you tell someone who builds a home on the sea shore and is scared of waves. What can you tell someone who has built a home in the forest and is scared of animals. What can you tell someone who built a house in the middle of the town and is afraid of noise.’
Right in the market place he has built a home and he is allergic to noise. What can you tell him? In the same way when we are in this planet, in this world, pleasant things happen and unpleasant things happen. People praise you and for no reason people blame you. You should simply take them on and move ahead.
Isn’t that a very good advice?
Today some people came and told me that such and such person is very rude, he is not good and he has such bad qualities. He loses his temper all the time. Why do you still keep him in the organization?
I told him, ‘No, I give a long rope. Suppose I leave him outside anywhere else in the world, he will do the same thing. You feel now he is disturbing you, but if you send him out of the organization then also he will continue to disturb you. At least here he has a chance to improve.’ Isn’t it?
So I have patience; I say okay, let them be here, let them grow. With patience I allow them to be.
Q: Dear Gurudev, the Bible states that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Does this mean a wealthy person is doomed to hell just for being wealthy?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No!
These words of different Saints and Prophets were given to different people at different times. Jesus says that I have not come to make peace; I have come to put mother against daughter and the son against father. That doesn’t mean he did not like families or he came to split families.
So, what is said is an example given so that people feel compassion. When there is poverty all around and someone is just enjoying too much without doing any kind of service; spending 100 percent of what he earns on himself or herself, then that person has a hard heart, like a rock. When someone is like a rock and there is no suppleness inside of them then heaven is far away. That is the essence of it.
Just now the thought came to me; we should send some 50 Lacs worth of medicine to Assam. We should buy 50 Lacs worth of some Ayurvedic medicines. So everyone contribute a little bit and we can give it to the people there. I am planning to visit Assam soon, so let us see.
As a first step they might need some medicines. We will all do something.
We are so many people, if we all give five hundred each then we can do quite a bit. We can send them medicines. And some Ayurvedic doctors should also go to Assam from here. We will send them to Assam.
Q: Gurudev, what is austerity? How to become austere?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Living with minimum needs; reducing our needs.
I need this, I need that, I need that, no. Whatever is there, be satisfied with what you have. You have a vehicle that is good enough. You do not have to say that you need the vehicle which is 50 Lacs or 15 Lacs or 20 Lacs, no! A simple good vehicle to go is good enough.
Good clothes to wear, good enough; good food to eat, that is good enough.
Austerity does not mean that you torture yourself. Eat only half of what you can, nothing like that. Austerity means simplicity, just bare minimum. What is the minimum that you need, being happy with that.
Q: Dear Gurudev, In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna talks about ‘Yogakshemam Vahamyaham’. What I get is from the Divine, but I fail to understand how the Divine can take away as well.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well keep wondering. The whole world is given to you and one day the whole world will be taken away from you. So this is a part of the creation.
It is not that there is some Divine sitting somewhere up there doing it. The whole world, the whole universe is a process. It is happening all the time.
Q: Dear Gurudev, how to get rid of doubting oneself, like our abilities, our capabilities and also faith in the master?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just increase the Prana that is it. When Prana goes down, self doubt arises. When self doubt arises naturally that doubt will be projected on the teacher and the master as well, and then on everybody, your friends and family. It gets projected on the whole world. So, more Prana, more vibrancy, more strength from inside, is proportionate to faith!
Q: Dear Gurudev, please throw light on what is Maya, and the different types of Maya.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are three types of Maya.
The first is Moh Maya. When one becomes too much attached to money or children such that it blinds them, it is calledMoh Maya.
There are many people who go after money, money, money. They don’t care for their wife, children, mother, father, friends or any relationships. Only money is important. And for money they are ready to file law suits on whomever. They will file a case on their mother, prove her to be mentally unstable, prove their father to be mentally unstable and fight with everyone for money. Even go to the extent of killing someone – this is Moh Maya.
Similarly, there are some people who keep crying for their children. They just want their child to be with them the entire 24 hours; they do not even understand what is good for the child. Doing this they spoil the child’s life and they also remain sad throughout their life – this is Moh Maya.
What is it? That which does not bring you any great joy but the absence of which causes you suffering – that is Moh Maya.
Then there is Maha Maya. Maha Maya is born or derived from Nature. It clouds or veils us in such a way that we are not able to see anything clearly. We become stuck and bound in its inertia. We become devoid of feelings and emotions, like a stone.
Then there is Yoga Maya. There is Maya even in Yoga. This is very fascinating.
You must have recently seen the case of Nirmal Baba (a spiritual leader in India recently accused of trickery and illegal activities in the name of spirituality.)
He kept on blessing people, but people called him a fraud and a cheat. It is not like that. He is an innocent and good person, but he is caught up in Yoga Maya.
Sometimes, what happens is, through continuous practice of Yoga and Sadhana (spiritual practices) some shaktis (divine powers) get awakened within oneself. When this happens, then you are able to predict what is about to happen in the future. You get an intuition about future events and occurrences. Now, if you are not completely hollow and empty from within, if there are still some cravings and aversions inside you; then that interferes with your intuition. And then the intuition will not be 100% true. 50 to 60% of it will come true and then rest turns out to be false.