Significance of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh 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.

Ganesh is described as Ajam Nirvikalpam Niraakaaramekam. This means that Ganesh is never born. He is Ajam (unborn), he is Niraakaar (formless) and he is Nirvikalpa (attributeless). Ganesh symbolises the consciousness which is omnipresent. Ganesh 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. Ganesh 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 of the formless, over a period of sustained experience of manifested form reach the formless Brahman.

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. We pray to Ganesh 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 (visaran) 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. 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.

– H.H. Sri Sri Ravishankar


Remove the reins

You’re caught up in life and moving every moment towards the grave. Yet, you cannot see the reality which is so obvious. Why? This is because four reins pull you backwards. These are  – Sukha (happiness, pleasure), dukha (sorrow), logic and feverishness, The desire for more; wanting more and more. We burn with desire and this burning does not allow you to relax into the peace of your being.

You crave for pleasure and you’re afraid of sorrow. You’re obsessed with feverishness of desire and you’re greedy for some achievement. Relax. Even when you are capable and strong, you must know that there is a power that takes care of you. It is so compassionate, it is with you and will always help you. If we just understand this, the insecurity and fear in the mind goes away. Great relaxation, confidence and trust come. When we were incapable, we were taken care of, and if we become incapable, we will be taken care of. All that is needed in life will just happen.

Have this conviction that there is a universal power that is inside of me, outside of me, and everywhere in the universe. All the diverse creation is because of this power and that power cares for me. There are the only two things that make life more fruitful- how much love have you given? And how much knowledge have you taken? Ultimately, happiness cannot be bought by money. You may earn millions of dollars, but you will have to leave it here. But what you can take with you is knowledge. What gets imprinted in the consciousness is knowledge. Knowledge is not what you read in a book, but it is awareness.

The world is running in search of happiness. The body gets baked, the mind gets baked, the intellect gets deluded but still we keep on getting stuck in the same repetitive cycle. Just turn inwards and you come to know that you are the source of happiness.

Your inner self is the source of all wealth, happiness and joy. One who relaxes in his consciousness experiences the true happiness. Then the mind calms down, and you realise that you are the one in whose search you have restlessly been running after.

Daily Inspiration

When faced with challenges our inner skills and talents are kindled, making us more innovative and creative. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, I have been posted in India to look after a business, however I am not very comfortable living in India. What should I do? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometimes, we donít like things, but if it is a profession, you may have to do it. Donít go with the mind because the mind sometimes likes and sometimes does not like doing things. If you keep doing your practices, meditation, satsang and service, you can make yourself feel comfortable in any place. We should not have aversion or craving towards anything. That is real Yoga.

In gratefulness, everything that supports life, grows. When people grumble all through life, their minds don’t focus properly. Naturally, they tend to lose out. Even on the material plane, when consciousness is flooded with lack, lack grows. But if you feel you have plenty, plentifulness grows. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, It is said that we should not do any pooja during Rahu kaal. However, why does Sunday’s satsang always happen during Rahu kaal at the ashram?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is not said that we should not do pooja during Rahu kaal. In fact, it is good to do pooja during Rahu kaala. However, marriages and house-warming ceremonies must not be done during this time. It has only been said that one should not do any materialistic work during this time; not that one should not remember God or do satsang. Doing satsang is good during Rahu kaal. It is good to do satsang during an eclipse and during Rahu kaal. To do satsang, all times are auspicious. To help others and to remember God, we need not look for any auspicious time. All the twenty-four hours are good for this.

Any seva you do will always take you up; it will always bring you benefits, beyond your imagination. So don’t underestimate that. – Sri Sri 

Q: Guruji, I know one cannot be happy and married. But can one be married and enlightened?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do you think that one cannot be happy and married? Why cannot you be happy and married as well? There are many bachelors who are not happy, and also there many married people who are happy. Happiness is an attitude which you chose. It all depends just on you. There are people with no jobs but are happy. There are people with jobs and are unhappy. Be wise and be happy. Do whatever married, unmarried, employed, unemployed, but independent of what you are doing, you need to be happy.

Expand your world and your vasanas (cravings) will drop away. The world is so big! Be open to new experiences. – Sri Sri

Q: When people ask you a question at satsang, do you answer the question for that particular person or for all in general?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both! You are getting your answers, right? Whatever answer I gave you, you got your answer, and it has also given some answer to others who are in a similar situation.

The more we open ourselves, the more room we will have for God to fill us. – Sri Sri

Q: Dear Guruji, time is a very important factor in success. It should happen at the right time to be fruitful. Do we have the inner ability to ascertain when the right time for something is? If so, how?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. If you want to start any job, first sit quiet and become calm and listen to your inner intuition. Then just start the work.

When you regain the memory of ‘who am I?’ all the meekness in you will disappear. You will walk with the highest spirits. ‘Who am I?’ I’m God’s son or daughter. So why should I experience lack of anything? The whole world is there for me. What can time do to me? This sort of genuine bravery should arise in you. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, 5000 years ago, you chose a chariot as your vehicle. Now, this time you have chosen Innova as your vehicle.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I was thinking I am sitting in your heart, but you are making me sit in an Innova. I like to sit on that aasan (seat) which is in everyone’s heart.

Why fear, when I am here. You belong to me and I belong to you. When you feel that you are alone and you have nobody, only then you fear. Fear is when you feel loneliness, when you feel that you are not connected. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, Many people get the clarity in their mind from a young age of their passion to become doctors, engineers, teachers, etc., and they stick to it. Unfortunately I do not feel that way. I am not young anymore and this lack of direction scares me. What can I do? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, don’t worry. Life is all designed. If you don’t have the clarity of what you want to do, then meditate and go by your intuition.
I tell you, all professions are the same. People of no profession are happy. Look at doctors they are so miserable, because all their lives they have to be with sick people. For 15 hours a day they have to be with sick people and listen to all their problems, and even if they give them the solution they ask the same questions again.
Look at engineers. Working with machines day and night they become like machines. Engineers themselves say it. ‘Oh, it’s so boring. All day and all night, machines, machines and machines.’ Even in their dreams they see machines.
Lawyers; can’t even ask them of their plight. They look for some problem to happen somewhere so that they can survive. If everything is peaceful the lawyers have no survival. You take any profession there are flaws in it. Religious people, it is an even bigger problem.
There is a nice story in the Ramayan, do you want to hear the story? There was a stray dog that was walking on the street and someone threw a stone at the dog and chased it. So the dog went to court. It is said that in Lord Rama’s court, everyone got justice, even animals. The dog said that the road is for everybody. He said, ‘It doesn’t say anywhere on the road that dogs are not permitted here. I was walking on the road and this man hurt me; you should punish him.’ So Lord Rama asked the person if it was true. The person could not lie, and agreed that he had hurt the dog.
In those days, they used to ask the victims on what punishment should be given to the culprit.
So when the dog was asked on what punishment should be given to the man who hurt him with the stone, the dog said, ‘Make him the head of a religious institution. Make him a Guru of some Ashram.’ The people said that this is a very strange punishment.
The dog said, ‘Why are you asking? Just make him that. I was also a Guru in my past life, see what has happened! Then before dying, I thought that I should have been a stray dog that would have been better than being a Guru. See, that is why I have become a dog now. I had so much trouble. He too should become the head of an Ashram, and then he will experience what is trouble in life, and what is pain, and what is suffering.’ It is a very funny story in the Ramayan.
Every job, every profession, every work on this planet is not easy. Every profession is tough. No work is easy. So, do not worry about any profession. All professions are the same. Find some job to make your life livable. You don’t have to become too greedy and you don’t have to feel a sense of lack. We need to feel abundance in our mind, in our heart. Money is something which can never be enough. If you see, even billionaires are also wondering how they can make their money grow by two-folds and three-folds. This race never ends.
Do you see what I’m saying? You can find a smile in a small hut, but you might not find a smile in a palace. You might not even find a calm mind in a palace.

Whenever you have to console a bereaved family, keep silent! Too many words does not make any sense there or have any meaning. Someone is in grief, you just be with them, with peace in your heart. They will absorb the peace, they will bask in your peace. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, My intellect takes time to understand, can you talk little bit about time being spherical.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: OK. It’s a very difficult topic. Whatever happens in 24 hours time during a day, to recollect and remember how much time do you need? Do you need 24 hours? From the time you woke up till you go to bed. These 18 hours so many things happen. To recollect these you do not need 18 hours. You need may be 18 minutes. Even if you slowly recollect every event 10mins is sufficient. So what is time? Now in memory the 10 min is equal to 18 hours. Similarly when you fall asleep, sometimes your dream appears so short, sometimes you experience that which happened 15 years ago. So vivid and clear and sometimes what will happen in future. Do you see now time linear, like a ball. In a ball outer circumference is like 18 hours. But inner which connects to every outer point is only 10 min. The time you take to go round the 18 hours is same you take to go around the inner circle (10min). In 10 min you got everything. So in the consciousness you go and share experience. Time, mind, world is spherical. That is why there are dimensions in time. So in this lifetime you can have experience of so many life times.
When you go through eternity process, what happens? You came to know that which happened some 300 years ago. It is like piercing the ball and going to a spot. A gentleman had pain went through the process and found that in World War II he had fallen from plane. And the pain then disappeared and he became all right. Haven’t you heard about this? There are so many cases. Many psychologists work on this regression theory and heal people, because time is spherical. Right now the memory, the mind are one whole. So here it appears day and time but in moon so many days have passed. In space it is so different. This universe is full of events and in many directions and there are multi-dimensional times. This means it is spherical.
The future and the past they all exist in the future. So you can cognize the future now. How do these psychic people (readers, crystal ball gazing) work? But it’s not solid. There is always a possibility of change also. The change of the event is possible now. Do you see what I am saying? See, in a bowl of glass there is a fish and you can predict that the fish will move within the boundaries of the bowl. But it can go in any direction and you cannot predict that. It has this freedom but it has not freedom to come out of the bowl. Similarly in time freedom is also there, so it can go, generally you can predict. But prediction of future cannot be 100%. The more centred you are, you have 50 to 70% freedom. More dispassionate person has much more freedom.

On this path, definitely doubts and situations will come that needle you from all sides, so that no weakness is left in you at any point. Otherwise, there is no point in coming, sitting here with me, laughing and then going away. If you come here, you have to become like a diamond. Powerful! – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, You once said that the body is in the mind, and not the other way around. Please explain what you mean by this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I give a very simple example to a layman. When you light a candle and keep it inside a glass, the flame remains only as long as there is oxygen inside the glass. In the same way, if you put a man or a woman in a room and lock them up, they will be alive only as long as there is oxygen in that room. So we are akin to the flame, we live on oxygen. Our consciousness, our life, our mind lives on oxygen, just like a flame. The body is like the wick of a flame, the mind is like the glow all around; though we don’t see the mind.
When we take a picture through ‘Kirlian photography’, the aura of a person can be measured; the energy field around a man or woman can be measured. This is what I would say is mind. Mind is nothing but a mass of energy and intelligence. It is the wave function, the wave of vibrations around you.
When the body is relaxed, the mind expands. This is our feeling generally. When you are happy, what is the feeling you get? You feel that something in you is expanding, isnít it? And when you are upset, you find that something in you is shrinking; the energy in you shrinks and that is when you feel uncomfortable. When the energy expands, you feel happy, elevated and comfortable. And this particular phenomenon indicates that our body is inside the mind, and not the other way around.
Again through medical science, there is other evidence. Have you heard about Phantom Limbs? When somebody’s arm has been amputated, still they feel itching and pain in that area where there is no arm, and they find it even bigger than the arm. This also indicates that our body is inside the glow called the mind.

You know, feelings are like clouds. They are like the waves on the surface of the ocean. They arise, they come and they go. They change. We shouldn’t be bent too much by our feelings. Life moves with commitment, not just feelings. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, I get completely exhausted when I meet a lot of people in my day, but when I see you working round the clock meeting thousands of people every day, you don’t seem to be tired. What is the secret?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have put all my secrets together as the Art of living Part 1 course, Part 2 course, Ashtavakra Gita and everything else.

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Daily Inspiration

Can you measure water with a stick made of salt? The moment it touches the water, it dissolves. You can never measure with it. So also you and god, in true nature, you are God. Free of guilt, full of surrender, you are God. This is the ultimate goal of this life. – Sri Sri

Q: It says, ‘when some one slaps on your left cheek, turn to him your right cheek too’. what do you say about it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I tell you, when some one slaps on your left cheek, slap them on both cheeks and if needed, third time also! But with awareness, compassion and beloningness to bring a positive change in them.

Ice is solid, water is fluid and water vapor is even more subtle. But they are all made up of the same substance. So there is no two. There is no me and there is no you. Your little mind puts a barrier, this is me and that is you. The little mind judges and discriminates. Just let go and relax and you will see that there is only one; one vibration. – Sri Sri

Q: What is meant by ‘Deena Bandhu’?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Deena’ means weak, meek, powerless and helpless. ‘Bandu’ means friend. The Divine is the friend , relative or reddemer of the meek.

See that there is no inside and no outside. If you think something is inside then something is outside also. If you think something is outside, that is inside also. So real blossoming is when there is no inside and no outside. Everything is same, in and out is same. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, what is the relationship of dharma (righteousness) with God?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: With what does God not have a relationship, tell me this? God has a relationship with righteousness (dharma) as well as unrighteousness (adharma). To destroy adharma and to uplift dharma is also Gods responsibility. So God is related to everything.
In the same way, in the ritual of pooja it is said, Dharmaye namaha, Adharmaye namaha. We say namah to both. This world is a mixture of righteousness and unrighteousness, and God has a relationship with both  to destroy unrighteousness, and establish righteousness.

You cannot understand love through intellect. It needs to be felt. And anything that needs to be felt needs synthesis, not analysis. You have to become one with it to know it. Whatever you know through the head is at a distance. The subject-object relation will always remain. But love is not like that. The taste of the pudding is in tasting, music is in hearing it. In the same way, feeling. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, it is said on this path one should drop everything and be free of purpose or goals. I am a busy executive, without a purpose how can I take responsibility?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See there are two things Pravittri and Nivritti. Do not mix the two. There are two attitudes that we have to pay attention to. One is, when you go inward (Nivritti) you think that everything is fine and I dont want anything. That is called Meditation.
When you have to come out and work (Pravritti), then seek perfection in even small details. Put your full attention and take responsibility. The message of Lord Rama and Lord Krishnas life is this only. When you have to come out and work (Pravritti), then seek perfection even in small details. Whenever you see imperfection, you have to pay attention on how you can correct it. And when you have to retire then say, Everything is fine. This attitude will help you go deep in meditation. This is the path of Nivritti. That is why one who knows the difference between Pravritti and Nivritti is said to have a sattvic intellect. He is called intelligent.
What is the other sign of an intelligent person? He is the one who is able to see good even in a bad person; one who sees the good in everyone. You go to a prison and you find something good in the biggest culprit. To find good in the guilty is the sign of intelligence. So an intelligent person finds something good in the worst people, but a foolish person will dig out something bad from ever the best people, and there are people who do this.

Goddess Kali‘s picture is dreadful. Anybody would be frightened looking at all the skulls and huge staring eyes. She holds a head in one hand and she has hands hanging all around the waist. If someone could love that fearful picture, then fear disappears from mind. The fear gets transformed into love. Because it is only energy which manifests as fear or love. It happens in the heart region, when you are in love, there is no fear. When there is fear, there can’t be love. – Sri Sri

Q: What is health?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The harmony between the rhythms of the body, breath, intellect and memory is called health. The body is healthy when all these rhythms are in harmony.

Surrender has happened when you know that your life is insignificant in the span of time and space. When you know there are millions and millions of stars, how big the solar system is, where the Earth is – then what is one’s life? When you see this, surrender has happened. – Sri Sri

Q: Dear Guruji, I don’t have any questions. All I want to say is that I love you and thank you for everything. But tell me Guruji, do you want to say anything to me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, I have been saying it all the time! What I want to say, I keep saying, right?

Through spirituality, life attains its richest form. Without it, life becomes very shallow and we become unhappy, dependent and depressed. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, There are so many definitions of Saints. In reality, whom do we call a saint or a Yogi?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Saint is one whose consciousness is complete. Manifestation follows their words. When such a person speaks, it is not only on the level of mind. Those words have depth. It is more beneficial to directly listen to masters words because He is speaking lifes experiences only. Experience kindles experience.
We communicate more through our presence. If our presence doesnt have that love, then the words spoken carry no effect. And there is no need of words where presence carries love. Whatever we convey, it is through our whole existence. It is like when a child cries or laughs, it is coming from every cell of his/her body. This is indication of a yogi He/She speaks through existence.
Truth cannot be conveyed on the level of brain.

The candle is burning for you; you don’t have to do anything. The sun is shining for you, there is nothing to do. You have to be grateful, sit below it and enjoy and serve and be in love. It’s simple as that. – Sri Sri

Q: Gurudev, you have so many disciples. How do you keep track of each disciple’s spiritual progress?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is my trade secret! (Guruji says laughing!)

Know that there is somebody who cares for you and who is taking care of you, and you will be all right. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, what is the significance of netra daan (eye donation)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The significance of eye donation is that even after you, your eyes will be of use to someone.

If you are unhappy go out and serve. You will become happy. Do some service. Unhappiness comes when you sit and think about yourself and worry about yourself. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, I just started a new anti-psychotic drug for the condition I have. I would like to hear from you some message of inspiration or hope. I love you and I feel so much a part of you but I am feeling like a failure right now, and I worry that I wont regain my talents. I keep fighting, but some words from you will be very helpful.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, dont fight. The body needs medicines, just take them, relax and be happy. If you have taken a step into spirituality, what you need to remember is in any condition let me be happy, wherever I am, however I am, I want to be happy. I will be happy, I will keep smiling, and even if I have to go through a tough time, I will go through it with a smile this one thought, this one determination you should have.

What is surrender? It simply means that when a desire comes to you just offer it up and say to yourself: “If it is good, let it happen to me.” But surrender doesn’t mean the absence of action. Don’t just make an affirmation and say “Okay, I shall have a good job” and let go of it and do nothing about it. You need to do whatever is necessary to be done. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, I want to know if Gurus also feel helpless before their devotees.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Absolutely! They are the servants of their devotees.

Every cell of your body is made up of God. Your eyes are made up of God; your ears are made up of God; your bones; your blood; your hair; your nails -everything in you is made up of one substance, one truth, one reality, one infinity. There is nothing in you that is not God. Because nothing else exists! – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, we are trying to establish a gaushala (cow shed) but we are not achieving much success.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Anything you start, you will face some difficulty initially. In agriculture also, after doing so much farming, there is no profit, isn’t it? A little bit of difficulty will be there.

For short periods of time, meditate, stay in silence. Then your inner strength is enhanced, your health remains good, you remain in a happy frame of mind, the intellect remains sharp, and joy arises in life. Then whatever you desire gets done easily. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, ‘string theory’ talks about ‘parallel universes’. Can you say something on this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, parallel universes are talked about. There are 14 worlds and they are parallel, one inside the other. Right here there could be many universes. That is why our senses only analyze a few things tanmatras. The Pitra Loka is not somewhere else, it is right here.
There is a little bit of all the five elements present in our senses and because of their presence we are able to see and experience this. Like our tanmatra of light is different from the tanmatra of an owl. So if it is very dark outside, you cant see, but an owl can see.
Tanmatras of bats is even different. Where you cannot see anything, bats can see. Its ability to perceive is different. You will need a torch to move around in your room when everything is dark, but a cat doesnt need it, it will find its way. So, all our five sensory perceptions are based on something called tanmatras our frequency.
We are tuned to a particular frequency, but the universe is of infinite frequencies.

Who is learned? Not one who has only read books, but a learned person is one who has applied this knowledge to his life. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, I had my Upanayanam (Thread ceremony to initiate) many years ago but I never quite understood the significance of the ceremony, the thread and Sandhyavandanam. Can you please explain? Isnt Kriya enough, why Sandhyavandanam? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you do Kriya, that is good enough and afterwards if you are being initiated, do the Gayatri Japa. Gayatri Japa means Let my intellect be inspired by the Divine. It is our intellect which blocks the vast Divinity from expressing itself fully in life. So, the prayer is, May the Divine inspire my intellect. May the Supreme Energy manifest in my life and in my intellect.
And in Upanayanam, they usually put a thread on you and the thread is to signify that you have a responsibility towards the knowledge, towards your parents and towards society. So it signifies carrying your responsibilities on the shoulders. A young boy, before he goes to study, they make him realize that, ‘You have the responsibility. And then the child studies and comes back.
When you have finished all your responsibilities, in Sanyasa, then they remove the thread and throw it. If you are a recluse, then you dont have the thread. This is a system that has been followed from a long time.

If you love someone, know that nothing is lacking. Trust that they also love you very much. If you doubt someone’s love, your doubt grows no matter what you receive from them. If you want to be close to someone, first begin to feel that person is already close to you. When you ask people, “Do you trust me?” you are doubting their trust. When you are in doubt about a trust, you grow in doubt and there is no limit to it. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, if a boy and a girl are getting married, should horoscopes be matched or not?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can match horoscopes, it is fine. If there is a match it is really good, but if the horoscopes don’t match, it is okay. Just pray! Everything is acceptable.

Events are like stones. They just stay there.  You be light. You let go. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, When I think about other peoples faults, I get arrogant; and when I see my faults, my ego gets bruised. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Look at your shortcomings and understand that at least someone is there to remove them. Have faith that there is someone who will remove your shortcomings. Just by having this faith things can move forward. Look at your shortcomings and surrender them with faith, These are my shortcomings, I am offering them to you.
If you have difficulty in surrendering, then just know that there is someone who will rid me of these shortcomings. Just like when a school-going student realizes that he doesnt know how to count numbers, but he has the faith that the teacher will teach him. When he opens the first page and he is unable to understand what is written, he still has the confidence that he will be able to understand the book because the teacher is there for him.
Without faith, the vehicle of life cannot proceed. Faith is the petrol of the vehicle of life. Even the petrol called faith has started becoming too expensive! If you dont let it become expensive, the vehicle of life will move further and reach its destination.

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Protect the mind

That is a big job. In the Geeta it is said, even the most brilliant people are confused about what to do and what not to and how to handle the mind. Protecting the mind is a very great task but do it with knowledge. Upto this moment, see all that has happened so far. This Moment. It’s all gone! Finished.

Wake up. When you are full of energy, prana, you suddenly see it’s all gone. Now! All that happened is ok. Think about what to do now. Sometimes 100 percent of what you do will be successful, sometimes not. A farmer knows that not every seed that he sows, will sprout. He takes the seeds and throws them in the field and does not worry that this seed will sprout, this won’t.

From now on, it’s a new chapter. Everyday is a new chapter. Bring up this awareness again and again. The whole world is filled with my atma (soul) – it’s all Me. It’s one chetna (Consciousness). This one consciousness works through one person in one way, through another person in another way. It is one ocean with many waves.
If this vision comes to you even for just five seconds then there will be such a major transformation in your body and mind. Then a realization will spring in you ‘Aho!’

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Daily Inspiration

Confusion is thinking that more joy would come from the other way, when you have already chosen one way. Whichever you choose, you think the other will give you more joy. Joy is not going to be better from anything. You are the source of Joy. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, how can we practice yama (restraint) and niyama (discipline) in our seva?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be centered, meditate regularly, and have a sankalpa (resolution) in your mind that you have to exercise yama and niyama. Keep your sankalpa strong. Once or twice, even if you slip from it, you will come back.

The coconut is the symbol of the whole human life. The coconut has a husk. That is the environment. And then the shell is the body. The mind and inner intellect is the white membrane inside. The water is the innermost part. Your true nature is like water, fluid and not hard inside. What is the nature of water? Humility. It always goes down. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, With your enormous influence around the world, I see that you are doing fantastic work at leadership levels with youth and business leaders, but for an old business bandicoot like me, I listen to your inspiring speech but go back to my bad old ways when I go out of this room. Could we bring your influence in bringing the absolute moral teaching at the school level throughout India and throughout the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I had a Skype call with about 2000 youth who had gathered in Bangalore Ashram, and had been there for a whole week. The amount of enthusiasm in them was incredible. I am creating lots of teachers all over the planet. For example in Argentina we have a huge base. You might have read in the newspapers how night clubs are getting transformed and youth are going to night clubs with no alcohol, no drugs, no smoking, but instead they have soft drinks, they dance, they sing their heart-out and feel very ecstatic. This is happening in the night clubs of Argentina. Even in New York they have started what is called the Yoga Rave Party. People come and do Yoga and meditate and become quiet.
Can you imagine thousands of youth in a night club sitting quiet with their eyes closed and being happy? Not throwing bottles on each others face? This transformation is happening. But I would definitely like it to happen at a much faster pace. There are volunteers everywhere. I would like to give all the credit to the volunteers who have been working day and night. They found the joy within themselves, and they wanted to bring that to others and that was the biggest motivating factor.

The world is full of lessons if only we observe it. Be as humble as the grass. Then nothing can touch you. No one can humiliate you. Always, walk like a king and be a perfect servant! – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, there have been a lot of changes in our area through the YLTP programme. What is the aim of this movement? What mission or aim should I keep in my work as a Yuvacharya (youth leader)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Shreyas (ones own progress) and Preyas (progress of others in the society). Your own progress and the progress of society, both have to happen together. They cannot happen one after the other. They have to happen together. That is the aim of the YLTP.
You should give one year or one and a half year of your life for the country. Then you will find that your progress happens even more! The higher we want to build a building, the deeper we will have to dig to lay its foundation. The higher the position you aspire to reach in life, the greater will be the sacrifices you will have to make. Sitting idle and relaxing will not bring you to the top. You will have to put in some hard work. And that hard work will surely yield fruits.

In Nature everything is just waiting for to laugh, the whole of Nature laughs with you. It echoes and resounds that is really worth of life. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, Money cannot bring us happiness this knowledge happens after accumulating money or before it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you are intelligent, it happens before. And if you are little less intelligent, then it happens afterward. An intelligent person also learns from others experiences. But this realization is only authentic if you can experience someones experience as your own. It doesnt carry any value if a beggar says that he has abandoned everything. How can a beggar abandon anything? He has not earned anything at the first place. Also there are some people who do not understand this even after accumulating a lot of money. But this doesnt mean that you should not earn money. If you are too feverish for money thinking that only it can bring you happiness, then either earn money and see yourself, or learn from others experience.

Turn your mind inwards for a short while. You have to come out of the chaos and conflicts that are clogging your mind. This process is called mediation. Just for a short while, feel that the past, present and future is a dream. When you know that everything is changing, you will be able to get a glimpse of something that is not changing. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, There are many cultures in the world. Are there things which work same everywhere?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Certain things work everywhere. Sudarshan Kriya works everywhere. Today you go to any part of the world you will find someone doing the Sudarshan Kriya. That is why everything in the Art of Living is kept so universal.
At some point in time, there was so much oneness in the world. People of Peru in Argentina do similar things as that of the natives of Arunachal Pradesh. Native tribes of Arunachal Pradesh do similar things as done by people in Venkovour in British. People from both the places worship all four directions. There were lots of similarities among native inhabitants of different parts of the world. People in Lithuania greet you with bread and salt. As there is no ocean there, salt is a very precious commodity there. Similarly people in Kerala put a pot flowing with paddy outside their homes, which shows there is abundance in home, so people are welcome.
Certain things are same, and there are certain other things which are unique to each culture and country. Those differences should remain. Every culture and country should maintain that uniqueness. Russian people have beautiful folk dance. Danish have their beautiful ways.
Love, compassion, meditation, yoga – These are universal.

Negative actions give you suffering, and it vanishes after sometime. Positive actions give you some pleasure. After some time, that vanishes. Any action, and its fruit, vanishes. It can never stay all the time – Sri Sri

Q: Is there any significance of not sleeping the whole night? How long should we stay awake?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 
No, don’t strain yourself. Be natural.

We keep identifying our selves, ‘I am a man’, ‘I am a woman’, ‘I am old’, ‘I am young’, ‘I am educated’, ‘I am illiterate’. Throw away all these labels. What remains is pure consciousness. Do not even say I am consciousness. Just know I am consciousness and not even say it. Don’t go around saying I am nothing. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, Intuition is important for entrepreneurs as it creates unique resources for gaining competitive advantages. From a management context, we are saying that companies that are investing in resources with unique capabilities are at an advantage. If we spread spirituality everywhere, what will be the uniqueness then, and how will we still gain the competitive advantage?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We all sleep; we all have a good meal and a good nap. If everyone takes very good and deep sleep, will they all become the same? No! If everyone has a good meal, will they all express themselves in the same way? No! But everyone is entitled to have a good sleep, and everyone is entitled to listen to good music, be relaxed and be happy.
Being happy does not bar you from being unique. It is not that if the sun comes through one window, it comes in any way less from another window. Spirituality is like that – everyone is entitled to enjoy the full sunshine without having to worry that if someone else is enjoying the sunshine as well then they will get less of it. Nature is abundant, and spirituality is something basic to our life.
So everyone can learn how to manage their anger. Everyone can learn how to feel uplifted and elevated. Everyone has the right to be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is not the property of just a few people, and others should be unenthusiastic about things, no! Everyone can be enthusiastic, unique and creative in their own way. And spirituality is that which supports this – the growth of every human being.

Observation brings wisdom and you need sensitivity to observe. If you are caught up in your own world, you become insensitive to the messages coming to you from those around. – Sri Sri

Q: Dearest Guruji, any valentine in the world pampers his partner, reciprocates the love, etc. How can we find the same satisfaction in the Divine Valentine?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The Divine has already pampered you enough. Know that you are already pampered so much. And it will continue.

Daily Inspiration

All actions happen through consciousness. The world moves because of consciousness. Consciousness expresses the three shaktis as — gyan shakti, ichcha shakti and kriya shakti. Knowledge, action and desire. If these shaktis are aligned, life becomes very smooth. If not, life is in doldrums. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, I am sincerely doing all these practices, but I am not sure that I have changed. I still see myself getting upset and that makes me unhappy.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, how are you now? Are you happy now? Forget about the past. Are you happy to be here? Are you enjoying? That is it.
Inside each of us there are two things. There is one thing that does not change. There is a constant flow of a consciousness that doesnt change. Many other things around that keep changing. So, when you look back in your life, you are not the same person that you were. But at the same time, when you see, you are the same person. Both are there simultaneously.
When do you feel that you have not changed? When you get upset. Suppose somebody pushes a button, and you get angry, you say, Oh, I have not changed, I still get angry. That is the problem, right? That is not true. In the past, you got angry, but the anger stayed in your mind for months and months. You get angry even now, but it just stays for a few minutes, or till you do one short Kriya, and then you become fresh again.

Q: Guruji, I only want to do seva, sadhana and remain in knowledge. But right now, my mind is going in all other directions, being attracted towards guys and all that. I don’t want to be in that position. I want my mind to be with you. What do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You want to get married? Yes good! Go ahead and find the right guy and get married. Put your name in the Art of Living matrimonial. They will find some suitable person, or you find yourself.

Life is totality. It is like stream.  It carries the leaves, sometimes a log, sometimes dirt, all the industrial waste, everything. It doesn’t mind. Does it say, “Oh, you are a flower, I will carry only you. You are a dead a log, I won’t carry you?” It doesn’t make any distinction.  You place a flower there, it will carry that. You throw rubbish into it that will also be carried off. Life is a stream like that. – Sri Sri 

Q: Guruji, How do we find our lifes mission? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To realize ones mission, your mind has to become clear. And doing Hollow and Empty meditation makes the mind very clear. When the mind is clear then intuition comes up. Think how best I can be of use to people, and when you become useful to people around you, when your life is for seva, then you find that life is very meaningful and very fulfilling.
If your life is only centered on yourself, What about me, what will I get? How much more joyful can I be? If you are focused only on that then you go into depression.
See, your strength and talents are meant to be put to good use for others. If nature has given you a good voice, is it for you or for others? Do you sing and listen to your own song? If nature has given you a good voice, that is for others to enjoy.
So, any strength that you have is not for you; it is for others. Any power or strength that you have can be used in two ways. Either you use the power to fight with others, or use the power to serve others. For centuries, people in the world have been gaining power only to fight with others, isnt it? One gained power so that they could fight another, and whom do you fight with with the one who is equal to you. Definitely one does not fight with someone who has less power than them. One fights with someone who is on par with them. And nobody has found happiness in fighting with power. If the power that you have been given is put to good use, to serve, it brings you satisfaction and happiness.
So, everything that you have power, beauty, money, appearance, voice, they are all meant to be put to good use, for the service of others. Then, you find life will be so fulfilling.

Sing and Celebrate, for God Loves fun! God will dance in our life when the day dawns in laughter and love. – Sri Sri 

Q: Guruji, How do we find our lifes mission? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To realize ones mission, your mind has to become clear. And doing Hollow and Empty meditation makes the mind very clear. When the mind is clear then intuition comes up. Think how best I can be of use to people, and when you become useful to people around you, when your life is for seva, then you find that life is very meaningful and very fulfilling.
If your life is only centered on yourself, What about me, what will I get? How much more joyful can I be? If you are focused only on that then you go into depression.
See, your strength and talents are meant to be put to good use for others. If nature has given you a good voice, is it for you or for others? Do you sing and listen to your own song? If nature has given you a good voice, that is for others to enjoy.
So, any strength that you have is not for you; it is for others. Any power or strength that you have can be used in two ways. Either you use the power to fight with others, or use the power to serve others. For centuries, people in the world have been gaining power only to fight with others, isnt it? One gained power so that they could fight another, and whom do you fight with with the one who is equal to you. Definitely one does not fight with someone who has less power than them. One fights with someone who is on par with them. And nobody has found happiness in fighting with power. If the power that you have been given is put to good use, to serve, it brings you satisfaction and happiness.
So, everything that you have power, beauty, money, appearance, voice, they are all meant to be put to good use, for the service of others. Then, you find life will be so fulfilling.

Whatever happened in the past is all dead and gone, move on to the future. See the whole past like a dream. Till now whatever has happened is more or less like a dream. Look into the future, in the next 30 to 40 years what do you want to do. Focus on that with full energy and enthusiasm. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, some pictures have been taken of people during meditation and it has been found that white patches come on the skin. Many times it is said that these are reflective dust particles.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is ok. While doing meditation, all angels and gods are there around us.

A flower can’t break. What breaks is the bud, and it breaks for good. What you thought was love, was not love.  In true love there is no heartbreak. A broken heart means broken demands, broken expectations and broken hopes. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, what is the essence of life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh, you want to know the essence of life? Very good! Just keep coming and sitting here. It will reveal itself one day.

Solution has been given first and then the problem. We need to fit the right solution to the problem. If we don’t see the solution but remain caught up in the problem then that is ignorance. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, Where is the end to greed?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In the burial ground; you cant be greedy there.
It is unfortunate that greed has overtaken our society and the world in fact. Do not think corruption is only India specific. Wherever I go it is the same thing, corruption in Bulgaria, corruption in Russia, corruption in Ukraine; every country is suffering from corruption.
In Greece there is a tremendous amount of corruption, the country has drowned because of corruption. In many countries corruption is a problem, not just in one country.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, Do we create our reality or is everything predetermined?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you have a dog at home? (Answer: Yes)
See, when you go to the park, you go with a leash on the dog. That is legal. Now, the dog has freedom only for the length of the leash. Correct? It can sit very close to where the leash is, or go as long as the leash is. That much is its freedom. If you have trained a dog to be in one area, that is his freedom. He doesnt go twenty kilometers away.
Similarly, in life, everybody has some freedom, and some things are fixed. Human beings have this freedom because humans have intelligence. The lives of animals are programmed. They never overeat. Their life is aligned with nature, but we have the freedom to align with nature or violate the law. Are you getting what I am saying? When you align with nature, there is harmony, and when you go against the laws of nature, there is disharmony. So, in life, many things are fixed and a few things are free will.
I will give you another example. When it is raining to get wet or not is your freewill. You can take an umbrella or a rain coat and not get wet. So, life is a combination of freewill and destiny. The more you go deep into meditation, the happier you are, the more you align yourself with nature, the more you will have free-will.

When someone respects you, it is not because you possess some virtues, it is because of their generosity, their greatness. If you say God is great, it makes YOU great. God is anyway already great, you saying so doesn’t affect God. – Sri Sri

Q: A few people also suggested that we can initially agree to pay the bribe but put a condition that we will give it after the job is done. Once the job is done, we can say that we will not pay you anything now. Can we follow this suggestion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you could use such tactics too!

Be content with whatever happens, for what God chooses for us is surely better than what we choose for ourselves. – Sri Sri

Q: Guruji, if you wish to do business, and if you are told that your horoscope is not supporting that, but you believe in yourself, what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Go to another astrologer! If everybody says the same thing, then it is better to take up a job because then the mind will say, ‘See everybody said that business is no good for me.’