Love is a happening

Q: Dear Gurudev, love, respect and attachment, how are these three connected. How we can we keep these in balance in relationships? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I think you have too much free time. You should get busy.
Do not sit and worry. Love, respect, all these feelings and emotions remain in you. When your heart and mind are clear, then the right emotions will come at the right time.
Love, respect – all these happen. You cannot make it happen. You cannot make respect come into you. If you make an effort to feel love or respect, it will be a failure. So, all that you can do is free yourself from stress and have wisdom in the mind.
Wisdom is seeing the world from a bigger perspective.

See what is temporary and what is permanent. All the opinions of people are temporary. They come and they go. This you must remember. Do not crave for respect. Some people give respect, some do not, it is fine. It is their choice. But if your life depends on respect from others then you are a weak person. You will feel weakened more and more, and when you are weak, you will be miserable.
You should know that you do not need anybody to respect you. ‘My respect is with me, I do not need anyone to respect me’, that is it.

So when you go back from here, that does not mean you behave disrespectfully. You give respect, but do not expect respect in return.
Sometimes people will not have even a little respect. That is how they are, never mind. If others do not give you respect, never mind. It shows their culture, their evolution.
If you are highly evolved, you will always respect everybody. Whether they are sane or insane, you will respect them. Then you will respect even the insane people because it is in your nature. You see them as a part of this Creation. They belong to the Creation, to Divinity. So when you respect everybody that shows how much wiser you are.
Expecting respect shows our weakness and giving respect to people irrespective of who they are or what their standards are shows our wisdom.

Love is a basic substratum of this Creation. It can never disappear. It is always there. Again, give love and it will come back to you a million times more.

Q: Why does the Infinity keep its anonymity?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: So that you can seek that.
When you long for it then you seek. And the seeking itself is so beautiful.
Longing for the Divine, longing for the highest is in itself so beautiful. That is why longing is called RadhaRadha means longing, and Shyam means love. Longing and love go together. If there is no longing, there cannot be love. And if there is love, there has to be longing. They go together.

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The significance of Gayatri Mantra

Adi Shankaracharyaji, after having given all the knowledge he had to give he says one last thing, ‘O Shiva! You are me and I am You – Shivoham! ’ (Shivoham – I am Shiva).

Atmatvam – The Atman (Soul) is Shiva, and Girijimatih – Our buddhi (intellect) is the manifestation of Mother Divine (Devi). And intellect is of three types: SattvikRajasik and Tamasik; which means that the intellect can be predominantly ruled by SatogunaRajoguna or Tamoguna.
So in essence – ‘I am Shiva and my intellect is Sati (Mother Divine) Herself’. And life depends on how our intellect (mati) is.
If the intellect is Tamasik then it becomes Kali (a violent form of the Mother Divine) and takes hold over Shiva (here, the soul) and works towards destroying everything.
If the intellect is Sattvik then it takes the form of Saraswati (the form of the Mother Divine associated with knowledge and wisdom); and if the intellect is Rajasik then it is Lakshmi (the form of the Mother Divine associated with wealth and prosperity).
So, as is the intellect so are the actions (Jaisa mati vaisa gati). As the nature of our intellect, so are our actions.

You must have seen that there are some people who have a lot of negative feelings. They find fault in everything, and try to prove everything as faulty or incorrect. Even if someone is doing very good work, there also they will find some fault or the other. Such an intellect is destructive in nature – Tamasik intellect.
Rajasik intellect is one that wants – I want this and I want that as well, and so one engages oneself and others into activities to acquire this and that.
Sattvik intellect is one that is blissful, happy, contented, and intuitive; an intellect that is supportive of others, helpful to others, joyful, aware and knowledgeable.

So, Gayatri (the primordial aspect of the Mother Goddess) means to go beyond, to transcend these three gunas (TamasikRajasik and Sattvik).
That is why we pray (through the chant of the Gayatri,) – Let this intellect be guided and inspired by something which is beyond the intellect – the Divinity.

So we first relieve ourselves of Tamoguna, by engaging in the activities of Rajoguna, and then we relieve ourselves from Rajoguna, driven activities and move up towardsSatoguna. And then we go beyond even Satoguna to realize the bliss and peace of the supreme Consciousness – this isGayatri.
That is why Gayatri is said to be the power that can destroy and overcome all sins and sorrows, and the chanting of which helps us overcome adversity, that is Gayatri.

See, this is like a vicious circle. First we move (in a circle) from Tamoguna to Rajoguna, and then from Rajoguna toSatoguna. When we strive to hold on to the Satoguna, we come into Rajoguna. And if we strive more in Rajoguna, we again fall back into Tamoguna. So we climb up only to go down once again, and this keeps happening. The root cause of this is Aham (Ego), which is in the subtle form like that of an atom.
So, to inspire and channel this subtle ego of ours we have the Gayatri Mantra. That is the speciality of the Gayatri mantra – Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat. It means, ‘Inspire and direct my intellect towards righteousness.’
By that we pray that may our intellect be freed from sins, criticism, and other negativity. That is why we have the japa(chanting) of the Gayatri mantra.
Brahmatejo’ – may we be illumined and become radiant like the Brahman.

So what is the best prayer? May this intellect of ours be inspired and guided to move on the path of righteousness! And we pray that this happens for everyone – ‘Nah’, which mean may everyone’s intellect be guided and inspired this way.
If one person’s intellect goes in the wrong direction, and if you happen to be with that person, then his negative vibrations come to you too. How many people have had this experience? Raise your hands.
If you sit day and night with someone who keeps speaking negative things, then your mind also becomes anxious and restless with that negativity. And then, as a result of that, you do not experience joy and happiness. That is why, we pray that may our intellect be inspired and directed to move away from all negativity.
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi means, May all our sins be burnt and destroyed.
And so we pray to that Divine Power and Supreme Consciousness which is present everywhere to dispel and destroy all our sins, and guide and inspire our intellect on the path of righteousness.
This is so beautiful, isn’t it?
We must pray every day that only good things come to our intellect. It is like how we sing the song ‘Sabko sanmati de Bhagwaan’ – that is, we pray to God to give everyone a righteous intellect. So, may God’s divine radiance shine within us!
This is what we should pray for. Whatever we think and pray for, that starts to happen.

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Three Types of Illusion

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 MayaMaha 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.

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What happens after death?

Q: Guruji, please give us Gyaan (knowledge)? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: For that you have to ask questions. Knowledge means you have to pull it out.

Q: What happens after death?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What happens after death is the mind gets freed from the body, the spirit. The mind has memory and intelligence, so these two things become like a balloon. The karma, the deepest impressions form a balloon. It is like in sleep.
Death is nothing but a long sleep. Before going to sleep, see the last thought that you get, and as soon as you wake up, see what is the first thought that comes. Have you noticed? It will variably be the same though.

So the physical body decays and the pranic body with all the impressions forms a balloon and leaves the body and hangs around.
Don’t imagine a balloon hanging around! It is a light; an energy.

I will give you the best example. In a television station, they conduct a program and then they transmit it through the dish and the program remains in the atmosphere – it is the same way.
When you send an email from the computer, you type all the letters and then you press the send button. What happens? It goes into the space. Does your email remain in the space till it is downloaded? Even after several days you can download your email. Even one year later or ten years later you can download an email. There is no expiry date, isn’t that so. It is not like those greeting cards which sometimes people send you that expire in 24 hours.
The messages or letters you send don’t hang as letters in the space, it remains in the space as energy.
Like that every soul is a particular frequency and every thumb is different because a thumb is like a particular cell phone chip.

So after death, every individual energy stays, and the impressions it has taken, accordingly to that it experiences those stages there. But then after sometime that soul comes back.
The soul enters the body at three times – this is all a secret. It is called the birth secret and death secret.
So the soul enters at the moment of conception, or it enters in the fifth month, or at the time of birth. So the three sections are there, but there is no way to determine when it enters.
So if at conception time it comes then what one should do to care for that?
Keep yourself happy. Usually pregnant women are kept very happy in India. Whatever she wants is provided to her.
I would say, don’t watch all these violent movies, and scary songs, and scary things. Generally light flute music would be good because it is soothing. It is good to listen to music, knowledge and wisdom. All these things would be preferable.
The soul also chooses where to be born, the place to come. According to its wish it will just come there.

Q: What is love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The basis of all existence.
All the cells in your body love each other, that is why they are together. The day they stop loving each other, it all disintegrates. Got it?
If there is one substances by which everything is held together and you want to give it a name, you can call it love. Love is not all wiggly wiggly and mushy mushy, ‘Oh I can’t live without you, I love you so much’, and so on. It is not that. That is just an emotional something. Love means (silence)… that is it.
Love is indescribable. You can’t describe it. And there is not a creature on this planet which doesn’t know it. Got it?
From the sea to the birds, from a chicken to an enlightened person, everybody has experienced love. Love for life is what we think it is, but life itself is love. So see through this knowledge that this whole universe is love.
Love is an existence not just an emotion. Emotion is also love, but the existence itself is love.
The Earth loves the Sun that is why it keeps going around the sun. The Moon loves Earth that is why the Moon goes around the Earth. Wherever there is a force or there is energy or a pull or attraction, you call it love. And where there is repulsion that is also love in the opposite direction. Got it?
You are drawn to somebody or something, why? Because you love it.
You see a cheese cake and you are drawn to it, why? There is a pull.
You see a beautiful girl or a girl sees a beautiful boy, there is a pull, and what do you call that? You call it love! Why? It is because there is a pull, there is an attraction, there is a force. And that force is what manages the whole universe.
Some places it is more obvious and some other places, it is not obvious. The day the Earth stops loving you, you will start flying. The Earth loves you so much that the gravitational force keeps you glued to the earth. Did you get it?
So love is that force in human life. And all the negative emotions are also a distorted form of love only.
In anger there is love. Ask me how? You love perfection and that is why you get angry. Greed is love. Greed is when you love something much more than life. When you love objects more than life, it is called greed. Hatred is love upside down. Fear is love upside down.

Q: Guruji, my mother passed away on Christmas. Is there any special meaning to this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, do you know around the world, many people die on Christmas day or New Year day. Death knows no dates. Got it?
So, you feel uncomfortable because she died on that day which you celebrate. But another way of looking at it is – on that day she became bigger. She got over here suffering, her sickness from being in the body. She got liberated. So that is a good thing for her. It is a Christmas gift to her from nature, from God. Think that way, then your mind will be at peace and you can celebrate Christmas.
She got liberated on Christmas day. And on Christmas day she ascended. Isn’t this a better way to see? So celebrate her liberation and her freedom.

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What is Art?

Why do you want to talk about darkness?
The whole Universe is enveloped by darkness – Dark Energy and Dark Matter. Scientists today say that what you see today as light is only a spot; it is like a bubble in a water bottle. Light is like a bubble in a water bottle. But the water is the real thing. The bubble is simply what appears. That is not the real thing.
So the Sun, of course we know is the source of energy. But the scientists say that, what keeps the Sun tight and round in shape is the Dark Energy around it. So the Dark Matter and Dark Energy is a million times more powerful than the Sun. Like air bubble inside a water bottle is just air trapped by the pressure of all the water molecules. Now water is heavier and so much more powerful than the air. Similarly the whole Universe is filled with energy which you cannot see and which you don’t know. And you think there is nothing in it.
The black holes, what the scientists call it, can just swallow the Sun. Our Earth, the Sun and our solar system is simply escaping and moving in between huge black holes.
So many black holes are there in the universe, and if the Sun gets even a little close to it then it just sucks the whole Sun, and nobody knows where it disappears. So the whole Universe is filled with that energy which is not seen, that is why it is called Dark Energy or Dark Matter.

Q: What is Art? Where does poetry come from and what does it do? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh! Anything that you appreciate becomes art.
You see a heap of stones lying somewhere and you think it is just a heap of stones. But if it is arranged a little bit, you start appreciating it. Then it becomes an Art.
On a piece of paper when you start putting or splashing some colors and then start appreciating it as a painting, it becomes an Art. It gives you some meaning, isn’t it?
And for poetry, it comes from a subtle level of the mind. When your breath flows in a particular rhythm, when a particular Nadi or channel in you gets opened, in that particular moment, something comes up and you write. Then the words rhyme. So it is a gift! Imagination is a gift.
It is all how the consciousness expresses itself; how your mind expresses itself. And when you appreciate, it becomes Art.
If you don’t appreciate and just blabber some words then that is not it. See the modern poetry needs certain intelligence to appreciate it.
Have you read modern poetry? Let me read you something.

A leaf ruffles on the ground; Water carries it along.

That is it. (Laughter)
And the way you write it – ruffles on the ground; water carries it along – this is poetry. Now this can have so many meanings, instantaneously.
A leaf is on the ground or a leaf was in the air and it came to the ground. It was on the ground could mean it is almost dead. It fell on the ground and it is love that carries it along – water is synonymous to love.
Water carries it along, yes! So it could mean with every desperate moment there is hope.
So you can interpret it in so many ways.
Poetry is like that. Words carrying the feelings, a little exposed and little covered.

Poetry is words capsuling feelings, a little exposed and a little hidden or covered.
That is what it is – a little mystic and a little obvious.

A poet said to God, ‘You are in control of the world. But make it more obvious.’ (Laughter).
To those for whom it is obvious, became saints. Those who don’t see that You are in control of the world, they struggle. You can understand it this way, isn’t it?!

If someone appreciates you then you say, ’Oh, that person is trying to hook me in.’ And if they don’t appreciate you, then you think, ‘They are jealous.’ Same thing if you are rich, you think, ‘They are attending to me because I am rich. They are interested in my purse.’ If they don’t, then you say that they are arrogant, they are jealous. My God, the mind plays so many tricks.
Similarly, someone can get into the labor union mind-set. Do you know what is the labor union mind-set? ‘I don’t want to listen to anybody! Everybody is against me.’
Who is against you?! The mind makes a whole bubble about it. They think, ‘Oh, someone is trying to control me, dominate me, and harass me.’

The other day one person came and said, ‘Everyone is harassing me at work.’
How could everyone harass you? You must be doing something really horrible.
’Everyone is harassing me at my work place’ – you know, this is labor union mentality. Because one does not feel good about oneself, they project it on everybody else thinking, ‘Everybody is bad, everybody is after me!’ Who is after you? What do they get by harassing you and making you miserable? You make yourself miserable. Got it?
In many companies, the establishment suffers because there is one manager sitting there who is like that. He wants to show his or her power and he plays all sorts of tricks. He doesn’t realize that he is cutting the tree which he is sitting on.

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Sri Sri talks about the recently discovered God Particle

The scientists have discovered the God Particle; that is what they are saying – Higgs Boson. And they say that the entire universe is made up of this. It is a field, and this field is energy. It gives shape to the planets, stars and everything.
This sounds so familiar to someone who has studied Vedanta, or someone who has experienced deep meditation.
The whole universe is made up of consciousness. It is a play and display of one consciousness. The Vedic Rishis also said the same. They said first know the elements; they called even Brahman, the Ultimate, as a Tattva. Tattva means Principle. Like God Particle, they said Brahman Principle.

What is the first principle? They said the Elements; Earth element, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, and then the Mind, the Intellect – the subtler and subtler you go, you reach there.
Subtler than space is mind, subtler than that is intellect and knowledge is present there. And subtler than that is ego, and hundred times subtler than ego is the Mahat Tattva – The Principle called Mahat, field called Mahat.
Ego itself is an atom, but finer than the ego, beyond the ego, that point, that particle is a field called Mahat Tattva, and finer than that is Moola Prakurti – the primordial energy.
And beyond that primordial energy, is Brahman, of which everything is made, which is the substance of the whole creation. Brahman is infinity, it is neither born nor will it ever die.

In the Rig Veda, there is a Sukta called Nasadiya Sukta, in the 10th Mandala, 129th Adhyaya, there, around seven verses are written. In the seven verses of The Hymn of Creation, it is so striking how these aspects which we now know through quantum mechanics and through quantum physics were present then and there.
What scientists call as Dark Matter and Dark Energy which is everywhere, and which is what we are talking about, theNasadiya Sukta says the same thing.

Nasadasinno sadasittadanim nasidrajo no vyom paro yat
Kimavarivah kuha kasya sharmannambhah kimasid gahanam gabhiram

Beyond the space, then, in the beginning, there was neither existence nor non-existence; neither birth nor death. It was all only energy. And it also talks about, ‘Darkness enveloped by darkness. ’ In the third verse it says, ‘Darkness was all wrapped around by darkness.’
So these verses strikingly indicate what today’s scientists talk about almost in the same language.

Let me read the translation:
At first was neither Being or Non-being. There was not air nor yet sky beyond. What was it wrapping? Where? In what protection?
Was water there, unfathomable and deep?
There was no death then, nor yet deathlessness; of night or day, there was not any sign.
The One breathed without breath, by its own impulse. Other than that was nothing else at all.
Darkness was there all wrapped around by darkness, and all was water indiscriminate. All was energy indiscriminate.
Then that which was hidden by the void, the one emerging, stirring, through power of Ardor, came to be.
In the beginning Love arose, which was the primal germ cell of the mind.
The seers, searching in their heart with wisdom, discovered the connection of Being in Non-being. A crosswise line cut Being from Non-being.
What was described above it, what below? Bearers of seed there were and mighty forces, thrust from below and forward move above.
Who really knows? Who can presume to tell it?
When was it born? Whence issued this creation? Even the Gods came after its emergence.
Then who can tell from whence it came to be?
That out of which creation has arisen, whether it held it from or it did not; He who surveys it in the highest heaven, He surely knows or maybe He does not!

That is very interesting – He surely knows or maybe He does not – because even the knower is part of the phenomenon.

The three types of space are described. One is the space in which we see all the matter that exists; the outer space –Bhutakasha. Then there is the intermediate space or inner space, where all thoughts and emotions float. This is calledChittakasha – the space of the Chitta (consciousness). And then Chidakasha, the space of pure consciousness or energy, which here and there appears to have consolidated and appears to be matter. What appears to be matter is really not matter, it is all One energy, and that One field is called Brahman, and that is what everybody is, that is what everything is.
Doesn’t it sound very similar to the Higgs Boson?
So the Brahman or God is not a He or She, they say it is a field. It is a field, it is a space, the basis of everything, and everything is just its own reflection. Everything forms of its own reflection. It is neither a thing, nor nothing.
And they also said this will be known by the scientist of the past and the scientist of the future.

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Be Open Minded

Q: Dear Guruji, what is the real meaning and importance of Rudra Pooja? And what happens to the people or the place?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Rudrabhishek is an ancient chanting which was downloaded from the Aakasha (space). When the ancient sages and Rishis sat in meditation, they heard, and what they heard, they started transferring to other people. The effect of Rudrabhishek is it creates positive energy and removes negative vibes. And a lot is said about the Rudrabhishek. When Rudrabishek happens nature flourishes, nature becomes joyful, happy.

Main thing is the vibration, that is it. If you ask me, ’Do you know the meaning of all the chants? I will say, ’I also don’t know.’ It’s the vibration of the chants that is important and then the meaning.
There are two parts, the first part says, ’Namo, namo, namo, namo!’
Mana, means mind. The word mind in English comes from Sanskrit word Mana.
Nama is the reverse of the mind. The mind going to its source is called Nama.
When the mind goes outside to experience the world, it is Mana. So Nama. is the mind going back to its source.
When it goes to its source, what does it find? Everything is made up of one consciousness.
Now, what do the scientists today say? God Particle – by which everything has been made. Thousands of years ago the Rishis said the same thing, that everything is made up of one thing, and that they called Brahman. – that which is neither male nor female. It is nothing but a Tattva. Tattva means principle. A great principle by which everything is made of, they called it Bramhan. And when that Bramhan becomes personal, it is called Shiva Tattva – the innocent Divinity; that is in everything. That is why we say, ‘Namo, namo!’
In the trees, in the greenery, in the birds, even in the thieves, and in a dacoit, everywhere, it is the same one principle.

Then, the second part will say, ‘Chame, chame, chame, chame.’ You have heard this, isn’t it?! This means, everything is in Me.
Me’ in English comes from the Sanskrit word ’ Ma’, which means Myself.
Ma Ma’ means ’ For Me’, ‘In Me’. So, everything is in terms of ; myself;. The second part is everything is for me and everything is in terms of me.
Even for numbers they say, ‘Ekaachame’, which means, one, two, three, four, they are all my form; Myself. Like that, ‘Sugamchame’, happiness for me!
Abhayanchame’, fearlessness, happiness, health, all the good things in the universe, let them all come to me, and they are all part of me. That is it.

And as this is being chanted, usually milk and water runs through the crystal, drop by drop. This is the ancient method. It is done with water or in fire as well.
What they do is they keep a fire and they put different herbs for the different chants. Or you allow a string of water to keep falling on a crystal and you listen to this chanting – this is the ancient method.
And done on Mondays it is even more special. Monday is the day of the moon and the moon and mind are connected. Mantra, mind, moon, they are all connected somewhere. So, in India, it is a tradition, they have this chanting going on in the Ashrams. So in our ashram also, every Monday, we have this.
All the five elements are used in pooja. Pooja means honoring all the elements, born out of fullness. So, fire, water, incense sticks, fruits, flowers, rice, whatever nature has given to us, those things are used and the chanting goes on.
There is a lot of depth and meaning to it. You can go and do some research on it, more and more things will come out.
Mainly, it creates more positive ions, more so when people are meditating.
Just doing it as a ritual is not that effective because it is said that the Veda Mantras are effective when people are awake from within; for them, these mantras have more meaning. So, they help you to go deep into meditation.

Q: I can understand the truth of your knowledge. I can enjoy pooja, bhajans and all the Indian customs as well around you. But, when I am together with my friends, it is very difficult to speak about all this; especially, listening to a Master. In our country, we learn to follow our mind and not any Masters. What can you suggest to make Art of Living more acceptable?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you know, 30 years ago, when we first started The Art of Living then also it was very difficult. Teaching yoga means only someone who is out there, someone who is crazy, would do yoga. But today people like yoga.

I want to tell you one thing. You don’t have to talk about pooja, chanting and all that to one who does not know. Just talk about meditation, Sudarshan Kriya, Part 1 course, this is good enough. And I tell you, today people are much more open than before.
There are big programs happening around the world. The Buddhists do the Mandala Pooja, and everybody flocks to see the ritual. Buddhism has similar chanting and people love to listen to the chanting.
So, sometimes, it is our mind only that put the blocks.

In a city like New York, there are a number of classes for chanting; Sanskrit chanting. And these classes are full, there is no place available.
Our own center in New York has three to four shifts for Kriya and for meditation. Everyday there are so many people visiting.
So today, West is not West and East is not East. You will find agnostics, non-believers in the East also. And you find believers in the West also. So people are more open and their prejudices are lesser than before. If you find they have prejudices, tell them, ‘Hey, you should not be prejudiced. You should be a global citizen. You should be open to multi-culturalism and multi-cultural religious festivals; otherwise you are in the middle- ages, dark ages. You are not open-minded. Your mind is very closed. And whenever there is any good thing anywhere, you should accept that.’
You don’t need to say, ’I follow a Master’, and this and that.

I make everybody leaders. I am in the back giving you a push to go forward. A coach is essential everywhere, whether it is sports, or music, or cooking. Unless you have a coach who helps you learn how to be a good cook, you cannot get certified. So, for yoga, for exercise, even soccer you need a good coach, isn’t it?
So similarly, for spirituality, which is very abstract, you definitely need a coach, someone who trains you.
A Master never tell you, ‘Shut your brain and don’t think’, no! He encourages you to think freely. This is what you need to know.
The Art of Living encourages Reasoning and Faith, both. Faith and Reason, they may appear to be conflicting. It has happened in the past like that. That is how the Spanish inquisition happened. In the past if the Church said something you should never question it. So, the entire revolution in Russia about Communism started because reason was shunned. But in the East that never happened. East always said, ‘Honor your reason.’
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna gives Arjuna the entire knowledge, and then finally he says, ‘You reason, if it appeals to your intellect then you accept it. Whatever I said, if your intellect does not accept it then you need not accept whatever I have said.’
Buddha said the same thing, ‘You must have Reason and Surrender as well. Have faith.’ This is what Lord Buddha said.

If you say, ‘Let me first learn swimming then I will get in to water’, a real coach will say, ‘Get into the water and I will tell you how to swim.’
So it is not one after another, yes! As you get into water you have to swim immediately. You have to learn simultaneously. That is why Reason and Faith, they both are essential in life. You can’t learn swimming in the air first and then get into the water. Then you will not learn swimming. When you get into the water only then you will learn how to swim, correct! And there is a life jacket around you. The Master is like the life jacket. He teaches you to swim and once you start swimming then you know the value of it, isn’t that so?

So, how to answer people? You need not answer every question that anybody asks. Sometimes just smile. You don’t know the value of it, but just taste it and then tell them. Someone might say, ’Oh! Why are you listening to chanting?’
‘Oh! You don’t know the value of chanting. It is so wonderful. Just do it. Just listen to it once and you will see.’
That is what we want to share. We want to share what is best with everybody; with everyone. Not that in India everything is good or everything better, no! There are many hopeless things also. But we have picked the good things and are sharing it with the world.
Similarly, every religion, every culture has something very beautiful. That we should share. Not the fanaticism and not the small mindedness.
What do you say? We take the good things from everywhere, we do it and we promote it. We see that everyone gets the benefit of those things. Isn’t it?
There are many things even in yoga that they do which are not that scientific. In Hatha Yoga, they pierce the body with a needle. They do things that are not really in the scriptures, but people have been practicing it. Now, we don’t encourage those things. And then people torture themselves in the name of meditation and yoga. So, we say no for these things because these are all not authentic!

Similarly, for rituals also, they add so many things that are not completely authentic, and are not in the scriptures. It is not even necessary but by practice people are using these things. That is where you need the discrimination of what is right and what is not right. Take only that.

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