Talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Present Education System in India: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Thought

 “A true winner is one who smiles through all life’s challenges.”- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : “You know, management courses these days are adopting more and more informal ways of teaching. This approach is being emphasized everywhere, and I hope that soon the world over, everyone realizes the need for changing the methodology of teaching.”

“I would like to share some good news with you. The World Bank has invited The Art of Living foundation to design their courses for their employees.”
“Our courses have been welcomed and well received everywhere. The Harvard Business School too has appreciated our courses. In fact, the Stanford University has placed our course as a Credit Course. That means that when a student completes The Art of Living Course, they get marks for that.”
“Universities like Stanford, Cornell, etc., are rapidly recognizing and adopting The Art of Living Courses. But this is still a small number and we have a long way to go.”
“We have so many IITs and IIMs still struggling in our own country. In the world over, the situation is the same for so many educational institutions. In fact, if you check the list of the top 50 educational institutions of the world, you will find that many of them are in China.”
“So, we have a long way to go and promote a value-based education to the students, which develops a person in a complete manner. Education should not just be informative, but also develops a person with emotional intelligence and spiritual quotient as well. That work is still pending, but today the doors are opening.”
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruji has set up (421) schools all over the country (across 21 states) to provide a healthy, holistic, value-based education, with emphasis on sharing and caring.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar states that education without inspiration is useless. “No matter how educated you are it will be of no value if it doesn’t leave you inspired.”
His vision is that through value based education the young generation will feel inspired to shoulder greater responsibilities and become the spearheads for the much needed social and political change our country requires.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has always encouraged people to take the best from each culture. “So, take punctuality from the Germans, take etiquette from the Brits, take an eye for detail from the Japanese and so on. Open your horizons for learning. Each and everyone can teach you something valuable.”
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar points out that “Education teaches taking up of responsibility. When you become responsible you stop complaining and take positive action to alter the situation. Taking up responsibilities leads to increased learning and enhanced leadership skills.”

Monday, June 15, 2015

what if the person you love asks you to change your religion to get married?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruji's words on changing the religion to get married

To that you should say, 'I shall follow mine, you follow yours'. There are some religions which accept everything, but there are some religions which say others are evil, and only mine is right. This is difficult.
With such religions, you have to say that you will change to the religion which is more accepting and accommodating of all forms of thoughts and worship. That is much easier.
If your religion says that everything else is bad and only mine is right, it constraints you. If your religion says that all paths are okay, this is okay and that is also okay, then you can follow that. That which has a broad mind set is always better. It has more possibilities and more harmony is there in it.

Yesterday, about five boys from the Yazidis community who are studying here in Bangalore came to see me. The plight of that community is so pathetic, and so painful. This community which was 23 million has reduced over the past 4-5 decades to only one million today. In Saddam Hussein’s time they were made to run from one place to another, they were not given full rights because they were considered to be infidels, as the Yazidis belief system is different.
So many killings are happening in the name of religion and that is a big problem.

Art of Living is working with the Yazidis. We have adopted 550 families and already 90 tons of food grains have been collected and air-lifted with the help of two helicopters provided by the American government to Mount Sinjar. 9000 people are stuck in the holy temple there. It’s so cold and they don’t have any tents, food, or water. They don’t have anything. So far The Art of Living is the only organization which is helping to get the food, but we hope other organizations will also join.
I am so proud of our volunteers and teachers who are working there in Kurdistan. The Shias are there, some Christians are there, some Yazidis are there. They (volunteers) have put up some tents and are taking care of them.

When you all have these small issues that make you so upset; small things like your mother-in-law said something, or your father-in-law said something, or your husband/wife or neighbour said something then look at this community which is on the verge of extinction: they have been asked to convert or they will be killed. Yet they are holding onto their faith and that’s why they went into the cold mountains. We must honour them, whatever their faith is.
Why should they convert? They have been made to convert forcefully. 23 million reduced to one million.
The Yazidis are a very peaceful community like the Parses and like the Jains. India is a place where we have accommodated everybody: the Jains, the Parses, the Sikhs. Everyone is part of this country, and everybody has lived peacefully. Why and how? It is because we are an example of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (One World Family).

This is what all these countries should adopt; all communities, all religions should adopt. It does not matter if one is a Shia, Sunni, Protestant, Catholic, Brahmin, Dalit whatever it is, all belong to one family.
Peace conferences happen in those parts of the world where everything is peaceful. But we need to have peace conferences where there is conflict, where there is war, and that is what we have organized. I’m going to Iraq next weekend, from the 18th-21st of November. In Iraq we are having a peace conference and I hope to see people come together.

When The Art Of Living Happiness Program was taught to the Parliamentarians of Kurdistan (35 of them took the first program), there were Shia, Sunni, Kurds, Arabs, etc. People from different groups were in the course. After the course, they all said, 'This is what we need'.
You can read about their experience on our website. All their experiences are posted there. They also insisted on having a Skype call with me, so I spoke to them on Skype.
They said, 'Gurudev you must come here to our province as this knowledge is very much needed. If we had this knowledge several years back, perhaps, our history would have been different.'
I can’t but agree with them. If people had a broad mind-set then they would not have gone through what they are going through today.

If at all you have to worry, worry about the big thing, like me! I am so worried. You also worry big, for the world. Even for a fraction of a second if these bigger issues worry you, you would be able to come up instead of sinking with small little things.

Monday, February 23, 2015

You are a Free Bird - A talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

If you are not crazy, you will never find God. Become crazy! Becoming crazy means coming out of your bondages.  Become free. “Vimuktoham”. “I am free”. Feel the freedom.
You are like a free bird. You are fully open. Feel that you are flying like a bird. Fly. This is something which you have to experience within yourself. There is nothing else. If you consider yourself as bonded, you will remain bound here. There should be nothing on your head. This is the meaning of surrender.
What is surrender? Not having anything in your head. If you are traveling in a train, once you get on that train, you put all your things down. You do not carry your things on your head or hold it in your hands. The moment you board a plane, you put your things under the seat or above, you may even go off to sleep.
Experience freedom. When will you experience freedom? After you die?  Become free now, Become contented. There is something in you which says “I have to do this. I have to achieve”. Sometimes, sit at ease thinking ‘I have nothing to do now”. When you sit for meditation you should not even talk. Do not practice this on the dining table, “ I have nothing
to say. Let the food enter my mouth”. This cannot happen. We apply all our principles according to our convenience. If you are told to get up early in the morning and come for meditation, do not say, “I have nothing more to do. I am fine”. The problem with knowledge is that, everything can be interpreted wrongly.
“Naturalness, love, faith, acceptance” these are the four legs of the chair you are seated upon. Even if one among them is cut, your chair begins to shake. You begin to fall.
You say to someone close to you “If you want anything I am there for you’. You should become capable of saying this to everyone. “if you need me I am there for you”. That is called seva.

“I am there for you”, do not be afraid to utter these words because you fear that you will be used by people. Nothing of that sort will happen. You are afraid of opening your fists. We say, “open your fists. The whole sky will be in your hands”. What is there with you, that you have to hold your fists?  You have nothing with you. Be natural. Be with love. Do service. Celebrate all your life.

From Talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

what is boredom? - Talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

What is boredom?...  Just a repetition, without love, repetition of anything to the extent that it surpasses liking or interest, is boredom. It is not bad, neither is it good. Only man is capable of boredom; no other animal is capable of getting bored. That’s why cows are not bored; they look perfectly happy and seem to be enjoying. Suppose if you have to sing a song and if you don’t like it or if you have to sing it several times you get bored. Suppose you love a song, then it doesn’t bore you, you can sing it the whole day.

Boredom is lack of interest and love. If you keep doing all your practices again and again, that creates boredom. Is there any permanent solution for boredom? What are the reasons behind it? What are our feelings when we are bored? The want of new

What is the nature of the mind? The mind needs something new constantly, every minute, every second... It wants something today,something else tomorrow or an entirely different thing the day after tomorrow. You get bored if you have to eat the same vegetable everyday. You want to taste different varieties of food every day. Why? Mind wants something new all the time.

But how much newness can exist? The wanting for newness has to stop somewhere.

Become Aware of the constant Repetitive Cycle

There is no boredom in love. When lovers write letters they write love, love, love, love all over. They never get bored of it. As you keep repeating and doing your practices again and again,  boredom vanishes and love arises.

Many eat rice everyday, only the vegetables served are different, but the rice is the same. People who are used to eating rice every day never get bored with it and in fact feel unhappy if there is no rice for even one day.

If you are used to somebody shouting at you all the time, you get so used to it that you just let him or her shout, however long they want to and you continue with your work. When you are used to anger, the heat of anger does not affect you.

Whatever the mind gets used to because of practice, it never gets bored with it. So there is a close relationship between practice and love. How? There is repetition in love and there is repetition in practice.

What is the purpose of practice? Practice means doing the same thing again and again like japa or sadhana. The purpose of sadhana is to first bring up boredom and then destroy the boredom. The goal of practice is to root away the boredom within us.

Where is love

The self is all love and love is always repetitive. If the self is all love, then how can you get bored with yourself? Not possible! You are bored with your mind, not with yourself. Mind always wants change. It is bored without change and practice is doing the same thing, repeating the same thing without changing so that the mind gets thoroughly bored and bored and bored.

Sometimes you hum a line of a movie song, bhajan or traditional music which suddenly flashes to you while bathing. You later realise that you would have hummed the whole day, the same line. This is because love and practice has happened. So sit for half an hour every day and say something, Ram, Ram, Shiva, Shiva, Shiva. You keep saying ‘Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivaya’ and you get bored and bored and the boredom becomes so much that nothing else can really bore you. Only when you penetrate this boredom does love arise.

Boredom and Enthusiasm

Have you noticed a child? A child never gets bored. It says the same thing again and again. If a child asks a question it keeps asking the same thing and it goes on non-stop. You get bored but the child doesn’t get bored. The child is not bored opening the same book several times. There is nothing new in the book, but it opens and closes, opens and closes. That is why mothers have time. They give some toy to the child, the beads in a string. They go on stringing the beads from this side to that side.

If you take children to an exhibition and they see the roller coaster or merry go round and they want to sit on it. You try to convince them, “don’t sit on it, your head will turn. Not today, we will come again tomorrow”. After listening to all that you say, at the end of it they, “daddy I want to sit on it. Mama, I want to sit on it”. Repetition is children’s nature.

When you cannot get bored with yourself, you cannot get bored with anything else in the world. Then if you have to say the same thing over and over again you will say it with the same enthusiasm. Wherever your mind goes meditate on that !

Maharshi Patanjali said, “yathābhimatadhyānādḥvā”. “Wherever your mind goes meditate on that”. If your mind drawn towards your grand child then meditate on your grand child. See God in your grand child and worship the child. Do whatever pleases you. At least let your mind get used to that half an hour of pr

actice. “yathābhimatadhyānādḥvā”. Do whatever pleases you the most. We had been to a place near kerala where we saw an idol. The idol was half Ganesha and half Hanuman. We were surprised to see this new idol. We had seen nothing like it before. We have seen Ganesha, Hanuman, Ardhanareeshwara (half man and woman) and Harihara (Shiva and Vishnu together). So we were surprised to see half Ganesha and half Hanuman, Ganesha’s trunk was cut into half and had become the face of Hanuman, Why this?

Humans have used up all that was there in the past and are bored by it, so there was this new combination of Gods. The idea was to arrest the mind in the new form. Now the mind runs towards Ganesha and also towards Hanuman. So what to do? Okay, join both of them. There is no harm in doing this. It is good if the mind stands still.

Move from Boredom to celebration

We are often bored with our own selves. To take away the boredom in us we keep doing many things and keep wandering everywhere. If the stink is arising from your mouth what is the use of applying perfume all over the house? What is the use of spraying the air-
freshener or lighting an agarbathi (incense) stick in the house? From where is the stink coming? It is coming from the stomach. Till you treat the stomach, the stink will not vanish. If you want relieve yourself from your boredom and you try to be in someone else’s company, they will be more bored than you, If you are bored with your self, they how much boring you must be for others?

Do your personal satsang everyday. Sit down everyday and assume that you have a return ticket in your hand and think that you are going to leave today. See how peaceful the mind becomes. You can see a vision. A vision which reveals that everything is a dream and
this life is only for a short time. The moment this realization dawns in you, the fault-
finding mind which keeps saying “that is not right, this is not right”, becomes calm, unless the grumbling mind is quietened, you will never get the ultimate. ‘When we are joyous with ourselves, then nothing from outside can seem boring to us’

Even if your practices are boring, then know that is doing its job. If it is giving you joy, then also know that it is doing its job. In eitherway practice, whether it is giving you joy or boredom. Don’t change your practices if you are bored with them. Be with the boredom,be with the practice and you will see a break through happening in you. If you change the practice and then you do another practice, you will just keep changing the practice and the mind remains as it is. It does not get transformed. Boredom is the boiling point of the mind, the mind bursts.

From Talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Alone , yet not Lonely! - A talk by Sri Sri

If you ever think nobody loves you, know for sure that you are loved. The earth loves you; that’s why it is holding you upright. The love of the earth is its gravitational force. The air loves you; that’s why it moves through your lungs even when you are sleeping. The Divine loves you very dearly, deeply. Once you realise this, you will never feel lonely.
Someone’s company cannot fill your loneliness. Even if it does, it is very short-lived. You can still feel lonely in spite of being in company. In a real sense, loneliness can only be filled by being alone. If you could be comfortable being alone for some time, then you will not feel lonely. When you don’t feel lonely, you can spread joy to people around you.

People run after parties and celebrations, but for the one who does not run after them, parties and celebrations follow him wherever he or she goes. If you run after parties, loneliness comes to you and if you are in the solitude of the self, celebrations surround you.
If you enjoy being with your self, you will not be a boring personality. If you are lonely, then you can be boring to others. And that will make you more lonely! And if your own company bores you, how much more boring must you be to someone else?

Any company looks very good from a distance or but when you get closer to it, it pushes all your buttons and brings about many unwanted emotions in you. If you think some group is very good, then it means that you are not yet completely with the group. When you are part of that group you will find some bickering coming up.

Those who are in company all the time look for the comforts of solitude and those who are in solitude feel lonely and want to be in company. Everyone is looking for a perfect balance. That perfect balance is like a razor’s edge and can only be found in the Self. If you take out some time, say one week in a year, to be with yourself and observe our own thoughts and emotions, then you will get a sense of what quietness means.

From time to time, keep a little distance from whomsoever close to you and take some time off for your own space. From the moment you wake up in the morning, you are always with people and your mind is caught up in worldly thoughts. So sometime during the day, sit for a few minutes and get into the cave of your heart. Then you will not feel lonely even when you are alone.

Live your life well. If you are useful to people all your life, there will be hundreds and millions of people to take care of you. Mother Teresa and Acharya Vinoba Bhave, for example, were sick in bed for a long time. Do you think there was nobody to give them company? There were hundreds waiting to take care of them and all they did was to be useful to people around them.

One way to get over the feeling of loneliness is to do some service (seva) and be useful to people around you. The day you feel hopeless, horrible and worse, get out of your room and ask people, “What can I do you for you? The service you did will bring a revolution inside you. Seva always connects you with people. 
When you make service your sole purpose in life, it eliminates fear, brings focus in your mind, purposefulness in action, and long-term joy.
Every time you are unhappy or miserable or lonely, you are just coming in touch with your own boundaries. It is limitation and boundary that is the real cause of your disturbance. You are peaceful and happy until come in contact with your boundaries.  The moment you come in contact with it, then the mind goes on a trip and you move out of your centre. At that moment what can you do? You can just be grateful and pray for peace. That very moment, you will start smiling and however hopeless the situation is, you will walk through it.

You cannot force enthusiasm and confidence to come back to you. You read many books, stand on your head, wear nice clothes…, but nothing will work. When you feel useless, use that time to be prayerful and you will see no sooner, you will gain the confidence and enthusiasm beyond all your imagination. When you don’t have enthusiasm, you will share only your grievances. If you are filled with grievances, you will talk about only that. That doesn’t mean that you are miserable. Whether it is extreme joy or happiness or terrible misery, there is a part in every human being that remains untouched by that. Similarly, you can’t go on mourning all your life. Sorrow comes and goes.
How can you gain that peace which is unshakeable? Being individually happy is not enough. Our wish should be that whomever we meet be happy and radiate happiness. A frustrated man will create frustration; a jealous person will create jealousy and so on. It’s better to be lonely than being in bad company.

What is bad company? The company which solidifies your negativity is bad company. For example, you have some problem and you go and talk to someone and he or she makes your negativity stornger, then that is bad company. And you go to someone else with the same problem, same negativity, and he or she make you feel lighter and when you walk away from them you feel that the problem is not as big as you thought it was. That is the right company. Bad company brings ambition, desire, frustrations, anger and delusion. That company which gets you lost, and doesn’t let you learn from your own experience, is bad company.

Don’t think people who agree with your grievances, with your problems, are your friends. Those people who make your negative feelings, your frustrations, grow more and more, they may appear to be friends, but they are your enemies. Often, your own mind is your worst enemy. The negative tendency in your mind is your own enemy.

To come out of loneliness, you make friends with people who share something in common with you. But coming together in knowledge is rare. Be a friend in knowledge and uplift each other. Learn and unlearn from the past and move on with creative zeal and enthusiasm. The trying time brings the best out of you. The rewarding time gives the best of the world to you. Life is a combination of both.  
From Talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar