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Archive for May, 2008

By His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar For The Bali Times

It is inevitable that sometimes one feels negative and down. Nobody wants it, but it happens. Life is 80 percent joy and 20 percent misery. But we hold on to the 20 percent and make it 200 percent! It is not a conscious act; it just happens.

There are two ways of looking at life. One is thinking that, “I will be happy after achieving a certain objective.” The second is saying that “I am happy come what may!”

What is there for you to get depressed? You are here for a few years on this planet. And as long as you are here, you can as well be happy. What are you waiting for to be contented? Which five-year plan is it of yours to be happy? It’s like preparing your bed for all night and when you are ready to sleep, it’s already dawn. Instead of preparing to be happy all the time, make your conscience happy now and remain naturally happy like children.

Smile at Yourself

This life has so much to offer you. You can see this once you take sometime off and rejuvenate the soul. Take some time off to look a little deep into oneself and calm the mind. Your soul is hungry for a smile from you. If you could give this, you will feel energized and nothing will take the smile away from you.

Many events come and go in life; many situations arise. Are you able to maintain your equanimity in those conditions? Not everything in the world is sweet. 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, happiness or 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.

Cross Your Own Boundaries

Every time you are unhappy or miserable, 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.

The creation wants you to be happy. God wants to see you full of enthusiasm, joy, compassion and being happy. But what you do? You keep a long face, worry about this or that. What’s the fun? Life is not meant for this. God is trying his level best; He has created so many things for you to be happy. God only helps those who help themselves. So everyday make a resolution. “Today, I am just going to be happy come what may. I will not let anything disturb my happiness. I am going to be contended, happy.”

You Are More than Time

A wise one is happy even in bad times. And the foolish one is unhappy even in good times. You make the time good or bad. Even if an astrologer says that you have a hopeless time, you can make it a good time! So realize that you are more than time and that you can move the time by your connection with the Divine.

God has given you all the small pleasures of the world, but has kept the bliss to himself. To get the highest bliss, you have to go to him and him alone. Don’t be too smart with the Divine and try to fool him. Most of your prayers and rituals are just attempts to trick the Divine. You try to give the least and get the maximum out of the Divine. But God is an astute businessman; He will trick you even more.

Be Sincere

Be sincere in your attempts. Do not try to outsmart the Divine. Once you get the bliss, then everything else is joyful. Without the bliss, the joy of the world will not stay. What type of time do you give the Divine? Usually you give the time that is leftover; when you have nothing else to do, no guests to attend to, no parties to attend to, you go to the Divine. This is not quality time. Give quality time to the Divine; it will be rewarded. If your prayers are not answered, it is because you have never given quality time. Give primetime to the Divine. You definitely will be rewarded.

When you know you are part of the Divine plan, you stop demanding. You know everything is being done for you and you are taken care of. Usually you do it the other way around: you hurry the mind and are slow in your action. Impatience means hurrying the mind; lethargy means slowness in action. Patience in the mind and dynamism in action is the right formula.

Don’t judge and don’t worry about what others think of you. Whatever they think, it is not permanent. Your own opinion about things and people keeps changing all the time. So why worry about what others think about you. Worrying takes a lot of toll on the body, mind, intellect and alertness. It is like an obstruction that takes us far away from ourselves. It brings us fear.

Move in Knowledge

Make knowledge your companion and have faith in the Infinite. If you are grounded in faith, then you will progress and maintain your equanimity in this world. God expects only one thing from you – your unshakeable faith. If your faith shakes quickly when difficulty strikes, you will not be able to face it with your smile intake. When you have faith that every thing will be alright, when you are in peace, everything will settle down.

Having faith means that you realize that God’s protection is always there for you. This much faith is enough to pull you up.

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Testing !

Testing is part of ignorance. You only test that of which you are not sure. If God is testing you, that means God doesn’t know you well enough. How could people ever think that God is testing them?

God does not test you because he knows you in and out and your past, present and future. He knows your strengths and weaknesses and he alone gives you strength. He doesn’t test you.

Only you can test yourself. Only when you do not have confidence, then you test. If you are confident, why would you test? If you are testing yourself, you do not know yourself.

Are you testing God?

God will never pass your test because He will never show up for your test. If He shows up for your test, then He is not God (laughter).

Whether you get this or not – just laugh!

Sri..Sri…

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Guruji recently wrote an article which was published in various parts in many newspapers around the country… however not one newspaper published it in its entirety… I dont like to edit anything Guruji says 🙂 so here it is, complete and unabridged… (source Bawa’s blog)

By H.H. Sri Sri Ravishankar

Fraudulent and unethical practices committed by Swamis or religious authorities should be condemned unequivocally. When a religious/spiritual leader commits a crime, he not only harms people, but also brings disgrace to the spiritual tradition. If proven guilty, stringent action should be taken against them. In fact, the severity of the punishment should be many times more than what would be given to normal people.

While Islam is blamed for terrorism, and Christianity went through child abuse scandals in some parts of the world, it is now Hinduism which has gotten a jolt in Kerala due to malpractices. During these moments of crisis, one would think that Hinduism needs an authority that could check these malpractices.

Since there is a lack of hierarchy, and no authority to install a Swami or Guru, or dethrone them, the Sanathana Dharma is more vulnerable to being misused. On the other hand, Sanathana Dharma has always believed that religion and spirituality is an individual’s choice; it has allowed people to find their path and lead others as well. That is why in India, no prophet was ever crucified, and the freedom of thought, expression and propagation of faith is inbuilt in to the system.

While a few miscreants have misused the system, religion per se should not be blamed or ridiculed. There are possibilities of innocent people being caught in the trap and blamed for nothing. I would advise them to take this as an opportunity to go inwards, especially on the spiritual path. History has shown that many innocent people were accused and had to bear the brunt of society for quite some time, but finally the truth prevailed. We must remember that society has not even spared people like Kabir, Adi Shankaracharya, Jesus Christ, and many of his apostles. Adi Shankaracharya was excommunicated. Gnanadev, Buddha, and many spiritual and religious leaders were considered as heretics and traitors in their time. Today, close to one third of the humanity are followers of Jesus Christ, but during his time, his teachings were considered blasphemous. It was the same with the Sufi Saint, Mansoor, who was eventually hanged.

Not so long ago, a Swami from a prominent Mutt in Karnataka was accused of child abuse and was imprisoned for 20 years; he was later proven innocent by the Supreme Court and all charges against him were dropped. Another such victim of conspiracy was Swami Omkarananda, who does not even know how to lift a gun; but he was accused of illegal possession of arms. He was put in a jail in Switzerland for 27 years, and later proven innocent.

Religious and spiritual people are there to propagate dharma, knowledge, self-confidence and emotional and spiritual upliftment of people. Any deviation from their goal is bound to boomerang on them. A religious seat should be considered a seat of service and higher knowledge, and it is unfortunate that these institutions are sometimes used as seats of power. Prevalent hypocrisy in religion, spirituality, politics and business is the most harmful thing for a society.

The media has a responsibility to expose those who are fraudulent. However, the media should restrain from sensationalising such incidents; even if one innocent image is tarnished, it causes a lot of pain and suffering. Before the charges are proven, public humiliation and ‘bashing’ of the accused should be avoided as it can cause irreparable psychological damage. We have seen this in Iraq where, in the name of extracting the truth from the culprits, thousands of Iraqis have suffered enormous mental anguish.

In case of charges being proven false, the irreversible psychological and emotional damage caused is unpardonable. Media and zealots should be aware that in the name of catching the culprits, they should not cause humiliation and psychological harm.

Unwarranted negative portrayal of spirituality and prejudice will only lead to more suicides and desperation in society.

We must not create prejudice against any section of society, or any religion as this can be dangerous. For example, after 9/11, Sikhs and Muslims were tortured as terrorists. American troops have killed thousands in Afghanistan and later apologised for mistaken identity. In the Middle Ages, many women and scientists were dragged into the streets of Europe and burnt alive.

The police cannot play the role of the magistrate. In the past, wise people would take pride in admitting their mistakes. People should have that level of consciousness to admit their mistakes and walk towards the truth. Admitting one’s mistakes will enhance one’s character. A safe and secure space should be created for people to come forward and admit their mistakes. This cannot happen in an atmosphere of fear and blame-culture. When too much shame is associated with making a mistake, then people will shy away from admitting them. Mistakes happen, knowingly or unknowingly. In the past, when spiritual masters realised their mistakes, they would do their own Prayaschitta (personal attempt for atonement for wrongs committed), sometimes even harder than the stipulated punishment.

Religious and spiritual institutions should expose the injustice within their own religion if any, rather than shield it. If this is done from the outside and by those who do not believe in religion, it is likely to be perceived as prejudiced. In the case of the Communists, while they are absolutely right in denouncing age-old dogmas, they should not forget that both Stalin and Mao Tse Tung eliminated close to 10 million people – scientists, socialists, journalists, men of literature – to stay in power.

In today’s complex world, to escape from mounting stress, people look for easy ways and go to anybody who offers magical solutions. Instead, they should turn towards pranayama and meditation which is the heart of Indian spirituality. Millions worldwide have taken recourse to it.

Sanathana Dharma has laid out some of the best principles for humanity to achieve equality, social justice, a violence-free society, and a prejudice – free mind. Let every Indian strive for educating oneself and the society in these golden principles.


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By H.H. Sri Sri Ravishankar

There are five types of seva.

The first type is the seva done when you do not even know what you are doing it. You do not recognize it as seva because it is your very nature – you cannot help doing it!

The second type is the seva that you do because it is needed for that situation.

The third type of seva is done because it gives you joy.

The fourth type is done out of your desire for merit – you do seva expecting some benefit in the future.

And the fifth type is when you do seva just to show off, to improve your image and to gain social and political recognition. Such seva is simply exhausting, while the first type does not bring any tiredness at all!

To improve the quality of your seva, regardless of where you start, you must move up to the higher levels.

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