Archive for December, 2008


Learn and unlearn from the past: Become free

By His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Every year, we begin the New Year wishing others happiness and prosperity. What is the sign of prosperity? The sign of prosperity is freedom, a smile and the willingness to share with people around you, without fear. The sign of prosperity is the trust and confidence that you will get whatever is needed in life.

Welcome the year 2009 with a smile from within. As we flip the calendar, we need to keep flipping our mind as well. Often, our diaries are full with memories. See that you don’t fill your future dates with past events. Learn and unlearn from the past, and move on.

You want to be free from greed, hatred, jealousy and all such imperfections. If the mind is holding all these negative qualities, it cannot be happy or peaceful – you cannot enjoy your life. So the first step is to see that negative emotions are due to the past and not let the past affect your experience of life now. Forgive the past. If you cannot forgive the past, then your future will be miserable. This new year make up with someone with whom you are not on good terms. Commit yourself to dropping the past and starting a fresh life.

When the new year arrives wish everyone with a sankalpa (intention) for peace and prosperity for all the people on the planet. With the economic meltdown, looming terrorism, with floods & famine around, do more selfless service. Realise that our foremost priority is to check violence in the world, to free the world from domestic and societal violence. Make a resolution to do more good to society, help the people who are in need and bring solace to those who are suffering. Take responsibility for the nation.

The spiritual dimension of life brings a great sense of belongingness, responsibility, compassion and caring for the whole world, for the whole humanity. The spiritual dimension in the truest form smashes the narrow boundaries of caste, creed, religion and nationality and gives one a broader awareness of life present everywhere.

This year, let your devotion flower. Give it a chance to work. We should experience the divine’s presence, the divine’s light around us. You should have a desire in your mind to experience this. Has such a desire ever risen in you – that you want the highest peace? The whole world is running by this divine light. When you sing or pray there should be total involvement. If the mind is preoccupied elsewhere then that is no prayer at all.

You are like a free bird. You are fully open. Feel that you are flying like a bird. Learn to 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. Be free. When will you experience freedom? Become free right now. Sit down and become content. Spend some time in meditation & satsang so that your inner self becomes strong enough to deal with the challenges.

When the mind relaxes, the intellect becomes sharp. When the mind is loaded with small things such as ambition, feverishness and desire, then the intellect loses its keenness. And when the intellect and observation are not sharp, life does not express itself fully, ideas don’t flow and abilities diminish day by day. With this understanding, step out of your little mind and that step will solve many problems in your life. Be natural. Be with love. Involve yourself in service. Celebrate your life.


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Above : Photo of Gurudev as a kid!

A baby would have done all the yogasanas from the time it is born to the age of three.

1 : A baby is born with adi-mudra (thumbs at the base of little fingers and covering the thumbs making a loose fist)

2 : And when it sleeps, it sleeps in chinmaya mudra (index finger and thumb slight contact and other three fingers touching the centre of the palm).

3 : Have you seen babies sleep?
They do not sleep with their palms open like adults. They put on chinmaya mudra.

You can examine a baby anywhere in the world whether it is Mongolia, Africa, South America, Russia, Asia everywhere, all the babies they, do yogasanas. So you have no choice but to be a yoga expert from your birth! The asana is only a reminder for us to reinvent, reuse those postures which we were doing in the past as baby.

So asanas are training the body. If you see a baby lying you will never see the legs flat on the floor. Legs are always above the floor.

Have you observed this? They do shalabasana.
After shalabasana, they do naukasan. They also lift their head and hands along with the legs. Then they do pavanamutkasana.

They hold their toes and try to put their toes into their month. They go on their tummy and try to do bhujangasan.

Being on their tummy they try to catch hold of their toes on the back and do the bow pose or dhanurasan.

Then they try to stand up with both their hands and legs and try to do trikonasan.

They balance with one hand and two legs and look up towards the sky.

If they do it on one side, they inevitably do the other side also. Every stretch a baby does on both sides, if it is a healthy baby. Then it slowly stands up and falls down and does all that. It does not just sit quiet.It tries to jump.

The child shakes all its internal organs. When a baby laughs, it laughs from belly.

You should let the child cry, a little of crying is good. Do you know what happens with this? All the cranial muscles and bones get adjusted naturally. Crying is a craniosacral adjustment. When a baby cries a little, its appetite increases and its lungs open up. Not too much crying. A little bit of crying is good.

Asanas are not just aerobics, not just gymnastics because asanas have to be coordinated with the breath and with awareness. If you are lifting your arms up, you are fully aware that you are lifting your arm up, every inch of it. In gymnastics you simply lift it up. Your attention or awareness is not there. In yoga, the body, breath and the mind are all united. It is slow motion, like dance, leading from one posture to another posture.

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‘An eye for an eye is against our culture’

December 29, 2008

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Terrorism has definitely emerged as the most contentious issue of 2008, with India reeling under a relentless wave of terror strikes and Indians seething with anger at the loss of innocent lives and the incompetent government.

Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been outspoken in condemning both the terror strikes and communal fanaticism, which many feel gives rise to terrorism.

In an interview with Vicky Nanjappa, he spoke about tacking the menace of terrorism though education and persuasion. He also discusses the controversial issue of Malegaon blast accused Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit attending AoL sessions.

What, according to you, is the solution to the menace of terrorism? If everyone follows the ‘eye for an eye’ principle, what will happen to this country?

I am very concerned about what is happening. ‘An eye for an eye’ is not our culture at all. Yet, we cannot take things lying down. We cannot stop educating people about our values. The message of Indian ethos and spirituality, which emphasise on ahimsa (non-violence) and the truth, will have to be conveyed across the board.

What do you think about Hindu terrorism?

Fringe elements in Hindu society, who think they can avenge terrorism by perpetuating terror themselves, have brought disgrace to Indian culture. Milking political mileage and giving undue publicity to such cases have only strengthened the jihadis. Let our media and politicians know that sensationalising, politicising and giving undue publicity to this case, even before the accused is proven guilty, has proved to be a shot in the arm for jihadis.

Our late Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare [Images] had mentioned that in the last two months, 90 per cent of the time and manpower of the agency had been spent on this case. All this has cost the nation heavily.

Lieutenant Colonel Purohit reportedly attended some Art of Living meetings. Will there be a screening process in the Art of Living courses to ensure that such elements do not attend meetings in the future?

No. In fact, we welcome everybody to the Art of Living. Our mission is to work with fundamentalists and extremists to transform them into loving human beings. People from all backgrounds come here and so do ex-army people. We have programmes for army personnel and many of them visit our ashram to seek blessings. Naxalites [Images], Maoists, jihadis have all attended our programmes.

We don’t discriminate and we don’t ban anybody from attending the AoL sessions. I wish they had come here much earlier and participated in our training programme. Perhaps they came here to find some peace and solace.

What can spiritual gurus do to ensure that terrorism is wiped out? What plans does AoL have in this regard?

Some religions have a dogmatic and untouchable attitude, and that should be removed. For example, what happened to author Taslima Nasreen [Images] is a shame on the democratic and liberal image of the country (Nasreen was forced to leave India after violent protests broke out against her writings in Kolkata). The government should shift its focus from the minority-majority culture and should give multi-cultural, multi-dimensional education to all.

Religious and spiritual institutions need to come together and pledge to work towards protecting our country. We need social leaders who are satya-darshi (truthful), sam-darshi (equanimous), and door-darshi (farsighted). Let us also resolve to first examine the qualifications of those whom we elect. We need to protect our country from those who manipulate issues for their personal gains and lead by playing vote-bank politics.

Art of Living has been conducting various rehabilitation programmes for prisoners and convicts. The results are so positive that one has to witness it to believe it.

Can terrorism be wiped out through the message of peace?

Any action that is undertaken without inner peace only leads to regret. And peace does not mean inaction. One has to use all methodologies to curb terrorism. We have to do it through education and persuasion. Force should be used only when nothing else works.

What is your message to all those practising terrorism?

Meditation and Sudarshan Kriya have transformed the aggression and violence inside people into compassion, love and care.

Source: Reddiff.com

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Enlightenment !


Once there was a monk who desired peace and enlightenment. He walked up to the Master and asked “How can I attain enlightenment?”

The master simply grabbed the monk and held his head under water. After the monk had struggled for one minute, the master pulled his head out and said, “When you want enlightenment (forgiveness) as much as you want that next breath of air, it will be there for you.” This is the fervor and passion that we need to bring to our attention in daily life, so that we can experience our true inheritance, love. All obstacles will pass away into nothingness leaving only an experience of beauty and peace.

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Baghdad, Dec 24 (ANI): In a significant development, the Government of Iraq has decided to rebuild the 15th century Sikh Guru Guru Nanak Dev’’s shrine which was destroyed in the 2003 war in Baghdad.

Talking to media here at his palace, Iraqi Vice President and senior politician Adil Abd-al-Mahdi has said that the government would rebuild the destroyed Guru Nanak Dev’’s shrine in Baghdad.

He also thanked the Indian Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravishankar for taking up this issue with the Iraqi Government. The Iraqi Vice President and Sri Sri Ravishankar, who is on a peace mission to Iraq met here and held discussion about rebuilding of over 500-year-old Sikh shrine.

Talking to media, Sri Sri Ravishankar said, It was a part of my mission and the Iraqi government had agreed to rebuild the historical shrine.” The Gurudwara was founded Mohamad Pasha Amoot, follower of Pir Bakol at the time of Guru Nanak’’s visit to Baghdad in the year 927 AH (1520-1A.D).

Baghdad was visited by Guru Nanak Dev on his way back from Mecca and Madina. He stayed outside the city of the west of Dajala (Tigris) River, about two kilometers north of Baghdad West railway station.
He held discourses with Sajjadanashins (caretaker of mausoleum) of the mausoleums of Abdul Qadir gilani and Bahlol the Wise, who were greatly impressed by his views on God and religion.

After the Guru’’s departure, they raised a memorial in the form of a platform where the Guru had sat and discoursed. After some time when a room was constructed over the platform, a stone slab with the following inscription in Turki was installed in it. The shrine was completely rubbled during the 2003 war. (ANI)

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You are the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree is pointing upwards and its branches grow on all sides. It is orderly. At the time of year when no tree bears anything, it has many gifts to offer. And it is green throughout the year. A Christmas tree bears the gifts and the lights not for itself. All the gifts you are carrying in your life are for others. Anyone who comes to you, you offer them your gifts.

There were lots of gifts around Sri Sri’s couch. John asked Sri Sri, “Are you going to open the gifts?” Sri Sri winked and pointed at the people and said, “I am always opening the gifts.” (Laughter)

Your life is a gift. And you have come to unwrap the gift. In the process of unwrapping, you also save the wrappers. Your whole environment, situations, circumstances and body are the wrapping papers. When we unwrap, we destroy the wrapping paper. We are in such a hurry at times that we even destroy the gifts. With patience and endurance, open your gifts and save the wrapping papers.
24 Dec 1997  Bad Antogast  , Germany

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