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President of Art of Living Foundation , USA
When emotions are a fountain of colours, they add charm to your life. In knowledge, emotions add colour
Holi is a festival of colours. This whole world is so colourful. Just like nature there are different colours associated with our feelings and emotions: anger with red, jealousy with green, vibrancy and happiness with yellow, love with pink, vastness with blue, peace with white, sacrifice with saffron and knowledge with violet. Each person is a fountain of colours which keep changing.
Puranas are full of colourful illustrations and stories and there is a story related to Holi. An asura king, Hiranyakashyap, wanted everyone to worship him. But his son Prahlad was a devotee of Lord Narayana, the kings sworn enemy. Angry, the king wanted Holika, his sister, to get rid of Prahlad. Empowered to withstand fire, Holika sat on a burning pyre holding Prahlad on her lap. But it was Holika who was burnt, Prahlad came out unharmed.
Hiranyakashyap symbolises one who is gross. Prahlad embodies innocence, faith and bliss. Hiranyakashyap wanted all joy to come from the material world. It did not happen that way. The individual jivatma cannot be bound to the material forever. Its natural to eventually move towards Narayana, ones higher Self.
Holika symbolises past burdens that try to burn Prahlads innocence. But Prahlad, so deeply rooted in Narayana bhakti (devotion), could burn all past impressions (sanskaras).
For one who is deep in bhakti, joy springs up with new colours and life becomes a celebration. Burning the past, you gear up for a new beginning. Your emotions, like fire, burn you. But when they are a fountain of colours, they add charm to your life. In ignorance, emotions are a bother; in knowledge, the same emotions add colour.
Like Holi, life should be colourful, not boring. When each colour is seen clearly, it is colourful. When all the colours get mixed, you end up with black. So also in life, we play different roles. Each role and emotion needs to be clearly defined. Emotional confusion creates problems. When you are a father, you have to play the part of a father. You cant be a father at office. When you mix the roles in your life, you start making mistakes. Whatever role you play in life, give yourself fully to it. Harmony in diversity makes life vibrant, joyful and more colourful.
Celebration is the nature of the spirit and the celebration that comes out from within is real. If sacredness is attached to a celebration, it becomes total, complete. Then, its not just body and mind but also the spirit that celebrates.
In a state of celebration, the mind often forgets the divine. We should experience the divines presence, the divines light around us. You should have a desire to experience something by which the whole world is running. To experience this, you should be in a total prayerful state of mind, there should be total involvement. If the mind is preoccupied elsewhere, then that is no prayer at all. The feeling that “I am blessed” can help you overcome any crisis in life. Once you realise that you are blessed, then all the complaints disappear, all the grumbling disappears, all the insecurities disappear.
Only then you will be able to understand the uplifted state of the being and see that the whole world is all spirit or consciousness. And in that state of being, celebration dawns spontaneously and life becomes colourful.
By Gurudev His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
The Buddha or Master is a doorway. When you are out in the street in hot sun or if you are stuck in rain and thunder, you feel the need for a shelter or a doorway.
Have you noticed that then the doorway is so inviting and charming? It is more joyful than anything else in the world? Similarly, the closer you go to the master, the more charm, more newness and more love you feel. Nothing in the world could give that peace, joy and pleasure. You will never be tired of the Enlightened. It’s like a depth without a bottom. This is a sign that you have come to the Master.
Once you come to the doorway and enter the door, the world looks so much more beautiful; it is a place filled with love, joy, co-operation, compassion and all virtues. Looking through the doorway there is no fear. From inside your home, you can look at the thunder, you can look at the storm and the bright sun too; yet be relaxed as you are in the shelter. Such a sense of security, fullness and joy comes. That is the purpose of having a Master.
The second factor is Sangha, the group. The group is very charming from a distance, but the closer you get, it brings out all the unwanted elements from within you. If you think a group is very good or very bad then that means you are not yet completely with the group. When you are totally part of that group, you will find that some bickering will come up. But you are the one who makes the group – so if you are good, your group will also be good.
Sangha has a reverse nature to Buddha. Buddha makes your mind one-pointed; Sangha, because it is of so many people, can scatter your mind, fragment it. Once you are used to it, it loses its charm. This is the nature of Sangha.
Still it is very supportive. If it were repulsive all the time, then nobody would be part of the Sangha. Do not crave or be averse. Often you crave for Buddha and are averse to the Sangha, and you try to change; but Sangha or Buddha, you are not going to change.
The main purpose is to come to the centre deep within you, which means to find your Dharma. This is the third factor. What is Dharma? The Dharma is to be in the middle. Not going to the extremes is your nature.
Your nature is to be in balance,to smile from the depth of your heart, to accept this entire existence totally as it is. Knowing that this moment is what has been offered to me, and that is how I take it. A sense of deep acceptance for this moment, for every moment, is Dharma.
(H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is the founder of the Art of Living)
– Q: I Cannot find enough time to Meditate
Sri Sri : Meditation will give you more time.
– Deeper your rest more Dynamic your activity.
– Work must be like holiday, Holidays must give deep rest.
– Don’t peg your targets on other people’s achievements
– Half the health we spend gaining wealth and then spend half the wealth trying to gain back the Health!
– Confidence is competing with yourself; Arrogance is competing with others.
– The more you give, the more strength will come to you.
– Pain is inevitable …suffering is optional!
– Good Communication: Speak in Bullet points. Listen as Bullet points.
– From: Friendship to Friendliness
– From: Concern to Care
– From: Ambition to Aspiration
– Your silence increases the voltage of your words!
– A little silence before any work brings clarity of mind. A little silence after the work brings contentment. Without Clarity of mind and contentment, no work is worth doing.
– Industry is like the body. Society is like the mind
– Having infinite patience is the fastest way to do things.
– Padartha Gnane Mokshaha – Complete knowledge of even one particle can free you.
– Crisis comes to one who takes challenges, and the one who takes challenges also prepares to face crisis!
– Some people who are too comfort loving do not take challenges ad therefore are not prepared to manage crisis. To manage crisis we need trust and faith.
– The more you frown, the faster you age.
– The sign of a healthy society is that there are empty places in prison and empty beds in hospitals
By Poojya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar
Nava’ means ‘nine’ and ‘Ratri’ is made up of ‘Ra’ which also means ‘night’ and ‘Tri’ meaning the ‘the three aspects of our life, Body, Mind and Soul. So ‘Navaratri’ means ‘giving rest to all the three aspects of our life,for nine days’.
The first three days of Navaratri, are ‘Tamasic’ days, followed by three ‘Rajasic’ days and ending with three ‘Sattvic’ days. At night all the artis are performed for the Devi – the enjoyer of everything. So there is classical dance, music and various musical instruments being played. Each day has special implications, yagnas, poojas and homas are performed. Among the things offered to the fire are hundreds of different herbs, fruits, garments, and mantras, all creating a gloriously divine atmosphere to drown in? Our ancestors felt the inadequacy of words and so they expressed themselves with symbols … for instance, we offer flowers and fruit to God. The ‘flower’ is a symbol of what we are – so full, attractive and so light – so beautiful. Fruits are symbols of completeness. In the life cycle of
a plant, fruits signify completeness. Also the fruit is the ultimate result. That is how we feel when we offer the symbolic fruit to God with all the gratitude for contentment in life.
We also light lamps. Indian tradition involves tall brass lamps with a swan carved at the top. This is a very beautiful symbol. It means that with the light of knowledge, one attains ‘Viveka’ a characteristic of the swan. In Sanskrit, it is called ‘Neerakshiraviveka’ meaning a swan can differentiate between milk and water even though both may be mixed. Similarly, in the context of Navaratri, there is a symbolism behind the ‘bull’ being destroyed by the ‘Devi’. What do we call someone who is very dull, thick skinned and insensitive? A buffalo! Only the Mother Divine can destroy this buffalo with the collective energy of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh! Just as a baby takes nine months to be born, the Devi took nine days to rest and what was born on the tenth day was pure love and devotion, with which the Devi conquered the buffalo of inertia and dullness! Devi Ma is not somebody holding a big ‘trishool’ in one hand.
She is a form of energy, a manifestation of the Divine itself. Therefore, sometimes, the forms taken by this Divine may be that of Ganesha, Chandi (Devi), Vishnu, Shiva….. and the manifestation, in this creation, happens in a mother’s womb…. in silence, secretly. So during these nine days of Navaratri when the Master goes into silence, the energy is in the process of getting more and more refined, well-tuned, to welcome the Mother Divine. This is called ‘Aradhana’.
Now these yagnas are not for the sages who perform them, but for the entire Universe for all the misery, sorrow, and pain in the world. The blessings of the yagnas and poojas teach the whole of humanity and a lot of good comes out of these – peace, strength, prosperity, success and faith – which by itself, is the best blessing. Gurudev says that the ninth day is a day for honoring everything that we have, no matter how seemingly insignificant, and the tenth day is ‘Vijaya Dashmi’ the ‘victory day’. It is only after we have honored something that we can gain victory over it. This day is celebrated as the victory of the Devi over the evil forces – which is also just ‘Maya’.
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These questions will be read out in the satsangs wherever Guruji is. You can find the transcription of answers on http://wisdomfromsrisri.blogspot.com
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