Category Archives: Sri Sri Wisdom

Ravi Shankar Ji fondly called as Sri Sri is one of the most Lovable Knowledgeable Divine Enlightened Master Humanitarian activist who is well versed in Modern & Ancient Sciences. He belongs to the Timeless Sanatan Parampara of Vedic Masters. This category is exclusively dedicated to this Gyaani, Premi, Yogi.

Connection between diff Body parts & Planets !!

Did you know that every finger in your hand is connected to a planet? ~ Sri Sri 
Every finger in your hand is connected to a planet. The thumb is connected to Mars. Mars stays alone.

Index finger is connected to Jupiter (Jupiter shows the path, it is the teacher). When you want to show something, you show using the index finger, this is Jupiter. The middle finger is connected to Saturn; Saturn is the servant. The ring finger is connected to the Sun; the Sun is the king. And who owns the jewels? The king, and so you put rings only on the ring finger. That’s why it’s called the ring finger. The little finger is connected to Mercury. So when you do chin mudra, what is happening? The index finger (Jupiter) and the thumb (Mars) are coming together, that is wisdom and power.
Why is the thumb connected to Mars? It is because whenever you win, what do you do? You put your thumbs up. Thumbs up is a sign of victory. When you lose what do you do? You put your thumbs down. So these gestures are so inbuilt in us.
Different planets affect different parts of your body. Your teeth is connected to Saturn. Your eyes are connected to the Sun, your cheeks are connected to Venus, forehead to Mercury, nose to Jupiter. I mean this as the connection of microcosm with the macrocosm. It is so fascinating!
Similarly, moods depend on the moon. A mood does not stay for more than two and a quarter day. That is the amount of time the moon is at one place. The moment the moon moves from that place; your mood also changes. And when the moon and Saturn combine, people get depressed. So these emotions, these feelings, they come and they go away. Nothing is permanent. No planet is permanently stationary in one place. They all move. But when you identify yourself with any one of these emotions, you get stuck. That’s when you don’t move. That is when it infiltrates into your body and you get sick, and all such things happen. Isn’t it fascinating? So what is the way? How to move on from that?
On a cloudy day, when a flight takes off, what does it do? It goes above the clouds, and then there is sunshine. That is what the spiritual practices are. They move us away from the Chit Akasha(the space of the mind) to the Chida Akasha(space of pure consciousness). We move beyond all the emotions.
9 planets moving through the 12 constellations brings 108 units of change. So to enhance the good effects and to reduce the malefic effects, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ is chanted 108 times. That uplifts you, uplifts your spirit, and takes you beyond. It connects you to the Chida Akash(space of pure consciousness).

Fasting!!

Why fasting is beneficial. 
Sri Sri ~ We fast not to please the Divine, but to cleanse our body. You overwork your liver, stomach and pancreas so much. If there was a labor court for the body, all these organs would have complained against you in that court. We don’t allow them to rest at all. We drink and eat the whole day until night, and we overwork our system. They do need some rest and for that you need to fast. 
God is not going to be pleased by your fasting. It is more to detox your own body. And why fasting is combined with prayer all over the world and in all religions, is because when you are fasting, you are detoxified and your prayer becomes authentic and deep. Your meditation happens best when your stomach is empty. Isn’t that your experience? 
If you meditate on a full stomach, you will fall asleep. That is why it is said, you can say your prayers when you are fasting as your body is detoxified and your mind is rested and alert.

Tri Gunas !!

Q: Guruji, What is sattva and what is it’s contribution in our lives?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sattva means that which brings harmony, that which makes you happy, that which makes you enthusiastic,that which brings knowledge in you. This is all sattva. Rajas makes you go too much up and too much down. Either you get too excited and you feel I can’t even handle this excitement or it is so down. This is rajas. Tamas is when you feel so lazy and so negative that you don’t want anything. You dislike everybody. That is tamogun. So When you feel tamogun get up and start working, then rajogun will come. Then when you are too much into action, I would say just sit back and relax then you will get into satva. So, before meditation do some exercise. When you do all this the restlessness or rajas in you calms down. Then you are able to meditate.

Three stages of Spiritual practice 

Q: Gurudev, can you please tell us about the three stages in spiritual practice?

Sri Sri: Yes, there are three stages in practice:

The first level, Anva Upaya, which includes pranayama, meditation, mantra chanting, exercises, and yoga.

The second level, Shakta Upaya. This is much more subtle; it is the stillness that you experience at the end of doing all these exercises; it is more internal. There is very little that you do, in fact everything is happening. There is no doer there, nobody doing anything, yet, it is happening; you feel that Shakta Upaya, it is very subtle.  

The third level, Shambava Upaya is a step beyond the Shakta Upaya; just recognition, just awareness. It suddenly dawns; you have no clue, you have no say in it, you can’t do anything about it. You are walking, watching a sun set, suddenly,something happens, something opens up. You meet someone; suddenly, you feel some sense of elevation, joy. Whether you are meditating, sleeping, or doing any work, suddenly an awareness, a wakefulness dawns in you.  

That is Shambhava Upaya; that happens with grace, blessings or love or something.

The first stage, Anva Upaya, is inevitable. The second stage, Shakta Upaya, is an obvious movement.  

The third stage, Shambhava Upaya, is a gift.

Stimulations !!

Q: Guruji, When I was in the doubt mode I could ask you any question. But after I have started having faith in you asking or rather confronting you with my questions have become very difficult. As fear and respect come my way. How to tackle the situation?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just be natural, ask any question you want to ask. All questions are anyways foolish. I don’t mind and I know you don’t mind as long as the answers are not foolish. And from here I cannot give you foolish answers for sure. This is just an intellectual stimulation, that’s all. Questions and answers are what? Intellectual stimulation. Music is what? Emotional stimulation and silence is what? Stimulation of the spirit, of the soul. So we need all these in our life. And exercise is physical stimulation. And you do yoga, exercise. Seva is stimulation of activity. You do an action without expecting anything in return is seva. Stimulation of activity is through seva. So you need all that – physical stimulation through exercise; intellectual stimulation by knowledge, discussion; emotional stimulation through music and the stimulation of spirit through silent meditation.

64 Yoginis !!

Q: Guruji, In one of the knowledge sheets during Navaratri you said that 64 Divine impulses get awakened. Can you please talk about what the 64 Divine impulses are?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, they the angels, 64 Arc Angels are there called Yoginis and their existence help people to meditate, or do yoga. Yoginis are very important to bring experience to people. And so it’s part of this Navartri that we invoke those names of the Yoginis. See ‘yagna’ means what? Five elements, with this what do you do? That which is so subtle through chanting you bring it to the air element, then fire element, then to the water element and then to the earth element. So, how has the creation happened, from the space first the gas was there, from the gas fire came, from the fire it cooled down and became water then the earth. So in the yagna the same process is used. Have you seen the water crystal formation? You know a gentleman in Japan photographed water when it forms crystals. So when you keep chanting the different songs to water, and the type of formations it does is so interesting. The most perfect crystal formed was when ‘Om Namah Shivya’ was chanted. You know they chanted all different things. There was one jar of water when they chanted amazing grace and the crystal were nicely formed but in the center it was disturbed because in the song you say some self-blame words; ‘a wreck like me or wretch is it? Save a wretch like me’, and because of the words, ‘wretch like me’, in the song you find it in the crystal formation. In the center it is disturbed, but nicely formed in the circumference. And like that Beethoven songs, different songs, different chantings when they are chanted with a jar of water they photographed the water. They also photographed the water with Sanskrit chants of ‘Om Namah Shivya’, and I tell you it’s amazing. You should watch it; it’s the most perfect one. The crystal has totally formed very well from center to the circumference. So this is very true that when you chant and put the focus on the water in a pot, that absorbs and the molecules changes. This is interesting and ancient people from ten thousand years ago, twenty thousand years ago knew these things. You know they have different herbs to attract different things and different energies. See, the universe is made up of bio-energy, bio-rhythms. Each animal brings down a certain rhythm on planet Earth. Human beings bring a particular type of energy on the planet Earth. So the whole thing is play of consciousness and the layers and layers and layers of consciousness and that’s what this is. Navratri is the time you realize the whole universe is made up of one consciousness. If there is a sad story and a pleasant story in different TV channels an engineer would not even look at it. He would only look at as television tubes and it is one electricity which is playing through all the televisions, and it is bringing up hundreds of different channels, right! Our mind, our consciousness is the same.

Rudra Puja !

Q: 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 honouring 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.

Devi Tatva !!!

What is Devi Tattva?

There are 36 elements present in us. First is the Earth element, second Water, Fire, Air, Ether and you go on like that and the last one, the most refined is Shiva Tattva. One is finer than the other. Earth is the most gross, Shiva is the finest, the most subtle, the subtlest of all.So in these 36 elements which are present in us, Devi is also a Tattva.
The last and finest is Shiva. And how is Devi present in us? It is present in many forms, in many emotions. When you see some brightness in someone, that is Devi manifested. When you see total peace, essence of deep peace, peace in the heart, not just the temporary peace, total fulfillment, satisfaction, that is Devi. And when you feel restlessness, that is also Devi. So if someone is agitated , you stand back and you say ‘Oh, Devi has manifested as agitation in this person.’ The Devi is manifesting in everyone as hunger. Someone is hungry, that hunger is Devi manifested. Someone is confused, that confusion is Devi manifested.  
When we chant the Durga Saptashati (referring to the 700 verses of the Devi Mahatmayam from the Markandeya Purana, dedicated to praising the Mother Divine), there is a verse which says, ‘Ya Devi sarva-bhuteshu bhranti rupena samstitha; Namastasye namastasye namastasye namo namaha’ (meaning: O Divine Mother! I bow down to You who are manifest as Bhranti – the element of delusion in all living beings).
It means that it is the Mother Divine who is present as delusion within you.

Navratri is the occasion where the bridge between the subtle and the gross world is more obvious than other times. Navratri is when you recognize that the universe is governed by the subtle force. The mind is governed by the subtle force, honoring and adoring that subtle force is Navratri. The mind is duality. Mind means Faith – Doubt, Happiness – Sadness, Connectivity – Disconnection. That is the mind.
~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Navratri !!

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the meaning of #Navratri: 
“Navratri means the nine nights and the new night. Creation happens in the darkness. In the womb of the mother and underneath the soil. Nine months in the womb are like nine long nights where the spirit takes human form.
Night provides rest and rejuvenation. At night the entire creation goes to sleep including the ashram night watchman. (Laughter) People working come home at night and they really celebrate, rejoice and pray. Nine nights are precious as they have subtle energy. The subtle is enriched.
There are 64 divine mother impulses which govern the subtle creation. These are responsible for restoring all earthly and spiritual benefits. They are simply part of one’s awakened consciousness. These nine nights are celebrated to rekindle those divine impulses and celebrate the innermost depth of our lives.
Cleanse your body and cleanse your soul. Cleanse your body with water and your soul with knowledge and your spirit with pranayam and kriya. There is no penance higher than Pranayam. It is the greatest penance.”

Pravriti – Nivriti

Q: Guruji, I want something to happen so that I don’t even get a desire to ask questions?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your desire to have no desire to ask questions is a desire in itself. This is a problem. Jo jaisa hai theek hai – this is sanmati. (Whatever is there, however it is, it is alright. This is called sanmati or right mindedness.) Whether or not you have a question, it’s alright. Whether you get an answer or you don’t, it’s alright. ‘Everything is alright’ is the path of nivriti. Often we say, ‘This is not ok, that is not ok’ and then we retreat in ourselves. In that state you can’t rest. Because when you find something is not ok, your whole tendency is to act towards it. And you are trying to rest while restraining from action with an attitude of action. This causes tension and lack of deep rest.

We need to have two attitudes in life – pravriti and nivriti. It is important to go within when you are tired of working in the world. Nature has made it that way: 12-hour day and 12-hour night. At some places like in the North and South Poles, the night is of around four hours and the day is around 18 to 20 hours. But then in winters, it gets reversed and day is only of four to five hours. So nature maintains that balance. 12 hours day and 12 hours night is the law of nature. Night itself means retiring from any kind of effort. Day symbolizes pravriti and night symbolizes nivriti.

Viveka (discrimination) is to understand what pravriti is and what nivriti is. We think nivriti is getting retired from your job at the age of 60 and being on a holiday. No, the Vedas say, ‘Again and again, adopt the path of nivriti.’ To go within and rest after getting tired of doing work is nivriti.

There are two types of rest. One is inert rest that we get in sleep. It does give some rest but the mind doesn’t get complete rest. Another is conscious rest: you are resting but inside you are aware and alert, that is meditation. Resting with awareness and conscious sleep is meditation.

Meditative rest is far superior for that alone brings real rest to the system. When we want to go into meditation, then the attitude that needs to be adopted is ‘everything is ok’. There is no lack and ‘I don’t want anything at this moment’. When you think ‘everything is ok’, your mind calms down and you go within.

Now when you go within, you get lot of happiness, satisfaction, joy and peace, then you have to come to the path of pravriti. So pravriti is when you find things are not ok or perfect and nivriti is when you repose in the Self and find all is well and perfect. This knowledge comes to you with spiritual practices.

Mantra Chanting !!

When a thought arises in the mind, it is not easy to get rid of it. The thought keeps coming back over and over again, and if you decide to do something else, you will feel uneasy until you finish with that thought. It becomes irritating like a grain of sand in the eye.3

Similarly, if you are unhappy about something, that sadness does not easily leave you, whatever you do to get rid of it. Even by listening to inspiring discourses that sadness does not go away. Many times you tell your mind that something is trivial and not to worry about it. But the mind or intellect does not pay any attention. So we can chant a mantra. Our mind takes the form of the mantra that we repeat.

“Manah trayate iti mantrah21” – means a mantra is that which is brought to mind again and again. And to practice this mind and the mantra should not be separate. The mind should become the mantra. If the mind thinks of something else while chanting the mantra, the mantra will not be effective. The mind should be filled with the mantra. The moment that happens, the mind is free from worry.

A worry is something that is not in place. It is neither here nor there. A mantra is necessary to drive out worries. A mantra has strength and spirit. When these are present, the mind becomes the power of the mantra. The power of the mind and the power of a mantra are the same.

“Chittam mantrah” – Mind should become the mantra. The power of every mantra can be felt in the form of vibrations. When an atom explodes, its impact spreads not only for many kilometers, but the effects remain for many years – all this from the explosion of an atom! The mind is a thousand times subtler than an atom. Imagine the power of the mind when it becomes quiet. When the mind becomes quiet again and again, this is called mantra. Mantra is the cure for the mind.

Whether the mantra is “Om namah shivaya” or “Rama, Rama,” the effect of the mantra depends on how it is pronounced and invoked.

You can control the mind by using a mantra. With the help of a mantra, the mind loses its smallness and becomes vast; the mind that is dissatisfied becomes content; and the mind that is constantly disturbed by desires is released from them and finds fulfillment.

Although a mantra may be the same, its value is different when given by a Guru. Then you feel the power of the mantra

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Worshiping Ancestors !!

The subtle Brahman is only one, yet it is not one. The subtle consciousness has many layers to it.The spirit is one, yet it is many.The whole universe is permeated by the spirit, by Brahman, yet to different degrees.

For example, stones have life and gender. As anthropologists and biologists know that plants and trees can be male or female, so too can be stones. The ancient people of every culture knew this. The Shilpis (stone masons) in India know how to identify which stone is male and which is female. The Native Americans choose certain stones for their worship and prayer program. They do the same in Kauai, Hawaii.

Stones have one unit of life.

Water has got two units of life.

Fire has three units of life.

Air has four units of life.

Space has five units of life.

Trees have six units of life.

Animals have seven units of life.

Human beings have eight units of life, and are known as, ashtavasu.

Superhuman blossomed beings, who do extraordinary work, whether it be very good or very bad, have in nine units of life.

Furthermore, humans can develop up to sixteen units of life. When we die we become more powerful in some way. We go between nine and ten units of life.This is strange, but true.That is why ancestors are worshiped. The moment this body drops, the spirit has become free, without boundaries, and nothing can stop it. The spirit moves around freely. If it is bound in the body, you have only eight units of life, you can only reach out to some.When you have nine units, you have a little more power, but if you die, then you have access to the ninth and tenth units, so you gain much more access to the planet. That is why ancestors have the capacity to bless you. They have more ‘life’ than you, because their spirit, freed from the limited body, can know; can cognize; can bless you. You can feel their presence. So when you pray to them, they can grant you certain boons. They are able to bestow unto you to whatever extent they are powerful. Ancestral worship can be found from China to Latin American countries.

In the Christian tradition, there is All Soul’s day, where you respect the souls and ask for their blessings. This is one of the reasons why bodies are buried behind a church; to make that place more powerful. Ancestors have got one more unit of power, and are called Pitras.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Music & Chakras !!

The first chakra is at the base of the spine, at beginning of the anus and is called MULADHARA. Just above that is the next chakra called SVADHISTHANA. The third chakra is just above the navel called MANIPURA. Above that is the ANAHATA chakra which is in the center of the chest. Then is the throat chakra called VISSHUDHA. Above that is the chakra in-between the eyebrows called AJNA. The last chakra is on top of the head called SAHASRARA.

The drums affect the Mooladhara (the base chakra or the first chakra). The big and small drums, their effect is from the Mooladhara to Swadishtana(second chakra). The big wind instruments like trumpets affect the second to third chakra (Swadhisthana to the Manipura). Metallic sounds affect the Manipura to Anahata(the fourth chakra). When you hear a metallic screech, something happens in your belly. How many people have noticed this? The string instrument has its affects from the naval to the heart. Veena and Sitar – stringed instruments affects the Anahata (the heart chakra).

Flute music, wind instruments and sometimes the piano sounds affect the Anahata to Vishudhi (the throat chakra). Bells, sounds of water, bird songs, very soft and subtle sounds have its effects from throat to the Agna Chakra (in between the eyebrows). Then finally the Sahasrara the (top of the head) is affected by meditation and all other instruments put together at once.

If you watch any Indian rituals, you will understand that they knew this. In the temples, they placed the drums on the periphery, then there are the big wind instruments, and on the very inside of the sanctum sanctorum are bells and conch. So, sound vibes are balanced from the drums to the wind instruments, then stringed instruments, then again wind instruments and then bells and finally, it all ends in silence. The purpose of sound is silence. Did you all know this? Sound originates from silence and its goal is silence. Silence simply means total harmony. When there is total harmony deep within you, then even sound seems like an object, it seems heavy. But the way is through sound, through music. Music is that which connects the individual to the universal. The limited mind expands through music and realizes it is already part of the big consciousness or the big mind.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Significance of Janmashtami

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the significance of Janmashtami: 
“Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Ashtami is significant as it indicates a perfect balance between the seen and the unseen aspects of reality; the visible material world and the invisible spiritual realm.
Krishna’s birth on Ashtami signifies his mastery of both the spiritual and material worlds. He is a great teacher and a spiritual inspiration as well as the consummate politician. On one hand, he is Yogeshwara (the Lord of Yogas — the state to which every yogi aspires) while on the other, he is a mischievous thief.
The unique quality of Krishna is that he is at once more pious than the saints and yet a thorough mischief-monger! His behaviour is a perfect balance of the extremes — perhaps this is why the personality of Krishna is so difficult to fathom. The avdhoot is oblivious to the world outside and a materialistic person, a politician or a king is oblivious to the spiritual world. But Krishna is both Dwarkadheesh and Yogeshwar
Krishna’s teachings are most relevant to our times in the sense that they neither let you get lost in material pursuits nor make you completely withdrawn. They rekindle your life, from being a burnt-out and stressed personality to a more centred and dynamic one. Krishna teaches us devotion with skill. To celebrate Gokulashtami is to imbibe extremely opposite yet compatible qualities and manifest them in your own life.
Hence the most authentic way of celebrating Janamashtami is knowing that you have to play a dual role — of being a responsible human being on the planet and at the same time to realize that you are above all events, the untouched Brahman. Imbibing a bit of avadhoot and a bit of activism in your life is the real significance of celebrating Janmashtami.”

Gayatri Mantra explained !!

What is the significance of Gayatri Mantra? Can women chant it ? Why do we chant 108 times?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Ga-ya-tri – there are three types of misery. We have three bodies, the gross body, the subtle and the causal body. And in all the three levels there is misery. The human life has to cross-over all the three, and that is what Gayatri means. One who sings it, sails over the ocean of misery to go to bliss.

The Gayatri mantra is one of the greatest prayers mankind has.

What does it say? Let me soak in the Divine, and let the Divine destroy all my sins.
The Divine light that burns all sin, let me adore and soak in that Divine light. And let the Divinity inspire my intellect.

See, all our actions happen through our intellect, right? Thoughts come and then you act.
So you pray to the Divine to bring good thoughts into your mind. You pray to the Divine, ‘Take over my intellect. Inspire my intellect’; dhiyo yonah prachodayat.

Dhi means intellect. May my intellect be guided by, kindled by, and inspired by you (Divinity).

When right thoughts come, your action will always be right. When intuitive thoughts come, your actions will be fruitful. So praying for the best thought. Let my mind, my whole life energy be soaked in Divinity. That is the significance of Gayatri Mantra.

Why 108 times?

Sri Sri – Because there are nine planets and twelve constellations. When nine planets revolve around the twelve constellations, it brings 108 kinds of changes. If there is anything wrong in these changes, it can be rectified with the positive energy of the mantras.

Can women chant The Gayatri Mantra?

Sri Sri – Yes. Nowhere it is said that women cannot chant.

It is unfortunate that somewhere in the middle ages, these rights of women were taken away. We have reinstated this in the Ashram. Many women are learning.

Knowing SHIVA !!!

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – I would ask the question ‘What is not Shiva?’ Is Shiva somebody? Is he a form? Is he someone sitting in some place? No! Shiva is the entire universe. He is in every atom of the universe.

Shiva doesn’t have a body, he was never a person at all. To symbolize the unfathomable, the infinite divinity, and to make it comprehensible for young people, for children and others, they made a form. In fact, there is no form to Shiva.

Shiva is a principle (Tattva) from where everything has come, everything is sustained in it, and everything dissolves into it. Shiva is the space, it is the consciousness.
There is no way that you can even step out of Shiva at anytime because Shiva is the summum bonum of the whole creation. That is why Shiva’s body is depicted in blue because blue signifies the sky; the all pervading infinity which has no limits, and no shape.

Watch the Video below to explore more about the Shiva principle:

Every Culprit is a Victim !!

When you are facing the light, you do not see your shadow; it is only when you move away from the light that you see it. Evil is just the shadow, and a shadow does not have an existence of its own!If you look inside each culprit, there is a victim crying for help. If you heal the victim, the culprit will disappear. If only we had educated the people who have gone into terrorism with a broad mind set, taught them human values, do you think they would be treading the path of violence? No way! I see them all as victims of ignorance. If you see from my eyes, inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help!

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Conquering EGO 

Q: How to conquer ego?
Sri Sri: Ego is just a feeling of having a wall between you and others. There is no wall. You belong to me and I belong to you. You are accepted the way you are. Naturalness is the antidote for ego. Be spontaneous! Ego cannot stand spontaneity. Children are so spontaneous. Be like a child.

Love 

When love glows, it is bliss. When it flows, it is compassion.

When it blows, it is anger.

When it ferments, it is jealousy.

When it is negative, it is hatred.

When it acts, it is perfection.

When love knows, it is Me!

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Love and attachment!

Q: What is the difference between love and attachment?

Sri Sri: Attachment is that which gives you pain. Love is that without which you cannot live. If love becomes attachment, then the same love which was giving you joy, starts to inflict pain. Attachment is when you want something in return. If you love and don’t want anything in return, then that love doesn’t turn into attachment.

Love …

You cannot understand love through intellect. It needs to be felt. And anything that needs to be felt needs synthesis, not analysis. You have to become one with it to know it. Whatever you know through the head is at a distance. The subject-object relation will always remain. But love is not like that. The taste of the pudding is in tasting, music is in hearing it. In the same way, feeling.
~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Factors influencing MIND !!

The five factors that influence our mind are

Place
Time
Food
Past Impressions
Associations and Actions

Every place you are in, has a different impact on the mind. Even in your house, you can see that you feel different in different rooms. A place where there there has been singing, chanting and meditation has a different influence on the mind. Suppose you like a particular place; you may find that a little later it will not be the same.

Time is also a factor. Different times of the day and year have different influences on the mind.

Different types of food that you take influence you for some days.

The past impressions-the Karmas- have a different impact on the mind. Awareness, alertness, knowledge and meditation all help erase the past impressions.

Associations and actions. The people and events you are associated with do influence your mind. Your actions and associations effect your mind. In certain company your mind behaves in one way and with others in a different way.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Guru Poornima explained !!

The mind is connected with moon, and full moon is a symbol of completion, of celebration, and of a pinnacle. So Guru Poornima is the day when the disciple wakes up in his fullness, and in that wakefulness, he can’t but be grateful. So he is full of gratitude.
This gratitude of not the gratitude of you and me, or of dvaita (duality), but it is the gratitude of advaita (non-duality). It is not a river moving from one point to another point, but it is an ocean moving within itself. It is that gratitude.
See, a river moves, but it moves from somewhere to somewhere. And an ocean also moves, but it moves within itself. So gratefulness of Guru Poornima symbolizes that fullness of the student, or of the disciple. And the disciple, on this day, celebrates in gratitude.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Ganesha & its symbolism !!

Ganesha is the formless Divinity – encapsulated in a magnificent form, for the benefit of the devotee.
Gan means group. The universe is a group of atoms and different energies. This universe would be in chaos if there was no supreme law governing these diverse groups of entities.
The Lord of all these groups of atoms and energies is Ganesha.
He is the supreme consciousness that pervades all and brings order in this universe.

The essence of Ganesha is brought out beautifully by Adi Shankara.
Though Ganesha is worshiped as the elephant-headed God, the form (swaroop) is just to bring out the formless (parabrahma roopa) .
He is, ‘Ajam Nirvikalpam Niraakaaramekam.‘ This means Ganesha is Ajam (unborn), he is Nirvikalpa(attributeless), he is Niraakaar (formless) and he symbolizes the consciousness which is omnipresent.
Ganesha is the same energy which is the reason for this universe. It is the energy from which everything manifests and into which everything will dissolve.

We are all familiar with the story of how Ganesha became the elephant-headed God.
Parvati became dirty when she was celebrating with Shiva. When she realized this, she removed the dirt from her body and created a boy out of it. She then asked him to keep guard while she bathed.
When Shiva returned, the boy did not recognize him and obstructed his passage. So Shiva chopped off the boy’s head and entered.
Parvati was shocked when she saw this. She explained to Shiva that the boy was their son and pleaded with Shiva to save him at all costs.
Shiva then instructed his helpers to go and get the head of someone who was sleeping with their head pointing to the north. The helpers then got the head of an elephant, which Shiva affixed to the boy’s torso and Ganesha was born!

Does this story sound strange?
Why should Parvati have dirt on her body?
Didn’t the all-knowing Shiva recognize His own son?
Was Shiva, the epitome of peace, so short-tempered that he cut off the head of his own son? And why an elephant head on Ganesha?
There is a deeper meaning to all this.

Parvati is symbolic of festive energy. Her becoming dirty signifies that celebration can easily become Rajasik, or feverish and can take you away from your center. Dirt is symbolic of ignorance, and Shiva is symbolic of the Supreme Innocence, Peace and Knowledge.
So when Ganesha obstructs the path of Shiva, this means that ignorance, which is an attribute of the head, does not recognize knowledge. Then knowledge has to overcome ignorance. This is the symbolism behind Shiva chopping off the boy’s head.

And why the elephant head?
Elephant represents both GYAN SHAKTI and KARMA SHAKTI.
The principle qualities of the elephant are wisdom and effortlessness. The enormous head of the elephant signifies Wisdom and Knowledge.
Elephants don’t walk around obstacles, neither are they stopped by them. They just remove them and walk ahead – signifying effortlessness.
So, when we worship Lord Ganesha these elephant qualities within us are kindled and we take on these qualities.

Ganesha’s big belly represents generosity and total acceptance. Ganesha’s upraised hand, depicting protection, means, ‘Fear not, I am with you’, and his lowered hand, palm facing outwards means endless giving as well as an invitation to bow down, this is symbolic of the fact that we will all dissolve into earth one day.
Ganesha also has a single tusk which signifies one-pointedness. Even the implements Ganesha wields are symbolic.
He carries in his hands, the ‘Ankusa’ (signifying awakening) and the ‘Paasa’ (signifying control). With awakening, a lot of energy is released, which without proper control, can go haywire.

And why does Ganesha, the elephant-headed God travel on something as small as a mouse? Isn’t that so incongruous? Again there is symbolism that runs deep.
The mouse snips and nibbles away at ropes that bind. The mouse is like the mantra which can cut through sheaths and sheaths of ignorance, leading to the ultimate knowledge represented by Ganesha!

Our ancient Rishis were so deeply intelligent that they chose to express Divinity in terms of symbols rather than words, since words change over time, but symbols remain unchanged.
Let us keep the deep symbolism in mind as we experience the omnipresent in the form of the elephant God, yet be fully aware that Ganesha is very much within us. This is the wisdom we should carry as we celebrate Ganesh Chaturti.

Souls and Karmic connections !!

Souls and Karmic Connections

We have traveled through many lifetimes and lived with many different souls amid family, friends or those who don’t really get along with us. Some may have even tried to harm us emotionally, physically or spiritually. All said and done. We all are the same and belong to only one group that is SOULS. We all have traveled together in different lifetimes and have shared various relationships with each other such as,

Father-Mother
Husband-Wife
Uncle-Aunt
Brother-Sister
Friends
Neighbours
Servants
Drivers and
even so-called Enemies.

Each person is a Soul that tries to help the other move forward spiritually and reduce the Karmic baggage.

Sometimes the Soul that loves us the most, might willingly take birth as an enemy or a tormentor in a lifetime, just to help us work out our karma. Thus, a person, who we think hates us and we in return hate, might be our greatest well-wisher spiritually.

He or She may be responsible for our becoming spiritual or compassionate. That very person who is creating hell in our lives may bring us closer to spirituality. In the present lifetime, he/she may be doing so because that could be the only way to teach us a lesson.

Sometimes, a Soul is reborn just to comfort us and be there in times of need.

So, who is our friend and who is our enemy? They all are part of the Soul-Family who wants to help us and want help in return. Sometimes an opportunity comes in the form of a Disaster. Sometimes, the only way to grow spiritually and in life is through pain, sorrow and turmoil.

That is when Life seems strange.

Hence never form judgements, abuse or hate and never say nasty things about anyone. Who knows we may be harming the Soul who loves us the most spiritually but are not able to recognize it as the soul is wearing a different body in this particular lifetime.

– Sri Sri Ravi Shankar