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.

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,

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

Chakras, Energy (Kundalini) & Emotions !

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – “You would have heard about the seven chakras (energy centers) ; it is One Energy that manifests itself in various forms.

In the first chakra (Muladhara), at the base of the spine, the energy manifests as enthusiasm or inertia.

When the same life force energy comes to the second chakra (Swadhisthana), it manifests as sexual energy or creative or procreative energy.

The same energy goes up to the navel region, the third chakra (Manipura), and manifests in four different forms, which relate to four different emotions – greed, jealousy, generosity and joy. That is why all these four emotions are depicted through the tummy. Jealousy is an emotion that one feels in the stomach. Generosity is depicted with a large tummy, e.g., Santa Claus. Joy is also depicted with a big tummy, e.g. Lord Ganesha and the Laughing Buddha.

The same energy comes to the fourth chakra (Anahata), the heart chakra; manifests as three different emotions which are love, hatred and fear.

When this energy rises to the fifth chakra (Vishuddha), at the level of the throat, it symbolizes grief and gratefulness. When you feel grief, the throat chokes, and when you feel grateful also, the throat chokes.

The same energy then goes in between the eyebrows to the sixth chakra (Ajna), and manifests as anger and alertness. Anger, alertness, knowledge, and wisdom are all related to the third eye centre.

The same energy goes to the seventh chakra (Sahasrara), at the top of the head and manifests as sheer bliss. That is why in any sanctuary experiences, when you feel total bliss, the mind immediately goes to the top of the head. Something shoots up to the top of the head and you feel blissful.

So, the upward movement and downward movements of energy are all the emotions in life”.


Sri Sri’s wisdom on LOVE:
If there is one substances by which everything is held together and you want to give it a name, you can call it love. It is the basis of all existence. All the cells in your body love each other, that is why they are together. The day they stop loving each other, it all disintegrates.
Love is not all wiggly wiggly and mushy mushy, “Oh I can’t live without you, I love you so much”, and so on. It is not that. That is just an emotional something. Love means (silence)… that is it.
Love is indescribable. You can’t describe it. And there is not a creature on this planet who doesn’t know it. From the insect to the lion, from a chicken to an enlightened person, everybody has experienced love. Love for life is what we think it is, but life itself is love. So see, through this knowledge, that the whole universe is love.
Love is not just an emotion, it is your very existence. The earth loves the sun, that is why it keeps going around the sun. The moon loves the earth, that is why the moon goes around the earth. Wherever there is a force, or there is energy, or a pull, or attraction, you call it love.

Mysteries/Modulations of the Mind

Q: Guruji, what are the modulations of the mind?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – The mind is the biggest mystery. Your own mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The mind is responsible for our happiness as well as misery. When the mind is in the present moment, everything appears to be beautiful. However, when the mind is a mess; even in the best of places, it can find a thousand reasons to be miserable.

Maharishi Patanjali has said ‘Yoga Chitta Vrutti Nirodha’ (Yoga is the act of restraining or freeing the mind from the clutches of its modulations).

There are five types of modulations of the mind, which can be painful or not painful.

The first modulation is Pramaana – always thinking if this is right or wrong, wanting proof for everything. There are 3 kinds of proof the mind looks for- Pratyaksha (experiential proof), Anumaana (inferential proof) and Agama (scriptural proof).
The second modulation is Viparyaya – wrong understanding. We spend three-fourths of our time in Viparyaya. Either our opinions about people will be wrong or their opinions about us will be wrong. You think one person is bad and another person is good, but your opinions change after some time. Not knowing things as they are is Viparyaya.
The third modulation is Vikalpa – imagination, hallucination. It is imagining something that is non-existent. Some people imagine that something has happened to them and become afraid. A twenty-year-old youth had come to me. Though he was healthy, he felt that he had a lot of diseases. Doctors checked him and found that everything was fine, but he still wouldn’t believe it. Illusion about the existence of something that is non-existent is Vikalpa.
The fourth modulation is Nidra – Sleep. If you are not doing anything, you feel sleepy. Nowadays, people sleep even when they are working! A lot of people in the parliament are seen sleepy and yawning.
The fifth modulation is Smruti – Memory, remembering all that has happened in the past.

These five modulations prevent one from being alive in the present moment and enjoying it. We have to become free from these five modulations. Only then does the mind become pleasant. How is that possible?
It is possible through Pranayama and by being aware that all that has happened so far is like a dream. You brushed your teeth, took bath and ate breakfast in the morning. At this moment, look back and see, you will feel that they are like a dream. Similarly, some more decades will pass, and some days will be good and some days will not be so good. We need to observe ourselves if we are able to keep our mind balanced through the ups and downs. This is Yoga. ‘Tada Drusthu Swarupe Awasthanam’ – the seer reposes in the self.

Thank You !!!

Q: These days thanking someone has become superficial. What is your opinion?

Sri Sri ~ Which is better, to thank deeply or superficially? superficially. Thanking needs a separation. Thanking means there are two. If you are deeply thankful, it means you deeply feel the separation. Deep within there is no need to thank, because there is one-ness. But superficially you can thank. Thanks are like ripples on the surface of the water.
When you say “Thank you,” you complete something. You are finishing a transaction, a relationship, a process. “Thank you” is like “good bye.” You can complete all transactions at a surface level, but deeper inside is only one-ness. Thankfulness always exists in relation to something else. You don’t thank for nothing at all, you thank for something. But in this case, something is less than nothing! At the deepest level, thanking has no meaning. Does one hand thank the other hand? The deeper you go, you see there is no “other” to be thanked.
Will it be right to say “We should thank superficially and feel deeply.” No, Feeling is also superficial. If you think the feeling is the depth, then you have not gone deep. Feeling is deeper than thinking. But feelings change. Whatever is the deepest doesn’t change.
So thank superficially, not from the depth. Deep thanks indicate deep separation!

The 5 Insights !

“The biggest victim of one sided love is God… He loves you so much… and you don’t even recognise it…”

“Love is your nature…
But in the process of its expression.., you often get caught up in the object…
This is when your sight is caught outside…

To return back to your nature..,
you need insight… (The Five Insights)

Pain is the first insight…
It takes you away from the object and turns you towards your body and mind.

Energy is the second insight…
A bolt of energy brings you back to your Self.

Divine Love is the third insight…
A glimpse of Divine love makes you so complete and over rules all the relative pleasures.

Trance is the fourth insight…
An elevation of consciousness and partial awareness of the physical reality around is Trance.

The conviction in the non-dual existence.., that all is made up of one and only one.., is the fifth insight…

When love glows.., it is bliss.
When it flows.., it is compassion.
When it blows.., it is anger.
When it ferments.., it is jealously.
When it is all ‘nos’.., it is hatred.
When it acts.., it is perfection.
When love Knows.., it is ME..!”

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Mind, Soul, Intellect !

Q: Can you explain what is the mind, and what’s the difference between the mind and the soul?

Sri Sri ~ Mind is just a projection of soul. Soul is your whole consciousness, the life force in you. The part of it which is listening to me right now, which is asking the question, which is perceiving – we call it the mind. So if your mind is elsewhere, though I’m speaking and the words are falling into your ear drums, still you don’t get it because the mind is elsewhere. So it’s through the mind that we see, smell, taste, hear, and experience the sense of touch. That is what the mind is.
The mind has another function which we call intellect. As I’m speaking, something in you is saying, “Yes, I agree”, or, “No, I don’t agree with this”. There is something in you which is accepting and rejecting, judging and accommodating – that is the intellect.

PuJa !

The word ‘Pu’ means fullness, and ‘Ja’ means that which is born out of fullness. So puja means that which is born out of fullness. And what you get out of doing puja is also fullness, and contentment. Doing puja creates a subtle vibration in the atmosphere which brings positivity.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

5 steps of meditation !!

The Five Steps of Meditation

In the beginning, meditation is just a relaxation.
In the second step, meditation is something that gives you energy; you feel more energetic.
In the third step, meditation brings creativity.
In the fourth step, mediation brings enthusiasm and joy.
The fifth step of meditation is indescribable, you simply can’t describe it. It is that oneness with the whole universe. This is the fifth step of meditation, and don’t stop before that.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Karma & Yoga !

There are three types of karma:
1. Karta: where you do it yourself
2. Kaaryata: where you make someone else do it
3. Anumodi: where you just keep quiet or accept others doing their karma, and that also brings you karma.
If you really go deep into karma, it is really scary! Suppose a thief or dacoit is stealing something , and suppose you have fed him something, you get the karma of that doing also. Suppose you have fed a beggar on the street, and he does some wrong thing, that karma will also come to you. Karma is a vast and endless subject.
Now, how can one be, without karma sticking on to you? That is yoga! Yoga greases you in such a way that karma doesn’t stick anywhere. When halwa (a sweet pudding) is made, more ghee (clarified butter)is added so that it does not stick to the pan. Similarly, bhakti (devotion) is that ghee (grease) which does not allow karma to stick on to the pan (body)

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Meditation, Concentration, Contemplation

Q: Guruji, how does meditation differ from techniques involving concentration or contemplation?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Usually, we sit and contemplate on some knowledge, on some scriptures. We are keeping our mind active. The mind is thinking and thinking and thinking. Thinking is also an activity and does not bring any rest to the mind. So contemplation should never be called meditation.
Concentration involves a lot of effort. You are trying to focus your mind to stay in one place, which is not its nature. Mind jumps from one thing to another and it goes from something which is charming to something which is even more charming. Mind always flows towards something that is even more charming. When you are having very good food then you are attentive with the food. However when something on television comes or a beautiful scenery comes, you forget about the food and watch the scenery.
Your mind goes from this to that. Your mind always goes from one thing to another and it always goes to something that is more enjoyable. At least, it perceives that something is more joyful. It may not really be the source of joy. In fact, it is not.
Concentration is – trying to focus the mind on one point against its nature. So we are forcing our mind. Children get into so much stress and tension because their mind is forced on something which is not in their natural taste. They are forced to study such topics for which they have the least inclination. Then, it causes so much strain.
Concentration again is tremendous effort. So, it can’t be meditation. Though, you will need concentration in life. Now, both concentration and contemplation are results of meditation – they are not meditation itself. Meditation is effortless! When the mind takes the deepest rest, it becomes so fresh and alive. And after that deep rest, your concentration is spontaneous. It’s natural. Concentration becomes effortless.
You are able to contemplate well without strain. Meditation unfortunately is understood to be another concentration or contemplation in many parts of the world. But it is not. Meditation is the art of doing nothing. It’s the skill by which you make your mind become quiet and do nothing and experience the vastness of space deep within. So, effortlessness is the key to meditation. And if we can do a few minutes of meditation, you will find that concentration has improved and your intellectual abilities are boosted.

Seven spiritual centres and their respective holy cities

Q: Please tell us about the seven spiritual cities in India and their relationship with chakras in the body.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. Seven cities in India correspond to seven centres or chakras in our body: ‘Ayodhya Mathura Maya Kashi Kanchi Avantika Puri Dwarakavati caiva saptaide moksha dayika’ Maya or Haridwar corresponds to the mooladhar chakra situated at the base of the spine. When the jadata or lethargy goes and enthusiasm begins, you commence your journey. Haridwar, the starting point, is the door to the house of the Divine. Kanchi corresponds to the swadhisthana chakra situated behind the genitals, as the presiding deity here is Kamakshi, the goddess of kama or desire.
Ayodhya corresponds to the third chakra, the manipura, situated in the navel region, where joy, generosity, greed and jealousy manifest. All these emotions are connected to Ayodhya. It was the jealousy and greed of Kaikeyi that made Rama take vanavas. Ayodhya is also known for the generosity of Rama. The joy of Rama’s return to Ayodhya is celebrated as Diwali. Joy, generosity, greed and jealousy meet in the nabhi pradesh, Ayodhya. Ayodhya also means where there is no fight, where it cannot hurt.
Mathura is anahata, the heart chakra. The heart is associated with three emotions: Love, fear and hatred. Mathura symbolises the love and devotion of the gopis for Krishna, as well as of the fear and hatred of Kansa, all matters of the heart.
Avantika, also called Ujjain, is related to the vishuddha or the throat chakra. Ujjain is the city of art and literature. Poet Kalidas hailed from Ujjain. It is also the city of Vikramaditya, of grief and glory. We feel gratitude in the throat region – we get choked. Kashi represents the ajna chakra situated between the eyebrows. Kashi has always been the seat of knowledge. That’s why the ajna chakra is also called gyana chakshu, the third eye. Kashi is the city of pundits and scholars.
Dwaraka represents the sahasrara, the crown chakra on top of the head. Dwarka literally means: Where is the door? The door is irrelevant if there are no walls. Infinity has no walls. Krishna left his body in Dwarka. Sahasrara also means thousand avenues. It means the pathless path. The path to liberation begins at Haridwar and culminates at Dwarka.
The soul is called Purusha. Pura means a town. Purusha means one who lives in the town. The Purusha is unbound and infinite. But the Purusha experiences bondage with all the negative emotions. Positive feelings with knowledge are liberating. Positive feelings without knowledge create negative emotions that are stifling, hence one experiences bondage. When you observe the prana moving through different centres associated with sensations, the negative feelings cease to exist and one is liberated from bondage.
The seven sacred rivers are the Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Godavari, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri. Together with the seven sacred cities, they are linked to the seven sacred spots within you.

Words …

If you manipulate words, it is a lie.
If you play on words, it is a joke.
If you rely on words, it is ignorance but
if you transcend words, it is wisdom.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Just KNOW Yourself !

Q: Guruji, what has God got to do with spirituality? Can I not believe and still be spiritual?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! Do you know, in the six Darshanas (schools of India Philosophy), the first three Darshanas do not even talk about God –Nyaaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya. Nyaaya Darshana by Gautama Maharishi deals with knowledge – whether your knowledge is correct or not. Knowing the means of knowledge whether it is correct or not, this is Nyaaya Darshana. For example, from your senses you see the Sun setting and the Sun rising. But Nyaaya Darshana says, ‘No, you cannot just believe what you see, you have to go beyond and find out, does the Sun really set or is the Earth moving?’. We think that Copernicus found out that the earth is going around the sun, but that is absolute false. He definitely found out, but before that, in India, people already knew a long time ago that the Earth is going around the Sun. Nyaaya Darshana talks about all that. It talks about perception and the correction of perception! And then Vaisheshika Darshana – this is a count of all the things in the universe – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, and then all the objects and subjects, and all that analysis. This is Vaisheshika Darshana. In this, they talk about the mind, consciousness, intellect, memory and all that. Then is Sankhya Darshana. So, these three Darshanas do not talk about God, but they talk about Consciousness. Only in the Yoga Sutras, which is the fourth Darshanas they talk about God as one topic. So you do not have to feel compelled to believe in God, but you have to believe in something. You have to at least believe in the Consciousness. Usually when we think of God, we think of somebody who is sitting out there in heaven, who created the creation, and then went away from the creation and started trying to find fault in everyone. Whatever you are doing, he is trying to take a stick and punish you. This is not the type of God that we have ever spoken of. God is the existence! The entire universe is made up of a stuff called Love, and that is what God is! You are inseparable from God. Nothing ever exists outside God; everything has to exist inside God only. So it is beyond good, bad, right, wrong, and all that. Pleasant and unpleasant is all immaterial. The One thing that exists, that One whole if you need to call it something, you can call it God. Or you do not have to worry, just know yourself.

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One Consciousness

It is one consciousness that has become the body, has become the mind, intellect, emotions, ego, self. Everything that you have in you is made up of one consciousness—like every wave of the water is made up of the water itself, and nothing other than the water.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Navratri Simplified

This whole universe is governed by shakti and tapping into this shakti is what Navratri is all about. Worship and spiritual practices are a means of tapping into this shakti. So, during the nine nights of Navratri, the Devi who represents this shakti is worshipped in all her nine names and forms.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Mahalaya Amavasya importance revealed

Q: What is the signifiance of Mahalaya Amavasya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shanker : Actually this Amavasya is dedicated to the departed souls.
When you leave this body you are guided into another world by a set of Devas or Angels. Pururava, Vishvedeva – these are their names. They come and guide you from one level to another level.
Mahalaya Amavasya is the day when you remember all the departed souls and thank them and wish peace for them.

There is an ancient tradition in which the family members take a few sesame seeds and little bit of rice, and then they think of their ancestors and say, ‘May you be contented, may you be contented, may you be contented.’
They say this three times and then they drop the little grains of sesame seeds with some water.

The significance of this ritual is to tell the departed that – If you still have some desires in your mind, know that they are like sesame seeds. They are not significant, just drop them. We will take care of them for you. You be free, happy and contented! There is huge universe in front of you. The universe is infinite, so look forward and go; drop whatever is pulling you back.
This is called Tarpana.

Tarpana means bringing satisfaction and fulfillment to the departed. It is done to tell them to be contented and move further.
Water is the symbol of love. To give anyone water means giving love.
In Sanskrit, Ap means water and it also means love. And in Sanskrit someone who is very dear is called Apta.
So, in their memory, you give them water as a symbol of love and life and that is why this is called Mahalaya Amavasya.
On this day think of all your ancestors.

In Vedic tradition, three generations on the mother’s side and father’s side are remembered, and all others friends, relatives, and anyone who has crossed over to the other side. Think of them and tell them to be satisfied.
Usually in their memory, people also do some charity, by giving food to some people and to animals

Do not try to impress !!!

Do not make an effort to impress others, or to express yourself. Your effort to express yourself becomes an impediment. Your effort to impress someone also becomes futile. If you do not try to impress, expression comes naturally. When you come from the self, your expression is perfect and your impression lasts for ages.

Often you don’t seem to have a control over your impressions and expressions. Wisdom is selecting your impressions and expressions. Enlightenment is when you do not take any impressions at all, whether good or bad. Then you “master” the art of expression. Many impressions in the mind cause:

Lack of focus
and finally, derangement of the mind.
Nature has inbuilt in us a system through which it releases some of the impressions – through dreams, and through meditation.

Excessive expression loses the depth and luster, the serenity of yourself. Meditation erases the impressions and improves the expression.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Silence !!

Prayer within breath is silence, love within infinity is silence, Wisdom without word is silence, compassion without aim is silence, action without doer is silence, smiling with all existence is silence

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Raksha Bandhan !!

Q: Please tell us about “Rakshabandhan”.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Today is Rakshabandhan so I will speak something about that. It is often believed that on this day, the sister ties the sacred thread or band on the brother’s wrist and asks him to protect her at all times. This is what is commonly heard and told, isn’t it? But this is not the essence and spirit of Rakshabandhan at all! The true secret of Rakshabandhan is that when a sister ties the thread on her brother’s wrist, it is a gesture of saying that “I will protect you at all times”. So it is the sisters who pray and wish for the protection and well-being of their brothers. This is what Rakshabandhan truly means. Today is the auspicious day of Shravana Purnima (the full Moon day in the auspicious month of Shravana as per the Hindu calendar). Today we are celebrating a very special and unique tradition through the festival of Rakshabandhan, in which it is the sister who (takes the vow and) protects her brother! Women of our country are often called weak and powerless. So it is worth wondering how a woman who is considered as weak and fragile can protect a man and give him moral strength and support.

There is a growing misconception since the ages that women are weak and powerless. It is not so at all. Women possess a very unique power within themselves – the Sankalpa-Shakti (the power of will and determination). So a woman too can protect and give support to a man using her strong will power and inner strength. In India, we have never regarded women as weak or inferior in any way at all. How can a woman be weak? A woman has so much (inner) strength and power that she can stop the mighty Sun also! You all must have heard the story of Satyavan and his wife Savitri. She was so devoted to her husband that she fought the very Lord of Death from taking her husband away and brought him back to life. Similarly, you must have heard the inspiring story of Devi Anusuya.

So, women possess the power of feelings and emotions, and have great inner strength within them. This is the greatest strength that one can have. If one loses one’s inner strength then outward physical strength is of no use. To be physically strong, one has to be strong from within first (referring to strong will power and courage). Inner strength here means both – the power of the intellect and also the strength of inner will and emotions. A woman possesses the unique and beautiful combination of both of these. So on the day of Raksha Bandhan, it is the ladies who take a vow to protect the men (by tying a sacred thread on the wrist of the brother).

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Chanting in the last moments of life

Q: It is said that chanting the name of Narayana (Lord Vishnu) in the last moments of our life brings one liberation. Is it true that the last act of life is the strongest in determining our way forward?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is true. It is at the time of death that the mind separates from the body. So at this time, whatever impression one bears in the mind become the reason for the next birth. This is a scientific truth. You can see this for yourself. If you observe, the first thought on your mind when you wake up in the morning will be same thought that you had before you went to sleep.
Now, usually your mind is so consumed with thoughts of something or the other, that at the time of death, you may not even remember to chant Narayana. That is why the ancient people have said keep remembering God all the time by chanting His name (Narayana). Remember him every night before sleeping; while you take a shower; even while eating your meals, remember him and thank him for the food you receive. Before starting something new, remember Him to make it an auspicious beginning. The ancient people were very intelligent and they made it a custom.
So, whenever one opens a new shop, the first thing they must do is naam smaran(remember the name of God), and then they start the shop. If one buys something new, they must remember Narayana and then begin. We all do this, is it not so? We do this even today.
If you are going to write an examination, you think of the Divine and pray that the questions in the examinations are easy, and that you are able to write the answers properly. Everyone prays, whether kids, adults or old people; all of them pray. But they do it out of fear. I would say, don’t do it out of fear, rather to do it out of love; out of a deep sense of gratitude. When you pray with love and faith that is when you blossom.
What is the difficulty in remembering the Divine before starting any new work? You can chant and remember the Divine by saying anything that you like. You can say Narayana, or Jai Gurudev, or even Om Namah Shivaya. Whatever name you like, say that. Otherwise you keep singing all sorts of songs in your mind while having bath, or while eating food, like ‘Dafliwaale Dafli Bajao ‘ (O drummer boy, play me the drums!) What else would a drummer boy play for you if not drums? Is this a song?
Now I have not heard any of the recent songs, as I have not gotten the time. But there must be some songs that have come up recently that have no meaning at all.
There is a song called, ‘Kolaveri di’ which seems to have become very popular. Many people do not even know the meaning of the song. Do you know what the meaning is? In Tamil, the expression ‘Kolaveri di’ means ‘I feel like killing someone.’ Is this is a good song, something which means that you feel like killing someone? That is why I say, just do naam smaran. Chant Om Namah Shivaya, or Omkar (Om) mantra. Chant whichever one that you like with a feeling of devotion.
See, I am not putting down any song, if you want to sing, it is okay to sing Kolaveri Di also; no problem. But sometimes a catchy tune like this will keep going on and on in your mind and it will affect you. It is good that most of the people do not understand the meaning of the song. If they knew the meaning, and sang it along with the meaning then there would have been problems. It is in another language; it is in Tamil.
When you know the meaning of a bhajan and you sing it with a feeling of gratitude and devotion, it has a profound effect on your life. Every word has a vibration of its own, and when we speak good words, the vibrations from those words have the power to purify the mind, and purify life.
By chanting and speaking positive, both the mind and the body get energized. That is why it is said to do naam smaran. Do it at least two times in the day. Like I said, in the morning before having the first meal of the day, remember the Divine by chanting his name.
I keep telling everyone that before eating food, chant this mantra, ‘Annadaata Sukhi Bhavah’ (May the provider of my food be blessed with peace and prosperity).Similarly, first thing in the morning, when you wake up say ‘Om Namo Narayana’ or ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. When something goes wrong, say ‘Hey Ram!’ If someone dies, chant ‘Ram Naam Satya Hai’ (The name of Lord Rama alone is the ultimate truth). What is the difficulty in just remembering the name of God? There is no difficulty at all. When you enter the car, say ‘Om Namo Narayana’, and then sit in the car. Before you get out of the car also, do naam smaran (remember the name of God) and then get out.
In this way, you will make it a habit to do naam smaran, is it not so? So during your last moments, at the time of death, when the Prana (life force) is about to leave your body, then also you will do naam smaran because it will come to you naturally at that time, and this will uplift you in a great way.

Know LOVE !!!

“Love with wisdom is eternal bliss. Love with selfishness or love for individual pleasure, sooner or later will bring misery and heart break. If your love is there to help others, nobody can destroy it, but if your love is to get something from the other, sooner or later, it will be broken into pieces.”

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Chakras !!

You would have heard about the seven chakras (energy centers); it is One Energy that manifests itself in various forms.

In the first chakra (Muladhara), at the base of the spine, the energy manifests as enthusiasm or inertia.

When the same life force energy comes to the second chakra (Swadhisthana), it manifests as sexual energy or creative or procreative energy.

The same energy goes up to the navel region, the third chakra (Manipura), and manifests in four different forms, which relate to four different emotions – greed, jealousy, generosity and joy. That is why all these four emotions are depicted through the tummy.
Jealousy is an emotion that one feels in the stomach. Generosity is depicted with a large tummy, e.g., Santa Claus. Joy is also depicted with a big tummy, e.g., Lord Ganesha and the Laughing Buddha.

The same emotion comes to the fourth chakra (Anahata), the heart chakra; manifests as three different emotions which are love, hatred and fear.

When this energy rises to the fifth chakra (Vishuddha), at the level of the throat, it symbolizes grief and gratefulness. When you feel grief, the throat chokes, and when you feel grateful also, the throat chokes.

The same energy then goes in between the eyebrows to the sixth chakra (Ajna), and manifests as anger and alertness. Anger, alertness, knowledge, and wisdom are all related to the third eye centre.

The same energy goes to the seventh chakra (Sahasrara), at the top of the head and manifests as sheer bliss. That is why in any sanctuary experiences, when you feel total bliss, the mind immediately goes to the top of the head. Something shoots up to the top of the head and you feel blissful.

So, the upward movement and downward movements of energy are all the emotions in life.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar