get from life not all we want but who we are. To have more, we must become more.
Q: Guruji, what is the importance
of charity? What is the highest form of charity?
Ravi Shankar: Charity
brings purity of mind and purity of heart. Charity means sharing.
charity is also not considered the most noble act because you always do charity to someone who is not your own. You never
say, ‘I did charity to my daughter or my son’.
So the first step
is compassion. Second step is charity, giving what you have to others who need it and then the third step is simply a sense
of belongingness where you share because you can’t but share. You don’t think that you are doing charity and yet
you do charity. That is true charity.
Real service is doing service
without asserting that I did service.
Suppose you find a girl has fallen
down, you go and you lift her and put a band-aid on her and take care of her. After that you don’t say, ’Oh! I
did a great service to the girl!’
You did it because as human beings
you can’t but help. You can’t just walk away when someone is hurt. It’s impossible.
service should be like our nature.
Q: Guruji, the motto at IIT Bombay is ‘Gyanam Paramam Dhyeyam.’
What knowledge should we aspire for?
Ravi Shankar: All types of knowledge are essential, so you should learn everything.
There is an old
proverb in tamil that says, one should even learn how to steal and then forget it.
kings or politicians are supposed to learn 64 disciplines and one among them is how to steal, so that they can understand
the mentality of a thief and give him the right punishment with compassion. So don’t pick and choose while learning.
You should learn from everybody.
Learn from the wicked, learn from
the noble, learn from a child and learn from an elderly person.
There is another
proverb in Sanskrit, it says ’Durjanam Prathamam Vande”, first thank the wicked for he has taught you a lesson
at his own cost and then thank the noble man who walks a path and shows you the way to happiness.
Q: Guruji, I am an AOL teacher from the United States. How should our
behavior be so that along with the Lokpal bill, we can eradicate corruption?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What we can do
is, we need to take a vow. I am not going to give bribe nor take bribe. That’s it. And when you take that vow, you will
stick to it.
For an individual person it may be difficult. That is why you
must gather together and collectively put pressure to get your work done.
industrialist cannot possibly get his work done because time is success or failure for him and profit for him. So he gives
the bribe and gets the work done. But in an Ashram we can afford to stand on the strict principle.
the industrialist need to do is get together. All those industrialists who were pressurized for bribes need to get together
and say ‘No!’
We are not going to give bribe
you have to give us a license. Then that will do the work.
That is why the
Lokpal Bill is essential. If Lokpal has been establish then people can immediately go to the Lokpal and say this person is
asking for bribe.
Q: Dear Guruji,
what is spirituality? Is it about religion or is it about the personality?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are
made up of matter and spirit.
Our body is made up of amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, etc. Your spirit is made up of love,
compassion, peace, generosity, commitment, caring, intelligence, responsibility, happiness. These are all the nature of spirit.
which enhances the spirit of enquiry, commitment and compassion in you is what spirituality is. Your connection to the universe
If you go to the root of every religion, this is what it says. In Christianity Jesus said, Love
is God and God is Love.
In Hinduisum it is said ‘Asti, Bhati, Preeti.’ Preeti (love) is the nature of God.
talks about peace, commitment, compassion and giving.
So the forms are different but the substance is the same. Holding
to the true substance is what spirituality is. And you can do that by going in deep meditation.
words you use to pray is secondary. What state of being you are in is most important. If you have that soft, inner beautiful
feeling, then you are spiritual. Otherwise you may be a priest somewhere, very hard inside but you are not spiritual. You
may go to a temple or church and bow down many times, it means nothing! But if you are walking in the street with an uplifted
feeling, then you are close to God. The more you smile the closer you are to the Divinity.
Desires for sense pleasure are electric in nature and they get neutralized
as they move towards the objects of senses. If, by your skill, you could move them within you towards the centre of your existence,
another dimension of everlasting pleasure, thrill, bliss, and undying love will all be yours. Lust, greed, power and jealousy
are also powerful because they are nothing but energy and you are the source of it - the pure electricity. Dedication and
devotion keep the purity of your electricity and they move you upward.
you are pleasure or electricity yourself your craving subsides and serenity dawns. Remembering that you will die makes you
alive now, free from cravings and aversions. The wise is always careful not to get entangled and dizzy in the mind.
- Sri Sri