I've Learned

We 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? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Charity brings purity of mind and purity of heart. Charity means sharing. 
But 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. 
So service should be like our nature. 

Q: Guruji, the motto at IIT Bombay is ‘Gyanam Paramam Dhyeyam.’ What knowledge should we aspire for? 
Sri Sri 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. 
Usually 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. 
One 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. 
What 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.
That which enhances the spirit of enquiry, commitment and compassion in you is what spirituality is. Your connection to the universe is spirituality.

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.
Islam 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.

What 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.
Realizing 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