Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

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26 June is observed as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. The Art of Living Foundation conducted a satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Bangalore Ashram to discuss this issue. Below is the excerpt of the talk by him

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Sri Sri: The nature of mind is to seek joy, seek ecstasy. Know that it cannot be found in the area of the five senses: taste, touch.
The craving continues to exist because it wants the highest. Mind belongs to the highest peace. In search of the higher ecstasy and satisfaction, one has gone into the trap of drugs.

If you look at the drug addicts. They will not exhibit any of these qualities: peace, contentment, joy. When you are addicted to drugs you look worn out and sick. This very well denotes that drugs only give an empty promise and they do not deliver.
There is a small story.There is a gentleman who prayed and asked God for a conch. Whatever you ask, Gods will give you. The gentleman’s neighbor got so jealous, he also went in search of a similar conch. He found one that will double whatever you ask for it. He feels that this conch is better that his neighbor’s conch.

He brought the conch home. He asked the conch for a bungalow. The conch said, “Why one, take two bungalows?” It would simply double whatever he asked for, but not deliver. All addictions of this planet promise joy, but they never deliver. Let’s take the simple addiction of smoking. Smoking does not bring any joy, but not smoking gives you pain, suffering, and problem. How to get over it?

There are three things that you do to get over addictions:
1. Fear of disease: If doctor says, if you take one more peg of alcohol you will be dead.
2. Greed. If someone tempts you for something bigger. If you stop your addiction for a month you will get a million rupees.
3. Love for something higher. I would prefer love over fear and greed. Love can elevate your body-mind complex and stop the craving.
4. Having a bigger addiction. Something that can intoxicate you. This is love for the creator, love for God. A higher ecstasy that you can find through meditation, pranayama, devotional dance.

They can all give you such an ecstasy which can snap you out of addictions. Sudarshan Kriya and Shakti Kriya are techniques that can help people find the happiness that they are seeking. We are seeking happiness here and there. But the source of happiness is right here: within. This can help people find what they have been looking for all their life. We need to be more aggressive in our approach to make people understand and get people out of their addictions. Once people do this, they know. I could get the peace. That is here in a permanent basis. The benefits of meditation are many: health is at its optimum and your mind is calm and serene, you r heart is full of love for everyone. You exuberate all this. We become self-reliant and we become strong. That inspires many around you. It is that conch that really delivers and not just promises you. We need to take the techniques of yoga and mediation to every house. Spirituality, though it may appear to be a little strenuous, but on a permanent basis delivers what you have been looking for in addictions all your life.

Q: The family of drug users goes through a very difficult period. What is your message for them? 
Sri Sri: I would tell them that you should take a pledge from the kids and put them on the spiritual track. For example, in homes where they have vegetarian food, they bring that feeling against consuming non-veg food. If kids have already started consuming drugs, we have to bring them back. We have to deal with patience and with sensitivity and take them to de-addiction camps again and again. The company that the child keeps also matters. Today, drugs has become a business. You need to work not just with your kids but all the kids in your neighborhood.

Q: Rajindra Kumar from Punjab: Will we, addicts, remain a question or will we ever be solved? 
Sri Sri: You have not come as a question. Know that you have received the answer.

Q: There are many celebrities who are addicted to drugs.
Sri Sri: The so-called celebrities are such bad role models to follow. In fact, they are not role models at all. They may be successful in acting, but they are failures in life. And people need to realize this. You can only watch them on the screen. If you know them personally, you will know what kind of people they are. They do not know about spirituality; they never got connected to the life that is there in them. But I would tell the celebrities to acknowledge their weakness and warn the population not to emulate them and let people know that they are suffering. We welcome all those who are under the influence these intoxicants. Keep your profession aside and come here to meditate. I am not pointing fingers at you. I understand your situation. There are millions out there who adore you. Be a true role model to all of them. Money and fame is not everything. A pure heart is.

Q: Dr. Navjot Sidhu, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Punjab asks, ” How can we encourage people to offer employment benefits to de-addicted youth?” 
Sri Sri: We have to talk to people and convince them. Don’t be prejudiced against them (drug addicts). We must help to remove the prejudice in the society.

Q: Are there any specific yoga asanas for de-addiction? 
Sri Sri: All these asanas are good. It depends on the age and flexibility (of the person). Pranayama is a must. Kriya is a must.

 

Q: Dr Anju Dhawan, Professor at the National Drug Dependence Treatment Center, AIIMS: There are sudden factors that can protect people from going towards drug abuse, building the inner strength through meditative practices can play a very important role. What can Art of Living do in this regard? 
Sri Sri: We will ask teachers to go to their doorstep. Usually we teach meditation to those who want to learn. Here we have to walk that extra mile and make them sit and meditate. It is a big task. It is like trying to feed a child who does not want to eat. But a good mother does it. A teacher plays the role of a mother. With a little bit of insistence you should be successful.

Q: Satyavir Nowlakka, Delhi Police, Crime Branch: Many people in the police department are addicts and they do not realize that they are in a mess. How do we talk to them and help them come out of their addictions? 
Sri Sri: I say that they should be teetotalers. Because it is good for the health. The Armed Forces and Police, their health is the most important and you are supplying them something that is not good for their health.

Q: People who take drugs often struggle with craving and repeated relapse in spite of treatment efforts. Guruji, please guide how should they handle this difficult situation?
Sri Sri: There should be constant touch for a few years at least. They should come for follow-up.

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3 Types of Dhrutis by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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This is a question that was asked in the satsang with Sri Sri in the Bangalore ashram. Enjoy!

Q: What are the three types of dhrutis that Lord Krishna mentions in the 18th chapter of Gita?

Sri Sri: Dhruti means that which upholds or sustains life. For many people, the mind goes hay wire, They cannot even sustain or tolerate a small insult. A little bit of imperfection they cannot tolerate. Sattvic dhruti is that which sustains the mind, life energy, and activities of the senses. That which helps you to be steadfast in your yoga. Not like one day you do yoga and next you go for bhoga. Not like that. That which upholds your senses, your life is sattvic dhruti. Rajasic dhruti is of the type when I get results then I will deliver. This sort of mindset where your enthusiasm is related to some little reward is rajasic dhruti. It could be related to Dharma or it may not be related. Any work that is taken with the intention of getting results, such as fasting to achieve some results. What is God going to get is you fast? 
Tamasic dhruti is one who sleeps a lot. That is most important for them. Nothing else. Very fearful. You look at their face, they are always down, depressed.
If you cannot get married, you are upset. You get married, you are upset. This is tamasic dhruti. Always regretful. That should not have happened. I should have had like that. After 40 years of marriage, they think they should have married someone else. And arrogance. And one is unable to get of this negativity in the mind. Some people try to get out of it, but they are not able to get out of it. Lazy people, who can sleep anywhere, any time. In Kerela, I heard about a person that he can sleep at the dining table while he eats. Once I stayed at such a person’s home. That person’s servant, told me that my Master falls asleep while talking! Doctor said lets do a scan. A few years ago, the CT Scan was a new machine. He went for the scan. The doctors were wondering why is the machine making so much noise. He slept in the scanning machine and was snoring!
This happens when you do not have any aim in life. Often Ashrams are the base for lazy people. But we do not have this issue. In Ashrams, there is a issue about how to keep people busy. If you keep doing some activity, then you will not get lazy. 
One who is lazy, gets scared easily. Then behind fear, comes negative thoughts such as who will cremate me when I die, who will take care of me when I grow old. Some one will complete the cremation rights. Man is mad. If you do not want to leave the madness, then be mad for that which has made all these things not for the things made by Him. Then after this comes vishaad: they think about what happened many years ago and get upset. People will reach Mumbai from Bangalore, and then they will continue to say we should have booked another ticket. Vishaad has become a habit. A person who is enthusiastic and happy, they will not go into vishaad.

Then comes ego. People are in vishaad, often walk with arrogance. Have you seen the people who lost the elections? A wrestler falls and then he says there is no mud on my mustache, where have I fallen? One who cannot come out from a negative mindset. 
Now we have to see what type of dhruti we have: sattvic, rajasic, tamasic.

How to get out of this? 
Do seva, sadhana, satsang. 
Tamas gets converted to Rajasic and then to Sattva. 
If you are surrounded by Tamasic people then you will have more of that type of dhruti. Often kids say, throughout my life, no one has done anything for me. The way you behave in front of kids affects kids also. If you are in Tamo guna or rajas guna, then kids catch on to it very fast. Similarly, when four people get together, and one person says something negative and everyone else contributes negativity, then after half an hour when people go home they are so tired.

How to transform from Tamasic dhruti?

This path: Seva, Sadhana, satsang, right company.
Like dhrutis, doers are also of three types. Sattvic doer is happy whether work happens or not. 
Rajasic doer is happy if work gets done and unhappy when the work does not get done.
Tamasic doer is one who does not know what they have to do. And they are in vishaad.

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Devotion and GuruHood by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Q: Tell us about devotion to Guru.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are three types of people who come to the Master, the student, the disciple and the devotee. A student goes to a teacher and learns something, gets some information and then he walks out of the School. There is no more information, just like looking at a guidebook, like a tourist guide. Then there is the disciple, the disciple follows the example of the Master. But a disciple is with the Master for the sake of learning wisdom, for the sake of improving his life, for the sake of attaining enlightenment. He has a purpose, a cause, so he is not just collecting information, but he goes a little deeper. He is trying to bring a transformation in his life. He wants to make sense out of his life. That is a disciple.And then there is devotee. A devotee is not there even for wisdom. He is simply rejoicing in love. He has fallen in deep love with the Master, with the Infinity, with the God. He doesn’t care as to whether he gets enlightened or not. He doesn’t care as to whether he acquires a lot of knowledge or wisdom or not. But that very moment, and every moment, he is immersed in divine love that is enough for him or her. A devotee is very rare to find.

Students are in abundance, disciples are a few, but the devotees are rare.

It is nothing great to become God or be God. Whether you want or not, all are already Gods. A stone is also a God. Where the devotion has flowered totally, the flower has blossomed, that is a devotee. Attraction is everywhere, love is somewhere, but devotion is again rare. Devotion is very beautiful. A student comes to a Master, Teacher, and Guru with tears in his eyes. There are so many problems, and when he leaves, he is carrying the same tears, but the quality of the tears is different, it is of gratitude. Still tears flow, but those are of gratitude, of love; it is so beautiful to cry in love.

One, who has cried even once in love, knows the taste of it, of surrender and of devotion and the entire creation rejoices it. The entire creation is longing for only one thing, the transformed tears, from salty tears to sweet tears.

One of Buddha’s disciples named Sariputra got enlightened. When he got enlightened, Buddha told him, “Now you go ahead, go into the world and preach, teach and do the same work I do, carry on my work.” Now Sariputra left Buddha, but he was crying and crying and people asked him, “Why are you crying when you are enlightened?” He said, “Who cares about this enlightenment, it could have waited, I would have waited. I didn’t even bother about it or asked for it because the joy of being at the feet of Buddha was so great. Being a devotee was so great, now I am missing this, I would have preferred that to this enlightenment.”

There once was a Zen Master who always thought that he was enlightened. He went around saying, “I am enlightened”. He happened to meet one of his Masters who gave him a puzzle, called ’koan’. The ‘koan’ was “the statue has eyes, the tears roll down silently”. Hearing this Zen Master was shaken and he said, “There is some depth in it”.

Like fatherhood and motherhood, there is Guru-hood. We all have to play Guru-hood at least to somebody. We do play! Consciously or unconsciously you are all Guru to somebody. You keep giving advices and guiding people, giving them loving care! You all do this, but do it 100%, without expecting anything in return: that is living the Guru principle. There is no difference between the divine, the Self and the Guru. They are all one. Meditation is relaxing and reposing. Think of all the things to be grateful for and ask what you want for the future and bless everyone. We receive so many blessings and we should also bless all those who are in need.

I stand forgiven…

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Another one of my old poems 🙂

Forgiven

I still remember the first time we met
There was something so different about you
Your closeness was something I wanted to get
That smile on you was so new.
 
Out of no where you called me on the phone
I wanted to sit there and talk to you forever
You were so new, so crazy and unknown
I just knew that our friendship would never sever.
 
Years together but now we barely hold it together
What happened to the way this all used to be
I never wanted you out of my life, Never
I sat there long, thinking you didn’t see.
 
We decided to make it all all right
It didn’t work out; we knew it could not
We couldn’t even really stand each others’ sight
It shouldn’t end this way but it did and end up in a knot.
 
I miss you and everything you were to me
Years from now we will look back on it all
We will be older and finally be able to see
That this friendship will stand the test of time and never fall.

The scientific benefits of Breathing

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I saw this beautiful poster on Emma Seppala’s website. Thought of sharing it with my readers. Here is her website – http://www.emmaseppala.com/

Breathing

Sleeping in the right direction

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Do you know which direction you keep your head when you sleep? If you don’t know, then you must! Sleep is one of the most important part of your daily activities that you do. The direction where you place your head plays a big part in maintaining a good health and being successful overall. It also influences your character, mind and hence thinking process. Also your relationship with other people! This has been explained in detail in the Vaastu Shashtra. I read somewhere that approximately 90% of the people do sleep in wrong way or direction. We do work for all day and our muscles get tired and lot of energy is used for all day working. To recharge the body again or to give rest to the muscles we need to take rest in the form of sleep. Sleep deprivation causes many diseases in our body. We will deal with one of the main aspect of sleeping right – the right direction to keep your head!

Sleep right

There is a Tamil proverb going thus – “Vaaraatha vaazhvu vanthaalum vadakke thalai vekkakudaathu“. Which means – “Even if one gets good fortune, one should not sleep with head in the north direction“. There are many such proverbs in many cultures about what is the right direction to keep the head. Event the Mahabharataha says – “Men become wise sleeping in the eastern or southern directions“. There is a direction for everything in the Indian culture and good reasons too! The physicians, at least Ayurvedic ones, make their patients sit facing east before diagnosis and give them medicines. There is a direction for brides and grooms to be seated in the marriage. Corpses are placed with their head in the south direction. So there is a direction for everything!

Coming back to sleeping, the recommended direction is placing the head in the east or south direction. The reason for the southern direction is because of the magnetic property of the earth and human body. The earth we are in is subjected to all kinds of energies from the sun going from east to west. By this, earth is magnetized with the north pole becoming the north pole or a magnet and south pole being the south. Since our human body is also a magnet – our head is the north and feet being the south, when we place our head in the north direction, then we the opposite poles repel each other thus destroying the natural polarity of the body. This natural polarity of the human body is key to happiness and health. The body is hale and healthy if the natural polarity that we acquire during the day is preserved in the night. That is the reason our elders warned us from keeping our head in the north! On placing it in the south, there is attraction between the earth poles and our parts of the body. Thus the polarity of the body is still intact.

There are special instructions given to married couples, single person, head of the house hold ,etc. on which direction to sleep. Here is one interesting one – Married couples are better off keeping their heads in the southern direction because it increases the attraction between them :)! It helps one to have positive thinking and sincerity in behavior. Not only this, South direction enhances one’s self confidence and leadership qualities. You can read more on the source links i provided below.

As for the eastern direction, the current of electricity passes over the earth from east to west. When the current passes from one body to another body then it influences the body that it enters and leaves inflammation in the body which it leaves. When we place the head in the west and feet in east, then the current passing through feet and leaving the head leaves inflammation in the head. Which means we get up with a headache which affects how we function. Having the head in the east is more auspicious and conducive for better thinking.

Regarding the positions of sleeping, there are two positions that are recommended – The first position is sleep turning left side (baal aasana) and the second position is sleep straight (shava aasana).When wake up in the morning first turn right and then get up from the bed. In both the above positions our spine will remain straight and we will never have a health problem if we sleep in the above two positions.

 

So BOTTOM LINE is – Dont keep your head in north or west and get up in morning turning to the right side. 

[Courtesy : http://www.healthnaturaltips.com/2012/10/what-are-right-position-to-sleep-well.html, http://queenofsleep.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/feng-shui-is-your-bed-positioned-facing-the-right-direction%5D

Entropy levels at Art of Living Ashram

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A Friend of mine forwarded this about the entropy levels at the Art of Living ashram or any spiritual place in general. I have heard of entropy only in thermodynamics. Never expected it to be used to determine the level of disorder in the universe! That is interesting. In simple words, the level of entropy simple tells the level of disorder or confusion or chaos that is there in the energy system. The higher the level of entropy the more the chaos is and lower the entropy the more harmonious it is. So here is a question that is asked by a devotee during satsang (gathering together to uplift each other spiritually by singing, dancing, listening to knowledge, etc) to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his answer is amazing.

Q: Gurudev, for the first time, scientists have been able to capture and record sounds from the depths of the Universe. Those sounds resemble that of the birds chirping at dawn, and they are mixed with the sounds from the Sun. It all seems very astonishing and fascinating. Please tell us what secret this is. 

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nature is a gold mine of such secrets. So many kinds of secrets lay hidden in the lap of Mother Nature.

A great scientist had visited the Ashram(Art of Living’s International Ashram in Bangalore) just day before yesterday. He brought a titanium radar along with him to measure the energy of the Ashram. He told me that the readings in the city were around 3.5 for the entropy (a scientific term signifying the degree of disorder or random movement of particles or objects in space). When he came to the Ashram, the reading fell to 0.5 (indicating a peaceful and stable environment). He also found that at the time of Satsang and the Purnaahuti (the peak moment of final offering to the sacrificial fire of a ritual), the reading fell to zero for a few moments! A zero reading means coming into contact, or being completely in the presence of God!

He told me that he had never witnessed such a thing before in his whole life. He said that the radar showed Zero entropy at those times. He was very fascinated with this. He conducted a thorough scientific study with the titanium radar for one whole hour. He said that the atmosphere of the Ashram is so peaceful and has such positive vibrations. He said that there is so much harmony here because the entropy readings are so low (higher entropy values correspond to more chaos and disorderly wave vibrations in the environment). He said that where the entropy is less, there is more orderliness and harmony. He said that in the city, the entropy value is 3.5.

In the same way, scientists today are able to determine where there is a greater presence of Divinity (positive vibrations and harmony). We anyway experience this when we are here. I have heard many people tell me that the moment they step foot in the Ashram, their entire state of mind becomes so positive. How many people have had this experience? (Many in the audience raise hands)

So, Nature is very mysterious!

So the next time you want to be more peaceful, calmer and more harmonious with your self and nature – you know where to go!

The Mahabharata inside you – Part III

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Even though the Mahabharata symbolism series of posts has generated a lot of interest from the readers, I promise this is the last post in it :). I have surely enjoyed researching and writing this series of posts and I hope you readers have to. I would love to write on all the major events in the epic and how they are related to each one of us but it would take too long and most of them would be abstract. We saw the symbolism of Kauravas and Pandavas. Now that you guys have the picture, I wanted to bring a closure by taking your attention to some of the major events in the Mahabharata. With these

The Game of Dice represents the Game of Delusion. In childhood, the senses, and the development of the body, are governed by the soul’s powers of discrimination. As youth approaches, the strong sense desires are awakened, by temptations in this life and Samskaras (habit tendencies) of past lives. The game is very charming, and the princely faculties of discrimination are enticed into a deceitful game with the sense desires, and man stakes his entire bodily kingdom. He is overpowered by them, and the pure discriminative intelligence of the soul is ousted from the throne, and sent into exile. The Pandavas are lured into the game by Duryodhana which is how the mind deludes its own energies into playing this whole game which we call life. Yudhisthira and the Pandavas lose the game and are banished from the kingdom and sent into exile for 12 years, with a further 1 year in total anonymity.

12 years of exile – A spiritual aspirant, who is armed with the grace of his Guru, and the knowledge of Kriya Yoga, and with all faculties intact, can with perseverance, evolve spiritually within twelve years, to the point where he can wage a battle with the senses to reclaim this body kingdom. This is a known fact to Spiritual aspirants. It is written in many yogic texts that a aspirant has intensely practice for 12 years before he can completely win over this senses which in turn control the mind. In the 12 years that the Pandavas are banished, they had to go through various events where they grow spiritually.

The One Year in Anonymity –  refers to the period when the aspirant, having attained a lofty height of spiritual evolution, i.e., he has attained Yudhistira’s calmness, Bhima’s Pranayama, Arjuna’s nonattachment, Nakula’s adherence, and Sahadeva’s power to resist evil, he is now ready to immerse himself in states of Samadhi. In the state of Samadhi, the Sadhaka is withdrawn from the world, and all that is worldly, immersing him in states of consciousness. In the State of Samadhi, one’s consciousness is not in the material world, but in the supreme consciousness, hence, why the Pandavas were incognito, to the people around them.

Kurukshetra – the Land (field) of the Kurus, is the symbolic representation of the body. Kurukshetra is formed from the Sanskrit roots, kri meaning work, material action, and ksetra means field. So this Field of Action is the body, on which all activities of life, take place.

Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad gita – In our  inner conflict when we lose peace, it is the aspect of  knowledge in us that is confused needs clarity. This aspect in us that seeks teaching represents Arjuna. As we already discussed Arjuna represents bondage it seeks freedom to attain the kingdom of Peace. It seeks Krishna the manifestation of pure Consciousness. We seek for clarity a teacher, a Guru. What we seek outside is already in us. The external teacher helps us to seek our internal teacher Krishna, the pure consciousness. The dialogue between the Krishna and Arjuna is Bhagavad Gita.

KRISHNA – Lastly, who is Krishna? Krishna the manifestation of pure Consciousness. Consciousness is the “being” of every form and formless in this universe. The reflection of that Consciousness  is awareness. Krishna is the cousin and brother -in-law of Arjuna and interestingly Krishna is the father-in-law of Duryodhan’s daughter, that is , Krishna’s son married Duryodhan’s daughter Lakshmana. So Krishna is related to both the positive and negative groups of  brothers. This is why Indian God’s are represented with three faces. The two faces on the sides represents the pair of opposites of the same body. Explains that both positive and negatives qualities resides in us. I can go on writing about Krishna.

So here are the symbolisms of the characters and events in Mahabharata. It is not just another long story that happened long time ago. It is happening right now right her within you. If you believe in these allegoric events, then read the Mahabharata again. Only this time see if you can relate to these characters for they lived and died(mortally) to relate to us.