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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Quotes

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (born 13 May 1956) is a Hindu Guru synonymous with Art of Living. He is popularly referred to as Sri Sri, Guruji or Gurudev. He is world-renowned Hindu spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation. Here are few quotes of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar collected over the past 10 years from various sources.

Feelings change, thoughts change, ideas change, body is undergoing changes all the time. But the thirst deep within us is for something that is not changing, that is eternal, that is always, that is the same.

You reject something, but if you reject it without anger it is not bondage; if you reject something with anger, then that is bondage. You receive some, and when you receive: "Oh, oh, oh!" you are excited about it, then that is bondage. Whatever is done with anger or excitement makes a strong impression in the mind and that becomes a bondage.

Look into the motives behind your actions. Often you don't go for things you really want. You go to things because others would want you to or because of what others would say, think, or do about it.

The culmination of worship is self-knowledge, Samadhi

No use in all these talks. Don't go on wasting your energy and time in talking. Be in silence. A thousand words cannot convey a glance, a look from your eyes. And even many thousand looks cannot convey one minute of silence. Just stay, silently.

Discipline is not torturing oneself for nothing – that's no discipline. Purpose of discipline is to obtain joy.

What destroys the knowledge in you is the feverishness. What clouds your awareness and consciousness, your joy, is feverishness.

Your worries, your feelings, your thoughts arise in your own mind. You are totally responsible for all your feelings – how you feel, what you think, what you do – all that. You are responsible.

Something gives you great joy, then the craving for the great joy doesn't allow you to rest peacefully.

You are made up of both your father and mother; so, within you you have both the characteristics of mother and father, male and female. There are many men who have motherly qualities in them, feminine qualities in them. And then, there are many women who have more male qualities in them. Love is beyond the qualities; Love is beyond male or female. It is not just limited to body or emotions. It is something that transcends all these identifications.

Aborting the female fetus is at odds with the ethos of a country in which women are worshipped as Lakshmi and Durga.

Elders should learn to respect the feeling of youngsters and from the joy of getting, one should move to the joy of giving.

The magnitude of the heart is measured by what can disturb you. If it is small like a pond, even a small stone can create big turbulence. If it's like a lake, it needs a bigger stone to create a turbulence. If it's vast, wide like an ocean, nothing can disturb that. Even mountains can fall into the ocean but the ocean remains as it is.

The sign of enlightenment is no complaints and no explanations!

“It is the elixir of human presence that lends meaning to otherwise impersonal words of greeting. If an air-hostess wishes you a good day it means nothing but if your grandmother does so, the sense travels with the words.”

“Love is an experience. If you want to experience love, sit with a dog. The dog will teach you what is love.”

Life is a combination of old and new. Like a tree has deep roots which are old and its leaves are always new.

The more you are loaded with desires, the more poor you are, the more weak you are. Strength is wakefulness, and in wakefulness there is no desire.

A drop of water on a hot plate takes little time to disappear. It makes some noise and it evaporates. Gratitude on our life disappears even faster. We seem to forget how much we have grown and how much we have received.

Love is not an act; it is the very state of your being. In deep meditation, we see that everyone is part of ourself.

Just take a look at your life. It's filled with arguments, isn't it? You are so used to arguing. You argue with yourself and you argue with everyone you meet. And the basis of this argument is your logic, your limited world of experiences---it is a drop in the ocean.

Your desire for pleasure or happiness makes you unhappy. You examine---whenever you're miserable or unhappy, behind that is your wanting to be happy.

Your mind is tired, is burned down through its galloping on desire after desire---it's so tired! Just turn back and see all the desires you have achieved. Have they given you rest? No. They've only created a few more desires in you.

Unlike other religions, Hinduism is inherently anarchic. In the absence of a single command at the top, reforms in Hinduism cannot come from the top. It has to start at the bottom, as a people’s movement.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Quotes on Smile

We have forgotten to be like children. Let's laugh, relax, be children again.

Be light. Smile. Drop. Learn the tendency to drop and smile and move through.

“I don't say always smile. Sometimes anger also works. Even mothers do not feed their children unless they cry. But the anger should be like a lining on water and not like a lining on the rock.”
Youngsters should not treat elders like peels of fruits.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Quotes on Love

Love is there in the whole creation.
Everything is Love.
But you have never related in your life other than by name and form;
You could not love something which has no name or form.
The guru embodies-Buddha embodies,
Jesus embodies-that infinite Love with name and form.
In this entire creation there is a tendency to become one, To get back to one, because the two is painful.
From two, to go to one is the purpose of creation.
Everything wants to merge into something.
What is that? We call it Love.
Don’t be concerned and worried about money so much.
Be filled with love, be filled with gratitude,
get rid of the fear in you by being in love.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on How to Stop the Mind from Wandering

Question: My mind wanders everywhere how do I meditate?

Sri Sri Ravishankar: Take a stick and start chasing your mind. See where it goes. Chase, keep chasing and you see your mind is so tired that it will come and fall at your feet.
That's why Maharshi Patanjali says meditate on everything, meditate on elements, on Rishis, who are out of craving, even if you meditate on Rishis who are out of craving, you get into meditation.
And when you sit for satsang, you get into meditation. But sometimes if you sit for santsang, and you are not there 100%, you count the ceiling, you look here and there.
You have to bring interest yourself. It is already there. You need not do anything its all burning for you.
Become effortless. Just know that I am nothing and I don't want anything. But don't start thinking about it continuously, this is also a Maya. That's why Adi Shankaracharya says ‘it is foolish to even think that I am Zero.’

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the detachment from the objects of the senses

The craving for sense objects is bondage. Their existence seems to have given you a little
pleasure, so it binds you. Now you crave for it, and it gives you more and more pain.
The more you beg, the more you crave for something, the further away it goes.
And the moment you drop it and just repose in the Self, you'll find all those things come, manifold.

Freedom from the pleasure is the real pleasure. Pain does not bind you; It is the pleasure that binds you. And the bondage is painful. If you are bound, you are not bound by misery; you are bound by your craving, your pleasure. Freedom is what? Lack of craving. Detachment from the objects of the senses.

This is the nature of sense objects: they promise pleasure to begin with and even give you also a little taste, but then leave you with pain and suffering.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Science and Spirituality

  • Not even a single scientist was prosecuted in ancient India. In Hindu culture, it is experience first, and then believe.
  • Science and spirituality are like two ways of looking at the creation.
  • Science cultivates logic and spirituality develops intuition, another faculty of enquiry.
  • Ancient rishis knew that the entire creation is reflected in each particle as consciousness. Today scientists are saying the same thing. The DNA of all the creatures can be created from one human DNA chain.
  • Science is the systematic understanding of what this is. Spirituality is systematic understanding of who am I.
  • The spiritual dimension of life in the truest form promotes scientific temper. It smashes the narrow boundaries of caste, creed, religion and nationality and gives one a broader awareness of life present everywhere.

Inspirational Quotes of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Look into the motives behind your actions. Often you don't go for things you really want.

You go to things because others would want you to or because of what others would say, think, or do about it.

If you do good for people, you are doing it out of your nature.

Forget about how they behave, what their reaction towards you is. It's up to them. Let them carry their cross. Keep your mind free.

Shadows appear very big, much bigger than you, but they have no existence. Smaller the light, bigger the shadow appears. If it is total darkness, then also there is no shadow. So partial knowledge, a partial light, partial vision, brings the shadow. And it makes the shadow appear very huge, very big. But know it is just a shadow.

When attention is given to the spiritual aspect of one’s life, it brings responsibility, a sense of belongingness, compassion and caring for the whole humanity. The Spirit upholds and sustains life. It makes you strong and solid. It breaks down the narrow boundaries of caste, creed, religion and nationality and gives you an awareness of life present everywhere. It is only through this awareness, this uplifting of consciousness, that wars can be eliminated and human values restored in the world today.

The time on this planet for us is a gift. When we consider time as a gift, our whole outlook towards life shifts.

Any event has the good and not-so-good aspect. The not-so-good part has made you strong and helped you realize that you can handle it. The good part gives you peace and tranquility.

It is easy to get swept away in a negative mode. It takes courage to move out of it.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Quotes on Desire

  • Behind anger is a desire. It is a desire that is the cause of anger.
  • Unless you root out the desire, you can never be devoid of anger.
  • I'm not saying you shouldn't desire.
  • Desires arise, and if they arise that's okay.
  • But hankering to fulfill them, thinking that when they're fulfilled
  • only then things will happen – ‘only then I'll be happy’ – is an illusion.
  • Desire and distress go together.
  • Your desire, when it gets fulfilled, gives another desire and another desire.
  • With each desire, distress is simply postponed.
  • All these different desires for experiences, for living, for knowing,
  • they arise and they get fulfilled and they move.
  • Is there anybody who has not fulfilled any desire?
  • Or is there anybody who has fulfilled all the desires? Is there any end for it?
Remember this.
Desire means the present is not sufficient enough;
it is not okay the way it is now, this moment.
Desire means projection to the next moment.
Desire simply means being unaware of the Infinity.
Desire simply means you don’t know yourself.

(Source: Various discourses of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Ignorance

What is Ignorance? It is when you view something that is not permanent as permanent, something that is not joy as joy and that which is not self as self. Thinking you have certain thoughts and emotions when you do not is ignorance.

You feel the body is not changing, but the body is changing all the time. In 24 hours, your blood changes. In five days, the lining of your stomach changes. Doctors say the skin changes in a month. Every year, the cells in your body undergo some sort of transformation. Your body is like a river, always flowing, always changing. With every passing year, your body is new. Your mind is new. As you are awakened to this truth, you can identify your old fears or yourself.

Ignorance is holding on to the past and an image of who you are. People think that it is a good thing to know who you are and have an image of your self. I tell you, if you have and idea of who you are, you are finished, you are stuck! You should not know who you are. You are changing every moment and you must keep the possibility of change open. A fixed idea about who you are destroys you totally. It stops your growth and limits your possibilities.

(Source: The art of self-discovery column by Sri Sri Ravishankar in The new Sunday Express, Leisure | Sport and Travel section)

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Mind and Soul

The mind is like the wave and the Soul is like the ocean. And the connection between the two is that the mind cannot be without the soul, but the soul can exist without the mind. So in meditation you drop the mind, you become one with the totality that is the ocean. Therefore both exist together, the mind as well as the soul, like the wave as well as the ocean.

Your concept in the mind that things should be a certain way causes pain in the mind. The cause of distress is set concepts in the mind.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Religion

Religion should not be a barrier. I feel that one should not have any prejudice in this 21st century. We can't afford to have prejudice against any religion or any community. We live in a globalized society, and there needs to be an exchange of wisdom, an exchange of ideas. When we can exchange our food and music, why shouldn't we exchange wisdom? I think people are very intelligent. It's not like it was in the Middle Ages, where the walls of religion and community and nations were so hardened, making it hard to communicate.

Today, there is better communication, better understanding. Spirituality transcends religious restrictions and boundaries. It actually unites people of all religions because it's basically about how to better one's life.

Concept of Evil in Vedanta

Vedanta holds that evil cannot exist outside God, because God is the material cause of the universe. The example is of the spider weaving its web from its saliva. The spider, the cause, is not different from its web, the effect; just as Brahman is not different from the universe.

Vedanta discards a separate existence for evil and considers evil to be only a relative viewpoint. For example, poison is generally considered to be bad; but it is also good in a certain context: many life – saving drugs are poisons. Likewise, vitamins may be good, even lifesaving; but consumed in excess they can be fatal.

Therefore, good and evil are only relative. All is an appearance, including evil. And the enormous positive energy generated in you can make you go beyond evil and see the truth as Advaita, as the one non-dual reality.

Vedanta says that God is energy and intelligence, and that the world, which is matter, is nothing but a part of God.

(Source: Excerpts from an article written in Times of India by Sri Sri Ravishankar)

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Thoughts on Health

First of all, find out for yourself whether you are healthy.
Health is...
a disease-free body.
a quiver-free breath.
a stress-free mind.
an inhibition-free intellect.
an obsession-free memory.
an ego that includes all.
a soul that is free from sorrow.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Quotes on Anger

Anger is a distortion of our true nature and it doesn’t allow the Self to shine forth fully.

Showing anger itself is not wrong, but being unaware of your anger only hurts you. Sometimes you can show anger purposefully. For example, a mother gets angry at her children. She can act tough or shout at them if they put themselves in danger.

There is a place for showing anger, but when you become angry yourself, what happens to you? You are shaken completely. Look at the consequences of getting angry.

Are you ever happy with the decisions you have made or the words you have spoken when you are angry? No, because you lose your total awareness. If you are completely aware and you are acting angry, that is fine.

All anger is about something which has already happened. Is it of any use getting angry about something which you cannot alter?

The mind always vacillates between the past and the future. When the mind is in the past, it’s angry about something that has already happened; but anger is meaningless as we can’t alter the past. And when the mind is in the future, it’s anxious about something that may or may not happen. When the mind is in the present moment, anxiousness and anger appear so meaningless.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Thoughts on Science and Spirituality

Science and spirituality are like two ways of looking at the creation.

Science regards life as matter and spirituality regards matter as life. Spirituality elevates matter to the level of life, level of divinity and adds a sense of honor.

While science brings us material and physical comfort, spirituality gives comfort to our souls.

Science cultivates logic and spirituality develops intuition, another faculty of enquiry.

Ancient rishis recognized this interplay between science and spirituality and said true fulfillment in life can come only through gyana (spirituality) and vigyana (science).

There is a saying in the Upanishads that reads ‘padarth, gyanaat, moksha’. It means that if one understands even one particle in the creation thoroughly, he or she will be liberated. One doesn’t even need to believe in God’s existence. Ancient rishis knew that the entire creation is reflected in each particle as consciousness.