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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Collection of Teachings - Wisdom - Thoughts - Sayings of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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. This is a collection of teachings, thoughts and wisdom of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar collected over a period of 12 years from various sources. The post is expanded and added with new thoughts and sayings.

One’s goal in life should be contentment.

The one primary mantra to success is to digest failure.

Why someone is negative? Because they do not feel good about themselves.

Your body is changing, your thoughts are changing, the mind is changing, emotions are changing, situations are changing… But still you feel there is something in me which is not changing. So that something which is the basis of all change, that something through which you notice the change is the self – the atma, the spirit.

Spirituality is the skill of nurturing, purifying and blossoming one’s all levels of existence.

The antidote for fear is love and service.

The signs of success are a smile that does not fade, confidence that does not wither and a personality that does not get shaken.

Today the need of society is inner strength, realizing our inner potential and uniting with people all around us, realizing that we can coexist with all differences.

Whether atheist or believer, both are looking for something – something that is ethereal, that can improve life, which can be a solace or solution to one’s challenges and problems.

Once you find inner peace, it impacts your work positively.

Once you learn to manage your inner strength, then, any conflict, anywhere does not bother you. There is a saying in hindi “Man jeete, jagjeet – the world is yours once you know who you are.

Sharing and serving would enhance our ability to love, our ability to accept…and if you have that as a goal, and both move in this direction, together, I tell you, there will be no problem.

Wisdom - Thoughts -  Sayings of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

When there is a common interest, a common goal, a common path, to move on, that nourishes the relationship, rather than focusing on the relationship all the time.

Love is essential in relationships, not mere attraction. In attraction, there is aggressiveness. In love, there is submission. This is the difference between love and attraction. Though attraction does form the first step, you cannot stand on the first step for too long. You have to move on to the next pedestal. That is love.

If the relationship comes from the space of giving, rather than need, it is a good quality relationship.

We often behave like machines. A compliment makes us smile and an insult makes us frown. We don’t have to react in the same way always. You have the freedom to respond differently. You don’t have to answer all questions posed to you. As people have a right to question, you have the right whether to answer or not. So, be unpredictable!

The sign of life is enthusiasm. The sign of success is smile and joy.

Do not sit and worry about feelings. They keep changing. Who cares? Why bother? One minute you feel very good, the other moment you feel bad. Put your life energy into some useful, social work, commitment, some direction. Bring some result in the world.

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.

Extend a helping hand and the task will become simpler; offer a smile and the world will accept you in all its generosity.

Spirituality and music together can uplift people, get them out of depression and help them start a new life with enthusiasm. For a stress-free life, you have to embrace both these facets (spirituality and music).

If everybody in society lives in the present moment, if we were able to accept people as they are there will be no problems, no strife.

Anything can be shaken, but not dispassion. Anything can be bought, but not dispassion. If you are dispassionate, if you are centered, nothing whatsoever can shake you. The only rich one is the one who is dispassionate.

It is time to look deep within and connect the mind with the inner self and rekindle the faith. Mind is vacillating between the past and the future we got to bring it to the present.

Pilgrimage is an inward journey. It is a journey into oneself. It is a search for a communion between God and oneself.

We are made up of the substance called love. We are God’s image, God is love, but then why hatred, jealousy among people? How to handle them is a huge challenge. Spiritual wisdom helps to overcome them. Breathing exercises helps to remove all negative emotions.

Religions are essential because they give us the connectivity to God. Religion is an external aspect, whereas spirituality is interiorisation.

Your quality of life depends upon the proportion maintained between your responsibility and needs. 

You lead a good life if your needs are less than your responsibilities.

Human values can take you from a state of dependency to total responsibility and carve out a responsible citizen in you. When you shoulder responsibility, your needs will automatically be met. It is our vision which needs to be broadened for any development to take place.

When you are free from longing for yourself, you are free to give to others.

Meditation will lead you to eternal peace; do it with joy and commitment.

Smile is the best ornament. Life here is heaven.
The only true security that can be found in this world is in the process of giving love.

Desire for the One leads to the One. Many is a mess.

If you are based in faith, you move with all possibilities. If you are based in mind and intellect with all their limitations, you will become inert.

Religion is the banana skin and spirituality is the banana. The misery in the world is because we throw away the banana and we are holding on to the dry skin. So, we need to enhance the spiritual aspect of our life.

That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.
Love with wisdom is bliss.
Love without knowledge or wisdom is pain.
Be in the now.
Desire is wanting to be happy tomorrow.
Be happy and joyful now.
If you keep blaming yourself, you lose your smile and self-confidence. Then anger and frustration comes up, and that ferments to violence. Violence causes suicidal tendencies.

God is the Generator, Operator and Destroyer. Some people have a wrong understanding of God. Our understanding of God is that he is omnipotent, waits for you to make a mistake and then gets angry. But no, God has given you intelligence and the discriminative power. This is established in the laws of nature.

Animals do not violate the laws of nature, they do not have indigestion. Forests do not make mistakes unless man meddles with it.

In which everything has come up, exists and dissolves – That is God. God is space. That space which you experience in meditation.

When gratitude in you stays, that very gratitude flows out of you as grace.

When there is gratitude complaints disappear.

The mind seeks more and more. And in every wanting of more and more, it forgets the past very easily.

Grace is that gratitude which can remain all the time.

Wherever you see divine grace flowing, there you will find gratitude.

Life is rich because feelings cannot be captured in words.

Soul to soul communication is silence.

When we transcend the feeling level, we become still. Stillness is at the peak of any experience – that is why the saying, “Be still…know your God”.

Meditation is seeing God within you, and love is seeing God in the person next to you.

The illusion in the mind that “the world is going to give me joy” keeps one hooked to the outside – but if you have absorbed moments of joy, you always go within.

If we maintain purity in the heart, clarity in the mind comes and action becomes more harmonious.

Commitment is about stretching your capabilities. Commitment can take you across all obstacles.

It is not people who hurt you. It is your own mind & vulnerability and your own emotions that entangle you and make you feel hurt.

In less wisdom we see others' mistake as big and own as small. In little more wisdom we see others' mistake as small and own as big those with true wisdom see mistakes as neither mine nor others. It is just a happening.

Don't waste today for what happened yesterday. Wake up and say, "I have the valor and the courage to overcome this."

Do not make an effort to impress others. When you come from the self, your expression is perfect and your impression lasts for ages.

A Presence is in control of the whole universe. You just do your part and relax!

Austerity is mistaken with poverty or self-denial. It is neither. Austerity comes out of maturity and brings freedom from the pride of vanity.

Humour is the buffer that saves you from humiliation. If you have a good sense of humour you can never be humiliated.

There is a place you can come where everything is beautiful. Where is this place? It is within you. Then wherever you go, you add beauty there.

Only one who is involved 100 per cent in doing can recognize that everything is a happening.

The healthiest way to apply this knowledge is to see the whole past as a happening and the present as doing.

If you see the past as doing, then ego and regret come along.

And when you see the present as a happening, then laziness and unawareness set in.

If you see future as doing, it brings tension and worry, and if you see it as a happening, it might bring some confidence and also lethargy.

Let the happening be for the past. Let the doing be for the present. And the future is a mix of both.

The wise will see the doing in happening and the happening in doing simultaneously.

Breath and mind are linked like body and mind. Breath sorts out the imbalances in the body and the mind. It is the secret of life which we have forgotten.

Let go of all impressions…Be hollow and empty. Think fresh and feel free.

Don’t go to God as a beggar. Prayer is not necessarily asking for something. Prayer is gratefulness; a recognition of the huge tidal waves of love that God is showering on you every moment.

Leg to of all efforts, search and desires, for He can be felt only in deep peace and stillness.

When we are too formal, we move away from our natural dispositions.

We are made up of both matter and spirit. What does this spirit consist of? Truth, love, compassion, joy, trust, or anything that boosts our enthusiasm, brings people together in love and harmony and give life a bigger dimension.

Sankalpa means seeing this present moment in context with the whole of universe.

Billions of years have passed and billions will come in the future, but what is our lifespan? 50, 60, 70 or 80 years! This is not even a drop in the ocean of time when you see life in the context of time and space! If you begin to see life from this perspective, your own consciousness will spread out. You will start thinking ‘big’ and forget the petty things in life. If we all start thinking about this, then pettiness, selfishness and fanaticism will surely disappear.

Uncertainty causes craving for stability but you can be at ease with the uncertainty of the world when you realize the certainty of Self.

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 – if you transcend words it is wisdom.

To come out of loneliness, you make friends but coming together in knowledge is rare. Be a friend in knowledge and uplift each other.

When the mind transcends the senses, it comes back to its true nature, which is innocence – in no sense’.

Nobody is a giver; you take unhappiness from others. You question people, "Why did you behave like that?” It is useless to do so. If they have insulted you then there is something wrong in their brain. You should have compassion and feel, "Oh this person insulted me. He is not a yogi. He does not have that refined level of consciousness." 

If somewhere, the guitar is not giving off a good sound that doesn't mean there is something wrong with the strings. That is how the strings are. It needs just a little tuning. So if you don't want to be insulted, then nobody can insult you.

The first thing in spiritual path, is praise yourself and praise others.

To uplift someone you have to sprout the seed of goodness in them.

A weak mind loves to be put down and a strong mind loves to be uplifted.

A good teacher will not say you are no good. A teacher teaches the student like a friend.

It is good to take a stick for a little while only. But if someone goes on beating and beating and beating, nothing works. They simply become like dead. Self respect and self worth goes. If you loose your self worthiness you will never progress in spiritual path. So, don't force your senses, the body or mind; cajole them, gently bring them to the stillness of meditation.

The sign of success is a smile. The number of smiles that one has in their day-to-day life indicates how successful one is.

Often, people spend half of their health to gain their wealth. Then they spend half their wealth, to gain back their health. This is not a sign of success. To me, a sign of success is confidence. Even if you lose everything, if you have confidence, then you can recreate everything again, and that is success. Once you have the zeal, you can gain wealth back. 

Recognize the potential in you, and then develop on it. Success is an attitude, it is not a phenomenon. When you agree to be bogged down, that is the sign of failure. Resist getting bogged down.

You light a candle and turn it upside down, the flame always goes up, and it never goes down. In the same way, if we can have the enthusiasm to say, ‘I can make it, I can rebuild my business’; that is what I would consider a sign of success.

The world starts from where we are.

We cannot claim to change the whole world tomorrow or in the next couple of years. But we should have the inner strength to fight back.

When we come across an adverse situation, most of us feel that it is the end of the world. But remember, this is the real test.

It is our inner strength, or the inner calling of the spirit that brings back the fire of enthusiasm. In other words, it is the spiritual element within us, which recuperates the inner strength to fight adversities, including those we face in public affairs.

All desires are for happiness. That is the goal of every desire, isn’t it? Yet how often does your desire lead you to the goal? Have you thought about the nature of desire? It simply means joy tomorrow and not now, doesn’t it?

Joy is never tomorrow. It is always now.

When you are joyful, how can you have desires? And how can you be joyful right now when you have desires?

Desire appears to lead you to happiness. In fact it cannot. And that is why it is Maya.

Meditation is seeing God in yourself. Love is seeing God in the person next to you. Knowledge is seeing God everywhere.

The practice of silence has been known throughout the ages, in many different traditions and cultures, as a great tool for enhancing self-discovery. Maintaining silence, even for just a few days, can have remarkable effects on the system, reviving energy and enthusiasm, and providing deep rest for the mind and body.

Meditation is not concentration; it is de-concentration.

Make your smile cheap and anger expensive.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Thoughts on the dealing with Evil as per Hinduism

The concept of evil, as well as the approach to dealing with evil is different in eastern and western religious traditions and culture. The East believes that it is God's job to deal with evil. The individual has nothing to do with it; he can only pray. It is the gods who will take action to oust evil from our midst.

In Hinduism, it is Goddess Durga who destroys the evil Mahishasura with one 'Hmmkar'. There are also a number of other Hindu deities including Shiva, Narasimha in the Vaishnava tradition, Hanuman, Kali, Bhairava, and Pratyengeera who have, from time to time, come to the rescue by overpowering evil forces. So the power of prayer is appreciated; one needs only to pray and deities will take care.

The philosophy of simply staying surrendered to God and letting God take care of the problem is deeply embedded in the consciousness in the East. When Hindus see something evil, they leave it to God.

The main idea is that to deal with evil, there needs to be some avatar, some great man, who will come and take care of it. Anyone who deals with evil is therefore raised to the level of a god, so that human beings can remain passive and non-violent.

The non-violent and non-retaliatory approach evidenced in India's tradition is due in large part to the under- lying philosophy embedded in the Hindu consciousness that God will take care of any evil or enemy. This philosophy, however, has often served as an excuse for passivity.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Thoughts on the Illusion of God is speaking to me

Many people talk in terms of ‘God is speaking to me, I have a message from God.’ It is your own consciousness split into two. One part of your own consciousness becomes God, another part becomes your mind. That is not God. God is the totality. Everything is in God. There is nothing that can be outside God. Whether good or evil, both exist in God.

Which thought is there which has not come from God? Every thought is in God. The thinker is God. You are not separate from God. You cannot be separate from God, this is for sure.

You can never be away from space, whatever you do. Even the worst sinner can never escape from God. God is omnipresent, and if He is omnipresent, He is present in the rich or in the wicked, as much as He is present in the wonderful.

The only difference is that one knows it, another one does not.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on – How to Tackle Negative Emotions?

We see that aggression seems to be a way of living, a way of moving forward, a way of success, and a source of pride in children. This, in a very subtle way, encourages violence. When aggression and violence are promoted in society, human values diminish. We need to counteract. A sense of shame has to be connected with anger and violence. We need to promote human values, especially love, compassion and a sense of belonging, loud and clear.

Basically in the teenage years there is considerable emotional turmoil and turbulence happening within. If teenagers do not find a way to express these emotions, they are stuck with them. These emotions ferment and become violence. Emotions are more in control of our life than our intellect, our thoughts, our concepts and ideas.

The important way to calm the negative emotions is by utilizing the breath to calm down emotions.

Creating a sense of belonging is another method to control emotions.

Increasing self esteem, smiling through criticism, developing a sense humor, engaging in physical activity, and eating Sattvic food are methods to control emotions.

On Truth

That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.

It is said, when you speak, you distort the truth. Truth cannot be spoken. Silence conveys a lot, even more than a speech. So, for a few minutes we sit in silence and see how all the questions just drop.

Truth is something you can’t avoid nor confront. There is no effort. Truth simply comes out. If you tell a lie, you have to manufacture. To tell a lie, a lot of effort is required. You’re feeling cold, you’re feeling hot, that is how you feel. No effort is needed to tell Truth.

The wave is not the truth, the water is the truth. The form and name are not the truth, the Tattva (the principle) is the truth. The pot is not true but the mud is the truth.

Becoming nobody from being somebody

I want to be somebody important. Many people are stuck here.

Even teachers get stuck here. If you don’t give them a proper seat, it pushes their button. No matter that they might have won everything else over, but they will become attached to the seat, to their position. This is getting stuck in being somebody.

What difference does it make if I sit on the sofa or if I sit there out on the carpet? It does not make any difference! I remain what I am.

You get stuck being somebody. Either: I am too special or I am hopeless or I am nasty, I am useless or I am no good. This is also being somebody. Therefore being nobody is the thing. Going from being somebody to being nobody is the first step.

Wisdom on Dispassion

Dispassion or vairagya is one of pillars of the highest knowledge. Dispassion is not apathy. Often, we think of dispassion as being totally unenthusiastic or not interested in anything. This is not dispassion. Dispassion is lack of feverishness. Dispassion does not take joy away from you. Dispassion gives you joy that nothing else can give you. There is a verse in Shankaracharya’s composition Bhaja Govindam, “Kasya sukham na karoti viragaha?” which means “What pleasure cannot be given by dispassion? It gives all the pleasures, because you are so totally in the moment.”

Sri Sri Ravishankar on How to become emotionally strong

By using your intellect a little more one can become emotionally strong. Bring back the balance and see life from a broader perspective. Your emotions, either very pleasant or unpleasant are attached to the past. So when you see the world with a broader vision and don’t get stuck with past events, people or experience, you will be strong. Getting emotionally upset over something somebody said is limited vision. There are millions of people, millions of things happening in the world.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna shows Arjuna the Cosmic Vision and Time swallowing everything. First, Arjuna got scared, then all his fear vanished. There was nothing to hang on to. That’s why Sri Krishna says, “I am here, don't worry, don't be afraid”

This way, all the emotional worries, and mess that one is in, one comes out of. Only meditation can give you wisdom and strength.

What happens after death? – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Answers

What happens after death is the mind gets freed from the body, the spirit. The mind has memory and intelligence, so these two things become like a balloon. The karma, the deepest impressions form a balloon. It is like in sleep.

Death is nothing but a long sleep. Before going to sleep, see the last thought that you get, and as soon as you wake up, see what is the first thought that comes. Have you noticed? It will variably be the same though.

So the physical body decays and the pranic body with all the impressions forms a balloon and leaves the body and hangs around.

Don’t imagine a balloon hanging around! It is a light; an energy.

I will give you the best example. In a television station, they conduct a program and then they transmit it through the dish and the program remains in the atmosphere – it is the same way.

Like that every soul is a particular frequency and every thumb is different because a thumb is like a particular cell phone chip.

So after death, every individual energy stays, and the impressions it has taken, accordingly to that it experiences those stages there. But then after sometime that soul comes back.

The soul enters the body at three times – this is all a secret. It is called the birth secret and death secret.

So the soul enters at the moment of conception, or it enters in the fifth month, or at the time of birth. So the three sections are there, but there is no way to determine when it enters.

The soul also chooses where to be born, the place to come. According to its wish it will just come there.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Three Kinds of Love

There are three kinds of love. The love that comes out of charm, that which comes out of comfort and divine love.

The love that comes out of charm does not last long. It comes out of unfamiliarity or attraction. In this, you lose the attraction fast, and boredom sets in. This love may diminish and bring along with it a fear, uncertainty, insecurity and sadness.

The love that comes out of comfort and familiarity grows, but it has no thrill, no enthusiasm, joy, or fire to it. For example, you are more comfortable with an old friend who is a familiar person rather than with a new person.

Divine love supersedes both the above. It has an ever present newness. The closer you go, more charm and depth come to it. There is never boredom and it keeps everyone on their toes.

What is the most important Truth of Life? - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Answers

There is some element within us that does not perish, that does not die. There is something within us that does not diminish, that is non erasable, which is unchanting and undying. If even the slightest attention is directed to it, life becomes easy and uncomplicated. This is the most important truth of life.

There is a stream of awareness within us that cannot be destroyed, which is undying. To acknowledge and observe this stream is spirituality. Such courage, such strength, such solidity comes in life that nothing can shake you, no one can shake you. It is a subtle stream; I have not changed, I have not grown old, I am just the same.

We need to reduce our desires and take on more responsibilities. And when in our life, personal needs disappear and desires no longer exist; and extraordinary, mystical ability is awakened within us that enables us to bless others.

When you need nothing, you will become so strong that whatever you say to anyone will become a boon to them. If you bless anyone, it will manifest. (Source - Rishimukh Magazine - April 2015 issue page 9)