You are a Free Bird – A talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

If you are not crazy, you will never find God. Become crazy! Becoming crazy means coming out of your bondages.  Become free. “Vimuktoham”. “I am free”. Feel the freedom.
You are like a free bird. You are fully open. Feel that you are flying like a bird. Fly. This is something which you have to experience within yourself. There is nothing else. If you consider yourself as bonded, you will remain bound here. There should be nothing on your head. This is the meaning of surrender.
What is surrender? Not having anything in your head. If you are traveling in a train, once you get on that train, you put all your things down. You do not carry your things on your head or hold it in your hands. The moment you board a plane, you put your things under the seat or above, you may even go off to sleep.
Experience freedom. When will you experience freedom? After you die?  Become free now, Become contented. There is something in you which says “I have to do this. I have to achieve”. Sometimes, sit at ease thinking ‘I have nothing to do now”. When you sit formeditation you should not even talk. Do not practice this on the dining table, “ I have nothing
to say. Let the food enter my mouth”. This cannot happen. We apply all our principles according to our convenience. If you are told to get up early in the morning and come for meditation, do not say, “I have nothing more to do. I am fine”. The problem with knowledge is that, everything can be interpreted wrongly.
“Naturalness, love, faith, acceptance” these are the four legs of the chair you are seated upon. Even if one among them is cut, your chair begins to shake. You begin to fall.
You say to someone close to you “If you want anything I am there for you’. You should become capable of saying this to everyone. “if you need me I am there for you”. That is called seva.
“I am there for you”, do not be afraid to utter these words because you fear that you will be used by people. Nothing of that sort will happen. You are afraid of opening your fists. We say, “open your fists. The whole sky will be in your hands”. What is there with you, that you have to hold your fists?  You have nothing with you. Be natural. Be with love. Do service. Celebrate all your life.

From Talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Tired of Seva? Here is Some Knowledge for Kick Start

“After some time it will all seem so effortless to you, as if it is your very nature.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Gurudev, one has to make some effort in order to gain something in this world. Even on the spiritual path, one has to engage in seva and sadhana in order to make progress. Until I become enlightened, even seva is like some work for me and I seem to be tired. What do I do?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, when you get tired, just relax and meditate. You will go deeper into meditation then. We need to make meditation a part of our lifestyle.
When you feel tired doing seva, relax and meditate for a while. When you become bored of meditating, then get up and do some seva. When you grow tired of both, then read or listen to knowledge. There are so many options given to you here. Why is it so? It is because we know that initially it all feels like you have to strive and put in efforts to get something. Over a period of time, you yourself will realize by your own experience that in the beginning it does take some efforts. And you should make some efforts in the beginning as well. After some time it will all seem so effortless to you, as if it is your very nature.
Just do one thing: for one whole week, do not do any sadhana, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shared do not do any meditation at all and see what happens to you. See what the state of your mind is. When you sit somewhere by yourself, you will automatically go into meditation. Then you will realize, “Oh, this comes so naturally. It is my very nature”.

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The Shadow of the Self

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shares:

When you love something, you have a sense of belongingness with it. You can only love something, because it is belongs to you. If it is not yours, you cannot love it. Love is the shadow of the Self. The bigger the Self, the bigger the shadow, and the bigger the love. When the love is cast over the entire creation, then you are the Big Self. That is the Lordship. When the Lordship dawns on the Self, there is perennial celebration.

More talks of Wisdom from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Who Is A Sakha?

“Sakha is your reliable self.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shares:
There are three things: the Self, the senses, and the object, or the world. And there are three words: sukha, pleasure; dukha, sorrow; and sakha, companion. These have one thing in common: “kha,” which means “senses.”

The Self through the senses experiences the world. When the senses are with the Self that is pleasure (sukha), because the Self is the source of all joy or pleasure. When the senses are away from the Self (dukha) — in the mud, lost in an object — that is misery. Mud, misery, mind — they are very close.
Self — Senses (“Kha”) — World

— Joy (Sukha) Sorrow (Dukha) —

Self is the nature of joy. In any pleasant experience, you close your eyes; you smell a nice flower, or you taste or touch something. So sukha is that which takes you to the Self. Dukha is that which takes you away from the Self. Sorrow simply means that you are caught up in an object, which goes on changing, instead of focussing on the Self.

All the sense objects are just a diving board to take you back to the Self.
Sa-kha, companion, means: “He is the senses.” Sakha is one who has become your senses, who is your senses. If you are my senses, it means I get Knowledge through you; you are my sixth sense. As I trust my mind, so I trust you. A friend could be just an object of the senses, but a sakha has become the very senses.

The sakha is the companion who is there in both the experiences of dukha and of sukha. It means one who leads you back to the Self. If you are stuck in an object, that wisdom which pulls you back to the Self is sakha.

Knowledge is your companion and your companion is Knowledge. And the Master is nothing but the embodiment of Knowledge. So sakha means, “He is my senses, I see the world through that wisdom, through Him.”

If your sense is the Divine, then you see the whole world through the Divinity.

Your head will be in the mud in a few years;
Don’t put mud in your head while you are still alive.

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The Importance of a Guru on the Path of Yoga

Like a flower bud, human life has the potential to blossom fully. The blossoming of human potential to fullness is yoga. 

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Present Education System in India: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Thought

 “A true winner is one who smiles through all life’s challenges.” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : “You know, management courses these days are adopting more and more informal ways of teaching. This approach is being emphasized everywhere, and I hope that soon the world over, everyone realizes the need for changing the methodology of teaching.”

“I would like to share some good news with you. The World Bank has invited The Art of Living foundation to design their courses for their employees.”
“Our courses have been welcomed and well received everywhere. The Harvard Business School too has appreciated our courses. In fact, the Stanford University has placed our course as a Credit Course. That means that when a student completes The Art of Living Course, they get marks for that.”
“Universities like Stanford, Cornell, etc., are rapidly recognizing and adopting The Art of Living Courses. But this is still a small number and we have a long way to go.”
“We have so many IITs and IIMs still struggling in our own country. In the world over, the situation is the same for so many educational institutions. In fact, if you check the list of the top 50 educational institutions of the world, you will find that many of them are in China.”
“So, we have a long way to go and promote a value-based education to the students, which develops a person in a complete manner. Education should not just be informative, but also develops a person with emotional intelligence and spiritual quotient as well. That work is still pending, but today the doors are opening.”
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruji has set up (421) schools all over the country (across 21 states) to provide a healthy, holistic, value-based education, with emphasis on sharing and caring.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar states that education without inspiration is useless. “No matter how educated you are it will be of no value if it doesn’t leave you inspired.”
His vision is that through value based education the young generation will feel inspired to shoulder greater responsibilities and become the spearheads for the much needed social and political change our country requires.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has always encouraged people to take the best from each culture. “So, take punctuality from the Germans, take etiquette from the Brits, take an eye for detail from the Japanese and so on. Open your horizons for learning. Each and everyone can teach you something valuable.”
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar points out that “Education teaches taking up of responsibility. When you become responsible you stop complaining and take positive action to alter the situation. Taking up responsibilities leads to increased learning and enhanced leadership skills.”

via Talks By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Know How to Get Instant Benefits From Yoga

On International Yoga Day, India Today brings you an exclusive interview with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder Art of Living to understand yoga and its unexplored secrets which can benefit you in everyday life.

Lets start the journey of Yoga with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

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A Brief History of Yoga


When you hear the word ‘yoga’, chances are that an image of people twisting in presumably painful poses might pop up in your head. Yes, postures or asanas are an important part of the teachings of yoga, but they are not all that there is to it. So, how well do you really know yoga? As the world gears up to celebrate the first ever-International Day of Yoga, let us try and unravel the mysteries surrounding this ancient technique.

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The Truth about Yoga

Yoga is that which gives you pleasure and comfort.

The definition for ‘asana‘ is a posture that is stable and pleasant. You should feel comfortable when doing yoga asanas. What is the definition of comfort? When you don’t feel the body. If you are sitting in some odd positions then you feel those parts of the body, painfully. Your focus is more on the discomfort there. When you do any asana, what you feel first is discomfort. But if you take your mind through it, you will find that in just a few minutes the discomfort has disappeared and you don’t feel the body. You feel an expansion or infinity in the postures.

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Demystifying Yoga with Sri Sri

Renowned Spiritual Leader, Humanitarian & Founder, The Art of Living Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will lead Yoga celebrations with thousands of New Yorkers at the Lincoln Centre. A prominent voice of Yoga, he has taken this ancient Indian science to 152 countries in the past 34 years. Sri Sri has also been invited by the United Nations to address world representatives at the celebrations of the first-ever International Day of Yoga. In this tete-a-tete, the Spiritual Master highlights the deeper and infinite potential of this science, dispels doubts about it being anti-religion and speaks on the various benefits of yoga.

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what if the person you love asks you to change your religion to get married?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruji’s words on changing the religion to get married

To that you should say, ‘I shall follow mine, you follow yours’. There are some religions which accept everything, but there are some religions which say others are evil, and only mine is right. This is difficult.
With such religions, you have to say that you will change to the religion which is more accepting and accommodating of all forms of thoughts and worship. That is much easier.
If your religion says that everything else is bad and only mine is right, it constraints you. If your religion says that all paths are okay, this is okay and that is also okay, then you can follow that. That which has a broad mind set is always better. It has more possibilities and more harmony is there in it.

Yesterday, about five boys from the Yazidis community who are studying here in Bangalore came to see me. The plight of that community is so pathetic, and so painful. This community which was 23 million has reduced over the past 4-5 decades to only one million today. In Saddam Hussein’s time they were made to run from one place to another, they were not given full rights because they were considered to be infidels, as the Yazidis belief system is different.
So many killings are happening in the name of religion and that is a big problem.

Art of Living is working with the Yazidis. We have adopted 550 families and already 90 tons of food grains have been collected and air-lifted with the help of two helicopters provided by the American government to Mount Sinjar. 9000 people are stuck in the holy temple there. It’s so cold and they don’t have any tents, food, or water. They don’t have anything. So far The Art of Living is the only organization which is helping to get the food, but we hope other organizations will also join.
I am so proud of our volunteers and teachers who are working there in Kurdistan. The Shias are there, some Christians are there, some Yazidis are there. They (volunteers) have put up some tents and are taking care of them.

When you all have these small issues that make you so upset; small things like your mother-in-law said something, or your father-in-law said something, or your husband/wife or neighbour said something then look at this community which is on the verge of extinction: they have been asked to convert or they will be killed. Yet they are holding onto their faith and that’s why they went into the cold mountains. We must honour them, whatever their faith is.
Why should they convert? They have been made to convert forcefully. 23 million reduced to one million.
The Yazidis are a very peaceful community like the Parses and like the Jains. India is a place where we have accommodated everybody: the Jains, the Parses, the Sikhs. Everyone is part of this country, and everybody has lived peacefully. Why and how? It is because we are an example of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (One World Family).

This is what all these countries should adopt; all communities, all religions should adopt. It does not matter if one is a Shia, Sunni, Protestant, Catholic, Brahmin, Dalit whatever it is, all belong to one family.
Peace conferences happen in those parts of the world where everything is peaceful. But we need to have peace conferences where there is conflict, where there is war, and that is what we have organized. I’m going to Iraq next weekend, from the 18th-21st of November. In Iraq we are having a peace conference and I hope to see people come together.

When The Art Of Living Happiness Program was taught to the Parliamentarians of Kurdistan (35 of them took the first program), there were Shia, Sunni, Kurds, Arabs, etc. People from different groups were in the course. After the course, they all said, ‘This is what we need’.
You can read about their experience on our website. All their experiences are posted there. They also insisted on having a Skype call with me, so I spoke to them on Skype.
They said, ‘Gurudev you must come here to our province as this knowledge is very much needed. If we had this knowledge several years back, perhaps, our history would have been different.’
I can’t but agree with them. If people had a broad mind-set then they would not have gone through what they are going through today.

If at all you have to worry, worry about the big thing, like me! I am so worried. You also worry big, for the world. Even for a fraction of a second if these bigger issues worry you, you would be able to come up instead of sinking with small little things.

via Talks By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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