Anandway: Blog

Roadmaps to joy!

Can money reflect the worth of a person

India for long had a tradition of charity. Several hospitals, rest-houses, ponds and temples were built by business houses for the benefit of the poor. We need to bring back that sense of social responsibility.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Money gives us a sense of freedom and ownership. The general feeling is that with money, we can own anything or put a price tag to other people’s services. Ownership of something means total control of its existence. When we pay for a piece of land, we feel that we own it, although the land continues to exist even after the owner is long gone. How can you own something that outlives you? Money also gives the idea that you are powerful and independent, blinding you to the fact that we live in a world of interdependence. We depend on farmers, cooks, drivers and the services of so many other people around us. Even a surgeon cannot operate on himself; he depends on others. Why are most rich people arrogant? It is because of the feeling of independence that money brings. The awareness of dependence, on the other hand, makes one humble.
These days, we go to a great extent of measuring people in terms of their net worth on the money scale. Can money reflect the worth of a person? Calling someone a millionaire or a billionaire is not a compliment. You cannot assign a monetary value to human life. When people lack faith in divinity, in their own abilities and in the goodness of society, they suffer from a deep sense of insecurity. Then all that appears to provide security is money. In other words, money can provide an illusory sense of security. It is due to these notions that money is considered a part of maya. The truth is that human values erode when you put a price tag on all that cannot be measured, like love, truth, wisdom and life itself.
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Meaning of Diwali

“A single lamp is not enough, and we have to light the lamp in every field. Let the light shine on spiritual, social, financial and all other fields -- this is the message for Diwali." Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living, greeted people with this message during Diwali celebrations 2010. He also mentioned that Diwali is a time to start afresh, "While involving in daily activities, we do get upset with each other, we get upset and we make others also upset. But how long can you burn in that fire? Diwali is a time to drop everything and start afresh. That is why in this region, Diwali is immediately followed by the New Year. So, on this occasion my wish for everybody is to have the light of wisdom and spirituality in their lives, and the waves of joy keep rising in all hearts." Diwali or Deepavali is the festival of lights in the Indian subcontinent. Greeting each other and singing with each other, we light the lamps on Diwali and celebrate.


Q: How do I handle criticism?


Q: How do I handle criticism?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When someone criticises you, they are taking a risk. Who wants to take the risk of making enemies! When they are doing that, you appreciate them. Stand up to criticism. Also have the courage to criticise for their improvement. But if someone is criticising you out of jealousy, you smile, it is their problem.

Whoever you think of, you imbibe their qualities

Remove all anger and attachment from your mind so that the mind is unburdened; because whoever you think of, you imbibe their qualities. So empty your mind through meditation. Be in knowledge of the Self and you will begin to feel light and happy. Just relax, and watch how miracles will begin to unfold in your life.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Honest and skillful communication

Q: What went wrong that so many people lack self-esteem and what can we do to lessen this effect?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 'Yes!+' and 'Yes We Can' programs are good for that. We have 'Yes We Can' programme in Europe. 140 youths from all over Europe participated. You should see how they came, and how they are after the program, how much self-esteem they gained.

You know, in companies the big difficulty is the middle people, someone in between the supervisors. They want to gain the favor of the top management, so they complain about people below them. Then people below them complain about the boss and everything becomes messier. Many companies broke down because of that; because of lack of skillful, honest communication. There is no honest and skillful communication. You have to tell your boss your honest opinion and he will appreciate you because of that. First, he may not like it, but later on he will appreciate you. If you tell him lies and one day he discovers that you misled him, then he will be unhappy with you also. So, a skillful presentation of facts, honest, even if it is bitter, and put in nice manners, is needed. These skills come when you become a yogi, skillful in action. Yoga means skill in action. When does this come?

It comes when you unite with your Self in meditation.

God is one but the names are many, forms are many

God is one but the names are many, forms are many. Shiva-Shakti, both are one. Ardhanarishwara is one; half woman and half man, Hari hara is not two it is just one; half is Hara and the other half is Hari. Everything is one and there is only one God 'Bhagavanta'

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Why are there differences between religions

Q: Why are there differences between religions?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Religion has three components: symbols, customs and traditions, and values. As far as values are concerned, there is no difference, because all talk about oneness. Customs and symbols are all very different; they have to be, this is what makes the world beautiful, because God doesn't like uniforms!

Nature has been created with such diversity- so many flowers, animals, people. Diversity is the language of God. In India, God can have any number of names and forms, and they all point to one Divinity. So in one sense, there is difference, and in another sense there is unity.

Wise ones celebrate diversity, fools fight over it.

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