In the Upanishads you speak about getting close to the master. Does this also mean in a physical way? For this query raised by one of his devotees, Sri Sri Ravishankar Guruji of Art of Living, explaining in a descriptive manner in his own words..
We are already here. We are physically sitting close here to one another, is it not so? Closeness comes from your mind and felt in your heart. If your mind is elsewhere, and is filled with doubts and negativity, then even though you may be sitting right next to me, it does not help.
But if your heart is clear and your mind is pure; if you have a clear purpose, then though you may be thousands of miles away from me, even then we are close. It is then that will you have an understanding, that we are one, we are together. When there is that total understanding, then there is closeness.
But if you just sit here and wonder, ‘Oh, what is Gurudev up to? Maybe he wants some power’, then it is not going to happen.
One lady asked me, ‘What do you do that gives you so much power over people?’
I told her, ‘Power over people? I am power myself. I do not need power from anybody. I want nothing from anyone.’ See, you want to exercise power because you want something from people, and you want to extract that. But I want nothing. I just want everyone to be happy, and walk on the spiritual path. That is all.
See, this world today needs spiritual knowledge. We need a violence free society. Do you know what happened in India? Such a horrible incident happened. It is very unfortunate; the whole country is on fire. Women are not safe today because there is so much crime. People do not see each other as people; as human beings. So that is what we want. We want a safe world that is free from crime. And this is what we all should aspire for. We should all do something good for the society, isn’t it?!
Someone says to me, ‘Gurudev, you have so much power’; what power?!
I said, ‘I take it as an insult for you to say that I have power over everyone.’
This is all just in the minds of people, ‘Oh that spiritual group, or maybe that cult, they have power over everybody’, this is nonsense.
I asked that lady, ‘Would you ask the same thing to Mother Teresa?’ No! And why not? It is because she belongs to an accepted religious tradition (Christianity).
Nobody ever said that Mother Teresa had power over many people; manipulated everybody.
She had four thousand people living in her monastery alone. All of them had left their homes and taken a vow of poverty.
I do not ask anyone to leave their homes. I always say, take care of your home and be happy wherever you are; be in the society.
Four thousand women came away and they all stayed with her with the hope that they would get salvation. But, you wouldn’t go and tell Mother Teresa that you have power over people.
This is the paranoia of the mind.
Of course, there are not many genuine people on the spiritual path, no doubt. That is why I do not recommend people to go spiritual shopping. Just stick to the knowledge, stick to one path.
There are all sorts of people in the world who do things in the name of spirituality. Even though that is true today, we should not be paranoid about it. We cannot say that every spiritual organization is using people and things like that. This is creating paranoia in the mind of others.
I have always said, an organization is just like a frame that holds a picture. It is needed. Without an organization nothing can function.
Do you know how many people are working in the background to provide you with good accommodation, good food and everything? You should thank all of them who have made such good Italian food for you. They do this work not as a job, or a profession, but as selfless service.
People work devotedly, with all their mind and heart while doing seva. I do it myself!
I come and teach courses all over the world, I do not take any money from anybody, nor do I keep anything for myself. So anybody who works with me is naturally inspired to do the same.
If I had kept all the money with me, I could have become a billionaire by now. I come and teach, and I go from one place to another. If I do not come here for a year, then this ashram would have to be shut down. They cannot run it all by themselves. So I come and support their work from time to time.
Do not think that everybody works and gives the fruits to the Master. Rather, you should know that it is the Master who works and supports everybody. It is the other way around. I work 19 hours a day and I support so many people. And I do that happily, without expecting anything from anybody. All I want is for them is to be happy. If they are not happy then I am also not happy.
Do you know, there is a lot of mistrust in the world these days. There is mistrust between the husband and wife, between children and parents, between neighbors, etc. Of course, if the whole set up starts becoming like that, then we will have a very sick society. This has to change.
People do not have trust in themselves also. One needs to have trust in oneself, trust in the goodness of society, and trust in the unseen power, the Divinity which is all permeating. These three types of trust is essential and that is what spirituality is all about.
Start trusting yourself, start trusting in the goodness of people around you, and in the Divinity. That is the whole essence.