I was in Mumbai in the weekend of Oct 27 as part of the ASSOCHAM event on Corporate Culture and Spirituality where Guruji was the keynote speaker. For Guruji, it was a packed weekend, from ASSOCHAM event to the Economic Times award ceremony and in between these events he found time to talk to the students at a Mangement Fest at IIT Mumbai. Someone was kind enough to forward this speech, which I reproduce here.
I heard H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji on 28th October 2007 at Avenue '07
fest by School of Management, IIT-Bombay- sharing the beautiful
knowledge with all others who otherwise would have liked to hear but missed it
for some unavoidable situations-
Jai Guru Dev
Dr Pragati Mukhopadhyay
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( I am starting from where I could hear)..
Innovation is a quality in you - the concept of every aspect in your life.
Innovation should come up in your behaviour, not just in your profession.
In our rural development programs, volunteers come up with creativity,real innovative things and not just proto type of things. Creativity is part of divinity, you have to invoke the divinity to become creative. And it is not
something great, it can be innovative small new things, new projects.
There was a sixty years old lady who came up with a project of making
handkerchiefs. Everybody laughed at the idea of being creative with something like handkerchief but she had 17 points to show how her handkerchiefs were different from other handkerchiefs!
Innovation must ooze from our behaviour. We have to be creative.If you go home and make a sandwich, don’t make the same sandwich. If you have to be innovative, do something new. I sometimes go to the kitchen but I never cook the same way, It is always an experiment! Risk is of course always there.
Innovation goes with the risk and Intuition goes with innovation. If
there is intuition in innovation, it is almost all the time correct and
it gives one satisfaction. Innovation must come up in all areas whether it is music, cooking, art,the way to handle meetings etc. etc. and it doesn’t have to be same prototype.
You need to bring some changes, some dynamism in life. Dynamism in life
is a sign of a lively human being. We are not machines. We don’t have to work in a proto type manner, we need to be innovative.
Innovation is very personal and very unique to each individual. There are two factors involved in each work- risk factor and the safety factor.
In entrepreneurship, we have to balance between the risk and the safety
factor. Now I will tell you about Art of Living Organization. Art of Living
Organization is a volunteer based Organization. In a volunteer based organization there is no control as everybody does what one wants and thinks it is correct. To manage a group of volunteers is the most difficult thing!
In the apex body and other meetings of our organization they experience
all these things. They can’t fire or hire somebody- every body is a boss.
It is a challenge and needs skill to handle a volunteer based organization!
The whole skill is to co-ordinate this group in which every body feels
they know the best. It can cause a lot of frustration but if you are
with a spiritual organization, you can’t even be frustrated. You might be told- go meditate, don’t work hard. You will be given knowledge lectures!
So working in a spiritual organization, you can’t be angry, you can’t
be frustrated, you can’t get upset because you are teaching the world how not to be frustrated, not to be upset, how to accommodate, how to be human- exhibiting all human values! Don’t you think it is a challenge- an enormous challenge? So once in a while I call a meeting of organizers and there you should see the fun where very one comes up with their own ideas!
I know of a spiritual organization where they discussed that charity
work can’t start from an empty bowl and to do lot of charity projects one needs sponsors. So one gentle man came up with a great idea –that of making ‘bidis’!
Just imagine, a spiritual organization sponsoring making bidis. It will
give work to so many in the villages if they make it and sell it with the organization’ s brand name- they said.
If there can be Ganesha brand bidi in the market, then why not bidi in
their brand name! The organizers found this very innovative, promising business and wanted to pass the resolution with a vote but it had to be stopped.
Volunteers come up with such great ideas in name of innovation!
So to be organizer of an NGO and volunteer based organization becomes a
real challenge. After you all pass your MBA, you must work for some time with some NGOs where you can learn the skills to manage people from diverse background, age group, mental tendencies, education and professional
backgrounds. Running a volunteer based NGO with volunteers of different backgrounds, is a real task and it is very interesting and challenging.
When you are faced with challenges, you become more innovative. When
faced with challenges, creativities comes up, your skills and talents come up.
Creativity cannot come up sitting just in Harvard school, sitting alone
not interacting with people. Interaction with people is absolutely essential.
In the recent stand up and speak out campaign against poverty where 27
million people stood up in all countries, 7 million were volunteers
from Art of Living Organization alone and it was done without much effort.
Inspiration and a genuine caring and sharing feeling- when it comes up,
you will find that a field is created for you to serve. If there is a joy in getting then – there is a greater joy in giving, in sharing, in contributing.
A mother at home enjoys serving many dishes to people. When she is
alone, she does not make so many dishes for eating herself though she is an expert cook. Her joy is in feeding others- and this is natured joy. We are born with an instinct of grabbing joy, we should not die with the same
basic instinct. We have to mature and maturity is when we share.
There is nothing greater than sharing joy. Sharing joy brings satisfaction, nothing else can give satisfaction. Joy is not that just oneself becomes happy and not others. Joy is a continuum and we have to make our life like that.
In Bhagvad Geeta, it is said-
Prasanna chetasohyashu budhi parya vatishthate
Nasti budhiryuktasya na chayuktasya bhavana
Na chabhavayatah shantirshantasya kutah sukham
When your mind is pleasant then your intellect becomes sharp. If you are worried, tensed, if your mind is clogged with a million worries, desires or sorrows, you cannot achieve even one good thing. Some calmness in the mind,
pleasantness in the mind is essential to become sharp.
Do you know why children are sharp?- because they are happy. As one
grows up, the happiness graph declines and that is when you learn less,
your learning ability goes down and you smile less.
The genuine smile springs from the depth of your heart. The smile from
the heart- that is prasanna chitta, the pleasant mind. With pleasant mind the intellect becomes sharp and becomes established. If you are not coordinated within, if you are not integrated within body,mind, breadth, awareness-
the life force will be flying all over then there is neither getting sharp intellectually nor there is harness in emotions. With lack of both
these there can’t be peace and if there is no peace, there is no happiness.
And Sri Krishna said all this to Arjuna where? – right in the middle of a battle field!
Life itself is a battle field. Every day in some thing or the other we are facing in this battle field.
And in this battle field of life, how can you be centered, is all we
need to worry about- then the rest like innovation, entrepreneurship etc would spring up itself.
What is happening in your mind right this minute? Your attention is on me.
I am the scenery, you are the seer. Now take the attention back to your
self, from the scenery to the seer. Then what’s happening is what is called centeredness.
This is the first sutra of yoga sutra-
Yoga chittavritti nirodah, tada drishthi swaroope avasthanaam
Getting back from scenery to seer–is a state, a state of centeredness where the mind settles down.
Yoga is not just doing exercises, it is getting back from the scenery to the seer- from the object to the subject. Are you doing it right away as I am speaking? It just happens like that in a minute- taking your mind inwards, it is extremely energizing. And that is meditation- when inward, the mind becomes shudhha or pure. When outward, the mind is going everywhere with thoughts of what you have done or what you want to do.
Meditation is this moment- taking attention away from ‘what I have done’ or ‘what I want to do’ to 'what I am’. Doing meditation- This exercise will enhance our intelligence and capabilities.
In our country we have these technique, these methods to enhance our memory power, our innovation, our intelligence. Our country can lead the world in these aspects.
It is so unfortunate that we don’t value what we have. Those who are studying a little bit, think they know a lot. Real education is- the more you know, the more you will be baffled, you will be in the state - ‘I don’t know’.
The more you learn, the more you feel- I don’t know’- you are startled.
Innovation is when you are startled. We know very little about our universe. What we see is only a tiny part of what we don’t know.
Now I will answer if there are some questions-
Question asked- We give hundred percent without effort when we are
children but why do we loose that and need efforts as we grow?
May be because our attention gets little rusted so you need to brush it. If you are in a state of confusion then your attention is definitely swayed but when you put the priorities in your life, fixed priorities of what you need or what you want to do, they will come automatically.
Question asked - how to control anger?
Three things about Anger –
(1) - Why do you want to control your anger all the time? Why you want to control your anger is because you think somebody may harm you if you are
not angry, right? When Entropy rises, orderliness goes down, in engineering terms, so you want to keep you’re your entropy down. And how do you keep your entropy down- not by crouching in a corner but by doing pranayaam and
some breathing exercises .
Pranayaam and proper breathing exercises will help you control anger
This is like- there is steam in an engine you are channeling the steam
in different directions so that the steam by which you will make the engine move forward, you can also use the same steam to give break to the engine, correct? So also you can use the anger.
(2). Anger is always about the perfection.
When you can’t tolerate imperfection, that’s when you get angry. Keep a
space of imperfections in your life. If you leave some holes of
imperfection, that helps, then you will see that your ability to hold anger
becomes much greater.
(3). Anger is because of what is your nature- in ayurvedic terms vatta,
pitta or kafa type.
If your pitta is very high, if you are a pitta type person and not had
food in the morning then definitely by noon time you are going to flare up! So what you say at that time is immaterial because of the biological reactions in your body because the pitta in your body has gone high.
You may flare up because of the door being open or if the plants are
put next to the door – or any such small things! So you have to look into what is your nature type. Also watch if you are eating too much or eating
spicy or strong foods etc, as that also makes the moods swing.
Question asked- if every thing is already decided why put our efforts?
No, no –every thing is settled or decided is a wrong notion. If every
thing is decided then what is the use of our intelligence? Yes, it applies for the animals. Animals don’t have intelligence, their body is programmed.
Human intelligence has the free will so there are choices. And choices are limited, not infinite choices. Like, it is destined to rain but to get
wet or not get wet is your choice. You can go with an umbrella and not get wet or if you go without an umbrella, you will get wet. Human life is the
only one which has choices. So don’t think all is destined due to one's karma, human life has the ability to change the karma also.
Question asked - on interpretation of Geeta and that Geeta not just what happened 5000 years ago- it is happening every day in our life so what should
one give importance to being Krishna or Arjuna?
In the age group of 18- 31 years, we should be like Arjuna. But about long term management related goal, you need to harness your dream, what you want to
do in life. Yt can be scary, it can create confusion and you may want to change your dreams.
Be prepared for changes.
When you were a small child and asked the question as to what you want to become, your reply would have been to be an engine driver or pilot etc, right? But your consciousness grew as you grew up and your priorities changed, your vision changed.
So know what you want precisely. If you want to make money, how much
money you want to make? Keep a fixed idea in your mind- I want to be like so and so- say like Narayan Murthy etc or I want to start a company etc. See how and in what way you want to become an entrepreneur and in what line.
Become aware of your goals, ideas, dreams and at the same time know that money cannot be the final goal.
In life there is so much more than money- the values.
Like you can dream of becoming a very good politician-but to make the country powerful. There are many choices so you pick up any one of them.
In Geeta also Krishana gives Arjuna many choices saying if you are not able to do this then do this..this.. this and if you are not able to do anything, if you are so tired – just drop every thing!
There is a Chinese proverb also which says- when you are sick, confused and cannot take any decisions, take a pillow and sleep!
Question on- Geeta’s verse- karmanyedhikaraste aa phaleshu kadachana…gives a dilemma in the corporate world as to how without focusing on the fruits of
result one should keep doing the work.
What Geeta says in this verse is – you don’t have the right on the effect but you have the right on the cause.
If you put the milk in the boiler, you may put the timer to raise the temperature slow or fast- but it is going to boil finally. You cannot defy
the laws of nature for boiling but you have the choice of raising the temperature for boiling it quickly or slowly. If you put things in a hot chamber, it is going to bake- you have no right to change that law but
you have a choice to make it fast or slow. You have a right to tamper the cause and not the effect. So in life also just do your things.
Krishna said the other way round also. He said- if you don’t fight the war what will people talk about you? They will blame you to be a coward, a loser.
Whether you win or lose, you will go to heaven so fight. So is Krishna showing him what he will get?
What Krishna says is- don’t sit and day dream of achieving something without doing any action. You have right to act so act, anyway the result is the fruit by itself. When you act the result is automatic, spontaneous.
In any activity, you must have that balance- don’t be feverish about the results, do your hundred percent and be open to all possibilities-
that’s what exactly it means in the verse-
Question on - creation plan of the creator so that we understand the purpose of our life.
Very important question. The very fact that this question –what is the purpose of life, arose in your mind- shows that your mind is matured, so give a pat on your back. Very few get this question in their mind. Many are born, they eat, sleep, make merry and then they will die- they don’t even know that they are
alive, they don’t even know if there is a purpose in life also. But one secret I will tell you- one who knows it will not tell you and anyone who tells you about the purpose of life, be assured he does not know!