On April 9th TAKA reported ever so briefly on the brief visit of one of India's most renowned spiritual men, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Now we have received a few photos from his followers taken on that day, and so we say a few more words today about his visit.
Here Sri Ravi Shankar enters the monastery for a blitzkrieg tour, limited, followers bemoaned, by a flight departure. One of the most popular Indian spiritual men in the world, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founded the Art of Living institution which teaches breathing techniques and meditation, and undertakes an amazing array of social services.
Here is his definition of meditation in response to a devotee's query:
Question: What is meditation?
Sri Sri: Meditation is not trying to think of something. Meditation is relaxing deeply. If you are concentrating on a problem, then you are not relaxing. Meditation is almost like sleep, but it's not sleep. It is what happens right afterSudarshan Kriya -- when you are lying down, what's on your mind? Nothing! There is nothing. It's blank. That is meditation. Or, when you are really happy or when you are resting, then, what is the state of your mind? That is a meditative mind.
Even when you are in deep love… and you are reposing in love, then that is meditation.
It's very simple! When the mind becomes free from agitation, when it becomes calm and serene, and is at peace, then meditation happens.
By meditation you can turn your body into a powerhouse as your generate an inner source of energy.
Palaniswami greeted our special visitor, who came with about 20 followers.
All were delighted to be in such a surprisingly traditional monastery.
While a dozen ran behind, Sri Sri and a few hopped aboard one of our Mules for the tour.
Tales of Iraivan were the topic of the day.
Sri Sri would say, at the end, "I have been to so many ashrams, so many temples around the world. This is the most beautiful of them all." Quite a statement from such a widely-traveled soul.
Question: How can I be assured of salvation and a perfect life on this planet?
Sri Sri: You need a warranty on the spiritual path also, don't you?!
Examine how much time you spend on the spiritual path…
Evaluate the seva (service) you are doing… How much are you meditating? There should be a balance between seva and meditation. Those who do a lot of service get burnt out, if they don't make time for meditation, and those, who only meditate, become 'dry', if they don't make time for service. So you need both -- service and meditation.
Palaniswami gave a few humble gifts to Sri Sri, and the monastery wished him well on his journey, off to California next.
The letter "Ya" in the Panchakshara Mantra, Namasivaya, stands for the soul. Bodhinatha uses the Panchakshara Mantra to show how the soul is initially drawn by Siva's veiling grace, which leads the soul to maturity through experience in the world. Then comes Siva's revealing grace. When we've had enough of the world, Siva's grace pulls us toward God. The mantra also has the simple, two-syllable form. Si- Reflecting on God the Transcendent Absolute, Va-God as the All Pervading Consciousness