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.
Within our Saiva Siddhanta Holy Scriptures the Saiva Agamas explain the basis of temple ceremonies and worship plus yoga and jnana. The Tirukural was considered by Gurudeva to be "the most accessible and relevant sacred text." In it are practical and helpful guidelines for our conduct in every day life. The point of family life is to gain steady improvement, forever, in self control in the midst of responsibilities in the fulfillment of family dharma. Meanwhile, not taking detachment too far but taking it in the sense of spiritually looking for happiness, not outside in other people or possessions, the world, but inside ourselves and then sharing it with family and friends. "We regard the writings of our satgurus as scripture."
Path to Siva, Lesson 20
Tirukural, Introduction and Contents
Tirukural, Chapter 15 Possession of Self-Control
"The temple enables us to feel the presence of God, Gods and devas." We use our inner eyes to see what's going on in the temple, the three worlds. In the temple we're being good dvaitists in the dimfi perspective, focused in bhakti upon God Siva. In meditation we're monists, in the shumif perspective. We claim our oneness with Siva, Sivoham, I am Siva. In surrender, shrinking the ego through devotion, we have a realization that we're not the doer, that Siva is doing it all. Siva's energy comes through our soul.