Art of Living Wisdom.

Diwali, the festival of lights is here with its message of celebrating the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. As Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “Diwali is essentially celebrated to lit the light of wisdom in every heart, the light of life in every home and bring a smile on every face.”

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Lakshmi Puja, or the worship of the goddess of wealth, is central to Diwali celebrations, especially in North and West India. In Sanskrit Lakshya means the goal. Lakshmi means the one which assists you to go to your goal. The Goal is Narayana or the self.

In a beautiful talk Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has explained these eight forms of wealth or Ashta Lakshmi that can help you to reach the goal. Here are excerpts from the original Hindi Talk on Ashtalakshmi:

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ADI LAKSHMI (Primeval wealth): To have the knowledge of our own origin is Adi Lakshmi. Have you ever thought about how you have come to this world? Who am I? After -35-40-50 years, this body won’t remain! Where will I go? Where have I come from? Have I come here or have been here at all times? This knowledge of the source is Adi Lakshmi. The person who gets the knowledge of self, becomes free from all fear and attains contentment and bliss. Adi Lakshmi is found only with the learned ones (wise). The ones who have AdiLakshmi have attained the highest knowledge.

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DHAN LAKSHMI (Monetary Wealth): Everyone understands about his kind of wealth. Those who don’t have Dhan Lakshmi stray into adharma (unrighteousness). With the desire for wealth, many get tempted into doing wrong deeds, like violence, thefts, fraud etc. Dhan Lakshmi doesn’t come with force. Even if it comes, it only gives only sorrow and pain. Some people forget that monetary wealth Dhan is not the goal of life. All their life they collect wealth till they die and leave it all behind creating property disputes in the family.

One wealthy man, knowing he would die soon, became very upset. People consoled him and advised him to take the name of God and not feel sad. He replied, “I am upset not because I am dying, but because of this huge wealth which I don’t want to give to my useless children.” An astrologer studied the wealthy man’s stars and predicted that after 25 years he would be reborn again in a particular village with a particular name. Hearing this, the man became very happy and made a will transferring his entire wealth to that name.

When Man makes Dhan / money as the goal he becomes sad. Dhan is Lakshmi, worship it like Lakshmi- honour it. Some people see fault in the Dhan(Wealth) and hold it responsible for all vices. This is not good. When you honour the wealth and make good use of it then Dhan becomes Lakshmi.

diwali 2013 with sri sri . artoflivingsblog.com

VIDHYA LAKSHMI (wealth of knowledge): If you see the picture of Lakshmi and Saraswati, you will see that Lakshmi is on the Lotus flower, above water. Water is unsteady. Saraswati is sitting on a rock. Knowledge brings stability in life. This is the third type of Lakshmi VIDHYA LAKSHMI (wealth of Knowledge/ education). Knowledge also can be misused. If studying becomes the only Lakshya (goal) of someone then Vidhya doesn’t becomes Lakshmi. To study and then to make use of it is Vidhya Lakshmi.

DHANYA LAKSHMI (the wealth of grain):  One may have lot of money (Dhan) but but can’t eat anything- can’t eat bread, ghee, rice, salt, sugar! This means there is lack of of Dhanya Lakshmi. We find in the villages of India that people don’t have wealth but have enough grains. They never hesitate to serve food to any guest. They may or may not have money, but they are never short of Dhanya. In comparison to the city people, the food eaten by villagers is superior in quality and quantity. Their digestion power is also good. Honor the food. When vegetables and grains are willfully destroyed to keep food prices high, then we are not honouring our dhanya as Laskhsmi. When food is honoured and it becomes Dhanya Lakshmi.

diwali ashtalakshmi sri sri ravi shankar

Dhairya Lakshmi (The wealth of Courage) : In a house there may be everything- Dhan and Dhanya, but courage may be absent. Usually the children from rich families and ruling families are coward. Courgae is a kind of wealth. Usually we ask officers that what type of assistant do you like- The one who comes with fear in front of you or the one who communicates with courage? If your subordinate is scared of you then he won’t tell the truth to you. Workers and assistants who work with courage and honesty are liked and preferred by employers. One gets scared of superiors or authority figures when one is not connected to life. When we don’t know that there is so much power within us, the Divine power that is walking along with us, then we feel the lack of Dhairya Lakshmi. Only with the wealth of courage or Dhairya Lakshmi can one progress in life. The extent of one’s progress directly depends on the presence of Dhairya Lakshmi in one’s life, whether in business or in job.

ashtalakshmi by sri sri ravi shankar artoflivingsblog.com

Santana Lakshmi (Wealth of Progeny) : The children who are the wealth of love, who bring peace, happiness and prosperity bring Santana Lakshmi into the house. Such children due to whom stress disappears or diminishes is Santana Lakshmi. And, the children who bring pain, sadness, unhappiness, disputes are not Santana Lakshmi.

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Vijaya Lakshmi (the wealth of victory):  Some people despite having all the facilities and resources don’t get success in any work. This denotes lack of Vijaya Lakshmi. If they go by auto rickshaw to the market and it will break down on the way. If they take taxi and finally reach, the shops would be closed. With such people one feels it would have been better if I had done the work myself! The smallest of works they can’t do – there is too much shortage of Vijaya Lakshmi. They will find some or the other excuse and even if there is no excuse the situations turn out such that no work gets done.

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Raj Lakshmi (wealth of royalty) is the one who with the power to rule. Sometimes the Minister or Ruler occupy the highest office and yet nobody listens to what they say. In some offices we find no one listens to the boss but an office clerk will rule and everyone listens to him. Often the head of a small village or trade union wield more power over people than the President or Prime Minister. The power to rule (govern) is being given by the nature to the people. There’s lot of blessing of Rajya Lakshmi on them. It is not necessary that they have Dhan Lakshmi, Dhanaya Lakshmi, Dhairya Lakhsmi, Santana Lakshmi, but they may have Rajya Lakhsmi, the power to rule the land.

These eight types of wealth are all connected to each other. Everyone has these eight wealths in more or less quantities. How much do we honor them, make use of them, is up to us. The absence of these eight Lakshmi is called- Ashta Daridrta (Miseries). Whether Lakshmi is there or not, Narayana can still be adapted. Narayan belongs to both – Lakshmi Narayan and Daridra Narayan!

Daridra Narayan is served and Laskshmi Narayan is worshipped. The entire life flow is moving from Daridra Narayan to Lakshmi Narayan- from misery to prosperity, from dryness in life towards the Divine nectar.

Art of Living News.

Muzaffarnagar embraces Sri Sri’s call for patience & faith

Amidst political opportunism and vote-bank calculations, the only thing the victims of the recent communal riot in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh are longing for is the healing touch and a message of peace. And that was exactly what spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar delivered during his visit to the riot-affected area on October 26, 2013.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was embraced with equal anticipation by people from either side of the hostile communal conflict

sri sri in muzaffarnagar. art of living blogThe mood of the people was aptly summed up by Mohammed Asgar of Kawal Village. “Until now, nobody has come here to talk peace. Everybody comes here for their own vested interest. Today Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has brought solace and we are finally experiencing peace of mind.”

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The family members of Gaurav and Sachin, whose killing sparked off the riot or those of Shahnawaz, whose death, many believe, actually spiraled into a full-blown communal conflict, shared their pain with him and asked for his blessings to overcome the trauma. He advised them to have patience and not to lose faith in God. “Justice will be done. With God’s grace, things would be back to normal soon,” was his reassurance.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar called upon the people of Muzaffarnagar to unitedly stand up against injustice. “Make Muzaffarnagar, Moohabatnagar (city of love).”  He added not only Hindus and Muslims, but also humanness was killed during riot. He emphasized the need for restoring mutual trust among the communities. “Peace and harmony is needed to ensure progress and development,” he said.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was pained by the deep mistrust and scars in both the communities. He regretted that interference of politicians, and failure of administration have caused colossal damage. But more than what he said, it was his presence that touched the people.

Sri Sri in Muzaffarnagar relief camp

“Visit from such personalities can bring back peace to Muzaffarnagar,” said Aftab. Seeing him, I could sense peace will return to Muzaffarnagar now,” added Muhammed Yusuf.  Suddenly, the hearts which have seen nothing but pain ever since the riot broke out last month opened up. In the midst of helplessness, they saw a saviour who would listen to their grief and do something about it.

“My son is gone, but I don’t want any further conflict,” said Salim, father of Shahnawaz. “We have lost two sons. They will never return. All we want is a fair CBI investigation,” shared Ravindra, father of Gaurav. In just a few minutes, the energy shifted from revenge to surrender.

 

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Given the extent of polarisation in the affected-areas, Sri Sri’s visit was a refreshingly fresh peace mission in itself. That a sane voice like that of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s was heard with anticipation by the people from the both sides of the divide provided hope for a lasting reconciliation between the Hindus and Muslims of Muzaffarnagar.

 

Art of Living Projects.

I vote for a better India 

In our country the real meaning and context of the word ‘Politics’ is completely lost. We think that ‘Politics’ is something dirty and ‘Politician’ is someone who plays this dirty game. The word ‘Politics’ comes from the Greek word ‘politikos’ meaning – “of, for, or relating to citizens”. It is the practice and theory of influencing other people on individual or mass level for achieving common good.

Art of Living Blog.India corruption

Present day India is plagued by so many problems. Industrial growth is at its lowest in last two decades, corruption has increased to unimaginable proportions, the farmers are in a deplorable state, inflation is uncontrolled, crime against women is at an alarming high, female foeticide is on the rise, naxalism has spread its wings in 20 states….the list goes on and on.

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This rock bottom scenario can change if the common man takes constructive interest in the political process of the country.

Each and every Indian wants a better India but they are not aware of the ways to achieve this. The foremost among these things is the judicious use of individual voting right. The number of candidates with criminal records among our ‘elected representatives’ is steadily increasing because of the apathy of common man towards the political process. In 2004 Lok Sabha, there were 128 MPs with criminal background; and in 2009 the number rose to 150. Somewhere this trend needs to be reversed.

Art of Living blog.India elections 2014

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections close to 12 crore youths will be first time voters. This is really a huge number if we compare it with the total number of votes polled by our national parties in 2009 polls. At that time the Congress polled 11.9 crore votes, the BJP 7.8 crore, and the rest of parties much less than that. So if these 12 crore youths really exercise their voting right judiciously, it can completely change the political picture of this country.

The only problem is how to convert all these eligible voters in to actual voters. Most politicians have no interest in increasing the voting percentage because it is against their interests. Under such circumstances it is only the NGOs and their active volunteers who can change the picture.

Art of Living Blog. vote for a better India

One such campaign is the “I Vote for A Better India” campaign started by “Volunteer for Better India (VBI)” organization.  VBI is a pan-India initiative of “Art of Living” under the guidance of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji for citizens of India to come together in to help build a better India.

“I Vote For a Better India” campaign aims at:

1. Educating Indians about the importance of participating in the democratic process and using their right to vote so that they feel empowered to bring about social change. 2. Increasing awareness among the youth for voting – (at present less than 50% in the 18-24 age group and ~20% in the age group 18-20 are registered to vote).

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This initiative aims to remove the apathy that has seeped into our social fabric and make individuals realize the importance of their vote. As a first step volunteers are visiting all the colleges, universities and societies for new voter registration. In the second leg, efforts will be made by door-to-door campaigning to motivate maximum voters to exercise their voting right.

All Indian citizens are invited to join this initiative by sending SMS: “I <your full name> Join” to mobile no. 08128176758 or join the face book group https://www.facebook.com/groups/IVFABI/ Your vote is your right. Your participation is must for creating a just, prosperous and peaceful India.