Q: Guruji, I have been told that a human soul can often take one to two million years to find liberation. Is it true that by doing Kriya and meditation every day, this liberation can be obtained even in one lifetime?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Everything works with some strange karma. You must lift your eyes and look into this realm. There is a beautiful couplet that says, ‘This world has all the wealth, all that is needed, but one who has no karma, cannot get it.’ So, whether you get something or you don’t, it all works with some strange karma. Recognition, money, power, relationship, health; everything depends on some law in creation. When good times come, your worst enemy starts helping you, and when bad times come, even your best friend behaves like an enemy. All these things happen due to some very strange karma.
An intelligent person doesn’t get caught up in all this. He still keeps putting in his effort, and keeps moving on. You do whatever is needed to put in an effort, and then you leave it. Do you know Lord Krishna went three times to stop the Mahabharata (narrative of the Kurukshetra War) war?
When someone asked Lord Krishna, ‘If you knew that the war was going to happen anyway, why did you go three times for peace negotiations? All three times your peace negotiations failed, then why did you go?’ That is a very valid question.
Lord Krishna said, ‘If I had not gone, then the question would have come that you could have done peace negotiation, why didn’t you do it?’ You have your duty towards your karma, whatever you need to do, you do it! Suppose the peace negotiation would have succeeded, then the whole Mahabharata would have finished, and the Gita would never have come! The immortal song of the Divine (Bhagavad Gita) would never have come into existence!
So, very well knowing that the Gita had to come, and the war had to happen, still Lord Krishna went for peace negotiations. This is because it is in our dharma, our nature. We should keep putting in our efforts and not get attached to the consequences or the results. This is very subtle because the mind gets sucked into maya ‘illusion’ in some form or the other.
The mind needs to be hammered into knowledge. It can easily slip out of these four pillars of knowledge, Viveka(discrimination), Vairagya (detachment), self-control, and honoring what you have (not grieving about what is not). And then, wanting liberation! So keep on hammering the knowledge back, again and again!
Suddenly, you will find it is all there, anyway. Now, when you slip, then also remember that is another level. Knowing all this, suppose you still get caught up (in maya), then don’t feel bad that you got caught up; even that is part of nature. Don’t say, ‘Oh, I did not apply knowledge!’ or ‘Either someone else is wrong, or I am wrong!’
Whether unpleasant things are happening or pleasant things are happening, I am a witness to it. And my mind is getting caught up in it, even that is a part of the happening; I am witness to that also. This is how you rise above the situation! You have to practice pranayama, meditation and knowledge for a long time. The whole life itself is a practice, and when you practice with honor, then this knowledge becomes well-founded in you.