The Language of the Heart
An extemporaneous talk given by
Sri Sri Ravi Shandar in Lubeck, Germany
Dear One, this creation is a celebration of your presence.
I see you in the leaves, in the petals, in the stem
and in the thorn, in the unseen root.
It’s all you and you and you. Nothing but you.
In the bark or the thorn or the roots or the mud,
your face is reflected, smiling and dancing and
laughing and singing.
It’s all you. It’s all you. It’s all you.
For each glorifies the other.
Everything in this creation glorifies everything else.
Clapping your own hands together, you rejoice in my presence.
It’s all you. It’s all you. It’s all you.
An extemporaneous poem by
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
The Language of the Heart
That is the language of the heart. It doesn’t need any translation. Is it necessary to speak?
In fact, the heart does not need a language. Its very pulsation unites you with the entire creation.
When the mind is chattering, the heart is not fully open. The mind is either blaming yourself or blaming someone else, either complaining about yourself, “I am no good,” or complaining that someone else is no good. Do you see that? At any given time the mind vacillating: it’s angry about someone else or about yourself, or it’s angry about the past, regretting the past, or anxious about the future.
The mind doesn’t like simple things. It wants to complicate everything. And in doing that the mind does not allow the heart to be innocent, simple and natural. It is the nature of ego to want something very hard, very difficult. But heart is the opposite of that. Heart is simple, natural and innocent. Your heart cannot find fault with anyone. It cannot find fault with yourself, because when the heart is dissolved, it has opened itself up to infinity, to the divine. If your heart is fully opened, you cannot find fault with anyone because you will see everyone as part of yourself.
When this ability of ours to be in ourselves is not utilized, when we are not made aware of it, then our mind is in constant complaint. There are only two choices: either we can be grumbling in the mind or we can be grateful. There is nothing in between. We have to choose either one or the other. When we are grateful, no grumbling is possible. When we are grumbling, obviously we cannot be grateful.
The mind grumbles for what it has and for what it doesn’t have also. Many bachelors grumble that they have not found a proper partner. And many married people grumble that they were better off all by themselves. An employed man grumbles because he finds his work too hard, too stressful. And an unemployed man grumbles because he doesn’t have a job. Do you see that? If it is sunny, the mind grumbles, “Oh, it is too sunny.” If it is rainy, the mind grumbles, “It is rainy.” A grumbling man can grumble in any situation.
When God created man, man went to him for every small little thing, asking him for favors, complaining to him about everything. Man would pray for God to come. If God came, he would say, “Don’t come now. Come later. You have come too soon.” If God didn’t come, he would complain, “I have called you so many times and you have come so late.” God grew really tired of this. He wanted to go and hide somewhere, but that was not easily done. He knew man would go to the moon to find him.
At this point God met a wise man. The wise man whispered in God’s ear, “Hide in the heart of man. That is where he never goes.” Since the day, God has hidden in the heart of man. Anyone who goes there will not be able to complain. All complaints will drop away. One person here and there among a million goes to his own heart and finds God. And when a person finds God in his own heart, he has no complaints.
We worship the past. We have all praise for the past, the glorious past. Or, we glorify something far away, distant, something we cannot reach. The mind feels comfortable with ideals and things farther away. Very interesting, isn’t it? When man’s sight goes far away into the future or into the past, he fails to recognize the Divine here, now, in the present, in his own heart.
We think that at some time in the future when we are dead and gone, then we will meet God. No. God has to be realized in one’s heart. For this one has to know the language of the heart.
Everything is God. There is nothing but God existing in the world. If you don’t want to use the word God, you can say energy or intelligence. The basis of creation is found throughout all existence. And it is only one, one sun, but you can see it through any window.
Many prophets have come into this world and have gone. They have all been like the windows. In this room you see four windows. Through any window you see the same sun, the same sky. The one sky that is behind the wall is behind the window also. God is in everyone, even in dogs, cats, trees, leaves, ants-in everything in creation. In pigs, also. In everything. Through the window you cannot miss it because the window is so transparent. That love—that love and that silence—cannot be missed there. The power of existence cannot be missed. It’s all one.
The purpose of words, all the words we use, the talking we do, is to create silence and love in our hearts.
If our words create disturbance in the minds of people, then those words have not really fulfilled themselves. They are not on track.
Q. How can we reach this silence of the heart?
A. Be grateful. If that is difficult, then do some practices—meditation, some breathing techniques, exercises—that might help you to calm the mind.
When you are grumbling, when you are unhappy about something, you can’t be grateful, can you? No. But you can become aware of the whole situation—that is the first step. When the mind is grumbling, it is not even aware it is grumbling. The first step is being aware of it. And then be aware of what you have, and your heart will well up with gratitude. Then all complaints will disappear. You will become very simple, very natural, very loving and very free.
Q. I believe that God is kind and merciful. And you have just said that God is in every creature and every thing. Why then is so much evil around? I see it in myself, not only in other people. Where is the evil coming from?
A. This is evil [he holds up the end of his garment with a knot tied in it.] This is good [he unties the knot]. Evil is nothing but knotting. It is not some substance. It is not your nature. It is stress and strain. If a good person is put under constant pressure, if he is not allowed to sleep and is deliberately stressed in other ways, he will become violent unless he is completely enlightened. Do you see that?
Bad things or evil things are nothing but lack of love, lack of knowledge, lack of happiness. Like darkness. What is darkness? Is it some substance? No. It is just the absence of light. Is stress a substance? No.
There is nobody bad on this planet at all. That’s why Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Everyone as yourself. Even when he was crucified, he said, “Forgive them. They are ignorant.” He didn’t put a curse on them by saying, “They are bad people.” They were ignorant. They lacked knowledge.
When Jesus was alive, people were glorifying Moses and Esau and others who had come before him. They could not see the divinity in Jesus, right there, because the mind is happy seeing divine somewhere in the past or maybe somewhere in the future, far away but not near.
What is the definition of God? God means all-pervading, the one who is omnipresent. Omnipresent means what? Present everywhere, including in myself, including in yourself, including in other people also. But God cannot be perceived if the mind is stressed. The sun cannot be seen if the glass is not transparent, if the windows are not open. Being grateful helps you to clean your windows. Doing some practices, mediation, pranayama, also helps you to clean the windows, remove all the stresses and feel wonderful from inside and very grateful.
I will tell you a story. A master and a disciple were traveling to different villages, teaching and helping people. But when the rainy days came it was difficult to travel, so they returned to their hut on the top of a mountain. When they came back to their small little hut, half of it had been blown away by a big storm. The disciple who was with the master became angry. He said to God, “Can’t you protect this one small hut for me? My master and I are selflessly doing your work, going without and helping all the people, and you could not be merciful? People say you are very merciful, but you could not protect this one small hut of ours, a shelter for us?” This complaint was there.
But do you know what the master said? The master looked at the hut and was so happy. He said, “You have saved a place for us to sleep. The storm could have blown away the whole hut, but you have been so merciful, so kind to us, that you have protected some place for us to be.” His heart welled up and he started singing and dancing and mediating.
Do you see that in the same situation, the ungrateful mind says, “Oh, you did this, you did that, you did wrong to me.” The grateful mind says, “How wonderful. Thank you so much. You are so beautiful.”
The language of the master is the language of the heart. The master always speaks the language of the heart. With it he can communicate with the trees, the animals, the entire creation. Otherwise, he is no master. Words are used only because we are accustomed to words, our mind is accustomed to them. Otherwise, they are not necessary at all.
In love, whatever you do, you feel you have not done enough. Do you see that? If there’s a birthday party for your grandson or your son or daughter, you busy yourself decorating, but any amount of preparation that you do leaves you feeling you can do still more because you are doing it out of love. If you don’t do something out of love, then in doing a little, you will feel, “Oh, I did so much.” That is the turning point. When the mind says, “I did so much,” then it starts complaining.
Q. Christian mystics say that one should look for God within oneself. And in the East it is said that we can reach God only through the master. Can you tell us which is right?
A. The master is one who makes you aware of yourself, who gives you the knowledge of who you really are. Being in contact with the master, you realize how much love is possible in your life, what you could be, how you could flower totally. The master is not one who says, “Keep following me, maybe ten years, fifteen years, then you will know something.” No. Every day, every moment, like a petal opening up, you keep opening more and more and more. It takes only a short time, a few months.
Q. It is said only a master can recognize another master. How can those who don’t have even a spark of intuition know who is a master?
A. Everyone has intuition, but if your mind is filled with doubts, if you are too much in your head, then intuition doesn’t work. You don’t have to choose a master to begin with. Just do some practices. Let the mind calm down and the heart start to open up. Then everything will be very obvious.
The mind has a tendency to doubt. Doubt is the starting point. From there you say, “Everybody cannot be good.” Doubt is always about the good. Have you observed this in your life? You never doubt that you are unhappy. Do you say, “Am I really unhappy?” That you don’t doubt. But if you are happy, then you doubt. “Am I really happy? Is this a dream, is it my illusion, or is it some fantasy?” Do you see that? We don’t doubt that we are happy. We don’t doubt that someone is angry at us. We don’t ask, “Are they really angry? Is that man really bad?” That we don’t doubt. But we doubt if someone is good.
If someone is angry or negative or in a bad mood, you don’t doubt that. You take it for granted they are bad. If someone has scolded you, you don’t say, “Did he really mean to do it? I don’t think so. It’s some stress in him, but inside he must be good, too. He is a very good person.” We don’t look at it that way. We take it for granted everybody is bad. Then we doubt the goodness in people.
If you take it the other way-if you doubt the badness of everyone-then you will trust in the goodness in creation. It’s a big shift. It’s good to doubt. Doubt and trust are two sides of the same coin, but put them in their right places. Doubt the badness of people. No one is really bad.
That is the language of the heart.
The Art of Living Foundation in the United States and similar organizations around the world offer a weekend course of practical experience and knowledge designed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
One of the tools of the course is a simple but profound technique called Sudarshan Kriya which releases stresses and toxins stored in the body and restores the natural rhythms of our mental, emotional and physical lives. Sudarshan Kriya and other tools from the course may be practiced independently. The benefits last and deepen over time. Increasingly peace, freedom and a sense of joy become a part of daily life—not as a concept, but as a living reality.
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