Q: Even after giving 100% effort one does not succeed, what is the reason behind this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See; don’t think that by giving your 100% alone that work gets done. For success or work to get done there are five things you require. First the intention of the person who is doing, then availability of the instruments or things needed to do the work, then the willingness or mindset to do the work. Then doing the work at the right time, there is a time to do the work, if you don’t do it at the right time then there is no use. If you sow seeds in February then there is no use, you then cannot say that I sowed the seeds but nothing has come. You have to wait till April after the rain then you sow the seeds and then you yield the results. So time is a very important factor and you could get results now or you could get it later that also you cannot say. When we came to this Ashram this whole land was barren, there was not one leaf or one tree on this land. Today see how many trees and plants are there and these trees did not come in one day, so many people have put lots of effort and after some time the trees grew. So this is how time is an important factor and then grace. Without grace of the divine there will be no success, that is why if you want grace then you must do Seva, sadhana, satsang and in time you will get the fruits of all your efforts. Okay! None of your efforts will go waste that you should be assured about, if not now you will see the results later.
Q: Guruji what is the use of Seva? How does it help meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, suppose you are stranded in some place and you need someone to give you a lift in their car or taxi and nobody stops their car to give you a lift, how would you feel? You are carrying two bags and you have to go to the restroom in a railway station. You can’t leave the bags unattended and you have to go to the restroom, what will you do? You will find some nice elderly person, go to them and keep the bags with them requesting them to take care while you go for five minutes to the restroom. Don’t you need other’s help? If they refuse to help you then how can you survive? You know in this world as human beings we have to help each other and that is what seva is.Seva means what? ‘Sa’ means ‘him’ which refers to God and ‘Eva’ means ‘like him’; doing things like him. God does so many things for you but does not expect anything in return from you. Whether you pray to him, thank him or not he will still continue to do. He is not doing you a favor. When you thank God, that is for your own joy, it does not matter to God. In the same way whether people acknowledge your work or not, whether they thank you or not you still do it because you find that it is important to do!
Q: When everything that is to happen is already decided then why do we have to act and then in the name of action how are we responsible?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why are you asking this question? See there are two levels, like the molecular level on the basis of which everything is the same. E. g. if you see this stand is wood, this door is wood, everything is made from wood, but you cannot sit on the door and neither can you make a chair a door, even though everything is wood. Just like that on one level we say that everything is happening but on another level we are also required to act. You continue to act and as you continue doing you will see that, ‘I didn’t do anything, everything happened and is happening’, that is wisdom. Once I went to prison to address the prisoners. I was called to speak to them after they had completed the course. So I asked them how many of you have committed any crime. No one raised their hand. Then I asked how many of you are innocent and have been put into prison, and everyone raised their hand. ‘We are innocent, we have not done anything and we have just been put into prison. We have not done anything but it just happened’. So even a thief is saying that he did not do anything but it just happened. A man has murdered another person but when I asked him he said I did not do it, I don’t know at that time what went into to me that the murder just happened. So a person who has committed some of the worst crimes also says that he did not do it. Just like that people who do wonderful work, if you ask them did you do this, they will say no I didn’t do anything, it all just happened, fell into place, I didn’t do anything.This is a state of consciousness where you realize things are not happening because of your effort, it is happening due to some law, due to some power in the creation which is making everything happen.