420. A Mystic Speaks: Reincarnation, Past Lives & Spiritual Simplicity w/ Gurudev (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Gurudev, aka Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, joins me today for a deeply spiritual conversation where we consider life itself from the intellectual plane of a modern mystic genius. We talk about reincarnation, plant medicine, reaching enlightenment, and so much more. Both his wit and wisdom will blow you away in this one. Stick around for a special guided meditation by Sri Sri.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a globally revered spiritual and humanitarian leader. He has spearheaded an unprecedented worldwide movement for a stress-free, violence-free society. Through a myriad of programs and teachings, a network of organizations including the Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values, and a rapidly growing presence across 156 countries, Gurudev has reached an estimated 500 million people. Gurudev has developed unique, impactful programs that empower, equip, and transform individuals to tackle challenges at global, national, community, and individual levels.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Gurudev, aka Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is a renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader. He is a mindset master, yoga guru, and so much more to the enlightened community – sharing his message while on a grueling tour around the world. He is a man with a divine mission, as we learn in this conversation. It’s an absolute honor to bring him to the airwaves of this podcast. 

He joins me today for a deeply spiritual conversation where we consider life itself from the intellectual plane of a modern mystic genius. We talk about reincarnation, plant medicine, reaching enlightenment, sleep and meditation practices, and so much more.

Both his wit and wisdom will blow you away in this one. Stick around for a special guided meditation by Sri Sri as we wrap up.

00:05:57 — Modern Enlightenment: Who, Where & Why?

  • Why so many mystics come from India
  • There is no gender in spirit 
  • The two roles of enlightenment 

00:11:51 — The Truth About Reincarnation 

  • What's the deal with reincarnation?
  • How long between cycles?
  • When does a soul enter the physical body?
  • Authenticating intuitive knowledge
  • Looking back to widen our context  

00:28:34 — Different Avenues to a Higher Consciousness

  • Sri Sri on plant medicines 
  • Silence retreats 
  • Sky breathing meditation 
  • Communing with interdimensional entities
  • Spirituality is like an ocean 

00:40:04 — Spiritual Pursuit

  • The 7 layers of existence 
  • Letting be and letting go 
  • Measuring joy in units of sex
  • Gurudev’s sleep and meditation
  • Spirituality as learning to unlearn  

00:54:41 – Guided meditation 

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

Gurudev:  [00:00:26] Life is a combination of both effort and effortlessness. When you want to catch a train, you have to make an effort to get into the train. But once you're in the train, you have to put down your luggage and relax. No point in running inside the train. It doesn't get you any faster.

Luke Storey:  [00:00:49] Well, you are in for it free today, my friends. Today we've got a very special guest and episode for you. But before we kick it off, I want to invite you to follow me on Instagram. I post all sorts of fun and sometimes even inspiring high jinks there, including live streams of every episode of this show, product reviews and demos, along with a steady supply of super dank memes, which is probably what's gotten me shadow banned a few times. Oh, well worth it. 

You can find me there @lukestorey. So I look forward to seeing you there on the old Insta. And I do my best to interact with listeners and keep up with questions to the best of my ability. Sometimes it's just a thumbs up. Sometimes I actually have a moment and I can interact. You guys get to know me on the show. The only way I can get to know you is through social media or at a live event. So again, please follow me on Instagram @lukestorey. 

Okay, without further ado, drumroll please, today's guest Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a globally revered spiritual and humanitarian leader. This gentleman has spearheaded an unprecedented worldwide movement for a stress-free, violence-free society. Through a myriad of programs and teachings and network of organizations, including the Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values, and a rapidly growing presence across 156 countries, Gurudev has reached an estimated 500 million people. Well, now a few thousand more thanks to you listening. 

Gurudev has developed unique, impactful programs that empower, equip, and transform individuals to tackle challenges at global, national, community, and individual levels. And me personally, I found him to be very humble and at the same time, very wise, which to me is a perfect combo. When you meet someone who's touted as a spiritual master and they overcomplicate things and are hard to reach, when you look them in the eyes, I find that to be a little disheartening. But with our Gurudev here, man, we vibed. It was fun. 

And for those of you that want to dig a little deeper into this episode, you'll find show notes for this one at lukestorey.com/gurudev, that's G-U-R-U-D-E-V. Now, before we get into it, there is something you'll find very different about this episode. Due to his grueling schedule and worldwide demand, I only had about 40 minutes with the man. And if you listen often, you know that some of these conversations demand two to three hours to get it all in. 

So this one will give you a solid blast of knowledge and positive energy in a much shorter time. It might make up in fact, for the time he spent listening to the three-plus-hour Kelly Brogan show I did recently. And despite the shorter interview here, I really wanted to deliver even more value for this one, so Gurudev was kind enough to offer a beautiful 20-minute guided meditation at the end of the interview. So you might want to pause at that moment and make sure you're situated somewhere comfortable and quiet, so not while driving, ideally. 

Here's a sneak peek of what we covered: Gurudev's childhood and discovering his spiritual gifts, why so many holy men are from India, how suicide affects incarnation, choosing our parents and when the soul enters the fetus, transcending the ego as opposed to killing it--good luck with that one, where ETs come from, the world as a projection of our interpretation, the phenomenon of the fallen guru and false prophets, the world as a projection of our interpretation, and spiritual bypass, and playing happy versus processing trauma. 

And we also talk about plant medicines and psychedelics as spiritual tools and his take on that was very interesting, to say the least. So welcome to episode 420, A Mystic Speaks: Reincarnation, Past Lives and Spiritual Simplicity with Gurudev. Enjoy the show and make sure to stick around for the meditation he presents at the end. It's awesome. Gurudev, welcome to the Life Stylist podcast.

Gurudev:  [00:04:52] Thank you for having me.

Luke Storey:  [00:04:53] Yeah, it's such an honor to meet you. Now I know we have a brief period of time in which I have so many questions to ask you. So I'm going to try and cherry-pick some of my favorite ones. But I want to start with your early life. When did you get the sense that your Dharmic path in life had to do with spirituality?

Gurudev:  [00:05:20] Spirituality was like fish to water for me. So from the very beginning, from my childhood, I was deeply engrossed in it.

Luke Storey:  [00:05:30] Was this part of your family system or something that you just gravitated toward? 

Gurudev:  [00:05:35] No. Though my family was spiritual, but they were not anything into it as much as I had. In fact, they were trying to veer me away from it, my mother, especially. She was a little scared that I might just renounce and go away.

Luke Storey:  [00:05:52] Right. You might wander off to the Himalayas and live in a cave and forget about your family. I'm so curious, as I was telling you before we recorded, I've always been fascinated by the fact that so many enlightened beings and mystics in this time period over the past couple of 100 years have come from India. You have Maharaji, Maharishi, Muktananda, Ramana Maharshi, I mean, just on and on legitimate, high consciousness beings and yet you don't see a bunch of them coming from Italy or Africa or different places, or maybe they're there and we don't know. Do you have any sense of why in this time period so many mystics have emerged from there?

Gurudev:  [00:06:38] Yeah. See, maple trees are found in Canada. Do you see that? Olives you can get not everywhere, in some places. Perhaps time and space has its own dimension, its own equations. But I tell you, there have been saints also from Assisi, from Middle East, from Jerusalem, from those areas, and there have been saints in North America as well. If you walk around in Quebec, you find all the streets named after saints. So yes, the nondual philosophy of India is very unique, and it has its roots there, which is universal. The thought that whole world is one family originated from India, no doubt. And so it's a specialty there that people are more tuned to this philosophy and knowledge and light.

Luke Storey:  [00:07:58] And have you ever explored why it seems that there-- so speaking of this lineage of mystics, they have been predominantly male. And I've always wondered, just speaking of India specifically, you have Amma the hugging saint, you have Amma Bhagavan, I'm sure there are others that I'm not aware of, one spiritual teacher that I've studied quite a bit gave the opinion or belief that there are perhaps more males that reach higher states of consciousness, and I'm going to piss off some women here, this is not me, but it has to do with the male nervous system being able to withstand more power.

Gurudev:  [00:08:37] No, I disagree with that. For the spirit, there is no male or female. In fact, each one of us is made up of both mother and father. Inside you, there is a male. Inside you, there is a female. The spirit is different from the physical appearing body. So when you go to the subtler aspect of yourself, see, in breath there is no male breath and female breath. Gender is limited to our body. To some extent, it has its shadow on the mind too. But beyond that, the spirit or God is beyond gender.

Luke Storey:  [00:09:20] Right. So I've wondered that perhaps the females that have had spiritual knowledge and wisdom maybe haven't been as vocal about it or have been suppressed or not recognized maybe, right?

Gurudev:  [00:09:33] There has been many female saints in India. Andal of South India was born in the 12th century and Mira was there. She was acknowledged by everyone. Even today, the songs of Mira is all over the place. So there has been saints. In Kashmir also there was the saint. So, yes, you don't have to be saint for the whole population. They could be taking care of their family, their surrounding. I see a saint hiding in maybe every grandmother.

Luke Storey:  [00:10:13] I've had experiences where I think generally people we tend to put people on pedestals as like our teacher or savior,  and so there are these enlightened or exalted beings. And we sometimes view them as having something that we don't possess. And then I've had experiences wherein I've met just a householder, regular person and they seem enlightened to me. They figured it out. They found the key to joy and liberation and no one knows except this one that can see maybe.

Gurudev:  [00:10:46] There are two roles. One is to realize oneself, to get enlightened. Another aspect is to able to convey that to people, convey to Midians. These are two different roles. Even Raman Maharshi was there. Very few people know about him. But then people who got the knowledge, wisdom from him, then they started sharing with everybody, then everyone comes to know about him. So finding the unconditional love within you is one aspect and the ability or the role to give that to everyone is a second thing. So being a teacher or a master has its own specific role. So not everybody needs to be that.

Luke Storey:  [00:11:42] Someone could be enlightened humbly and quietly and not necessarily have the same role as teaching or carrying that on. Got it. What's the deal with reincarnation? I have had the sense in numerous mystical experiences in my life that I've been here many, many times before on this path of seeking God. What is your perspective or the Vedic perspective on reincarnation? 

Gurudev:  [00:12:09] Oh yeah, it is there, I know. I've been here before. Reincarnation, today you can't deny it. Even science has recognized that. You have past life regression therapy as one of the therapies and many psychological labs and clinics use it. And parapsychology has become part of research institutes around the world. It is there, yeah. The thoughts and emotions, desires and fears, anxieties, they go with you. Those impressions go with your spirit. And you come right back when the opportunity is there to release them.

Luke Storey:  [00:13:02] Do you think there are individual soul that keeps coming back and reincarnated in different bodies with different circumstances? Do you have the sense or anything that that soul has evolved through different like a hierarchy of species, starting from a bacteria to fungus to shellfish to gopher to deer to human kind of thing? 

Gurudev:  [00:13:28] Yeah. 

Luke Storey:  [00:13:29] Is there any truth to that? Or do you think that there's just different planes of souls and we're in the human soul plane?

Gurudev:  [00:13:37] No, there is a progression from one life to another life, one species to another species.

Luke Storey:  [00:13:48] And do you know how long in between generally human incarnations we exist in the non-physical?

Gurudev:  [00:13:58] In between life you mean? How long we hang out there?

Luke Storey:  [00:14:01] Yeah. So when I drop this body, how long am I going to hang out in the etheric realm before I pop back in?

Gurudev:  [00:14:11] There is no criteria. You cannot say that exactly you will come after six months, one year, two years. It's totally variable. You can come maybe in 10 days' time or you may not come 1,000 years.

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I did the whole InsideTracker deal recently and was actually shocked to find that I was less than perfect in some areas. My cholesterol and B vitamins were high, for example, and a few other things that need a little tweaking. There was, of course, also some good news as my overall health score was that of a much younger person and certainly more optimized than your average American. And that's the point. The whole goal with InsideTracker is to be optimized, not normal. So they don't merely show you the normal biomarkers zones. They show you the optimal biomarker zones and numbers that are best for your individual body. 

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Gurudev:  [00:18:33] There are three possibilities. One is at the time of conception. The second is when the embryo is formed very well. At the time, that's about fourth month or fifth month time. And then the third is sometimes even at the time of birth. 

Luke Storey:  [00:18:56] Really? 

Gurudev:  [00:18:57] Just before the birth.

Luke Storey:  [00:18:59] Wow. Do you think it's possible that one soul could embody an embryo and then change its mind in a sense and someone new comes in?

Gurudev:  [00:19:10] Oh yes. 

Luke Storey:  [00:19:11] Really? I'm asking you these questions that are obviously age old, just questions that humanity has yearned to have answers for. Do the answers that you arrive at come from within, from meditation, or text or teachings that you read or?

Gurudev:  [00:19:28] Absolutely. Any intuitive knowledge that we all have, we're just downloading them. Our brain just downloads those information. And then whether it is authentic or not, the scriptures are there to look into. Sometimes you're only imagining. You can be in your own imagination in a trip of what we call a yogmire. It's an illusion of yoga. You can have your own imaginations snip into it. To avoid that, you also have to look into the tested documents from long time.

Luke Storey:  [00:20:23] Because one could have an attachment to the outcome that they desire and just going like, oh, my intuition is telling me this or that, right?

Gurudev:  [00:20:32] It needs authentication. That comes from the scriptures.

Luke Storey:  [00:20:36] Got it. Wherever to my understanding and how I make sense of life is that I have the sense that I incarnated here as a spiritual school, this earth school with the opportunity to undo what could be best described, I guess, as negative karma and to earn positive karma and to evolve as the soul. 

Gurudev:  [00:20:59] No, no, no, don't take it off too seriously. You have come here to play a role. Have fun.

Luke Storey:  [00:21:09] Okay. It can't be that simple, no.

Gurudev:  [00:21:12] Yes, you come here to celebrate life. You've not come here to do something very hard and go somewhere. It's like a playground. Life is like a play. It's a stage wherein you go, you take a role and you play the role. You play it well, and you come back.

Luke Storey:  [00:21:37] Well, in this play, it seems to be inherent with so much suffering for so many people. Are these people that have not yet realized that it is a play and that it is a game and--

Gurudev:  [00:21:50] Yes. You forgot it's a play. And this is the first realization one gets when one leaves the body. Hey, come on, I was in the game there. Even if you watch a soccer game, the people who feel they're losing, they are so stressed out there. Their aim is to get the goal to win the game. And many times they find themselves in a space that looks as though it's a matter of life and death.

Luke Storey:  [00:22:31] Yeah, especially my British friends if I imagine that way. You see them with a scowl on their face. Man, what's wrong? Did somebody die? No, my team lost, Manchester lost or whatever. Who cares? But we all I think can at times take ourselves too seriously and forget that it is a game.

Gurudev:  [00:22:52] Of course, we have no context to life. We should have a broader context. Now you're talking about bigger context here. We have come here many times, and we will continue coming here. So this awareness itself is not there. And we don't even look back at our own life experiences, which gives us some more confidence to move forward. 

See, if you're worried, then you don't look back and say, I was worrying like this 10 years back, five years back. And I'm still alive, I'm okay. I'm doing well. Why do I worry again? This thought doesn't get kindled in one because we don't look back. It's so interesting to see life from a limited perspective and at the same time see it from a broad perspective with a bigger context.

Luke Storey:  [00:23:56] Is there a level of consciousness at which a soul doesn't find it necessary to reincarnate into the human experience again? Is there an ascension ladder of sorts where you get to a point where there's no need to be here anymore?

Gurudev:  [00:24:13] Yeah, once you're free you're not compelled to come back. But if you wish you can come.

Luke Storey:  [00:24:19] Do you think some souls come back solely to be of service, to carry the good work? 

Gurudev:  [00:24:22] Oh, yeah, the one sitting here. We come here to do something. We want to do this, but like we come. 

Luke Storey:  [00:24:33] So you do all of this incredible humanitarian work in the world. Your team was telling me about your touring schedule. It sounds quite grueling. You're going to all these cities, doing all these talks, other interviews, I'm presuming. And you're doing much good in the world. I like to do good in the world as well. But then I go back to the, I think it was Ramana Maharshi, who said, the world you see doesn't even exist. So I see these problems in the world and I want to go stop wars and fix these problems, yet the world that I see is largely based on my perception of it. It's a projection of what I think it is and should be. And I'm always trying to reconcile doing good in the world and yet knowing that the world is how it should be and it's up to God.

Gurudev:  [00:25:25] Yeah, that keeps you sane. If you get so entrenched in it, then you can't smile even. You get into that Maya, that illusion. When you know the truth, then nothing stops you, nothing bothers you. You're just in your element, and you're not making an effort to show your compassion or love. You are there. So you can't but express it. It's in your nature.

Luke Storey:  [00:25:57] So it's not so much fighting against evil, fighting poverty, fighting suffering, this is a different energy.

Gurudev:  [00:26:05] No, it's different. It come from completely different space. You are just there and let things happen.

Luke Storey:  [00:26:16] Would you say that your approach then spiritually is more about just acknowledging what's already present rather than striving after some spiritual goal?

Gurudev:  [00:26:28] Yeah, absolutely. There are different levels. For a beginner, they should have a goal. They should get into this path. Once you're on the path, you have to relax. When you want to catch a train, you have to make an effort to get into the train. But once you're in the train, you have to put down your luggage and relax. No point in running inside the train. It doesn't get you any faster. 

Luke Storey:  [00:27:01] That's good. That's good. 

Gurudev:  [00:27:03] So till the plane takes off, you have to get to the plane. I mean, till you cast the flight, you have to make your effort. So life is a combination of both effort and effortlessness. At some point, you have to make effort. As you said, you came out of the truck. If you say, let things happen how it is, it can destroy your body. At some point, you said, no, I don't want that, but I want something higher. But why do in the first place I go to drug? Because I'm not just satisfied with what I get through the five senses. Because my soul's hunger is to see something beyond the five senses. Not seeing touching, smelling, this is not enough. Yeah, it gives some pleasure, but you're not satisfied by that.

Luke Storey:  [00:27:56] And using drugs as an escape, and that--

Gurudev:  [00:27:59] Drugs, you're looking for some higher states of consciousness or elevation of mind or the spirit, when you can get that just by meditation using your own breath. And by as you said, check the path or transfer of energy, why would you go for something which would cause harm to you?

Luke Storey:  [00:28:23] I think in my case, there was just a lot of unresolved trauma. It was like I needed anesthesia really. One thing I was also curious about is in different cultures around the world and on continents like Africa and South America, historically, a native and indigenous people have used plant medicines, ayahuasca, mushrooms, different hallucinogenic psychedelic things in order to heal their traumas and to connect with spirit. And yet it seems according to my research, that this has not been largely part of the culture in Indian spirituality. 

And subjectively in my life, although I meditated for many years and was very devoted spiritually, there were certain traumas and things that I couldn't seem to overcome until I found those medicines and they've been incredibly transformative and healing for me. I'm curious your perspective on not using drugs recreationally, but the intentional ceremonial use of substances of that nature.

Gurudev:  [00:29:36] There is a much easier way to alter our chemistry within us, just by breathing and some other practices. You don't need to depend on substances which are out there. Yes, the yoga society said some herbs do elevate or give you calm and composture in the mind, but you have to also see what impact it has on our physiology later on. If we are so dependent on the medicines or drugs outside, it can make you more dependent on something. Otherwise, you can't even get into this state. Here you want freedom from everything. They offer more dependence. 

That is where you'd prefer to just get into meditation deeper. And no need to escape. Why you want to escape? No, this is painful. Some thoughts, some experiences of the past are painful. Now, instead of trying to escape that sensation, you observe, go through it, you will see they just disappear. This is what we do in the silence retreats often, silence retreats all over the world. People come with all type of trauma, even from this war, the war veterans and people who want to commit suicide, they all come, they just have full five days of silence, complete relief from traumas, and they go back happily.

Luke Storey:  [00:31:25] Yeah, I guess part of that, say someone's had a lot of trauma or suffering and they find spirituality as a solution, is there not a risk of spiritual bypass of just, everything's great, I'm happy, be happy, be kind, be compassionate, yet there's this whole suitcase of stuff that you're lugging around in your subconscious that hasn't been addressed?

Gurudev:  [00:31:50] No, [inaudible 00:31:52] that doesn't last too long. This is mood-making when you go to some party and just being there rock music and say, oh, yeah, I feel very good. If you go for some counseling and you feel there is temporary values that comes on to you. That's not enough. You have to go deep in meditation and cleanse all those, remove all those impressions. And that's what the meditation silence program does.

Luke Storey:  [00:32:21] So when you're taking these multiple days of silence and deep inner meditation that is creating space.

Gurudev:  [00:32:28] Yeah, it create space and relieves you of all those baggage you were mentioning about. It just gets rid of that.

Luke Storey:  [00:32:38] And when you talk about and recommend meditation, is there a particular style? I know I've done Vedic meditation for a long time. Or what type of meditation do you teach?

Gurudev:  [00:32:49] There a number of meditations we teach. Basic thing is Sudarshan Kriya, the sky breathing technique with that, then we have Samadhi meditation. Given number of different types of meditation, it suits many different mindsets.

Luke Storey:  [00:33:13] So in deeply meditative experiences, I've observed myself as the witness observer of the phenomenon of me as a personality as a persona, you were able to dissociate from the mind and the ego part of yourself. And then beyond that, there seems to be this interdimensional quantum realm that is there and accessible through those practices. In that realm, at times I've experienced the presence of other beings. Do you think that there are-- I don't want to call them aliens, but have you experienced interdimensional entities and beings?

Gurudev:  [00:33:59] There are levels. There are several levels of beings that are out there, but they're all part of our own consciousness. So you don't feel separate from them when you really know them. So it's all like, there is [inaudible 00:34:21], seven colors in the sunrays. In the universal consciousness, there are many flavors. And so it is called the divine impulses of our own consciousness. It's a very, very fascinating, interesting phenomenon. Spiritual realm is not a dull, boring, stagnant state where you just sit and become empty and then go along with your life. It's a journey which tickles you and applies a completely new dimension to our life. 

So it makes your life here very rich in the sense that is abundance in all those values that you cherish. There is compassion. There is friendliness. There is love and you don't feel any sense of lack at all or loneliness. And that's why I say it is the first step you take. One more thing I would like to say is this spirituality is like an ocean. It's up to you what you want to pick up from that. You can just go for a stroll on the beach, you can go for scuba diving, you can go take oil out of it. It is unlimited. The possibilities are unlimited. But I feel life begins with this opening. Before that, one simply exists, taking care of some small things. But when the opening happen, that's when the life begins because you are access to many dimensions.

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It's like a warm desert except it's actually really good for you. Organifi Gold is, of course, completely organic. It's also gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, and, of course, thank God, non-GMO. So if you're looking for an alternative to sweets and coffee late in the day or at night, Organifi Gold is the ticket. You can get your Gold over at organifi.com/lifestylist, that's O-R-G-AN-I-F-I. Organifi with an I, organifi.com/lifestylist and they are going to give you 20% off anything in the store if you use the code lifestylist. Again that's organifi.com/lifestylist and the code is lifestylist. In terms of the different menu options one has when in spiritual pursuit, for someone who has identified as their calling, self-realization and enlightenment, what is the path toward that?

Gurudev:  [00:40:25] First and foremost is get rid of stress. Stress and tension, anxiety, depression, you must be away from these things. And aggressive mindset, that also is not suitable at all. So to get out of all this, we have to know about our own breath, our own body. We have seven layers to our existence-- body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego, and then the self. Self is the seventh one. To realize self, we need to get an idea about all these other aspects of us. And with this, then it's by grace that you are open to a new dimension. So you do your effort, but then what comes to you comes to you. It depends on it.

Luke Storey:  [00:41:28] Yeah, it really is, as you indicated earlier, it's that balance of striving and allowing. There's a certain intention, and maybe even actions one must take, otherwise-- someone used to say it like this to me, he said, you can sit in the closet all day long and pray to God to put hot dogs through the keyhole. At some point, you got to open the door if you want to eat, something like that. I probably botched it.

Gurudev:  [00:41:55] Yeah, see, now this window is that you can keep the curtains on and even when the sun is there, you will find it dark inside. But if you open the window in the night and say there's no sun there, no sun is going to come. But you have to keep the window open. In the same way, here there is certain amount of self-effort that is needed. And after that, it's only patience, your faith, and then whatever you had to get.

Luke Storey:  [00:42:31] Yeah, I think it's inherent to Western culture to push and strive and work. And when that's applied to spirituality, it ends up being counterproductive in some way. Like, I'm going to get enlightened today. Maybe it's about putting in appropriate effort and then leaving the results to God. 

Gurudev:  [00:42:51] Yes, and then let go. 

Luke Storey:  [00:42:53] Yeah. What's your take on--

Gurudev:  [00:42:56] Sex and love? 

Luke Storey:  [00:42:58] Yeah. 

Gurudev:  [00:43:01] Love is all about letting be and letting go, trying to pull and possess. Love is the trust, yes. I am here. I want nothing. I do nothing. I am nothing. These principles is good enough for someone to rise to higher levels.

Luke Storey:  [00:43:31] My next question, you alluded into the topic of love, and in romantic love, what's the spiritual approach to human sexuality of just having sex versus making love and the energetics of how we can most appropriately interact with people on that level?

Gurudev:  [00:43:58] Sex is a need of the body and it stays from some age to some age. It doesn't continue with you forever or it was not there before you were 10 year old. But love is your very nature. That is the nature of your spirit. And a small expression of love could be in the form of sex. So sex is neither bad nor it is good. It's not the ultimate everything and it's not bad either. But you'll see that there is an aspect in you which is much higher, that you feel that same joy, bliss and without having to do an action. That is Samadhi. That is blissful meditation. I mean, it's a very great subject and big subject. If you go into it, we can keep talking what Samadhi is. In fact, in the ancient Rishi's words, Samadhi is described in units of sex. One unit of sex is how much bliss you get? Samadhi is 1,000 such units.

Luke Storey:  [00:45:26] Really? 

Gurudev:  [00:45:27] Yeah. 

Luke Storey:  [00:45:28] That's interesting. 

Gurudev:  [00:45:30] It means 1,000 units of that joy, the pleasure you get is what you get in a moment of Samadhi. So we have to see life from a very different perspective, a bigger perspective, then you see that our body is a tiny part of our consciousness.

Luke Storey:  [00:45:59] Yet it's so easy to get consumed with the desires of the body, the needs of the body, the distraction. I mean, even in the industry that I'm in, I have conversations around consciousness, but also around physical health and biohacking and all this stuff. And I've observed within myself how at times, being so wrapped up in being physically healthy can be a distraction from actually just being present.

Gurudev:  [00:46:26] But we usually think to the extremes, either we ignore our body totally and not care for it or we are so caught up in it. I would say, go with the middle path. Take care of body. Have good food, have good rest, exercise, all that is necessary for the body. But that is not the end. There is something more. And when you are sharing yourself with everybody, then the real unconditional love in life blossoms. Then all the small needs of yours doesn't even matter to you. When you have a mission, and you have a vision, then you see tiny needs, the small things, just they go to the background.

Luke Storey:  [00:47:26] Yeah, I've heard so many stories about, again, back to some of these Indian saints and mystics, about Yogananda and Maharishi, and these different characters wherein they would barely sleep or eat food. They're living in a totally different kind of plane of reality.

Gurudev:  [00:47:46] The body doesn't require much. It doesn't require much. But at the same time, I'm telling you we should not ignore when, say, Lord Mahavir, he just ate only few days in a year. But if someone tried to imitate that, they're harming their own system. So we have to be very natural.

Luke Storey:  [00:48:13] What's your sleeping schedule like? I'm curious. 

Gurudev:  [00:48:17] Three hours. 

Luke Storey:  [00:48:18] Three hours a night and you have energy to go on tour and do all this? See, you got something figured out. I'm going to listen back to this interview 10 times, like, what was it? Because I've noticed that with-- 

Gurudev:  [00:48:31] Sometimes I get even two hours. 

Luke Storey:  [00:48:33] Really? And you still feel functional and vital and all that?

Gurudev:  [00:48:38] Mm-hmm.  

Luke Storey:  [00:48:38] Wow, that's incredible. Do you think that for some of us that perhaps we're burning up energy taking life too seriously and that's why we need seven or eight hours?

Gurudev:  [00:48:51] No, no we don't need to-- just three. If the body needs that much, you should give it. Sometimes I do sleep for six hours, five hours, once in a while so just to make sure that I'm not using any-- I have the capacity to sleep longer too, so you don't suffer from insomnia. It doesn't amount to that. So when you do pranayama meditation or you have something important to do, you get energy from other sources. So meditation gives you some energy.

Luke Storey:  [00:49:31] I've heard it said that 20 minutes of deep meditation is equivalent to three-hour sleep or different equations like that. 

Gurudev:  [00:49:39] About five or six hours of sleep. 

Luke Storey:  [00:49:40] Yeah, and do you find in your daily life now that you're still keeping up with your meditation practice, is it regimented or just kind of--

Gurudev:  [00:49:47] No, no regimented. For me walking, talking, sitting, talking is all meditational.

Luke Storey:  [00:49:55] Would you say that-- again, I don't want to frame it as a goal, but it seems to me that, as you said, getting on the plane, getting on the train, doing some work to arrive there, but then at a certain point--

Gurudev:  [00:50:09] I am at home. I have nowhere to go.

Luke Storey:  [00:50:13] So perhaps it's arriving at a place where your life is a prayer, your life is a meditation, right? 

Gurudev:  [00:50:23] Yeah. 

Luke Storey:  [00:50:24] Yeah, I like that perspective.

Gurudev:  [00:50:26] You don't need to do anything. But still I sit because then I have no right to tell others to meditate if I don't. 

Luke Storey:  [00:50:34] Good points. 

Gurudev:  [00:50:34] So I do sit for meditation, though I need not.

Luke Storey:  [00:50:39] Good point. All right. Listen, I got one last question for you. I know you got to go get on a plane and continue your tour of the United States here. Thank you for gracing us with your presence in this country and on this podcast. My last question is, who are three teachers or teachings that have influenced your life that you could share with us?

Gurudev:  [00:51:06] I can't say that some particular person has influenced me totally or changed or transformed me because from my childhood I had this vision. But of course, I had association of many saints in my teenage. And my mother, of course, was very spiritual. She was very spiritual too. So in my teenage, I spent time with [inaudible 00:51:48]. So like the saints, [inaudible 00:51:59] picked me up when I was a student. And because I knew the literature so he asked me to come. He used to ask chant and go on Vedic science too. He was conducting Veda and science conferences. So he used to ask me to participate in those talks with the scientist because I was both a student of science and Vedic literature. I was very interested. But when you're awake you can get lessons from everything. And it's more of unlearning than learning. Spiritual knowledge is not learning from something from somebody. It's more how you can learn to unlearn. 

Luke Storey:  [00:52:56] Feared mic drop, thank you so much. I appreciate you coming by today. That's a beautiful ending note there. It's about unlearning, folks, not getting more, perhaps getting rid of the things that are no longer valid or true.

Gurudev:  [00:53:10] Yeah, not get stuck in the information that you get. Pick up all of them. 

Luke Storey:  [00:53:22] Awesome. Thank you so much. 

Gurudev:  [00:53:24] Okay, lovely. 

Luke Storey:  [00:53:25] Well, that brings the conversation portion of this episode to a close. However, as discussed in the intro, Gurudev did offer an incredible 20-minute meditation, which he guides and I thought that that would be a really neat gift for you to experience his work in real-time. So you might want to take a pause here for a moment. Find somewhere safe, comfortable, quiet, where you feel like you can drop into the zone. 

And if you're somewhere like that already, more power to you, I'm going to go ahead and introduce this meditation. And I'll be back next week with episode 421, The Holistic OBGYN: Unconscious Birth and Death Practices and Traditions with Dr. Nathan Riley. And finally, thanks to our sponsors, InsideTracker, Organifi, Joymode, and the newest member of the Life Stylist podcast family, Ned. Those guys are true CBD masters. I love their stuff. I actually took some a couple of hours ago before I started recording, and I'm feeling hella relaxed. So thank you so much for listening. I'll be back next Tuesday.

Gurudev:  [00:54:44] Eyes closed. Now you don't need to listen to my instruction intentively.  Just listen to it like you would listen to your music, relaxed. And never mind even if you miss some instructions. Your mind may drift away, never mind. It's okay to get drifted. Eyes closed, body relaxed. Remember the weight of your body, whatever it is, 60 kilos or 130 pounds and 90 pounds, whatever is the weight of your body just remember this. We came into this world weighing just seven pounds or eight pounds. Today we weigh 130 pounds, 150 pounds. Place the weight of your body on the chair you're sitting. Rather just pay attention. The chair you're sitting is carrying the weight of your body. 

At this point, recollect your age, whatever it is, 50, 60, 70, those many years have passed. And another 30, 40, 50 years we will continue in the body and then it gets back to the nature, to the Earth. Our body has billions and trillions of cells. Let us honor our own body. It is the most precious gift to us from nature, from God. Let's honor our own body. 

Let's take our attention to the top of the head and relax your head, and relax your forehead, and eyebrow, and eyes. And take your attention through your whole body like a viscous fluid, like honey slowly coming to the back of the head. Relax the brain and your ears, cheeks. Then gently come down to your chin and throat. Bring your attention down to your chest and shoulder. Take your time. Let's keep a big smile on your face and allow the smile to percolate through the whole body, and your shoulders and hands, palms, the thorax region. Relax your hips and legs. Honor your own body. It's the most amazing and beautiful gift to us. Let us honor our own body. 

Let's move on to the second dimension-- the breath. It's the breath that is keeping this body alive. From the time we came into this planet till departure, our dear friend and companion is our breath. Let's take a deep breath in and breathe out. Another deep breathe in and slowly let go. Like fish in the water, we are in the air. Become aware of the air all around the body and inside the body. Then continue to take long deep breaths. Incoming breath energizes the body while outgoing breath brings relaxation. Let's become familiar with this phenomena. It's happening all the time. The breath energizes every cell of our body and it relaxes too. Let's take five long, deep breaths and slowly breathe them out, feeling the relaxation [inaudible 01:04:09]. 

Let's move on to the third dimension of mind. Our body is like the wick of a candle. The mind is like the glow all around it. Our body is inside the mind. As you relax, the mind expands and vice versa. As you become aware of looseness, your body finds relaxation. Another deep breath in with a smile. Hold the breath and let go. Whatever thoughts are coming into mind, just let them come. Good thoughts, bad thoughts, they come and they go on their own. Let them come. Embrace all the thoughts. 

Another deep breathe in. Let's become aware of the walls of this hall, become aware of the ceiling, and the volume of this entire hall. Let's relax our body with your hands free. Let go of all your efforts. Let go of all your efforts. At this moment there's nothing to do and nothing to know either. Let your mind expand more. Become aware of the vast sky and let go of all your efforts. [Inaudible 01:10:50] and yourself with a smile. Let go of all your efforts. [Singing 01:12:44] Slowly and gradually become aware of your body and surroundings and gently open your eyes. Take your time.   



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