Gurudev, what is your message that we should take back home?
Sri Sri: Listen, this is like coming to a super market and asking, ‘What is it that I should take back home?’ (Laughter) What do you think the staff will say? They will tell you, ‘Take whatever you can’.
So everything is available here (at the Ashram), from bliss to bananas (laughter). Some come here with a little shradhha (devotion) and just take a piece of banana which they find sweet. Some come here with complete devotion and take back bliss. So you can ask whatever you want and take home whatever you wish! It shall be given. Drop all your problems and concerns here.
Gurudev, in the Ashtavakra Gita it is said, ‘Do not engage in doership as you are not the doer. And the Gita says that when you are established in your Self, you have a choice. How do we have a choice when we are not the doer?
Sri Sri: Knowledge has many levels. When you are not the doer, you are also not the one who will experience the fruits of karma. And when you are not the one who experiences the fruits of karma, where is the question of any choice then? Do you understand?
It is like how in Quantum physics where they say that everything is made up of atoms and molecules. So a piece of coal and a piece of diamond is both made up of atoms.
If you look at it this way, there is no difference between a piece of coal and a diamond because they are both made of the same type of atoms. But practically, you cannot use a piece of diamond instead of coal, and neither can you wear coal earrings.
So there is a difference between the practical truth and the spiritual truth. And when you take both of these together in life, that is when your experience completeness.
If you keep repeating to yourself, ‘I am not the doer but I am experiencing the results of my karma’, then that is wrong. Whenever you experience the fruits of any action, you automatically become the doer.
This is why Lord Krishna says, ‘Kiḿ karma kim akarmeti. kavayo 'py atra mohitāḥ’. (4.16) ‘Even the greatest of saints and the most intelligent get confused when determining what action to do and what not to do. I shall explain to you what action is but first you must become a Yogi (one who is steadfast on the path of Yoga).’
When you become a Yogi, then whatever action that you do, will naturally and effortlessly turn out to be right in all aspects.
Gurudev, if love means to spread joy and happiness, then why does it hurt so much?
Sri Sri: You know, the first experience we have when we come to this planet is pain. When we came out of the mother’s womb it was painful. It was painful for both the mother and the child.
For nine months, the child happily floats within the mother’s womb and has to do nothing. Its food is directly supplied to the stomach and it does not even have to chew anything.
As a baby, you were in such a blissful condition for nine months and then suddenly the water disappeared and you were forced to come out of that comfort zone. That was painful for you. So that was your very first experience of coming to the planet.
When you first came, it was so painful that you started crying. If you would have not cried, then your parents would have cried! So you cried and the people around you laughed (in joy and happiness at birth). Just imagine what it was like, you cried on being born and everyone else was happy.
Your second experience was love. After being born when your mother took you in her arms, you felt so much love and care. Everybody in the family loved you. Your grandmother, grandfather, uncles, aunties, everyone. All loved you and gave you so much attention. But all this came after experiencing a little pain, isn’t it? So pain is a part of love and you should simply swallow the bitter pill. It is good for you. Do not try to run away from the pain. If you run away from the pain, you also run away from love.
Gurudev, in order to become multi-talented, we tend to direct our energies into multiple fields and end up being unsuccessful. What should we do?
Sri Sri: You know, as young boys and girls, you should not think about this now. This is the time to develop many talents. When you cross your teen age, then one thing will stick with you. But before that time, do not worry about what is the one thing that you should do. No, I would not agree to this. Right now, you should be a jack of all trades.
Work towards developing as many talents as you can. Learn as many languages as you can. This is the time to learn. You should be good at music, cooking, games, painting, etc. And then later on you should see what sticks on to you.
How can one get rid of guilt?
Sri Sri: Why do you want to get rid of guilt right away? A little guilt is actually good for you. A little pricking of that guilt will save you from repeating the same mistake again and again. So it is okay to keep a little guilt. But if it becomes too much, then we will see.
Gurudev, when you came to the Kumbh Mela (a sacred and mass Hindu pilgrimage) at the Banjara river, there were a few Naga Swamis (a clan of ascetics following the Naga school of spiritual practices) there who were very scary. Why are they like that?
Sri Sri: Well I also wonder why they are like that! (Laughter) Perhaps they have never read the Bhagavad Gita. Lord Krishna would not approve of them.
This is why Lord Krishna has said in the Gita: ‘Na-aham prakasah sarvasya yoga-maya-samavrtah. Mudho 'yam nabhijanati loko mam ajam avyayam’. (7.25)
He says, ‘These people, they do not know Me’.
Such people are lost in their own world and they keep torturing themselves. But amongst them you will find some really great people as well. So you should not label someone as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ just on outward appearance.
We need to accept that there are different (spiritual) traditions in this country, and different ways of thinking.
Gurudev, it is said that when one has accumulated Paapa (sins), then one does not feel like doing Sadhana (spiritual practices) or going to Satsang. But if at some point of time if we become aware that this is happening because of a particular karma, then can we overcome it by purushartha (making efforts)?
Sri Sri: Yes, absolutely. That is the intelligent thing to do also. Such people are the intelligent ones. You cannot call them foolish or ignorant. When you are aware of a wrong action you have done, then Sadhana and Satsang can help you cut away all these negative karmas.