Could you advise on what is the best way of going into meditation. And is there any kind of special music which can enable you to access that space better?
(Ritu Kumar: Fashion designer from India (Recipient of the Padmashree in 2013))
Sri Sri: Meditation is very simple, and it just takes a couple of days to learn. Once you learn it then you can do it on your own. Then you can do it anytime and anywhere you want. But only before meals, okay! What happens during meditation is our metabolism slows down; whereas after food our metabolism goes up. So it is better to meditate two to three hours before food, or after a good meal.
Meditation is good, it makes our body strong, health better, mind clear, and our emotions become softer and positive. It improves our intuitive ability, improves our vibrations, and brings such a positive energy around us. There are so many benefits to it.
Q: When I came here, as I entered the door, I had a lot of questions. But when I sat down I realized that this whole session is about finding your inner peace, and that was a beautiful realization.
My question, today, is about Africa. You had mentioned earlier that simply sending food is not a solution. I would like your guidance on how to further charity in Africa to a new level and make it a more sustainable solution. Africa is a forgotten continent. They are going through a lot of pain and I want your guidance to help them better.
(Her Excellency Sheikha Hind Khalid Khalid Al Qasimi: A designer and editor from UAE.)
Sri Sri: You know, I was also thinking on these lines: how we can help Africa more. There are 3 dimensions we all have to work for.
First is, we have to see that corruption doesn’t happen. Billions of dollars are being siphoned off into the pockets of just a few political leaders; if I’m right.
When I was in the European parliament, I met several people who informed me that many of these African leaders have stashed their money away in London. So the first thing we need to do is to create a sense of awareness in them that there is a need for a strong anti-corruption bill, or some such thing will have to happen. Such a moment has to come up there.
Second is, creating a sense of belongingness among the people. A lot of money is wasted in ethnic conflicts in Africa. People can just get together, and instead of getting into conflict, celebrate their diversity.
Africa is not one, there are so many diverse little sections, groups, and tribes. They should celebrate this difference together. For this India can be the best example, because in India, every 200 kilometers a different language is spoken! It’s almost like Europe.
Just take the whole of Europe, how many different languages are there; how many different countries are there, yet it is all in one country. Similarly, in some provinces in India, there are 10-15 tribes, but they all celebrate together, they remain together. There aren't such big ethnic conflicts.
So we need to teach people how to live harmoniously in spite of their differences. This can be inculcated in the education system. South Africa has done it to a very big extent. Botswana has done it to some extent. Rest of Africa should do this.
Just giving out charity is not enough. We need to teach them how to fish. We need to teach them how to stand on their feet. This is what I believe in.
Women will be playing a very important role in the next years as the new era progresses. So, how can they develop Shakti (strength) so that they can be more empowered to do a better job?
(Márcia De Luca: Specialist in Yoga and health from Brazil)
Sri Sri: First thing I would say is, they should watch their food. More healthy food, more organic food.
Second is, they should not stop singing. In this country, if you see in the villages, when women go for working in the fields, they keep humming and singing. So singing gives a lot of energy to do their work with enthusiasm. Men are more shy to sing than women. So women should not leave their habit of humming and singing. Singing can give them a lot of energy.
Third thing is, do some yoga and pranayama.
So, you say that for a good relationship, we have to pamper the husband’s ego. As a working woman, I find that my potential gets limited because I have to do the same for my male bosses and my male colleagues.
Sri Sri: Oh, you don’t have to do it all the time! You should have some fun in the office as well. Sometime poke their ego and see what happens. Have fun!
One thing is for sure, whether at home or at workplace, don’t sacrifice your smile for anything on the planet. Nothing is worth it.
Keep your smile. This does not mean that you have to keep smiling at others all the time, but your heart should be smiling. When you give a comment to your boss and he is boiling, you should smile and watch how he is boiling and changing his colors and expressions. See the blood shooting into his eyes. Just watch and have a good time.
If you have that much inner strength or peace; the inner smile then that is it, you become invincible. I tell you, you are invincible. Just wake up and recognize the huge potential you have. The ocean of love and compassion that you have. You recognizing your self is good enough to bring a change in the world. That is why Mahatma Gandhi has said, be the change you want to see in the world.
Gurudev, you tell us to live in the moment, but you also say that we must have goals in life. Is this not contradictory? If one has to live in the moment, then why have goals in life?
Sri Sri: Life is so complex! It is not just simple. It is so complex and that is the beauty of it! That is why it is beautiful.
Our body has a form, color and shape, but our mind doesn’t have any of those. We are combination of the most obvious, and the completely abstract the mind. A combination of both. Something which is so tangible, and something which is so airy. You can’t put a finger and say, 'This is my mind'.
So, we are a combination of very complex and diverse principles of nature, that is why we are so complete. So you live in the present moment, but have a great vision for the future. You can do both. And we all possess this ability.
Gurudev, if the combination of all three, i.e., Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth), Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge) and Durga (the goddess of power and strength) was not possible, and if you had to choose only one, then which of the three forms should a woman choose in today’s day and age.
Sri Sri: Listen, the Indian mythology gave all the power to women. All the important ministries were assigned to womenfolk. The ministry of finance, defense and education were given to women. So a woman plays all these three roles.
With kids, she is playing the role of teacher. Sometimes with husband, she can play the role of Durga; or with neighbor, if the situation demands, a woman can become a defense minister. Of course, she holds the key to the wealth of the family.
You know, in ancient India, they used to have what is called Stree dhan. Every woman was given a certain amount and they would not touch that amount. That was the savings. She can hand it over to her daughter, or do whatever she wants to do with it. That was the ancient system here.
There are matriarchal families even today in India. Two states in India - one is in the North east, one is Kerala, when a boy gets married he goes and lives in the girl’s house. It is not the other way around. He goes and lives with his wife, and the woman inherits all the property, the boys don’t.