Preguntas & Respuestas con Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Dear Gurudev, why do people seem to love your feet so much? Is it a cultural thing?
Sri Sri: Yes, it is a cultural thing.
In Japan, they bend half to greet people. In India, they bend fully and touch the feet.
It is said that radiation, energy, comes from the feet. That is the old belief system, which is why they do it. Sometimes, that makes it very difficult for me to walk.
Once as I was walking in a crowd, two people caught my feet from the back. I was in the diving pose, in vedavadrasan, my hands hanging in space. Luckily, I didn’t fall, otherwise they would have found a Guru walking with crutches.
See, I balance myself in every situation. It happens quite often, as it is a cultural thing.
Q: Gurudev, what is the meaning of Dakshinamurthy?
Sri Sri: Amurtha means that which has no form and cannot be expressed; that which cannot be seen. Lord Shiva, the formless manifestation of infinite space, cannot take a form. It is nearly impossible.
Murthy(literally meaning an idol) is that which has a form and can be seen, and Daksha means to be skilful and capable.
So when the Divinity which cannot be expressed, is expressed in a very skilful manner, then that is known as Dakshina.
See, we cannot express all the emotions that we have inside us. So many times, we express our emotions by offering a flower. Through the act offering a flower, we attempt to express our feeling, isn’t it? There is nothing we can give to entirely express what is deep within us, but we still make an effort to give something. That is known as Dakshina.
Dakshinamurthy is that which cannot be seen, yet it is being expressed. That which is beyond expression, yet is still being expressed through form. It is not visible, yet it is seen, and everything is made up of that only.
When that which is infinite and cannot be expressed or manifest, is expressed so skilfully through a form, then that is called Dakshinamurthy.
The Sun is so large and so many miles away from us, but if you see the Sun using a small mirror, you will see the reflection of the sun on the small piece of glass. Though in reality, the Sun is so big, even then you are skilfully able to capture the full reflection of the Sun on a mirror and bring inside your house. This is called Dakshata (skilfulness of intelligence), and that is what it is known as Dakshinamurthy.
Lord Shiva is called the Adi Guru (The Guru present from the beginning of time, and who is beyond time.) He is everything and everywhere, yet He comes in the form of a Guru. So when the infinite comes in the form of a Guru, He is known as Dakshinamurthy.
From ancient times, the main form of the Guru Tattva (divine element or principle) is called Dakshinamurthy. See, the Guru is not a person. It is an energy that is present in the body of a Guru; that energy is called Dakshinamurthy. It is the Divine, omnipresent, infinite, guiding wisdom, which is un-manifest and yet manifests.
So Lord Shiva is called Dakshinamurthy, the Adi Guru. This is how the story goes. Lord Shiva sat silently. He is portrayed as a young boy, with elderly disciples sitting before Him seeking knowledge. As soon as they sat before Him, in silence, they all received the knowledge, and all their questions disappeared. His discourse was in silence. That means their energy got uplifted. That is the Guru principle. The original Guru, from where all knowledge and wisdom began, is called Dakshinamurthy.
So, in a very skilful way, the inexpressible divinity is expressed. That is the whole essence of Dakshinamurthy.
Q: Dear Gurudev, if God and the Divine are not objects of perception, then what are you?
Sri Sri: You find that out. To know who I am, first you have to find out who you are. Start from where you are. If you know yourself, then you will know me. You can’t know me if you don’t know yourself.
Q: Gurudev, what is the significance of Kali standing on top of Shiva?
Sri Sri: Kali is symbolic of enormous transformative energy; energy of destruction. When that stood on the Shiva Tattva, it became Bhadrakali, which means, the energy which only brings benevolent results.
The whole thing is symbolic; it implies the energy that brings benevolent results only.
Shiva is the transcendental state; it means one who brings only benevolence and good to the world. So when Kali, an enormous, destructive power was in rage; in that moment, Shiva came and lay down. As soon as she stepped on him, Kali’s power got controlled, channelized and became benevolent. So, even if there is destruction, it should be benevolent.
See, when you want to bring down old buildings, what do you do? You put dynamite under the building, and then the building comes down, isn't it? One destroys something, to create something new. So to destroy for a good cause, for benevolence, is very much different from destruction out of anger, jealousy, hatred and ignorance.
It is like atomic energy that is produced when an atom is destroyed. However, if the energy is not channelized or utilised properly, it can be very destructive. When it is channelized, it is used to bring electricity, light, and many comforts.
It is the same with electricity, which as such is a destructive energy. Where high-power electricity is being generated, if you get come in contact with it, then you will be destroyed in no time. But, when electricity is used for a benevolent cause, through wires and transformers, it brings the energy down, and makes it available and useful for public.
Similarly, Kali’s energy was the energy of destruction; when it opened up to destroy evil things, it was so powerful. So Shiva lay down to channelize it and make it benevolent, to protect the universe.
Shiva always does that which is good for the whole world, the whole universe; he even drank poison. There is a mythological story. When the Devas (good forces) and Asuras (daemonic forces) were churning the Ocean of Milk, what came out first was poison. When the poison came up, it was Shiva who took it and drank it. As he drank the poison, his throat became blue. So, he is called Neelakanta; the beautiful one with the blue throat. That is how the story goes in Hindu mythology.
Kali also means knowledge; knowledge of transformation. When Kali stood on auspiciousness, on the benevolence of Shiva, it brought goodness to the world. Thus, the same energy became so benevolent, and Kali then became such a benevolent blesser that she blessed the universe with knowledge. So, she is also called Bhadrakali, one who always does good.
Q: Gurudev, please explain the relevance of covering the head in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib.
Sri Sri: This is a tradition that has been prevailing from a long time.
There are five things that go with the Sikh tradition, uncut hair (covered in a turban), a comb, a dagger, a bracelet, and a specific style of clothes. These are all the five symbols of Sikh tradition. They should be respected because the Guru has asked you to do these things, to make an identity for you.
In those days, every family gave one boy, most probably, their first son, to the Guru, and the Guru trained them all. This is what happened to everybody’s son. So, they were all trained to act like soldiers, as well as go inwards. To pray and to act, and to protect the dharma.
Q: Dear Gurudev, for the past 9 months, I have been feeling spiritually disconnected. There is no interest, no practice, no seva, and no longing. This has become quite painful. Any advice?
Sri Sri: Such things can happen to people, this is called the Dark night of the soul. Suddenly, you lose interest in spirituality, or anything that is good. Your mind goes into things which are really not evolutionary, or may get into a destructive mode.
Such things can occur once in 12 years or 30 years. If it comes once in 12 years, it stays for a year, and if it comes once in 30 years, it stays for nearly 2.5 years.
The best way to overcome this is to hang on to your sadhana, and chant Om Namah Shivaya. It is the best chant to sail through such unpleasant vibrations or mindsets.
Q: Dear Gurudev, my husband loves me a lot, and still he does not miss a single opportunity to count my negative qualities. My enthusiasm goes down. What should I do?
Sri Sri: You should behave differently. Give him a surprise.
If he counts your negative qualities, you shower a lot of love, affection, and praises on him!
Tell him, ‘Wow, you said it absolutely right! This is what I wanted to hear!’
Don’t react the same way all the time. You have a choice of acting the way you want to act, isn’t it?
Someday when he brings you flowers and compliments you, frown at him and say, ‘Why did you do this?’ When he scolds you, feel happy about it.
Remember one thing, you are responsible for your happiness. Come what may, whoever says whatsoever, you protect your mind, and keep yourself happy. You be determined, ‘I am not going to let my happiness be taken away by anybody! Even if God comes and yells at me, I will tell God, ‘Thank you, this is your gift to me.’’
Make this determination today.
Today is Vaisakhi. It is a gift to you. What is the gift? Come what may, I will not let my mind slip down in the maya; in this ever-changing relative world. I am responsible for my happiness. I will not let anybody bring down my happiness.
You go with this determination and see what happens. Anyway, this place is there for you to come back, again and again and again.
When clothes get dirty, we give it for washing, or dry-cleaning. This (ashram) is a good washing machine, it cleans everything.
Q: Dear Gurudev, how do we help people accept their sickness, or the sickness of their close ones, or family members?
Sri Sri: Don’t do anything about it; just be there with peace in your mind. Through words you cannot bring comfort to people who are sick, nor can you make them accept their sickness. However, your positive vibrations can change the atmosphere.
Q: My dearest Gurudev, how can I be more like you? What tips can you give me to grow more into my true nature?
Sri Sri: Just turn back and see how much you have grown. Look back and see, what the state of your mind was before you took the Basic Course. Can you relate to that person who never did meditation and who you are now? Notice that big difference! This is good enough for you to move forward. And with a smile, relax, repose in yourself, and be dynamic. That is it. Keep doing seva, sadhna, and satsang.
Q: I want to be in love, but there seems to be a conflict between love and knowledge. How to integrate the two? With all my love!
Sri Sri: You have done it already! If you don’t have love for knowledge, why would you ask for it? And if you know it, how is it possible that you can’t be in love? Knowing brings love in you, and love in turn, creates that interest to know more.