Fragen und Antworten mit Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: What is your vision for Vasudaiva Kutumbakam (One World Family) seems a far off dream. Even in our own country, we haven’t united. How do we move ahead?
Sri Sri: That’s a job left for you to do.bguiphpa good heart. Something has gone wrong somewhere, but we can set them right.
Kiran Bedi is here with us today. When she was in charge of prisons in Delhi, she made all those prisons into Ashrams. They were called Tihar Ashrams.
Even today in Tihar, we have a skill training center and our programs are continuing there. We not only conduct meditations, but there is an Art of Living center as well in many prisons. Do you know that?
Not only in India, even the largest prison in Argentina, having around 5500 inmates of that country, has an Art of Living center inside. Everybody does meditation there.
When I was in Brazil, they took me to visit the prison of Rio de Janeiro, and there was an Art of Living board inside the prison! They have painted the swans as well. I was surprised to see this, and there were tears in the eyes of those people. The people who society has condemned as criminals, they have a heart too!
In Tihar jail today, the prisoners are learning different skills. We have started teaching electrical skills as well. They are becoming electricians and carpenters.
One of our Art of Living teachers (Deepak) has done tremendous work in Tihar. He has opened so many skills training centers around the country through our Rural Development Program (RDP).
So basically, people are good in nature; they are intrinsically good. They just need that spiritual kindling.
Without Spirituality, life is dry. Do you see? When you feel so dry, you can’t but make mistakes. Anything you do will be a mistake. So you have a task, a goal, a job to do. Just get on the wagon.
Q: Ein Sprichwort heißt: Nächstenliebe beginnt zu Hause. Wie können wir denn dann Seva (ehrenamtliche Arbeit) verrichten, wenn wir zu Hause gebraucht werden?
Sri Sri: Sprichst du von deinem Partner? Du brauchst Ausgewogenheit. Wenn du dir sagst: „Erst erledige ich alles, was zu Hause getan werden muss und dann mache ich Seva,” dann wirst du nie Seva machen. Zu Hause hört die Arbeit niemals auf, immer kommt noch etwas Neues. Auf der anderen Seite solltest du dein Zuhause aber auch nicht vernachlässigen. Aber zu Hause hast du Pflichten, das ist kein Seva. Nur draußen ist es Seva.
Q: Lieber Gurudev, reicht ein Leben für die Erleuchtung aus?
Sri Sri: Ja, es reicht aus. Es ist mehr als ausreichend.
Q: Ist Gott gegenwärtig? All these Puranas look like stories of fiction to me. How do I find God? How do I believe his presence, and why should I believe?
Sri Sri: Now listen, let God rest. Don’t worry about God now. Worry about yourself.
Who are you? First atma (spirit), and then paramatma (the Divine spirit).
The paramatma (God) is beyond the atma (individual soul). First get in to the compound (i.e., know who you are), after that you can get into the house (know God).
People who say, 'I don’t believe in anything', should at least believe in the word that they are saying. If you say that you don’t believe in anything, at least you believe that you don't believe in anything, right?
So, who is the one who is saying it? Who are you? Are you your thoughts? No, they keep changing. Are you your body? Just picture yourself 5-10 years back, your body has changed so much.
In one year, every cell in our body changes. Do you know that?
So each cell of our body is changing. The lining of our stomach changes every five days. Blood changes every 24 hours. Our skin changes in 30 days. And every cell, every atom in our body changes in a year’s time.
So your body is a flowing river. Same river, but water is new. So you are new and you are ancient as well. It is the same with Ganga, the same with Yamuna, the same with Kaveri (rivers in India). The river is the same, from many years, but the water is always new.
In the same way, you are new and you are ancient as well. Observe what is ancient within you and what is new. Know yourself. God will follow automatically.
So, don’t make an effort to believe. You shouldn’t force yourself to believe anything. Faith is not something you can force on yourself. It is something that comes up within you. Either through science or through spirituality. Through meditation you reach the same one goal.
What is that goal? The whole universe is made up of just one wave function, just one vibration, one thing! That one thing is responsible for everything. And that one thing is what I am.
You call it God, or Brahman, or he, or she, or it, or anything, it will work.
When you go deep in meditation you merge, you dissolve, into that one pure consciousness. With that innocent nature and with love, the attainment happens.
Love means, when your mind becomes so light.
In anger and hate, the mind stays lifeless, and heaviness is felt. When you are in love, the mind becomes so light. Have you experienced this?
See when you are happy, what is the feeling that you get? A sense of lightness. And when you are unhappy, it feels like a stone is sitting on your head, right? Yoga is the science to make you feel lighter. It is not just weight loss programs, but it make you feel mentally lighter as well. You lose all that mental stuff of anger, jealousy, hatred, greed, etc, that you acquire from everywhere, and feel so light from inside.
When can you feel light? When you know, when you believe, when you have the faith that the right will win – Satyamev Jayate (Truth alone wins). Then you have confidence that what you want will happen.
When you have a sankalp (resolve), and vishwas (belief), then even if you have to fight someone in a court, you will do it with a smile. Even for a fight you will go with a smile. Not with anger and heaviness of mind. Are you understanding this? This is the essence of the Bhagavad Gita.
In Chapter 2, Krishna says, 'Yoga-sthah kuru karmani, sangam tyaktva dhananjaya. Siddhy-asiddhyoh samo bhutva, samatvam yoga ucyate'.
Become steadfast in yoga, feel the lightness within you. Demonstrate belief of victory and with this perform your duty, keep working. Then you will see, there is no tiredness.
When do you tire? When the ray of hope becomes dim. And when raga and dvesha (cravings and aversions) dominate the mind, then a person gets tired.
If there is a unique gift given to the world by India, it is this – fight without cravings and aversions. This is a big gift to the world. So, challenges come. Face the challenges with poise, equanimity, serenity and dignity. Sincerity and serenity, these two are needed to face situations.
Q: Q: Gurudev, the desire for Moksha (liberation) is itself a desire itself and is a necessity too. But as long as there are desires, one cannot realize God. Please guide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is very natural to have a desire for liberation. After all your desires are fulfilled, it is only this one that remains. In a state of total surrender; in a state of Samadhi (a state of bliss and equanimity, with awareness), the desire for liberation blossoms by itself (effortlessly).
Saint Kabir would often ask people to renounce or give up everything and devote themselves to the Divine. Some disciples went to Saint Kabir one day. These disciples tried to be very clever. They told him, ‘If we have to renounce everything, then why should we keep doing Naam-Japa (or Japa, meaning to chant God’s name) also? We should renounce that as well’. So they gave up everything - their home, their parents, their Guru and even chanting God’s name (Japa). Then Saint Kabir said, ‘You gave up chanting the Lord’s holy names, but you could not give up your anger, your lust. What have you done, my dear?’ See, when you let go of Japa effortlessly by yourself, then it is alright (meaning to reach an intense state of devotion and feeling one with the Divine at all times).
The disciples told Saint Kabir that they felt lazy in chanting God’s names. I spoke about this just yesterday. People often say, ‘Oh! I got so bored doing this’. You do not feel lazy or bored while eating food. But you feel lazy in doing something good. Why do you not give up eating? You bathe every day but you do not get bored by it. You do not get bored by brushing your teeth. Just observe yourself! What are you saying, what are you doing and where it is are you going.
That is why Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita,
Na hi kascit ksanam api jatu tisthaty akarma-akrt |
Karyate hy-avasah karma sarvah prakrti-jair gunaih || (3.5)
It means that nobody in the world can remain without doing anything. We have to do at least something. And whatever we do, we should do using our Viveka (discretion) or discrimination, and we should not be guided by the impulses of the mind. When you have come to this world, do something good that benefits everybody. Do not stay entangled in thinking only what you will get. There is nothing for you to take away from this world. There is nothing to take away from here. You have come to give. You have come here to do something beneficial for everybody. And you should all get together in doing service. Do not complain that ‘I do not get any fun or pleasure in doing Seva’. Doing Seva for the sake of deriving pleasure or some sort of satisfaction too is a very poor approach in life. If you are doing Seva because you get some sort of pleasure or enjoyment from it, then you will not sustain it for long. You serve because you have to. There is no other choice. There are so many teachers sitting here. If you teach because you get pleasure from doing that, then it will not sustain for long because after a time you will not enjoy it. But if you do it because people need it and can be benefitted by it, then you will surely sustain it. If you serve only to enjoy, then you are being selfish.
Many people come to serve. They say ‘we feel happy, that is why we serve’. Then after a while, they start demanding or complaining about everything. If somebody is doing better Seva than them, then they criticize and start pulling the other person down. Such people say, ‘I do such good Seva but nobody appreciates me or recognizes me’. See, the mind traps you in so many ways in the web of its logic that you do not even know about it.
That is why it is said that when the Guru is present, the mind is not there. And when mind is present then Guru is not there (here meaning that one loses sight of the broader vision and the Infinite when one gets entangled with the limited desires and cravings of the mind and the intellect). So either listen to your mind or to you Guru. The Gurus in earlier times used to destroy the mind. The student’s will was not accepted at all. If you wanted to go to Mysore, the Gurus in earlier times would instead ask you to go to Hyderabad. They used to destroy any desire that you expressed, even the small ones. If you are hungry then they would sit and start talking for at least an hour. Just to destroy desires. Because the guiding belief was that when desires are overcome then you have conquered this material world.
The mind makes you so restless, it makes you go aimlessly from one places to another (seeking contentment). Some people switch their jobs. In America and other foreign countries people even keep on changing their girlfriends. At the end of their sixties, they say that they did not find a soul mate even after searching around the whole world. They ask me that when they will ever find a soul mate. I tell them to wait for another 20 years when you go to heaven. You will get married there only (Laughter). If you always go by what your mind says then you will continue to feel restless.
Q: Dear Gurudev, the participants aspiring to do the Vedic Wisdom course want to know more about the Gayatri mantra and Sandhyavandanam. Can you please talk about this.
Sri Sri: You know life is three states of consciousness – waking, dreaming and sleeping. When waking state ends and dreaming state begins; when dreaming state ends and sleeping state begins, and when sleeping state ends and waking state begins, at these junction points something fantastic happens. What is that? You get a glimpse of that which is beyond the three.
Mind can experience only these three, but when it stops, you somewhere experience a state which is neither waking nor dreaming nor sleeping. And that is so Divine. And that is the basis of all of creation. A glimpse of that state is what is called Yoga.
Now, what does it do, it removes all fears and it gives a bigger dimension to life.
We think that life is my body, my mind, etc., no! There is much more to life than this.
This experience, i.e., transcending the thought and the emotions and going to another level of stillness, that is called Sandhya. Vandan means adoring that inner state.
When do you usually do Sandyavandanam? When there is transition. When the Sun is rising, the whole creation is undergoing a transition. When the Sun sets again there is a transition . So usually sunrise, sunset and the noon time, you just sit and meditate and do pranayama.
The Gayatri mantra is one of the greatest prayers mankind has.
What does it say? Let me soak in the Divine, and let the Divine destroy all my sins.
The Divine light that burns all sin, let me adore and soak in that Divine light. And let the Divinity inspire my intellect.
See, all our actions happen through our intellect, right? Thoughts come and then you act.
So you pray to the Divine to bring good thoughts into your mind. You pray to the Divine, 'Take over my intellect. Inspire my intellect'; dhiyo yonah prachodayat.
Dhi means intellect. May my intellect be guided by, kindled by, and inspired by you (Divinity).
When right thoughts come, your action will always be right. When intuitive thoughts come, your actions will be fruitful. So praying for the best thought. Let my mind, my whole life energy be soaked in Divinity. That is it.
Q: Bitte sprich über Spiritualität und Wissenschaft!
Sri Sri: Spiritualität bedeutet zu wissen „Wer bin ich?” – Wissenschaft heißt zu wissen „Was ist das?“. Das ist subjektives und objektives Wissen. Die beiden geraten sich nicht in die Haare. In unserer Spiritualität heißt es: „Padartha Dnyanaat Mokshaha". „Wenn du auch nur über ein Teilchen ganz genau Bescheid weißt, über eine einzige Substanz, dann wirst du befreit.“ Das bedeutet, dass dich dieses Wissen zu demselben Punkt bringt, wie wenn du durch eine spirituelle Erfahrung gegangen wärst. Indien ist wohl das einzige Land der Erde, in dem kein Konflikt zwischen Spiritualität und Wissenschaft besteht. Denn hier haben wir immer die Wissenschaften willkommen geheißen. Wir haben die Wissenschaften nie vernachlässigt, hier in Indien hat es nie so etwas wie die spanische Inquisition gegeben. Wenn man hier etwas wissen, etwas nachprüfen möchte, dann wird Darshana Nyayashastra erzeugt. Es wird wieder und wieder geprüft, ob das Wissen korrekt ist. So gab es für die Wissenschaften immer Raum zu wachsen.
Q: Gurudev, wie kann ich mein Zuhause zu einem Ort der Freude machen? An den Wochenenden sucht meine Ehefrau Auseinandersetzungen.
Sri Sri: You know what? I’ll give you an advice. Take turns in an argument, don’t do it at the same time. You argue on Monday, let her argue on Sunday! And you keep smiling. You know, an argument cannot be countered with an argument. Questions cannot be replied with questions. When she argues you smile, okay!
Make this a policy, and keep rowing the boat!
Q: Im Geschäftsleben geht es immer nur um Nehmen und Bekommen. Aber auf dem spirituellen Pfad geht es ausschließlich ums Geben. Wie kann man sich in beiden Welten bewegen, ohne sich schuldig zu fühlen?
Sri Sri: Auf dem spirituellen Pfad geht es auch ums Bekommen – man empfindet soviel Freude, wenn man sieht, wie viel Freude andere haben. Du musst dich also nicht schuldig fühlen. Geschäfte werden über den Kopf abgewickelt – man nimmt mehr, als man gibt. Die Spiritualität jedoch kommt aus dem Herzen, wo man mehr gibt, als man nimmt. Im Beruf solltest du also nie etwas mit dem Herzen machen und in der Spiritualität nie mit dem Kopf. Ansonsten gibt es Probleme.
Q: Schon als Kind hat man mir beigebracht, dass ich alle Menschen lieben soll und auch allen helfen soll. Aber je älter ich werde, desto mehr stelle ich fest, dass mich alle nur ausnützen. Wie soll ich mich verhalten?
Sri Sri: Schau, wenn du Erfolg haben willst, kannst du dich nicht eintönig verhalten – um erfolgreich zu sein, must du facettenreich sein. Du tust den Leuten Unrecht, wenn du sie nur aufgrund einer früheren Erfahrung mit anderen beurteilst, die dich ausgenutzt haben. Hättest du es gern, wenn jemand so etwas über dich denken würde, nur weil er in der Vergangenheit bestimmte Erfahrungen mit anderen gemacht hat?