Dear Gurudev, it is said that the sign of devotion is to always be happy. Then why does God respond mostly when a devotee cries out of pain, misery or longing? I am confused. Can I get God’s attention without crying? Can a happy devotee get the same attention from God?
Sri Sri: Absolutely! A crying devotee is inevitable for the Divine to attend to, and a happy devotee is a joy to attend to.
Gurudev, one bad incident rocks the whole nation, but why do many good things happening around go unnoticed without even creating a ripple?
Sri Sri: Agitation needs some such bad event. People are ready to agitate easily. This is because stress is already there and that stress wants an outlet. So agitation becomes a very easy thing to do.
If we call for an agitation, you will see everybody will join but for meditation only the intelligent will join.
But, I think, times are changing. Wherever we go, we get more crowd for meditation than for agitation. That is why I said, there is a positive change in society.
It is media which likes agitation the most. See, we are thousands of us sitting here, and not even one-fourth of these many people are in town hall, shouting slogans and agitating. But the media is interested in that event, even though there are just five hundred people there.
The media projects negative news better and more vigorously.
Gurudev, as a youth, I feel drawn to the peace and tranquility around you and the world seems to be the exact opposite of that. If I disengage from the world and become a Sanyasi (renunciate), would it mean that I am running away from my responsibilities?
Sri Sri: A Sanyasi is not running away from responsibility, it is taking more responsibility. It is like taking responsibility of the whole world, that is what a Sanyasi is. Just now I was telling to our Ashramites (people who stay at the Ashram), that we are in a resort here, we should be going to the city where the action is happening.
I don’t want to keep all the youth and talents held up here in the Ashram. I want you to be active out there in the society. It is we who need to bring peace where it is needed.
You can’t say, I am so peaceful, let me just be here. Of course coming here is needed. You need to put your mobile to charge every once in awhile, but you can’t leave your mobile on the charger all the time. How will you use the mobile? Then it is no longer a mobile.
You charge your mobile and then take your mobile off the charger. It cannot be hanging onto the charger all the time.
Similarly, you need to do work there, and you need to come here as well; both!
Gurudev, what is the significance of the wedding ceremony? If two people love and respect each other, can they just make a decision to live together?
Sri Sri: Marriage ceremony is a commitment. You live together with a commitment. When there is a commitment, you have full trust in each other. One aspect of your life is set. That is what is marriage.
Otherwise, the mind keeps looking for a partner. In marriage, that looking for a partner thing comes to an end, 'Okay, I have found a partner, I am set.' So now you can focus on other things.
When there is commitment, it puts you on track.
Gurudev, in life those people who don’t get along well are hitched together while those who get along really well are not paired together. Is this the plan of the Divine? Is he doing this on purpose?
Sri Sri: You mean about your marriage?
You know, when you don’t get along, you forget all those days when you got along very well. Because those days, you didn’t get along, you feel, 'Oh, from the very beginning, we never got along.'
An American couple who were married for 40 years came to me and said that they wanted to divorce. The lady said, 'You know Gurudev, we have been married for 40 years but we never got along even for a single day.'
I said, 'How could you spend 40 years and never get along for even one day?!'
They are already around sixty to seventy years old. They could not get along for the last forty years and still they were carrying on.
Usually this doesn’t happen in American society. If two people don’t get along, that is it, they don’t stay together at all.
Suddenly in your mind you think, at some point, 'Oh, we never got along in the past also.'
Well, the world is like that. There is no guarantee that those people with whom you think you will get along very, you will actually get along with them very well. The grass is always greener on the other side.
Gurudev, after doing the Kriya, many times I find myself smiling unconsciously. When I am alone also I keep smiling. I myself don’t know that I am smiling. Everybody thinks that there is something wrong with me. What do I tell them?
Sri Sri: You should take a serious look at yourself if everybody thinks that there is something wrong with you. You must take a serious look.
If everybody is saying that then it is not okay. You must consider their opinions.
Here, I won’t say, don’t be a football of other’s opinion.
What you feel is one thing, and how you express yourself is another thing. You may be feeling very calm, very happy, but when you express that, you should see, how you can express it and where you should express it.
Gurudev, can you please talk about Ashta Ganapati?
Sri Sri: The number eight is associated with the eight Prakritis - Ashtada Prakriti.
What are the Ashtada Prakriti? Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and ego. These all come in our nature.
Some saint or wise man said, let there will be one Ganapati for each of these Prakritis, that is all.
Don’t get into all these things; why twelve Jyotirlingas or Ashta Ganapati? In the ancient days, these were ways to integrate the society.
In the ancient days, people wanted to integrate the population because every six hundred kilometers, the language and culture changes in this country.
There is nothing common between South, North, East and West, so, how do you integrate the country? Then they said, 'Go to the twelve Jyotirlingas. Go to Kashi, go to Rameshwaram, go to Trimbakeshwar, and so on. Like that they promoted a sort of spiritual tourism and national integration. That is all.
It is the same with Ashta Ganapati as well. The idea was that people go all over the different areas of Maharashtra. They wanted to unite people, make them move around as pilgrims.
In those days there were no other holidays or tourism. Pilgrimage was tourism.
When it is sacred tourism, people feel, 'I must do it', and so they created all these different temples to go and visit.
Dearest Gurudev, do you have any favorites? Who is your favorite person? Which is your favorite Raga and which is your favorite sport?
Sri Sri: I am not going to answer any of these, because I have none.
Once I was in England a long time ago, and a lady asked me, 'Gurudev, what can I make for you for breakfast?'
I said, 'Make anything, whatever you like.'
Then she said, 'Can I make Dhokla (a vegetarian food item that originates from the Indian state of Gujarat)?'
I said, 'Yes, you can make Dhokla.'
She asked me, 'Do you like it?'
I said, 'Yes.'
So, she prepared Dhokla and then she called everyone else and said, 'Gurudev loves Dhokla.'
Just imagine what happened. Every day, wherever I went for the next fifteen days, breakfast, lunch and dinner, I got only Dhoklas.
Gurudev, how do I get a good sense of humor like you?
Sri Sri: You already have one. Just relax. Don’t try to impress anybody. Just be yourself.
I feel so sorry for those people who try to be funny. The so-called comedians, they struggle every day to find new jokes to make people laugh. And it is such artificial laughter.
If you see all those comedians who make those jokes, they are miserable. It is really not funny, you feel like weeping looking at them.