Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Dear Guruji, my son is now two years old, he feels insecure with other people. Do kids at that age feel that? How do I handle this?
Sri Sri: It may not be insecurity in the child. A 2-year old child would not be so insecure, it may be your own projection. Sometimes you project yourself too much on what the child is feeling or saying. Especially grand parents have a lot of projection on the children. Grandpa will say my 6-month old baby looked at me and said, “Grandpa you don’t go for walking today, you stay with me,” and all that he was saying with his own eyes. The baby doesn’t even speak but grandpa feels that he says everything. A lot of it will be your own projection.
If you feel your child is a little jealous, sibling jealousy will be there, if you feel that, then you pat them and give them a little more attention.
Q: There seems to be many wars and regional violencehappening in the world. What can we do to reduce the violence in the world?
Sri Sri: The root cause of violence is stress and anger. And the only way I know toreduce stress and anger is through meditation, pranyama, Sudarshan Kriya.This is the only way. You can do something with ayurveda, can change the diet…you can do those things, yet they are all secondary.
Q: How do we use this time to expedite our spiritualgrowth?
Sri Sri: Just exactly what you are doing now.
Q: Guruji, why is singing an important part of thecourses? What’s the spiritual significance of singing?
Sri Sri: Youknow, knowledge and logic, and music are formed in two different parts of ourbrain and they’re both essential. That brings a balance in the system. Music isessential.
Q: Change is constant. Will the knowledge of the Geeta change for this century? Will there is new knowledge?
Sri Sri: Yes, as your mind blossoms, new aspects of the knowledge will blossom in you. Knowledge is structured in consciousness.
(Turning back to explaining the 7th verse)
Where does your mind go? It goes towards, beauty, light, strength.. Lord Krishna says, ‘Wherever your mind goes, see Me in that. If something is beautiful, it is because it has life in it. It is the same consciousness. So the mind goes back to the source. Lord Krishna says: The light in the sun is Me. I am the liquid in water.
I am the smell in the earth. I am the fire in fire.
We are made up of the same substance as the sun. If there is no sun, there is no earth. If there is no earth, then there is no you.
If you talk to a quantum physicist today, he will say the same thing - everything is made up of one wave function.
The same thing Lord Krishna said: I am the life in everybody.
Turn our mind inward and look at the life force that we are.
In life, it is Me.
Life is god. God is not something outside the life. Life is Divine.
The life in this body is Divine. What is the mind craving for? This pleasure, that pleasure. Right now, attend to the life. Its not that only my life is God. Life everywhere is the same Atma.
The seventh chapter is very beautiful.
In the Bhagwad Gita, the chapters unfold, step by step.
In the chapter on Vishad yoga, Lord Arjuna is feeling so nervous, is trembling.
In Sakhya yoga, Lord Krishna tell Arjuna, awaken! Nothing has hap pened to your Atma.Happiness and sadness have come and go.
In Karma yoga, Lord Krishna says: Act! You cannot do anything without action. Even you want to stand and sit, action is required. So, do something.
After Karma yoga, its Gyan yoga: Understand what you’re doing.
After Gyan and karma, its Dhyan, where Lord Krishna says: before acting, meditate. After finishing work, meditate.
In that manner, the chapters unfold, step by step.
Q: Dear Guruji, please tell me are we humans wanting to be spiritual beings or are we spiritual beings in the disguise of humans?
Sri Sri: Both - spiritual beings in the disguise of humans and wanting to come back to your spiritual being, back to our home.
You know what the word Radha means? Radha means ‘back to the source’. Dhara means flow; flow from the source is called dhara and when you read dhara the other way around, it is Radha. When water flows down, it is called dhara, and when water goes back from where it started flowing, it is Radha.
Q: Guruji, when we say that so and so person is a realized soul, please tell me what do they realize?
Sri Sri: Realization is just that I am not the body but I am much more than the body. I have been here before this birth and I will continue to be there after my death also. If someone realizes this, that’s it. But that only they can say, others cannot judge for them.
Q: How did you know you were a Guru? Did you have aGuru? Sometimes I wonder if I’m a Guru, maybe just for myself. What would yousay to that?
Sri Sri: You can’t be a surgeon for yourself. You may be a surgeon but you can’t be yourown surgeon, right? So your mother is your first Guru. A mother teaches you. Ofcourse, a Guru is one who is unconditional in his attitude and approach towardsyou. You should play a role of a Guru unconditionally. You help others or carefor someone with wisdom. Then you are playing the role of a Guru to them too.
If youhelp somebody with an attitude of ‘I want nothing, I just want your progress’then you’re a Guru to them. Yet don’t demand them to accept you as Guru. No, areal Guru does not demand anything, not even gratitude from somebody.
Q: People have lot of expectations from me. What to do?
Sri Sri: It is their problem! You give your 100 percent, do whatever you can, and then if somebody expects more, it is their problem.
(Sri Sri then asked the audience about the progress they were making in learning the Bhagwad Gita. After the audience recited shlokas from the 7th chapter, Sri Sri proceeded to explain the meanings.)
When a yogi sleeps, everybody is awake. And when everyone is sleeping, a yogi is awake. This is what Lord Krishna says in Gita. You have already heard this? What does it mean? It simply means, when everyone is excited and worried, the yogi sleeps comfortably. The yogi knows that everything will happen for the best, and all happenings will be for the general good. A yogi has this confidence.
And when everyone else is sleeping, then yogi is awake, meaning that the yogi is aware of the Truth about life when everyone is asleep, sleeping about the truth of life. Nobody wonders, ‘What is going to be my end?, where will I go, what is life, who am I?’ When none of these questions arise in people’s mind, they are asleep.
People are lost in watching movies and playing video games. There are people who begin playing video games even at a very old age. Man isn't seeing that death is coming near… He does not think, ‘How I have filled my mind with so much craving and aversion. And I have done nothing to wash and cleanse my mind’. If you don’t cleanse the mind of impressions, then you have to carry the same mind and same impressions with you after death.
So when you die, your mind should be happy and joyful! One who is sleeping, he is taking all garbage into his mind. The yogi is alert and awake. He does not take any garbage from anybody into his mind: Why did this man said this to me? That lady said that to me?
Your mind is completely destroyed thinking about others’ imperfections. Leave others’ imperfections to others. Let them handle that. You handle your mind, you handle your imperfections, that is good enough. Do you have patience to accept others’ mistakes? You have to accept others’ mistakes? Correct them as much as you can. If you are so compassionate, only then you should correct it. Otherwise leave it to Nature, they will find their own way. But if you are so compassionate, correct it with compassion, and then, it doesn’t get into your head, your mind.
When do you get angry or upset? When you see someone else’s action as imperfect. Can you correct somebody’s action like this? His action is imperfect but now by thinking about it, your mind has become imperfect. At least save your mind. Others have gone on the wrong path, why should you let your mind also dwell on the wrong! Right? That is why He says, the yogi is awake when others are sleeping. When you are sleeping, you let others’ garbage enter your mind. But yogis don’t let this happen. They keep their mind fresh.
Q: Guruji, I feel that I am surrounded by selfish and cunning people who just want to get work done from me. How should I maintain my innocence and simplicity in this world?
Sri Sri: First of all, don’t label everyone as cunning and corrupt. Then you will only see them in that light. Do not label people like that even if they are like that. Your sankalpa or your thought can bring up the worst in them. However, if your sankalpa is good even in the people who appear to be worst, good will come out of them.
Today one of our teachers from Srinagar called me; he completed a YLTP course of 50 youth. He was mentioning that the transformation was so much in the youth. The district collector came for the closing ceremony and said, "This is a miracle. What has happened to these youths here? So much transformation”. The youth were saying that you have never given us this kind of spiritual education before and you blame us that we do this and we do that, but nobody ever taught us inner peace.
So it is up to us to bring out the best in others, often we criticize others saying, "You are hopeless”, but you know there are some good things also, you have to give them some hope. Bring out the Divine qualities in the people around you; take this as your mission. I am not telling you to be naïve. Be careful, at the same time bring out good qualities.