Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Dear guruji, I am profoundly grateful for the beautiful knowledge that you bring to us. I am very curious to know from where these insights come from. When I meditate, I sometimes become calmer and more effective afterwards, but the secrets of the universe do not reveal themselves. Instead I seem to be either stuck in the same dramas or in some kind of self-hypnosis. The path is good for me. I am certain. But I feel so impatient. I found your words about the divine and nature to be the nectar for which I am hungry. Can you please elaborate on that theme. I used to feel a stronger connection with nature. I feel like a bit of a robot these days. Did I fall from grace or something?
Sri Sri: No, no. I think you have too much time in hand. You sit and think too much about yourself. Get busy. You know, the more good work you do, you create positive atmosphere and vibes around you. And when you create positive vibes, that helps you go deep inside. It is necessary to care for others and share with others. Do it in whatever manner you can. Involve in some projects. Do some meditation. Don’t sit and worry, ‘Oh, what experience I had today, what I will have tomorrow?’ No. They will come and they will go! You are more than all those experiences put together. For a seeker, what you do for any experience that comes, you simply have to say Hi and Bye. One hand you say Hi, and the other hand you say Bye. Don’t forget to say bye after saying Hi. And don’t forget to say Hi, and only saying bye. Then you are in trouble. If you are only trying to say bye-bye, then you are trying to resist them. If you say only Hi, then you are trying to hold on to them. That is why you are given two hands, you know! Hi and Bye. (Gestures hi and bye with hands.)All these experiences come and go, no big deal.
Q: Are you frustrated with what has been happening on Wall Street?
Sri Sri: Wall Street has lost the trust of people, as have the government and the church. We need to bring spirituality, the type of spirituality that Mahatma Gandhi spoke about, into politics. We need to spiritualize politics, socialize business and secularize religion. Religious leaders need to worry more about people than their institutions. They should care for people more. At the same time politicians should think about the values that leaders like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and George Washington had. This country had Lincoln. He was a great visionary. There have been leaders who have given their whole lives in service to the people rather than out of a desire to achieve something. There is the Lincoln Memorial here, but it was not Lincoln who asked for it to be built. He stood for justice, equality and truth. That is real spirituality. I consider the founders of this nation and also the founders of India, South America and South Africa as people who had zeal. They were innately spiritual in their nature. This indicates how spirituality relates to politics. The backbone of business is trust. If lost, it cannot survive too long. So businesses should practice corporate social responsibility. We should care for one another. Otherwise, when we lose love for people, when we have no friends, we think money brings us happiness. It doesn’t.
Q: Dearest guruji, this is the first time I am seeing so much of your blessed glory. Can you tell me how to learn to love myself and respect myself so that I can become a good mother. I inflict harm on my body because I don’t feel worthy. What should I do? Your answer would be most appreciated. Jai Gurudev.
Sri Sri: First of all, don’t think you don’t love yourself. Who says this? Even a person who commits suicide loves himself too much, that’s why he commits suicide. Such a person doesn’t want pain, can’t tolerate pain. So, when people who can’t bear some little pain or suffering, and want only happiness, they commit suicide. They love themselves too much. They don’t love others. If the person who is committing suicide loves his mother or daughter or wife or husband or his near and dear one, how would he/she commit suicide? If one care for others, he/she would never commit suicide.They should know if they hang themselves, they will bring problem to his/her fellow beings making them miserable and sad. So, one commits suicide because of loving oneself too much.So, never doubt your love for yourself. Who says you don’t love yourself? It’s impossible, because you are love.It’s only misplaced. Somewhere you don’t get it right. And you are in the right place. As of now, not a single mother is born on this planet who is bad. As a mother, don’t think that you are a bad mother. Impossible! So, just relax and move on with your work.Don’t analyze too much about what happened because there is always imperfection in any action we do. This is an important thing to know. No action, whatever, on this planet earth is perfect. Every action has a dot of imperfection in it. But we should keep acting. Even the worst act has got a good dot in it, whereas the best action has got one flaw in it. It’s either 98 percent good and 2 percent bad or 2 percent good and 98 percent bad. This is what happens in all the actions. So don’t focus so much on the flaws in an action. Keep acting, as long as it is 98 percent good. Ya?
Q: If God is omniscient, why do we praise Him or pray to Him?
Sri Sri: Your praise is not for God’s sake. It is for your sake. You praise God, and that praising uplifts your own spirit. You imbibe all those good qualities in you. It’s not that God, when praised, becomes very happy and places those boons on you. You cannot bribe God like that. We pray to God. We do it in every religion. We seem to think that by praying we are appeasing God and by not praying we are annoying God. I don’t think so. Prayer is your innate call. You want something and you pray. Meditation is even better than prayer. The culmination of prayer must be meditation. Meditation is telling God, “I am here to listen to you. What do you want to tell me? Let thy will be done". That is meditation.
Q: What is your inspiration?
Sri Sri: There are two ways of going about work. One is wanting to do something for which you can always find an inspiration. Another is since you already have something, so you want to do it as an expression of joy. It makes all the difference whether work is done as an expression of joy versus expecting some joy. So, I’m not expecting joy in doing something. Rather, I am doing everything as an expression of joy. Everything is happening spontaneously. People find it very hard to understand this. These people ask me, “What is your motivation?, What is it that you want by doing all of this?”. I say, "nothing. I want nothing". It’s a little hard to understand at that time. For instance, suppose you have seen a nice movie. So many people who saw Avatar told me, “Guruji, you must go.” By canvassing for a movie you enjoyed, you are not getting anything. You are not getting paid for canvassing for that movie. You go around telling everybody, “oh, that movie is so good, you should watch it.” What do you get by that? You just tell people because you enjoyed watching it, and you want to share that happiness with everybody. Infinite joy is what we’ve all been born with. I give joy by sharing myself with everybody. So, we need to bring this shift from the joy of receiving to the joy of giving.
Q: Guruji, I did the Eternity Process and I saw many things from past lives. I experienced a lot of devotion and I even saw you. How much of it is true? Am I just making stuff up?
Sri Sri: You don’t have to doubt it. As I said, these experiences are a mixture. One is from your consciousness and your deep experiences. Sometimes it could also be through your fantasy. So, sometimes fantasy gets into it. Then the experience comes up. You know, it’s usually mixture of it. Even if 20 percent of fantasy is mixed with 80 percent of reality, you don’t need to think or do anything. It’s an experience. Take it as it has come and move on.You are much more than all the experiences. You are much more than all the identities and the roles that you play. That is the Self-knowledge. That is the real spiritual knowledge. This is the Upanishadik knowledge.
Q: Dear guruji, Last night you said that, ‘If you don’t do all that you can do, then your consciousness will prick you. I know I am capable of a lot, but sometimes it feels like such hard work. I always do my best, and always serve. How do I keep service from feeling like a burden?
Sri Sri: No, do only as much as you can. Sometimes you take commitment. At that moment, it appears too much. But that will be over. Finish that commitment. And don’t think about it. You know, It becomes a burden if you think, ‘Oh, how much I worked’. You recuperate everyday. So, you should never count how much service you did. It will be very small as compared to what we have consumed!
Q: What does it mean to live completely in the present moment?
Sri Sri: Drop the wanting of this answer because the question is already in the past.
Q: Jai gurudev. Would you please explain about 2011? We are worried.
Sri Sri: If you remember, many people were so afraid and paranoid in 1999. In 1999, it was said that computers were going to crash. They were asking, ‘What do we do? We are not going to get food’. People started storing milk and food-grains in their basements! I think I was in Halifax at that time and people there asked me the same question, and they were also storing food! They said we have stored milk powder for three months, grains and stuff. I said, ”nothing is going to happen. There is going to be business as usual”. And I am telling you now, we will see 2010, 2013.. It will be business as usual. Only thing is people will be more and more spiritual. Have you noticed how young children, the Yes+ kids were asking questions? I think the older generation would be surprised to see how spiritual the younger generation is becoming. You know what questions you got in 40’s or 50’s, What is the meaning of life?, these kids are getting at the age of 15 now . I am asking this question to those of you who are above 50. Did you ever get this question at that age? The kids today are so much spiritual! As the time comes, you will see that more and more kids become more aware. They are not so much about showoff or buying things like you used to feel. The younger generation is completely off the clothes or jewellery or showoff. Of course, they have little bit more craze about gadgets and the cars. But even that is not as much as you would expect the things to be. Right? You find such difference in people! See in the beginning days of video games every body was so much on those video games. All those violent ones. But as times passed, it’s fading out. I feel that it is fading away. Isn’t it? It’ll happen. More people will be more inclined towards spirituality.
Q: Dear guruji, how do I achieve balance and moderation? When I live my life 100 percent, I get passionate and attached to the events. When I live dispassionately, I become somewhat slow. Also, how to feel connected? I still feel the void and longing. Nothing seems to be an answer for these.
Sri Sri: That’s very good. You are fortunate. When you feel the longing, you are really getting on the path. Very good. Don’t worry about it.