Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: I am often outraged by the injustice happening around me, but realize there is also a need forlove and understanding. How can I balance these feelings?
Sri Sri: When many bristles are put together to make a broom, they are far more effective in sweeping a large hall than they would have been individually. Similarly, as sangha (group), you can achieve more. Whether it is for service or justice, you should work in groups. This is very important.Injustice is there. It is your work to turn it around. In Chinese, there is one word for both crisis andopportunity.
If you only see the problem, you become frustrated. This is no good. Work with thegroup and just see what you can do. In many parts of the world there is so much corruption. Money is required for everything. When our sangha stood up against corruption, we accomplished a lot.
Our youth refused to pay any bribes. When officers see this kind of conviction, It was so refreshing for them. They are also human beings after all. For our Ayurveda projects, we needed 10 different licenses. People said it would take two years just to get these! We applied for the licenses and resolved not to give any bribes. We said that we were prepared to go there 50 times if necessary. Within one month, we had all 10 licenses! So do fight against injustice, but without anger. Fight with a calm and serene mind. Thisis said even in the Bhagavad-Gita.
Q: What to do when a loved one is diagnosed with a potentially terminal condition?
Sri Sri: Bless them. Carry on, Sing, dance, meditate. If you think too much about the illness, it pulls down your energy. Medical attention is required, but have faith also. A turnaround can happen at any time. There is divine grace that is present with you. Anytime, anything is possible.
Q: Why does love always come with attachment? Is it possible to love your partner and still bedispassionate?
Sri Sri: Attachment brings pain, but nothing comes without pain. We came into this world in a lot of pain. The process of birth itself is very painful. For nine months, we were comfortable and then suddenly the ocean around us disappeared and we had to come out! Attachment happens whenyour focus is not on the Being, but on the outside. Wanting to control, possess and hold on bringspain. When we are relaxed and content, love transforms to bliss. Demand and control only bringpain. Wisdom, along with love, is the answer.
Q: For fifteen years I’ve been with the same job and my boss doesn’t respect me at all. Should Iquit and start my own business? Please give me some direction.
Sri Sri: Choice is yours, blessings are mine.
Q: The knowledge in the Vedas contains the truth and laws of nature. Is modern science also apart of this body of knowledge?
Sri Sri: Yes. Knowledge is infinite. Many scientists of modern age are the rishis (sages) of today. They explore the universe. All are to be honored, whether ancient or modern.
Today’s quantum physics discoveries are startling. There is so much similarity to Vedic knowledge. For instance, darkmatter and String Theory are both present in the ancient knowledge. Dr.Hans-Peter Dürr, thephysicist has told me that whenever he is giving a lecture, he feels as if he is speaking on Vedanta. The whole universe is made up of one substance, and not two. This is Vedanta. Ancient rishis and modern physicists both say the same thing.
Q: Is it possible for all of us to get enlightened?
Sri Sri: Definitely. Anytime! The seed is there. It can sprout anytime. It can become a big tree anytime.
Q: What is the whole point of this life? We are born, we study, we work and then eventually oneday we die. I am losing my passion for life.
Sri Sri: Good. You are on track. What you are saying is like our intro talk. Imagine we live for eighty years. Out of that, twenty-five or thirty years we simply sleep. Ten years we spend in thebathroom. Another ten years, we are stuck in traffic. Then so many years we spend being sadand miserable. Ultimately, only some two or three years we spend in prayer, service and so on.Good that you are thinking along these lines. You are definitely on the right track.
Q: How can I control my anger?
Sri Sri: Anger comes out of your love for perfection. Create some space for imperfection around you. Make a list of all the things you consider to be wrong. Then have people around you doeverything on that list! When you get angry, just observe that sensation. Observe how your teethare clenching and how the mind becomes. Take a few long deep breaths and see if it changes.However, I have no experience, since I myself have never had this problem. So my advice maynot be authentic. You should ask others. There are many here who will tell you. After regularpractice of Sudarshan Kriya, anger tends to settle down.
Q: On one hand, desires need to be dropped, but is it okay to have a desire for liberation? Whenwill that get dropped?
Sri Sri: Yes, it is okay to have a desire for liberation.
Q: Silence, music and logic are the three essential ingredients you have spoken of. How does logic relate to knowledge or consciousness?
Sri Sri: Logic is essential. If you see an idol of Goddess Saraswati she is sitting on solid rock. She has a book in one hand which is logic. In the others she has rosemary beads for meditation and veena (a musical instrument). Logic, music, mauna (silence) are all essential for total development of consciousness. Knowledge is logical understanding of existence.