Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: What is the link between ego and self confidence?
Sri Sri: Ego is feeling uncomfortable in the presence of someone else. Self confidence is, feeling at home. Ya? Being natural is antidote to ego, and being natural is so complementary to confidence. It goes with confidence and is inseparable from confidence. When you are confident, you are natural. If you are natural, you are confident.
Q: Is money a prior requirement in order to feel happy?
Sri Sri: There is no doubt that you need some money for your day to day survival. But, money cannot buy you happiness. It’s knowledge or wisdom that brings you happiness.
Q: When children talk silly, parents reason with them to make them see their folly. But when parents start getting aged, they sometimes talk silly and don't respond to reasoning with them, what should a child do?
Sri Sri: Still keep serving them. Using a detached approach, try to understand why they are saying so. It may be the case that you find them to be right, though they may lack in right expression. Or, you may find their observation to be wrong. It is not necessary to do everything that they say because their understanding and life experiences are different from the child's.
Q: Effect of one life’s karma is carried on to another lifetimes. How do we understand this?
Sri Sri: You sow a coconut tree two years back and it has grown today. Same way, until the impression of your previous done karma is there on your mind, that karma manages to exist. That impression can only be erased through meditation, pranayama and service. You are freed from that karma when the impression is erased. All this is there on the mind only. Karma is nothing but an impression on the mind. When you wake up and see that mind is a part of you and it is your mind, but you are not your mind, and you have an untouched existence which is much greater than your mind, then all karma automatically dissolves.
Q: What is the base of Advaita(Non-duality)?
Sri Sri: Advaita is quantum physics. Quantum physics says that this is all atoms or this is all wave function, vibration (referring to the space and things around). That’s exactly what Advaita says. So, the whole universe is made up of one substance. Me, you, she, he…everybody and everything is made up of one substance. And the nature of that substance is bliss. This is what Advaita is.
Just a glimpse of that experience gives you so much strength and stability, that nothing can shake you; nobody can take the smile from you.
Q: I had so many questions in mind before meeting you. But now, all the questions have vanished. I know that you are incarnation of Lord Shiva. Am I right?
Sri Sri: Let us leave at least one question in your mind.
When happiness dawns, all questions automatically dissolve.
Q: What is role of service in order to have inner contentment?
Sri Sri: You know, we should have a goal in life. My goal is to bring happiness to more and more people. If we sit and keep thinking of ourselves all the time, we’ll be depressed. We should see, ‘How can I be of service? How can I be of use to others?’ This thought is very useful. Very, very, very useful. Ya?
So, ‘Art of Living’ provides a platform for everyone to come together and do some service. You know, when United Nations announced, ‘Stand up and take action’ - they wanted tree planting; ‘Art of Living’ volunteers have planted 55 million trees around the globe.
We all can jointly do some service activity. Reduce violence, reduce stress, create a sense of belongingness, and spread the positive vibration of love and peace. Shall we all do this together? Is everyone committed to do this? (A resonating yes from the audience.)
Q: How come you manage to smile in all the circumstances?
Sri Sri: You know, this is our brand mark. Our logo is smile. If you see somebody and they are not smiling, and they say they have done ‘Art of Living’, don’t believe them. I am sure, all those who are here, who have truly done it will agree with me.
Q: You said that violence ceases to exist around ones who are fully established in non – violence. Does that mean Lord Krishna was not fully established in violence for a huge war took place in his presence?
Sri Sri: The secret behind this is existence of different circumstances. One is individual karma and one is collective karma. One is karma done for the sake of whole world. When sin and injustice reached its peak, He had to take a step. It is like different dosage of medicine is given under different circumstances. For a minor headache, the dose is different. And it is different for a severe headache.
Gahana karmo gati – The movement of karma is very deep and not easily comprehensible.
Q: Does Bhakti (devotion) make an impression on the Chitta (subconscious mind)?
Sri Sri: Yes, of course. The impression of Bhakti wipes away all other impressions, all negativity of mind. Also the impression of Bhakti gets dissolved on its own. Like when you put a piece of alum to purify water, the water gets purified as the alum dissolves and disappears. The impression of Bhakti is just like this.