Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Guruji, it is said ‘Advaita’ (Non Duality). Why it is not expressed as ‘only one’ but as ‘not two’?
Sri Sri: Because you need two to count one.
Q: I start to do a lot of things, but I don’t get to complete. Can you tell me a way how can I improve the situation?
Sri Sri: If you want to do, you can do anything. It has to come from within. With the determination, ‘I will do this job, and I will see to it that it gets completed’. This commitment from within will help you, and get you through. Got it? Nobody can do the job other than you.
So, take up with small things and follow it through, and then you will get the confidence. That prepares you to take up big tasks. You know, why do you drop things? Because you think they are not important. But there is nothing important or unimportant in life, everything has importance. So, even if something looks unimportant, you say, “I want to finish it, and I will finish it”. Then you will be able to enhance your commitment.
Q: What did Jesus mean by saying- ‘I am the bread that you eat.’
Sri Sri: I have spoken about it in the book- ‘Jesus - the embodiment of love’.
Q: The ‘Art of living’ is full of inspirational teachers. What does it require to be a good teacher? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, take a teachers training, and get well trained.
Q: First of all, thank you for being my master. Secondly, I am a sikh and in Sikhism our last Guru told that there is no other master now but only ‘Guru Granth Sahib’. So, my family members do not want me to follow you as a guru. How to convince them about you?
Sri Sri: It is alright. Say Wahe guru, Wahe guru. Let them follow whatever your tradition is, but they can do the course, can make friends with all!
Q: Of the five elements, Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space, Earth and Water are said to be female; Fire and air are male, then what is space? Why is this differentiation?
Sri Sri: There are various concepts and understanding of this. So, people start attributing male and female genders to everything. But that is how human mind can comprehend things; it cannot comprehend anything which is beyond.
Q: Guruji, they say the recipe for depression is to only think about oneself. But at the start of Mahabharata war, Arjuna was thinking about others, yet he was depressed. Please explain.
Sri Sri: Well, the mantra for depression is - “What about me, what about me”. And Arjuna was thinking how he could do the work which he was supposed to do, and what people would think of him. It was again about himself only. It is not just thinking about oneself, but your other different attachments and lack of understanding can also lead to depression. But one sure technique to get depressed is- Just sitting, doing nothing and thinking, ‘what about me, what about me, what will happen to me?’ You are sure to get depressed this way!
Q: Some volunteers from the ‘Art of living’ want to enter into politics with your blessings.
Sri Sri: Yes, it is alright, they should go into politics, clean up the politics like the ‘Art of Living’ volunteers cleaned up Yamuna!
Q: What does it mean to be superstitious? I am confused whether I behave according to superstitions sometimes. I am not superstitious but I believe in it.
Sri Sri: You are saying that you are not superstitious but believe in it. Ok, then tell me first what is superstition?
See, there may be many beliefs. For what one considers superstition, it may not be for another. But from a broader perspective, things which are illogical, which does not support human evolution and which harm intellectual, mental, spiritual, and physical well being is superstition, and that need to be eradicated. Superstition exists in many parts of the world.
Spirituality and superstition are opposites. They cannot go together. So, we need to bring more and more spirituality, more values in the society, and see that superstition diminishes.
Q: I can give my hundred percent, when it is to do service in the ‘Art of Living’, but when it comes to studies, I cannot do.
Sri Sri: I know it is tough, but you have to do. The mind goes easily and naturally towards the things we like. If the things you like are juicy, there you don’t have to make efforts, it is natural. But when something which is not of your liking, is not juicy, it is dry and boring, but is good for you in the long run, then you have to put an effort and do it. There is no other option for it.
Q: Spiritual path involves many sacrifices of material things and worldly pleasures, all which seem to take away the joy from life. Is it so?
Sri Sri: No, in fact it gives you the joy.