Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Why is meditation difficult to follow?
Sri Sri: There are three things to start a good habit: greed, fear or love. First, if someone says they will give you a million dollars for not missing your practice, will you do it? You would say “I will do for five more days, just to be safe.” If you have promised your loved one you will not smoke, you will keep the promise. If your doctor says you will die if you do it, then also you will quit smoking. I prefer love over greed and fear. A Guru is a symbol of love and commitment.
Q: How can one have a successful relationship?
Sri Sri: I can give some advice on this.
First for women: Are you all ready? Never step on the ego of your man. Never tell him that he is good for nothing. If you do so, he will become like that. Always praise. Tell him he is the best. Give him compliments.
Now advice for men: Never step on a woman’s emotions and never comment on her family. She may complain about her family, but you better keep quiet. The moment you start joining her she may attack you. Never step on her emotions. If she wants to go shopping, give her your credit card. Her emotions need to be taken care of.
To both men and women: I advise not to ask for proof of love. “Do you really love me?” Imagine what a burden it is to prove that you really love and care for someone. Even if you find some lack just say, “Why do you love me so much?” Even if the Spring has died out, it will start again. Ask only questions that are useful. Never ask someone to prove their love. Take it for granted.
Q: What is the solution for peace in Afghanistan?
Sri Sri: Remember there were Buddhists there. The forefathers of Afghanistan were pioneers of yoga and meditation. Just realizing this, people would become less fanatical and more broad-minded. By thinking only they will go to heaven and all others go to hell, they create hell for others. We need to be broad-minded. Every child should know a little about the Upanishads, Quran, Guru Granth Sahib and so on. The holy book Guru Granth Sahib, for example, contains the essence of all the Upanishads. So it is very important that every child should know about the Guru Granth Sahib. They will grow up with a broad mindset. The sacrifice that Sikh Gurus have made is unthinkable. Without that, yoga and meditation would have disappeared from this planet. The Sikh Gurus lived a life of sacrifice. They protected the Brahma knowledge, the universal knowledge. Every child should know a little bit about this.
Q: I just want to thank you for all the blessings. Why is that every time I see you I cry?
Sri Sri: Oh my god, you are taking away my reputation! Every time people see me they smile. Yet tears of love and gratitude are also very precious. When the heart opens it brings tears to the eyes.
Q: How can you find a purpose for living if you have lost your self-respect?
Sri Sri: The Self is not lost, so the self-respect is not lost. Come on, wake up. You are loved and accepted by many. You are a precious flower of this planet. Do something useful. Do not think only about yourself.
Q: In a world full of jealousy and hatred, how do I go on a path of humbleness and serenity?
Sri Sri: Don’t label the world. Some people are this way, but don’t pay too much attention to them. Just move on. Let them get cooked in their jealousy. It is alright. That which you put attention on, will grow. Manifestation follows intention and attention.
In the 55 years of my life I have never said a bad thing about anyone. It is my nature. At the most I would have said stupid. I never said or wished bad. If your intention is clear, I tell you, you will move on. If someone is jealous, what do you do? Just move on. Your attention should be on something higher, on the blossoming.
Q: I feel very uncomfortable in the presence of some people even if they are total strangers. Why does this happen?
Sri Sri: Take it as an exercise. Meditate. Go deep into yourself. You will find this discomfort goes away. You give it too much importance. If you realize you are bigger, the vibrations will change. When you change they will also change.
Q: How can one find the purpose of life?
Sri Sri: Become calm and listen to your inner self. Do you all have cell phones? What do you need for the cell phone to work? If there is no SIM card, will it work? If there is a SIM card, but you are far away, will it work? You need a SIM card, signal and the battery must be charged. So all three are required: battery, SIM card and closeness to the tower.
Even if you have all three but you don’t dial, will it work? You need to do that much. The spiritual connection is the tower. Self-effort is that little dialing and meditation is charging. Then our prayers will be answered. Sometimes the prayers are not answered. Why? Because there is no SIM card. You have the ability to bless and grant others’ wishes when the mind is serene.
Q: How can someone free the body from an overactive mind?
Q: I have seen people around you grow beyond their capacities. How do you motivate and inspire them?
Sri Sri: The president of the World Bank asked me the same thing, “How come all your projects find success? We also start many projects, but all do not find success.” It is not just the money, but your intention, attention and clarity that work. If we change the way we look at things, we find everything starts from within. If they are better inside, they get better outside. You become the agent for change.