Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: If God is within us, why does God not guide us all towards good deeds alone? Why is there somuch crime and violence in the world?
Sri Sri: Imagine a movie with no villain. Imagine there is only a hero who is eating, sleeping and generally just hanging around with nothing to do! Would you watch such a movie? Oppositevalues are complementary. Thorns and petals both exist. You have the choice to pick up eitherthe thorns or the petals. God is there within. He is sometimes sleeping and hiding, sometimesawake and dancing. After some sadhana, God is awake. Then He is rocking. Awaken the Godand Goddess in you! A stone does not feel, but a living being does. Waking the godliness in youis essential. This is why there are particular hymns sung in India in the morning, ‘Wake up andbless us, O Lord’! On one level, it sounds ridiculous. It is the parents’ job to wake up children, butin this hymn, human beings are singing to the Gods to wake up and bless the creation. This is aparadox, and in this paradox, is hidden a deep secret of existence.
Q: My father recently passed away. How can I know how he is, where he is and what he thinks ofme?
Sri Sri: Those who have passed on to the other side shower their blessings on you. They don’t judge you and have no concerns about you. They know you will be taken care of.
Q: How to increase the belonging-ness and Sattva in energy, to be able to bring more people into this path?
Sri Sri: This question, I leave it with you. Keep asking this question. Time to time you get ideas and implement those ideas. And get people to be peaceful, happy, what we call sattvik. Sattvik means harmonious, the harmony within yourself and the harmony with your world.
Q: Because I travel a lot to places where vegetarian food is hard to find, and I have to eat with office colleagues. I eat wrong foods and find energy is really low. What to do in such situations?
Sri Sri: You know when people have some allergies, they don’t eat those foods for which they have allergies just because of company. Suppose you have milk allergy, and because the company is all drinking tea and milk, you’ll not say, ‘Ok, I’ll also drink.’ Because you’ll suffer. Right?
So similarly, you can choose your food in any company, you can say, ‘Ok. I am going to eat only chips, or vegetables, or bread..’ You are not compelled to eat non-veg if you don’t want to. Ok? Or unhealthy food. You don’t need to drink Pepsi or Coke if you don’t feel it’s good for you. Right? See, when people drink lots of Pepsi and Coke, it burns the lining of the stomach and the intestine.
Later on you develop so many problems. All these carbonated drinks should be avoided. Someone had demonstrated, in a cup of Pepsi they put a tooth, a tooth which had fallen, and it dissolves! If teeth can dissolve (which stay for a long time in nature) in Pepsi Cola then.. It is so corrosive. And that corrosive fluid can cause so much damage to our intestine, our brain, our nerve cells. So, we must keep healthy eating habits and propagate them.
Today is much better than 30 years ago. 30 years ago, when we started, people were very allergic to vegetarianism and spirituality. But today, it has become a fashion. Because we make a trend. And we create a trend and keep it moving.
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: 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: Dear Guruji, I don’t want to get married but I find living alone very difficult too. No one to talk to or do things with, I end up watching too much TV. What to do and how to cope?
Sri Sri: Ya, when you are living alone, this will be the problem. That is why the ashrams are created, where many people are there and they have so many things to do together like everyday satsang. Everybody is busy taking a project and working on a project. France needs help. You can come and join the French team.
Q: I want to serve you. Where do I go?
Sri Sri: There are so many opportunities here. Bad Antogast needs several people who would like to do some service.Come to the German Ashram.There are other places also.
Q: Is anger related to ego? Several Rishis in the Hindu tradition have been known to be very short-tempered. How did this affect their peace?
Sri Sri: Not several. One of the Rishis is known for his anger. But always good happened through his anger. That’s why I say, even the anger of a wise man does so much good, and love of an ignorant person causes more problems.
See, an illiterate mother, an uneducated mother, she doesn’t like her children going to school because the young ones cry while going to school. Then she says, ‘No, no. Ok, don’t go to school.’ They say they don’t want to study, and she says, ‘Ok, don’t study.’ Her love for her children has spoiled their whole life. Isn’t it? So, even the love of an ignorant person does harm. And even anger of a saint always does good.
There are so many stories about one sage, his name was Durvasa. In India, if someone is very angry, they say ‘Oh, he is a Durvasa!’ means he is someone who gets angry at the drop of a hat. But he would come back to normal state immediately. This is to say, don’t feel bad about yourself if you have anger.
Even a Rishi had some anger. So, you don’t have to be too hard on yourself by blaming yourself. That is just to give you self confidence. To make you feel, you are ok, inspite of your little bit anger. That is only one rare case. That is to say that enlightenment is unconditional. It is what? It is unconditional. You can’t put any condition on that freedom. Just to tell you, there is no conditioning. So it’s possible to get angry also. And, sometimes anger can also do good.
To be continued in next post..
Q: I am feeling confused between two men. One is father of my son. But I am not really happy with him as a woman. One is somebody to whom I feel really connected. What can I do? Shall I stay with the father of my son to protect the family life or shall I follow my heart?
Sri Sri: Very difficult question! It depends on how old your child is. And if the child needs both parents’ love and care, then you should attend to that first. Children’s life is very much important. We need to sacrifice some of our personal wishes for the sake of the child when they are growing up. You know that. You have been doing it. So, protecting the family must be the first thing as far as possible. Many times you have to let go of some of your temptations. Let go some of your personal ambitions. Ya?
It’s very important. Children need both, father and mother.If it’s impossible because the husband is so bad or the wife is so bad, then you have to go your separate ways. Then there is no option. But, as far as possible, give the children a good family life.