Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: What is the purpose of my life? Why have I taken birth on this planet?
Sri Sri: The way you are smiling right now, to bring that smile on the faces of others as well
Do you know the meaning of the month December? (Audience says No!) November? (No!). December – Dash + Ambar, Dash in Sanskrit means ten and ambar means sky. So December makes the tenth sky. Similarly November (Nav + ambar) makes ninth sky and so on. All these names have Sanskrit roots.
Once upon a time March was celebrated as the New year. March is the first month which means go ahead, to move on. And that is when Sun enters the first constellation – Aries. Even today in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey and in many parts of India, March is celebrated as the start of the New Year. So the real new year begins in march. January is the eleventh month and February – the last month.
Q: From the time, the Universe has been created, there have been souls. I wonder are they increasing or do they remain the same? I don’t understand the mathematics of souls.
Sri Sri: There are lot many species which are getting extinct too! Lots of snakes,scorpions, sparrows, butterflies… They could have come as humans.
Q: Is self-realization a journey or a goal? If we reach somewhere, do we come to know we have reached somewhere, or we have to continue walking.
Sri Sri: Yes, It is both. In one way it is a journey also and in another way it is the last destination. When you are so content that you feel you need nothing. There are no needs left, and we feel so complete.Such contentment dawns that you feel so complete! When you have such a smile that never fades and this happens so effortlessly.
Q: What is the description of knowledge?
Sri Sri: Knowledge is not information. That which is awareness is knowledge. The container that contains information is called wisdom, and not the content. That in which all information happens is knowledge. The consciousness – that is only the knowledge.
Satyam Gyanam Anantam Brahma – there are four designations of Brahma - Truth, infinity, wisdom and God. These are the four facets of knowledge. It is all one. Relative knowledge is information and pure knowledge is that which is absolute.
Q: What is the difference between the mind and the soul?
Sri Sri: Mind is thoughts and soul is in which everything happens.
Q: Please throw some light on the last shloka of the tenth chapter of the Bhagwad Geeta?
Sri Sri: Lord Krishna says to Arjuna, “Whatever you are seeing in this world, that is all a little part of Me. Wherever you see any merit, that comes from Me only. Any intelligence that you see in anyone, that is Me only. Any valor that you see in anyone, that is Me only. The whole world reflects in a little part of Me.
Q: Many people say that Lord Hanuman still exists in Himalayas? Is it true?
Sri Sri: You know, the Universe is all wave function. There is nothing solid here. If you see some quantum physicist, you will find that they say that whatever appears to be there is really not there. In the subtle, all energies are there. Lord Hanuman is not a person sitting somewhere. In life force itself, there is the consciousness of Hanuman.
Q: Why does one marry? What is the secret of a successful marriage?
Sri Sri: A successful marriage is when both are happy. Then the children will also be happy. You choose! Choice is yours and blessings are mine. This is something that you don’t choose with your head. If something clicks in the future, make a choice.
Q: How do protect oneself from the negativity of others?
Sri Sri: Om Namah Shivaya chanting! Jai Gurudev will also do.
Q: Guruji, how does it differ from techniques involving concentration or contemplation?
Sri Sri: Usually, we sit and contemplate on some knowledge, on some scriptures. We are keeping our mind active. The mind is thinking and thinking and thinking. Thinking is also an activity and does not bring any rest to the mind. So contemplation should never be called meditation.
Concentration involves a lot of effort. You are trying to focus your mind to stay in one place, which is not its nature. Mind jumps from one thing to another and it goes from something which is charming to something which is even more charming.
Mind always flows towards something that is even more charming. When you are having very good food then you are attentive with the food. However when something on television comes or a beautiful scenery comes, you forget about the food and watch the scenery.
You mind goes from this to that. You mind always goes from one thing to another and it always goes to something that is more enjoyable. At least, it perceives that something is more joyful. It may not really be the source of joy. In fact, it is not.
Concentration is – trying to focus the mind on one point against its nature. So we are forcing our mind. Children get into so much stress and tension because their mind is forced on something which is not in their natural taste. They are forced to study such topics for which they have the least inclination. Then, it causes so much strain.
Concentration again is tremendous effort. So, it can’t be meditation. Though, you willneed concentration in life. Now, both concentration and contemplation are results of meditation – they are not meditation itself. Meditation is effortless!
When the mind takes the deepest rest, it becomes so fresh and alive. And after that deep rest, your concentration is spontaneous. It’s natural. Concentration becomes effortless.
You are able to contemplate well without strain. Meditation unfortunately is understoodto be another concentration or contemplation in many parts of the world. But it is not.
Meditation is the art of doing nothing. It’s the skill by which you make your mindbecome quiet and do nothing and experience the vastness of space deep within.
So, effortlessness is the key to meditation. And if we can do a few minutes of meditation, you will find that concentration has improved and your intellectual abilities are boosted.