Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Guruji, environment is one of the most important factors today, what do we do to look after it?
Sri Sri: Yes, caring for the environment is a big part of The Art of Living. Plant trees; use less plastic, if possible, no plastic and use cloth bags. These are all very valid things to know. You have heard about that in the basic course so you all do it already.
Keep the environment clean, if you find people littering the streets you should try to educate them. If you have free time wherever you find any littering, you stand there and call a few people and tell them, “Let’s clear this place”. Do something like that.
Q: What is the difference between sankalpa and desire and if there is a difference then what is the technique to transform all desire into sankalpas?
Sri Sri: You know I have already spoken about all this, about sankalpa and desire and how to change it. It is all about dispassion, dispassion works everywhere.
Q: It is said that life is a play and display of consciousness. Why does consciousness feel the need to play at all?
Sri Sri: Play is nature. When you are happy what you do is play. When you play you have no need. That is why you play. If you are full of needs you only work, you can’t play, do you get it? Games can come when you have free time. Play becomes part of your life when your needs are fulfilled. Consciousness is full and its nature is playfulness. The Divine's nature is being playful.
Q: In a world that is changing so fast you still seem to be the same, unchanged and so beautiful and so adorable. How is that Guruji?
Sri Sri: Some questions are to be wondered about, so this too is not a question but something you need to wonder about. Questions are always bent, crooked, but wonder is always straight. So transforming life from question to wonder is knowledge. Knowledge does not give answers to questions but changes the questions to wonder. So this is something that you should wonder about.
The Ashramities have started chanting a few shlokas of the Bhagavad Gita every day. I would like to say that everyone, wherever you are, start reading a few shlokas of the Bhagavad Gita every day. Read three to four shlokas everyday, if you don’t understand Sanskrit never mind, even the translation is good enough.
Q: Dear Guruji, my son is now two years old, he feels insecure with other people. Do kids at that age feel that? How do I handle this?
Sri Sri: It may not be insecurity in the child. A 2-year old child would not be so insecure, it may be your own projection. Sometimes you project yourself too much on what the child is feeling or saying. Especially grand parents have a lot of projection on the children. Grandpa will say my 6-month old baby looked at me and said, “Grandpa you don’t go for walking today, you stay with me,” and all that he was saying with his own eyes. The baby doesn’t even speak but grandpa feels that he says everything. A lot of it will be your own projection.
If you feel your child is a little jealous, sibling jealousy will be there, if you feel that, then you pat them and give them a little more attention.
Q: I am thinking today that everything is permeated with light and when I look into myself your light is within me. In me, in him and all of them, it is you only that is present. Where ever I see everywhere it is you who are shining. Where have you come from, who are you, tell me that at least today?
Sri Sri: If you want to know who I am then there is a deal you will have to make with me. The deal is that first you have to know who you are. When you find out who you are then you will know who I am and this is also what I want, that you know who you are and then you will know who I am.
Q: Dear Guruji, you say that our relationship is as old as this earth. Have we celebrated your birthday in some past live as well? I don’t remember but you would, so please tell me.
Sri Sri: Yes we have. Of course! Now tell me, the first time you met me did you feel that we are meeting for the first time? No, I also have never felt as if meeting a stranger with anybody. All those people, everyone I met, I have always felt I have met them before and I know them. As of now I have not met a single stranger.
Q: Compared to the universe, if our existence is nothing then what impact does it create if we are born or not? How does our karma effect?
Sri Sri: See, in the universe nothing matters, yet everything matters. This universe will collapse even if one species disappears. Suppose all the house flies disappear from the universe, the universe will collapse, it cannot exist. This is what scientists say today, even if a particular type of butterfly is missing or one type of flower becomes extinct, the universe cannot stay.
A house fly has no significance; how many planets are there! How many solar systems are there! Milky ways are there! Yet, if house flies are missing the universe collapses. So, though house flies are very insignificant they are very significant. Similarly, everyone is significant yet insignificant.
Q: Dear Guruji, please tell me are we humans wanting to be spiritual beings or are we spiritual beings in the disguise of humans?
Sri Sri: Both - spiritual beings in the disguise of humans and wanting to come back to your spiritual being, back to our home.
You know what the word Radha means? Radha means ‘back to the source’. Dhara means flow; flow from the source is called dhara and when you read dhara the other way around, it is Radha. When water flows down, it is called dhara, and when water goes back from where it started flowing, it is Radha.
Q: Guruji I want to have an intense longing for u but it comes and goes and the mind moves on to other things. How do I have this consistent intense longing for you?
Sri Sri: Never mind, have some fun. If you say ‘I don’t have longing’, that also is another longing. You’re longing for the longing; it’s like when you are angry, you are then angry because you are angry. Similarly you are longing for longing, know that is also longing.