Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: I am a homosexual and I am comfortable with it. Some call me a criminal. My family and friends disown me. Does God still love me?
Sri Sri: God has no choice. God loves everybody on earth. So, don’t worry about it. Okay!
Q: Dearest Gurudev, if our consciousness is so powerful, then why doesn't it heal our body ailments and why do we need doctors and medicines. What is the role of the soul in the body.
Sri Sri: Body heals, not just with medicine. You give someone medicine and do not let them sleep, then see if the body heals. Impossible! Deep rest is required, and meditation is one such rest.
Our body is not used to meditation from the very beginning, or due the circumstances and surrounding, the conditioning of the body is such that medicines also have a role to play. That is why Ayurveda is also a part of the Vedic wisdom, and not just mantras and yoga. Yoga and Ayurveda both have an equal share in keeping the body healthy.
Q: When I look around, I see only misery, hate, anger, greed and meaningless violence. How do you know there is a higher power?
Sri Sri: See, the nature of our mind is when we see misery we magnify it.
If ten complements are given to you and one insult is given to you, what you usually do is, you catch hold of that one insult and blow it out of proportion.
My dear, I would like to tell you, there are a lot of good things also happening in the society. There is lot of service happening. There are a lot of good intended people around, and if you look into the eyes of these people, you will feel that there is compassion and love in most people’s hearts and minds. I agree there is hate, anger and greed. This is because we have not been able to educate them in human values.
Q: In Narada Bhakti Sutra, you have said that measure your mind with your heart and understand your heart with your mind. I am unable to understand this, please explain.
Sri Sri: Just give them equal importance in life. Take both of them along with you, and remember that neither is lesser than the other.
Q: Gurudev, can fate be changed, if so, how? I want to wash off my bad karma.
Sri Sri: You are in the right place, doing the right thing. Meditate, chant, take part in lot of service activities and the past karma will get washed away.
Q: Gurudev, we have to bear the consequences for bad karma from previous lives. How do I know if the problem I am having right now is a result of karma from my previous lives or this life?
Sri Sri: Why do you want to sit and dissect it?
They say ‘Gahano Karmano Gati’, the ways of karma are unfathomable.
If something good is happening, then you must have done something good. If something bad is happening, then you must have done something bad at some time. Maybe that was a year ago, or ten years ago, or even lifetimes ago. Why do you bother, just keep them all aside and simply meditate, be in the knowledge, and do some service.
You have been given such a wonderful path, why do you want to sit down and count your karma. Just follow the path and the karma will automatically get washed away.
When you are disposing your garbage, you don’t look inside and see if it’s yesterday’s garbage or day before yesterday’s garbage. Garbage is garbage, you simply dispose of it. In the same way, just let your old karma be, they will turn to ashes on their own.
Q: How does one cultivate maturity in life?
Sri Sri: Perception, observation and expression - these three things can bring you maturity. The way you perceive things and observe things all around you.
Wisdom doesn’t need time at all. You don’t need to become old to become mature. You simply need observation, of not just yourself but also of the lives of those around you.
Q: Gurudev, can you please explain to me what Grace means.
Sri Sri: That is something which cannot be explained.
When you feel that you have received something which is beyond your ability, beyond your capacity, then you say that it is a gift. Grace simply means gift. That is closest you can get.
By the Grace of God means, I was not worthy of it but he still gave me. That is why you say it is grace.
In school you say grace marks. The teacher gets pleased and gives you some more marks, which you are not really qualified to get, but they give it to you out of love for you. Something that is given to you out of love and feeling for you, though you are not worthy of it, perhaps could be called grace.
When I think, 'I deserve this', then I demand. Then it is the giver’s duty to give me. Grace is always accompanied with gratefulness. When you get what you deserve, you are not grateful for it. But when you are given something which you don’t deserve, then you are more grateful. Grace and gratefulness are very much related.
Q: Different people have different notions of spirituality. Some think it is escapism, others think it is torturing oneself. What is spirituality according to you?
Sri Sri: Anything that uplifts the human spirit is spirituality. Anything that brings you peace, joy, love, comfort and motivates you to do service in society is spirituality.
We are made up of both matter and spirit. Our body is made up of Amino acids, carbohydrate, protein and all that stuff. Our spirit is made up of love, compassion, generosity, intelligence; all these values. So spirituality is not just sitting and doing something. It is something that invokes, that builds character in you.
Q: How to be in a relationship without depending on the other, and without feeling possessive.
Sri Sri: Know that love is your nature. By nature you are loving, and relax. Give the person whom you love their freedom; their space.
When you love somebody, you almost want to strangle them. You want to police them from morning till night. It may sound very difficult to not do this, but that is the wisest thing to do. Don’t police the person you love a lot.