Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Dear Gurudev, would you suggest people donate the body so those in need of transplants can be helped?
Sri Sri: Definitely, you can donate the organs of your body. There is nothing wrong with it.
Q: Gurudev, what does it mean to be a full time Art of Living teacher? And what kind of a person can do it?
Sri Sri: Well, you don't need to be a full time teacher. You can become a part time teacher. Teaching takes up only two hours of your time.
Courses are usually held in the evenings, when people are finished with their work. You can take a course for three days, four days or five days, depending on the format. You can teach one or two courses a month.
Moreover, you can gather two or three teachers and take courses together, so you don't feel the load on you. It helps take the pressure off you. Suppose you have to take your child to do some shopping, then you don’t need to think, ‘Oh! I have a course, how can I do that.’ Then, you have another teacher who can take care. So, I would recommend that two teachers take a course together. Then you can have your job, continue with whatever you are doing professionally, and on the side, you can teach and help people around.
If you do not have any (personal) requirements, any pressure around, then you can dedicate your life. If you can say, ‘I need very little for myself, and I want to teach full time’, then you can do that also. But I would say, first become a part-time teacher, do some work.
Q: Gurudev, earlier ignorance was leading me to fear, but now, sometimes, knowledge is bringing me more confusion. What should I do?
Sri Sri: That is good! The purpose of knowledge is to confuse you again, and again, and again. It is not to bring clarity. At every level of confusion, you jump one more step higher. So, never mind.
When there is no confusion, it is like a ramp walk, where there is no jumping. But sometimes, it is like steps, where you have to leave one step, and go one step higher. And that is when confusion happens.
Now don't ask me, ‘Does that mean that if there is no confusion and I'm clear in my life, then is there no growth? Or am I not progressing? Is knowledge not working for me?’ Nothing like that! You are on a ramp walk, on a cake walk. When that is not there then you are in a Mr. Toad’s wild ride; a bumpy road, and it is good.
Q: What is real seva? How can my every action become seva?
Sri Sri: Seva mean, doing like him. ‘Him’ means the creator. He does everything for you and he doesn't expect anything from you. So to do whatever you can, not expecting anything in return; is called seva.
There is definitely a payoff. There is certainly a return from that, but when you're expecting the result, it doesn't become seva. Without expecting anything, wanting anything, just do for doing sake is called seva.
Q: Dear Gurudev, if every formless is Shiva and every form is Shakti, then what is breath, which is both form and formless?
Sri Sri: Yes, the formless is Shiva and the form is Shakti. You can define it in any manner.
Prana (life force energy obtained from breath) is also known as Mukhyaprana.
Hanuman is connected with prana, air (Vayu Tattva) is connected with prana, Omkar is connected with prana. So everything is prana in the universe. We are in an ocean of prana, and prana is both Shiva and Shakti.
A point comes where you cannot distinguish between Shiva and Shakti. The border vanishes, it becomes invisible. Shiva and Shakti become one. That is when it is called Brahman, which means it is all one; there is no second.
Advaita means, no second, no two (even to count to one, there must be two. That is why it is said, ‘There are no two things, just one’). It is one field of energy. Nothing other than that exists. Advaita means non-dual, it is the non-dual power in the universe.
This is the ultimate knowledge, i.e., non-dual, there are no two things. The whole universe is made up of one thing.
When you come one step below; it is like Quantum Physics. One more step below, and then it is like the Periodic Table in Chemistry. Do you know the Periodic Table? You have different elements, different aspects; these are all the different devas and devatas (specific divine energies).
Q: Gurudev, I feel I am stuck. I am unable to spread The Art of Living knowledge. What should I do?
Sri Sri: You don’t need to do that what you cannot do. Nobody expects you to do anything which you cannot do. But whatever you can do, you must do. This is because when we do service, it does good to other people, and that brings us immense satisfaction too.
Okay, before you leave, I want you to give me all your worries. I want you to go home with a big smile. And whenever you feel you are down, upset, not feeling happy or good, remember you are not alone! I am with you! And the whole Art of Living family is with you.
My dream is to see everyone with a big smile, and the whole world as one family. And I would like you all to join me in this dream to make a violence-free, stress-free, and happy society.
Q: I want to thank you for being here and the precious things that you have said. When you said ‘serving society’ did you mean a particular person, or serving like volunteering for Red Cross or something similar?
Sri Sri: Yes. Whatever and wherever it is needed, and in whatever manner it is needed.
Q: Dear Gurudev, can you please explain the Eternity Process, and its benefits to us?
Sri Sri: Eternity process is just taking your memory backward, realizing and re-living the impressions there, and relieving them.
Q: Krishna says, ‘The desire that is not opposed to Dharma, is me.’ Can you please tell us how to identify which desires are in alignment and which are opposed to Dharma?
Sri Sri: The desires which are common, natural, and do not produce any guilt, fear or discomfort in you, or take you away from your naturalness is called Dharmic (in line with Dharma). Anything that shakes you, burns you, or makes you uncomfortable; the discomfort in that desire indicates that it is not Dharma. If it is Dharmic, it is very comfortable. If it is not Dharmic, then there is fear, guilt, or discomfort in the desire.
Q: Gurudev, the world is spending billions of dollars to create peace, by creating structures and systems. However, they cannot reach the heart, and they don't know the mind of human beings. To answer your call for peace in the world; my vision and idea is to bring this knowledge of the mind and the heart to reach everyone in the world. So we can go along with you to the United Nations, to all the areas where people are suffering from violence.
Sri Sri: Good, good, good. On 3 February, in New Delhi, India, I launched a ‘Volunteer for a Better India’ program, along with 10 different UN agencies. It was a very successful launch, and we will continue working with UNICEF and many other UN agencies to create such an atmosphere.
I would like many of you here, in Split, to become teachers of the Art of Living, and spread the message in Croatia.
I would also like to invite you to come to India. When you come to India, you can go sight-seeing, do meditations, and get deeper experiences. In addition, you can also experience Ayurevda.
Do you know we have the best Ayurvedic hospital in the world, in Bangalore, which can heal things like Vericose Veins, that otherwise has no remedy in Allopathy. Also, the dental work is very good. The doctors can remove your teeth, without pain, without a drop of blood and anaesthesia; at one fifth or one tenth of regular costs. Ayurvedic treatment is very effective and low-cost. There are many things that you can learn from the ancient medical sciences.
Before you go, give me all your worries, and go with a big smile.