Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Guruji, what importance, if any, should we hold on to what the Pundits, Astrologers and the Psychics say about our future and its course?
Sri Sri: Take it with a pinch of salt. Take it lightly, everything will change. You know, what your Astrologer says, you don’t have to believe one hundred percent. Astrology is a science, but not all astrologers are scientists. You have to take it with a pinch of salt. It can change also.
Q: Beloved Guruji, I have been practicing to give a percentage of my income to uplift the society for the last twenty years. Would you please elaborate on the idea and power of charity as a spiritual practice? Love and Gratitude!
Sri Sri: Ya ya, giving something back to the society is very important. You know, there is a proverb that says, “Rice is purified by a drop of ghee on it”. You know ghee, butter, a little fat. It was a practice in India, but we didn’t see any scientific basis for it.
Lately, when we spoke to a scientist doctor, he said it is good to have a spoon of ghee, the clarified butter, on rice, because that prevents one from having diabetes. You know why? Rice or any food, starch or carbohydrates quickly gets digested, but it takes a little longer to digest that if it has a little bit fat. Then there is less chance of you getting diabetic or heart problems. So, a cardiologist said, “it is necessary to have a little fat in carbohydrates so that it becomes complex to digest it”. I said, “look, this was said some thousands of years ago. They said, ‘rice gets purified with a drop of ghee.’ ”.
In the same way the money gets purified by charity. When you give a portion of what you have earned for a good cause then the rest of the money that you have is pure money. Similarly, the mind becomes pure by meditation, body get pure by bathing, by a shower; mind becomes pure by prana, pranayama and meditation; Intellect becomes purer by knowledge, by wisdom. See, what we are listening make us pure. There is something that happens in you when you are listening to knowledge or read Yoga Vasistha. Right? You listen to Ashtavakra and that wow sprouts from within. Knowledge makes the intellect pure. And life becomes pure when there is dedication.
Q: Do you ever get angry? What is the solution to anger?
Sri Sri: This is a very important question. In the 55 years of my life, I have never said a harsh word. I could not do it. The worst I have ever said is, “You stupid.”
Sometimes I want to show anger and people don’t believe me. That is my problem. Things work better with some anger. Anger is good if you are aware of it. It should last only as long as a line drawn on a water surface lasts. Some carry over anger from the previous day, previous month, or ten years ago. The mind suffers. Get out of anger, frustration, jealousy and greed. Meditation will help. Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and yoga are the answers.
Q: How do we locate the queen bee within us?
Sri Sri: Meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, and meditate.
To be continued in the next post..
Q: What is the place of thought in a free mind?
Sri Sri: Where does thought come from? It comes from a free mind or an un-free mind? Thoughts are not free. So, you have answered the question. Free your mind of thoughts for a few moments. When astonished, shocked, in deep love, samadhi, meditation or deep sleep, your mind is free from thoughts. You get energized then.
Q: How do I overcome and move beyond the physical desires?
Sri Sri: It depends on what is your age. If you are a teenager or just out of teenage, then it is quite but natural. There is nothing you can do about it. Keep yourself busy. If you have too much free time, only sex will occupy the mind. Have you noticed in your exam times, or when you are too busy, or you have to take a challenge, or you are going on a sports trip, or when your mind is occupied and engaged, then sex is not a big issue, it is not so compelling. But when you are too free, that is when it takes over the seat. Now, sex is not bad, but the obsession is horrible. One type of sex is when you try to satisfy, and if you do not get satisfied, there is another type that starts happening.
So many different distortions and tendencies would come up in the mind. The best thing is to do pranayama. Pranayama helps. Then, watching your food will help. If you eat too much, so much energy is there, and it needs an outlet to go somewhere. And if you are not creative, then it definitely takes the other route. So, a little bit say on the food. It is said if you cannot control your tongue, you can never control your genitals, because your tongue and genitals are connected. Sex and food are very much linked. So, your obsession can be controlled if your food is lighter and moderate in amount.
Pranayama can help you to control excessive tendencies. Music and dance will help. Some creative art, painting, writing story, and appreciating beauty will help. When you are more happy, inclination towards sex is less. But if you are miserable, restless and unhappy then inclination towards sex is much more. So, by all these things and keeping yourself busy, you can sail through the tough time. Because when you indulge in it, later on you don’t like it, and not going into sex makes you completely nuts. So, you are in a limbo sort of state. This is very difficult in teenage time; there is no way out of it other than keeping someone very very busy.And then the middle age crisis! I am analyzing all these different age groups when one has to overcome these hurdles. Still, if none of these works, just wait for the time. As you grow older, it will simply disappear. You know, time will take care of it. When you are 60, 70 or may be 80, sometime it has to drop of you. Mind, sometime, will become cool. At least then, something will wake up from within.
Q: Many Indians, settled here in the States, are not happy because they feel their children or families are being prevented from making progress in life. They are not coming up for whatever reason. What is the solution for handling this stress?
Sri Sri: Is your question that people are not happy in spite of prosperity? Bring them to me. Bring them to the teachers. They will have no choice but to smile. Stress can be eliminated through stress management, dispassion and through a broader outlook to life. When you are 90 yrs old what do you want from this life? What do you want to take? What do you want to give? What impressions do you want to give to the world? What impressions do you want to take from the world? Just ponder. Just be with these few questions and the stress will leave you. Dispassion and breath uplift you. A little bit of devotion or bhakti uplifts you.
Q: What happens to the soul after we pass away?
Sri Sri: What happens when a television set is switched off? The screen will go blank but TV waves are still being projected. Our bodies are like a TV screen. Of course the relay station is elsewhere. (laughter)
Q: Another question on love. When you were here last time, you said not to say ‘I love you’ too much for too much expression of love destroys it all. Now, my husband never says it. What to do?
Sri Sri: Listen! I have no experience of all this and what husband and wife say to each other!
May be, you should ask your husband why does he love you so much. May be he is waiting for you to say. This is a chance when you can say and look at his face.
Q: How do we stop blaming ourselves for failures?
Sri Sri: First of all, don’t pay any attention at all to the mind. If we pay attention, that's it. Instead, pranayama, meditation and yoga are very good solutions.