Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: What is your advice to parents?
Sri Sri: Know how to ride a horse! When you sit on horseback, you must move with it. You have to rock with the motion otherwise your back will hurt. Parents have to rock. You have to swing with them, know them and gently guide. Sometimes you tighten the reins, sometimes loosen. It is the same with kids. Put your foot down sometimes, but also give them freedom.
Q: How to get rid of hurt and anger?
Sri Sri: Do Sudarshan Kriya, breathe, sing, meditate. There is no point in brooding. Move on in life. Don’t waste today for what happened yesterday. Wake up and say, “I have the valor and the courage to overcome this.” With someone else’s anger, you must play all your tricks to calm them. Then leave it to God. Educate and ignore. Give them some time. Ask for pardon and most people will not hold the grudge. If they do, it is only out of ignorance.
Q: I want to understand about desires and how we are meant to deal with them. I feel that I shouldn’t be in the desires, yet I still want to achieve things or find myself attracted to another person. If we don’t have desires, where do motivations in life come from? Thank you.
Sri Sri: Fine, have desires. Who said no? You should have desires, but the desires should not have you. It is like the horse is in control of you, and you are not in control of the horse. If you are, then it’s a difficulty.
There is a story of Mulla Nasruddin. He was on the horse. And the horse was going round the same circles, same streets! So people asked him, “Mulla, where are you going?” He said, “I don’t know, ask the horse!” So, we are in similar situation most of the time in our lives. Our desires have us and they ruin us. Instead you should have desires, but you should be able to drop them any time you want to, and have them any time you want to! You should be able to get onto the horse when you want to and get out of the horse when you don’t want! Rather than you getting stuck in the horse, or horse throwing you down. Correct? That is more misery.
Q: Dear Guruji, it is easy for me to shut my mouth but it is difficult for me to shut my thoughts. How can I do it? Please help me.
Sri Sri: You don’t need to do anything. Everything is done here for you. Hiren is giving all the courses, he will lead you at different times to different types of meditations and processes and it’ll happen! That’s why you need to be here, if it’s a first Hollow and Empty - your Advance Course, you may find it a little difficult to begin with but then you know when you continue, you will definitely find it very useful.
Q: What is the trademark of the ‘Art of Living’?
Sri Sri: Smile! If somebody says he/she has done the course but is not smiling, don’t believe them! They have not done the course truly.
Q: I feel very uncomfortable in the presence of some people even when they are total strangers. And I wonder why this happens?
Sri Sri: Take it as your exercise. OK, meditate, go deep into yourself. You will see this discomfort will go away.
Q: I strongly feel as though I have visited the Ashram before. Will you please tell me what the concept is behind?
Sri Sri: On the level of consciousness, there are certain experiences which you feel you have already experienced. Scientists say that life is only replay, shooting has already been done and we are only being projected on the screen. Also they say, according to string theory, that it is all vibrations. And this is coming from a scientist and not a philosopher.
Q: How do I come out of negative patterns in my life?
Sri Sri: Once you see yourself acting in a pattern, you are already stepping out of it.
Q: How do I find strength in myself?
Sri Sri: Be well rested and have your heart in the right place. You need both mental and physical rest. Thinking “Oh I have done so much!” will only bore you down. Just know that you will have enough time and energy to do what you were born to do in this life.
Q: What if we feel we have gotten more in life than we deserve and are afraid to lose it?
Sri Sri: Be grateful, prayerful. Know that whoever has given it to you, cares for you and would not take it away. Do service. Put your attention on giving back to society. This is giving back to God. If negative thoughts, insecurities, doubts come into the mind, chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. This itself will put you on the right track. Take the past as destiny and the future as free will. What was meant to happen, happened. We tend to do the reverse. People who are foolish think the past is free will and the future is destiny. This only makes you miserable in the present.
‘Om Namah Shivaya’ has been there for thousands of years. The five elements are represented there and each sound in the mantra corresponds to one of them. For instance, Om is the life force or divinity. Chanting energizes our psyche, our inner self. It is very powerful and we should chant this every day. It will keep away depression. Just try this. You will see that whenever you are low, saying ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ removes the negativity.