Q: How does one get over past childhood problems?
Sri Sri: It’s already gone. If you think it is still in the mind, then rub it off. De-link the pain from the memory. But if you put effort in trying to do that, you bring the memory back. However, in meditation you feel the pain as a sensation and not as connected to an event. In the Art of Silence Course, during the Hollow and Empty Meditation, you observe pain as a sensation. The very first experience of life was pain, coming out of our mother’s womb through such a small passage. Before that you were in bliss. You didn’t even need to eat. Then suddenly the water got drained and you came out crying. Have you noticed the expression on a newborn’s face? It is as though they came out from ten hours of hard work! The first experience is that of pain. Then the child looks into the mother’s eyes, and then the mother experiences the love.
Don’t see pain as an event.
Q: Please talk about domestic violence and how one can live with it?
Sri Sri: Domestic and social violence both arise out of stress. We never teach people how to handle stress. No one is given spiritual knowledge. Don’t you think this knowledge of meditation and Sudarshan Kriya should reach everybody? This knowledge of non-violence should reach all.
Somehow we have to reach this knowledge to people. You cannot tolerate domestic violence. Educate people. Put your 100 percent to bring them to knowledge and meditation. Through this, you will see how their whole attitude changes. There is a village of 600 people in Nanded Province in India. It had the usual challenges of a village - alcohol, debts, etc. One 'Art of Living' teacher took it as a challenge and started teaching courses in small groups. Within a few months there was a huge change in. Today everyone gathers together in the evening and sing together. Nobody drinks or smokes, or takes tobacco. There is no crime. There is one store in the village that runs on trust, without a shopkeeper. It has been running in this manner since three years without any theft. The entire village is organic. Nobody is unemployed. There are no locks on doors in the entire village. All the houses are painted pink to show unity. They keep it so clean. They are self-sufficient and environment-friendly. They have received the “Most Ideal Village” award. One hundred and eighty villages of Karnataka and altogether 500 villages are now following this model. Every person does pranayama.
A lot needs to be done. We have 140 schools in areas where there are no roads or electricity. We have a good number of children studying in these schools. They receive free education. First generation literates achieve such good grades in school. The President of the World Bank asked us how our projects are successful. I explained that money is not always the reason. Love and spiritual energy make projects successful.
Q: Why do people meditate? Is it alright to sleep during meditation?
Sri Sri: It’s fine unless you are snoring and troubling others! (laughter) Meditation is deep rest. What is samadhi? It is equivalent to a million years of rest. If you meditate even for a second and sleep before and after, never mind. Even if it is sound sleep. So what?
Q: What is your advice for people on planet Earth? How can we live such that after 50-100 years we would still have fresh air to breathe?
Sri Sri: Care for nature, like native communities worship nature. Honor the environment. In a place in India if you cut one tree, you have to promise you will plant five of the same kind within the next forty days. There is a whole ritual in which one who is cutting the tree speaks to it, telling it that after cutting it will be useful to us. We must care for nature, not exploit it.
Q: How can one always remain committed?
Sri Sri: Do you want an answer? You are committed to getting an answer? Let me see how long you can hold on to that commitment. You know, there is nothing like one commitment. It does not work like that. From time to time you have to take on commitments in life. That is part of your nature. If you are weak, you will drop your commitment everyday. If you are strong, you will stick to it. How does one become strong? Pranayama and meditation.
Q: Why do we cry in front of God and how can we bring ourselves closer to God?
Sri Sri: It makes you feel better when you release the tears. The impressions go themselves. You don’t need any effort to make yourself close to God. God is the closest thing to you. There is no escape from God! However you are, good or bad, God is all around you. Like there is air all around you. Whether you are awake or asleep, air is all around. When you feel hot, you stand in front of the fan. The fan is just blowing the air ,which is already there. Satsang is like a fan. The Master is like a fan. Only then do you feel the blow of the air.
Q: How does one handle fear of death?
Sri Sri: If you isolate and think only of yourself then you will have the fear of death. Once you are in service, there is no fear of death. Terrorists are committed to something so they are not afraid of life or death. If you want to do good for others, your commitment to it will take care of this fear.
Q: How can we come out of yes and no in the mind?
Sri Sri: Just smile through. Take things as they come.
Q: How does one deal with separation anxiety?
Sri Sri: Ujjayi breath. You are in the ocean of breath.
Q: Please explain the meaning of Sat Chitananda.
Sri Sri: Sat is “that exists.” Chit is “that knows.” Ananda is “bliss.”