Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
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 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.
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: 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: 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: 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: How can one conquer the ego?
Sri Sri: The tendency of the ego is to say “I am not crazy, I am proper. Ego is the biggest problem. Yet it is very easy to overcome. It is a one-day job. Just act like a crazy person. Can you do that? For one day. Done! Make people believe you have gone completely crazy. It is the best antidote for ego.” If you cannot do this, can you simply behave as a child for the rest of your life? No third option. Be a baby for the rest of your life or a crazy person. Be one who has attained the essence. Apart from this, keep the ego. Don’t try to get rid of it. Do this slowly. Otherwise it is impossible.
When people laugh at you, can you relax? When people point at you, just relax. Smile and accept it. A mother has no ego. Whatever the children say, she accepts. If they kick , does the mother get perturbed? If you are unperturbed, you have conquered the ego. Ego is just a feeling of having a wall between you and others. There is no wall. You belong to me and I belong to you. You are accepted the way you are.
Naturalness is the antidote for you. Be spontaneous! Ego cannot stand spontaneity. Ego wants to present everything properly and prepare beforehand. Children are so spontaneous. They make mistakes. Never mind making mistakes. Just be like a child. Anybody can say anything about you.
Another block we often have is to feel something is not practical. No need to practice anything. Our own mind is saying it is not practical. We wanted 2,000 Hindustani classical musicians to perform together. Every teacher said it was impossible. A choir in India! It is not like here with so many people and that many styles. They have their own octaves. We had a program called Antarnaad. You should see it on Youtube. There were 2,750 singers. Only one day of practice! Make the impossible possible. We should remove the block in our own mind. Top musicians were spellbound at the Antarnaad event.
Q: Why are there so many different philosophies?
Sri Sri: Why not? God loves diversity. What if there was only okra to eat? But you have potatoes, tomatoes, beans, all kinds of fruits, vegetables and flowers. God seems to love diversity. He has created so many of us in different shapes, features and colors. He is definitely not a military person, an army general. A spirit that loves diversity must be diverse in itself too. That is what the rishis (Ancient saints) found in meditation. There is only one Ganesh and one Vishnu, but in so many different forms. See unity in diversity and celebrate diversity. Our rishis in the past had spoken of tolerance, acceptance, diversity and equal opportunity.
Why the difference? Find the common thread in different religions. According to different places, there are different customs. Time has created differences. There was one Buddha, now we have thirty-two forms of Buddhism, one Jesus Christ and now seventy-two sects of Christianity, and one Prophet Mohamed and now five different sects of Islam. In Hinduism, the variations cannot even be counted! But everyone believes in the Vedas, the Upanishads. How many different sects? Why should they not be there? Let it be there. See unity in diversity.
Q: I have recently begun meditating. Through this I have experienced God and power of spirituality. I don’t realize what is happening when I meditate. How can I continue to progress on this path? Can you be my Guru?
Sri Sri: I think I am doing my job. If you face any issues, have questions related to energy, yoga or meditation, you can contact me or one of the teachers at any time. It is good to follow one technique at a time. It is not good to mix techniques. When you have a deep experience, it is better to consult a trained teacher. And you can always email me.
Q: In Celebrating Silence you say that ambition indicates lack of self-confidence. Is this so?
Sri Sri: If I say, “I have successfully lifted this bottle of water”, this indicates I was not confident that I could have done it. Being ambitious is when you are not confident of achieving something. ‘I ran ten miles. I did not think I would do it’ - Claiming success indicates your limitation. You are unaware of your huge potential. But the attitude should be ‘ I ran ten miles? I don’t realize that I can also do 100 miles’!