Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: I have fallen because of such a big ego. What can I do?
Sri Sri: Never mind! If you have recognized that you have fallen, you will rise higher. That is good enough. You have recognized that your ego has been the hindrance. But now don’t fight your ego. Just keep it in your pocket. Let it be there. Don’t try to do anything with it. Say, “I like it” and let it be there. If you don’t like it, give it to me, but then, I would like you to keep it with you. You know our effort in trying to erase our ego becomes another big problem. You have enough other problems to solve anyway.
Q: There has been life for so many centuries on this planet. I wish to know why is it that some creatures live a prosperous and extravagant life, and yet there are some creatures who do not even have enough to eat? What is the basis on which a creature gets birth?
Sri Sri: This is one of the five secrets – the secret of birth. Nature has been very kind that birth has been kept as a secret. Otherwise, you would be living a miserable life remembering all previous incidents that happened in the past lives. But a time will come in your life when your mind would be completely established in the present moment, memory would awake, and you will remember what you were and who you were in your previous births. It is alright if it does not happen with some people.
The whole world is made up of cause and effect. If somebody is rich, that has a reason. If somebody is poor, that also has a reason. But does that mean we don’t have any independence of Karma? You definitely have freedom. We have been given discrimination. So, we do have freedom of karma, and also we are bearing fruits of past actions also. It is like you get some capital from someone. Now, it is up to you what do you want to do with it. A poor man can become rich, and a rich can become poor. There are all possibilities. Your karma decided where you were born. But it depends on you where do you want to reach.
Q: Why do I lose concentration when I meditate?
Sri Sri: Concentration is not meditation. Meditation is de-concentration. It is letting go. Meditation calms the mind. It feels good. But in our daily life we have to handle paying bills, parking tickets and other mundane things. How can we do this with the same calm mind without getting irritated or perturbed?
You take shower in the morning to clean your body. After that you do all the daily activities. You don’t have to keep on taking a shower throughout the day. It is like that. You meditate and calm your mind, then go on with other activities. It is not easy to keep yourself undisturbed but it will happen if you keep doing the practices regularly. Then keeping yourself calm will become easy.
Q: Is there any maximum limit to how much we can meditate?
Sri Sri: Just do as much is necessary. There is no need to do too much. Meditation is like taking a bath. To wash the mind, you need meditation. And once the mind is clean, you will be well.
Q: How can we overcome fear of death?
Q: Sometimes, I feel that you are with me and watching me all the time. At some other times I feel that I am not connected. I feel distracted during those times. I am unable to do sadhana also in such times. A lot of thoughts come in the mind. What should I do then?
Sri Sri: : you have given answer in the question itself. Nature of devotion is such that you feel longing in its absence. Once you get a glimpse of devotion, then its absence causes perturbation in mind. It is not that devotion is absent there but you feel as if it is not there, and you feel restless with this feeling. If we look in the light of knowledge, Shri Narada has said in Bhakti Sutras that the very indication of devotion is that you experience bliss in its presence and its absence makes you restless. This shows that you have devotion, and consider yourself as lucky when you experience such restlessness in mind. You feel absence of devotion only for some time. Devotion is anyway always there, it never dies, but you may feel that it has decreased. This is natural. This happens only to those who have a very good luck. Otherwise, inert person doesn’t feel any devotion. Mind of such a person is tormented with worries.
Q: Guruji, how do I silence my mind?
Sri Sri: The will to silence itself pays in many ways. Meditation and Sudarshan Kriya helps, too.
Q: Guruji, how can I focus, have a vision and still be in the present moment?
Sri Sri: Do not think that having a vision is contradictory to living in the present moment. You can have a vision and be in the present moment. Being totally in the present moment can give you a better vision and focus for the future.
Q: What should I do with the conflict in my mind?
Sri Sri: The moment you realize that there is so much conflict in your mind, your eyes open. Satsang and pranayamas can put an end to it.
Q: How can I free myself from fears that seem to have settled into me years ago? I know they are irrational and just in my head. Yet here they come up over and over again. They are distracting and feel binding to me!
Sri Sri: Meditate! Sit quietly and meditate, or listen to some chanting music. All this will help. Meditation, some pranayama, sudarshan kriya, some excercises, ujjayi breath are very good for fears. Don’t think that fear is somewhere deep inside you. It is an erroneous notion of Psychology that fear and guilt are deep down. I tell you, deep down there is only a lot of joy; a lot of bliss. And in that centre – no fear, no guilt, no anger, no lust can touch you. Deep down you are wonderful. So never think you have all these anxieties. Those who say that there is something wrong deep down are blind. It is all there just on the surface. If they call that deep, then I will suggest to go deeper. In the centre of your being, you are a fountain of joy. Saying, “Oh! My Mind! Deep down there is anxiety!”is ignorance; a wrong idea and concept. The moment you accept these words as truth, it starts becoming more difficult to get over those emotions. They become more permanent there. Do you see that?