Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: How to get over habits?
Sri Sri: To get over habits, there are three options If someone gives you a temptation: Suppose you stop this bad habit for 10 days you will get 10 lakhs of rupees. Then you will do it. Something higher than your habit can create greed in you. Or if someone creates fear in you, eg. A doctor says if you drink, you will spoil your liver. Then you can get over your habit. The third way is through love.
Q: How to get over bad attitude of anybody?
Sri Sri: People are bad because there is some stress Once they get onto the path of sadhana, they can come out of it.
Q: Could you please comment on the Naxalite issue?
Sri Sri: The Naxal problem is not of poverty. A poor man cannot lift a gun or make a bomb. These are people who have wrong education. They say,‘If people can elect us, they can bring us down also. Did Napoleon ask anyone for a vote, did Mao or Stalin ask?’ They feel that they should come to power on their own power.
This education turns people towards violence.People who walk the path of spirituality, who know history,will never go into Naxal activities. They are ignorant of spirituality. That is why spirituality is most important.
That is why I often say Krishna was the first communist. Krishna said, ‘See Me in all and all in Me’. This is the real communism.
Q: There is a lot of poverty. How do we find a solution for that?
Sri Sri: One of the main reasons for poverty is alcoholism.
Many villagers spend 60 percent of their earnings in the toddy shop. If you think they are poor, then from where have they got toddy? Villages have risen above the poverty line just by closing the toddy shops. The poorest of the poor can earn and not stay hungry, wherever alcohol has stopped. Youngsters in rural areas are now dealing with this problem.
People of all castes should celebrate together. Everyone should come together for one meal in a week. When people in the village will come together, then the feeling of Dalit and non Dalits will be removed. In every village, ask those who can to contribute for those who don’t have enough. Such development cannot be done by the government alone. NGOs have to initiate this change.
Q: I cannot accept criticism. So I get disturbed.
Sri Sri: For how long does this happen?For some time right?So, it’s alright. If you think you shouldn't get disturbed, then you get more disturbed. The disturbance doesn't stay for all time.If there is some point in their comments, take it. Welcome the criticism. Is it for your improvement or is it the impression that you have created?
You doubt compliments. So doubt the criticism as well.
Q: What is the difference between jeeva (individual consciousness) and brahma (infinite cosmic consciousness)?
Sri Sri: Jeeva is a part of Brahma.
The balloon has air outside and inside it. Inside a vessel, there is space and outside there is space as well. The inside space is jeeva,the outside space is brahma.
The jeeva is desire, aversion, craving. All this is the balloon. That is why the Lord is not somebody separate, but it is,‘what I am.’ If the wave asks,‘Where is the ocean then what to say? The wave itself is the ocean. You have to only realize this. That is why it is said that while it takes a moment to break a flower stem, the Divine can be realized in a fraction of that moment.
Q: Today a big population has turned vegetarian. Thirty years ago you could hardly find vegetarianism outside India.Why is it so?
Sri Sri: Today, it is different. Tell everybody to be friends with animals. Once you are friends, you don’t eat them. Like you don't use your pets as food. Once you cultivate a relationship, you do not eat it. Cultivate the habit of befriending all the species and this is the way of turning the world, vegetarian.
Sri Sri: What does wealth mean? Not just money, whatever supports life is wealth. In Scandinavia, people thirst for the sun. When I had gone there in winter, it was dark like it’s here now. When I asked someone, ‘When will the sun rise?’ They said, ‘In January. That is wealth for them.
Today there is a need for a spiritual wave in society. Spiritual wave just means where people feel connected to each other When belongingness increases, corruption decreases
Sri Sri: There are different types of Samadhi.
1 Laya Samadhi - Just listening to music you dive deep
2 Sakshi Samadhi - Mindful awareness
If you do too much, that also is not good. That is why one should sit with a teacher and take guidance.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:When somebody leaves the body we realize the magnitude of life. A person, who was there, is no more. It brings a depth to life One starts wondering - what is life? Where did the person go? It gives a depth to life, there is no point in brooding. Yes, tears, come you don’t need to suppress them. But there is no need to brood over it.
In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna talks about all the good qualities. And then He adds that they are already in you. Negative qualities have come because of company etc. You don't need to get positive qualities. Just like in an atom, the core is positive and the negativity is peripheral If you feel that deep inside you is sorrow or anger then you can never get rid of it. Don’t ever think deep inside you is sorrow or anger. Modern psychology sometimes says this sorrow is deep inside you. It’s wrong. They know nothing about consciousness. Negativity is not skin deep. Know that it’s not in the core.
Q: How to bring up children in a competitive world?
Sri Sri: The world has always been competitive. In the past, competition was present on a smaller scale. It is much bigger now. We need to instill values. Even in the satyuga, there were rakshasas (demons). So don't blame time. You do your part. Instill values in children.