Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: What is the difference between religion and spirituality?
Sri Sri: Spirituality joins everything. Different beliefs are there like somebody may be Vaishnav, somebody may be Hindu, somebody may be Christian, but spirituality is experience. I often say, religion is like a banana peel and spirituality is the fruit inside.
Q: What is the difference between Ashtavakra Geeta and Bhagwad Geeta?
Sri Sri: One was sung in a royal palace and other in a battle field. You yourself see now what the difference is. It is like a song having different tunes. Both have their own value. When life seems to be a battle, Bhagwad Geeta will give you solace, and then Ashtavakra Geeta.
Q: I started doing spiritual practices when I was 17 years old. I have tried many practices. After long practice of meditation, I have had many out of body experiences. At certain stage, my mind became dysfunctional and I was frightened. Can you please guide me?
Sri Sri: Some people try different techniques, they try to learn everything being taught anywhere, and end up making a chaos out of it. That is why, all this happens. The path which is being guided here is very safe. Do as much as needed. If you try to follow all kinds of techniques, it creates a problem.
Q: Saints say that suicide is a crime. Then what is jeev Samadhi?
Sri Sri: Yes, suicide is wrong. Some saints take jeev Samadhi. They can effortlessly separate their mind and soul, and continue to live like that for 20 years or so. Saint Gyaneshwar and some other very great saints did that in the past. I am not in favor for it.
One commits suicide out of sorrow, and tries to destroy the body. One tries to commit such a thing burdened with the sorrow, and in search of happiness. But committing suicide is like you removing your coat when you are feeling cold. There is only repentance after suicide, and one keeps on struggling to get a new body. Don’t try to finish this body, and also don’t hold on to it very strongly.
Q: Money cannot bring us happiness – this knowledge happens after accumulating money or before it?
Sri Sri: If you are intelligent, it happens before. And if you are little less intelligent, then it happens afterward. An intelligent person also learns from others’ experiences. But this realization is only authentic if you can experience someone’s experience as your own. It doesn’t carry any value if a beggar says that he has abandoned everything. How can a beggar abandon anything? He has not earned anything at the first place. Also there are some people who do not understand this even after accumulating a lot of money. But this doesn’t mean that you should not earn money. If you are too feverish for money thinking that only it can bring you happiness, then either earn money and see yourself, or learn from others’ experience.
Next part of the conversation with Sri Sri in the next post:
Q: There are so many definitions of Saints. In reality, whom do we call a saint or a Yogi?
Sri Sri: Saint is one whose consciousness is complete. Manifestation follows their words. When such a person speaks, it is not only on the level of mind. Those words have depth. It is more beneficial to directly listen to master’s words because He is speaking life’s experiences only. Experience kindles experience.
We communicate more through our presence. If our presence doesn’t have that love, then the words spoken carry no effect. And there is no need of words where presence carries love. Whatever we convey, it is through our whole existence. It is like when a child cries or laughs, it is coming from every cell of his/her body. This is indication of a yogi – He/She speaks through existence.
Truth can not be conveyed on the level of brain.
Q: These practices bring so much inner comfort. If I do a lot of practice, will it make me more happy?
Sri Sri: Don’t do too much of practice. Move ahead gradually. Do only as much as needed. Do that much to which your body gets accustomed to. You should not start doing 10 hours of practice all of a sudden.
Q: My husband has yet not done the ‘Art of Living’ course. I want him to experience the same joy and knowledge. I have persuaded him by all means. Please guide me what to do now?
Sri Sri: You pray. It will happen.
Q: You are not only a Guru, a Spiritual Master, but you are also so skilled in management. How come you manage everything?
Sri Sri: Guru is not a physical entity, but Guru is embodiment of knowledge and discretion. Guru is pure consciousness. There is no difference between universal consciousness, Guru and the Self. You should also be a Guru to someone. What does it mean to be a Guru? You don’t expect anything from them, and do whatever you can to uplift them with the feeling of love. Start with the one, then two, three…..10. ‘I am for you; you don’t need to worry’ - Then you would also be able to say this for everybody.
Q: Will I have more experiences?
Sri Sri: Experience happens on its own, but don’t hanker for experiences.