Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Guruji, some people say that you must not go to funerals and some people say you should go to funerals. Which is right?
Sri Sri: Yes, we can go for funerals; there is a social responsibility. There is no problem in going. Usually, once you return from a funeral, you take a bath because the energy changes.
Q: Tell us something more about prarabdha and sanchita karma.
Sri Sri: Sanchita karma can be reduced by devotion, whereas for prarabdha karma some of it will have to be undergone; you have to experience it.
Q: Guruji, my boss wants me to be diplomatic and feels it is very important for communication but I am a very straight forward person and cannot be diplomatic. What is the right thing to do?
Sri Sri: Why do you put a label in your head ‘I am a straight forward person’ and why should a straight forward person not be diplomatic also? A straight forward person need not be rude all the time. Now you hide your rudeness behind that fact that you are straight forward, no you cannot justify the rudeness that way. Straight forwardness is necessary and diplomacy is also necessary, you have to have both. When you meet someone who is blind, you cannot tell that person, ‘You are a blind person’. You may say I am just straight forward, I am just saying the right thing, but you shouldn’t do that. So diplomacy is part of life; that is a skill you need to have. Diplomacy need not be that one is not being straight forward because it is not the opposite of being straight forward, not at all. These two things should go together.
Q: Guruji, sometimes we are in a free state of mind when we can talk to anyone and sometime we are not. How to get that state of mind back?
Sri Sri: You mean at home with the wife? It does happen and people complain, at home my husband does not speak, but when some guest comes my husband speaks a lot. When I am alone with him he doesn’t speak at all; this is the problem, right? Your mind is such - sometimes you want to speak and sometime you have spoken so much that you have exhausted everything. You don’t feel like talking and so the prana has to go up for you to feel like talking more. That is nature. You don’t have to force yourself to talk, so be free.
Q: I am from Rajasthan, there are many ashrams in Rajasthan and I was thinking that if a small ashram of The Art of Living is built there, that would be a very nice thing. What are your thoughts?
Sri Sri: Alright, build an Ashram, all of you get together and make one. I make people, you make the Ashram. Just yesterday we were discussing that there are so many ashrams but there are no people. In the ashrams, there are no Yogis. So that is why I thought first, let’s make strong people and that is why I called this ‘Vyakti Vikas’ not ‘Ashram Vikas’. So now this work you do, the other work I have already started.
Q: Guruji, what happens to the letters that are sent to you?
Sri Sri: They all come to me, don’t worry.
Q: Guruji, you asked us to be dispassionate and you also say that dispassion is a happening. I really want to be dispassionate but I am confused how can I create a happening in my life? Please guide
Sri Sri: Dispassion is not a happening; I would say dispassion is what you invoke in yourself. When you widen your awareness, when you see everything is going to disappear and death is imminent, we are all going to die and everything is changing; when this knowledge comes - then dispassion is spontaneous. You need to understand and see life from a broader perspective and then automatically dispassion comes within you; but there is some effort. A little effort from you and then it will happen.
Q: Guruji, you have told us that the Guru’s work is to confuse the disciple. Then who will we go to for answers?
Sri Sri: Where else can you go? Anywhere you go you will get more confused, isn’t it? From where the confusion has come, the answer will also come.
Q: Dear Guruji, generally one of these shaktis are predominant in us: either Brahma shakti, Vishnu shakti or Shiva shakti. How to use them and how to balance them?
Sri Sri: Simply do it! That’s it. Brahma shakti: you create but don’t just drop it. Vishnu shakti is to see that whatever you start, you continue.
Q: How do I enjoy life if it is going to get finished one day? This thought doesn’t let me enjoy Guruji.
Sri Sri: It should make you appreciate life more. See, a flower is going to wither away but don’t you enjoy looking at the flower? You have a gulab jamun (an Indian sweet), ice creams, once you eat it’s going to finish but don’t you enjoy it? Now see, there is the beautiful full moon there and it is going to disappear one day but still we enjoy it today. Good!