Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: How can I get rid of my sense of guilt?
Sri Sri: When you feel guilty, just chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. Do some Bhastrika, some Pranayama, Kriya. Doing ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ chanting one hundred and eight times also helps a lot. You chant one hundred and eight times, and then relax and meditate. See, new energy has come in you and you have become a new person. That person who did a mistake is gone, has packed off his suitcase and gone. Now inside you is a new person. Start believing in the innocence of the present moment. In the present moment, the YOU in you, the ‘energy in you’ is innocent, okay!
Q: Dear Guruji, when I feel too stressed and disturbed, I don’t get myself to do Kriya. How to overcome such deeps mourns?
Sri Sri: Well, I will give you some advice now. What is the guarantee you will be able to do it then also? Few weak moments have come in life in the past; don’t welcome them in the future as well. And if you cannot get across some weak moments, know that it has come in the past also and it has not helped you in any way. So we should not sit and expect weak moments to come to us first of all. Secondly, even if it comes, we will have the strength to overcome them at that moment. So be spontaneous, okay!
Q: Sometimes I feel I have no importance in this huge universe, among millions of people and other species. What is the point in living? Why should I not commit suicide?
Sri Sri: You want to commit suicide? Never! It is the most unintelligent thing to do. Committing suicide is like saying I am feeling so cold and taking off your jacket. It is like saying I am feeling so hot and taking five blankets on you. My dear, problems are there in life but you are bigger than the problem. Remember you will always have enough to survive, you will always be protected. You are cared and loved by this universe; you have no right to take your life. You didn’t give birth to yourself; even those who have given birth to you do not have the right to take your life.
How can you even dare think that you could kill yourself, NO! The body belongs to the universe and the universe will take care of your body; your spirit belongs to divinity and divinity will take care of your spirit. Have this confidence and move on. Move through the difficult times. Who doesn’t have difficult times tell me? Who didn’t have difficult times in the past? Everybody gets some difficult time, the wise people smile and move through it, the foolish ones keep crying, yelling, shouting, being miserable and making others miserable. Never do that! Never ever, ever, ever think; that too having an exposure to this knowledge you should not think about suicide. If such feelings come, do Sudarshan Kriya and come and sit in an advanced course, okay! You will be fine!!
Q: Dear Guruji, I would love to ask you why is the song ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ so special and intense and how does it help in situations like you explained this morning? I remember that last year we had a very rare combination of some bhajans and you advised us to sing this song there also. Thank you so much.
Sri Sri: Yes! ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ is one of the very powerful mantras. Mantras are those energizing sounds which help to uplift the consciousness, which help to uplift the subtle. So ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, these words are very important because ‘Na’, ‘Ma’, ‘Shi’, ‘Va’, ‘Ya’, these five letters represent the five elements Earth, water, fire, air and ether. ‘OM’ is the sound of the universe; ‘OM’ is the symbol of life force. ‘OM’ means peace and love, so when there is peace, love and harmony in all the five elements, there is bliss, there is joy. yeah! So, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ indicates the transcendental universal one consciousness and energizes that subtle aspect of the universe.
Q: Dearest Guruji when would you give advice to drop or to change a commitment? Thank you so much.
Sri Sri: When you feel you can never achieve the commitment or when you feel the commitment is stifling you. When you feel the commitment you have undertaken was done in great ignorance and you are getting nowhere then you move out of that commitment, okay!
Q: Can I ask you something? I was also thinking about all that has happened in Pakistan and this was the region which was also most affected by terrorism. Is there any relation how the karma is of the people’s action and the nature’s response?
Sri Sri: Yeah, at this time it is not wise to say, ‘it is because of your bad karma you are suffering’. It is not a wise thing to say, people are suffering from natural calamity. That is why they always categorize three types of calamities affecting people.
Three categories, one is Adi Bhautik means natural calamities, nature’s response brings you into misery. And then Adi Daivik - a calamity that is manmade. You can say through one’s own wrong doings. And then the third calamity that comes in life Adhyatmik, What is it called in Christianity? Something like the dark age of the soul… what is it called? (Audience - The dark night of the soul). Yeah,that is you have everything but then depression sets in. You have money, all that you could have achieved in society you have achieved but you find there is darkness and you don’t know how to go in, how to cut the darkness. Your spirit is longing, missing something but it does not know what. There is type of inner vacuum. That inner vacuum where there is no joy, everything appears completely dead and meaningless.
This is called Taap Athreya. Taap means anguish, three types of anguish. Human life is faced with three types of anguish and how it can be overcome? Through Tapas!
Tapas means endurance, knowledge, wisdom, meditation, yoga, pranayama, all this comes under Tapas, from Tapas the three Taaps can be overcome, okay!
Q: Jai Gurudev! How to educate someone about vegetarianism? I have tried educating and have been ignored!
Sri Sri: More and more people are becoming aware of vegetarianism. Here, I heard last week that a major newspaper in Germany carried three full pages on the benefits of vegetarianism. Vegetarianism has many benefits. It helps your body’s digestion; it helps the environment as well. You know, even if ten percent of the people in the world become vegetarians, the green house gas effect problem is gone. We are done with it; we will have no more problems of global warming. That’s what the scientists say. So we need to promote more and more vegetarianism. People change a little slowly and we need to have patience, Okay!
Q: How to make teenagers do the course?
Sri Sri: This you should think, how to make teenagers do the course. You think and come up with some ideas. You allure them by skillfully telling them the benefits of the course. You can tell them, ‘Come, we will take you for a holiday somewhere’.
Q: What’s a spiritual leader got to do with politics?
Sri Sri: What is politics? It is caring for people and what does a spiritual leader do? Care for people. Politicians rule over people, spiritual leaders serve and care for the people. Politics and spirituality are two different fields but they should go hand in hand. That’s why spiritual leaders were placed the highest in ancient India. Any king or emperor would go to the spiritual leader and take his advice. Emperors used to run the kingdom on the blessings and advice of the spiritual leaders. A spiritual leader should not get into politics but should guide the politics. That is necessary.
Q: My mind keeps having conversations with me, how can I deal with that?
Sri Sri: At last you became aware of this; it was happening the entire time but now you have achieved the first step by becoming aware of it. That’s why in these courses you don’t have just knowledge, you have singing as well. Sing, dance and do all these techniques just like a child. As these techniques are taught, just keep doing them and you know in between there are moments the mind has become quiet. That’s why what you are doing now, this advanced course, and this silence program is so valuable, you know; it won’t happen in the very first sitting, I know all sorts of thoughts will come up.
It’s like suppose you are cleaning this room after a long gap, there is so much dust and the dust will rise, similarly you have to continue doing advanced courses many times. Those of you who are doing the course for the second time, third time, fourth time, did you notice it is becoming quieter quickly. So it takes quite a while to gain mastery over the silence, right! So we have to keep doing, keep doing it and you will achieve that, no doubt.