Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Why does a desire arise? Where does it come from? What is the purpose?
Sri Sri: All desires have got one goal, and that is happiness. If a desire brings unhappiness, it has not reached its goal. The goal of desires is to bring happiness. So, that is the purpose.
Where does it come from? It comes when you are not aware of your Being, your Self. Desire is your wanting to stay in the moment. Desire is to experience joy. Joy is only in the moment. And when you are in the moment, there is no desire. When you are joyful, when you are satisfied, there is no burning desire at that time.
Q: How can I become more disciplined?
Sri Sri: Why do you want to be disciplined? It will make you happier? It will improve your fitness or health? So, it is the love for being in shape or the fear of becoming unhealthy that will keep you disciplined. Love, fear and greed bring discipline. If someone says, you will get $1 million for being disciplined in your life, that will make you so.
Q: Dear Guruji, I have never been a spiritual or a true religious person. How can I learn to let go and believe?
Sri Sri: You don’t have to label yourself- I am spiritual, religious person etc. No need for it.
Just be natural, beautiful, good human being. That’s it!
If someone is not a beautiful human being and says, ‘I am a spiritual person or a religious person’, what is the use of that? What good he or she is for? Isn’t it? The purpose of spirituality is to make you a beautiful human being, the purpose of religion is to make you a righteous person, connected to the universe, to the universal spirit. And that’s what spirituality is and that’s what a simple, natural, normal human being is! Got it? Right, so it is better not to label yourself.
If you think you are a believer or a non believer, then even a non believer is a wrong label. Someone who says, ‘I am a non believer, I tell you, this is not true. You simply can’t honestly be a non believer; there is no honesty in it. Somewhere in some corner of your consciousness, you believe something; you know something, for your consciousness is very ancient. You don’t know your consciousness, it is so old, so ancient, there are so many layers, so many impressions on our mind, on our consciousness- it is such an amazing phenomenon!
Q: Dear Guruji, is it true that it is not the devotee who chose the Guru but the Guru chooses the devotee? If yes, then what took you so long to choose me?
Sri Sri: Ha, Ha, Ha!! Let’s not go in the past! Let’s look ahead, having great times. Great days, yes?
Q: How does one balance work and life?
Sri Sri: How do you balance on a bicycle? There is no “how.” You just do it.
Q: Dear Guruji, recently scientists have said that they can create life in a laboratory by manipulating and intervening the genes. Isn’t this contradictory to spirituality and religion, with man creating life and giving consciousness to innate objects?
Sri Sri: Not at all. You have heard this saying – ‘God made man in his own image’. Right? So, whatever God can do, man can do too. God made man, created him as his own image. It is written in the Bible. Right? There is a story about it in Mahabharata epic also, written some 5000 years ago.
So, test tube babies are not new phenomena. Queen Gandhari , from one embryo, had put pieces in hundred pots and created hundred types of kids. But what quality the kids came out with, that you all know! So, there is a big question about the risk, but this is a fact that Gandhari created 100 children in hundred pots. So, test tube babies or creating life in lab is not a new phenomenon. It was done some 5000 years ago also!
Q: How do I break the cycle of feeling victimized whenever I go through difficulties?
Sri Sri: You have already broken it the moment you realize the pattern. You realize it is your own mind’s making and that it has happened over and over again. This realization will come in its own time. And when this happens, be happy and grateful. Imagine where you were five or ten years back. How have you changed? How much better it has become since then. Put your attention on this. The more we are grateful, the more grace we will have in our life.
The first step to fun is relaxation. What tires you is anxiety and ambition for tomorrow. The anger and hatred of yesterday are also clogging our mind. In the same way feverishness pulls down our enthusiasm. In deep relaxation, you will find everything funny.
Q: Please can you teach me how to be connected to the faith?
Sri Sri: Trying to connect to the faith is trying to connect to the air around you. ‘I want to be connected to the air.’ My dear, you can’t be but! You are already connected. Relax.
Why do you try to connect to air? Are you getting what I am saying? Doubt as much as you can. I would say, you should doubt as much as you can. A point comes when you no longer can doubt, the truth will stand up. Truth can never be destroyed by doubt. Do you understand what I am saying? Truth will stand. Doubt can cover it, delay it for some time, drag on for some time, but it can never destroy the truth.
Therefore, when people have doubts, I say, ‘doubt as much as you can. One day those doubts will fall off.’ If you are lucky, it will fall off immediately the way it comes. Unlucky ones hang on to it for a little longer time. That’s all. Unlucky ones will carry the garbage on their back for some long distance. Lucky ones know that they carry garbage and throw it right there. Two steps, and they drop their garbage. Otherwise one carries on the shoulder for a long distance.
Q: How does one deal with the loss of a loved one?
Sri Sri: When a dear one is lost, just bear it. Be with that moment. Let time take you out of it. There is no “dealing” with this. Just be in the knowledge.
Q: How do one maintain calm and cool in unpleasant situations?
Sri Sri: Every event is an opportunity to deepen your wisdom. An unpleasant event somewhere kindles the deep wisdom we are born with. Whether positive or negative, every event kindles this in us. If an event overpowers us, we lose our emotions and intellect. Then we need help. That is where communion comes in. We sit together and sing and the load is lifted off. Everyone must take some time in life to dwell on the truth. This is satsang, to be in the company of truth. Keep on encountering truth in our lives. Just a few moments can bring such peace, stability and strength.
People think this is something boring. They feel knowledge is so serious. I say follow knowledge and fun follows you, but follow fun and only misery will follow. Self-knowledge is that which makes you lighter and like a child again. It brings enthusiasm from within. That is exactly what spirituality is.