Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: I’ve read you’re supposed to be one of the three wisest people in the world, you are so intelligent there is no doubt about that but why do you look so innocent?
Sri Sri: Because I can’t hide it and I have no habit of hiding anything. I am just as I am, if you like it, thank you, and if you don’t like it, thank you.
Q: It is quoted in every spiritual book that only that happens what god has decided then where does doing good or bad come from. If everything is decided by him then what are we doing here, and what are our duties?
Sri Sri: Everything is decided for animals. But humans have Viveka, the sense of discretion. God gave choice to human beings, to chose the right or the wrong. Right is something that gives you long term happiness, which may be at the cost of short term sufferings, and the wrong is something that gives you short term joy at the cost of long term sufferings.
Q: My mind conflicts between spiritual world and material world. How to overcome this?
Sri Sri: As such there is no conflict. You have to balance your life. You know some spiritual practice every day, some breathing exercise and yoga would help you long way, and then some social service activity what we call seva in India. All that we earn, we spend on our self. Isn’t it good that we should keep at least 3 or 4% of our earning to give to those who are in need of it. There are around 300 million children in the world which need education. You can be part of it. You can help in Africal Even here you can help children to get educated. One day in a month, take a time off in a group, go and help clean the environment, and help environmental programs and social service activity you can take on.
If we sit and think what about me all the time, then we will get depressed. You should see what you can do and how you can contribute to the world which is in need. That question and feeling should be within us.
We all have to work towards having a violence-free society; drug and alcohol free healthy society.
Violence free society, disease free body, confusion free mind, inhibition free intellect, trauma free memory and sorrow free soul is the birth right of every individual and that’s what I have been telling around the world. We are all one family, we all belong to one family.
This knowledge is not the wealth of one community, or one religion or one nation – it belongs to the whole world, the technology to be happy and content. Technology to have the sense of belongingness with the world belongs to everybody, and not just to India or Hindus or Buddhist like that…Don’t you think so?
Q: How do I forgive? I find it difficult to let lose off the grudges.
Sri Sri: There are 6.5 billion people on this planet. Don’t forgive the 6.5 billon but just forgive this one person.
You know, inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. You must know they are victim of situation and circumstances. They might have done something wrong, but this is because they don’t have that knowledge. They were never exposed to higher knowledge, so they make mistake. See what is happening today, all the church scandals are coming out. It is so painful, so pity of a condition because just reading books and understanding doesn’t help violent tendencies or any kind of tendencies to be fixed. These can only be fixed through meditation, through breathing exercise and yoga. Only through that the violent aggressive energy doesn’t surround.
Prisoners say, “AOL is responsible for our being in the prison, because if you had given us this knowledge earlier, we wouldn’t have landed in the prison. You are responsible and you should have given the knowledge much earlier. So, our life would have been much different”, and I agree with them.
Q: Who are you and what your mission is?
Sri Sri: I will give this question back to you and that’s my mission to put this question back to you, “Who are you?” Who you think you are and what you want your mission to be? And the journey has begun, the spiritual journey just begins with these two questions and don’t ask others, but ask yourself. Asking others is futile. Whatever the other person is, how is it going to help you? You ask yourself, “who am I and what do I want to do in my life?” It’s a very beautiful question.
Q: Is meditation concentration on some point in the centre of forehead?
Q: Are spirituality and science related?
Sri Sri: Yes, Spirituality is asking ‘who am I?’ and Science is asking ‘What is this? Objective analysis is science and subjective understanding is spirituality. And they go hand in hand. They were never in conflict in the east, because the paradigm was same. Science says understanding follows the experience and then the concept arises. But occidental philosophy says first you believe and then you can get experience in the future, which science wasn’t comfortable with. That’s why science and spirituality was always in conflict in the west, where as it never was in the east because science was always encouraged. It is said in Bhagvat geeta ‘Gyan Vigyana triptatma’, subjective knowledge and the scientific knowledge both should go together, and then only you will find fulfillment.
Q: what is the purpose of life and what is the definition of a successful life?
Sri Sri: One who knows won’t tell you and anybody who tells you, they don’t know. It’s very important question; keep it with yourself, ‘what is the purpose of life’? You should ask yourself again at times. The question will clear all the cobwebs around you and will keep you on track of what you want and where do you want to go.
Q: How can I forget a painful past doing the course?
Sri Sri: It happens effortlessly
Q: How important is it that we act for planet? What can we do? How do we sustain?
Sri Sri: We need to wake up and see that planet is our home and when you go higher, you don’t see borders. Borders are our understanding, our illusions. There really is no border. Sky knows no border, clouds know no border, and wind also knows no border. The elements of this earth have no borders. The planet is one home for everyone. We are all one family. So, we need to think from a broader perspective. Which is the correct perspective? That the whole planet belongs to us.
We cannot dump our nuclear waste into some other place. The effect of dumping any waste anywhere in Earth will again come back to us! We cannot keep one place clean and pure in isolation. It is not possible because the air will carry! We have to care for the whole planet.
We have to make the entire planet organic.
We have created so many types of viruses on this planet. Because we meddled with nature. We have destroyed many species on this planet because we have not taken good care of it, and our food production has gone so low. That it’s going to be a very heavy thing on the coming generation, you know! I think every individual, every human being on the planet will have to take responsibility of not polluting the planet, of continuing sustainable development by planting more trees, preserving our lakes, preserving water. It is so important!
Water scarcity is another big issue in the world. Millions of people are into starvation! So, we need to have a global picture and care for the whole planet. Of course, we need This is most important! But at the same time, we should have the idea about the whole planet and the entire humanity being a family.