Domande e risposte con Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Beloved Guruji, I have been practicing to give a percentage of my income to uplift the society for the last twenty years. Would you please elaborate on the idea and power of charity as a spiritual practice? Love and Gratitude!
Sri Sri: Ya ya, giving something back to the society is very important. You know, there is a proverb that says, “Rice is purified by a drop of ghee on it”. You know ghee, butter, a little fat. It was a practice in India, but we didn’t see any scientific basis for it.
Lately, when we spoke to a scientist doctor, he said it is good to have a spoon of ghee, the clarified butter, on rice, because that prevents one from having diabetes. You know why? Rice or any food, starch or carbohydrates quickly gets digested, but it takes a little longer to digest that if it has a little bit fat. Then there is less chance of you getting diabetic or heart problems. So, a cardiologist said, “it is necessary to have a little fat in carbohydrates so that it becomes complex to digest it”. I said, “look, this was said some thousands of years ago. They said, ‘rice gets purified with a drop of ghee.’ ”.
In the same way the money gets purified by charity. When you give a portion of what you have earned for a good cause then the rest of the money that you have is pure money. Similarly, the mind becomes pure by meditation, body get pure by bathing, by a shower; mind becomes pure by prana, pranayama and meditation; Intellect becomes purer by knowledge, by wisdom. See, what we are listening make us pure. There is something that happens in you when you are listening to knowledge or read Yoga Vasistha. Right? You listen to Ashtavakra and that wow sprouts from within. Knowledge makes the intellect pure. And life becomes pure when there is dedication.
Q: How do we stop blaming ourselves for failures?
Sri Sri: First of all, don’t pay any attention at all to the mind. If we pay attention, that's it. Instead, pranayama, meditation and yoga are very good solutions.
Q: Many Indians, settled here in the States, are not happy because they feel their children or families are being prevented from making progress in life. They are not coming up for whatever reason. What is the solution for handling this stress?
Sri Sri: Is your question that people are not happy in spite of prosperity? Bring them to me. Bring them to the teachers. They will have no choice but to smile. Stress can be eliminated through stress management, dispassion and through a broader outlook to life. When you are 90 yrs old what do you want from this life? What do you want to take? What do you want to give? What impressions do you want to give to the world? What impressions do you want to take from the world? Just ponder. Just be with these few questions and the stress will leave you. Dispassion and breath uplift you. A little bit of devotion or bhakti uplifts you.
Q: In Celebrating Silence you say that ambition indicates lack of self-confidence. Is this so?
Sri Sri: If I say, “I have successfully lifted this bottle of water”, this indicates I was not confident that I could have done it. Being ambitious is when you are not confident of achieving something. ‘I ran ten miles. I did not think I would do it’ - Claiming success indicates your limitation. You are unaware of your huge potential. But the attitude should be ‘ I ran ten miles? I don’t realize that I can also do 100 miles’!
Q: What happens to the soul after we pass away?
Sri Sri: What happens when a television set is switched off? The screen will go blank but TV waves are still being projected. Our bodies are like a TV screen. Of course the relay station is elsewhere. (laughter)
Q: What is the place of thought in a free mind?
Sri Sri: Where does thought come from? It comes from a free mind or an un-free mind? Thoughts are not free. So, you have answered the question. Free your mind of thoughts for a few moments. When astonished, shocked, in deep love, samadhi, meditation or deep sleep, your mind is free from thoughts. You get energized then.
Q: How can one conquer the ego?
Sri Sri: The tendency of the ego is to say “I am not crazy, I am proper. Ego is the biggest problem. Yet it is very easy to overcome. It is a one-day job. Just act like a crazy person. Can you do that? For one day. Done! Make people believe you have gone completely crazy. It is the best antidote for ego.” If you cannot do this, can you simply behave as a child for the rest of your life? No third option. Be a baby for the rest of your life or a crazy person. Be one who has attained the essence. Apart from this, keep the ego. Don’t try to get rid of it. Do this slowly. Otherwise it is impossible.
When people laugh at you, can you relax? When people point at you, just relax. Smile and accept it. A mother has no ego. Whatever the children say, she accepts. If they kick , does the mother get perturbed? If you are unperturbed, you have conquered the ego. Ego is just a feeling of having a wall between you and others. There is no wall. You belong to me and I belong to you. You are accepted the way you are.
Naturalness is the antidote for you. Be spontaneous! Ego cannot stand spontaneity. Ego wants to present everything properly and prepare beforehand. Children are so spontaneous. They make mistakes. Never mind making mistakes. Just be like a child. Anybody can say anything about you.
Another block we often have is to feel something is not practical. No need to practice anything. Our own mind is saying it is not practical. We wanted 2,000 Hindustani classical musicians to perform together. Every teacher said it was impossible. A choir in India! It is not like here with so many people and that many styles. They have their own octaves. We had a program called Antarnaad. You should see it on Youtube. There were 2,750 singers. Only one day of practice! Make the impossible possible. We should remove the block in our own mind. Top musicians were spellbound at the Antarnaad event.
Q: Do you ever get angry? What is the solution to anger?
Sri Sri: This is a very important question. In the 55 years of my life, I have never said a harsh word. I could not do it. The worst I have ever said is, “You stupid.”
Sometimes I want to show anger and people don’t believe me. That is my problem. Things work better with some anger. Anger is good if you are aware of it. It should last only as long as a line drawn on a water surface lasts. Some carry over anger from the previous day, previous month, or ten years ago. The mind suffers. Get out of anger, frustration, jealousy and greed. Meditation will help. Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and yoga are the answers.
Q: I have recently begun meditating. Through this I have experienced God and power of spirituality. I don’t realize what is happening when I meditate. How can I continue to progress on this path? Can you be my Guru?
Sri Sri: I think I am doing my job. If you face any issues, have questions related to energy, yoga or meditation, you can contact me or one of the teachers at any time. It is good to follow one technique at a time. It is not good to mix techniques. When you have a deep experience, it is better to consult a trained teacher. And you can always email me.
Q: How do we locate the queen bee within us?
Sri Sri: Meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, and meditate.
To be continued in the next post..