Q-1 Can you speak on how devotion can transform the ego in order for the Self to be realized?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, what is devotion? It is a state of love. What is ego? It is a sense of separation and a boundary; a wall; an identity. Love seeks to dissolve the identity, love seeks to merge. Ego wants to maintain one sidedness. So they play different roles and they can coexist at different times. So when there is love at that moment, there is no ego and when there is ego at that moment, there is no love. When you want to take up a challenge, love does not work, ego works. Ego can take challenges. But when you want to relax and have fun, at that time, ego does not work, love works. Do you understand what I am saying? That is why nature has put both things in you, it has put love also and ego also. But if you are stuck in ego, it is like getting stuck in your shoes. You don’t know how to get them out of your feet. Then you are bathing with the shoes on, you are sleeping with your shoes on. You should know when to remove your shoes and be at home. So love is the first thing that has happened in life. As soon as a child is born and it opens its eyes and looks at the mother, there is love. In that very first glance, it receives love from the mother and gives love to the mother. But the ego comes at the age of three. Identity becomes very strong after three years and then it grows and sometimes one gets stuck with that. But when you become very old; most senior citizens if you see, there is no ego in them. They become like a child again. Past 90, hardly anybody can maintain their ego. Before three you can’t have it and past ninety you can’t have it. It is almost like sex; there is an age for it, after that it is not possible and before that it is not possible. But they all have their roles to play.
Q-2 Hello Sri Sri, I have friends who feel that this earth is past the tipping point with all of the over population and destruction of some of the natural resources, like the oceans, rainforest. A lot of people feel hopeless and helpless. I tell them that there is a perfect divine order amidstall the chaos. So, my question is, do you think that I am just blowing smoke above the wind pipe or the planet and the population will be just fine?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is good to be concerned, but not to be paranoid. There is a difference. If you are paranoid you can’t do anything about it also and you just lose your peace of mind. But at the same time you can’t say, “Well, God will take care of everything and let us just carry on with what we are doing.” You can’t say that either.“God will provide us even if we exploit this planet a little more, somehow nature will provide more of that.” You can’t say that. We need to definitely care for the planet. And see, when the tipping point had come, this concern has come also. Nature or that Big mind has put the concern in the minds of millions of people. Today more and more of the population is concerned about the environment like never before. Do you see what am I saying? Today people are concerned even in small villages. In remote corners of the world they are talking about preserving the earth and organic agriculture, and not using chemical fertilizers. This concern has infiltrated into remote areas today. At the same time, people are so paranoid, angry and agitated about it. “Oh, we are destroying the planet.” I would say just relax. Don’t get paranoid but be concerned.
Based on a series of talks entitled ‘Secrets of meditation’ given by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on April 22, 2012, California. These talks have been made into knowledge sheets.