Q: Gurudev, Gurudev, you have said that in spirituality, faith comes first and then the experience, whereas for people with a scientific temper, it is the exact opposite. This feels a bit contradictory and I did not get it. Can you please explain?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
No, I feel you got it wrong somewhere. It is the difference between the oriental and the occidental way of looking at things. In the orient, we always say that first the experience must happen, only then do you fully understand and grasp the concept. But in the occident, first you must believe and understand the concept, and then you get the experience. These are two different ways.
It is because the modus operandi is different in science and in spirituality in the occident that there are so many conflicts there. This is why when the Spanish Inquisition happened, so many scientists were killed and tortured. It was only because the modus operandi of the two differed so much.
In India, not one scientist was ever executed or prosecuted. Why so? It is because the modus operandi was the same for both religion and science. Here in India we say, 'Tattva Jnaana', which means, first understand the underlying fundamental principle. So we first understand the nature of the five elements, i.e., Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space. After that we go on to understand the mind, the intellect, the memory, the ego and then finally we go towards understanding God.
Here we always say that one should experience first. You will understand this more when you read the Upanishads. The Upanishads take you step by step from one level to another. This is why science and spirituality were never in conflict in the East.
Q: Gurudev, Gurudev, how can I attain Moksha (salvation) and what does one get by meditation? All my friends ask me this same question many times.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Meditation makes your body stronger and brings vitality. It sharpens the intellect, and brings happiness to the mind. It helps improve and enhance your behaviour and the way you deal with the people around you. It eliminates stress. What else does one need? And apart from all these benefits, it helps you in realizing God. Meditation is the only way to realize and attain the divine.
There is a saying, “Nanya pantha vidyate ayanaya” (Verse from the Purusha Sukta, Rig Veda). It means: there is no other path to the realization of God other than meditation. Meditation alone can help one unite with God.