Q: Guruji, please tell us what is Chitta? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Chitta is like Aakaasha (sky), that which is present everywhere inside us. Consciousness is also known as Chitta – Chaitanya Shakti (conscious energy). Chiti, Chaitanya, Chitta – just like water, ice and vapor – are all different forms of the same Chitta. When it solidifies, it is called Chitta, when it becomes fluid it is called Chiti.
Q: Why do we ring the bell in a temple? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Because there are so many thoughts wandering in your mind, with the sound of the bells you come into the present. Your thoughts come to a halt. The drummers beat large drums, play the Naadaswaram, shehnai, bells, and conch. All these sounds are made so that your mind becomes quieter. Your mind is like a kid. When a kid is crying, you cry louder than the kid and the kid becomes quiet. Have you noticed that? In the same way, when there is so much noise in your mind and too many thoughts, they blow the conch, ring the bell and with all the sounds, the mind comes to the present moment. With so much noise around, the mind cannot think. It cannot wander. So it is used as a technique. All outside sounds suppress the sound of the mind for a little while. This short-term suppression should lead the mind to silence. Once it goes into the depths of meditation, all words feel burdensome. But when the mind is full of words, and you are troubled by too many thoughts, these sounds bring relief. Have you seen in the Buddhist monastery, there is a big gong? They ring the gong and that vibration will keep you silent. So, from sound to silence, the journey is very important.
Q: Why did God create good-looking and bad-looking people? Is it a result of their past karma? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. You think somebody is bad-looking? Ask their mother or their grandmother. They never think their children are bad. And, what do you mean by good-looking and bad-looking? How long can you stay? The most good-looking, after sometime don’t look so nice. It is not in the outer appearance, it is the spirit, the inner soul. Look at the spirit inside, there is inner beauty. That beauty of the spirit is undying. It increases day by day. It increases with age also. Wisdom and maturity bring so much beauty. Beauty is not just some appearance. Similarly, ugliness is not out of appearance. Somebody may look very good with good makeup, but if their heart is very ugly and the mind is all twisted and full of negativity, however nice they may appear, their vibrations will tell you that they are not beautiful. Yes? So, it is the mind that makes one beautiful.
Q: What is the relationship between the seven chakras and the seven levels of existence? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just the number is same.
Q: Guruji, there is a Yoga Rave this Friday in Bangalore. Can you ask everybody to come? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In Bangalore, there is a Yoga Rave at the ‘Taj City’. Very Good! Go ahead. Rock the city!
Q: Is there life after death? They say there are seven births. Are the seven births clubbed with the human birth or after human birth? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is life after death. We will have to come back. We shall keep coming back. There is nothing like seven, it can be any number.
Q: Guruji, what is the significance of silence in our life and how can we maintain silence in our daily routine? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no need to maintain silence in our daily routine, but there is also no need to speak too much! If you maintain some silence, you will think before you speak. If you keep talking, you yourself will not understand what you are saying.
Q: Guruji, I only want to do seva, sadhana and remain in knowledge. But right now, my mind is going in all other directions, being attracted towards guys and all that. I don't want to be in that position. I want my mind to be with you. What do I do? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You want to get married? Yes good! Go ahead and find the right guy and get married. Put your name in the Art of Living matrimonial. They will find some suitable person, or you find yourself.
Q: Guruji, some pictures have been taken of people during meditation and it has been found that white patches come on the skin. Many times it is said that these are reflective dust particles. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is ok. While doing meditation, all angels and gods are there around us.
Q: Guruji, I don't want to get married. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Okay! If you don't want to get married, it’s fine.
Q: Guruji, they say one should not step out on the night of Amavasya (new moon). Why is that? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In the ancient times, it used to be extremely dark on the Amavasya night and there was no electricity. People used to advise against going out so that one does not accidentally step on a snake or fall into a ditch. Even then, it is not that one should not travel on the night of Amavasya. There is some effect of planetary positions also.
Q: Guruji, what is the essence of life? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Oh, you want to know the essence of life? Very good! Just keep coming and sitting here. It will reveal itself one day.
Q: How do I express my thoughts effectively? I think one thing and say something completely different. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have already asked this question effectively, that you want to express your thoughts. Do more of advance courses. Don’t you see you have already improved? How much have you improved? 50% you have improved? So you already know how you can improve another 50%. More advance courses. Also repeat the basic courses. Don't think I have already done the basic course once, no! If you repeat it, it brings you to a higher plane every time.
Q: Guruji, if a boy and a girl are getting married, should horoscopes be matched or not? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can match horoscopes, it is fine. If there is a match it is really good, but if the horoscopes don’t match, it is okay. Just pray! Everything is acceptable.
Q: Guruji, we are trying to establish a gaushala (cow shed) but we are not achieving much success. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Anything you start, you will face some difficulty initially. In agriculture also, after doing so much farming, there is no profit, isn’t it? A little bit of difficulty will be there.
Q: Guruji, what is the significance of netra daan (eye donation)? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The significance of eye donation is that even after you, your eyes will be of use to someone.
Q: Guruji, once people do the course then slowly they move away from this. Suggest a plan to unite them all. Also, I am going home tomorrow, please be with me! Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Conduct programs and satsangs everywhere and give some responsibility to each one of them. If you give them the responsibility then they will do it. If those who have come as guests, we think and treat them as guests, then they will come and go as guests. But if we see them as responsible people, then the interest will dawn in them too.
Go home happily. I am always with you - all the Sri Lankan and Tamil Nadu people.
Q: Guruji, it’s said that when we have your grace only then we get answers to our questions. And some say that we should keep asking you the question until you answer. So which is the right way? How do we get answers out of you? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now that you have asked, I am the answer to all the questions. What can I answer? Does any question remain in your mind when you come in front of me? Everything clears out, right? Then it is fine.
In the Upanishads, there is a saying that all the questions disappear when the heart opens up. I think I said it about four days ago. That happens here, isn't it? Your questions disappear, right? Yes! Here we are making an effort to bring out some question so that we can have some conversation, unlike yesterday. Otherwise, I have nothing to say and you have nothing to hear and you are happy and I am happy. We are in a happy-happy world. So we do not speak through words, we speak through energy, isn't it!
Q: Guruji, in Rajasthan, they have deep faith in Sati Mata. Shiva’s consort is worshipped as Sati. Is the Sati Mata of Rajasthan and Shiva’s Sati one and the same, or different? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All are forms of Shakti; there is only one Sati. It is Shiva’s Shakti which is worshipped in different forms by people. But the ritual that someone became a sati, (a ritual where the widow immolates herself on her husband’s funeral pyre) – is nowhere. Had this tradition been there, in the Mahabharata, Kunti would have become sati, but Kunti never became sati. Similarly, there were many other maternal figures whose life existed even after their husbands (died). They did not become sati.
It was somewhere in the middle-ages that this trend started. It should not be done. It is not right.
In the shastras, in our Vedas, nowhere is it written that man is superior and woman is inferior, or woman is superior and man is less – that is not the case. All are equal. Women, men, all are the same. Do not discriminate based on caste, do not discriminate based on religion, do not discriminate based on gender – this person is man or woman – do not discriminate based on that. Look for the One in all. Everyone has the same radiance (noor), the same soul. This is all I will say.
Q: In our country, there are so many spiritual organizations but they do not join together for any common cause. If this division remains, how will the world become one family? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! We are ready. We also keep inviting other organizations to join in and take everyone along. There is a verse by Rabindranath Tagore, ‘Ekla chalo re’ – go alone, if anyone joins in – well and good, but you continue onward.
Q: Guruji, I want to know if Gurus also feel helpless before their devotees. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Absolutely! They are the servants of their devotees.
Q: Guruji, how can we practice yama (restraint) and niyama (discipline) in our seva? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be centered, meditate regularly, and have a sankalpa (resolution) in your mind that you have to exercise yama and niyama. Keep your sankalpa strong. Once or twice, even if you slip from it, you will come back.
Q: Guruji, how do you get to know of our problems before we even speak them out? And even before we can do something, they get solved and I am sure that it’s all because of you. Please tell me how does this happen? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why should I tell you my secret?