Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Is it wrong to give advice to teenaged children?
Sri Sri: Give advice – with lots of love. There is a proverb which says that after a child becomes a teenager, become a friend.
Prapte tu Shodhashe varshe, Putram mitram, Vada charet.
This is nothing new in this proverb– people have said this for thousands of years.
Q: Dear Guruji, when you say in the past our ancestors gave various names and forms to God. Then are Devis and Devatas created in the minds of the Rishis or did they really exist from the very beginning of the creation?
Sri Sri: Nobody created the rainbow colors, they exist, they are there but when the white light passes through a prism you can say you created them. If someone asks you, are the colors created by you or no, what do you say? Yes and no together because the colors are already there but it was not visible, you made it visible when you made the light pass through a prism. In the same way, the Devis and Devatas have always been there but giving them a name and honoring them was the brilliance of the Rishis
Q: Why does the divine answer and reward some while prayers of others go unanswered?
Sri Sri: Well, I don’t know why some prayers get answered and some are not. I have no idea. Perhaps it is good for you. Perhaps you may change your mind about what you want. People go to shopping, this often happens at least in India, and ask shopkeeper, “Can I come later and exchange it if I don’t like it”. They go home and don’t like it and get it exchanged next day. Most unreliable thing you have is your own mind because you don’t know what it likes and when it doesn’t like that. That is why bringing mind to its source is so important. Its centeredness is the most important thing in spiritual evolution. Understanding what is transient and what is permanent, what brings you permanent joy and what causes temporary convenience and long term misery, what causes temporary discomfort and permanent joy, and what causes long term discomfort. That is what is called viveka, sense of discretion, wisdom – knowing this from that.
Q: There are dilemmas in life, and I lack decision making power. What should be done?
Sri Sri: Wherever there is duality(dvait), there will be a dilemma. Whenever you are in daily activities (vyavahar), there will be dilemma. There is no choice, accept it.
Q: Is it possible to become like a child again and to rekindle that positive vibration around us?
Sri Sri: It is possible. The secret lies in our own breath. Through breathing exercises, certain breathing techniques and some practice of meditation, we can rekindle positive vibrations within and around us.
Are you aware that sometimes for no reasons you feel like talking to some people, and sometimes for no reason you want to avoid some people? I am sure everyone has this experience!
We convey more through our presence than through our words. If we are uptight, angry or stressed, then we become repulsive. Now, the question is how do these negative vibrations come in our aura? We are storing all these negative things that we have seen and heard in our aura.
Q: How do we keep God and the world together?
Sri Sri: How can you keep them together? They are already one. Where is the question of combining them? In the nature of form, it is world, and same is God in its formless nature. You don’t have to do anything to bring them together.
Q: How much difference is there between science and spirituality? Why do some scientists not believe in spirituality?
Sri Sri: Evolved scientists surely believe in spirituality. Those who are not yet fully evolved may not believe in spirituality. Einstein was startled after reading Bhagwad Geeta. If you hear a quantum physicist talking, you will feel as if the text is being quoted from the scriptures only. ‘What is this?’ is science. ‘Who am I?’ is spirituality. Objective analysis is science and subjective understanding is spirituality. And they go hand in hand. In the East, they were never in conflict with each other. It is said in the Bhagvad Geeta –‘Gyan Vigyana Triptatma’. You will find fulfillment only when science and spirituality go together. We need both science and spirituality to bring contentment to our soul.
Q: Guruji it is hard to see people you love harm and victimize themselves. So do we take their responsibility? Where do we draw that fine line?
Sri Sri: Love is not that mushy mushy stuff. Often we confuse our emotional entanglement or mess and give it a name ‘love’. No. Hurt is a part of love. Whenever you love somebody even if they don’t do anything against you, you may still feel hurt. This is because you want to express love fully but love can’t be fully expressed. You can’t and when you can’t you feel something is lacking. And when you feel there is something lacking to commune, you feel hurt. It needs just a little trigger from other person and then you say ‘you don’t care’, ‘you are insensitive’ and ‘let’s sort it out’, and when you talk it out, you make whole mess of it.
In the beginning days of Ashram here, there was a German student who was divorced three times. He came here and fell in love with Italian girl. She didn’t know German and he didn’t know Italian, and both didn’t know English. They came to me to seek blessings, and I said surely but with one condition that the boy shouldn’t learn Italian and the girl shouldn’t learn German. Now they are already happily married for 20 years. It is talking too much that makes a mess of everything. Love is not to be expressed but felt. Dimension of love is different from intellectual talking or expression.
In west love is over expressed. While sitting, standing you keep on telling each other how much do you love, and no love remains in the end. In the beginning you say, “I can’t live without you”, and you end up saying, “I can’t live with you” (laughter). It is entirely opposite in the east. They don’t express it at all. They keep everything inside to boil, but never express love. Both are at loss. I often give example of a seed. Love is like a seed. If you sow it too deeply, it won’t get sprouted. Also, if you put it on the top of ground then also nothing is sprouted. When a little soil is dug and seed is sown, it sprouts up. Same is with love. Don’t express it too much and end up with ‘let’s sort it out’. That middle path is the way.
Q: What to do with choices when both choices seem to be difficult? In the short run and in the long run you don’t know?
Sri Sri: Choice is always between bad and worse. So worse is just a little step more than bad. So never mind (Laughter). Why to struggle so much!!