Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Dear Guruji, I notice that during meditation my mind wanders a lot and many irrelevant and absurd thoughts come and go. What do I do?
Sri Sri: If thoughts are coming, never mind, you know. When you realize, you again come back, observe the breath and just sit, that’s it. Some irrelevant, absurd thoughts come and go, it’s all part of stress release, hmm? You may get some brilliant thoughts or some very bad thoughts, don’t judge at that time, we don’t need to get excited, just relax. After meditation if you have some brilliant thoughts you may write it down, you may get some poems, some ideas, creativity may come. That’s all fine, ok? So, just relax, hmm? Some people get ideas, some people can see some visions, some colors, some experience: some may smell some fragrance, or feel something – any of the 5 senses, I would say even the sixth sense, can just get activated during meditation, and it’s good. With all the hollow and empty meditation what’s happening is that the nervous system is getting clearer, purer and so it’s reflecting the inner realm, hmm?
Q: How much should one sleep? Is it good to sleep again if you wake up at 4 AM? I would gladly do my program at that time of the day but I can’t. How do I make myself do it?
Sri Sri: You know, take good sleep. You don’t have to wake up at 4 o’clock and do practice, no. You do it when you’re complete with your sleep. Whenever you have complete sleep and you wake up, then you do it, okay? Don’t strain yourself. Our rule is what? Not to torture yourself or strain yourself, hmm? Your inner connection can only happen when you are relaxed, not if you’re tense.
Q: Guruji, I usually compare myself with others and it does not let me enjoy the work or seva I do. I usually feel I am less than others, what should I do?
Sri Sri: I think if you have to compare you should compare with yourself: how you were yesterday, day before, two years back – that’s healthy. Compare with yourself. See you’ve moved. You will always find you are moving when you compare with yourself, okay? Comparing with others, not about your personality, but in the work, is okay. If someone has done better, then you feel inspired to do better than them. It’s okay. You don’t have to keep your eyes shut. You know if you see somebody has done better than you in business you put your target so you do better than them. This is okay to do, that’s what you should do. Comparison should inspire you, not put you down. First of all accept you don’t know who you are, you have no idea who you are. You’re not self- realized, remember this! If you have that feeling, “Oh, I’m so bad, I’m like this, I’m like…” you have no idea who you are. You have infinite potential inside you. You can do ten times better than anybody else, better than what you’re doing right now, hmm? So Comparison should only inspire you, not pull you down. If you think you know about yourself, and you feel you are weak and think you don’t have ability then it pulls you down but when you know there’s infinite potential inside you, you don’t know who you are, then the comparison will only inspire you to do better work.
Q: We know we have to follow our heart but why is it difficult sometimes when our rational side is stronger, and we think it is correct whereas the emotion is weaker and sometimes more crazy. Thank you for sharing time with us.
Sri Sri: You know in work don’t use your emotions - in work use your intellect. But with your family and friends don’t use your intellect so much, use your emotions. If you mix it up, you are in trouble! You know, with your wife and children if you are relating them with your intellect and doing business with your emotion you had it! You know at home you have to be more with the value of heart. When you do service you do it with your heart, right? But when you’re doing your work you don’t have to be an emotional thing. Just use your rational mind.
Q: Could you explain what liberation is? How do we attain it?
Sri Sri: Liberation simply means freedom. Then you can say, ‘I want nothing for myself, I’m complete.’ Liberation is when you have accepted the whole creation the way it is, you’ve accepted people the way they are. Liberation is total peace; a peace which is unshakeable. And this sort of peace dawns when there is forgiveness, compassion, naturalness. You know if you assume you’re somebody then you can’t, if you are intelligent or stupid you have no liberation. You are neither intelligent nor stupid, neither rich, nor poor – if you think – ‘Oh, I’m a very poor guy or poor lady,’ no way you can get it! I am nothing! That sense of lightness, easiness, is what liberation is. A simple taste of it everyone has got, you know when? When your exams were over! The day you finished your exams when you were a child you came back home and threw those books on the sofa and just sat, relaxed! How did it feel? G R E A T, huh? That’s all!
Q: Guruji, The Art of Living has changed hundreds of thousands of us in Latin America. We have such gratitude for you! We now want the world to feel the way we feel: love, service, happiness, gratitude and celebration. Mucho gracias. Miracalindo! My heart is happy, can I hug you?
Q: May we sit down in meditation after Sudarshan Kriya or is it better to lie down only?
Sri Sri: Ya, you can sit in meditation, no problem.
Q: Dearest Guruji, is it possible for me to become a member of your team in any way? I am translating now for Russian. I speak Russian, Spanish and English. I would gladly work for any project full time. Thank you.
Sri Sri: Yes, you talk to Lars later on. See what you want to do. You can do something. Yes, why not!
Q: Dearest Guruji, may I give u a big hug?
Sri Sri: Yes…but flying ones (laughter from audience)!
Q: What can I do to make the world a better place? How can I help people? How can there be less or no corruption in the world? How can there be more compassion and less crime, stress free, violence – free society?
Sri Sri: These questions should arise in you, and you will find answers from time to time and act on them, yes? Many a times alone you cannot do it, but together you can do it. Many of you joined together can always achieve this.