Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: With an alarming rise in the number of divorces is marriage necessary? Doesn’t it add baggage to love?
Sri Sri: See, marriage is an important institution. Even to ask this question, somebody got married and that is why you are here. Isn’t it?
I think you will see that you need some stability in life at some point of time. And marriage is a very sacred institution. We must have that. Growing in marriage is growing in responsibility. And love and responsibility go together.
Q: How to become such a person that people listen to me when I speak.
Sri Sri: You should drop this idea that people should listen to you. You be authentic in your expression. You be natural and don’t worry about what others think of you. You will find that you have achieved what you wanted to achieve.
Q: How to get close to and help people we love who are closed down, and who have built barriers around themselves?
Sri Sri: With patience and perseverance.
You know, people who have built barriers around them are somewhere insecure inside. They have some prejudice and insecurity. And these are the two important things in society that we need to attend to: prejudice against culture, against gender, and against class.
Some people think a particular class of people are all bad. This sort of prejudice and stress and tension in the mindset of people must be attended to. And this we can do only with patience and perseverance.
Q: I am a homosexual and I am comfortable with it. Some call me a criminal. My family and friends disown me. Does God still love me?
Sri Sri: God has no choice. God loves everybody on earth. So, don’t worry about it. Okay!
Q: Dearest Gurudev, if our consciousness is so powerful, then why doesn't it heal our body ailments and why do we need doctors and medicines. What is the role of the soul in the body.
Sri Sri: Body heals, not just with medicine. You give someone medicine and do not let them sleep, then see if the body heals. Impossible! Deep rest is required, and meditation is one such rest.
Our body is not used to meditation from the very beginning, or due the circumstances and surrounding, the conditioning of the body is such that medicines also have a role to play. That is why Ayurveda is also a part of the Vedic wisdom, and not just mantras and yoga. Yoga and Ayurveda both have an equal share in keeping the body healthy.
Q: How does one cultivate maturity in life?
Sri Sri: Perception, observation and expression - these three things can bring you maturity. The way you perceive things and observe things all around you.
Wisdom doesn’t need time at all. You don’t need to become old to become mature. You simply need observation, of not just yourself but also of the lives of those around you.
Q: Gurudev, we have to bear the consequences for bad karma from previous lives. How do I know if the problem I am having right now is a result of karma from my previous lives or this life?
Sri Sri: Why do you want to sit and dissect it?
They say ‘Gahano Karmano Gati’, the ways of karma are unfathomable.
If something good is happening, then you must have done something good. If something bad is happening, then you must have done something bad at some time. Maybe that was a year ago, or ten years ago, or even lifetimes ago. Why do you bother, just keep them all aside and simply meditate, be in the knowledge, and do some service.
You have been given such a wonderful path, why do you want to sit down and count your karma. Just follow the path and the karma will automatically get washed away.
When you are disposing your garbage, you don’t look inside and see if it’s yesterday’s garbage or day before yesterday’s garbage. Garbage is garbage, you simply dispose of it. In the same way, just let your old karma be, they will turn to ashes on their own.
Q: With such a demanding lifestyle, how can one be a better parent and give quality time to children.
Sri Sri: You should never doubt your goodness because you can never be a bad parent at all. So just be yourself and if you happen to scold your children sometime, you should know it is necessary. Parents feel so guilty when they scold their children. There is no need for you to feel that because you need to make your children strong. Scolding them is like a vaccination for them.
If you children can’t even take any insult from someone else, or a harsh comment from someone outside, then that shows that you have not attended to your children. You have not given them the much needed vaccination, that dose of the stick. Sometimes that is necessary.
So no parent will be bad parent if they are normal, and if they don’t have stress and tension in them. So first of all, you have to relieve yourself from your tension and stress and give quality time to children.
Q: When I look around, I see only misery, hate, anger, greed and meaningless violence. How do you know there is a higher power?
Sri Sri: See, the nature of our mind is when we see misery we magnify it.
If ten complements are given to you and one insult is given to you, what you usually do is, you catch hold of that one insult and blow it out of proportion.
My dear, I would like to tell you, there are a lot of good things also happening in the society. There is lot of service happening. There are a lot of good intended people around, and if you look into the eyes of these people, you will feel that there is compassion and love in most people’s hearts and minds. I agree there is hate, anger and greed. This is because we have not been able to educate them in human values.
Q: Different people have different notions of spirituality. Some think it is escapism, others think it is torturing oneself. What is spirituality according to you?
Sri Sri: Anything that uplifts the human spirit is spirituality. Anything that brings you peace, joy, love, comfort and motivates you to do service in society is spirituality.
We are made up of both matter and spirit. Our body is made up of Amino acids, carbohydrate, protein and all that stuff. Our spirit is made up of love, compassion, generosity, intelligence; all these values. So spirituality is not just sitting and doing something. It is something that invokes, that builds character in you.