Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Can you talk about grace of the Divine and gratitude for the Divine in life?
Sri Sri: Happiness comes by grace, Joy comes by grace, and even devotion comes by grace. Whatever one gets in life, that comes with grace. Every instant one is grateful to the God being beneficial for one self and for others also!
Live your life which radiates a fragrance which makes you and also others happy.
Q: What is the difference between mind and intellect?
Sri Sri: This is like asking me, what is the difference between a jack fruit and a banana? If they are the same, you would not ask. The mind is not in one place, it surrounds the body.
Q: Sometimes, doing seva, I get tired and frustrated.
Sri Sri: That can happen. When you’re in activity, there will be fatigue in the body, the energy levels can go down. Sometimes this happens due of the effect of time as well. However, we must simply continue and not stop. A little pranayam and meditation can restore your energy levels and refresh you. This is where satsang is so important. We are recharged when we sit in satsang and can do seva with renewed energy.
Q: Why are spiritual leaders mostly men?
Sri Sri: Spirituality transcends gender. Men and women are equal. There are many vacancies here for women who would like to become swamis also! They should come to the forefront as well.
Q: Sometimes it seems nature putting obstacles on the path while doing something. Is it so? If yes, how to go about that?
Sri Sri: Nature may put many vikalpa on the way to shake your faith. Satsang, the right company would help. Which is the right company? That which makes you feel light, which makes you feel the problem is very trivial as compared to what you thought. That is no satsang which makes you perceive an exaggerated view of the problem.
Nature may put 1000 hurdles on the way but you come out smilingly with a much strong personality. This is just another way of Nature to strengthen the faith. An enormous strength rises in you. Your faith in God is no favor to God! One who has tasted the devotion, He knows. Sankalpa gets manifested with devotion. When your devotion is strongly rooted, Nature listens to you!
Q: Why do disasters and natural calamities happen?
Sri Sri: We are exploiting the planet, using atom bombs, bursting them under water - so many nuclear weapons are being tested secretly under the water like this. The earth cannot bear it. Trees are being cut, so many toxins are being pumped into the ground, the earth is being mined and all the minerals are being removed – all this has to change. We must promote chemical-free farming methods. Our country’s corn is small. Imported corn is bigger. Our rice grains are small, imported grains are larger. But our grains are much more healthy. We must protect our indigenous seeds. Our cow’s dung and urine has medicinal properties. Protect desi cows and seeds. Imported hybrid seeds give good yield for the first two or three years but deplete the soil completely. Thousands of farmers in Maharashtra committed suicide because of this. We must encourage natural methods of farming.
Q: Should I listen to my wife or Guru?
Sri Sri: This is a trick question but I am not going to get caught!(Laughs) If your wife says something, you will say, ‘Let me listen to my Guru’ and if your Guru says something, you will say, ‘What to do, my wife does not agree!’ Finally you will do only what you want! This has been the case with man always! So I say, "Choice is yours, blessings mine!’
Q: What makes a person an achiever: science or spirituality?
Sri Sri: While watching television, what is more important? Seeing or hearing? You need both.
In the same way, in life too, we need both.
Q: How intelligent is it to be angry on the past?
Sri Sri: Is there any profit of being angry at the past? A business minded person would never do that!
There is a story of Mullah Nassurudin. His son was about to hold an expensive electronic equipment and he slapped his son. When asked, he said what the fun would be to slap after it has broken! It is a sign of foolishness to be angry at something that had happened in the past. People ask me if I don’t get angry. But at what should I be angry at? Past that has already gone!
You get angry at something which is happening in the present. But reacting to anger with anger! What foolishness! If somebody does mistake again and again, you can show anger but don’t get swayed away with that. Arogya vardhak gussa – Healthy anger is that which stays only for that much time as a line drawn on water stays.
It doesn’t mean not to show anger when someone is wrong but it is unintelligent to flow away with that. Sadhana is to protect mind from any vikara (Distortion that takes one away from the self).
Q: Will seva help to destroy the ego?
Sri Sri: If you have ego, keep it in your pocket. Don’t try to destroy it because that effort will only increase it. Be natural like a child. If it’s there, doesn’t matter. When you feel a separation or distance between yourself and others, then ego arises. We don’t have ego with our family or those who are closest with us. Similarly we don't have an ego issues with people whom we don’t know at all. It happens only with people we know a little. We develop an ego. If everybody belongs to you, or nobody belongs to you, then there is no ego.
It is important to have child-like naturalness. When we are worried about what other people are saying about us, then there is ego. Even when you are doing good, there will be some people who will find fault with it. Similarly, there will be people to praise even if the person is corrupt. So, don't worry about it. If you make a mistake, accept it. That is intelligence. In the same way, others can also make mistakes. Don’t wait for them to ask for forgiveness. You forgive and move on. A mistake happened. Drop it. Don’t keep thinking of past mistakes and chewing on it like gum. It is like churning up a pile of garbage. You must save your mind at all costs.
If you save your mind, then you can be free from desires and needs. When you can bless others, even their needs are fulfilled. That’s why people take blessings from the elders of the house. As you grow older, you become more content. But that is not the case all the time. As people grow older, they collect worries and desires. Only when you are free from worries and desires, you gain the capacity to bless. At some point, you have to say, ‘I am content’. That strength comes from spirituality.
When you realize who you are, all your needs are fulfilled. Your biggest enemy is your mind. That is why we do so many things to calm the mind. Take blessings and be happy.
Many millions have benefitted from the Sudarshan Kriya. Many, many are waiting. Take a sankalpa – ‘Let the whole world also get the joy that I have got.’