Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Before the course when I was at home my mind would jump from job, gym, party, plan, and here the mind jumps from breakfast to lunch to dinner (laughter from audience). Why can’t my mind slow down?
I think we should have read this a couple of days ago, we could have told the cook to make the food a little less tasty! Never mind, never mind, you have recognized this, at least. The mind is jumping – it’s already coming to a halt. You know those of u doing advance Course (The Silence Course) for the first time, you would have noticed for the first few days, for the first few sittings you can’t even figure out where the tip of the nose is! Or whether the nose is hollow and empty or you don’t even feel any part of the body. Does it happen to you? Your mind doesn’t stop, it keeps racing…but this is normal. Even if you get 20% in the first silence program, it’s a great achievement, I tell you! First Advance Course, because you’ve never been silent except, while you’re sleeping! Some aren’t even silent when they’re sleeping! We never experience this. We never had a chance to have the mind turn inward. It’s like you’re racing the car in the autobahn and you put the break - it takes some time for the car to stop. It doesn’t stop immediately. In the same way, it takes a little while. It may take… not for everybody it may take, mostly it takes a little time. You will see that from yesterday today was better– today was good, no? Today’s meditation was a little better? How many of you felt better today, huh? See, already it’s better, two days into silence, tomorrow it get’s deeper and when it gets really good then it’s time to leave. So, you got it! It’s good to do a couple of advance courses once in 6 months or once in 4 – 5 months. Then the mind gets trained to switch modes, you know? It’s easy to switch modes in silence and get into that creative field within you, or be dynamic.
Q: What are the most sacred, most divine qualities of marriage? Is there a mantra for a happy marriage?
Sri Sri: I have no experience… to give you ideas, but whatever I infer I can share with you. In marriage you should consider the other person as your own part, part - like your arm, like your body. It’s two bodies, one mind, one soul. So, whatever your spouse desires, you make it your own desire, that’s it. Your spouse’s taste, consider it as your own taste. See, you have many, different tastes, right? Sometimes you like this, sometimes you like that. When the conflict arises? When your tastes start moving apart. You should start saying your taste is my taste; your pleasure is my pleasure. I am here for you, rather than, what can you do for me? When we start ‘What can you do for me?’ then both become unhappy, yes? But when you say, ‘What can I do for you? I’m here for you.’ This is the only mantra. Happy marriages are what? ‘I’m here for you, come what may, happy times or unhappy times!’ See in life sometimes there are disappointments, sometimes there is success. In either case, ‘I’m with you.’ This is one thing. The second thing is, if one is upset, the other should not get upset at the same time. Choose a different time to get upset. Know that ‘Oh, my spouse is upset! Okay.’ Give him or her the time to be upset. Don’t question ‘Why are you so upset?’If someone is upset, the other gets angry and expects them not to be upset. This is a big mistake! Someone is upset, leave them that space. You know many of us don’t even know how to receive love! See, someone comes and keeps telling you, ‘Oh, I love you, I love you so much, I love you!!!’ Suddenly you go, ‘Wow, what do I say now!? How do I react?’ You get into a corner; you don’t know how to react. You don’t know what to say, so that person who kept saying, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you!!!’, suddenly finds you are not responding, then starts accusing you, ‘See, look, you’re so cold!’ ‘See you don’t know how to love. You never said you love me!’ and blah, blah, blah…Demand – demand destroys love. Never demand love from your spouse. Take it for granted they love you, but that’s it, finished, you know! So when we start demanding and policing our spouse, we get into a mess, right! So that is important and the rest you can have tomorrow when you are out of silence and we can have a conversation. So, many of you can come out with your own experiences and add more to this. What do you say, good idea?
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.
Q: Dear Guruji, thanks to you to people are feeling better and the world is getting better. How can we make politicians understand that a peaceful world is better? Why is there so much hate, murders, drugs dealers, arms, wars? What can we do? What would you forbid if you were the world’s president?
Sri Sri: Thank God! I don’t intend to be, I don’t want to be. Why, you don’t like me having a big smile? You know these are the questions that u need to keep with you. You know an answer can be used only once, but the question which appears like a path can be tread on many a time. These questions you keep asking time and again you will get different answers and implement them at those times.
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: 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: What can I do to lose fear of being able to achieve my dreams? I usually lose confidence and clarity and get lots of doubts about my capacity or abilities. How do I do it?
Sri Sri: I have no experience of this. Let me think how you can do it…You know when you achieve success, if that is your goal - to achieve your dream - you should be ready to face some obstacles on the path. And you know that every obstacle is only bringing out more skills out of you, it will not deter you from your goal but will only bring in whatever is needed to fulfill your dream. Do you get what I’m saying? The obstacles that come on the path are only to bring in more skills and it won’t deter or de-track you from your goal.
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: I have resolved to stop overeating many, many times. I failed repeatedly. Mind wins, I suffer. How do I solve this habit step by step?
Sri Sri: Take longer time to eat…longer time. You know, usually people who overeat, they eat so fast. They stuff things so fast, but if you keep the food in your mouth, chew it longer, just feel the food in your mouth , you will see you will consume half of what you usually consume, yes?
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: 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.