Sydney, Australia, April 5: Participants of the Health & Happiness workshop did more than breathe in and out and stretch their bodies to postures from the Sukshma vyayam. Amidst the stress-relieving breath techniques, Sri Sri spoke on various subjects: “Prayers arise when you feel helpless – or you can say it is the small mind praying to the big mind. Meditation is the journey to the big mind. Are you getting what I am saying? God is not outside. God is love and you are made up of love.”
A few words from Sri Sri and the floor was open to different queries from the audience.
Q: Sometimes the best things happen when nature takes its course. At what point, when should people stop trying, giving, doing harder to achieve something and just let nature take its course? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you do your 100 percent, when you feel that you cannot do any more. That is exactly when you should meditate, instead of getting frustrated. You have put your 100 percent. When exactly do you know that you have had enough food? Do you know? When exactly do you know you have had enough water? You burp! (laughter)
Usually you get frustrated when you feel: ‘I have done enough, I can’t do anymore. I just give up’. I tell you – you need not go to that extent of getting frustrated. Just say from the very beginning – I give up.
Q: They say everything is fair in love and war. Is that true or is it just a saying? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, they say everything is fair in love and then it turns into a war! (laughter) When they say everything is fair in war, they, in turn, get jailed. That’s what happened to Miloshevich and many other people who just didn’t care for any rules and thought everything is fair in war and love and finally, they landed up in jail.
Q: I made a mistake and apologised for it. Will my dear people forgive me? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you are forgiven. You made a mistake, that’s ok. Done, finished! With every mistake you learn something and you move forward. But if you keep repeating the same mistake again and again, then you have to be a little more concerned. You can make new mistakes, not the same old ones. That won’t be forgiven. Once, twice, thrice … No fun in repeating the same old mistake!
Q: Could you please explain the reason for selecting soghum in long kriya with respect to breathing in and breathing out? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, in Tamil it is difficult. Soghum in Tamil means sadness. In Tamil, there is very little difference between soghum and sohum. It is not soghum, it is sohum. It is the natural sound of the breath. Sohum. If you deeply observe the breath, you will observe that with every inhalation, there is sohum.
Q: Please talk about forgiveness and karma? Are they related? When someone forgives you, does that reduce our bad actions? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. Forgiveness is a quality of a matured mind. A cultured, civilised, matured, intelligent person will always forgive.
Q: I say very mean things to people, when I get angry. (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nothing new, what’s new about it?) I don’t mean anything. (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nobody really means anything. Mother tells a kid, ‘Come on, get lost.’ She doesn’t really mean it.)
I don’t know whether I am forgiven for this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are! You were never yourself when you are angry, when you were upset. Why do you have to worry? Whenever a mistake happens, it happens in an unconscious state. So become more conscious.
Q: If problems come, we surrender them to you and relax. If at all, you face problems, what do you do? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I take it as a challenge and I enjoy challenges!
Q: Please give an example of how one can take full responsibility for the evil, cruel happenings in the world. Eg: child molestation. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Evil things happen through people who are victims themselves. Inside every culprit, there is a victim crying for help. You have to correct that person, heal that person. Then such things won’t happen. If you have worked in any prison, you will know. And if you’re an Art of Living teacher and worked in prisons, you will appreciate this. You will see how those people whom you think are evil people, are actually good people. Unfortunately, they were not exposed to the type of knowledge and culture that you have been. They have been victims themselves. So we need to heal them. That is why spiritual knowledge is so much needed. When people do the course in prisons, they say if only they had this knowledge before, they wouldn’t have been there. They wouldn’t have done the things that they had done. So it’s our responsibility to reach out to those people who are doing wrong. Even terrorists, they (Art of Living teachers) have taught so many terrorists in the world who are in prison as well as outside. Their lives changed the moment they did the Sudarshan Kriya. Last month I went to one of the toughest parts of India, where Maoist violence is rampant. They had declared a 72-hour bandh. Nobody could stir out of their homes. My programme was organised there. Over 1,50,000 people came in a remote village and they lifted the ban to allow the people to come. And it was very nice. People have changed, have transformed. When I went to jail, I met a lady and a man who have been ambushed. Not one or two – dozens and dozens have been ambushed. There are people there who have 200-300 cases against them.
The wife of a high court judge in the area is an Art of Living teacher. She went into this prison and taught these people. Their lives have been transformed. I had a talk with them.
After Iraq, the country most affected by violence is India. It is the highest in terror-hit regions. These communists are against spirituality, technology, business and industry. They are against democracy. They are against everything that is good. They don’t know why they are against them. They are indoctrinated by Maoist principles. Just as jihadis are indoctrinated by the promise of heaven: ‘If you kill the non-believers, you will go into heaven right away.’ Maoists are brainwashed – ‘If you throw out democracy, religion and spirituality, you can establish a just society.’ One approach is so material and another is so religious. These two types of violence are created to brainwash people. And if these people are educated in non-violence and spirituality, they will turn around. That is what is happening.
So we need to bring spiritual education in schools and class rooms. Talibans hit a young girl with big knives, suspecting her to have an illicit relation. Last month, they bombed five schools for girl children in Pakistan. I tell you, it is terrible, these people are being brainwashed because they never studied anything other than their fundamentalist religious beliefs. They all should learn meditation, they all should know spirituality. We must teach them. They were never exposed to anything else, not a multi-dimensional or a multi-cultural education. ‘Only my way is the true way, only my God is the true God’: this sort of mentality puts the whole world into trouble. When someone thinks: ‘Only I will go to heaven and everyone else goes to hell, they will create a hell for everyone else.’ We need to change this. That can happen only through education.