Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Dear Gurudev, I have a wish in my heart, which I will not say out loud. I know you know it all and so I want you to fulfill it.
Sri Sri: That is good. How many of you have felt that your wishes have been fulfilled? This is called as Siddhatva (acquiring Siddhis or extraordinary capabilities to fulfill wishes). When we do Pranayama and meditate regularly, our wishes are fulfilled even before we think of them.
Just see, it is happening for everybody. So you should pay attention to what it is that you ask for and desire.
Have desires for the bigger and better things. Pray that our country continues to be prosperous and that no one suffers from unemployment. Pray that the women of our country feel secure and do not live in fear. Move forward with this thinking. Your wishes will anyways be fulfilled. This experiment proves your wishes indeed do get fulfilled. Now, you should wish for the greater good of the whole society.
Q: Jai Gurudev! When I stand before God, one part of my heart says that God exists, while another says that he does not. What is the truth?
Sri Sri: First you have to understand that everything is made up of one thing.
Is there air around us? Do you have to constantly remind yourself that there is air? No, isn’t it? But you believe it? Yes!
Where is air? It is present in the space all around you, isn’t it?
Do you believe that the Earth revolves around the sun? How do you know that? Have you ever seen the Earth revolve around the Sun by yourself?
(Ans: No Gurudev, I have just felt it.)
Correct, so you just heard and believed that, isn’t it?
Similarly, people say that man landed on the moon. They said somebody went there, and they just show us the pictures and we believe in it by simply looking at the pictures. Similarly, when you see pictures of Lord Krishna you believe that he did exist, right?
So there are some things you should know, and some things to just take for granted to be true. Just move ahead and embrace everyone with love. That is it!
Q: Dear Gurudev, those who are Art of Living teachers get to be so close to you and meet you so frequently. Are they not more fortunate than those of us who are not teachers?
Sri Sri: See, do not think this way that those who are teachers are more fortunate than others who are not, because they get to be near me. Everyone here is very fortunate. Some of you stay nearby and some stay far away. But this does not mean that some are luckier than are others. Everyone belongs to me.
Q: Jai Gurudev, everyone says to not eat non-vegetarian food. If you eat non-vegetarian food, the brain capacity reduces. But there are lots of people who eat non-vegetarian food and they are intelligent and are more at the top of their profession. What is the reason behind it?
Sri Sri: Non-vegetarian definitely affects our system.
Someone who has done more research on that can tell you in detail about the effects of eating non-vegetarian food.
A lady from Macedonia has done lot of research. If you search on the internet, you will find a lot of data about it. She has proved how non-vegetarian food is not fit for human consumption. It is not conducive for a healthy lifestyle.
A lot of research work has been done on this which states that vegetarian food is much more suitable to the human race. You should go to the internet and find out all about that.
Q: Gurudev, I live alone. I am not living with my family. I am 76 years old now. I want something of yours to keep with me until my last breath. You have to give me something! What will you give me?
Sri Sri: All these people are my family, they are now yours too. You have the whole world now.
Listen, don’t get into collecting things. Grasp the knowledge that is being given. Don’t bother about getting some piece of clothing, or some object of mine. Drop that.
There is such deep knowledge being given. Grasp the knowledge, because that stays with you for many lifetimes.
Q: Gurudev, how can I find my inner destination, my real passion? Or should I just stop searching?
Sri Sri: I think that is a good idea, stop searching and just relax. Go deep within.
See, the nature of the mind is to go towards newer things. Newer things are always outside, so the mind goes on searching outside. However, when the mind starts taking an inward journey, it starts recognising even new things as ancient ones.
You have a new experience till it feels not new, but very familiar and ancient. That is why it is called Nitya Nutan, which means ever new, and yet it is also Sanatan, which means lasting beyond time immemorial.
The soul, the consciousness, is Nitya Nutan (ever new). Every moment it is new, yet it is most ancient, like the sun.
Today the sun is very new. Fresh sun rays are coming. You are not getting old, stale or antique sunrays. Yet, is the sun new? No, the sun is ancient.
In the same way, rivers are ancient but the water in the river is absolutely fresh, and new.
The moon is ancient, yet the rays of the moon are ever fresh.
It is the same with our spirit, our self. It is nitya nutan; ever new, and yet ancient. It is an oxymoron, ever-new and yet ancient.
Q: I was told when a Guru sees a person, he doesn’t see the person, and instead he sees their aura, is this true?
Sri Sri: I’d like you to keep guessing.
Q: Please discuss the fifth to thirteenth dimension, and the relation of quantum physics and spirituality.
Sri Sri: Vedanta is pure Quantum Physics.
What Vedanta says, or the knowledge from the Vedas say is, the entire creation is made up of only one thing, there is no two. And that is exactly what Quantum Physics says, everything is a wave function. Thus, what appears to be different, it only appears to be different, but in reality, it is all only one.
One of the top physicists of the world today spoke at the Bangalore ashram. He said, ‘I studied matter for 40 years, only to discover that it does not exist. It is not there!’
He used to say, ‘When I speak, people think I am speaking some ancient philosophy, which is correct, because all this is nothing! This is what spiritual knowledge says, that everything is nothing, and nothing is everything.’
Your meditation is an appointment with nothing!
Q: My mother is very strict about maintaining cleanliness and purity at home. This starts from the morning till the night. She is also very particular about Pooja and other rituals. This creates a lot of problems at home. Why do I have to be like this? Is this a must? I think she does not love me.
Sri Sri: See, the Shastras (scriptures) nowhere insist on a strict practice of maintaining cleanliness and purity. We need to understand the deeper meaning behind this.
Two types of cleanliness are there. We have the maintain Antahashuchi (cleanliness from within) and Bahirangashuchi (cleanliness of the surroundings).
So these are the two that we have to maintain. But people have interpreted this differently and made it complicated over time, and some have become very strict about it.
That is why I say, just by chanting Narayana, all your negativity gets washed off and you are cleansed. Have you understood?
That is why we chant, ‘Apavitra Pavitrova Sarvaavasthangatopiva Yasmaret Pundarikaksham Sabahyaa-bhyantaraha Shuchihi’. This means, one who meditates upon Narayana, the all-pervading divine Consciousness is immediately cleansed from outside and within.
So tell this to your mother that it is enough if we just chant, ‘Pundarikaksha Punatumaam’.
By doing this all will be cleansed, both internally and externally.
Have you understood?
And why are you getting depressed because you mother is asking you to maintain cleanliness. She is doing what she knows is best. Understood?
Don’t think that she does not love you. Each person has different ways of showering their love to you. You shower love on everybody. You should have a big heart to accommodate everyone. Love should not be conditional. If it is conditional, then you will get depressed. Just keep loving everybody, everything will keep happening in its own way.
No mother can ever be without loving her child. You have to understand this, that is all.
Your mother is also feeling bad that her own daughter does not understand her. Just accept her as she is. Be with love and compassion towards your mother. Let her maintain whatever cleanliness and other practices that she wishes.
Q: Jai Gurudev, my question is related to surrender. Please elaborate on what is the conflict between Surrender and Ego?
Sri Sri: See, what do you have to surrender? You will not surrender something that is good. You do not have to surrender love. You do not need to surrender truth. So what will you surrender?
You surrender your bad habits, your problems, stress and all that which troubles your heart. That is what you are asked to do – drop your problems.
What does God ask of you? He will not ask you to give up your comfort. God is the very manifestation of all that is good. So what will he gain by asking you to give up the little happiness that you have? He is the ocean of love, so what will he do with a little love that you have?
What is it that God does not have? He does not have problems, miseries and difficulties; and that is what he asks you to give him. Can you not give this to him? So surrender all your negative qualities to him.
No one will ever ask you to surrender your good virtues. You surrender your pride and negative qualities to him. By surrendering to him, you become so light.
So this is a process to help you feel light from inside.
Surrender all that which you do not want. Why are you still holding on to it? This is what surrender is. By doing this, you return to your true nature, your true form. And what is your true nature? It is love, happiness and contentment. To come back to your true nature is what Samadhi really is.
That is why it is said, ‘Samadhi Siddhau Eshwari Pranidhanath’. By surrendering to God, one naturally attains the state of Samadhi. This is what has been said in the scriptures.