Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Dear Gurudev, my mother says that God is in our hearts, and if anything is wrong, all I have to do, is look inside and pray. But what about the thousands of children who pray and still don’t survive?
Sri Sri: Yes, that is part of nature. There are more secrets to it.
How a baby is born, and why it stays only for a short period of time, is a highly guarded secret. You will understand them one day.
Many times, after the baby is born, the love between the husband and wife disappears. Not all the time, but sometimes. This is because the soul attracts the two people. They may have no compatibility, but the soul has made such a compelling attraction that they come together, they get married and have a baby, and as soon as the baby is born, that is it, all the bonds between them vanish.
Have you seen this happening in the society? This is because that soul has brought those two people together. It got its work done, and that is it. This happens, and it is very interesting.
Q: Guruvdev, you mentioned Sanskrit as the source for these names. What are the other names that come from Sanskrit?
Sri Sri: Do you know all the months’ names are in Sanskrit?
Until a few centuries ago, the New Year always began in March, when the Sun moves to the first point of Aries. However, King George of London decided to celebrate January 1 as the New Year. Although he announced it as the New Year, people would not follow it. They continued celebrating March end - April 1, as New Year day. So, to stop people from celebrating New Year on April 1, he called it April fool’s day.
Now, let us see the meanings of the months.
Fagun means the fag end, last; hence, Feb is the last month. March means to start new, and go ahead (the first month of the New Year). August is shashta, the sixth month.
Ambar means sky; Sapt means seven, Sapt ambar, September means seventh sky. October is ashta, eighth sky. November, Nav (nine) ambar, means ninth sky. December, Dash (ten) ambar, means tenth sky, or tenth month.
January is the eleventh month, and February is the twelfth month. This is how the calendar was in the very beginning. The Indian, Iranian, Afghani, and Egyptian calendars, all correspond to this system. Even the Chinese New Year starts towards the end of February, beginning of March.
The dates, days and months, were all designed according to the Solar or Lunar calendar.
In the Solar calendar, like the English calendar, there is a leap day. And in the Lunar calendar, there is an extra month, a leap month, that comes every 4 years.
This year has a leap month, and so, the Solar and Lunar calendars have come so close.
This year, when the moon moves in to the first point of Aries, April 10, is the Lunar New Year. When the sun moves in to the first point of Aries, April 13, is the Solar New Year.
Do you know your breath coordinates with the movement of the sun and the moon?
This is a very beautiful science. How your breath moves on the first day of the Lunar month, is very different from the way it moves on the first day of the Solar month. You will see your breath corresponds to that; right nostril (Surya or sun naadi) and left nostril (Chandra or moon naadi), it will tell you. So, the macrocosm and the microcosm are connected in an amazing way.
Q: Dear Gurudev, I have a deep desire to come and live in the ashram for the rest of my life. I would like to commit myself to full time service in the Ashram. My wife has agreed to do the same. Please advise us.
Sri Sri: Yes, come.
Those of you want to be full time here, or in Boone, are welcome. But if you have too many needs, then it is difficult. If your needs are very simple, then ashram life is very good.
If you have simple living and high thinking, then ashram life is good. If you have high living, and simple thinking, then ashram may be difficult for you.
Q: Dear Gurudev, what is the indication that we are moving towards the Self?
Sri Sri: You need not move towards the Self, the Self is already there, everywhere. There is something in you that is unfazed, that stays solid; that is the Self.
Q: My mom keeps nagging me, what do I do?
Sri Sri: Well, that’s her job. She is just checking how strong you are, how patient you are. Mums usually help you to have more patience. Either you do that to your mum, or your mum does that to you. Either you test the patience of your mother or the mother tests your patience. You take turns actually!
Q: Dear Gurudev, I am finding it difficult to maintain a vegetarian diet for long periods of time. Even though I eat vegetarian protein, I find it is not enough. I still crave protein from meat, and when I eat it, I feel better. I would like to be a steadfast vegetarian because I’m firmly on the path of non-violence. Do you have any advice for me?
Sri Sri: It is only in your mind, that you need protein.
You know, horses have so much power, they have so much protein and they are vegetarian. Elephant are vegetarian. What power elephants have! You can’t even imagine. Bulls are vegetarian.
We say horse power. Power is always measured by horse. Horses just eats grass and green grams. Vegetarian food has a lot of protein. It is just in our mind, in our psyche, but nothing like that. Eat nuts and pulses, they all have protein. You don’t need to be vegan, you can eat dairy; it is okay. Cheese and milk, they have all the protein. You can have wheat grass juice, or Spirulina. Here in North America it is all very common.
A larger number of population in North America are becoming vegetarians. So take out from your head, that you need this. You don’t really need it. Your body is made for a vegetarian diet. You have a substance called Tallinn in your saliva. It is only present in the herbivorous animals. You don’t find that in lions, wolves, or tigers.
Herbivorous animals have long intestines, you too have a long intestine. Lions don’t have that, dogs don’t have that.
Your body shows that. Every sign of human physiology is made for a vegetarian diet. You don’t have the type of teeth which carnivorous animals have. You have the same type of teeth like monkeys, your immediate ancestors, cows, elephants. I am not talking about the tusk, the teeth inside the mouth of the elephant is like ours.
This is a wrong understanding in the mind, that because I stopped eating meat, I’m feeling weak, no! It is just a notion in the mind.
Q: Dearest Gurudev, I want to spread this knowledge to many, but I’m extremely nervous when I have to talk to my friends about it. How do I overcome this?
Sri Sri: What is your fear? They may make fun of you? Okay, enjoy that, let them make fun of you, so what? If you are prepared to be made fun of, and want to be, then that will make you snap out of this hesitation that you are feeling.
Just do it once and see what happens.
Q: Gurudev, how often do great souls like you come to this world? How do they decide when to come back?
Sri Sri: That is a secret!
Q: Dear Gurudev, please share with us some of the secrets from the Upanishads.
Sri Sri: The secret to the Upanishad is, you are Om.
Your true name is Om. Whatever name you have, is given by your parents in this lifetime, but what were you before this lifetime? What was your name? Om. And what will be your name in the future, once you leave the body? Om.
So everything has come out of Om, that one universal sound that is resonating in the consciousness all the time, and you are all born out of that sound, and we remain in it. Even now, it is there all the time.
When you drop this body, don’t think you will carry your name with you. Your name will go with this form. But the light that you are, the consciousness you are, has only one name, and that is, Om.
That is what is said in the prayer, ‘Ek Onkar (God is One), Satnam (His name is True), Karta-Purakh (He is the Creator), Nirbhau (He is without fear), Nirvair (He is inimical to none), Akal-murat (He never dies), Ajuni Saibhang (He is beyond birth and death), Gurprasaad (He is realized by the kindness of the True Guru), Jap (Repeat his name), Aad Sach (He is True, even before anything was created), Jugaad Sach (He has ever been True), Hai Bhi Sach (He is True now), Nanak Hose Bhi Sach (He will be True in the future)’. There is only one Omkar, the doer, and that is the Creator from the ancient times, in which everything gets created.
Nirbhai means, it is without fear, without duality; there is no two there. It is unblemished, it is totally pure.
Aad Sach, Jugaad Sach, Hai Bhi Sach, it is all truth; it is the true thing. Our origin is from that truth. Adi means, your origin; from where everything has come, or everything has gathered.
Our source is true, our goal is true, and this is the true name, ‘Ek Onkar, Satnam…’
This is the essence of Upanishads, and this is what the Upanishad says.
‘Shivam shantam advaitum chatutrum manyante, sa atma, sa vigyayaha.’
(That reality which is Shivam, infinite silence; which is Shantam, infinite peace; which is Advaitam, the undivided, is said to be Chaturtham, the fourth. It is beyond the three states of consciousness; waking, dreaming and sleeping, The fourth is the Self, and that Self (sa Atma), is that to be known (sa vigyeyah))
What is worth knowing is the fourth state, which is neither the waking, nor dreaming, nor sleeping, but the fourth state, which is at the basis of the whole creation. That should be known; attended to.
Q: Dear Gurudev, even though I read knowledge, do my spiritual practices and service, still my mind sometimes gets stuck on worldly objects like smart phones, clothes, etc. Please bless me to get rid of all this.
Sri Sri: It is okay. It takes time. If you are a little bit sticky, you need a little more heat to be stirred. You know, when we make the halwa (India pudding), the sweet first sticks, but as you keep stirring it on the fire, then it doesn’t stick anymore.