Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: What is significance of Shiva’s trishul?
Sri Sri: Holding trishul signifies that Shiva is above three states – awake, dream and sleep. But who takes all these along with.
Q: What should one do if one tries to do good all the time but ends up being bad in others’ eyes?
Sri Sri: It may be troubling others if your expression is not so perfect. Keep yourself in the others’ shoes and see why he does not like you. Sometimes, it so happens that you regret your own words. You said something to someone that you didn’t want to say. Same is true for others also. They say something which they did not want to. Those words are not coming from their heart. Do you like people who hold your mistakes against you every day? Do you hold onto their mistakes every day?
Q: People who do wrong, move ahead. People who do right, suffer. Why is it so?
Sri Sri: You think that the people who do something wrong progress in life. But haven’t you noticed the downfall these people face afterwards? There was a man named Madoff in America. People from all over the whole world were crazy to have a photograph with him. Now he is in jail. His own son revealed his scandal. So whoever attains success with unfair means will definitely fall down. There are many examples like this.
If you are suffering that is not because you are good, but it may be due to a lack in skillfulness. We need four things in life- power, skill, devotion and liberation.(shakti, yukti, bhakti and mukti) You cannot be successful in society without power and skillfulness. And you cannot be successful in life without devotion and liberation. So you face problems because of a lack in skill.
Have you ever met the so called successful people? Some of them are so miserable that they cannot even sleep well at night and many of them have suicidal tendencies. People who do wrong may hide but they are very miserable inside. You can smile much better than them.
Q: How to take decisions in life?
Sri Sri: With a calm mind. When you take decisions in restlessness, you get into trouble.
Q: What makes a child learn wrong language?
Sri Sri: Every child is born innocent. But they learn abusive language from environment. Initially they only imitate their parents or people in their surroundings. But then it becomes a habit. Whatever you give comes back to you. That spoils your mind only.
Q: Is physical distance a hindrance in feeling close to someone?
Sri Sri: There is no distance for the mind. When you connect with the feelings, all the distances vanish. If there are no feelings, then you do not feel the connectivity even if you are sitting next to the person. That is true for god, divine and all relations. When such a connection is established with the whole universe, you experience the Shiv tattva.
Sri Sri: One should ask, what is that which is nor Shiva? The whole world is filled with Shiva. Shiva – whose body is in the whole universe. It was very difficult for artist community to portray Shiva in a picture, because Shiva is beyond imagination. For this reason Shiva was given blue color. Blue signifies all pervading, infinity which has no limits. It has no shape. The ved(Ancient Indian scriptures), the knowledge has no shape. But it infiltrates each and every particle of the universe.
‘Saam sada shiv’ – Shiv tattva includes both shiva and Shakti(Male and female energy). Parvati is not different from Shiva. Parvati is that which is born out of celebration. Celebration cannot be there without Shiv tattva. It is impossible to separate Shiva and Shakti even for a second. If Shiva is everywhere, how can Shakti be there beyond its scope. Puranas include various stories of Shiva with a vision that even a child could understand something about this tattva.
You all experience three states of consciousness – awake, dream, and sleep. The fourth state which is called ‘turia’ ,that you experience in deep meditation, is Shiva. When you experience that state, innocence blossoms. And without innocence you cannot dissolve in that tattva. Hence, He is called Bholenath.
Q: What is innocence? What takes away innocence?
Sri Sri: For innocence you would have to know there is no other.
Q: How can one see Shiva in everything and everyone?
Sri Sri: ‘Shiva is everywhere’ is spiritual truth, and another is practical knowledge. Both have to be considered together. One who is too much stuck in social behavior, does not get anything. So is true for one who is too much stuck with the concept of meditation and spirituality.
If a thief comes to your house, you cannot let him do whatever he wants considering him to be a form of Shiv .(Jokingly) Then let the Shiva in the form of police handle this form of Shiva.
You cannot justify intake of drugs or alcohol, saying Shiva is present in these also. Our body is such made that if you increase awareness and prana(life force), you experience divinity. And if you decrease these, you experience inertia.
Where prana is there, that is true beauty or Shiva.
Q: What is the significance of the story of poison getting stuck in Shivji’s throat?
Sri Sri: It has a deep meaning. Poison spreads with speech. Mind gets agitated with speech. All riots happen because of harsh words and lack of right knowledge. Shivji is also called neelkanth – which signifies when Mahadev drinks poison, it doesn’t reach his whole body. When there is fight between right and wrong thoughts, a poison is generated. Shiva tattva has power to hold on to that poison. Even if you have to criticize, do it from your lips and not your heart. When you do it from your heart, it harms you. When it is from the level of lips, somebody is benefitted in the society. You cannot have flowery speech all the time. That would be cheating yourself and others also. You have to show mirror to people. But that should not be from the level of the heart. Even if Shiva gets angry, that is not from inside. Same peace is there inside. It is like kids getting angry with their mother. In no time they retain their smile. This is innocence. It is the grownups who hold on to fights for long time.