Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: What is causing so many people fall in depression?
Sri Sri: If we keep thinking what about ourselves all the time, we will get depressed. You should see what you can do, and how you can contribute to the world.
We all have to work towards having a stress free, violence-free, drug and alcohol free, and healthy society.
Violence free society, disease free body, confusion free mind, inhibition free intellect, trauma free memory and sorrow free soul is the birth right of every individual, and that’s what I have been telling around the world. We are all one family; we all belong to one family.
Q: Who are you and what is your mission?
Sri Sri: I will give this question back to you. And that is my mission - to put this question back to you. Who are you? When you ask yourself who you are, the journey has begun. The spiritual journey just begins with these two questions. Asking others is futile. You ask yourself ‘ who am I?’ and ‘what do I want to do in my life?’.
Q: What is the best way to handle religious conflicts?
Sri Sri: Every child should know a little about all cultures and religions in the world. They will start to feel connection with all the cultures. Every child should know a little bit about all religions like Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism. They will grow up with a broad mindset.
I feel at home wherever I go in the world. I feel connected, and everyone can do that because we all have that need to be connected. In fact you don’t have to make an effort, we are anyway connected.
I still remember an incident some 25 years ago, in Manchester, UK. A small girl came to me and asked: ‘Why cannot human beings connect with everyone else in the world?’ I told her this is because we are so stuck in our identities. It’s good to have identity but we have to grow beyond that.
Q: As there are no Maya dates in the calendar in the Mayar civilization after 2012, what is going to happen after that? Is there some danger to human civilization?
Sri Sri: No, the world is going to continue the way it is. It will even get better. There will be shift in the consciousness of people. There will be more compassion and human values, and all the consumerism will take a back seat. That’s what I think.
Q: Is mediation concentrating on some point?
Sri Sri: Absolutely not!
Q: I see lots of people around me and I do not know why they have come here. Even I am sitting here and I have no clue why I am here. Is it because of some hollowness within me?
Sri Sri: This is more of a wonder then a question. I leave that wonder with you. Life should be full of wonders and it’s good to wonder.
Every wonder is nothing but a question which is not looking for an answer. Life is a journey where you turn question in to wonder.
Q: My mind conflicts between spiritual world and material world. How to overcome this?
Sri Sri: As such there is no conflict. You have to balance your life. Some breathing exercise and yoga would help you long way. Along with this some social work activity - what we call seva in India. We earn and then we spend on our selves. Isn’t it good to give at least 3 - 4% of our earning to those who are in need of it? There are 300 million children in the world who need education. You can also participate in the project. One day in a month, take a time of in a group, and go and help clean the environment. Strengthen the environmental programs and social service activities.
Q: what is the purpose of life?
Sri Sri: One who knows won’t tell you, and anybody who tells you doesn’t know. It is very important question. Keep it with yourself. You should keep yourself asking this question. This very question will clear the entire cobweb around you, and will keep you on track of what you want and where do you want to go.
Q: How do you deal with people who think they are right all the time?
Sri Sri: They may be saying that but they realize when they have taken a wrong step. They cannot justify that they took a wrong turn but they know it. They don’t have courage to admit the wrong thing. So you be compassionate to those who say that they are right all the time.
Q: I find it difficult to forgive my sister who had been very abusive to me?
Sri Sri: Regarding the inability to forgive somebody, there are 6.5 billion people on this planet. Don’t forgive the 6.5 billon but just forgive this one person.
You know inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. You must understand that they are victims of situation and circumstances. They didn’t have that knowledge. They were never exposed to higher knowledge so they made mistake. Just reading books and understanding doesn’t help to get out of violent tendencies. These have to be fixed through meditation, breathing exercises and yoga.
Prisoners say that ‘the Art of Living’ is responsible for their being in the prison. If the ‘Art of living’ had given them this knowledge earlier, they wouldn’t have landed in the prison. Their life would have been much different’.And I agree with them.