Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: I strongly feel as though I have visited the Ashram before. Will you please tell me what the concept is behind?
Sri Sri: On the level of consciousness, there are certain experiences which you feel you have already experienced. Scientists say that life is only replay, shooting has already been done and we are only being projected on the screen. Also they say, according to string theory, that it is all vibrations. And this is coming from a scientist and not a philosopher.
Q: The other day you talked about the five elements. Can you throw some more light on the same?
Sri Sri: The whole world is made up of the five elements. We honor all the five elements.
There is a great tradition of honoring rivers. The river does not want you to offer flowers or fruits. This is not the way to worship. Also by putting sewage or garbage into rivers, how can you say that you are doing worship? Worship means honoring, and you can only fully honor once you stop dumping sewage, garbage, plastic into the rivers. A few years ago you could directly drink from a river. Today, no river is fit for drinking even from a hundred kilometers away from its source. Earlier even thousand kilometers away from its source, the river water was fit for drinking. In this country (India), people used only charcoal ashes, and not soap powder to clean vessels. They would use turmeric and many other herbal elements, which are bio-degradable. We are pouring so much industrial waste into the rivers. This is not honoring the jal tatva (water element).
Honoring the Earth element means we don't pollute the earth with plastic, poisonous fertilizers and chemicals. It means we are environment conscious.
Then there is the air element. We need to have clean energy. We have provided smokeless stoves in the villages of Maharashtra, which have been very successful. We need to honor air, and do whatever we can to have a clean air.
Then there is the space element. This is very abstract. You cannot catch space. When you save your mind from negativity, you are filling the space with joy. Then the air around becomes like that. You can create a space of mistrust, anger, greed, jealousy and selfishness. Or you could create a space of fun, joy, confidence, and coherence. You could create an accommodating space around you. If we always speak negatively about all mistakes, then there is nowhere on earth you can really survive. Everybody is imperfect. When we try to see perfection in others, then we forget to see our own imperfection. Protect the space, save the mind at any cost.
The five elements are part of the creation. You have to honor this beautiful creation and sustain it.
Q: What is the trademark of the ‘Art of Living’?
Sri Sri: Smile! If somebody says he/she has done the course but is not smiling, don’t believe them! They have not done the course truly.
Q: Guruji, I am addicted to my mobile phone. My whole attention is centered on it even if doesn’t ring. Please help me come out of this.
Sri Sri: You are at the right place. Simply sit and relax keeping your mobile phone off. Researches done in this field are revealing that mobile phones are one of the most health hazardous things being used. You must have heard this, now there is a law in California which says health hazardous warning must be there on every mobile phone, like it is written on cigarettes, ‘Health hazard’ must be written on mobile phones.
Q: Guruji, I just completed the Yes Plus course. I am so grateful to you for this course. I want all my friends, whom I care for, to experience this joy that I am experiencing.
Sri Sri: Yes, many youths have benefited from the course. There are 43 universities in America where there are Yes Plus clubs, and students also get some credit in some universities if they do the course.
Q: How can a relationship between a man and woman be successful?
Sri Sri: I would like to give one advice for men, one for women and one for both.
First for women: Never hurt your man's ego. You should always pump his ego.
The whole world may say that your husband has no brains, but you should not say that! You should tell your husband that he has the best brains in the world. And that just because he doesn't use it, doesn't mean that he doesn't have it!
If you call him a vegetable, he will become one. A woman should never demand proof from a man. Men are not so expressive, so don’t expect compliments. Instead, she should compliment him.
For men: Never hurt the emotions of a woman. She may sometimes complain about her family, about her brother, or her father, or her mother. You should not agree with that. If you do, then she will take a U-turn. Never insult her family. Don’t stop her from going for shopping, or going to a spiritual or religious program. If she wants to go for shopping, give her your credit card.
Now for both: Never ask for proof of someone's love for you. Don’t ask each other, “Do you really love me? You don't love me like you used to earlier.” It is such a load for someone to prove their love to others. If someone asks you to prove your love, you would say "Oh my God! How do I prove it to this person?”
Catch the rest of the conversation in the next post..
Q: How do we protect our mind?
Sri Sri: That is a big job. In the Geeta it is said, even the most brilliant people are confused about what to do and what not to, and how to handle the mind. Protecting the mind is a very great task but we need knowledge to do it. Up to this moment, see all that has happened so far, it’s all gone! Finished.
When you are full of energy, prana, you suddenly see it’s all gone. Now! All that has happened is ok. Think about what to do now. Sometimes 100 percent of what you do will be successful, sometimes not. A farmer knows that not every seed, that he sows, will sprout. He takes the seeds and throws them in the field, and does not worry that this seed will sprout, this won't.
From now on, it’s a new chapter. Every day is a new chapter. Bring up this awareness again and again that the whole world is filled with my atma (soul) – it’s all Me. It’s one Consciousness. This one consciousness works through one person in one way, through another person in another way. It is one ocean with many waves.
If this vision comes to you even for just five seconds then there will be such a major transformation in your body and mind. Then a realization will spring in you ‘Aho!’
All worries are washed off. Just for a second, recognize that it’s only me in my enemy. I myself have started the Game. Understand this, but don't turn it into a mood making. Have this understanding only in the nivriti, not in the pravritti mode. If we bring advaita (non-duality) in vyavahar (behavior), we only create more delusion. In pravritti, see duality. Taking up of the human form is impossible without pravritti. How much pravritti and nivriti one should have is a very sensitive matter. When there is more pravritti, then one becomes too negative and one is asked to be in nivriti.
Q: I find a lot of things which are not OK. I don’t know how to go about correcting things which I find are not ok. Please guide.
Sri Sri: When you say, ‘It’s not ok, it’s not ok’, the seed of ‘not ok’ is not letting your mind to relax. When you are hanging on to the discomfort, how can you ever be comfortable? You have to accept things as they are. ‘It’s not ok, it’s not ok’ keeps you all outside. Those imperfections are there for a cause or purpose. It is going to be ok, it will take some time.
Things are ok the way they are now,
They will be ok in the future
Whatever happened in the past was ok.
When you understand this, you relax and in that relaxation you can meditate. When you want to retire, its nivriti but when you want to come out (of rest) its pravritti. Then you can act. When you are tired but you are hanging on to ‘what is not ok’, then you cannot retire. When you have to chill out, what do you say? ‘Everything is perfect,’ otherwise you can’t chill, you can’t act! It is neither pravritti, nor nivriti.
Dhyan yoga is nivriti, Karma yoga is pravritti. Most people are hanging onto the ‘not ok’ and are unable to relax, to enjoy life, to chill, to be creative. They are holding onto the seed of ‘not ok’. That person, this situation, the government, the administration - everything is not ok. Then it comes to you – ‘I am not ok’. Subtly, it reflects on you that you are not OK. Then you don't like that feeling, and to cover that up, you make up many justifications and the mind is all confused.
If tamogun is too much, you don't know the pravritti or the nivriti. When there is Satva, then we know what to act, when to act, whether to act or not.
When Rajogun prevails then its half way through - you regret and act. Many of us act and then we regret. Mother scolds her child, regrets it and then becomes nice.
In Satva, you don't regret, you retire and relax, there is clarity.
In Rajogun, there is confusion and chaos.
In Tamogun, there is total inertia and lethargy.
There is no strict border between the three gunas. It is very fluid, one flows into another.
Q: Guruji, have you ever lied? If yes, then why?
Sri Sri: In my childhood, I used to tell everyone that my family is in the whole world. My friends would complain to my parents saying I was telling lie, and I would get scolding from my parents. But, see today, my family is in the whole world!
Q: I have just completed the Basic course, and have heard a lot about the Advance course. Can you please talk about the essence of the Advance course?
Sri Sri: All the sleeping powers of the mind wake up. The body is strengthened; the mind is healed and strengthened, intellect sharpens, joy dwells up. So, only benefits are there.