Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Can you please describe me what ego is? How can one resolve ego? How do ego and love go together, or don’t they?
Sri Sri: Ego is a sense of seperateness, a sense of identity. There are three ways to see ego.
1. Ego is identity. I am this. This is one ego.
2. Ego is also I am not this.
3. Ego is also I am seperate from others.
How to dissolve this ego?
Either you expand your ego. I am this, I am that, I am that too. For instance, one ego is that you think you are an officer. But if you are stuck with only being an officer, and you come home and be officer to your kids and wife, you create a problem. Suppose you are a major or colonel in the military, and if you behave with your family in the same role, then you are stuck in your ego of being an army officer. Your one identity is that you are a colonel, but you are a father/mother with your children, you are a husband/wife with your spouse, you are a son/daughter with your parents and so many. When you balance all these identities in your life giving equal importance to all these, that is the way you dissolve your ego. Ego is getting stuck with any one identity. From that limited identity to identify with the unlimited divinity is the path of expanding, or you can call it dissolving identity. So you move from me to Aham Brahaman, I am somebody to becoming I am nobody, and I am nobody to I am everybody. Now this looks very philosophical. You can’t go to your office and say that you are nobody, nor can you say at your home that you are everybody. It is not going to work. So, I would say that the simple way to counter your ego is to be natural. Ego makes you feel uncomfortable, unnatural and seperate. Egolessness,or expanded ego or transformed ego is being at home, being natural with everyone in every circumstances. Rather, it is being like a child. I would say just be like a child.
One last thing I would like to say about ego is that if you find you have any ego, then don’t try to dissolve it. You can keep it in your pocket. Don’t meddle with it, and don’t bother about it. Let it be there. Ok?
Q: Dear Guruji, you talk about dispassion. Then what about passion? I think that people follow a career, business or profession just for money, and then money becomes their passion. Don’t you think that youth should follow their heart, passion and dreams?
Sri Sri: You should have a dream and passion. You should follow that, but not with the feverishness. If you want to go to Niagra falls, you go. Who said not to go? You make the necessary arrangements and visit the place. But if that deeply gets into your head , and you keep on thinking about it all the time, then you will end up landing somewhere else. With this feverishness, your mind loses clarity, and you don’t get right ideas or thoughts. Having passion and dispassion are complementary. Dispassion brings you centeredness, settles you down, and you become calm. When you have passion, and you are acting, it drives you to things that you want to have. Deep rest and dynamic activity are complementary. How can you be dynamically actice if you have not given deep rest to your mind and body? Someone who has never slept cannot feel energetic at all. Sameway, if you are not dispassionate, you cannot be passionate. You will only be feverish with desires and cravings in your mind, with no ability to act.
Q: I am going through a hard time in life. My wife cheated on me but now wants to be back. What to do? I don’t have much trust anymore, but I find it hard to breakup. I am confused and worried about the future. Can the love develop again?
Sri Sri: Ya, certainly. Have a broad mindset. Suppose you were in that state. You made a mistake and you repented it, and you want your wife to forgive you. How would you feel if she doesn’t and hold on to it. How would you feel? Same way a mistake has happened through her. Some mistakes happen through you and some through her. Forget about it. Live in the present moment. Give her a chance. Move on to the future. But if it keeps happening too many times, then you can take a decision. If it is once or twice, you should give her a fair chance. If it happens more than three times, then you put your foot. I have no experience in this field. I can’t give any better advice on this. So, this could be a suggestion. I don’t know in what way has she cheated you, but it may not be so intentional. Our ‘Art of Living’s’ policy is not to see intention behind others’ mistakes. Once, twice, thrice as much as your capacity is there, you keep forgiving. But then when it comes upto your neck, you say, “No more”.
There was a king who was all the time hurling abuses at Lord Krishna, when Lord Krishna was here on the planet. This Jarasandha was insulting him, and spreading wrong rumours about him. Lord Krishna forgave him not once, twice but 100 times. His patience was 100 times. But then Lord Krishna said, “I have forgiven you 100 times. I am not going to stop now. I want to finish off you now. I have given you enough room, you didn’t change. The only way is you to be punished”. So, it depends upon our capabilities. Jesus also said to forgive. See how much patience you have. How much can you take to forgive? Not just your wife but everybody for that matter.
Q: How can I safely detoxify my body?
Sri Sri: Pranayama, proper diet, raw food, juice, vegetables, and relaxation.
Q: Guruji, I often get confused. What should I do?
Sri Sri: ConFused – Fusion with the consciousness and cosmos. Everytime you get confused, know that you are growing.
Q: How does the end of this pencil erases? (Laughter from audience)
Sri Sri: That is what every pencil is supposed to do. Life is that way. If every pencil i.e. every human being can erase whatever the mind writes, you become hollow and empty. If you can erase everything – Right-Wrong, good-bad, you become hollow and empty.
Q: I don’t know what the aim of my life is? I lost my parents long ago, and I see them in dreams everyday. Sometimes I see you. What does that mean?
Sri Sri: That is ok. Dream is another dimension where all these things exist, all the experiences come. So, when you wake up, be fully in the waking state.
Q: If everything is changing and transient, then what is the point in doing anything?
Sri Sri: What is the point in asking this question? What is the point of understanding? You do because you can’t but do something in this world. So, even that is the part of the change. ‘Everything is changing’ – this is for an understanding. You have to keep doing, and if you do things that brings you peace, and which will take you towards evolution, it is like swimming along the current. And if you do something against the evolution, it is like swimming against the current.
Q: I understand that everything is going to change. It gives me so much relief. But if everything is going to change, then why am I here? What is it that we need to do? I cannot continue without the answer to this question.
Sri Sri: The question or the idea that ‘everything is changing’ has done its job. It has created the spirit of enquiry. What am I here for? What is it that I am to do? What is the purpose of life? These questions are important to arise. These scratch the brain and opens a new avenue for you. Don’t be in a hurry to get the answer. Everything is impermanent that means everything is changing, and vice versa. For everything to be changing, there must be something that is not changing. Realizing it and living it is all life about. That is the reference point. So wonder about these questions. This will take away all the unnecesaary things like worrying about trivial issues. It helps you not to be jealous or greedy or angry.
Q: I am a restless soul. I always want to take up the next thing, whether it be new job, new country, new place, new things. I don’t know what is it that I am searching for? Do you have any suggestions for me?
Sri Sri: Your soul is restless! How do you know? Have you found your soul? (Jokingly) Your restlessness is because you want more. You want more joy, more and more. It is like Bulimia. You eat food but you are not satisfied. You take it out, and then you eat more food. Relax. You have to find peace. You need to hurry up till you are not on the spiritual path. Like you have to hurry up before catching the flight. But once you are on the plane, there is no fun if you run inside the plane with your baggage on your head! You are not going to reach any faster. Once you are on the path, you simply have to relax. It is also said in Bhagwad Geeta that ‘A yogi who is beginner has to work to earn karma’. But then you have to learn to relax. The more you relax, the faster you reach. If you take more time to relax, it takes long to reach. I know what are you searching for – your inner self - the source of all wealth, happiness and joy. And that is deep within you. Especially, when you meditate in a group of regular meditators, it has a different effect. Have you noticed that it had a different effect when you meditate today in the group, in this presence? (Affirmative yes from the audience). So it is much better to meditate in a group. You progress faster when you meditate with meditators. Then you realize that you have gained an ability to smile through and through, nothing really bothers you or touches you, nature loves you, and reverberates with you. I was having a discussion with one of the great scientists of the time. He was telling me about string theory. Every animal brings a particular type of energy, rythm or vibration on the planet Earth. Even if one animal is missing, the unverse will collapse. Suppose, if all the house flies gets extinguished from the planet, human beings will also dissappear. So, all the species of animals and birds are important for sustaining the universe. Ancient vedic people knew this. In ancient Indian methodologies, they have put different Gods and Goddesses on different animals. It is said that these angels or Gods/Goddesses ride on those animals, and come to the planet Earth. Mother Divine energy comes on lion. These are opposite values, but they bring in that type of energy to the ground. It is not that Mother Divine has to sit on lion and travel. But it means that cosmic consciousness brings that energy down to the planet Earth through that particular animal. Like crows are connected with ancestors and planet Saturn. Mars is connected with sheeps and goats. Each planet is connected with a particular animal, and each God/Goddess is connected with a particular energy. God/Goddess is nothing but a particular energy that descend to the Earth through that particular animal.