Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
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: 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: Any suggestions for people who suffer from allergies?
Sri Sri: Meditation, pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya will help. Also, there are two books all should pick up - Celebrating Silence and Celebrating Love. Last time I traveled to the U.S., I came through JFK. As I was passing through security, the man behind the X-ray machine in the next row came to me and showed me the book ‘Celebrating Silence’. He asked, “Are you this person?” I looked at it and said, “Looks like that”. He asked me to sign the book. I said that usually I only sign the customs form! I gave my signature and he told me, “Someone gave me this book on my birthday last December and since then my life has changed. I’ve just read one page here and there over time and it has made such a difference”. He has not done a meditation course or anything. So, it would be good if all read it. It is not any big philosophical text but just snippets of wisdom. ‘Celebrating Silence’ and ‘Celebrating Love’. Also you can put on a meditation CD to relax. After a while, you won’t need any extra support.
You have come now, so drop all your worries here. Give me all your worries, botherations and problems. I want you to go home knowing that you are not alone. You can heal and bless other people. I tell you, it’s not only Guruji who gives blessings and healing. Everyone has this power to heal and to bless. So, anyone of you who wants to do that, you have to do a little bit more meditation, pranayama, kriya and you will have the power to bless others. There are seven billion people on the planet. So, we each must come up with this ability to bless others.
Q: What are your thoughts on the ‘Modern theory of evolution’? If it is true, then at what stage do souls come? What happened to souls before that?
Sri Sri: Modern theories are evolving. They think that things have to begin somewhere. I would call it as linear understanding. But there is a spherical thinking, that is lacking here. In the Orient, there is sperical thinking. In the Occident, there is only linear thinking. According to that , everybody had to be born, there had to be one Adam and Eve, and all are their children. That means everybody is sibling of each other. Then how could one be married to anybody? This is what is called the original sin. Because that way marriage itself is a sin. If God could create one Adam and one Eve, then why couldn’t he create ten such. And then why would God create such an apple, fruit of wisdom, if He was to ask them not to eat that? These things need to be understood. Our understanding is very limited. We need to think spherical. In spherical thinking, there was not only one being who was created in the beginning, but everything simultaneously came into existence. The whole world came into existence simultaneously. What would you say if I ask you about the beginning point of a tennis ball? Every point in the tennis ball is the first point, and the last point as well. Ancient people had this spherical thinking, and that is why they said, “The world is Anadi and Anant(Beginingless and endless )”. The souls are beginingless and endless. And the cause of the existence of the universe, that is the divinity, is beginingless and endless. All three are one. This is the theory of Advaita that everything is made up of one. This is the theory of relativity. This is what the String theory and the modern scientists say. Einstein was startled when he read Bhagwad Geeta.
All is made up of the same consciousness. In animal cookies, all animals like elephants, giraffes, Zebra, Cat are made up of the same size. Children think that they are eating different animals but the maker knows that all is made up of the same. Objects in the universe, living or non – living, moving or non – moving, are made up of the same. This is what is said in scriptures like Upanishads and ‘Guru Granth Sahib’(Sikh holi scripture). Sikhism has one of the best greetings in the world – Satsriakal. Sat is truth, Sri is wealth, and Akal is beyond time. So when you greet saying Satsriakal, it means, ‘May you understand the true wealth, the timeless spirit that you are. Everyday you greet each other and remind that you are the timeless eternity, infinity and true wealth. What are you looking for here and there? Isn’t that great?
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 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.
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: In your books, most of the examples come from the Hindu tradition of the Gita, not so much from the Koran and the Bible? Have you read the Koran, the Bible or any other religious books other than of your own religious tradition?
Sri Sri: I am not a theologian. I speak from my experience. One of the scriptures that I usually quote from is of course the Gita. I also quote from the Bible. I am not averse to any religious scripture in the world. What I am averse to is fanaticism of any sort. You need to study every religion or scripture before you can come and talk about it. So, since I have not studied all of the disciplines like Bible and Quran, I must spend at least four to five years studying each before speaking about them. Yet the essence of all these scriptures are spiritual values which I think I can very easily find in my life. I can easily speak on the essence of the Bible. That is why I say unless you become like a child, you can’t get so far. This is true because every child has that freedom. The child inside you is alive. You are still that innocence. That is spirituality. It is when you meditate, when there is unity among diversity and oneness with the whole universe.
Q: What can I do to come out of the guilt and self judgement? I feel so bad when I do things even though I know in my heart that what I have done is the best for me?
Sri Sri: More advance courses.
Q: Survivors of war and disaster sometimes feel guilty about being alive when so many around them have died. What message do you have for these people?
Sri Sri: Life is eternal. That’s it.