Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Gurudev, why was the Kumudvathi river chosen to be revived? How many villages benefitted from this?
Sri Sri: See, we have to begin somewhere. So we chose one river and started work. There are so many rivers that have dried up, and we are taking up the relief work gradually. For example in Maharashtra, we took up relief work for the river Dharani and five other rivers. In Karnataka, we chose three rivers to start work with, of which the river Kumudvathi was one of them.
The Kumudvathi project involves 268 villages as it will provide water supply to all of them. And 60% of the water shortage that is faced by the city of Bangalore will be solved by this. This is what our scientists believe.
Q: Gurudev, will doing Sudarshan Kriya and regular Sadhana (spiritual practices) solve all my problems?
Sri Sri: You first do it and see. If they get solved, then that is good.
At least you will not be at any loss by doing sadhana. It will give you the strength to face those problems and overcome them. You are only going to benefit by doing sadhana. There is no loss or harm that can come to you by doing sadhana.
By sadhana, either your problems will ward off beforehand, or you will gain the strength to solve your problems.
Q: Gurudev, what is the significance of chanting the mantra 108 times? Is it better to chant a mantra 10 times with concentration than to speedily chant it 108 times?
Sri Sri: You already know this! If you can do it slowly and with concentration, it is better. Even if you do it fast, then also it is fine. At least you are doing it. Do it any way.
Now why 108 times? Because there are nine planets and twelve constellations. When nine planets revolve around the twelve constellations, it brings 108 kinds of changes. If there is anything wrong in these changes, it can be rectified with the positive energy of the mantras.
Q: Gurudev, a related question. Should we do something to keep those rivers that alive from drying up?
Sri Sri: For rivers that are still flowing and have not dried up, we need to protect their water from getting polluted. There is so much work that needs to be done to fight water pollution. We all will have to join in and contribute towards this cause.
Rivers like the Ganges and Yamuna need to be saved from pollution. This should be our aim.
Q: Gurudev, how can we control fear?
Sri Sri: Fear is what you feel when you think you have no support. When you feel separate, you feel fear.
There is a beautiful saying in Sanskrit, 'Dvitiyadvayi bhayam bhavati'. Fear happens when there are two (meaning when there is no feeling of belongingness). We simply need to recognize our origin, our source and get connected to our higher Self. Then fear simply vanishes. It only needs this recognition that, ‘The Divine loves me very dearly; the Infinity is with me and all of Nature is a part of me. There is someone to care for me’.
Just these thoughts and positive affirmations are enough to make that fear run away.
Q: Gurudev, you have said that everything changes in this world. I want to know if knowledge also changes from time to time. We have been reading the same Bhagavad Gita for several years. Is it still relevant?
Sri Sri: Knowledge has different levels of understanding.
At different states of consciousness knowledge reveals a different aspect (of itself). Knowledge does not change, it is there, but it gives you a higher meaning when your consciousness opens up; when your consciousness blossoms.
Q: Gurudev, you say that two questions will be asked in the end, how much love we gave, and how much knowledge we took? I have always taken love and given knowledge. What will be my fate now?
Sri Sri: At least you have understood this much!
All this time you have enjoyed giving knowledge, now start taking knowledge and giving love. How much ever love you have received, give more than that to other, and you are done.
The car has taken a 'U' turn then. It was going in the wrong direction, the driver realized his fault and changed the direction.
Does it mean that we stop sharing knowledge? No, there is no need to stop. Continue giving knowledge. Whatever you receive, you give that. And give that knowledge with love. Don’t give it to inflate your ego. That person needs this knowledge, share knowledge with this intention.
Q: Gurudev, in today’s world, America is going through an economic upheaval which is affecting so many other countries. Is there some karma that affects nations as a whole as well?
Sri Sri: America took a very wrong step when it went to war with Iraq. It spent one billion dollars every day for so many years. For five to six years, America kept spending one billion dollars per day. Can you imagine, trillions of dollars were spent in this war on Iraq to find the weapon of mass destruction which was never there? So it drained itself of a lot of resources. Naturally there is a big crisis now.
But I want to assure you, America will come out of this crisis. We don’t need to be too worried or concerned about it.
Only thing is, America should not venture for another war somewhere.
See, dialogue is the way. Iraq has gone from bad to worse. Today Iraq is in such a bad shape. There is bomb blast every single day. People are killed every day. Is this democracy? Is this a new change that anybody would have welcomed or liked?
These are the lessons. These are the big questions we need to look into.
America lost so many soldiers, and so many soldiers who were in the war are so traumatized. Nobody has gained from this war. World has not gained. America has not gained. Iraq has certainly not gained anything out of this war. Instead if there was a dialogue, countries like India could have played a big mediation role. Could have cleared many misunderstandings.
Anyways that is a thing of the past. But learn from this past mistake. In future, know that weapons or war is not an answer for peace. In fact, the intention of war is to bring peace. But it becomes completely opposite.
Q: Gurudev, some religious doctrines differentiate between soul and spirit. It is said that the soul is banished when the person dies and only spirit is incarnated. Reincarnation is only for humans who have ego. What is the Vedic interpretation?
Sri Sri: The Vedic idea is very close to the scientific theory of thermodynamics, i.e., energy can neither be created nor destroyed.
Body goes back into the planet as the five elements. The spirit which is energy remains with the spiritual body. The spirit, then again out of the impressions that it left the body with, comes back. It finds a suitable body and comes back.
Today the question of re-birth is established beyond any doubt. Today many clinics of the world use past life regression as a therapy to heal people and bring wellness to people.
So this question whether rebirth exists or not is proved beyond doubt. I tell you, it is there. I know it is there, so I tell you with authority.
If you ask me, prove it. I cannot prove it to you, but I tell you it is there.
Q: Gurudev, in yesterday’s meditation you said that almost everything is irrelevant. Can you please explain this further?
Sri Sri: That is in meditation. When you go into meditation, you should consider everything irrelevant. Only then can you become quiet. But do not think this when doing some activity. During activity, everything is relevant.