Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: There has been life for so many centuries on this planet. I wish to know why is it that some creatures live a prosperous and extravagant life, and yet there are some creatures who do not even have enough to eat? What is the basis on which a creature gets birth?
Sri Sri: This is one of the five secrets – the secret of birth. Nature has been very kind that birth has been kept as a secret. Otherwise, you would be living a miserable life remembering all previous incidents that happened in the past lives. But a time will come in your life when your mind would be completely established in the present moment, memory would awake, and you will remember what you were and who you were in your previous births. It is alright if it does not happen with some people.
The whole world is made up of cause and effect. If somebody is rich, that has a reason. If somebody is poor, that also has a reason. But does that mean we don’t have any independence of Karma? You definitely have freedom. We have been given discrimination. So, we do have freedom of karma, and also we are bearing fruits of past actions also. It is like you get some capital from someone. Now, it is up to you what do you want to do with it. A poor man can become rich, and a rich can become poor. There are all possibilities. Your karma decided where you were born. But it depends on you where do you want to reach.
Q: Whenever I see you, tears start to roll down the eyes. I feel as if I know you since ages. Is it true?
Sri Sri: : You are doubting your own experience. Then it is surely true. We doubt the positive, and not the negative. We doubt somebody’s honesty. Nobody has ever doubted dishonesty of a person. Same way, if somebody asks you if you are happy, you say, “I don’t know whether I am happy or not”. But we are so sure of our depression. We doubt in the existence of God. We never doubt in the existence of this changeable and mortal world. Evolved scientists understand that there is a question mark on the apparently looking reality.
Q: My heartiest gratitude to you. Who are you Gurudev?
Sri Sri: : First, you know yourself. Why are you putting your effort in knowing me? You don’t know who you are. First, know that how many times have you come in this world? When you know yourself, it will be very easy to know me.
Q: Sometimes, I feel that you are with me and watching me all the time. At some other times I feel that I am not connected. I feel distracted during those times. I am unable to do sadhana also in such times. A lot of thoughts come in the mind. What should I do then?
Sri Sri: : you have given answer in the question itself. Nature of devotion is such that you feel longing in its absence. Once you get a glimpse of devotion, then its absence causes perturbation in mind. It is not that devotion is absent there but you feel as if it is not there, and you feel restless with this feeling. If we look in the light of knowledge, Shri Narada has said in Bhakti Sutras that the very indication of devotion is that you experience bliss in its presence and its absence makes you restless. This shows that you have devotion, and consider yourself as lucky when you experience such restlessness in mind. You feel absence of devotion only for some time. Devotion is anyway always there, it never dies, but you may feel that it has decreased. This is natural. This happens only to those who have a very good luck. Otherwise, inert person doesn’t feel any devotion. Mind of such a person is tormented with worries.
Q: Is there any maximum limit to how much we can meditate?
Sri Sri: Just do as much is necessary. There is no need to do too much. Meditation is like taking a bath. To wash the mind, you need meditation. And once the mind is clean, you will be well.
Q: How can we overcome fear of death?
Q: I have fallen because of such a big ego. What can I do?
Sri Sri: Never mind! If you have recognized that you have fallen, you will rise higher. That is good enough. You have recognized that your ego has been the hindrance. But now don’t fight your ego. Just keep it in your pocket. Let it be there. Don’t try to do anything with it. Say, “I like it” and let it be there. If you don’t like it, give it to me, but then, I would like you to keep it with you. You know our effort in trying to erase our ego becomes another big problem. You have enough other problems to solve anyway.
Q: Guruji, how can I focus, have a vision and still be in the present moment?
Sri Sri: Do not think that having a vision is contradictory to living in the present moment. You can have a vision and be in the present moment. Being totally in the present moment can give you a better vision and focus for the future.
Q: If whatever we do is in search of happiness, then why is there so much pain and misery in the world?
Sri Sri: There is a story of Mullah Nasurudin. His wife was pregnant and the time of delivery had come. But the baby was not coming out. When doctor told this to Mullah Nasurudin, he ran to the market, bought a toy, and kept that toy in front of her wife. He said, “After all this is my child, so he will surely come out with greed”. Whole our life we keep on running behind things with the hope of getting something. We keep on looking for some kind of profit. How would such person experience happiness? Neither does a greedy person get happiness nor does a person who is bombarded with too many desires. The one who relaxes in his consciousness is happy. One, who is centered, experiences the true happiness. I am not saying there is no happiness in the outer world, but the happiness you get when you go within is incomparable.
The world is running in search of happiness. The body gets baked, the mind gets baked, the intellect gets deluded but still we keep on getting stuck in the same repetitive cycle. When you meet Guru, you come to know that you are the source of happiness. Then the mind calms down, and you realize that you are the one in whose search you kept on running here and there.
Q: How can we strengthen the faith?
Sri Sri: : Your very thought to strengthen the faith strengthens it. Move ahead assuming that your faith is very strong. When your intellect is purified, faith automatically gets strong. We should have a pure diet in order to purify the intellect. So, pay attention on your food. If you eat food thinking all sort of negative things in the world, that also affects the intellect. Many times people get time to converse only during meals, and they discuss about topics like diseases while preparing and eating the food. This is very wrong, and we need to get rid of this habit. You become what you eat. The type of food you take governs your mind. And again your mind has a direct impact on your body. That is why you should eat food with a happy state of mind. If we are very excited, we cannot swallow food with ease. Also if we are restless, we end up eating more food. So, it is important to have food with awareness.