Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: could you please comment a little bit on your concept of love. Love for parents, sex, children, your surroundings, friends etc.
Sri Sri: I tell you, love..you are made up of love. You are made up of a substance called love. Your spirit is all love. And there are various types of love. Parental love, love of the siblings. Then love for the children, love for the spouse. They are little flavors. Different, but underneath that, I don’t see love as only an emotion, it is our very existence. Because all the atoms in your body love each other and that’s why you are a human being. That’s why there is a boss. You know the moment the love that is the bond, binding force between the atoms is gone, our body disintegrates. So, I see love more as the very existence not just as an emotion. I would say Love with wisdom leads you to bliss.
Love without wisdom or with ignorance leads you to jealousy, greed, anger, frustration and everything else. All these negative emotions are just an offspring of love. See you can’t be jealous of somebody if there is no love. Right? Greed is because you love certain things more than people, that is called greed. You love somebody more than you should and that is called possessiveness. And you love perfection so much that you can’t stand imperfection, and you show it as anger. Right? Love needs to be harnessed with a little wisdom.
There are around 20 CD's on Bhakti sutra - The aphorisms of love. You can just go into that. I have discussed different types of love and how they all affect our lives.
Q: Can we try one in Gurgaon villages?
Sri Sri: We can, definitely.
Q: Can I be a part of that?
Sri Sri: Definitely. Most welcome.
Q: We have a small group of youth belonging to a church. We have social work going on. We find our youth group lacks leaders. We find we lack leaders among youth. Nobody is coming forward to take responsibility. So what is your idea about how a leader should be and what could be done to take the youth forward towards leadership?
Sri Sri: First of all, I feel that leaders should create leaders. And also leaders should not be imposing, they should be in the background, and they should be caring and compassionate. Why someone is not doing some service activity? Maybe they are stressed, they are tensed. So, if you are unhappy yourself, you won’t be motivated to do something for someone else. So, first you have to find the peace.
That’s why I would say smile and then serve. If there is no smile in your service, it will be short-lived. You may do it 2-3 days, 5 days and then you can’t do anymore because you don’t have energy. So, that inner peace and a sense of belonging in people. When that dawns in you then you can’t but serve. Service becomes your natural..your second nature.
Q: A lot of spirituality text talks about controlling our mind and channelising our thoughts. But practically for most of us that’s a difficult job to do. Request you to give us practical tips on this.
Sri Sri: Ya, that’s exactly what we are going to do now. Meditation. You will know then how we will deal with the thoughts.
Q: Will you sing with us today?
Sri Sri: Well, we will do meditation of course.
Q: You talked about the village. What changed them? What was done in that village practically?
Sri Sri: Meditation, breathing, just educating them and singing together. Everyone comes together in the evening and starts singing, everyday. Once a week they have this preeti bhoj when everybody eats together. An inspirational programme called Youth Leadership Training programme gave them the inspiration.
Q: People in India are getting more and more inspired to do ethical business and take on responsibility for the society. Can you talk about this?
Sri Sri: I think this is also true in US, everywhere. Today in the globalized world, how we can turn back to the ethics? In European parliament, every year ‘Art of living’ conducts a seminar – ‘Corporate culture and spirituality’. Business people from around the world come. And those who are doing ethical business present how they are doing, what all corporate responsibility they have undertaken, and how we can inculcate spirituality in the business. This happens every year somewhere in October or November.
Q: I want to go to India with my family members.
Sri Sri: Yeah you’re welcome to come. We will organize, I think in the stadium also many people wanted to come to India the other day. If it’s a long big group then it will be fun. Some good travel agent here, any travel agent here? Then we will make arrangements and sometime all must come, it’s just very close from here, just four hours.
Q: An India specific question - Can business and ethics in contemporary India be reconciled?
Sri Sri: You know, this notion that ‘only by doing wrong things you can prosper’ is wrong. It is not true. You see there are so many businesses in this country where they are flourishing doing ethical business. But they have to be highlighted. Many people don’t know.
The small businesses don’t understand that some of the big businesses are doing totally ethical work like the Tatas, Infosys or Wipro...they are all doing totally ethical business to the core. They are not cheating or doing things which are not ethical. We have to highlight this to the public. That work needs to be done. There are so many small business people who are so value based. Unfortunately they don’t make news. Only Satyam made news (laughter). It is so interesting to see that media captures those news more than the good ones.