Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: My mind keeps having conversations with me, how can I deal with that?
Sri Sri: At last you became aware of this; it was happening the entire time but now you have achieved the first step by becoming aware of it. That’s why in these courses you don’t have just knowledge, you have singing as well. Sing, dance and do all these techniques just like a child. As these techniques are taught, just keep doing them and you know in between there are moments the mind has become quiet. That’s why what you are doing now, this advanced course, and this silence program is so valuable, you know; it won’t happen in the very first sitting, I know all sorts of thoughts will come up.
It’s like suppose you are cleaning this room after a long gap, there is so much dust and the dust will rise, similarly you have to continue doing advanced courses many times. Those of you who are doing the course for the second time, third time, fourth time, did you notice it is becoming quieter quickly. So it takes quite a while to gain mastery over the silence, right! So we have to keep doing, keep doing it and you will achieve that, no doubt.
Q: What’s a spiritual leader got to do with politics?
Sri Sri: What is politics? It is caring for people and what does a spiritual leader do? Care for people. Politicians rule over people, spiritual leaders serve and care for the people. Politics and spirituality are two different fields but they should go hand in hand. That’s why spiritual leaders were placed the highest in ancient India. Any king or emperor would go to the spiritual leader and take his advice. Emperors used to run the kingdom on the blessings and advice of the spiritual leaders. A spiritual leader should not get into politics but should guide the politics. That is necessary.
Q: Dear Guruji, I would love to ask you why is the song ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ so special and intense and how does it help in situations like you explained this morning? I remember that last year we had a very rare combination of some bhajans and you advised us to sing this song there also. Thank you so much.
Sri Sri: Yes! ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ is one of the very powerful mantras. Mantras are those energizing sounds which help to uplift the consciousness, which help to uplift the subtle. So ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, these words are very important because ‘Na’, ‘Ma’, ‘Shi’, ‘Va’, ‘Ya’, these five letters represent the five elements Earth, water, fire, air and ether. ‘OM’ is the sound of the universe; ‘OM’ is the symbol of life force. ‘OM’ means peace and love, so when there is peace, love and harmony in all the five elements, there is bliss, there is joy. yeah! So, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ indicates the transcendental universal one consciousness and energizes that subtle aspect of the universe.
Q: Jai Gurudev! How to educate someone about vegetarianism? I have tried educating and have been ignored!
Sri Sri: More and more people are becoming aware of vegetarianism. Here, I heard last week that a major newspaper in Germany carried three full pages on the benefits of vegetarianism. Vegetarianism has many benefits. It helps your body’s digestion; it helps the environment as well. You know, even if ten percent of the people in the world become vegetarians, the green house gas effect problem is gone. We are done with it; we will have no more problems of global warming. That’s what the scientists say. So we need to promote more and more vegetarianism. People change a little slowly and we need to have patience, Okay!
Q: Dearest Guruji when would you give advice to drop or to change a commitment? Thank you so much.
Sri Sri: When you feel you can never achieve the commitment or when you feel the commitment is stifling you. When you feel the commitment you have undertaken was done in great ignorance and you are getting nowhere then you move out of that commitment, okay!
Q: Can spirituality save the world?
Sri Sri: What is destroying this world? It’s the greed, jealousy, hatred, narrow mindedness, selfishness, and all these negative emotions and qualities which are destroying the world, right? Because of greed of few people, anger and hatred of few people, lack of awareness, lack of understanding or misunderstanding and narrow mindedness of a few people, the world is getting destroyed. How can these negative emotions be overcome? Is there a way? Yes, SPIRITUALITY. It is only spirituality which can turn hatred into love, anger into awareness and selfishness into compassion. It is only spirituality that can save the mind of the people, isn’t it so?!
Q: How can I get rid of my sense of guilt?
Sri Sri: When you feel guilty, just chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. Do some Bhastrika, some Pranayama, Kriya. Doing ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ chanting one hundred and eight times also helps a lot. You chant one hundred and eight times, and then relax and meditate. See, new energy has come in you and you have become a new person. That person who did a mistake is gone, has packed off his suitcase and gone. Now inside you is a new person. Start believing in the innocence of the present moment. In the present moment, the YOU in you, the ‘energy in you’ is innocent, okay!
Q: How to make teenagers do the course?
Sri Sri: This you should think, how to make teenagers do the course. You think and come up with some ideas. You allure them by skillfully telling them the benefits of the course. You can tell them, ‘Come, we will take you for a holiday somewhere’.
Q: Sometimes I feel I have no importance in this huge universe, among millions of people and other species. What is the point in living? Why should I not commit suicide?
Sri Sri: You want to commit suicide? Never! It is the most unintelligent thing to do. Committing suicide is like saying I am feeling so cold and taking off your jacket. It is like saying I am feeling so hot and taking five blankets on you. My dear, problems are there in life but you are bigger than the problem. Remember you will always have enough to survive, you will always be protected. You are cared and loved by this universe; you have no right to take your life. You didn’t give birth to yourself; even those who have given birth to you do not have the right to take your life.
How can you even dare think that you could kill yourself, NO! The body belongs to the universe and the universe will take care of your body; your spirit belongs to divinity and divinity will take care of your spirit. Have this confidence and move on. Move through the difficult times. Who doesn’t have difficult times tell me? Who didn’t have difficult times in the past? Everybody gets some difficult time, the wise people smile and move through it, the foolish ones keep crying, yelling, shouting, being miserable and making others miserable. Never do that! Never ever, ever, ever think; that too having an exposure to this knowledge you should not think about suicide. If such feelings come, do Sudarshan Kriya and come and sit in an advanced course, okay! You will be fine!!
Q: Dearest Guruji, what if someone offers me some other technique for self realization? Should I accept or reject?
Sri Sri: Listen, there are so many people trying to give so many techniques and if you take all of them, you will be in confusion, it will be a mess. Its better that you stick to one set of practices and go deep into that. If you don’t get any change or benefit at all from this technique, even after practicing for a good amount of time, then I would myself tell you that this doesn’t suit you and go to that. If you have got some benefit from this, I would tell you to stick to it and go deeper into it.
That is very necessary. Even if you get ten percent benefit in any one path, you should continue for some time. It’s not the technique that is important, it is your attention, your dedication and your eagerness to grow that is good enough. Collecting techniques will not help you, yeah! To drop everything and relax will help. Your growth happens not by doing too many things but learning to undo or not do anything. Many people will ask you to do this or that, I would say RELAX. And you all know the three golden rules to Meditation.
For the next few minutes I want nothing, I do nothing and I am nothing.
This is the highest technique and any technique should lead you to this level of being nothing, removing all the labels we put on ourselves of the roles we play. If it doesn’t, then it’s no good a technique and it’s only a very mediocre, some preliminary beginning technique, may be just to bring some focus. If you understand this philosophy, ‘I want nothing, I do nothing, I am nothing’ rest is all done! Yeah, so simple and yet very profound… very profound!