Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Why is Krishna’s navel called Padmanabha (Solar Plexus)?
Sri Sri: Solar Plexus is second brain or mid brain. For a Yogi, Solar Plexus is larger in size. Scientists have also said this. It is small in a person who doesn’t do yoga and meditation. When solar plexus is larger, one is creative and generous. When it is smaller, one is jealous. Krishna is called Padmanabha, his Solar Plexus is like a fully blossomed flower. Padma not only means lotus, it also means flower. Fully blossomed flower is usually referred to as padma.
Q: Which are the most important values which can transform this universe into a heaven?
Sri Sri: Shift in our vision. This universe is already a heaven. What blocks us from perceiving it as heaven is our own mind. The mind clings on to the past or it wants perfection. It has its own ideas of perfection. This is about the universe. But if you ask me about improving the society, I think this is a question every human being should ask himself/herself. We need to have a violence-free and stress-free society. The way to such a society is Yoga, Meditation and Service.
The gentleman continues, “But I find 99.9 percent of people in the world are already good. But still that 0.1 percent dominates. Even if 10 percent people come together and say they don’t want violence and terrorism in society we can achieve this. How can this happen?”
Q: How to increase the belongingness and Sattva in society?
Sri Sri: This question, I leave it with you. Keep asking this question. Time to time you get ideas and implement those ideas. And get people to be peaceful, happy, what we call sattvik. Sattvik means harmonious, the harmony within yourself and the harmony with your world.
Q: Because I travel a lot to places where vegetarian food is hard to find, I sometimes end up eating wrong foods and find energy is really low and there is heaviness in the head. What to do in such situations?
Sri Sri: You know when people have some allergies, just because of company they don’t eat those foods for which they have allergies. Suppose you have allergy to carbonated drinks, and because the company is all drinking, you’ll not say, ‘Ok, I’ll also drink.’ Because you know that you’ll suffer. Right?
So similarly, you can choose your food in any company, you can say, ‘Ok. If nothing is available, I am going to eat only chips, or vegetables, or bread.’ You are not compelled to eat non-veg or unhealthy food if you don’t want to. Ok? You don’t need to drink carbonated drinks if you don’t feel it’s good for you. Right? See, when people drink lots of carbonated drinks, it burns the lining of the stomach and the intestine. Later on you develop so many problems. All these carbonated drinks should be avoided. Someone had demonstrated, if a tooth, a tooth which had fallen is put in a cup of carbonated drink, it dissolves! That corrosive fluid can cause so much damage to our intestine, our brain, and our nerve cells. So, we must keep healthy eating habits and propagate them.
Today is much better than 30 years ago. 30 years ago, when we started, people were very allergic to vegetarianism and spirituality. But today, it has become a fashion. Because we create a trend and keep it moving.
Q: Please can you teach me how to be connected to the faith?
Sri Sri: Trying to connect to the faith is trying to connect to the air around you. ‘I want to be connected to the air.’ My dear, you can’t be but! You are already connected. Relax. Why do you try to connect to air? Are you getting what I am saying? Doubt as much as you can. I would say, you should doubt as much as you can. A point comes when you no longer can doubt, the truth will stand up. Truth can never be destroyed by doubt. Do you understand what I am saying? Truth will stand. Doubt can cover it, delay it for some time, drag on for some time, but it can never destroy the truth. Therefore, when people have doubts, I say, ‘doubt as much as you can. One day those doubts will fall off.’ If you are lucky, it will fall off immediately the way it comes. Unlucky ones hang on to it for a little longer time. That’s all. Unlucky ones will carry the garbage on their back for some long distance. Lucky ones know that they carry garbage and throw it right there. Two steps, and they drop their garbage. Otherwise one carries on the shoulder for a long distance.
Q: A question from someone on the ART Excel Course: When the cops or anyone in the military shoot or kill anyone in war, does it count as their good or bad karma?
Sri Sri: Let us take the policeman. A policeman is doing his job to keep peace in society, so it is not a bad thing. In the military, one who is following orders is only doing his job. The man, who gives the orders, gets the karma.
Q: How to be one pointed on path? There are so many distractions pulling us back.
Sri Sri: With wisdom you come back. This very question indicates you are coming back, in fact you have already come back, and you are not distracted. Through wisdom or misery you are brought back to the center. When you go away from the center, you are beaten; you start crying and then come back to your center. Wise come back to the center through wisdom. The not- so- wise face problems here and there and then come back to the center. This is the law of nature. This is how things are.
Q: There is so many violence and natural disasters happening in the world. Why does God let this all happen? If God exists then why does all this happen?
Sri Sri: You chop off some leaves and branches of plants. Don’t you prune rose plant? Does it die by pruning? It grows up. Same way nature brings all this from a bigger picture.
It is not always that ripe fruits fall from a coconut tree. Sometimes even small coconut drops off. Baby fishes are also swollen by big fishes in an ocean. So, these natural calamities are all part of the nature. If we exploit nature too much, more natural calamities occur. We are putting dynamites in the Earth. We are blasting it every day. Imbalance gets created and so Earth starts shaking. Sustainable development is what is needed today. We need to care for the planet.
Nature moves with the law. God means a rule, a law. Everything goes by that. This planet Earth has to be protected and cared for. One is natural calamity. Another is man-made calamity. Man-made calamities can always be avoided. People are not valuing human life for a little piece of gold. Human values need to be brought back into society.
Q: Why does love always come with attachment? Is it possible to love your partner and still be dispassionate?
Sri Sri: Attachment brings pain, but nothing comes without pain. We came into this world in a lot of pain. The process of birth itself is very painful. For nine months, we were comfortable and then suddenly the ocean around us disappeared and we had to come out! Attachment happens when your focus is not on the Being, but on the outside. Wanting to control, possess and hold on brings pain. When we are relaxed and content, love transforms to bliss. Demand and control only bring pain. Wisdom, along with love, is the answer.
Q: I am an ‘Art of Living’ teacher. How do I feel I have done enough service? I always feel I could do more for society?
Sri Sri: Parents never feel that they have given enough to their child, especially to the girl child. The nature of love is like that. Whatever you do in love, you feel you have not done enough. Know that there is something lacking if you feel you have done enough. It is manifestation of love which makes you feel that you can do more. Love is continuous and it never ends.