Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Where does Obama get his inspiration from?
Sri Sri: Today, the global problem is terrorism through wrong ideology. I feel that we need to emphasize a broad spectrum of education for the future generation. If each child knows about other religions, it won’t think other religions will go to hell. Even in India, madrassas are getting CBSE status because of the vote bank. I’m not saying all madrassas are bad but there is an 80 percent chance of narrowing vision. We need to have a long term goal and long term vision in everything. An education which has science and spirituality - head and heart is the only solution.
Q: How can I balance peace while fighting for justice?
Sri Sri: That is the whole essence of The Bhagavat Gita. Be calm from the inside and act whenever required. You should stand up and fight if necessary; but don’t keep the fight inside yourself. Usually we fight inside and keep quiet outside. We should do the opposite. With meditation, it becomes easy to bring about this change. The power of satva and the power of meditation make it easy.
Today is Shri Ramanavami (Lord Rama’s Birthday). Ra means radiance, Ma means myself. Rama means ‘the light inside me’. Rama was born to Dasharath and Kousalya. Dasharath means ‘Ten Chariots’. The ten chariots symbolize the five organs of perception (the five senses) and five organs of knowledge and action (For instance: reproduction, legs, hands and so on). Kousalya means ‘skill’, Ayodhya means ‘a society in which there is no violence’. If you skillfully observe what goes on inside the body, light dawns inside you. That is meditation. You need some skill to relax the tension. Then you start expanding.
You know, you are here now, yet you are not. With this realization, there is a certain lightness that comes spontaneously. Rama is when the inner light shines through. Sita the mind/intellect was robbed by the ego, Ravana. Ravana had ten heads. Ravana (ego) was one who wouldn’t listen to others. He was too much in the head. Hanuman means breath. With the help of Hanuman (the breath), Sita (the mind) was able to go back to Rama (the source).
Ramayana happened around 7,500 years ago. It had an impact on Germany and many other countries in Europe and Far East. Thousands of cities are named after Rama. Cities like Rambaugh in Germany have their roots in the word Ram. Indonesia, Bali and Japan were all influenced by Ramayana. Though Ramayana is history, it is also an eternal phenomenon happening all the time.
Q: How did you know you were a Guru? Did you have a Guru? Sometimes I wonder if I’m a Guru, maybe just for myself. What would you say to that?
Sri Sri: You can’t be a surgeon for yourself. You may be a surgeon but you can’t be your own surgeon, right? So your mother is your first Guru. A mother teaches you. Of course, a Guru is one who is unconditional in his attitude and approach towards you. You should play the role of a Guru unconditionally. You help others or care for someone with wisdom. Then you are playing the role of a Guru to them too.
If you help somebody with an attitude of ‘I want nothing, I just want your progress’ then you’re a Guru to them. Yet don’t demand them to accept you as Guru. No, a real Guru does not demand anything, not even gratitude from somebody.
Q: How does one make a balance between the heart and mind?
Sri Sri: Yes. You do your business with your mind, and service with your heart. In both cases, there is a third component - intuition. Never be within the business with heart. With family, be with the heart, don't use your mind there. Do both with the gut feeling!
Q: When a loved one dies, are they reincarnated? Will we know them again? In the case of a parent, are we still connected to them?
Sri Sri: All possible...It's possible to know them if they incarnate now and you can feel that? Haven't you felt that you go somewhere and suddenly you feel someone is very close to somebody? Your gut feeling comes. It's all possible. You know, we’re all connected in some time or another. In the past, we've all been connected. Now we are connected. Whether we acknowledge or not!
Q: Which is the best and intelligent way to worship?
Sri Sri: When you do any action with a sense of sacredness, that becomes worship.
Q: Can you talk about certain rituals performed while doing pooja?
Sri Sri: There are some rituals which you can fathom with your intellect, yet some others are so intuitively profound that you can only merge in them and enjoy.
On a very gross level, Pooja is imitation of what Divine or Nature is doing to us. Divine offers us all kinds of fruits and flowers, bestows rain, worship us taking millions of stars around us. An imitation of this divine phenomenon, expressing our gratitude, is pooja.
Yet, it is good not to get stuck in too much of rituals. Your feelings are good enough for a pooja to happen. However a little bit of rituals at home, like burning incense sticks, keep the spirit of the place high. – FROM YOUTH DESK
Q: Guruji, why is singing an important part of the courses? What’s the spiritual significance of singing?
Sri Sri: You know, knowledge and logic, and music are formed in two different parts of our brain and they’re both essential. That brings a balance in the system. Music is essential.