Q: How does one handle fear of death?
Sri Sri: If you isolate and think only of yourself then you will have the fear of death. Once you are in service, there is no fear of death. Terrorists are committed to something so they are not afraid of life or death. If you want to do good for others, your commitment to it will take care of this fear.
Q: Please speak about forgiveness toward ourselves and others.
Sri Sri: Don’t do it, if it is hard. Go the easy way. If it is hard to forgive, never ever forgive. If it is easy to hold a grudge against somebody, keep it with you all your life. In that case you should be happy with it. Can you be happy with a grudge against somebody? If somebody made a mistake, it is their problem and not yours. You just go the easy way.
The struggle is that we want to forgive but we can’t. We should look at every culprit as a victim. If the person was unjust to you, clearly he was not happy. Otherwise, he would not have done it. He was not as refined and cultured as you. Whose mistake is that? If that person was enlightened, or had knowledge he would not have done it. So be compassionate.
Q: Please talk about domestic violence and how one can live with it?
Sri Sri: Domestic and social violence both arise out of stress. We never teach people how to handle stress. No one is given spiritual knowledge. Don’t you think this knowledge of meditation and Sudarshan Kriya should reach everybody? This knowledge of non-violence should reach all.
Somehow we have to reach this knowledge to people. You cannot tolerate domestic violence. Educate people. Put your 100 percent to bring them to knowledge and meditation. Through this, you will see how their whole attitude changes. There is a village of 600 people in Nanded Province in India. It had the usual challenges of a village - alcohol, debts, etc. One 'Art of Living' teacher took it as a challenge and started teaching courses in small groups. Within a few months there was a huge change in. Today everyone gathers together in the evening and sing together. Nobody drinks or smokes, or takes tobacco. There is no crime. There is one store in the village that runs on trust, without a shopkeeper. It has been running in this manner since three years without any theft. The entire village is organic. Nobody is unemployed. There are no locks on doors in the entire village. All the houses are painted pink to show unity. They keep it so clean. They are self-sufficient and environment-friendly. They have received the “Most Ideal Village” award. One hundred and eighty villages of Karnataka and altogether 500 villages are now following this model. Every person does pranayama.
A lot needs to be done. We have 140 schools in areas where there are no roads or electricity. We have a good number of children studying in these schools. They receive free education. First generation literates achieve such good grades in school. The President of the World Bank asked us how our projects are successful. I explained that money is not always the reason. Love and spiritual energy make projects successful.
Q: How were you able to establish three centers in Pakistan?
Sri Sri: The people of Pakistan are very good. They just do the Sudarshan kriya. We have teachers there. When you are stuck in concepts, you are in the box. It is when you get an experience that you can come out of the box.
Q: Please explain the meaning of Sat Chitananda.
Sri Sri: Sat is “that exists.” Chit is “that knows.” Ananda is “bliss.”
Q: What to do if you love someone but the other person doesn’t love you enough?
Sri Sri: Do not ask them “Do you really love me?” Ask them “why do you love me so much?” Tell them they love you too much and “I think I don’t deserve this.” You have to go on this trip and do everything with style. Any problem in life should be handled with style.
The whole of life is a game to be played. It is not a struggle. Nothing can destroy you. You are a drop of immortality, a drop of something eternal. Your spirit is eternal. And it is alright if this does not ring a bell right now. I will just say what I know and some day you might authenticate it. Do not be afraid of anything. We have no choice.
Q: What is your advice for people on planet Earth? How can we live such that after 50-100 years we would still have fresh air to breathe?
Sri Sri: Care for nature, like native communities worship nature. Honor the environment. In a place in India if you cut one tree, you have to promise you will plant five of the same kind within the next forty days. There is a whole ritual in which one who is cutting the tree speaks to it, telling it that after cutting it will be useful to us. We must care for nature, not exploit it.
Q: How can one always remain committed?
Sri Sri: Do you want an answer? You are committed to getting an answer? Let me see how long you can hold on to that commitment. You know, there is nothing like one commitment. It does not work like that. From time to time you have to take on commitments in life. That is part of your nature. If you are weak, you will drop your commitment everyday. If you are strong, you will stick to it. How does one become strong? Pranayama and meditation.
Q: Why do people meditate? Is it alright to sleep during meditation?
Sri Sri: It’s fine unless you are snoring and troubling others! (laughter) Meditation is deep rest. What is samadhi? It is equivalent to a million years of rest. If you meditate even for a second and sleep before and after, never mind. Even if it is sound sleep. So what?
Q: How does one deal with separation anxiety?
Sri Sri: Ujjayi breath. You are in the ocean of breath.