Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: We know that with love we can transform a bad person into a good person, bad habit into good habit. But, how can we use our love to transform gangsters and criminals?
Sri Sri: Oh! We have number of examples. You know we are doing these courses inside the prisons. Inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. So, if you heal the victim, the culprit disappears. We are doing this in a big way. In a multi ethnic society like in Malaysia, it is very essential to have a sense of belongingness with each other, everyone has to live in harmony.
You cannot have harmony from outside, it has to come from deep within. That authentic belonging come when we are out of stress and have a broader perspective of life.
Q: You are so busy traveling all over the world. How do you stay healthy?
Sri Sri: I just don’t worry! I don’t worry at all. And when you are in a field of high energy, everybody is happy and, when you are connected to the source of energy within, then you can manage a tough routine.
Q: Guruji, as reporters we are going through lot of stress. We have to collect news and report and write articles. Other than doing meditation, which consumes time, what else can we do to relieve the stress that we get in front of computers and in front of our boss?
Sri Sri: Few deep breaths! You can’t say that you don’t have time to take breaths! Take deep breaths and know that you have the capacity to handle the crisis or situation that you are in now, have confidence that ‘’I can handle any tough situation, I can handle any stress, I have the capacity’’, then faith in yourself comes up.
Q: What is the secret to keep a healthy relationship?
Sri Sri: I have no experience in this field! (Laughter). But I can give some advice.
First for women: Never step on your man's ego. You should always pump and encourage his ego. You know, the whole world may say that your husband has no brains, but you should not say that! You should tell your husband that he has the best brains in the world and just because of the fact that he doesn't use it, doesn't mean that he doesn't have it! You should always tell him that he is the best man. Always pump the ego of a man .If you call him a vegetable, I tell you he will become one.
Now one advice for men: Never step on the emotions of a woman. You know, she may sometimes complaint about her family, about her brother or her father or her mother. You should not agree with that. If you do, then she will take a U turn. Never insult her family. Don’t stop her to go for shopping, or going to a spiritual or religious program. If she wants to go for shopping, give her your credit card.
Now for both: Never ask for proof of someone's love for you. Don't ask each other, “Do you really love me? You don't love me these days just like old days”. You know, it is such a big load for someone to prove their love for others. If someone asks you to prove your love, you would say "Oh my God! How do I prove that to this person?” Do everything with some style and some smile.
Sri Sri: It comes by practice and by having a broader vision that things are going to be resolved in a very positive manner. See, we have very little time and we have lots of things to do. How can we do all this with low energy? So, we have to increase our energy, be efficient in our work and good time management. For all this, we teach this course called the ‘Art of Living’. It helps in all these three dimensions. It adds more time to your life-Quality time- and increases your energy level and improves intuition.
Q: You always travel all over the world. How do you see the changes happening in the world?
Sri Sri: You know world means changes. There are some changes for good and there is deterioration as well. If you see , the human values have deteriorated, stress is increasing on one side, pollution and environmental problems, families are breaking up into smaller families, more insecurity in financial sector, crash in the world market has affected people a lot….
At the same time, there are lot of positive developments as well. People have become much more sensitive towards environment, compassion has increased, people are coming out and helping in the times of disaster. So, you should see both happening and what is needed is to aid the positive aspects in the society and to reduce stress – these breathing exercises are necessary to do this and brings a sense of belongingness among people of various communities and age groups.
Q: Do you find any changes here in Malaysia now since you are coming after 11 years?
Sri Sri: Lots of changes…infrastructural development…rest I have to find out, I have just arrived last night. I can’t form an opinion overnight, I have just arrived. Today I will be meeting people and we are having a meeting of all the teachers from all over south east Asia in Penang tomorrow, we have a workshop with all the teachers for four days and also a Silence Retreat meditation programmer.
Of course, lots of people from Malaysia have been regular visitors to our headquarters in Bangalore, India. I keep seeing them everywhere else in Europe, in America etc and they will always ask me “when are you coming to KL, when are you coming to Malaysia?’’, so this time I could squeeze in!
Q: How do you relieve yourself? Because you are very busy all the time….
Sri Sri: I don’t allow the stress to come in at all!! To relieve the stress, first you have to take the stress in, right? I filter it out right there.
Q: The global warming issue is so serious now days, disasters happen everywhere. As a resident in this planet what should we do? I feel sad when I see people suffer, what can I do more?
Sri Sri: We have to create awareness. Join the ‘Art of Living’ band wagon, we are everyday going and planting more trees, creating awareness about plastics, creating awareness in people. To check global warming, more and more people need to turn vegetarian. You know, what they say is even if 10 percent of the population turns vegetarian, 10 percent more; the issue of global warming will be completely gone.
The methane that is produced in the slaughter houses is so much responsible for global warming. With the price and the energy spend to produce one pound of meat, you can feed four hundred people. So more and more people should turn vegetarians, and that will bring change in the environment.
Q: Do you have some special diet and do you exercise?
Sri Sri: I do exercise for 20 minutes and follow a vegetarian diet.