Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: An India specific question - Can business and ethics in contemporary India be reconciled?
Sri Sri: You know, this notion that ‘only by doing wrong things you can prosper’ is wrong. It is not true. You see there are so many businesses in this country where they are flourishing doing ethical business. But they have to be highlighted. Many people don’t know.
The small businesses don’t understand that some of the big businesses are doing totally ethical work like the Tatas, Infosys or Wipro...they are all doing totally ethical business to the core. They are not cheating or doing things which are not ethical. We have to highlight this to the public. That work needs to be done. There are so many small business people who are so value based. Unfortunately they don’t make news. Only Satyam made news (laughter). It is so interesting to see that media captures those news more than the good ones.
Q: You talked about the village. What changed them? What was done in that village practically?
Sri Sri: Meditation, breathing, just educating them and singing together. Everyone comes together in the evening and starts singing, everyday. Once a week they have this preeti bhoj when everybody eats together. An inspirational programme called Youth Leadership Training programme gave them the inspiration.
Q: Can we try one in Gurgaon villages?
Sri Sri: We can, definitely.
Q: We have a small group of youth belonging to a church. We have social work going on. We find our youth group lacks leaders. We find we lack leaders among youth. Nobody is coming forward to take responsibility. So what is your idea about how a leader should be and what could be done to take the youth forward towards leadership?
Sri Sri: First of all, I feel that leaders should create leaders. And also leaders should not be imposing, they should be in the background, and they should be caring and compassionate. Why someone is not doing some service activity? Maybe they are stressed, they are tensed. So, if you are unhappy yourself, you won’t be motivated to do something for someone else. So, first you have to find the peace.
That’s why I would say smile and then serve. If there is no smile in your service, it will be short-lived. You may do it 2-3 days, 5 days and then you can’t do anymore because you don’t have energy. So, that inner peace and a sense of belonging in people. When that dawns in you then you can’t but serve. Service becomes your natural..your second nature.
Q: When two kids like to fight with each other, what should I do?
Sri Sri: Just join them! See that they don’t have sharp things in their hands. Children should fight, they fight and they come back again and they hug each other, they love each other, they can’t be without each other. But it is the adults, it takes them months, years and sometimes even lifetimes to shake hands. Kids are not like that, they fight a moment and next moment they are hand in hand with each other, better you don’t get involved in their matters. Children live in the moment, kids live in the moment, so they fight now and they forget now and this is the beauty.
Q: How to become a teacher of the ‘Art of Living’?
Sri Sri: Yeah, in the end of the course, there will be a list and whoever wants to become a teacher should give his/her name. If you want to become a teacher, you can.
Q: could you please comment a little bit on your concept of love. Love for parents, sex, children, your surroundings, friends etc.
Sri Sri: I tell you, love..you are made up of love. You are made up of a substance called love. Your spirit is all love. And there are various types of love. Parental love, love of the siblings. Then love for the children, love for the spouse. They are little flavors. Different, but underneath that, I don’t see love as only an emotion, it is our very existence. Because all the atoms in your body love each other and that’s why you are a human being. That’s why there is a boss. You know the moment the love that is the bond, binding force between the atoms is gone, our body disintegrates. So, I see love more as the very existence not just as an emotion. I would say Love with wisdom leads you to bliss.
Love without wisdom or with ignorance leads you to jealousy, greed, anger, frustration and everything else. All these negative emotions are just an offspring of love. See you can’t be jealous of somebody if there is no love. Right? Greed is because you love certain things more than people, that is called greed. You love somebody more than you should and that is called possessiveness. And you love perfection so much that you can’t stand imperfection, and you show it as anger. Right? Love needs to be harnessed with a little wisdom.
There are around 20 CD's on Bhakti sutra - The aphorisms of love. You can just go into that. I have discussed different types of love and how they all affect our lives.
Q: Will you sing with us today?
Sri Sri: Well, we will do meditation of course.
Q: Can I be a part of that?
Sri Sri: Definitely. Most welcome.
Q: How does one drop a tendency to judge people? How do you drop judgment?
Sri Sri: Oh!(laughs) it can stop by itself. Once you know you are judging, you only come out of it. See, you cannot do anything about the past. The moment you become aware I was judging, I was judgemental, you are already out of it. You simply see, when you turn back and see how many times you had judgements about people, and they all proved to be wrong more or less, most of them. So with your own experience, you grow into wisdom. It cannot be induced from outside. You have to have this from inside. You have to look back and see how was it. What did I do?