Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: I am in a dilemma…There are times when I want to instinctively do things but my analytical mind jumps in and starts analyzing. So, there is more thinking than actually implementing. Being more specific, like wanting to dance when u feel like and not doing it because of what people may think. Being even more specific, I have been placed in a firm and have a months time after exams before I start work, I want to ask for an extension because I want to go on a Himalayan trek for 15 days, and want to do seva in the ashram for 15 days and spend time with my grandparents. But my analytical mind is holding me back!!!! Can I trust my instincts? If I could I would have sent this mail two days early!!!
Sri Sri: Yup trust your instincts. And dance and sing and laugh and cry when you want to. Life is too short to bother about what other people may think.
Q: Is it possible to become like a child again and to rekindle that positive vibration around us?
Sri Sri: It is possible. The secret lies in our own breath. Through breathing exercises, certain breathing techniques and some practice of meditation, we can rekindle positive vibrations within and around us. Are you aware that sometimes for no reasons you feel like talking to some people, and sometimes for no reason you want to avoid some people? I am sure everyone has this experience! We convey more through our presence than through our words. If we are uptight, angry or stressed, then we become repulsive. Now, the question is how do these negative vibrations come in our aura? We are storing all these negative things that we have seen and heard in our aura.
Q: What is role of service in order to have inner contentment? Does serving others help in neutralizing one’s karma bank?
Sri Sri: You know, we should have a goal in life. My goal is to bring happiness to more and more people. If we sit and keep thinking of ourselves all the time, we’ll be depressed. We should see, ‘How can I be of service? How can I be of use to others?’ This thought is very useful. Very, very, very useful. Ya? So, ‘Art of Living’ provides a platform for everyone to come together and do some service. You know, when United Nations announced, ‘Stand up and take action’ - they wanted tree planting; ‘Art of Living’ volunteers have planted 55 million trees around the globe. We all can jointly do some service activity. Reduce violence, reduce stress, create a sense of belongingness, and spread the positive vibration of love and peace. Shall we all do this together? Is everyone committed to do this? (A resonating yes)
Q: How much difference is there between science and spirituality? Why do not some scientists believe in spirituality?
Sri Sri: Evolved scientists surely believe in spirituality. Those who are not yet fully evolved may not believe in spirituality. Einstein was startled after reading Bhagwad Gita. If you hear a quantum physicist talking, you will feel as if the text is being quoted from the scriptures only. ‘What is this?’ is science.’ Who am I?’ is spirituality. Objective analysis is science and subjective understanding is spirituality. And they go hand in hand. In the East, they were never in conflict with each other. It is said in Bhagvad Gita –‘Gyan Vigyana triptatma’. You will find fulfillment only when science and spirituality go together. We need both science and spirituality to bring contentment to our soul.
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 ripe fruits that 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: In my country most people are of opinion that you can’t raise a child without non - vegetarian diet for in that case body will lack in amino acids and brain won’t function properly. What should I do?
Sri Sri: Ample research has been done to the contrary of this theory. Look into that. There are millions of people who are vegetarian in the west and they are very brilliant. In fact most of the genius people in west including Einstein were vegetarian. Many of the top scientists like Novel Lorex have been vegetarian. This theory that brain doesn’t work need to be questioned big time
Q: What should be the place of money in the quest for life?
Sri Sri: The problem arises when you carry money not only in your pocket but in your head also! Also what is the use of thinking about it all the time if your pockets are empty? Money is the means and not an end in itself. Have faith that you will get whatever money you need. Put in your effort and move forward with this conviction. Also out of the money you earn, 2-3% should be spent for others. We call it dhana-shuddhi (purification of wealth). In Sanskrit there is a word anna-shuddhi (purification of grains). It prescribes adding ghee (clarified butter) to rice. If you eat rice alone, it is not as good for your body as the sugar level in your blood suddenly increases. By adding just a little bit of clarified butter or ghee, the process of converting the starch into sugar is slowed down. So the digestion process becomes slower and you are less prone to diabetes. So we say rice gets purified when we add ghee to it. Similarly money gets purified when we contribute to those in need.
Q: I am 26 year old IT professional. I have never lived to myself so far in life. Throughout my life, I have always thought so much even on the useless tiniest things and haven’t converted them to actions. So, I have started living in my thoughts only, good or bad. I have never felt comfortable in that situation and I could feel some part of my mind working detached from myself which is painful every moment. I don’t remember if I have lived my life freely even as a child anytime. Due to this I have developed some incurable skin diseases (According to allopathic doctors) which cause problems public ally and ultimately putting more stress. My mental state is very negative; doubt everything in my life. I luckily got to AOL basic course 9 months back and felt great. Following the kriya almost regularly. I am going for Yes++ advance starting Jun 18. Please guide me.
Sri Sri: You are on the right track… Keep moving! Remember the intellect always doubts the positive. Sadhana, Seva and Satsang is the best formula to get out of sticky situations in life, and not get into them in the first place as well!
Q: I am very interested in working on one of my academic work. It is a big task requiring at least two months of concentrated effort. I need to focus. Although my mind does not wander, I am also not able to focus. I feel as if I my mind is walking around the lake instead of taking a plunge into it. I am confident that I will be able to do the work, but I am not able to achieve that single-minded focus. How to achieve that “meditative focus” or “single-mindedness” about this work? Any light?
Sri Sri: Do you love your work? Once you fall in love with something or are passionate about it, focus comes all by itself. There is nothing to do! And the decision to like something is totally yours. Get it?!
Q: Why are there so many different philosophies?
Sri Sri: Why not? God loves diversity. What if there was only okra to eat? But you have potatoes, tomatoes, beans, all kinds of fruits, vegetables and flowers. God seems to love diversity. He has created so many of us in different shapes, features and colors. He is definitely not a military person, an army general. A spirit that loves diversity must be diverse in itself too. That is what the rishis (Ancient saints) found in meditation. There is only one Ganesh and one Vishnu, but in so many different forms. See unity in diversity and celebrate diversity. Our rishis in the past had spoken of tolerance, acceptance, diversity and equal opportunity. Why the difference? Find the common thread in different religions. According to different places, there are different customs. Time has created differences. There was one Buddha, now we have thirty-two forms of Buddhism, one Jesus Christ and now seventy-two sects of Christianity, and one Prophet Mohammed and now five different sects of Islam. In Hinduism, the variations cannot even be counted! But everyone believes in the Vedas, the Upanishads. How many different sects? Why should they not be there? Let it be there. See unity in diversity.