Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Why does the divine answer and reward some while prayers of others go unanswered?
Sri Sri: Well, I don’t know why some prayers get answered and some are not. I have no idea. Perhaps it is good for you. Perhaps you may change your mind about what you want. People go to shopping, this often happens at least in India, and ask shopkeeper, “Can I come later and exchange it if I don’t like it”. They go home and don’t like it and get it exchanged next day. Most unreliable thing you have is your own mind because you don’t know what it likes and when it doesn’t like that. That is why bringing mind to its source is so important. Its centeredness is the most important thing in spiritual evolution. Understanding what is transient and what is permanent, what brings you permanent joy and what causes temporary convenience and long term misery, what causes temporary discomfort and permanent joy, and what causes long term discomfort. That is what is called viveka, sense of discretion, wisdom – knowing this from that.
Sri Sri: That which is born from Fullness is worship. When gratitude is overwhelming, the throat chokes in gratitude, and then whatever action you perform in such a state is worship. We surrender everything – that feeling is worship.
Q: Guruji you give so much importance to Satsang. Is there any scientific reason behind?
Sri Sri: Satsang means company of reality, being in touch with the truth. Satsang is not just singing. Singing some complicated songs which you don’t understand is not Satsang. Music is part of it. Second part is, understanding the logic. Third part is sitting and reposing in yourself in deep meditation, being with yourself.
Q: There are so many attractions and distractions but still the youth is so bored.
Sri Sri: Youth is bored and it’s their fortune. If they were satisfied then growth would have stopped. When they are bored then the quest comes in them. They are not satisfied with the things available around. And this is the stage when they can take a step to look within, a leap in their inner journey, a step towards spirituality. An interest in higher growth gets kindled when you are bored with things around. When you find source of joy within, then obviously everything around is also reflecting the same source of joy, then you find interest in everything. Continuous bombardment of senses by stimuli can cause inertia. Inertia is boredom, is a form of boredom. Again when prana level goes up, you move from inertia to enthusiasm.
Q: What is surrender? Does that mean doing nothing and letting nature do whatever it wants to?
Sri Sri: This word surrender has been used, misused and confused so many times. I think we should use some other word (laughter). Just relax, be in your element, feel the connection, have a sense of belongingness. In fact, the connection is already there, you simply have to feel it. This is a better word. What is it you have that you can surrender? Worries, anxiety, tension, and depression! And that too you don’t know how to surrender. I want to be done away with this word surrender. I want none of you to use this word hereafter. It’s like a straw out of which juice has already been taken out, like sugarcane straw that you keep chewing and nothing comes out of it. Some better word is to be used now. Let go, relax, feel connection and that’s it.
Q: While Ayurveda is considered to be indigenous system of medicine then why do English medicine has a government take over Ayurvedic medicines. Also English medicine claims to have faster recovery rate?
Sri Sri: You know statistics show contrary to this. Even in modern medicine, the probability factor of medicine not affecting is very high. Research says Placebo effect with modern medicines is nearly 40%. Modern medicines are being discovered every day and those which were used 10 – 12 years ago are being discarded. Problem is that these pharmaceutical companies have lot of economical interest. It is economy which is ruling modern medicine rather than effectiveness. I feel we should have a combined, holistic approach. Ayurveda has some very good qualities, allopathic medicines also have some very good aspects and also homeopathic. Holistic medicine is the best. It is wrong to completely discard modern medicine and it is equally wrong to discard natural cures, ayurveda. Allopathy does well in case of emergency, and ayurveda has a unique way of attending to the root cause of disease and not only symptoms, and healing without side effects. Today many such researches have been done on this and many have experienced this. E.g. Probability of remission of piles by allopathic treatment is very high but in case of ayurveda it is less than one percent. These are the things one should adopt about ayurveda. Ayurveda is anyway adopting modern methods of investigation. So best is to adopt a holistic approach. Our aim is not to benefit pharmaceutical companies but people.
Q: I am an ‘Art of Living’ teacher. How do I feel I have done enough service? I always feel I could do more for society?
Sri Sri: Parents never feel that they have given enough to their child, especially to the girl child. The nature of love is like that. Whatever you do in love, you feel you have not done enough. Know that there is something lacking if you feel you have done enough. It is manifestation of love which makes you feel that you can do more. Love is continuous and it never ends.
Q: What to do with negative thoughts?
Sri Sri: It is ok to have negative thoughts at times. When you think a negative thought should never arise, then you encourage it. Accept even the most negative thoughts that come to you. Then you find it is not even there. It is just dim energy.
Q: How do we keep God and the world together?
Sri Sri: How can you keep them together? They are already one. Where is the question of combining them? In the nature of form, it is world, and same is God in its formless nature. You don’t have to do anything to bring them together.
Q: What is the significance of Kumbh mela?
Sri Sri: The Kumbh Mela is one of the most sacred pilgrimages in Hinduism. The word Kumbh has been derived from the Sanskrit word Kumbh meaning 'pot' or 'pitcher' and Mela means 'festival' that is why it is known as "the pitcher festival". It is a fair that energizes your mind and soul) Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ganga is a symbol of knowledge and Yamuna symbolizes love. Prayag (where Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati meet) is the unity of love and wisdom. When love and wisdom meets, celebration happens. Kumbh means coming together of saints, scholars and katha vachaks (story tellers). They participate in discussion and meditation with the sankalpa (positive intention) of universal benefit. People needn’t go to all the different places. They can all come to one place. The concept of mela started in India. Nowadays we call it expo. There are expos for motors, books, clothes to present all the products in one place. On similar concept all the saints used to congregate in one place once in 12 years. In those days transport facilities were not so extensive and traveling would take so much time. Kumbh mela provided an opportunity for people to converse and exchange knowledge with each other. If you see it from planetary perspective, Kumbh happens when Jupiter enters Aquarius. By bathing in the Ganges, the chitta (consciousness) becomes joyful. Your consciousness is purified. The sins are washed away. It's so beautiful. The sins are so superficial that just by a dip in the Ganges they can be washed away. The ever-pure consciousness can never be dirtied.