Preguntas & Respuestas con Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Gurudev, how does the spiritual growth of people help a country prosper? Please give an example. How can spiritually inclined people help save the country?
Sri Sri: : The spiritually inclined people will have a better attitude in life. They will not have prejudice. They will work with humility, dignity, protect others' dignity, care for others, and have compassion. All these things naturally come to spiritually inclined people.
Spirituality creates sense of belongingness. When there is sense of belongingness, corruption will go down. Corruption begins where this sense of belongingness ends.
Q: Gurudev, when I do meditation in the ashram it is effortless but when I go home it is not the same. Is there any way I can cultivate the same aura at home?
Sri Sri: Yes you can, in a particular place at home, or in a particular room. That is why people used to have a pooja (prayer) room in their home. In a corner, the north-east corner they would devote for the pooja room. Like that you can place any one corner in your room, and regularly sit there. Put one carpet or asana (mat) and sit there and meditate. You can do that.
Q: Gurudev, we can see mistake of others very easily, but keep on repeating our mistakes as we don’t see them. Many times we are not able to apply knowledge on ourselves, but we give knowledge very easily to others. Why is it so?
Sri Sri: That is a good realization. Once we recognize that we are not applying the knowledge. Once we realize it then we start turning around.
Do you know why mistakes are tempting? It is because we think we are going to get some great pleasure and joy out of it. But over a period of time, it will drop.
Q: Gurudev, I am a victim of one sided love, always. Please give me some idea or tips to make it two sided.
Sri Sri: I have no experience in this.
Let’s think. All problems are caused by love only. There are two things. One is people express their love too much, and then there are others who do not express it at all. Both are no good.
If you express your love too much, the person who is receiving it doesn’t know how to respond. Just imagine yourself in that place, if someone gives you too much love, you will feel like running away. You don’t know how to respond, unless and until you are so centered and you have one pointed love towards the Divinity.
If you are connected with the universal spirit of one pointed love, it doesn’t matter. Then there is only one thing, that is one sided love.
I think God also feels the same thing: one sided love. The biggest victim of one sided love is God. He loves you so much and you don’t even recognize it. So he must be feeling the same way.
God loves you, this creation loves you, and you seldom recognize it. If you recognize this and be quiet in yourself, then you'll see. The universe pours so much love on you. You can't handle it, the universe pours that much love on you.
The world always loves you more than you love the world.
You should know this, the universe loves you more than you love the universe. God loves you more than you can ever think or can ever imagine.
As I said, a seed will not sprout if put on the surface of the mud. And also if it is too deep inside the mud, then it won’t grow. So it should be somewhere in between. It should not be deep inside the soil or in air, just a little bit covered. In the same way, expression of love should be somewhere in the middle. When you don’t express it verbally, it shows in your actions.
Q: Dear Gurudev, I’ve always felt that I’m a tool in the hands of someone else, but I want to reach great heights and have a name of my own. Would it still be possible?
Sri Sri: You want to have a name. Have that Sankalpa and forget about it.
If you’re feverish to have a name, I’m sure you’re going to be disappointed.
Let us say you want to go to Chennai from Bangalore. You sit in the car, and it’s a five hour drive. All along the route if you keep on saying, ‘I want to go to Chennai’, you’ll end up, not in Chennai, but in a mental hospital. Or as soon as you reach Chennai, you’ll have to be taken to a mental institution there.
One intention in the mind, and attention on it, and then it manifests (this is called sankalpa). There is nothing wrong in wanting to be good, wanting to be famous, wanting to be enlightened, all these wants are okay, but it should be just an intention, rather than feverishness.
So many times people throw all these tantrums, to draw someone’s attention.
Once, in one of our Rishikesh shivirs (roughly translates to camps), I was taking a walk and nearby a woman fell down. Seeing her, all the nearby people started walking towards her. I just walked by, and people came running to me saying, ‘Gurudev, a woman just fell down!’
I told them that she did that just to draw my attention.
When I came back from the walk, I found her sitting on the same spot. I told her, ‘Don’t try to trick me. You tried to trick me and wasted the time of the ten people sitting around you’.
She said, ‘You don’t even look in my direction, that is why I did that’.
Children do this all the time. They will be silently playing and doing their own stuff, but as soon as a guest comes and you’re having an important discussion with them, they will come to you and show you something they’ve made – a painting, or some paper craft. So children do this to gain your attention.
We are attention hungry. This is a habit which we need to change.
Why are we like this? It is because we don’t attend to ourselves. We are not aware of the light inside us, of the beauty inside us, we are not aware of the peace inside us. We are unable to be content with ourselves. That is why we want someone else to say something so that we can be content.
It’s really amazing. There is no better entertainer than your own mind. Your mind can provide you with non-stop 24/7 entertainment. Not one, but a hundred channels run in your head. Comedy, tragedy, thrill, all of these keep running. It is amazing. Just keep enjoying it, make sure you keep the remote control in your hands. Don’t be worried that - this should not be in my mind, that should be not in my mind - let it display whatever it is displaying, as long as the control is in your hands. When the control is not in your hands, then problems arise in life.
Q: Jai Gurudev. After coming to the Ashram I just feel like running behind you. I don't even feel like doing any seva the way I do in my hometown. What should I do?
Sri Sri: By the way, I'm not running anywhere! (Laughs) I'm very stable, you better be stable. I don't run after anything, it is better you also don't run after anything; just be! Know that whatever you have to get, you will get it. This is a place to just settle in the depth of yourself, and be content, and then do whatever seva there is. You must do seva. A physical activity is essential for everybody.
Q: Gurudev, the UN recognizes happiness as the basic birthright of every human being. How do we move forward to be a happier country on the occasion of 26th January (Republic day of India)?
Sri Sri: This question first has to come in every citizen of this country: How can we find happiness in our self, and how we can see that happiness increases in our society.
So, first that thought should germinate in every mind, and then action will follow soon.
We live as though we are on a conveyor belt. Things are moving, things are going, we don't even think about it. Almost a directionless, aimless life. Maybe the only aim is to make more money, by hook or by crook, that's all.
The corruption in this country should first end, it has reached its peak. I think it cannot go any higher. From top to bottom it is corrupt.
Today, I had a meeting with some of the industrialists and business people. Do you know what they told me? India has the highest deposit of coal, still we are importing coal. We have oil and natural gas here, still we are getting it from outside. And we have so much iron ore, still we are importing steel here. Also, Bauxite, we have plenty of it in our country, we are sitting on a mine of bauxite, but we are importing bauxite.
See, there is gas and oil in the middle east, and in Malaysia and Indonesia as well. We are on the belt, right in the center, but these corrupt politicians have made it so hard for people to move anything. For their personal gains, they have stalled the growth of the country, and the common man is in trouble.
When food prices around the world has dropped, it is so strange the food prices in India have gone up. All over the world the prices have come down, only in India the price of grain has increased. One day suddenly the onion prices go up, and then couple of days later it falls like the Niagara falls. And the farmer is caught in between. It is not tears he is shedding, it is blood in his eyes! And in this situation, how can we keep quiet without talking?
People say, 'Gurudev, your job is only to talk on spirituality, and to give comfort to people; don't talk about corruption and all these social issues. This will affect somebody, so don't say anything about it'.
I say, 'No, I don't think about what anybody thinks or does not think, a fact is a fact. We have to make people aware that this is injustice being done to people'.
Corruption begins where the sense of belongingness ends.
Unfortunately, in a country where Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Rajaji had set up such good precedence, some of the current politicians in power today have misused the trust of people and mismanaged the whole country of 1.2 billion people; made a fool of them. So we must stand up against such injustice. Don't you think so? And this is the time.
Now when the voting time has come, you should say, 'I will not vote for these corrupt people again'.
Our only fight is that nearly one-third of the parliament is occupied by the corrupt and criminal elements. In this coming Lok Sabha (Lower house of Indian Parliament) elections we should flush them out; all the corrupt and criminal elements. No more apathy.
See, all that we can do is only during election, that is when we have the power to vote.
Don't think that this is because of this particular caste or community. If they are corrupt and have a criminal record, we should keep them away from politics.
In the country, they have removed all ethics and moral lessons from the public sphere in the name of secularism, which is against what Mahatma Gandhi stood for.
Mahatma Gandhi did satsang every day. He preached moral and ethical values every day. But now, alcohol consumption has gone up three times in the country in the last few years. And that is why women are not safe.
You read in the paper everyday about assault on women, it was never the case in this country before. 5-10 years ago, have you heard about so much crime against women? And the main cause of this is alcohol.
I think it is time the country wakes up.
Q: Gurudev, how does a master decide, how much truth is to be revealed and how much to be concealed as the listeners may be on different stages of their spiritual growth.
Sri Sri: Real master does not make any effort at all. He has purity in heart, clarity in mind and spontaneity in action.
Q: Gurudev, Chanakya’s pain was that Hindu kings had no concept of a united nation. Their fighting allowed Alexander and the Mughals to rule India. Even today rulers are in the garb of secular politicians. How do we revive the pride of Hinduism?
Sri Sri: Actually Hinduism means universalism. It is not just any sect.
The president of India Dr. Radha Krishan was asked, 'Who is a Hindu?'
He said by negating all the religions, i.e., one who is not a Muslim, one who is not a Christian and so on, whoever is left is a Hindu.
So all those who accept everything, are Hindus. It is very difficult to define a way of life as a religion. A way of humanism is really what Hinduism is. It does not force you to follow just one scripture, one book, or one ritual per say. It simply says that the world is a family, accept knowledge from every side. Realize yourself and serve others. This is the principle.
When I was in America, I was talking to some people about, the constitution of America. It is exactly what Hinduism is, honoring diversity, freedom of worship, liberty, and justice to all; the whole philosophy is what Hinduism is.
This universe is versatile, there are so many dimensions and so many ways to go to the one truth. That is exactly what the essence of Hinduism is.
Unfortunately, in this country the self-esteem of Hinduism has gone down so much. In the colonial era, they suffered a lot. So the self-esteem and prestige went down. It is only during Mahatma Gandhi’s time, or little before, when Swami Vivekananda tried to tell people and reestablish their pride in their culture and religion.
Lord Macaulay, when he went to London, he wrote to Queen Elizabeth, saying, 'I have travelled the length and breadth of India, and I have not see one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage'.
He wrote this letter. It is a very famous talk that he gave in the British parliament. After that they systematically destroyed the Indian culture.
He said that people should think that they are no good, and that was successful. In the 40's and 50's people started thinking that way. That anything from India is not good.
But now times are changing, we simply have to tell people this country had some very good things and some bad things also, like everywhere, because our culture has been interpolated by things which are not good.
Originally, the caste system was for professional convenience. People of professions were grouped together. Later on it became hereditary, and then the rigidity increased.
Anyone who did not follow the rules of a particular community were kept out for a small period of time as untouchables, as a punishment. Like you are in chamber of commerce, and you did something bad and you were thrown out.
But untouchability was never bad so it became a big problem for the Hindu religion later on. Saints throughout the ages have worked to eradicate the untouchability, and they have been successful.
I have written a book, the heritage of Dalits. Many saints were from the untouchable community.
Coming back to this lack of self esteem, this needs serious attention because there is no one big authority. Hinduism is just a way of life. It has its advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantage is that you cannot bring uniformity. On the other hand, the advantage is it has a lot of scope for growth.
Religion alone is not enough, the spiritual aspect is needed to regain the self esteem and prestige.
Q: Gurudev, when I teach, I teach from the space of ‘I know’. But in reality, sometimes I don’t know. I am a seeker, how to be in the ‘I know’ and ‘I want to know’ at the same time. How to teach and remain a seeker at the same time?
Sri Sri: You know some things, at the same time, you don’t know many other things. It is as simple as that. Whatever you know, you convey with certainty, and whatever you don’t know, you simply wait in the hollow and empty space.
Life is a journey from an angry ‘I don’t know’ to a beautiful ‘I don’t know’.
Whenever someone is upset or frustrated, he says ‘I don’t know. I don’t care. Don’t ask me’. From this ugly ‘I don’t know' to a beautiful ‘I don’t know’, that is wonder. From frustration to wonder is the real journey.
As a child, we are all born with this beautiful ‘I don’t know’; wonder. Unfortunately it is moving from the beautiful space of ‘I don’t know’ to an ugly ‘I don’t know’. This should be reversed.