Sri Sri: You must tell yourself that you are an instrument. You are a part of the universe. Let things come and go and they will be no burden to you. It is certainly possible and you also have that capability.
Q: How can senior management get the most out of their teams for maximum performance?
Sri Sri: The Art of Living Foundation teaches the APEX course in corporate environments. It has been appreciated all over including the World Bank.
Q: What are some habits that would promote success?
Sri Sri: First you need to define success. Having a big bank balance and no sleep is not success. You may have lots of money but have diabetes, high blood pressure and all other health problems. That is not success. You may have lots of money but be filled with fear and anxiety, you may not have friends and that is not success. To me success is measured by your smile. How much of your life is filled with smiles and how much can you contribute to others? How much courage and confidence do you have in your own ability? You mustn’t be worried only about your own future. Money is needed in life but life is not all about money.
Q: What is your definition of love?
Sri Sri: Love is that which cannot be defined. It can only be felt. It is that which we cannot understand.
Q: Can you talk about how not to see intention behind others actions?
Sri Sri: Yes. I say don’t see intention behind others’ mistakes. When somebody does something wrong often we say they intentionally did this wrong to me. So when we see from a broader perspective, every culprit is also a victim. Inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. They may be a victim of lack of education or lack of information, stress, narrow-mindedness. All these would cause someone to become a culprit. And we are simply looking at the culprit part of them. We don’t see that the person is also a victim.
Every child should study a little bit about different religions and cultures. If people knew just a little bit about what Jesus said, what the Upanishads say, what the Vedas say, what Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam say, there would not be a single terrorist in the world. Today’s terrorism is a result of Puritanism: i.e. when people say, “Only my religion is pure. I should keep away from other religious books or I should not be educated in those things. Only this is the way.” That type of religious indoctrination in children has given rise to Taliban sort of movements in the world. We have lost so many people to terrorism.
We have globalized Pepsi, Coke and potato chips but we have not globalized wisdom! It should be compulsory for every nation to give a multi-religious, multi-cultural education to all children. Then not one terrorist will be there in the world.
Q: Why is it becoming increasingly important to save the planet earth?
Sri Sri: Because we are increasingly exploiting the planet earth more than what it can recuperate from. As individuals we can each do something to help the planet. You can be part of some service project like planting more trees, creating awareness about not using plastic bags. You can meditate everyday and put your attention on these issues. When we have an intention and put our attention on that, it will start manifesting. We don't use the mind power that has been bestowed on us by nature. It is the greatest gift we have been given.
Q: How can parents raise responsible children and make the experience joyful for both?
Sri Sri: Teach them how to make one new friend each day. Don't give them all these violent video games to play with. There is an ‘Art of Living program’ for children - Art Excel '(All Round Training in Excellence). Children really enjoy the program as they learn through games. In Europe it is known as NAP, Non Aggression Program. Children who are very aggressive become happy and friendly. For parents we conduct a program called “Know Your Child.”
Q: Is it really possible to be stress-free in this world?
Sri Sri: I am stress-free here in this world and so are many others. It is possible. You would have been like that as a child. I tell you, you can have this. You don’t have to wait till old age. I tell you it is possible now.
Q: We’re living in a time with a lot of talks about scandal and fraud even among spiritual teachers. How can we distinguish real spiritual teachers from frauds?
Sri Sri: It has come into notice in India and Europe. It is so disheartening. Yet I tell you, though sometimes a train gets derailed but we do not stop traveling by train. Planes crash but we don't stop flying. There are some people that slip or go in strange directions out of temptation or intention. It is unfortunate. I would say if a spiritual or religious leader does something wrong, he should get double the punishment as anyone. Not only has he committed the crime, but he has disrespected an entire school of thought or institution. Such leaders should come out on their own. Having made a mistake they should come forward and apologize. If they cover up, they should get three times the punishment. Being on a spiritual path and covering up wrong-doing indicates a lack of faith and sense of belongingness. In such a case you are harming your own soul and spirit.
This is nothing new. In the Ramayana(an ancient Indian scripture), Ravan was a famed saint and yet it was he who abducted Sita. Even in the medical field there are doctors who steal kidneys! You would have heard of people who bring distrust in every field. Let's not become prejudiced or take an opinion about it. We should move on. I'd rather be compassionate than condemning. Ok they have made a mistake, now let them come on the right path. Inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. Even in the worst criminal, there’s a scar, wound and dissatisfaction. We have to heal that victim and then the culprit will disappear.