Preguntas & Respuestas con Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Is it ever possible to be free from desires?
Sri Sri: Yes. Otherwise you could never sleep. If the desire haunts your head, you can’t sleep. You let go of the desire so you can sleep. At different times, different needs arise in your body and mind. So, you do not sit here and worry about what you are going to have for tomorrow’s dinner. You know that you have come here for a different purpose. An intention is different from the desire. An example of intention would be the thought that you want to go to New York, and you sit in the car and you drive. You go through Philadelphia and New Jersey. You take the turnpike or I-95 North until you get to New York. This is an intention. Desire is when you sit in the car and say, “I am going to New York, I am going to New York, I want to go to New York, I want to go to New York.” Continuously chanting like this may lead you ending up in the mental hospital. You won’t end up in New York. This is the difference with a sankalpa (an intention). An intention with attention and it will manifest. If the intention becomes a desire, it only brings grief whether it’s fulfilled or unfulfilled.
You know, in the 1960’s and 70’s we had the Hippie Movement. It was created out of abundance rather than lack. All of these people had everything in abundance. People who go to drug abuse or who are indulging in alcoholism are lacking in spiritual education or knowledge. They are seeking an experiential validation of their spirit. That is what leads to depression. There are large populations suffering from depression in the world today. According to statistics it will rise to as much as 50 percent in the coming decade, half the population will be depressed. We need to change this and Prozaic is not the solution. The solution is meditation and yoga.
Q: What are your thoughts on the ‘Modern theory of evolution’? If it is true, then at what stage do souls come? What happened to souls before that?
Sri Sri: Modern theories are evolving. They think that things have to begin somewhere. I would call it as linear understanding. But there is a spherical thinking, that is lacking here. In the Orient, there is sperical thinking. In the Occident, there is only linear thinking. According to that , everybody had to be born, there had to be one Adam and Eve, and all are their children. That means everybody is sibling of each other. Then how could one be married to anybody? This is what is called the original sin. Because that way marriage itself is a sin. If God could create one Adam and one Eve, then why couldn’t he create ten such. And then why would God create such an apple, fruit of wisdom, if He was to ask them not to eat that? These things need to be understood. Our understanding is very limited. We need to think spherical. In spherical thinking, there was not only one being who was created in the beginning, but everything simultaneously came into existence. The whole world came into existence simultaneously. What would you say if I ask you about the beginning point of a tennis ball? Every point in the tennis ball is the first point, and the last point as well. Ancient people had this spherical thinking, and that is why they said, “The world is Anadi and Anant(Beginingless and endless )”. The souls are beginingless and endless. And the cause of the existence of the universe, that is the divinity, is beginingless and endless. All three are one. This is the theory of Advaita that everything is made up of one. This is the theory of relativity. This is what the String theory and the modern scientists say. Einstein was startled when he read Bhagwad Geeta.
All is made up of the same consciousness. In animal cookies, all animals like elephants, giraffes, Zebra, Cat are made up of the same size. Children think that they are eating different animals but the maker knows that all is made up of the same. Objects in the universe, living or non – living, moving or non – moving, are made up of the same. This is what is said in scriptures like Upanishads and ‘Guru Granth Sahib’(Sikh holi scripture). Sikhism has one of the best greetings in the world – Satsriakal. Sat is truth, Sri is wealth, and Akal is beyond time. So when you greet saying Satsriakal, it means, ‘May you understand the true wealth, the timeless spirit that you are. Everyday you greet each other and remind that you are the timeless eternity, infinity and true wealth. What are you looking for here and there? Isn’t that great?
Q: Survivors of war and disaster sometimes feel guilty about being alive when so many around them have died. What message do you have for these people?
Sri Sri: Life is eternal. That’s it.
Q: In your books, most of the examples come from the Hindu tradition of the Gita, not so much from the Koran and the Bible? Have you read the Koran, the Bible or any other religious books other than of your own religious tradition?
Sri Sri: I am not a theologian. I speak from my experience. One of the scriptures that I usually quote from is of course the Gita. I also quote from the Bible. I am not averse to any religious scripture in the world. What I am averse to is fanaticism of any sort. You need to study every religion or scripture before you can come and talk about it. So, since I have not studied all of the disciplines like Bible and Quran, I must spend at least four to five years studying each before speaking about them. Yet the essence of all these scriptures are spiritual values which I think I can very easily find in my life. I can easily speak on the essence of the Bible. That is why I say unless you become like a child, you can’t get so far. This is true because every child has that freedom. The child inside you is alive. You are still that innocence. That is spirituality. It is when you meditate, when there is unity among diversity and oneness with the whole universe.
Q: Dearest Guruji, today, I learnt courage from you. I often thought that you were a scary and angry person. But I found so much peace in you. I am afraid what if I lose you.
Sri Sri: You can’t lose me, and I can’t lose you!Our mind projects our feelings on others. This is what happens most of the times. Sometimes people ask me if I am angry at them. They say that I didn’t smile at them or talk to them in crowd, and comprehend that I am angry at them. But why would I be angry at them? There are so many people in crowd. I smile at some, and pass a bigger smile to them who have a long face so that they also smile. But smiling at some doesn’t mean I am angry at others. Many times we project our own emotions on others, especially when we love someone. If you are angry or upset at others, you think that others are angry and upset at you. Here knowledge of the self is so important so that you can have a balanced perception. With the knowledge, you know what is happening inside you, and you know what is happening inside of others. That clarity of perception, observation and expression can only come through meditation.
Q: What’s the fastest and easiest way to avoid stress and depression?
Sri Sri: Inside every culprit there is a victim crying out for help. We need to heal the victim. We all have to try to do some work in this society. You know, we can create a violence-free society, disease-free body, confusion-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, trauma-free memory and sorrow-free soul. This should be our mission.
Q: Despite so much research there’s not yet a cure for HIV. Is there any hope and what is your message to those afflicted with HIV?
Sri Sri: Those who are living with HIV and AIDS must remember that we are all going to lose our body one way or another. Everybody is going to die. Now lift your eye above this body consciousness to know your spirit. Spirit has no disease. Spirit is beyond it. Keep your mind alive, energetic, loving and happy. People with disease die and people with no disease also die. Sometimes they die out of nowhere. Sometimes sick people live longer and many times healthy people suddenly die. All possibilities are there. So, know that you are more than the body. You are consciousness. You are light. Honor that light. Please don’t sit and brood over it. Look ahead and engage your life in educating others who are not informed about HIV. And instead of seeking solace, become a giver of solace to others.
Q: Who is your inspiration?
Sri Sri: There are two books you can read to find an answer to this. One is 'Guru of Joy' and the other is 'Walking the Path'. I would say my inspiration is every child. I want to see everyone to be like a child. Of course, I must say my mother was a great force. She was always concerned that I had to do better. Anything I did, she would say that you had to do better. So, she was pushing me all the while.
Q: Any suggestions for people who suffer from allergies?
Sri Sri: Meditation, pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya will help. Also, there are two books all should pick up - Celebrating Silence and Celebrating Love. Last time I traveled to the U.S., I came through JFK. As I was passing through security, the man behind the X-ray machine in the next row came to me and showed me the book ‘Celebrating Silence’. He asked, “Are you this person?” I looked at it and said, “Looks like that”. He asked me to sign the book. I said that usually I only sign the customs form! I gave my signature and he told me, “Someone gave me this book on my birthday last December and since then my life has changed. I’ve just read one page here and there over time and it has made such a difference”. He has not done a meditation course or anything. So, it would be good if all read it. It is not any big philosophical text but just snippets of wisdom. ‘Celebrating Silence’ and ‘Celebrating Love’. Also you can put on a meditation CD to relax. After a while, you won’t need any extra support.
You have come now, so drop all your worries here. Give me all your worries, botherations and problems. I want you to go home knowing that you are not alone. You can heal and bless other people. I tell you, it’s not only Guruji who gives blessings and healing. Everyone has this power to heal and to bless. So, anyone of you who wants to do that, you have to do a little bit more meditation, pranayama, kriya and you will have the power to bless others. There are seven billion people on the planet. So, we each must come up with this ability to bless others.
Q: How can one experience true love in a relationship?
Sri Sri: I can give you three suggestions. One is for men, one for women and one for both. Women should never step on the ego of a man. Women should always boost the ego of a man. Even if the husband is a stupid, the wife should say, “You are the most brilliant man I have ever seen.” You should always praise him. He shouldn’t have to prove himself to you at home because the world requires him to prove himself. He should find peace at home. You should say, “You are the most brilliant man I have ever seen. Just the fact that you don’t use your brain doesn’t mean that you don’t have it. You are the most brilliant.” So, praise your man all the time.
Now there is one suggestion for men. Never step on the emotions of a woman. She may complain to you about her family but you should better not join the bandwagon. She may turn it around. She may take a U-Turn and say, “How dare you say such things about my family. What do you know about my family?” So if she is complaining, you just listen. She is paying lip service. If you say something and you hurt her, it is not worth it. When she wants to go for a religious service or a meditation program or retreat, don’t stop her. And when she wants to go for shopping, just give her your credit card. This will keep peace at home.
There is a suggestion for both men and women. The key to keeping peace at home is that you stop demanding love. You normally say, “Do you really love me? You don’t love me the same way. You have changed. You are different.” Asking people to prove their love for you is such a psychological burden. Just imagine yourself in their place. Imagine if someone demands from you to prove your love for them. What would you do? You’d say, “Oh my God, how long do I have to prove my love for this person?” One day, two days, three days, four days and then you feel like enough. This is what happens. There is a book called ‘Celebrating Love’ that you can read. There are many ideas about love in the book. We don’t know how to receive love unless we know how to give love. How can we express that love? Our expression is something that we keep looking for. So, don’t demand that others express their love. Instead, you should ask, “Why do you love me so much?” Especially on a day when you disagree or they are being nasty, you can say “why do you love me so much? I don’t deserve it!” Even for someone who is angry, you say, “you love me much more than I deserve”. Their attitude would change. Love would spring up in them. If you start demanding, you are destroying love.