Preguntas & Respuestas con Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Why are we born? We eat, drink, sleep, and watch television; we are in and out of relationships. What is the life?
Sri Sri: This is a very important question. One who knows the answer will not give it to you. Anyone who gives you the answer does not know it. Do you know why? That is because this very question is like a vehicle, which will take you home. It is the fuel for your life. When you keep asking again and again, ‘What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose of life?’ Then all those things that are irrelevant will fall off, and things become clearer for you to move forward. So, it is better that I don’t give you the answer, but it is a very important question.
This very question sets you on the real journey of life. Before that, you only exist, whereas this question puts you on the spiritual track.
Q: Dearest Gurudev, what types of life exist on other planets? Is their spiritual world the same as ours?
Sri Sri: Yes, there are so many planets like our Earth. Actually, our old scriptures say that there are five of your same kind in the universe; in different worlds.
Q: Gurudev, when I want to excel in a field, I am subjected to a lot of stress, like at work. I have continuous stress that I can’t escape because of which I don’t sleep well. How to get peace?
Sri Sri: Do you know what stress is? Too much to do, too little time, and no energy, that is called stress.
So, either you increase your energy, or reduce your work load. You obviously can’t reduce your work load, or increase the time, but you can increase your energy levels. If your energy level is higher, then you can do the job easily.
All these breathing techniques help to increase the energy levels. Just do ten minutes of pranayama breathing in the morning, and then you can go and do any work. When you come back from work, do another ten minutes.
Q: Why can’t we remember our dreams sometimes? Is it the quality of our food, or are we not meditating?
Sri Sri: We don’t need to remember all the dreams. It is good that we don’t remember them. Then, we are more in the present moment. A dream is a dream, it is gone.
Q: Gurudev, I wonder what we have done in our past life that you are giving us so much in this life. Even before wishing, it is given. Thank you so much for everything.
Sri Sri: Very good. The more grateful we are, the more gifts come our way. How many of you have experienced this? Whatever you desire, it all comes true. You want something, and it all manifests. That’s it! What you want comes to you; that is the beauty on our path.
Sometimes, we should do some mischief also; not get too serious. This beautiful knowledge is so deep, yet it has to be taken playfully; means not too seriously. This is why it is called Leela, which means game or play, it is called the play of the Divine; Rama Leela, Krishna Leela.
So, the whole universe is a play and display of consciousness, play of God.
Life is also a game; it is a play, not a war or struggle. You should remember that. However, finally, the game will end and everybody will die. Everybody is going to die. Everybody will merge with the Light, one day or another; going round and round a few times.
So, life is both, deep and at the same time, fun, joy and playfulness.
Q: Dear Gurudev, what are your views on organ donation, gay marriages, blood donations and abortion?
Sri Sri: Organ donation is okay, you can do it; there is nothing wrong in it.
All these issues are very relative. You don’t need to label it as good, bad, I want it, and I don’t want it. Whatever choice you make, never mind, it is okay. However, you should not forget that life is much more than these smaller happenings, that is important. A few moments of something beyond the material world, even one percent belief in this, is good enough for you to rise above.
When you are in the water, in the ocean, all that you need is a rubber float; that is good enough. That is how you learn to swim, right? Similarly, a little bit of faith in something beyond is good enough.
In Sanskrit, there is a word called shraadh, means that which is with shraddha, with faith.
When someone has passed away, you remember them, you don’t doubt whether they were there or not. You know they were there with you, and they have gone. When they have gone, on the day you remember them, that is called shraaddha, means faith.
You have the faith that they are still there. And what do you do? You take a few sesame seeds, pour water onto it, and give them the message, ‘Be content, be content, be content. If you have any desires in your mind, it is all as small as a sesame seed, just drop it. I am here to fulfill your desires. You move on, be happy, and be content.’
This is what children tell their parents, who have passed on to the other side. It need not be children only; anybody, any friend, any relative can do that. It is a ceremony that is done here in Bali also; it is very prevalent.
In this ceremony, all the five senses are satisfied; there is food for taste, incense sticks for smell, singing for sound, and a lamp or light for sight. It is a way of expressing one’s gratefulness to people who have passed across to the other side. This is also done to make you remember that there is another world, there is another realm, and there is another plane of existence, not just this one. So, life gains a bigger dimension. Your eyes lift up.
Q: Do dreams become clearer when you improve your food and you do breathing and meditation?
Sri Sri: Yes. The quality of dreams definitely improves.
Q: Gurudev, what can we do to improve our energy levels in winter?
Sri Sri: In winter, you can definitely do some pranayama, some breathing exercises. They say there is so much energy in the body that it is enough to supply electricity to the all of New York for six months, without interruption. To bring up that energy, we just need to do pranayama; Bhastrika.
Do you know we have a secret in our thumb?
Have you noticed, people all over the world tend to hide their thumb in the armpits or pockets when it is cold? It is a natural tendency. Your body feels warmer when you keep your thumbs warm; not totally, about 60 per cent.
Children are born with Aadi Mudra (thumb folded in, touching the bottom of the little finger and four fingers folded above, in a fist position). If you observe a baby from the time it is born to the age of three, it does all the yoga asanas. You don’t need a yoga instructor; you simply have to watch a child.
Have you seen how a new born baby sleeps? It sleeps in Chin Mudra (forefinger gently touching the thumb and three fingers perpendicular to the thumb). In this mudra, the consciousness is alert and the prana, the life-force, moves to the heart region. Children sleep in Chin Mudra or Chinmayee Mudra (forefinger gently touching the thumb and three fingers curled in to touch the palm).
The Aadi Mudra would help you when you are very cold. Do some breathing in this position.
In the cold season, don’t just sit by yourself in your virtual world, with your lap-top and computers. Come out of your homes, sit together with 20-40 people, sing and celebrate. Then there is no way you will feel low or depressed. I think that is needed. It is what people did in the ancient times. They would have a bonfire, sit around, talk, and gossip.
The cold weather is very good for meditation too. The mind becomes very still since nature is also still.
People used to go to the Himalayas for meditation because nature is silent and calm. The entropy is coming down, mistakes don’t happen. The mind becomes very calm, it feels very good from inside.
Q: Dear Gurudev, can you tell us about God’s mother and father? And how many brothers and sisters does God have?
Sri Sri: My goodness! I will tell you who God’s mother and father are, if you tell me where a tennis ball begins.
My dear, you don’t call God something that is born or that dies. God is the Light, the Consciousness, which has no birth.
Three things in the universe are eternal.
One is the universe which has always been there. Second is the soul; the individual soul is eternal. Third, the Big Mind, or God, is always there, otherwise it won’t be called God.
If God was there only 2,000 years ago and it is not there now, then it is no God. Or if God is going to come in the future, it is no God. God is something which was there, is there, and will be there; that which is omnipresent. God is not a person. It is energy, it is the space.
In the Upanishads, there is a beautiful story.
A young boy of eight years asks his father, ‘Dad, what is God like?’
So, the father takes the boy by the hand outside the home, and he asks, ‘What was there in this place before the building was built?’
The boy said, ‘Empty space.’
The father asks, ‘And where does this building stand?’
The boy says, ‘In the space.’
‘And when the building is demolished, what will be here?’
The boy said, ‘Space'.
The father said, ‘So, space is something which is always there, right?’
The boy said, ‘Yes.’
The father said, ‘That is what God is like.’
God is like the space in which everything comes, in which everything stays, into which everything dissolves. That can never be destroyed. And it is always there. You have no escape. You cannot go away from God at all. Impossible!
The question then comes, ‘How can bad people be God, if God is all good? There are good people, and there are bad people, how can you call them all God?’
I want to give you another example, of a movie. How is a movie played?
It is played by a ray of light from behind the film, yes? Have you seen on the projector, how the reel is going on and there is light behind it? It is because of this light that the movie gets projected on the screen. So, it doesn’t matter what film it is, whether the hero comes or the villain comes, the light will be the same, isn’t it? The light is God, and the hero, villain, and whatever good or bad you see; all that is happening is just a phenomenon. It has nothing to do with the light. It is because of the light that you can even see them. Do you understand this?
So, if you really need to know what God and what nature is, you need to be a scientist. If you are a physicist, you can understand. If you understand Quantum Physics, you can understand spirituality, you can understand God better.
Now, if God is everywhere, is He here? Yes.
If God belongs to everyone, does He belong to you? Yes.
If God is everywhere, He is here also? He has always been there, so He is here now! He belongs to everybody, so He belongs to me.
He is the field of all possibilities; He is capable of everything, so He will fulfill whatever I need.
If you know these four points, that is good enough. You don’t need anything else.
So what is it you need to remember?
God is omnipresent, so He is present here, now. He belongs to me, He is in me, and He is there to fulfill whatever I lack. That’s it!
In meditation, when the ‘I’ dissolves, knowledge dissolves. (Do you know whatever knowledge you are having is very limited? So, knowledge should dissolve. What happens in deep sleep? Knowledge dissolves.)
When knowledge dissolves, when the I consciousness dissolves, then what exists, only exists! That is what the real truth is, that is what Shiva is, and that is Bhairava.
Bhairava is where you become one with Shiva, with Shivoham, where I has dissolved, knowledge has dissolved, yet everything is there.
How do you get it? You can get it through passion, dispassion and compassion. Passion for sadhana, dispassion for everything else, and compassion towards yourself and others. Sometimes, we are compassionate to others and we are too hard on ourselves; that is also no good.
Q: We see a lot of children with allergies and run down immune systems. Little children don’t have stress. Is there anything in our life-styles which we can change to help them?
Sri Sri: Sure. Don’t put children in front of televisions and video games for a long time. Their little brains get bombarded with impressions for too long. It affects their eye-sight; brings in Attention Deficiency Syndrome, and other things.
So, children should not spend too much time in front of the TV, maybe a maximum of an hour per day. Right now, the moment they wake up, the TV is switched on, they sit and watch cartoons. They go to school, come back, again they sit in front of cartoons. They have dinner in front of cartoons. Am I right?
We should avoid this for our children. This is my opinion, and many child physiologists also agree.