Preguntas & Respuestas con Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Your organization has touched more than 30 million people in 25 years, yet you have undergone tremendous growth. How did you achieve and organize that?
Sri Sri: “I never organized anything; I just let it grow organically. I was not a stumbling block. The organization is run by volunteers and we have leaders. I lend my name to the projects, and everyone else does the work!
On a serious note, the product that we offer is very useful to people, and we organize a wide range of activities. Our intuition works and any project we take on is a success. We now operate in 151 countries, with 41 main centers, and many local city centers. We also have 100 fee-paying schools and 108 tuition-free schools for the poorest people”.
“The prerequisites for such an organic growth are patience, perseverance and clear intention! This includes clarity of purpose, flexibility to accommodate errors and a long-term vision with good intentions. For any business to grow organically, the leaders must also put a check on any feverishness and not indulge in blame games. This means that they must learn! Learn from the past, have a vision for the future and sustain enthusiasm. They must also have a sense of respect for all, performers and non-performers”.
Q: Course will be perfect without translation, when can we stop?
Sri Sri: Okay now listen, this is your concept. Just imagine if you were on the other side and I would speak only Chinese, don’t speak any English, and there would be no translation, then what would you do? ‘Oh, please let me have translation’. Don’t keep the concept in mind, ‘oh translation is bothering me’. No it does not matter, let it be there. Listen to it like music.
You know people who cannot read Chinese, we find it so beautiful when we go to Hong-Kong, because all these Chinese letters look like decoration. All the sign boards look like decoration, some rangoli or some designs. The entire Hong-Kong is decorated with design boards everywhere. It does not bother but if you know the language, you will be reading all the boards and it will be bothering you more. When you don’t know, it looks so nice.
Q: What is love, and how to find peace?
Sri Sri: I have spoken about all this in the Narada Bhakti Sutras. Different types of love and what is love? Listen to those tapes.
Q: Is it possible for business people to integrate ethics with their daily work?
Sri Sri: “The reason why unethical things are happening in business is because there is fear within individuals and that fear needs to be addressed by these spiritual practices. Thus, when you fear less; when you want to be trustworthy; when you want to be committed and adhere to the values, you would never commit acts of wrong doing that have the potential to affect the lives of thousands and millions of people. That is why business needs to embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR). It is not just an intellectual thing, it is something that has to come from the heart of every human being”.
“Programme such as ours are designed to facilitate that process. We host ‘business and ethics’ conferences with successful business people who have completed the corporate programme. They come to share their experience on how to be successful and ethical. This inspires other business people to follow in their footsteps. Yet, often people think that if you want to be successful, you cannot be honest, but this is not the case. It is a bubble of illusion.
However, balance is required; you cannot embrace CSR while allowing your company to sink. Equally, you can’t gain at the expense of your employees, who suffer and eventually leave the company. Both strategies rock the boat. You have to achieve perfect balance. You have to look at your gains and how much you care about the people in the company, as well as how much you dedicate to CSR”.
Q: How can the workplace be improved?
Sri Sri: “One of our programme components is entitled ‘Let out the steam and get into the team’ - that is our slogan. In other words, take off your management shoes and sit with others in your company. Sit and talk to them and share your point of view. This type of interaction is an education. It empowers people and facilitates cooperation. We combine this with breathing techniques and exercises, where participants independently eradicate feelings of stress and take a fresh look at the situation.
For any business, you need intuition-and successful business is directly proportional to the intuition of the boss. Greater intuition translates into greater business success, if your intuition is wrong, you cannot be successful. Our programme is aimed at lessening the stress and enhancing intuition-this also brings out creativity and enthusiasm in the workplace.
In today’s hectic world, people are often exhausted, and there is so much illness. Mental ill health costs the European Union an estimated 3 to 4% of its GDP, and this cost runs into hundreds of billions of euros. According to the World Health Organization, mental ill health accounts for 20% of the burden of disease in Europe, and mental health problems, including depression, affect one in four individuals at some time in their life. These techniques, taught in the course, of lifestyle change can help people enormously to overcome their illness”.
Q: How we all can make this world the best place to stay and when?
Sri Sri: I am happy that you have this thought and you are in the right place. Let us all join together, we will do some nice things.
Q: I am feeling bliss that I have come to know of the ‘Art of Living’. I am a Buddhist; can I become an ‘Art of Living’ teacher?
Sri Sri: Yes, sure! Definitely. You truly understand and live what Buddha has said.
Q: Dear Guruji, I desperately need one good job and visa for some country, please help me!
Sri Sri: Yeah, you pray, you do meditation. Whatever you ask for, you are getting it, right! How many of you are getting whatever you desire? You wish and you are getting, your work is getting done. How many of your wishes are coming true? (many raise hands)
Q: Dear Guruji, I am in this course (advanced course) but this time around I slept through all the meditations. May I ask what is wrong with me?
Sri Sri: Yeah, not only you but others also notice that you are sound asleep. It’s okay. You know when your body is so tired, you must have been up late night and so much of stress might have accumulated. If you fall asleep never mind, that is why the program is for four days.
First reason could be that your body could be very tired, second the food must be very tasty and you must be eating a little more than required, and if you take yogurt and a little heavy food in the afternoon, sometimes then you will fall asleep. So, you can reduce the food, just one spoon less, two spoons less. Eat a little less food; drink more juice or vegetables or fruits. Third is if you lack oxygen, if you have not done some little exercise or take a walk, brisk walk or a little jogging in the morning then also this may happen. One or two rounds of bhastrika also help.
Q: How do I let go of the past?
Sri Sri: We must always see the past as destiny, future as free will and live happily in the present moment. We do the other way round, what we do? We think the past was free will and the future is all destiny, and you remain in the present inactive and miserable, this is what foolish people do. What do intelligent people do? The intelligent people see the past as it is gone, done, finished and that was meant to be, it was destiny. Something good has happened and you have learnt something, and something bad has happened and you have learnt. Both ways you have learnt, so past is destiny. We can create future now, our spirit has the capacity to see what we want. Future is free will, we are happy and one with everybody in the present. We should find every reason to be happy but what we do, we do the other way round, we find every reason to be unhappy.
Yeah of course challenges come in life, pleasant things happen; unpleasant things happen so what, huh!