Q: Beloved Gurudev, I usually feel complete only when I am in a relationship. How do I overcome this tendency because I suffer?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, this is very difficult. When you are in a difficult state, then any advice appears to prick you like thorns, and nothing really makes much sense.
You have simply asked a question; we sympathize with you.
You know, there are five types of questions that people usually ask. You have heard me speak about this earlier also. We shall take it up some other time.
Whenever anyone is miserable, they repeatedly ask this question, ‘Why me? Why this suffering for me? Why is God so unfair to me? I am so miserable’, etc.
When someone is in such a state, even if you try to tell them anything, they will behave as if they are deaf. They will not listen to you.
Have you had this experience with people at home? When elderly people are very unhappy, they ask questions, but any answer you give them, they look somewhere else. They do not take your answer at all.
So people who are miserable have a question inside them. In such a case, it is better that you keep quiet.
The second type of question is the one that people ask when they are angry. They will ask, ‘Why this injustice towards me?’ They are very logical, but they are angry. So they also have a big question. Again, there is no point answering them.
The third type of question is asked by people who already know the answer but still want to ask. They do this to check out whether you also know it or not. They will ask you questions like, ‘Tell me what has been said in the third stanza of so-and-so Upanishad’.
They do this to check out if you know or not, although they know the answer.
The fourth type of question is asked by people who simply want to make their presence felt. They will stand up and ask you the question, and when you start answering the question sincerely, they will start doing something else. They are least bothered about your answer. They just stood up and made their point, so that everyone notices that they are there, and that you also know that they are there.
The fifth type of question is asked by people who sincerely want the answer; and they know that you know it. They will take the answer you are going to give them.
See, there is no point in someone asking a question without their believing that you know the answer.
Say you are from North Carolina, and someone asks you, ‘How long will it take to travel to Rayleigh?’ You will know the answer. So when they ask the question, they know for sure that you know the answer, and they ask this with the sincerity of getting the answer.
This is the question that is worth answering. For the other four types of questions, simply respond with a smile. And that smile should be a measured smile. You should not give the same smile for all the four questions.
For the first type of question, the smile should be just a little, like 2%. When someone is miserable, do not give a big smile, otherwise you will get something ‘big’ in return as well (laughter). When someone is angry, then your smile should be just 3%, or so. Your smile should convey an innocent sense of ‘I do not know’. But for the third and fourth type of question, you can smile a little bigger.