QA with Sri Sri
Q: If man has to ask for one thing in life, what should he ask for?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why should he ask only for one thing? He should ask for as many things as he wants. When he is thirsty he should ask for water, if he is going to do bhastrika before that he should ask for tissue paper. He should ask for food when he is hungry. Why should you limit his asking to only one thing?
I tell you, this world is multitude with so many things in this world. Why would God create only one thing and leave you there?
Just imagine, if there is only one vegetable that you could ask for in your life, which one would you ask for? Okra? Eat okra all your life? Or bananas? And go bananas all your life!
Why should you? Ask and it shall be given. And whenever, whatever is needed, that time you ask and move on. And when you are filled with everything, then say, ‘I want nothing, I am happy.’
The wants have to fall off. You can’t renounce them like that. You are thirsty and you say, ‘No, I don’t want water’, you can’t do that. You are thirsty then you need water at that time.
Unfortunately, there is this Jain tradition which I don’t approve of. They leave the body without having food. They fast for many days, it is almost like suicide.
So the saint lies on the bed and says, ’Water, water, water’, because it is an inner urge, and people around him say, ‘The words of the saint are true. There you will get a lot of water.’ And they don’t give him any water. So there, upstairs you will get, don’t ask for it, never mind, die without water.
He would instruct them, ‘Don’t give me water even if I shout for it.’
I tell you, it is torture.
It has become much less today but still people do that. This is very wrong I tell you. Mahaveer never said that you have to fast without water and die like this. But there is a particular tradition where they try to do this. Even among Hindus, some people torture themselves. A very small sect of people they have all these practices of torturing themselves. These are not at all approved of.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna very clearly says, ‘These people are torturing themselves, they do not know of me inside them. I am there right there sitting inside them. They don’t see me, they don’t recognize me.’
These are tamasic practices, they try to torture themselves.
‘Karsayanta sarira stharin bhuta grama acetasah mam, Caivantah sarira stham tan viddhy asura niscayan’
So there is a middle path. On one side egotistic people try to torture themselves, and on another side there are those who are so obsessed with the comfort of the body.
You are sitting; okay your legs are aching, never mind, let it ache. You won’t die with a few little aches and pains here and there. Let it ache, with that determination if you sit, you will see the pain disappears.
When you do yoga, it definitely pains. Your body stretches here and stretches there, and it pains here and there, but if you continue the pain disappears. It is the same if you go to the gym and do your exercise. Next day your body aches everywhere, isn’t it? But you don’t leave it, you just continue and then the pain disappears. You do one or two sessions and all the aches and pains go away.
So, on one side there are people who torture themselves because of their ego, on the other side there are those who are obsessed with the comfort of the body. Both are lost; they both can’t make it.
Who can? One who follows the middle path, that golden line. Is that clear?
So for meditation also, the one who fasts he will never get it, and the one who is over eating he will also never get it; nor the one who over sleeps, or those who torture themselves keeping awake all the time. Nor those who don’t do any activity and nor those who do not take out even a little time to meditate. None of the extremes will work. It has to be the middle path, middle path, middle path!