Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Hearing so many incidences about Godmen, my faith is shaken. How do I know if a saint is authentic?
Sri Sri: It is a very genuine question that you have. There are people who bring disgrace to their field, and this happens in almost every field. Whether it is a medical doctor, a politician, a spiritual leader or a businessman. There are people who are not genuine. They are not doing what they are supposed to do. But we should not take this to heart and put everyone in the same basket.
There are so many good people who are working for the betterment of the society today. So we should not create a prejudice within us. There are people who do not follow the code of conduct of the field they are in, we simply have to pity them, that’s all.
Q: What do you think about the Aam Admi Party?
Sri Sri: You know, the party started with a good intention, but I feel they have to learn a lot. They need to move carefully and not just in a hurry and take all the rifrafs and people who are not worthy of being in politics.
They should not become the same party like all criminal elements who have joined them. So I feel, they are still young with good intentions. They should take their time and not just jump into capturing power. They should gain more experience before they come to center, before the nation can trust them fully.
They need to have more experience. So I feel they should go step by step. They should first get experience in any one of the states, or several states, do some solid work and manage all the challenges and not run away from challenges, and then come to the center. Otherwise it will be a khichdi in the center with everybody trying to pull things in different directions. We want a very strong government in the center.
Q: I am a businessman and I want to know how you exported your product to so many countries?
Sri Sri: The product speaks for itself. When something is so good and effective and it brings peace and joy in one’s life, then intelligent people take to it. I have not made any effort to promote something. All this just kept happening on its own.
For the first ten years, it was just word of mouth. And then of course, we had many other books and printed material. Many people came up and they wanted to teach in their country, and so it happened.
Q: Did you choose to be a Guru or are you a Guru by default?
Sri Sri: I think I am a Guru by default. I never wanted to be anybody for that matter. It kept happening, people started coming to me and started learning whatever little bit I knew and that’s how the whole thing continued.
Q: Can corruption ever be eliminated?
Sri Sri: We should think that we can do it and move in that direction. We should dream for it. We should dream for a corruption free society. It may not be possible 100% but we should aim at 100%, at least we can reach somewhere between 80-90%.
There are some pockets on our planet, in some countries where corruption is almost negligible. So, there are examples.
We can definitely make this country free from corruption, not just by some law, not just by passing a Jan Lokpal Bill, but it should come with the character of an individual, right from college and school days. We must infuse our kids, our youths with this idea of a corruption free, crime free society. It can only happen by social transformation.
Q: Why do we have so many gods in Hinduism?
Sri Sri: Why don’t you ask me, ‘Why are there so many vegetables, so many flora and fauna, so many types of birds, so many types of people’.
The Divinity that loves diversity can appear in diverse forms as well. Do you see what I am saying?
The one who loves diversity in the creation can be adored in many different forms. So there is only one God but in many forms and with many names. That is the beauty of India. That is the beauty of Hinduism - all accommodating, all encompassing. There is freedom of worship, freedom of expression, and freedom of concepts. It is so diverse I tell you. But remember, it all adds up to one truth, one reality. One God in many forms.
Q: We have received hundreds of questions from Syria, Egypt, and Middle East? Do you have any message for them?
Sri Sri: The problem in Middle East is a huge problem and my heart pains when I see the amount of injustice, the amount of violence that is happening there. Again I would say, that let’s hold our breath and let’s pray, and let’s also continue to see if there is any way a peaceful revolution can happen in this place. We should keep thinking about it.
It is a humongous issue but we should not lose hope. We should still keep hoping that one day we will be able to bring some peace there. However insignificant it is, we should keep putting our effort in that direction.
Q: Given that most citizens don’t know their local candidates, should we vote for the individuals or for the party?
Sri Sri: It should be a mix and match. When it comes to local governance, Municipal Corporation or even state, I would say, you should consider the local thing. But when it comes to national issues, you should broaden your vision and see what is good for the nation.
Q: Majority of the youth in India idealize Bollywood stars and cricketers. How do we help the serious damage that their alcohol promotions are creating?
Sri Sri: I think you also should think about ways in which we can arrest this. There are some good cricketers and some very aware Bollywood stars who are talking against such addictions too, while some others are promoting it for the sake of money.
I think our youths are becoming more intelligent and more mature. They won’t just fall prey. I at least hope they don’t fall prey.
Q: With political parties having affairs and break up every other month, as a voter, how do I decide who to vote for so that I am not betrayed?
Sri Sri: You should be watchful. See the intention of the people who are asking for vote and look at their track records. Sometimes, you may have to choose a lesser corrupt person or party if you have two parties and both are corrupt. You should see who are less corrupt, when you have no choice.