Q: As there are no Maya dates in the calendar in the Mayar civilization after 2012, what is going to happen after that? Is there some danger to human civilization?
Sri Sri: No, the world is going to continue the way it is. It will even get better. There will be shift in the consciousness of people. There will be more compassion and human values, and all the consumerism will take a back seat. That’s what I think.
Q: what is the purpose of life?
Sri Sri: One who knows won’t tell you, and anybody who tells you doesn’t know. It is very important question. Keep it with yourself. You should keep yourself asking this question. This very question will clear the entire cobweb around you, and will keep you on track of what you want and where do you want to go.
Q: How should we confront fraud and corruption?
Sri Sri: Lack of a sense of belongingness creates corruption. A lack of friendliness creates frauds. If you have friends, you cannot commit fraud. If you don’t have friends, you feel afraid and then you become a fraud. You cheat others. Would anyone cheat someone whom you really think of as a friend? No. That sense of friendliness has to die away. So the show of friendliness is not true friendship. Isn’t it so? Will you ever cheat a sincere friend of yours? No way! You would give your life to save a friend, but not cheat them. When you don’t really feel the friendliness and sense of belongingness, it is then you will cheat others. So the fear in a person and the ambition to amass for oneself creates fraudulent people and attitudes. Corruption is again through fear. So, I would say we should spiritualize politics, socialize business and secularize religion.
Q: What is the best way to handle religious conflicts?
Sri Sri: Every child should know a little about all cultures and religions in the world. They will start to feel connection with all the cultures. Every child should know a little bit about all religions like Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism. They will grow up with a broad mindset.
I feel at home wherever I go in the world. I feel connected, and everyone can do that because we all have that need to be connected. In fact you don’t have to make an effort, we are anyway connected.
I still remember an incident some 25 years ago, in Manchester, UK. A small girl came to me and asked: ‘Why cannot human beings connect with everyone else in the world?’ I told her this is because we are so stuck in our identities. It’s good to have identity but we have to grow beyond that.
Q: My mind conflicts between spiritual world and material world. How to overcome this?
Sri Sri: As such there is no conflict. You have to balance your life. Some breathing exercise and yoga would help you long way. Along with this some social work activity - what we call seva in India. We earn and then we spend on our selves. Isn’t it good to give at least 3 - 4% of our earning to those who are in need of it? There are 300 million children in the world who need education. You can also participate in the project. One day in a month, take a time of in a group, and go and help clean the environment. Strengthen the environmental programs and social service activities.
Q: Please speak about wealth.
Sri Sri: As per the ancient scriptures, there are eight types of wealth. Wealth is not only money. Of course, bank balance is wealth, progeny is also a type of wealth, so is health. If you have the confidence that you can create wealth in any situation, even when the economy is not doing well, you will have courage. That courage and confidence is a wealth. The ability to make friends is a wealth. Knowledge is also wealth.
The goddess of wealth, Laxmi, is floating on the lotus. She moves with the wind. The Goddess of knowledge, Saraswati, is on a rock. A rock is stable. Once you have learnt knowledge, you have learnt it for life. Wealth is not an end in itself. It is the means to an end. Wealth, happiness and life are to be shared with all those around.
Today, many people have lost faith. When you lose faith, it takes you within. Every crisis is an opportunity. When all doors are shut and you have nowhere to go, that is when you go within.
Many hurdles and crises come, but you must keep your intention strong. You have to have vision. When you look around, people who break your trust will be few. Those whose values falter will be few. Though sometimes you may shake, but hold on to your vision and mission.
If you don’t want others to cheat you, why should you cheat others? Money is essential, yet you cannot sleep well having only money. Half our health is spent on getting wealth and then we spend half our wealth to get back the health.
Q: How do you define success?
Sri Sri: Success is measured by the smiles you have had from the heart. It is the confidence you have to face challenges. When everything goes well you can easily smile. Success is when everything falls apart and yet you can smile. One who manages all challenges that life gives is successful.
Q: How do you deal with people who think they are right all the time?
Sri Sri: They may be saying that but they realize when they have taken a wrong step. They cannot justify that they took a wrong turn but they know it. They don’t have courage to admit the wrong thing. So you be compassionate to those who say that they are right all the time.
Q: Is spirituality really related to science?
Sri Sri: Yes, Spirituality is saying ‘who am I?’ and science is saying ‘What is this?’ Objective analysis is science and subjective understanding is spirituality. And they go hand in hand. In the East they were never in conflict with each other.
It is said in Bhagvat geeta -Gyan Vigyana triptatma which means you should satisfy yourself through both subjective and scientific knowledge. You will find fulfillment only when both science and spirituality go together.
Q: Can business be a force to promote peace between nations?
Sri Sri: Three dimensions will bring peace. There should be spirituality in politics, corporate social responsibility in business and secularism in religion.
This is deeply ingrained in our minds.Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela are examples of secularism in religion and spirituality in politics.