Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Guruji, environment is one of the most important factors today, what do we do to look after it?
Sri Sri: Yes, caring for the environment is a big part of The Art of Living. Plant trees; use less plastic, if possible, no plastic and use cloth bags. These are all very valid things to know. You have heard about that in the basic course so you all do it already.
Keep the environment clean, if you find people littering the streets you should try to educate them. If you have free time wherever you find any littering, you stand there and call a few people and tell them, “Let’s clear this place”. Do something like that.
Q: Guruji, I feel that I am surrounded by selfish and cunning people who just want to get work done from me. How should I maintain my innocence and simplicity in this world?
Sri Sri: First of all, don’t label everyone as cunning and corrupt. Then you will only see them in that light. Do not label people like that even if they are like that. Your sankalpa or your thought can bring up the worst in them. However, if your sankalpa is good even in the people who appear to be worst, good will come out of them.
Today one of our teachers from Srinagar called me; he completed a YLTP course of 50 youth. He was mentioning that the transformation was so much in the youth. The district collector came for the closing ceremony and said, "This is a miracle. What has happened to these youths here? So much transformation”. The youth were saying that you have never given us this kind of spiritual education before and you blame us that we do this and we do that, but nobody ever taught us inner peace.
So it is up to us to bring out the best in others, often we criticize others saying, "You are hopeless”, but you know there are some good things also, you have to give them some hope. Bring out the Divine qualities in the people around you; take this as your mission. I am not telling you to be naïve. Be careful, at the same time bring out good qualities.
Q: In a world that is changing so fast you still seem to be the same, unchanged and so beautiful and so adorable. How is that Guruji?
Sri Sri: Some questions are to be wondered about, so this too is not a question but something you need to wonder about. Questions are always bent, crooked, but wonder is always straight. So transforming life from question to wonder is knowledge. Knowledge does not give answers to questions but changes the questions to wonder. So this is something that you should wonder about.
The Ashramities have started chanting a few shlokas of the Bhagavad Gita every day. I would like to say that everyone, wherever you are, start reading a few shlokas of the Bhagavad Gita every day. Read three to four shlokas everyday, if you don’t understand Sanskrit never mind, even the translation is good enough.
Q: It is said that life is a play and display of consciousness. Why does consciousness feel the need to play at all?
Sri Sri: Play is nature. When you are happy what you do is play. When you play you have no need. That is why you play. If you are full of needs you only work, you can’t play, do you get it? Games can come when you have free time. Play becomes part of your life when your needs are fulfilled. Consciousness is full and its nature is playfulness. The Divine's nature is being playful.
Q: Guruji I want to have an intense longing for u but it comes and goes and the mind moves on to other things. How do I have this consistent intense longing for you?
Sri Sri: Never mind, have some fun. If you say ‘I don’t have longing’, that also is another longing. You’re longing for the longing; it’s like when you are angry, you are then angry because you are angry. Similarly you are longing for longing, know that is also longing.
Q: I am thinking today that everything is permeated with light and when I look into myself your light is within me. In me, in him and all of them, it is you only that is present. Where ever I see everywhere it is you who are shining. Where have you come from, who are you, tell me that at least today?
Sri Sri: If you want to know who I am then there is a deal you will have to make with me. The deal is that first you have to know who you are. When you find out who you are then you will know who I am and this is also what I want, that you know who you are and then you will know who I am.
Q: Compared to the universe, if our existence is nothing then what impact does it create if we are born or not? How does our karma effect?
Sri Sri: See, in the universe nothing matters, yet everything matters. This universe will collapse even if one species disappears. Suppose all the house flies disappear from the universe, the universe will collapse, it cannot exist. This is what scientists say today, even if a particular type of butterfly is missing or one type of flower becomes extinct, the universe cannot stay.
A house fly has no significance; how many planets are there! How many solar systems are there! Milky ways are there! Yet, if house flies are missing the universe collapses. So, though house flies are very insignificant they are very significant. Similarly, everyone is significant yet insignificant.
Q: Is there something like a good or bad being? If someone is bound by an outer problem, does the negative path follow him? How to get rid of that?
Sri Sri: There is no good or bad soul. There are strong and weak souls. Strong souls are happy, and weak ones are sad. Now, how does a soul become strong? Devotion strengthens the soul. Love strengthens the soul, hatred and sorrow weakens the soul.
Q: Dear Guruji, you say that our relationship is as old as this earth. Have we celebrated your birthday in some past live as well? I don’t remember but you would, so please tell me.
Sri Sri: Yes we have. Of course! Now tell me, the first time you met me did you feel that we are meeting for the first time? No, I also have never felt as if meeting a stranger with anybody. All those people, everyone I met, I have always felt I have met them before and I know them. As of now I have not met a single stranger.
Q: Dear Guruji, my son is now two years old, he feels insecure with other people. Do kids at that age feel that? How do I handle this?
Sri Sri: It may not be insecurity in the child. A 2-year old child would not be so insecure, it may be your own projection. Sometimes you project yourself too much on what the child is feeling or saying. Especially grand parents have a lot of projection on the children. Grandpa will say my 6-month old baby looked at me and said, “Grandpa you don’t go for walking today, you stay with me,” and all that he was saying with his own eyes. The baby doesn’t even speak but grandpa feels that he says everything. A lot of it will be your own projection.
If you feel your child is a little jealous, sibling jealousy will be there, if you feel that, then you pat them and give them a little more attention.