Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Bible claims – ‘Jesus Christ is the only living God and Thou shall not worship any idol or God except me’. If the almighty is one, then what should it be?
Sri Sri: Yes, these words are said in almost all scriptures. Lord Krishna also says-
‘Maam ekam sharanam vraja.’ you take refuge in me and nobody else. So Lord Krishna’s words are exactly the same what Jesus said- ‘I am only the way.’
There is only one God and not many. One God is worshipped in different languages, in different ways, in different forms, that’s all. When people see others worshipping another form of God, they say that there is another God but there is no another God, there is just only one God! And whether it is said in Gurumukhi (Panjabi), or in Pali or in Latin- it is the same thing. You may see even some of the names are the same. There may be difference of languages, expressions but the essence is the same. It should not be misinterpreted to believe that only if you are a Christian then you will go to heaven otherwise you will go to hell or that only if you are a Muslim you will go to heaven otherwise you will go to hell. This sort of fundamentalism comes when you don’t have understanding of others’ ways of religion and wisdom.
All the fanatics and terrorists, they quote from the scriptures that theirs is the only way. One gentle man, whom I met in USA, said that heaven is like where only one religion followers go and rest all go to hell, then heaven must be a very lonely place and not so colorful! And that too they say – if you follow our denomination then you will go to heaven and not by following the other denominations of the same religion. This is true for almost all the religions - the concepts are wrongly understood and misinterpreted. In Vaishnava sect also they say- only worship Krishna and not Shiva, for if you worship Shiva you will not find ‘mukti’ or liberation.
Krishna has very clearly said- ‘sarva dharmaan parityaja maam ekam sharanam vraja’, “you drop every thing and take refuge in me alone. I will relieve you of all the sins. You can’t relieve yourself from your sins. I will relieve you. Don’t worry, don’t be upset and don’t be sad, I will relieve you of all the sins”.
Same way Lord Buddha also said- all the devas are coming and protecting you, similar things are said in Jain religion also.
So you need to have a proper understanding otherwise misinterpretation happens. Know that there is only one God, one consciousness though spoken in different words, and wisdom given by different people in many different ways. Jesus said, “People who came before me were robbers and thieves and I am here and now you look at me only.’ This was said because when Jesus was there, people were not listening and attending to him. They were thinking about the past only. That’s why he said- “Your mind has been robbed off by the people of past, now you listen only to what I am saying.”
Lord Krishna also said the same thing- “you are stuck in the past, you are crying and worrying for what is not worth doing. Be in the present moment!”
This wisdom has to be understood and grasped properly. Otherwise fanaticism will grow.
One sect of Christianity will say- this is the only way to go to heaven, and talk to some sect of Islam, they will say- there is no other way, our is the only way! So why different people were saying- ‘this is the only way’- was with the purpose of bringing the focus in the students at that time.
Q: Guruji, I am an Art of Living volunteer. What makes me worthy of being an Art of Living ambassador?
Sri Sri: Just this fact, that you are grateful of being an ambassador, makes you worthy. The most important quality on this planet is humility.
Q: What is the importance of celibacy?
Sri Sri: Celibacy is something that happens spontaneously. When every cell of your body is happy, you don't need an act to be happy.
It is a phenomenon not an act. And abstinence, to some extent, is good as it saves energy.
Q: What should I do with this over active mind? Thoughts are painful, please guide!
Sri Sri: Too many thoughts come because you have so much free time. Too many thoughts is a sign of imbalance between the mind and the heart. When feeling is kindled thoughts will subside. Also it could be a result of improper digestion; take care of your digestion.
Q: Jai Gurudev means victory to the big mind. But doesn't the small mind play a role in this?
Sri Sri: Small mind has its role. It is only because of the small mind that the big mind wins. It is Obvious. There are only two kinds of people: those who are victorious, and those who make others victorious.
Q: Are there different types of nirvana?
Sri Sri: Yes! Just as there are different flavors of ice-cream, there are various schools of thought. But the material is the same.
Q: Even Siddhas have to take a few births to get enlightened. Why is it so difficult to get enlightened?
Sri Sri: It is not difficult. It is challenging!
Q: As per Hindu mythology, every God has a weapon. What is your shastra?
Sri Sri: I think that a smile by itself is enough. It works where all weapons fail! :)
Q: Krishna lifted the Govardhan mountain on his little finger, is it true?
Sri Sri: Well, there are big weight lifters today. Everything is possible. There is no reason not to believe that Krishna lifted the Govardhan. (What they call Govardhan is a small hillock. You can go and see it.)
‘Go’ means knowledge.
‘Vardhan’ means enhancing the knowledge.
For Krishna it was so easy to lift the consciousness of 1000s of people by playing the flute. Indra stands for mob psychology or collective consciousness. So, Krishna with his group uplifted the entire society. This is what it means.
Q: Can you speak something about seen and the unseen? Like you said collective consciousness, the mind.
Sri Sri: You can’t see the mind, you can only feel it. The Self (atma) is energy. There is electricity everywhere. This body is like a wire, and the electricity in this body – that is the atma.
The form and the formless are both essential. The world is the form of the Divine but the Divine is formless. The world is made up of both; the seen universe and the unseen consciousness. Here in India both are acknowledged effortlessly!
*Karma simply means action.
Action has got 3 forms: one is latent, that which is going to become an action, the action itself and the consequence of the action.
The first is like the seed of a tree, the second a full grown tree and the third when the tree becomes a seed again.