Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Something binds the body to the soul. What is this binding factor and what prompts it to part ways after sometime?
Sri Sri: Impressions in the soul binds it to the body. That is what is called Karma.
Q: Even after being born as a human being who is the highest among all the species on this planet why do we desire freedom? Is there anything more beautiful than this?
Sri Sri: See wanting happiness is natural, everyone wants happiness but happiness does not come alone. Happiness brings along his twin sorrow also with him but no one likes sorrow and everyone wants freedom from sorrow. Freedom one wants from what? Sorrow and to want freedom from sorrow also is natural. Just as much as wanting happiness is natural the same way wanting freedom from sorrow is also natural. Okay, now the faster one realizes that happiness is there but sorrow is also there then the desire for freedom becomes stronger.
The one who does not wish for happiness receives freedom and the one who does not even wish for freedom is the one who receives devotion.
One who does not crave for happiness is already free but if one craves for happiness then one will also crave for freedom. When happiness does not please you then you have achieved freedom but when freedom also does not please you then you receive DEVOTION!
Devotion brings so much happiness and pleasure to you.
Q: Dearest Guruji, Jai Gurudev! Once I am on this path is my spiritual progress your responsibility or my responsibility? If it is yours then why is my progress full of obstacles and slow, and if it is mine then why is my effort so poor. Please help me!
Sri Sri: Now that you are asking this question it is both of our responsibility. Yes, do your 100% and relax and when you feel that you can do a little better or a little more that indicates that you have been responsible. When you feel you are doing everything that you can then the responsibility shifts away from you.
Q: Guruji, how to maintain the purity of teaching Yoga in today’s commercial world?
Sri Sri: First of all we shouldn’t blame the world and we should not blame the cause. Purity of Yoga is there when your intention is clear, you are here to serve. If you count that there are twenty people and I will get this much money, if you think that then it can spoil the purity. That is why we have kept our courses in such a way that the teacher gets a very little amount to cover whatever expenses are there. You know you are doing it as a service and you are keeping a charge because without any charges people don’t value it and of course you need some finances to make arrangements like the durries and the microphone and all this stuff. So if your intention is pure, if you are financially and otherwise okay and this is only an added support or income to you then it is okay but if you are thinking only on these lines that I want to make money out of teaching yoga then your whole attitude is changed.
Just imagine a school teacher is teaching the children only to get money and not to see that the students are passing or they should get better. A teacher comes for tuition for an hour and he keeps looking at the watch then within fifteen minutes he runs away, what is the quality of such a teacher. So there is no individual, personal attention that is given, so if the commercial thing doesn’t enter your mind then you are there for the cause, you are there for others.
Q: Guruji, you say the love is great and fearless. Then why is it that the person I am in love with is so fearful?
Sri Sri: The one you are in love with is fearful? Okay! That we don’t know how much you have scared him that he has become so fearful. First see whether the person you are in love with is also in love with you.
See, sometimes we think we love someone but we don’t even know how to properly express our love to another. It is very hard to express how much love you are feeling in your heart to someone else. How are you going the express? With words you will not be able to express. Something as deep as love does not come in the realm of expression. It is very difficult to express and sometimes when you try very hard and with a lot of effort to express this love people get scared. The other person should also know how to accept and receive your love isn’t it? That’s why it is important to know to how to express and how much of our love to express to each person, yeah!
Just imagine you have someone day and night calling you again and again and telling you, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’, then what you will say, okay, yes, you love me, fine what next, right?!
So until we do not turn towards wisdom we are not able to properly express or receive love, for that also there is some eligibility. With wisdom one is so full of love that love exudes from every action. In life when we embrace the divinity then all our relationships blossom by themselves but if you try to fix your relationships one by one it does not work. From one side things will get better and from the other side it will get worse, so you be centered in yourself, be in devotion and everything else will be taken care of.
Q: When everything that is to happen is already decided then why do we have to act and then in the name of action how are we responsible?
Sri Sri: Why are you asking this question? See there are two levels, like the molecular level on the basis of which everything is the same. E. g. if you see this stand is wood, this door is wood, everything is made from wood, but you cannot sit on the door and neither can you make a chair a door, even though everything is wood. Just like that on one level we say that everything is happening but on another level we are also required to act. You continue to act and as you continue doing you will see that, ‘I didn’t do anything, everything happened and is happening’, that is wisdom.
Once I went to prison to address the prisoners. I was called to speak to them after they had completed the course. So I asked them how many of you have committed any crime. No one raised their hand. Then I asked how many of you are innocent and have been put into prison, and everyone raised their hand. ‘We are innocent, we have not done anything and we have just been put into prison. We have not done anything but it just happened’. So even a thief is saying that he did not do anything but it just happened. A man has murdered another person but when I asked him he said I did not do it, I don’t know at that time what went into to me that the murder just happened. So a person who has committed some of the worst crimes also says that he did not do it. Just like that people who do wonderful work, if you ask them did you do this, they will say no I didn’t do anything, it all just happened, fell into place, I didn’t do anything.
This is a state of consciousness where you realize things are not happening because of your effort, it is happening due to some law, due to some power in the creation which is making everything happen.
Q: Even after giving 100% effort one does not succeed, what is the reason behind this?
Sri Sri: See; don’t think that by giving your 100% alone that work gets done. For success or work to get done there are five things you require. First the intention of the person who is doing, then availability of the instruments or things needed to do the work, then the willingness or mindset to do the work. Then doing the work at the right time, there is a time to do the work, if you don’t do it at the right time then there is no use. If you sow seeds in February then there is no use, you then cannot say that I sowed the seeds but nothing has come. You have to wait till April after the rain then you sow the seeds and then you yield the results. So time is a very important factor and you could get results now or you could get it later that also you cannot say.
When we came to this Ashram this whole land was barren, there was not one leaf or one tree on this land. Today see how many trees and plants are there and these trees did not come in one day, so many people have put lots of effort and after some time the trees grew. So this is how time is an important factor and then grace. Without grace of the divine there will be no success, that is why if you want grace then you must do Seva, sadhana, satsang and in time you will get the fruits of all your efforts. Okay! None of your efforts will go waste that you should be assured about, if not now you will see the results later.
Q: Guruji what is the use of Seva? How does it help meditation?
Sri Sri: Listen, suppose you are stranded in some place and you need someone to give you a lift in their car or taxi and nobody stops their car to give you a lift, how would you feel?
You are carrying two bags and you have to go to the restroom in a railway station. You can’t leave the bags unattended and you have to go to the restroom, what will you do? You will find some nice elderly person, go to them and keep the bags with them requesting them to take care while you go for five minutes to the restroom. Don’t you need other’s help? If they refuse to help you then how can you survive? You know in this world as human beings we have to help each other and that is what seva is.
Seva means what? ‘Sa’ means ‘him’ which refers to God and ‘Eva’ means ‘like him’; doing things like him. God does so many things for you but does not expect anything in return from you. Whether you pray to him, thank him or not he will still continue to do. He is not doing you a favor. When you thank God, that is for your own joy, it does not matter to God. In the same way whether people acknowledge your work or not, whether they thank you or not you still do it because you find that it is important to do!
Q: Dearest Guruji, you are my favorite in the whole world and my world revolves around you. How do I become your favorite?
Q: Why is there so much unhappiness in the world today?
Sri Sri: Unhappiness is due to two things, one in lack of resources in some parts of the world; if they get water they will be happy, if they get food they will be happy. In the other part of the world it is lack of spirituality. In one place the body is starving so there is unhappiness, and in another place the soul is starving and so there is unhappiness. We at The ‘Art of Living’ have to do both jobs, provide food to the body and food to the soul and that’s what we are doing.