Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: How can I reach my full potential? I have so many thoughts on business, seva, relationships. How do I know which one to pursue? Is it important to try to find my purpose in life?
Sri Sri: Yes, yes, yes! You can do that very comfortably (laughter from audience).
Q: I want to thank you for everything you gave me, but most of all to the world. We’re blessed that you’re here for us!
Q: What does one do when knowledge becomes a barrier and turns to arrogance and jealousy? How does one free from this?
Sri Sri: Be like a child, unassuming, knowing the more you know there is so much more to be known. Knowing only leads to awareness that you do not know so much more. That brings humility. Do you see what I’m saying?
Q: Before the course when I was at home my mind would jump from job, gym, party, plan, and here the mind jumps from breakfast to lunch to dinner (laughter from audience). Why can’t my mind slow down?
I think we should have read this a couple of days ago, we could have told the cook to make the food a little less tasty! Never mind, never mind, you have recognized this, at least. The mind is jumping – it’s already coming to a halt. You know those of u doing advance Course (The Silence Course) for the first time, you would have noticed for the first few days, for the first few sittings you can’t even figure out where the tip of the nose is! Or whether the nose is hollow and empty or you don’t even feel any part of the body. Does it happen to you? Your mind doesn’t stop, it keeps racing…but this is normal. Even if you get 20% in the first silence program, it’s a great achievement, I tell you! First Advance Course, because you’ve never been silent except, while you’re sleeping! Some aren’t even silent when they’re sleeping! We never experience this. We never had a chance to have the mind turn inward. It’s like you’re racing the car in the autobahn and you put the break - it takes some time for the car to stop. It doesn’t stop immediately. In the same way, it takes a little while. It may take… not for everybody it may take, mostly it takes a little time. You will see that from yesterday today was better– today was good, no? Today’s meditation was a little better? How many of you felt better today, huh? See, already it’s better, two days into silence, tomorrow it get’s deeper and when it gets really good then it’s time to leave. So, you got it! It’s good to do a couple of advance courses once in 6 months or once in 4 – 5 months. Then the mind gets trained to switch modes, you know? It’s easy to switch modes in silence and get into that creative field within you, or be dynamic.
Q: What are the most sacred, most divine qualities of marriage? Is there a mantra for a happy marriage?
Sri Sri: I have no experience… to give you ideas, but whatever I infer I can share with you. In marriage you should consider the other person as your own part, part - like your arm, like your body. It’s two bodies, one mind, one soul. So, whatever your spouse desires, you make it your own desire, that’s it. Your spouse’s taste, consider it as your own taste. See, you have many, different tastes, right? Sometimes you like this, sometimes you like that. When the conflict arises? When your tastes start moving apart. You should start saying your taste is my taste; your pleasure is my pleasure. I am here for you, rather than, what can you do for me? When we start ‘What can you do for me?’ then both become unhappy, yes? But when you say, ‘What can I do for you? I’m here for you.’ This is the only mantra. Happy marriages are what? ‘I’m here for you, come what may, happy times or unhappy times!’ See in life sometimes there are disappointments, sometimes there is success. In either case, ‘I’m with you.’ This is one thing. The second thing is, if one is upset, the other should not get upset at the same time. Choose a different time to get upset. Know that ‘Oh, my spouse is upset! Okay.’ Give him or her the time to be upset. Don’t question ‘Why are you so upset?’If someone is upset, the other gets angry and expects them not to be upset. This is a big mistake! Someone is upset, leave them that space. You know many of us don’t even know how to receive love! See, someone comes and keeps telling you, ‘Oh, I love you, I love you so much, I love you!!!’ Suddenly you go, ‘Wow, what do I say now!? How do I react?’ You get into a corner; you don’t know how to react. You don’t know what to say, so that person who kept saying, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you!!!’, suddenly finds you are not responding, then starts accusing you, ‘See, look, you’re so cold!’ ‘See you don’t know how to love. You never said you love me!’ and blah, blah, blah…Demand – demand destroys love. Never demand love from your spouse. Take it for granted they love you, but that’s it, finished, you know! So when we start demanding and policing our spouse, we get into a mess, right! So that is important and the rest you can have tomorrow when you are out of silence and we can have a conversation. So, many of you can come out with your own experiences and add more to this. What do you say, good idea?
Q: What do you think of the muscular strength training? Is it possible to extend the breath by lengthening and holding time or by making the acceleration longer?
Sri Sri: Yes, long acceleration is always good, you know, but it takes a little time to train yourself. Muscle testing – I’ll tell you something about it tomorrow maybe. Ask me when you’re out of silence. I will show you something – how your muscles can tell you what you need, what you don’t need. They speak the truth. Do you know about it? How many of you know muscle testing here? Okay, okay, ah, you already learnt last time! Hmm, okay! Tomorrow or day after or one of these days I’ll tell you then you can test yourself – what suits you, what your body says. You know, every muscle in your body speaks the truth, amazing discovery! Wait for it tomorrow (Guruji whispers), tomorrow huh (with a twinkle in his eyes)?!
Q: We know we have to follow our heart but why is it difficult sometimes when our rational side is stronger, and we think it is correct whereas the emotion is weaker and sometimes more crazy. Thank you for sharing time with us.
Sri Sri: You know in work don’t use your emotions - in work use your intellect. But with your family and friends don’t use your intellect so much, use your emotions. If you mix it up, you are in trouble! You know, with your wife and children if you are relating them with your intellect and doing business with your emotion you had it! You know at home you have to be more with the value of heart. When you do service you do it with your heart, right? But when you’re doing your work you don’t have to be an emotional thing. Just use your rational mind.
Q: What can I do to make the world a better place? How can I help people? How can there be less or no corruption in the world? How can there be more compassion and less crime, stress free, violence – free society?
Sri Sri: These questions should arise in you, and you will find answers from time to time and act on them, yes? Many a times alone you cannot do it, but together you can do it. Many of you joined together can always achieve this.
Q: If the core of our existence is full of love, innocence, perfection, how can a person be so mean and kill his or her whole family? It is hard for me to understand.
Sri Sri: You know you should go and talk to the people in the prison who have committed these heinous crimes. You’ll find these people are nice people. Why even talk about them, talk about yourself! You know sometimes you’ve been so nasty. Have you been nasty? Have you been angry? Have you been upset? Afterwards you see – ‘Oh, why did I do this?’ Do you regret? In the same way these people – they did a crime, they did commit something they were totally unaware of, and then they started realizing. That’s why spiritual education is so important, because this education doesn’t allow you to commit such heinous crimes! They never had an opportunity to have access to this knowledge, to meditation, to breathing. That is why they did all that.
Q: When will you come to Russia again?
Sri Sri: I was just there this year!
Q: What can I do to lose fear of being able to achieve my dreams? I usually lose confidence and clarity and get lots of doubts about my capacity or abilities. How do I do it?
Sri Sri: I have no experience of this. Let me think how you can do it…You know when you achieve success, if that is your goal - to achieve your dream - you should be ready to face some obstacles on the path. And you know that every obstacle is only bringing out more skills out of you, it will not deter you from your goal but will only bring in whatever is needed to fulfill your dream. Do you get what I’m saying? The obstacles that come on the path are only to bring in more skills and it won’t deter or de-track you from your goal.