Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: The Bhagavad Gita is very close to my heart. And yet there is a passage in it that confuses me. It is when Arjuna wishes to flee the battle and renounce the world. But Krishna urges him to fulfill his duty by staying put and fighting.How is this advice understood with the principle of non-violence, a concept also central to the Gita? Is it similar to the notion of a just war in Christian and Islamic theology?
Sri Sri: The whole essence of the Gita is to act without being attached to the action. It's all about yoga, not about war but your attitude. When you are faced with a situation like war, how do you manage yourself? The worst situation in life is when you have to face a war and when you have to fight not with an enemy, but with some of your own people. When you have to fight with your own brothers and sisters, how do you handle the situation? It's easy to fight a war with an enemy, someone you don’t like. But fighting with someone who is part of your own family is the worst thing.
If you can manage your mind in the worst scenario, then you can manage yourself in any situation. Given the extreme example of how you can manage the mind, the consciousness, yourself, that’s the whole essence of the Gita, not the war. Skill in action is yoga.
A similar knowledge was taught by Ashtavakra, in the palace. When your spirit is very high and you want liberation, that was Ashtavakra's state. And when your spirit is so low, totally desperate, completely broken and depressed, that was Arjuna’s state. At that time the same knowledge of the Self was given to him in the Bhagavad Gita.
Q: A question from someone on ART Excel Course: When the cops or anyone in the military shoot or kill anyone in war does it count as their good or bad karma?
Sri Sri: Let us take the policeman. A policeman is doing his job to keep peace in society, so it is not a bad thing. In the military, one who is following orders, is only doing his job. The man who gives the orders, gets the karma.
Q: I know that destiny plays an important role in life. Our failures and success in life are connected to destiny. But what role are we playing in our lives?
Sri Sri: You make the destiny. What you did yesterday is a tomorrow’s destiny, and what you do now is destiny day after.
Q: What is the relationship between seeker, guru and the Divine?
Sri Sri: The beginning, middle and end of a same line. It is the seed, the plant and the tree.
Q: Can you please talk about our connection of our solar plexus and the sun? How to strengthen the connection, strengthen our nervous system and increase our immunity?
Sri Sri: Pranayama and meditation. Simply know there is a connection. You are connected to the air all around. Whether or not you know, the connection is there. The center of gravity in the body is the solar plexus, and the center of the universe is the sun.
Q: Can you say something about angels, do they exist?
Sri Sri: Yes they exist. Angels are so filled with good intention, they are very benevolent. They do exist, not just in the physical bodies sitting here, but there are others in the ethereal bodies too.
Q: Until 18 months ago I never believed in spirituality. Art of Living has changed my thinking and made an impact in my life. However there is something missing in my life and I don’t know what it is. The daily practices help keeping me smiling, but there is still unhappiness within me. Please tell me how to rejoice from within as well.
Q: Does your mission of lifting up the world get heavy at times? If so, what helps?
Sri Sri: All your work helps. When you write and talk about it. Prejudice in the world needs to be overcome. It’s much less but that hurdle needs to be overcome. And all of you can help. Everyone can help in reducing the prejudice.
Q: The history of ancient India is filled with the accounts of enlightenment, yogis taking on supernatural states of awareness and capabilities. Yet, to help me understand, how does one interpret such stories? Are these methodologies with allegorical significance, or they point to the untapped potential hidden in each one of us?
Sri Sri: Do you know about the first airplane? Who flew the first airplane? (‘Wright brothers’ came the answer). This is what we hear or read in the books. Absolutely wrong. 50 years before Right brothers, one man from Bangalore, Subray Shastry, he went into meditation, in silence and then he went to meet a yogi. The yogi took him to deeper meditation, and he started recognizing the engines, he downloaded all that! He wrote a book called ‘Vaimanik Shastra’ and then he flew the plane in 1800 with a parsi gentleman. Parsis are the migrants of Iran to India who follow Zoroastrian religion. The parsi gentleman funded him to make the first plane. They flew it on the chaupati beach in Mumbai (or Bombay). This appeared in the ‘London times’ newspaper also. These two were put in jail by Colonial power, and they took and confiscated all the diagrams that he had made. A documentary of this came on television recently, with the newspaper cutting from England and the diagrams that he had cognized. He had made five different diagrams and this is available even today in a book called ‘Bhardawaj Vaimanik Shastra’ – The science of plane by Rishi Bhardawaj. He explained what type of engine that a plane has which takes off straight like a helicopter, and one which goes running and then takes off.
You can find all the details in the website http://www.bharathgyan.com/
More from the same conversation in the next post..
Q: I have a question about karma. Can we wipe out past karma, can a Guru wipe out our karma? Can we start afresh?