Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: As a woman how can I fully liberate myself without being angry in the so called Man’s world?
Sri Sri: Lessen your dependency. What do you call independence? First you think you are bound, and then you try to come out of that. You find freedom when you have a say over your emotions and when you are in wisdom.
Nobody is completely independent. Even nations are not completely independent. The word is interdependent. Among nations and communities we are interdependent. We live in an interdependent world. Man depends on Woman and Women have to depend on man.
So it is paradox – independence and interdependence. Try to be independent as much as you can understanding the need for interdependency.
Q: Is there a different path for men and women?
Sri Sri: No! Spirituality is the same for men and women. At some time in history, men put certain bans so that women should not rise in power. But there are certain norms of society and one should adhere to that.
Q: When someone has done something wrong and don't even realize it how do you forgive them?
Sri Sri: When you forgive then your mind becomes calm. Tell them with compassion and love, not with anger. If you become happy by putting guilt in someone's mind that is not good either. Tell them with love and then you drop it.
Q: The women in our epics seem to have done so many extraordinary feats, it is difficult to believe they are true!
Sri Sri: Let us take gandhari for eg, she produced a 100 children from pots.Test tube babies is exactly what she created. One embryo and 100 pots! We did know what the science behind is! Unless proven otherwise it is a fact. Like nobody believed that dinosaurs existed but you have the proof. Jatayu, a dinosaur bird existed and carried Sita. There are facts that Lord Krishna existed. The way it is presented is usually a little mixture of imagination and facts. Like a poem is facts and imagination mixed. If you read the biography of Abdul Kalam, Jawahar lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, you will find they add things.
Q: What should I do to be in the present moment more effectively?
Sri Sri: You are planning now what to do in the future to be in the present moment! Got it?
Q: Will there ever be Men’s day?
Sri Sri: (Smilingly) For that too, you would have to pray to the Devi(mother Divine). Even demons ask for boons from Her, and angels as well. Once somebody was telling this joke: Once a man was asked who the owner of the house is, and the man replied saying he would ask his wife!
Q: You always say we should be likechildren. I was careless and fearless as a child. Now as an adult a newfear has come.
Sri Sri: Just relax and keep doing sadhana. Don’t worry.
Q: Guruji, what is Nirvana? Or better, give it to us right now!
Sri Sri: Nirvana is bringing the balance and having no feverishness for any desire. Desire means a lack. When you say, I want nothing, I am content, that is nirvana. But that doesn't mean you shun your duties. You perform your duties well but you are with your center. Even craving for enlightenment is an hindrance to enlightenment.
All emotions are linked with people, objects and events. Catching on to objects, people or relationships hinders freedom, liberation. When the mind is free from all impressions and concepts, you are liberated. The state of nothingness is called Nirvana, enlightenment, Samadhi. Nirvana is getting back to me from mine. Who am I?
When you go deep inside you, layer after layer, that is nirvana. It is like peeling an onion! What do you find in the center of an onion? Nothing!
When you know that everything is changing - all relationships, people, body, feelings - suddenly the mind which clings on to misery comes back to you. The return from mine to me, gives you contentment and freedom from misery. Reposing in that state of contentment is nirvana.
Q: Is it very important for a woman to marry? Is it not ok to let God be her care taker? Can she still be complete even if she is not a mother?
Sri Sri: You can feel you are a mother to the whole world. Being a mother is in the very nature of a woman. That compassion, that love and caring will be there.
Whether she should marry or not, that is your decision. Most important is to be happy. That is my opinion. There are many who are single and happy, and there are many who are married and not happy, and vice versa! Choice is yours, blessings are mine.
Q: Can you talk about how one should be with mentally retarded people?
Sri Sri: They have come here to take service. Simply serve them