Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: It is said that life is a play and display of consciousness. Why does consciousness feel the need to play at all?
Sri Sri: Play is nature. When you are happy what you do is play. When you play you have no need. That is why you play. If you are full of needs you only work, you can’t play, do you get it? Games can come when you have free time. Play becomes part of your life when your needs are fulfilled. Consciousness is full and its nature is playfulness. The Divine's nature is being playful.
Q: Guruji, I feel that I am surrounded by selfish and cunning people who just want to get work done from me. How should I maintain my innocence and simplicity in this world?
Sri Sri: First of all, don’t label everyone as cunning and corrupt. Then you will only see them in that light. Do not label people like that even if they are like that. Your sankalpa or your thought can bring up the worst in them. However, if your sankalpa is good even in the people who appear to be worst, good will come out of them.
Today one of our teachers from Srinagar called me; he completed a YLTP course of 50 youth. He was mentioning that the transformation was so much in the youth. The district collector came for the closing ceremony and said, "This is a miracle. What has happened to these youths here? So much transformation”. The youth were saying that you have never given us this kind of spiritual education before and you blame us that we do this and we do that, but nobody ever taught us inner peace.
So it is up to us to bring out the best in others, often we criticize others saying, "You are hopeless”, but you know there are some good things also, you have to give them some hope. Bring out the Divine qualities in the people around you; take this as your mission. I am not telling you to be naïve. Be careful, at the same time bring out good qualities.
Q: Guruji I did the Yes+ course two years back and recently I told my parents about my feeling hollow and empty from inside and my experience about nothingness. They say that I will become good for nothing now, what should I tell them?
Sri Sri: Don’t tell them anything. Just show them that you can do a lot of things. Win their heart by your actions not your words.
Q: Dear Guruji, my son is now two years old, he feels insecure with other people. Do kids at that age feel that? How do I handle this?
Sri Sri: It may not be insecurity in the child. A 2-year old child would not be so insecure, it may be your own projection. Sometimes you project yourself too much on what the child is feeling or saying. Especially grand parents have a lot of projection on the children. Grandpa will say my 6-month old baby looked at me and said, “Grandpa you don’t go for walking today, you stay with me,” and all that he was saying with his own eyes. The baby doesn’t even speak but grandpa feels that he says everything. A lot of it will be your own projection.
If you feel your child is a little jealous, sibling jealousy will be there, if you feel that, then you pat them and give them a little more attention.
Q: Guruji, how is longing a divine quality? I feel a lot of pain in longing.
Sri Sri: Tadap hi ishwar hai! (Longing is the Divine)
Q: Dear Guruji, please tell me are we humans wanting to be spiritual beings or are we spiritual beings in the disguise of humans?
Sri Sri: Both - spiritual beings in the disguise of humans and wanting to come back to your spiritual being, back to our home.
You know what the word Radha means? Radha means ‘back to the source’. Dhara means flow; flow from the source is called dhara and when you read dhara the other way around, it is Radha. When water flows down, it is called dhara, and when water goes back from where it started flowing, it is Radha.
Q: Guruji, environment is one of the most important factors today, what do we do to look after it?
Sri Sri: Yes, caring for the environment is a big part of The Art of Living. Plant trees; use less plastic, if possible, no plastic and use cloth bags. These are all very valid things to know. You have heard about that in the basic course so you all do it already.
Keep the environment clean, if you find people littering the streets you should try to educate them. If you have free time wherever you find any littering, you stand there and call a few people and tell them, “Let’s clear this place”. Do something like that.
Q: Guruji I want to have an intense longing for u but it comes and goes and the mind moves on to other things. How do I have this consistent intense longing for you?
Sri Sri: Never mind, have some fun. If you say ‘I don’t have longing’, that also is another longing. You’re longing for the longing; it’s like when you are angry, you are then angry because you are angry. Similarly you are longing for longing, know that is also longing.
Q: What is the difference between sankalpa and desire and if there is a difference then what is the technique to transform all desire into sankalpas?
Sri Sri: You know I have already spoken about all this, about sankalpa and desire and how to change it. It is all about dispassion, dispassion works everywhere.
Q: Dear Guruji, you say that our relationship is as old as this earth. Have we celebrated your birthday in some past live as well? I don’t remember but you would, so please tell me.
Sri Sri: Yes we have. Of course! Now tell me, the first time you met me did you feel that we are meeting for the first time? No, I also have never felt as if meeting a stranger with anybody. All those people, everyone I met, I have always felt I have met them before and I know them. As of now I have not met a single stranger.