Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: How does one strengthen vairagya (dispassion) when desires arise in us?
Sri Sri: Know the impermanence of everything. Okay, you get a desire. It will be fulfilled. So what? Time will devour all. Time will change everything, so keep moving. When you know everything is impermanent and can still enjoy everything at the same time, that is vairagya or detachment.
Q: Having been given an instruction by someone we put faith in or a mentor, should I follow just the essence of it or word to word?
Sri Sri: See, you’re asking a very general question. And you will selectively use it the way you want, isn’t it? I’m not going to get caught up in this whole thing. (Laughs).
Q: What is the best way to make someone aware of their responsibilities?
Sri Sri: Anything that works! Anything that makes them aware is good. Don’t sit and think what is the best way? Whatever ideas occur, you apply those and see which one works. The one that works is the best.
Q: The country is so full of gurus. I don’t know whom to accept as a Guru. Kindly advice whether I choose a Guru or a Guru chooses me? If I choose then how do I select one?
Sri Sri: Well, I can’t give you any criteria. You choose. It’s up to you. It’s not something you choose intellectually.
Something in your heart guides. You feel at home, you feel cared for, you feel comfortable, right? Otherwise, you can keep asking this question wherever you go. There’s no point, right?
Q: Distractions and problems of everyday life come up again and again. Is it better to lead a detached, quiet life?
Sri Sri: Life is a combination of both: dynamism and silence, chaos and quietness. You shouldn’t be afraid of either. Those who are used to chaos, are scared of silence. Many times, in my public talks I have observed that some people can't even close their eyes, they’re so scared. Sometimes politicians and even professors can’t sit for 10 minutes with eyes closed. They’re scared to do so. People are so scared of silence, of stillness, of closing their own eyes. Similarly people used to their silence, to their comfort zone are so scared of chaos and disturbance. Both are incomplete. You should feel as comfortable with silence as you are with chaos, and that is the art of living. We see dynamism in silence and silence in chaos. When you are at home with both of them you are able to contribute in both situations.
Q: What to do if yourGuru or Mentor is displeased with you?
Sri Sri: You make fast progress! Guru isdispleased with your progress. So, now you gear up and progress more. Run fast!
Q: Guruji, how come you radiate so much peace and serene beauty?
Sri Sri: Because you are beautiful too, that’s why I appear peaceful to you. If you were not beautiful then you would know nothing about my beauty. Whatever quality you have, only that gets projected onto the world outside. So, what you see in me, take that as your own. If you don't feel beautiful, become beautiful. What is stopping you? Become that.
Q: How do you know the answers for all the questions?
Sri Sri: I don’t have one for this!
Q: Guruji, is there any connection with the mood and thetiming of the day? Why do we feel different at different times, like one feelslow in night time.
Sri Sri: Ya, ya! Time and mind are connected.You should know this. Time and mind are synonymous. There are eight substances:Vaisheshika, Kanada…all these people have said, ‘Desha, Kala,
Manah.’ Desha is space, Kala is time and, Manah - the mind.They are all tatvas, principles. And all these principles are connected. Deshaand kala are connected. Space and time are connected. One day on this planetEarth is already many days on another…in the moon. In moon, it is different.So, if you are on Jupiter, one human year is only one month. In Jupiter if youhave to experience one year, that is 12 years of earthly time.
Jupiter takes 12 years to go around the sun. Similarly ifyou are on the planet Saturn, 30 years is one year!
Similarly, pitras, people who have died, our human one yearis one day for them. So our six months is only one night and six months is oneday. So, for a soul which has departed our whole year is one day. There aredifferent times and different space in different dimensions. So, time and spaceare connected. It’s called the time-space curve. The same with the thirddimension that is mind! The mindless, transcendental consciousness is calledMahakala, the Shiva, the fourth state of consciousness.
It’s called Mahakala, means great time, and the no-mind. Theno mind is great time.
So, morning from 4.30 to 6.30, just before sunrise, beforedawn, it’s called the most creative time.
Brahma muhurta! And then, every two hours it’s called alagna; which means, one unit of time. And this unit of time corresponds to thestate of mind. And again this is connected with the moon’s position, the sun’sposition. There are so many aspects! Ten different aspects influence the mind.So, not only the time or hour of the day affects the mind, also the quality ofthe days affects the mind. Every two and a half days, the mind changes! Themood of the mind! So, if you are upset, it can continue for two and a half daysat maximum; it doesn’t have to be two and a half day. It rises to a peak anddrops. But after two and a half days, you cannot have the same emotion with thesame intensity.
Impossible! It changes. Switches! It is a great, great science,how mind, mood and time are connected.
Jyotish shastra has a lot of insight into this. Youknow the astrologers, usually, all these weekly column astrologers say, ‘Oh,good for relationships, good for making money, this and that!’ They write thosethings (laughs!). They generalize those things, ‘If you are born on this timethen this is good for you and you do this.’ Of course, it’s too generic andit’s just a money-making thing that they do. But it is not hoax; there is aniota of truth in it. The underlying base has truth. The principle that the mindand time are connected is correct.
Mind means moods, thoughts, opinions, ideas, all thesethings that we collect. And, no mind is meditation
. Dawn and dusk areconsidered very good for mediation. So,whenever you meditate, or whenever the bad time is there, you meditate. Whenyou meditate you go off the influence of the mind and go into the self.
Theself is Shiva tatva. Shiva tatva means, always benevolent, caring, loving,uplifing. That consciousness deep within you which is caring, loving,uplifting and benevolent, will nullify the negative influences of the mind andthe time.
So, in India it is a very common belief, whenever there isbad time just say, Om Namah Shivaye, and it’s gone. All that bad time isgone. ‘Manah’, when read from the other side, it becomes Namah.Manah is when consciousness goes outside in the world, and Namah iswhen the consciousness goes inward. Shivaye, towards the Shivaprinciple, the fourth state of consciousness, the subtlest aspect of theexistence, the Shiva tatva! So, Namah, when the mind goes towards the basicsubstratum of creation, then it can change all that into more benevolentexperience.
Q: In spite of doing Sudarshan Kriya daily , still some emotions keep bothering me, lust, greed and jealousy. How do I get free of them?
Sri Sri: Your desire to be free indicates that you’re already on the way out. It is already going away. Do not be too hard on yourself. Practices will help you a lot.