Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: I feel happy and peaceful here. My heart is really contented. All negativity comes when I go out. I encounter all problems like corruption and bribery. How to face these problems? How to maintain the same positivity when I go from here?
Sri Sri: You forget strength in you – prayer and power of your Sankalpa (positive intention). You keep doing practices and your things are taken care of. Don’t ask for small things in your prayers. Ask for big things – Let government be good and stable, let this knowledge reach out to many more people. It is up to you to make a divine society. You can start a collective moment. There are many good people, and a very few people who cause disturbance, but their influence looks like they are many. You come together and you will find what difference you can make.
Q: Is there any maximum limit to how much we can meditate?
Sri Sri: Just do as much is necessary. There is no need to do too much. Meditation is like taking a bath. To wash the mind, you need meditation. And once the mind is clean, you will be well. You take shower in the morning to clean your body. After that you do all the daily activities. You don’t have to keep on taking a shower throughout the day. It is like that. You meditate and calm your mind, then go on with other activities.
Q: Guruji I want to know how to have harmonious relation with juniors and at the same time take work from them?
Sri Sri: Create a sense of belongingness with your juniors. You know that they respect you and you need to be cordial with them. Respect needs some distance, this distance is good but that should be of an arm’s length and not longer than that. A little distance is ok to keep the respect among your juniors but too much distance will bring a breakdown in communication. You need to maintain that balance. A little bit distance needs to be there so that respect is maintained at the same time communication is cordial.
Q: Do you feel Ayurveda is the most comprehensive of traditional healthcare systems and could you explain what Ayurveda is as well?
Sri Sri: Ayurvedic medicines have been proven to be have no side effects at all and have been practiced for thousands of years. So I feel we have to take the diagnostic systems from allopathy and there are other modern gadgets we have to use. But as far as treating the patients, once the diagnosis is done, it [Ayurveda] seems to be working very well. Again, you know, we can't be very fanatical about any system. We have to have a holistic approach to health because if we are fanatically attached to any one system, I think we will not be benefited the most. Definitely Ayurveda, I feel, has been time tested for many ages and it has helped millions of people keep their health. You know, there are people who are living healthily for 100 years, or for over 100 years, and their health is sustained by just Ayurveda - in many parts of the Himalayan region, in Tibet, in Southern India. It's amazing how it works if you follow certain principles, not just the medicine aspect of it, but also the lifestyle - how you eat, what you eat, when you fast, and how much water to drink. I think it's most valuable, though it has to undergo more research and scientific up-grading for today's world.
Q: If whatever we do is in search of happiness, then why is there so much pain and misery in the world?
Sri Sri: There is a story of Mullah Nasserudin. His wife was pregnant and the time of delivery had come. But the baby was not coming out. When doctor told this to Mullah Nasserudin, he ran to the market, bought a toy, and kept that toy in front of her wife. He said, “After all this is my child, so he will surely come out with greed”. Whole our life we keep on running behind things with the hope of getting something. We keep on looking for some kind of profit. How would such person experience happiness? Neither does a greedy person get happiness nor does a person who is bombarded with too many desires. The one who relaxes in his consciousness, is happy. One who is centered, experiences the true happiness. I am not saying there is no happiness in the outer world, but the happiness you get when you go within is incomparable. The world is running in search of happiness. The body gets baked, the mind gets baked, the intellect gets deluded but still we keep on getting stuck in the same repetitive cycle. When you meet the Guru, you come to know that you are the source of happiness. Then the mind calms down, and you realize that you are the one in whose search you kept on running here and there.
Q: I have heard of many people benefitting from Ayurveda. Can you please talk about that?
Sri Sri: We definitely need to adopt certain things from Ayurveda. Lots of thoughts disturb us when there is stomach disorder. When vatta or pitta in body gets imbalanced, too many thoughts arise in mind. There is a ayurvedic medicine, Triphla, which balances the three Imbalances in the body. It is good to take Triphla for 1 - 2 months. You can take 1, 2 tablets, or a spoon of Triphla churna before going to bed. It increases energy level in body. Vitamin C also provides you immunity. Sometimes allopathic doctors prescribe medicines for 15-20 days for stomach disorders, and that adversely affects liver and body. There is Devati which you can take. It is very effective in curing fever also. Ayurveda has the specialty of correcting disorders and diseases without any side effect. And hence we should adopt Ayurveda. All these are home remedies and one should keep these with oneself. And if at some time, some disease prolongs then one should definitely consult doctor.
Q: In one of your talks ‘Journey towards Enlightenment’ you said we are born with innocence and we move towards intellect, we are born with heart, feelings and emotions, and we move towards head and thoughts. Enlightenment is reverse journey from head to heart, from intellect to innocence. But the heart is in a mess, so confused. So where is the question of seeking enlightenment when it is so confused and so emotional because the heart is where all problem starts.
Sri Sri: Heart without wisdom is a market place of problems. That is why you have to go to your head and bring wisdom into your heart. Everything has a place. Wisdom, knowledge has its own place. Intellectual discussion has its own place. This is an intellectual discussion that we are doing. And your emotions have a place. It is beautifully said in the Bhagwad Geeta ‘Nastibudhi rayutaya, najayuktasya bhavna’ naja bhavyata shanti, ashantasya kutah sukha’ Mahatma Gandhi used to chant this daily and made his followers also do the same in their prayers. When you are not united with your spirit, your intellect can’t be sharp, is not complete and your feelings are ruffled. But when you are united with your spirit, your intellect becomes sharp and alert and your feelings blossom flawlessly like flowers. When you don’t have feelings, you can’t have peace, and how can you be happy if peace is not there. This is what Krishna asked Arjuna in Bhagwad Geeta: Where is happiness if there is no peace, if one is disturbed.
Q: I want to quit addiction to intoxicants and have come to you with a lot of hope.
Sri Sri: Good. You have come to the right place. If you wish to get rid of a bad habit then there are only three ways for it. The first is your love for knowledge, the Divine or some dear one - whether parents or Guru. By promising some dear one that you will quit the habit, you will be able to get rid of it. This is the best way out. The second way is greed. If you will not consume intoxicants for six months, then you will get ten million rupees, or that your luck will shine and you will succeed in everything. The third is fear - if one day you do consume intoxicants, then you will suffer a loss of one million, or you will have to suffer from a major ailment. If such a greed or fear enters you, even then you will be rid of your addiction. Along with these three ways, do yoga and pranayama. The best is that along with yoga and sadhana (spiritual practices), you take a vow that you will not indulge in addictions. Take a vow for forty days, then six months and then a year. After that, you would have come out of the habit and won’t look back at it.
Q: Dear Guruji, I noticed that I am unconsciously always comparing myself with others. Tell me how to stop it please?
Sri Sri: If you are unconsciously stopping it, it will unconsciously stop also. Why do you consciously want to stop? Let it be. Got it? Your trying to stop it consciously becomes a problem. You get stuck. So just relax. Just relax and continue more meditation, more Advanced and Silence programmes. These will de-program you from that thing.
Q: What is the role of surrender in fulfillment of desires? And what is the difference between desires and intentions? Which is more important – putting effort or relying on the God?
Sri Sri: There are two schools of thought. One is you visualize dream and work for it. Other school of thought says surrender everything to God, whatever God gives you is the best, and God will take care of everything for you. Where is the compatibility? They appear to be completely opposite. One is your own visualization, your own dream and your perseverance, and another is having trust in God and leaving everything on God. They appear to be incompatible but I would say they are very much compatible. It is good to have an intention or a goal. You don’t need to keep on visualizing your goal 24*7. But continuing to work for that, you leave it to the Divine. Only the combination of two will work. It is beautifully described in scriptures: You take a vision or goal and then you offer it to the Divine while working for that – “This is what I want and you know what is best for me. If this or anything better, I am ready to accept.” Sometimes you don’t know what you want. If you know what you want, it is not difficult to get it. Half the time we are unsure of what we want. Often you find if you are persistent to get something, you don’t want the same thing the next week, the next month or the next year. So, before you take an intention, you expand your awareness. So, put an intention in the universe - I want this or anything better. Now, what is the difference between a desire and an intention? Suppose you want to go to Mumbai from Bangalore. You buy a ticket and travel for around three hours and go there. But you don’t keep chanting in your mind all this time that you want to go to Mumbai and you are going to Mumbai. You may even land up in a mental Hospital like this! Desire is the feverishness that clogs on to an intention. An intention is a desire free from feverishness. And then working towards your intention, this faith is to be there that whatever nature brings back is for my growth.