Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Is genetically modified food really dangerous?
Sri Sri: The scientists, who are not employed by these companies, will tell you. The scientists who are not employee of these seed companies can give you the right opinion.
Q: How do we know that our past karmas have been burnt?
Sri Sri: Just assume it. Just like assuming, 'I am free' makes one free. Believing that past karma has been burnt makes it so.
Q: I would like to know about your views on this wonderful time on the planet when service is accelerated and technology is connecting the world, when we have the opportunity to make this world one world family, when teachings from the teachers like you are spreading all over the planet and we have a chance to evolve spiritually. At the same time, planet is facing dangers that the old ecological and political structures are not sustainable anymore. We are coming to a choice point where we are ending one paradigm and accelerating in a spiritual paradigm. Also so many souls are incarnated at this time. And wonderful events are happening like this to accelerate that. Would you please speak on that?
Sri Sri: I think I have said it all. All the lines between different disciplines are blurred now. I remember when I was in school there was a thick line of difference between physics and chemistry, and they were thought not to be connected. Today, whether it is astrophysics, physics, knowledge about the spirit or information technology, all have come together. Environment and spirituality are not two different things. Perhaps the ancient people of this country knew this. They worship the trees, mountains, rivers etc in nature. And it is true for all native civilizations in the world. They honored nature. They took care that they care for nature and progress and development was aligned with the sustainable conditions on planet Earth. The most needed thing today is – Globalizing wisdom. There are two types of calamities – one is natural calamities like earthquakes. And second is man - made calamities. Man - made calamities can be overcome by wisdom and a Cultural Revolution, and by spreading this knowledge of one world family. We are anyway one. There is no two. Natural calamities can be overcome by caring for the planet, planting more trees, preserving water, by spiritual energy and with the thought that you are one with the vishavatma(Universal soul). An intention or thought that you are one with the vishatma and a little attention manifests itself.
Q: How does one stop the flow of negative thoughts?
Sri Sri: Negative thoughts are due to three reasons. If your blood circulation is not good, if the lymphatic system is not ok or if bowel movement is irregular. In all these cases negative thoughts are likely. You can go on a fruit diet and cleanse your intestines. Then, pranayama will help. Take Triphala (an ayurvedic supplement) for a few days. Do yoga, pranayama and meditation. You will definitely find a difference. Spiritual practices will also help.
Q: My mind always travels to many things. I do have jealousy and hatred with my own people. I know it’s not right, how do I control the mind that takes me away and never leaves me good. Please help me Guruji, I hope that from today I will have good feelings and peace of mind. I want to be a different person, I’m sick and tired already.
Sri Sri: I think you have too much free time on your hands. Just get into doing something good for the world, some service projects, something. The mind is like that, sometimes up and sometimes down. You like something, next day you don’t like it. Who cares! If you’re caring for your emotions too much, you will be nowhere. One day you feel good, another day you don’t feel good. Again the same thing! So the mind goes up and down. Centeredness is knowing that you are much more than your mind, than your emotions, and mind plays tricks. Just imagine you are a mother and the mind is the baby. Sometimes the mother agrees with the baby, sometimes not. Sometimes the child cries and the mother will attend to the baby. At other times she will let it cry for a little while. Don’t be bothered by this all of the time. See how much harmony you can bring into others.
It’s our responsibility; each one of us should take responsibility to create an uplifting atmosphere, one of positivity. Once you are centered than you become a source of inspiration, a source of joy, a source of peace to everyone. So we have to think, “so what?” Not every time, everything goes according to what we want, so then we say “so what?” and if “so what” doesn’t help then “so hum” (the Sudarshan Kriya taught in the ‘Art of Living’ courses) definitely helps. A combination of “so what” and “so hum” puts you on a higher platform.
Q: Despite so much research there’s not yet a cure for HIV. Is there any hope and what is your message to those afflicted with HIV?
Sri Sri: Those who are living with HIV and AIDS must remember that we are all going to lose our body one way or another. Everybody is going to die. Now lift your eye above this body consciousness to know your spirit. Spirit has no disease. Spirit is beyond it. Keep your mind alive, energetic, loving and happy. People with disease die and people with no disease also die. Sometimes they die out of nowhere. Sometimes sick people live longer and many times healthy people suddenly die. All possibilities are there. So, know that you are more than the body. You are consciousness. You are light. Honor that light. Please don’t sit and brood over it. Look ahead and engage your life in educating others who are not informed about HIV. And instead of seeking solace, become a giver of solace to others.
“When the essence of religion and spirituality are universal human values, it is vital that we drop
our miniscule identities, join hands and take bigger responsibilities to make this world free of
disease, stress and social evils.”
Q: How does one handle fear of death?
Sri Sri: If you isolate and think only of yourself then you will have the fear of death. Once you are in service, there is no fear of death. Terrorists are committed to something so they are not afraid of life or death. If you want to do good for others, your commitment to it will take care of this fear.
Q: I was wondering what exactly the mind is. Is it a little space in our brain or is it universal? And yes, I want to tell you that you rock.
Sri Sri: Mind is energy which is all over the body. See, every cell in your body is emitting some energy and the totality of all that energy around you is what you call the mind. Mind is not present at some point in the brain, but mind is all over the body. There is so much deep knowledge about consciousness; we should sometime go much deeper into it. We will understand more. The more you understand, the more wonder-struck you are. Wow!
You know, people have phantom hand, that means they really don’t have a hand, but they feel they have a hand, and they feel sensations like itching or paining in that hand. People who have lost their hand or leg in a war or accident, later sometimes, they feel they have a phantom hand or a leg. Though, they don’t have it physically. That explains or gives a clue that the mind is not just in one spot, it is all around the body. The aura of body is mind. We think that mind is inside the body, it is the other way around - Body is inside the mind. Body is like the wick of the candle and mind is like the glow all around.
Q: What are effects of Past life karma on the present life? I feel I have done sins in past.
Sri Sri: Don’t waste your energy thinking too much on past life karmas. Use your energy to come out of the present problems. ‘Om Namah Shivaye’ mantra, pranayama, Satsang.. – All these take care of your previous karmas. Surrender all your sins and move further in life.
Q: Why do negative feelings like regret and frustration exist? Has anything productive ever come out of them? And if not, what is the way to turn these emotions into productive one?
Sri Sri: You should read ‘Celebrating Silence’. I have answered all these questions there.