Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Can you equate knowledge with wisdom?
Sri Sri: When knowledge lodges itself firmly in your heart, then it is wisdom.
Q: I have gone through several relationships. I now feel detached from all relationships, but then I feel selfish. What should I do?
Sri Sri: Love can resolve all relationships. See, it does not matter that people think you are a donkey. It does not matter! Just don’t kick them and prove them right! From your side, be pleasant. Expecting nothing from anyone is the way to be happy. When we start expecting, we become miserable.
When you are sad or miserable, have the strength to sacrifice the cause of sadness. All you can pray is, “When I am happy, let me do seva; when I am sad, let me have the strength to renounce.”
A lady once asked, “Why did God make this place so sad?” So that you can turn to Him. Even though the world is so sad, you still cannot drop it! Can you imagine what would happen if it was all good? You have to turn to the Creator through the creation, recognize the Creator inside the creation. It’s like a hologram.
During moments of misery, we need the strength of sacrifice. During moments of happiness, we need to share our happiness.
Q: Are we all part of the Divine Light Source?
Sri Sri: Of course. But until it becomes your experience, keep it at the back of your mind.
Q: I think the biggest botheration I have is my laziness. I don’t feel motivated. I want to do so much.
Sri Sri: Pay someone to be after you when you are lazy. Tell them, “If I am lazy, don’t let me sit and lie down. Come get me with a stick.” Laziness goes away when you have a buddy who is after you. Your spouse would be good here (laughs)!
There are three ways to get over laziness:
One, greed. If you are greedy for something, it will take you out of laziness. If someone tells you, “If you do this pranayama for 40 days, you will get $1 million.” You will say, “I will do for 45 days, just to be sure!”
Two, fear. Fear makes people fall into hoaxes. Some hoaxes even claim to cleanse Karmas. Karmas go away when you meditate. When you are in love, and serve, Karmas are erased. It is unfortunate that people don’t know anything about spirituality - they have neither the experience nor have they read scriptures. This is where the Vedic tradition is important. So many seers laid down the rules. And then authenticated it to make sure it’s not an illusion. But people still go into hoaxes, because of fear.
Three, love. When you are deeply in love, where is the question of laziness?
If none of these three work, revert to my first option. Pay someone to be after you!
Q: During my meditations, I get sexual feelings. What do I do?
Sri Sri: This is only a stage. It happens in the beginning, when the energy is rising through the chakras. It will pass. Just observe it, honor it, and let it pass.
Q: Why did God create so many galaxies, universes, people etc? What was His purpose?
Sri Sri: Well, he couldn’t find a better job to do (smiles)!
It’s obvious - you ask someone who is playing soccer. When so many people are fighting over that little ball, if an alien comes and watches 22 people fighting over one ball, he will ask, “This world has so many things, why don’t you just give a ball to each player? They are busy falling over each other and kicking that one ball into the net, and so many people are happy about this. Why cause such a commotion? Just give them a ball and let them put it through the net.”
For an alien, this appears unintelligent and purposeless. But fans of soccer will say, “Oh we had such a fantastic time!” The one purpose of everything that man created is happiness. It is for the same purpose that God created all this. And He is enjoying it like He is watching a soccer game. No other purpose.
Q: Please comment on animal sacrifices and tongue piercing in Hinduism.
Sri Sri: Hinduism is a way of life, and it has been around for millions of years. So many practices are just interpolations or add-ons. Imagine that in the winter you have a coat. You come into the house and hang up the coat before entering the house. This then becomes a practice and a rule comes that you can enter the house even in the summer only if you have a coat to hang up. The same applies here. Animal sacrifices have no scriptural sanction. The same thing is true for tongue piercing. Even Lord Krishna says that only a fool would torture his own body.
Q: Thank you for being a part of my life. I worry that I have missed my purpose, or that my purpose is not as great as the one I hoped for.
Sri Sri: You have an important role to play in this phenomenon called Art of Living. Next year, we celebrate 30 years. Drop by drop, what so many people have done has contributed to these 30 years. Be part of satsangs, seva projects. In Haiti and India there are so many seva projects. Even in Canada, Native Americans need help. There are so many things to be done here in the Ashram.
Q: What does ayurveda have to do with meditation?
Sri Sri: Ayurveda is a complete science. It describes dincharaya (daily routine) and ritucharya (seasonal routine). Dinacharya includes meditation for balancing of the three doshas (mind or body type). The mind has an impact on the body and all its doshas and gunas (three qualities of nature: sattva, rajas and tamas). So, the mind, breath, herbs - they are all linked. Similarly, ayurveda helps one to meditate deeply. Too many thoughts indicates high pitta (one of the three doshas). So pitta must be treated. In ayurveda, combinations are referred to as ‘yoga’. For example, when two herbs are put together it is called yoga. So that concept of yoga is similar to meditation and to ayurveda.
Q: I am practicing awareness all the time. Will it bring me peace?
Sri Sri: Just be natural. For God’s sake, relax. Don’t practice awareness all the time. Awareness is essential, but don’t practice it. Even The Gita says no extremities. Just relax.
Imagine listening to music being completely aware. No, music is to be enjoyed in relaxation. Doing is always limited. This applies to anything you do, including meditation. That is why meditation is something that must be allowed to just happen.
All the techniques create a situation for the mind to experience and go beyond its limitation. Even music creates an atmosphere to boost consciousness. Music is “Laya Yoga.” Laya is dissolving. This is the highest form of Samadhi (unity with the Divine) that should also happen.
Bring a balance between awareness and this dissolution.