Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: How can I become more disciplined?
Sri Sri: Why do you want to be disciplined? It will make you happier? It will improve your fitness or health? So, it is the love for being in shape or the fear of becoming unhealthy that will keep you disciplined. Love, fear and greed bring discipline. If someone says, you will get $1 million for being disciplined in your life, that will make you so.
Q: How to get rid of hurt and anger?
Sri Sri: Do Sudarshan Kriya, breathe, sing, meditate. There is no point in brooding. Move on in life. Don’t waste today for what happened yesterday. Wake up and say, “I have the valor and the courage to overcome this.” With someone else’s anger, you must play all your tricks to calm them. Then leave it to God. Educate and ignore. Give them some time. Ask for pardon and most people will not hold the grudge. If they do, it is only out of ignorance.
Q: How do one maintain calm and cool in unpleasant situations?
Sri Sri: Every event is an opportunity to deepen your wisdom. An unpleasant event somewhere kindles the deep wisdom we are born with. Whether positive or negative, every event kindles this in us. If an event overpowers us, we lose our emotions and intellect. Then we need help. That is where communion comes in. We sit together and sing and the load is lifted off. Everyone must take some time in life to dwell on the truth. This is satsang, to be in the company of truth. Keep on encountering truth in our lives. Just a few moments can bring such peace, stability and strength.
People think this is something boring. They feel knowledge is so serious. I say follow knowledge and fun follows you, but follow fun and only misery will follow. Self-knowledge is that which makes you lighter and like a child again. It brings enthusiasm from within. That is exactly what spirituality is.
Q: How does one deal with the loss of a loved one?
Sri Sri: When a dear one is lost, just bear it. Be with that moment. Let time take you out of it. There is no “dealing” with this. Just be in the knowledge.
Q: Is there a higher purpose to art?
Sri Sri: There is no purpose to art. It is an expression of happiness. For the onlooker, art brings a sort of solace and comfort. For the creator, it is just an expression.
Q: How do I break the cycle of feeling victimized whenever I go through difficulties?
Sri Sri: You have already broken it the moment you realize the pattern. You realize it is your own mind’s making and that it has happened over and over again. This realization will come in its own time. And when this happens, be happy and grateful. Imagine where you were five or ten years back. How have you changed? How much better it has become since then. Put your attention on this. The more we are grateful, the more grace we will have in our life.
The first step to fun is relaxation. What tires you is anxiety and ambition for tomorrow. The anger and hatred of yesterday are also clogging our mind. In the same way feverishness pulls down our enthusiasm. In deep relaxation, you will find everything funny.
Q: I always run into obstacles when there is something I really want to achieve. What should I do?
Sri Sri: Whatever intention you put, that will manifest. Do not label yourself. There should be no “always.” Accept that you are unaware of your own potentiality. You may think you always have some difficulty, but thinking so is what points the intention in a negative direction. Just know that whatever you want will happen.
Q: What if we feel we have gotten more in life than we deserve and are afraid to lose it?
Sri Sri: Be grateful, prayerful. Know that whoever has given it to you, cares for you and would not take it away. Do service. Put your attention on giving back to society. This is giving back to God. If negative thoughts, insecurities, doubts come into the mind, chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. This itself will put you on the right track. Take the past as destiny and the future as free will. What was meant to happen, happened. We tend to do the reverse. People who are foolish think the past is free will and the future is destiny. This only makes you miserable in the present.
‘Om Namah Shivaya’ has been there for thousands of years. The five elements are represented there and each sound in the mantra corresponds to one of them. For instance, Om is the life force or divinity. Chanting energizes our psyche, our inner self. It is very powerful and we should chant this every day. It will keep away depression. Just try this. You will see that whenever you are low, saying ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ removes the negativity.
Q: How does one balance work and life?
Sri Sri: How do you balance on a bicycle? There is no “how.” You just do it.
Q: Please can you teach me how to be connected to the faith?
Sri Sri: Trying to connect to the faith is trying to connect to the air around you. ‘I want to be connected to the air.’ My dear, you can’t be but! You are already connected. Relax.
Why do you try to connect to air? Are you getting what I am saying? Doubt as much as you can. I would say, you should doubt as much as you can. A point comes when you no longer can doubt, the truth will stand up. Truth can never be destroyed by doubt. Do you understand what I am saying? Truth will stand. Doubt can cover it, delay it for some time, drag on for some time, but it can never destroy the truth.
Therefore, when people have doubts, I say, ‘doubt as much as you can. One day those doubts will fall off.’ If you are lucky, it will fall off immediately the way it comes. Unlucky ones hang on to it for a little longer time. That’s all. Unlucky ones will carry the garbage on their back for some long distance. Lucky ones know that they carry garbage and throw it right there. Two steps, and they drop their garbage. Otherwise one carries on the shoulder for a long distance.