Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: I want to contribute towards the environment…
Sri Sri: Do u have balcony in your flat? Take a pot, and add some tomatoes, coriander, chillies. Grow it.
Q: I find the past very painful.
Sri Sri: The past should be viewed as destiny. If you think you had a choice in the past, the present will be spoiled because you regret the past. Continued regret about the past creates a lot of toxins in the body, and hence adversely affects the future.
Past is destiny, done. And future is your freedom. In our teachings, we have karma and purushratha - what you need to do is - See the past as destiny, the future as free will, and live in the present moment.
Or make the past as free will, the future as destiny, and crib in the present moment! (Audience laughs)
Q: How to increase intelligence and how to be more creative?
Sri Sri: To increase intelligence, you need to observe some silence. Silence is the mother of all invention. Silence is the basis of intelligence. Take out few moments and observe some silence. Time to time, silence will increase all our ability. Our senses will become sharp, mind becomes more alert. You become more intelligent, you are aware about what you are speaking, and your intuition becomes so much better.
Q: My mind goes all over, even when I’m doing pooja/worship.
Sri Sri: It is Ok. See, it is not the best when the mind wanders in all directions. But you have got into the habit of sitting with yourself every day. That way sometime you will get into meditation and a samskara (impression) has been formed. With time, mind will also start to get centered.
What seems like a problem today will be OK, it has to be OK.
We sit for pooja, along with flowers even leaves and thorns are offered. So, it means that we accept life with balance, whether there are flowers, thorns, fruits, leaves and surrender everything.
Q: Is the concept of anatma (no soul) true? Modern neuroscientists are in agreement with this idea. Please tell us what the truth is.
Sri Sri: Lord Buddha said, “I went in meditation, I searched and searched and searched for the soul, I could not find it. So there is no soul, there is no atma.” That become anatmavad. He said everything is hollow and empty. There is no soul, there is no person, no entity. It is all nothing, everything is nothing. This is what Lord Buddha propounded.
Then, after sometime Sri Adishankara came. He said Ok, You didn’t find anybody. Right? But who experienced that nothingness. Who experienced that there is no self? Who searched and found that there is no self?
Someone must have searched; someone said there is no self. That is the self. That is how using the same logic of Buddha, Sri Adishankara brought back the Vedic wisdom back into India.
From Kerela to Kashmir, from Gujrat to Orissa to Kamagya, he travelled to these areas and that became India. The Self is like the space. It is not an entity or an object. In fact, what lord Buddha said and what Adishankara said, there is not much difference, only one change, a flip in thinking - Buddha says it is all nothing, Adishankara says it is all fullness, everything is full, every single inch of space is filled with knowledge and information.
He says this entire universe is consciousness and consciousness is true infinity, wisdom and information. That is why great scientists like Albert Einstein appreciated this so much. Einstein said reading Bhagwad Geeta transformed his whole life. What the scientists are saying today about the black hole, dark matter, dark energy, all has been said long time back.
If you listen to a quantum physicist and also to Vedanta, you will feel they are talking the same thing.
Q: I am unable to fulfill my commitments.
Sri Sri: What you can fulfil, focus on that! Be happy you fulfilled two commitments today. Next time go on with three, four..., focus on that.
Q: What are the three main things which have led to the success of the ‘Art of Living’?
Sri Sri: Sincerity of purpose, inclusive attitude (all inclusiveness, no one is outside of us, sense of belongingness), and God’s grace!
Q: What’s the role of pain and suffering in life?
Sri Sri: Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional
Q: Is there a limit for tolerance?
Sri Sri: Sky is the limit. If someone is doing injustice, don’t tolerate yet don’t react. Respond to it. Reaction is when you just do it without being aware of it. When there is injustice, plan properly and counter it with awareness. I am not telling you to tolerate if somebody does any injustice.
With skill, see how you can educate them. Tolerating means giving others sometime to improve. Somebody’s behavior is creating pain for you and you want to give them some time to improve, this is tolerance.
Then educate them with this idea that what they are doing is going to harm them and so, they must be educated. And then ignore because you cannot correct everyone on the planet. Some people are that way. If you go on thinking about them, then you will be spoiling your own peace of mind. So tolerate, educate, ignore and don’t react but respond.
Q: What is the rule to be reborn? Who maintains records of all human beings? Why don’t we remember anything about our non-physical form?
Sri Sri: It is not very difficult to know. You can do the eternity process and you could know.