Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: What is surrender? Does that mean doing nothing and letting nature do whatever it wants to?
Sri Sri: This word surrender has been used, misused and confused so many times. I think we should use some other word (laughter). Just relax, be in your element, feel the connection, have a sense of belongingness. In fact, the connection is already there, you simply have to feel it. This is a better word. What is it you have that you can surrender? Worries, anxiety, tension, and depression! And that too you don’t know how to surrender. I want to be done away with this word surrender. I want none of you to use this word hereafter. It’s like a straw out of which juice has already been taken out, like sugarcane straw that you keep chewing and nothing comes out of it. Some better word is to be used now. Let go, relax, feel connection and that’s it.
Q: Which are the most important values which can transform this universe into a heaven?
Sri Sri: Shift in our vision. This universe is already a heaven. What blocks us from perceiving it as heaven is our own mind. The mind clings on to the past or it wants perfection. It has its own ideas of perfection. This is about the universe. But if you ask me about improving the society, I think this is a question every human being should ask himself/herself. We need to have a violence-free and stress-free society. The way to such a society is Yoga, Meditation and Service.
The gentleman continues, “But I find 99.9 percent of people in the world are already good. But still that 0.1 percent dominates. Even if 10 percent people come together and say they don’t want violence and terrorism in society we can achieve this. How can this happen?”
Q: In my country most people are of the opinion that you can’t raise a child without a non - vegetarian diet, as the body will lack in amino acids and the brain won’t function properly. What should I do?
Sri Sri: Ample research has been done to the contrary of this theory. Look into that. There are millions of people who are vegetarian in the west, and they are very brilliant. In fact all the genius people in west including Einstein were vegetarian. Many of the top scientists like Novel Lorex have been vegetarian. This theory that brain doesn’t work needs to be questioned big time.
Q: What to do with negative thoughts?
Sri Sri: It is ok to have negative thoughts at times. When you think a negative thought should never arise, then you encourage it. Accept even the most negative thoughts that come to you. Then you find it is not even there. It is just dim energy.
Q: A question from someone on the ART Excel Course: When the cops or anyone in the military shoot or kill anyone in war, does it count as their good or bad karma?
Sri Sri: Let us take the policeman. A policeman is doing his job to keep peace in society, so it is not a bad thing. In the military, one who is following orders is only doing his job. The man, who gives the orders, gets the karma.
Q: I am an ‘Art of Living’ teacher. How do I feel I have done enough service? I always feel I could do more for society?
Sri Sri: Parents never feel that they have given enough to their child, especially to the girl child. The nature of love is like that. Whatever you do in love, you feel you have not done enough. Know that there is something lacking if you feel you have done enough. It is manifestation of love which makes you feel that you can do more. Love is continuous and it never ends.
Q: What is the significance of Kumbh mela?
Sri Sri: The Kumbh Mela is one of the most sacred pilgrimages in Hinduism. The word Kumbh has been derived from the Sanskrit word Kumbh meaning 'pot' or 'pitcher' and Mela means 'festival' that is why it is known as "the pitcher festival". It is a fair that energizes your mind and soul) Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ganga is a symbol of knowledge and Yamuna symbolizes love. Prayag (where Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati meet) is the unity of love and wisdom. When love and wisdom meets, celebration happens. Kumbh means coming together of saints, scholars and katha vachaks (story tellers). They participate in discussion and meditation with the sankalpa (positive intention) of universal benefit. People needn’t go to all the different places. They can all come to one place. The concept of mela started in India. Nowadays we call it expo. There are expos for motors, books, clothes to present all the products in one place. On similar concept all the saints used to congregate in one place once in 12 years. In those days transport facilities were not so extensive and traveling would take so much time. Kumbh mela provided an opportunity for people to converse and exchange knowledge with each other. If you see it from planetary perspective, Kumbh happens when Jupiter enters Aquarius. By bathing in the Ganges, the chitta (consciousness) becomes joyful. Your consciousness is purified. The sins are washed away. It's so beautiful. The sins are so superficial that just by a dip in the Ganges they can be washed away. The ever-pure consciousness can never be dirtied.
Q: Why is Krishna’s navel called Padmanabha (Solar Plexus)?
Sri Sri: Solar Plexus is second brain or mid brain. For a Yogi, Solar Plexus is larger in size. Scientists have also said this. It is small in a person who doesn’t do yoga and meditation. When solar plexus is larger, one is creative and generous. When it is smaller, one is jealous. Krishna is called Padmanabha, his Solar Plexus is like a fully blossomed flower. Padma not only means lotus, it also means flower. Fully blossomed flower is usually referred to as padma.
Q: How to be one pointed on path? There are so many distractions pulling us back.
Sri Sri: With wisdom you come back. This very question indicates you are coming back, in fact you have already come back, and you are not distracted. Through wisdom or misery you are brought back to the center. When you go away from the center, you are beaten; you start crying and then come back to your center. Wise come back to the center through wisdom. The not- so- wise face problems here and there and then come back to the center. This is the law of nature. This is how things are.
Q: There is so many violence and natural disasters happening in the world. Why does God let this all happen? If God exists then why does all this happen?
Sri Sri: You chop off some leaves and branches of plants. Don’t you prune rose plant? Does it die by pruning? It grows up. Same way nature brings all this from a bigger picture.
It is not always that ripe fruits fall from a coconut tree. Sometimes even small coconut drops off. Baby fishes are also swollen by big fishes in an ocean. So, these natural calamities are all part of the nature. If we exploit nature too much, more natural calamities occur. We are putting dynamites in the Earth. We are blasting it every day. Imbalance gets created and so Earth starts shaking. Sustainable development is what is needed today. We need to care for the planet.
Nature moves with the law. God means a rule, a law. Everything goes by that. This planet Earth has to be protected and cared for. One is natural calamity. Another is man-made calamity. Man-made calamities can always be avoided. People are not valuing human life for a little piece of gold. Human values need to be brought back into society.