Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: How can I free myself from fears that seem to have settled into me years ago? I know they are irrational and just in my head. Yet they come up over and over again. They are distracting and feel binding to me!
Sri Sri: Meditate! Sit quietly and meditate, or listen to some chanting music. All this will help. Meditation, some pranayama, kriya, some excercises, ujjayi breath are very good for fears. Don’t think that fear is somewhere deep inside you. It is an erroneous notion of Psychology that fear and guilt are deep down. I tell you, deep down there is only a lot of joy; a lot of bliss. And in that centre – no fear, no guilt, no anger, no lust can touch you. Deep down you are wonderful. So, never think you have all these anxieties. Those who say that there is something wrong deep down are blind. It is all there just on the surface. If they call that deep, then I will suggest going deeper. In the centre of your being, you are a fountain of joy.
Q: How can one balance household duties, business and service?
Sri Sri: How do you balance a bike? When you fall more to the left, you bend right, and when you are falling more to the right, you bend to your left. There is no theory, you just do it. It balances automatically. It pinches one if one doesn't do service at all and is always bothered about oneself. If you are in your senses, it will pinch you, otherwise one is not human. If you are not touched by others' misery then you are not human but stone. Similarly, if one is only into social service, then also it bothers
Q: Between karma and good luck, which is more important? Does our karma play any role in deciding one’s luck?
Sri Sri: When you are in front of the television, do you listen to the voice first or watch the screen? They happen simultaneously, isn’t it? In the same way, both karma and luck are important. When we perform appropriate actions, then we become fortunate. When we have good fortune, then our actions are fruitful.
Q: Dear Guruji, I heard and understood the truth, but it is not my experience, please help me realize the truth . Yours truly.
Sri Sri: Good! Good to be in space of, “I don’t know”, then you have a chance of knowing. If you think, you know then you are stuck with the concept. In the Upanishad, it is beautifully said, “one who says, ‘I don’t know’, he knows, and the one who says he knows, doesn’t know!” The space of ‘I don’t know’ opens the field of all possibilities for you.
Q: Please speak about what will happen in the year 2012. Is the world going to end?
Sri Sri: The year 2012 is a fascination. It has become such a sensation. No news is good news till it has become a sensation. We will have more work to do. People will become more spiritual. It will become a necessity and not merely a fashion. The Golden Age is already here.
Q: Sometimes I feel tired of doing service. I feel like stopping then. I also feel frustrated then. Guruji, Why does this happen, and what should I do when I face this?
Sri Sri: When your body and mind are tired, you should relax then. Don’t get stuck with the thoughts of doing service at that time. Relax and meditate.
Q: Can you say something about how to make a relationship last?
Sri Sri: There are various ways but the best is intuitive, your intuition. If in the relationship, both come from the point of giving then there will be no problem. But if both want to take, there will be fights for sure. ‘I am here to contribute, what I can do for you?’ - With this attitude, your relationship will last longer.
Q: How do I overcome and move beyond having too much physical desires?
Sri Sri: It depends on what is your age. If you are a teenager or just out of teenage, then it is quite but natural. There is nothing you can do about it. Keep yourself busy. If you have too much free time, only sex will occupy the mind. Have you noticed in your exam times, or when you are too busy, or you have to take a challenge, or you are going on a sports trip, or when your mind is occupied and engaged, then sex is not a big issue, it is not so compelling. But when you are too free, that is when it takes over the seat. Now, sex is not bad, but the obsession is horrible. One type of sex is when you try to satisfy, and if you do not get satisfied, there is another type that starts happening. So many different distortions and tendencies would come up in the mind. The best thing is to do pranayama. Pranayama helps. Then, watching your food will help. If you eat too much, so much energy is there, and it needs an outlet to go somewhere. And if you are not creative, then it definitely takes the other root. So, a little bit say on the food. It is said if you cannot control your tongue, you can never control your genitals, because your tongue and genitals are connected. Sex and food are very much linked. So, your obsession can be controlled if your food is lighter and moderate in amount. Pranayama can help you to control excessive tendencies. Music and dance will help. Some creative art, painting, writing story, and appreciating beauty will help. When you are more happy, inclination towards sex is less. But if you are miserable, restless and unhappy then inclination towards sex is much more. So, by all these things and keeping yourself busy, you can sail through the tough time. Because when you indulge in it, later on you don’t like it, and not going into sex makes you completely nuts.
So, you are in a limbo sort of state. This is very difficult in teenage time; there is no way out of it other than keeping someone very very busy. And the middle age crisis! I am analyzing all these different age groups when one has to overcome these hurdles. Still, if none of these works, just wait for the time. As you grow older, it will simply disappear. You know, time will take care of it. When you are 60, 70 or may be 80, sometime it has to drop of you. Mind, sometime, will become cool. At least then, something will wake up from within.
Q: There are many things in my life which I think are not ok. I don’t know what to do about these things
Sri Sri: When you say, ‘It’s not ok, it’s not ok’, the seed of ‘not ok’ is not letting your mind to relax. When do you go to bed? When everything is ok, and when there is comfort. When you are hanging on to the discomfort, how can you ever be comfortable? You have to accept things as they are. ‘It’s not ok, it’s not ok’ keeps you all outside. Those imperfections are there for a cause or purpose. It is going to be ok, it will take some time. Things are ok the way they are now, They will be ok in the future Whatever happened in the past was ok. When you understand this, you relax and in that relaxation you can meditate. When you want to retire, its nivriti but when you want to come out (of rest) its pravritti. Then you can act. When you are tired but you are hanging on to what is not ok - then you cannot retire. When you have to chill out, what do you say? ‘Everything is perfect,’ otherwise you can’t chill, you can’t act! It is neither pravritti, nor nivriti. Dhyan yoga is nivriti, Karma yoga is pravritti. Most people are hanging onto the ‘not ok’ and are unable to relax, to enjoy life, to chill, to be creative. They are holding onto the seed of ‘not ok’. That person, this situation, the government, the administration - everything is not ok. Then it comes to you - I am not ok. Subtly, it reflects on you that you are not OK. Then you don't like that feeling, and to cover that up, you make up many justifications and the mind is all confused. If tamogun is too much, you don't know the pravritti or the nivriti. When there is Satva, then we know what to act, when to act, whether to act or not. When Rajogun prevails then its half way through - you regret and act. Many of us act and then we regret. Mother scolds her child, regrets it and then becomes nice. In Satva, you don't regret, you retire and relax, there is clarity. In Rajogun, there is confusion and chaos. In Tamogun, there is total inertia and lethargy. There is no strict border between the three gunas. It is very fluid, one flows into another.
Q: There are dilemmas in life, and I lack decision making power. What should be done?
Sri Sri: Wherever there is duality(dvait), there will be a dilemma. Whenever you are in daily activities (vyavahar), there will be dilemma. There is no choice, accept it.