Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: : Gurudev, how do you release guilt?
Sri Sri: Whenever a mistake has happened, that moment you were not knowledgeable, you were not aware. Your mind was not big. You were in your small mind. So acknowledge this and move on.
Again, Sudarshan Kriya and meditation will help you to get over this.
Q: Gurudev, what if someone gets angry with you? What do you do?
Sri Sri: Oh, you know, when I was a little older than you, I was teaching meditation. And there was an older man, who was a meditation teacher, and he was also teaching meditation, but people wouldn’t go to him, in spite of many advertisements.
I would just sit and people would come and want to learn from me.
Then one day, he got upset and angry, and he came to me with so much anger. He started saying all sorts of things. I just took some water in a glass and kept it in front of him.
I said, ‘Please drink water. I feel you are straining yourself’, and then he just became so quiet. He couldn’t speak a word afterwards.
I saw all his neck nerves getting so stiff, and his body getting so stiff. I thought something might happen to him. I did nothing wrong but he was so upset, because people were coming to sit in front of me and learn meditation. So, I just watched how he got angry.
You know, I have never said one bad word in all these 56 years. Till now, I have not used any foul words against anyone, it never comes. Even when I was young, I never used any foul words. I don’t know why, perhaps it is the makeup of this body and mind. But what I am saying is when somebody is angry at you, what you can do is either you get angry or you just be quiet. Just watch them, and then tell them, ‘Peace.’
Q: Gurudev, what are the methodologies that I need to use to overcome inefficiency at my workplace? I have many people who are unable to cope up with the client's expectation. This sometimes makes me really angry.
Sri Sri: Do you know why people don’t perform their jobs well, or learn slowly? This is because their mind is clouded. They have not rested well. They have no security inside them, and they are not happy.
Teach them meditation. When they meditate, when they do a little breathing and meditation, they find calmness, happiness, and peace, and then they will be able to do so much better.
Meals and meditation; make this part of your company. With some meditation, the mind relaxes and it becomes sharp, alert, and more energetic to do work. That is how it works.
So meditation definitely helps to bring more productivity.
Q: What is the relationship between meditation and God? I have read about the Advaita philosophies.
Sri Sri: If you think God is truth, beauty and love; yes, they are connected.
If God is the summum-bonum (highest good) of the whole creation, if the entire creation is made up of one thing, that one energy can be called God. It is what everything is made up of and it is connected to everything.
There is not one thing in the world that is not connected to God.
However, if you think God is a person sitting up there, somewhere, trying to give you a finger so you can catch hold of him, and then he goes away; that sort of God has nothing to do with what we are talking about.
If you see God as an energy, as a presence, as love, (love is the nearest emotion the human mind can comprehend), as that huge field of energy, then yes, there is no escape from it for anyone. We are all in it and will be in it. We were in it; and even if we are not there, it will be there.
Q: How do we overcome heartache and find true love?
Sri Sri: Oh, if your heart is broken, see life from a bigger picture.
Before somebody broke your heart, then also you were alive, and now also you are alive, and life will go on.
There are seven billion people on this planet. And there are all types of people there. You got into somebody who is in the habit of breaking hearts. So never mind, move on.
You know, people come, they play their part in your life and they go. This is the world. Don’t be stuck to any one person or one thing that keeps bothering you. Be free!
Q: Is meditation the most effective way of harmonizing that relationship?
Sri Sri: Any technique will have to lead you to meditation.
There is only one way to quench your thirst, i.e., by liquids. Only liquids can quench your thirst, right? It can be any liquid, but it has to be liquid, right? So, meditation is a state which is not waking, sleeping or dreaming; it is the fourth state, where your body is restful, and mind is alert.
Prayer and meditation are very close. In prayer, you are thanking or asking for something; whereas, from a layman’s point of view, in meditation, one is ready to listen. So, you could call meditation a higher form of prayer.
Meditation is a state of the mind; it is not just a process. It is also the final product.
Q: How does one know if it is false enlightenment, or one is really enlightened?
Sri Sri: There is nothing called false enlightenment.
Enlightenment is there in your nature. Just like there is rice inside the paddy, knowledge is there within, you just need to remove the skin. Once this skin is removed, you will feel that you are not the body but the infinite. The mind is happy, content, and if you bless anyone, it will manifest.
Q: Gurudev, why should we love a terrorist?
Sri Sri: I am not saying you should love terrorists. You have to accept terrorists. Only when you accept him can you bring a transformation in him or her.
These are people who are misguided. They never had an opportunity of education in love, in compassion and in non-violence. So we need to open doors for them to learn, and we need to have compassion for them. This is what I am saying.
If they had this education, they would never have become terrorists. This is our experience, because when we taught courses in the prison, those people said, ‘If we had this knowledge, if we had done Sudarshan Kriya before, our life would have been different.’
Q: What is the state of enlightenment? How does one feel at that time? Can one still perform all their duties in world?
Sri Sri: Just like a child again. And yes, one can perform anything, just as normal.
Q: Gurudev, we see daily images of violence, bloodshed, and people suffering. What can we do to help those people?
Sri Sri: It can be done only through wisdom. It is through knowledge that we can tackle this problem in the world. That is why we started The Art of living and IAHV.
You know, I would be very happy just sitting and meditating all day. Happily I could have been in one place. Why do I go all around the world? It is so that the suffering of people can be reduced. Why have I formed an organization? It is so that we can help others to be at peace with themselves. That is why we have seva, sadhana, and satsang. All these three have to be together.
I see the whole world as one family, and I know everybody is part of me. So I will keep doing what I need to do. Similarly, you keep doing what you can do, and know that there is a big power which is in control of everything. Do not get stressed about it.