Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: How do I get over addictions?
Sri Sri: Love, fear and greed. If you have an alcohol and cigarette addiction, and I tell you that you will get one million dollars if you don’t smoke for one month, you will stop. Won’t you? Greed can check your bad habit. If you promise someone love, even then they will get over addictions. There is a Catholic tradition as well as in India, that of confession. You confess and say, ”This is my habit, how can I change it?” Third is fear. If I say, you will die in a month if you do this, you will not do it. Fear can stop an addiction. I prefer love over other two.
Q: Is little bit of ego ok?
Sri Sri: If you recognize that you have ego, for God's sake don’t try to get rid of it. If you get rid of your ego, that itself will become the cause of a bigger ego trip. So if you find that there is ego, just keep it in your pocket. You know the only antidote for ego is being natural, or naturalness. Why do you want to get rid of your ego? Because it bothers you. More than others, your ego is bothering you. You are constrained, restrained and uncomfortable. You feel others don’t respect you or you are better than others. You compare yourself with others. So I would say, if you find that there is ego in you, let it be. We will not meddle with it. If it comes, let it come.
Q: How do you balance confidence with humility?
Sri Sri: Confidence and arrogance do not go together. With true confidence, you are relaxed, you feel at home and you make others feel at home. When you are arrogant, you try to show people that you are better than them. There are two types of teachers. The first type makes you feel small or inadequate so that you learn to feel large or adequate. The second type of teachers will tell you that you are great, you wake up; you can do a lot. Both are essential in different circumstances.
Q: How to find forgiveness within myself?
Sri Sri: Why struggle to forgive? Hold onto it for this lifetime and the next lifetime. You do not need to do anything which is difficult. Forgiveness is easy. Inside every criminal there is someone crying for forgiveness. Someone who does injustice never had the opportunity to grow spiritually. Spiritual education is so essential to bring about the human qualities.
Q: If love is all around us, why do we seek far and wide to find it?
Sri Sri: Because you don’t know it. Once you know it, you won’t search.
Q: Praying for peace does not seem to work. Is there a more practical way to achieve peace?
Sri Sri: Praying for peace does work! In 2004, there was a war between India and Pakistan. The chief of the Indian army called me and asked me to pray for the soldiers. We prayed for both the sides. The war did not happen at all. Action, education and prayer are all necessary for peace.
Q: Why do good people suffer?
Sri Sri: Everyone has something good in them and everyone has something foolish in them. And it is because of the foolishness that you suffer.
Q: What is your biggest wish? What can I do to get closer to your heart?
Sri Sri: You are already close to my heart. I want more children to be educated in spirituality, to create a violence- free and stress- free society. We need to globalize wisdom. There are one thousand of us here. If we each sponsor a child, we would do a great service. Do service. Donate 2% of your income. It would be of immense benefit to you and them.
Q: It seems people are more sad than happy. How is there a God?
Sri Sri: Read “Celebrating Silence” and “Celebrating Love.” God is the Generator, Operator and Destroyer. Some people have a wrong understanding of God. Our understanding of God is that he is omnipotent, waits for you to make a mistake and then gets angry. But no, God has given you intelligence and the discriminative power. This is established in the laws of nature. Animals do not violate the laws of nature, they do not have indigestion. Forests do not make mistakes unless man meddles with it. In which everything has come up, exists and dissolves – That is God. God is space. That space which you experience in meditation.
Q: How do I get over my fear of losing a loved one?
Sri Sri: Through meditation.