Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: What advice would you give to a skeptical non-believer?
Sri Sri: A very good beginning point. See that you don’t become cynical and frustrated. Skepticism is perfectly alright, but not cynicism. That drains your energy. One can be skeptical to begin one’s journey and I would very much appreciate and welcome that. Because you would have gone through skepticism, the faith will be strongly built.
Q: Guruji, I appreciate the Sun and the Moon and the Nature, why can’t God appreciate when I do something good?
Sri Sri: He doesn't appreciate you, because he knows you can do better. If he starts appreciating you every moment, then your desire to perform better will not be there.
Knowledge Byte:Truth is that which does not change. Examine your life and identify all that changes as "not truth." With this outlook, you will find that you are surrounded by only untruth.
When you identify untruth, then you will become free from it. When you do not identify the untruth, you cannot become free from it. Your own experiences in life make you identify your own untruth.
As you mature in life, you find everything is untruth - events, situations, people, emotions, thoughts, opinions, concepts, your body - everything is untruth. It is only then that Satsang – the company of truth - happens in the real sense. A mother cannot see the child as untruth until the child becomes an adult. For a baby, sweetness is not untruth, and for a teenager, sex is not untruth.
Knowledge is untruth if it is only words. But as existence, it is truth. Love as an emotion is not truth; as existence, it is truth.
Q: Krishna tells Arjuna - Don’t think you’re killing them - they’re already dead. If a terrorist also gives you the same reason in the name of their faith or religion, what would you say?
Sri Sri: These are completely different situations and you cannot mix them up. A terrorist does with hatred, with ignorance, right? You cannot take a policeman or an army man and a terrorist as same. They both shoot with guns, but a policeman does it for a different reason and a terrorist does it for an entirely different reason. The intention, the state of mind, is totally different. That is why Arjuna was told, “Fight the war for justice, but not with anger, hatred, jealousy or greed. Do it to protect the dharma, the righteousness.”
Q: They say we must dare to dream big. But what follows is desire. How does one handle this desire?
Sri Sri: With discrimination! Desires just come up. You should have your dreams but remain grounded.
Q: Does the cycle of life and death never end?
Sri Sri: The whole world is like that. It’s all spherical: everything moves in cycles. You have to come back, but you have a choice. If you are born out of compulsion then it's the same old story again and again. But if you get liberated, then you have the choice and the will to be born when you want. When you come back liberated, it is joyful.
Q: Why aren’t you hitting the world just like that? Why so slow?
Sri Sri: You all need a job too!
Q: Guruji, how come you radiate so much peace and serene beauty?
Sri Sri: Because you are beautiful too, that’s why I appear peaceful to you. If you were not beautiful then you would know nothing about my beauty. Whatever quality you have, only that gets projected onto the world outside. So, what you see in me, take that as your own. If you don't feel beautiful, become beautiful. What is stopping you? Become that.
Q: Is there such a thing life after death? If there is no life after death what is the meaning of our existence?
Sri Sri: It is good to have some suspense!
Q: Guruji, telling the truth causes problems outside and telling lie creates problems inside? What to do?
Sri Sri: Solve the problem. Problems are to be seen as challenges. Someone who is brave like challenges and you are brave, I tell you.
Q: In the Isha Vasya Upanishad it is said, “tena tyaktena bhunjitha” enjoy the world by renouncing. How can we do this?
Sri Sri: This is a skill! If there is no feverishness, it happens. Have you seen how a child behaves when he sees chocolates? He eats a couple, then stuffs some in one pocket and tries stuffing more in the other. The child is in a frenzy. An adult does not have this feverishness. When such feverishness for the objects is missing, then only you actually enjoy the object of senses.
You experience, you enjoy, but without craving for it, knowing that the joy comes from within you. The object is only a reflection. When you realize that joy is within and not in the object outside then only you can enjoy.
This is little profound and it clicks to a mature mind.