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: 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: 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: How do I get over my fear of losing a loved one?
Sri Sri: Through meditation.
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 do you define success in life?
Sri Sri: Only in moments of true confidence do you recognize true success.
Q: I consulted a non ’Art of Living’ doctor, and the doctor says that tomatoes, potatoes, bell pepper and eggplant are deadly night shades, and should not be eaten. Does Sri Sri Ayurveda also prescribe this school of thought. I really love these vegetables. What to do?
Sri Sri: Don’t worry, you can have them. It is said usually but don’t just eat only those vegetables. Mix with beans, greens and lentils. You can have them but not in excess. Everything in excess is harmful. Just don’t eat them too much, and don’t make them a daily routine. Our system is strong. It can counter the ill affects of lower prana.
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: Why is it so difficult to let go and surrender the past, what should I do?
Sri Sri: Don’t do anything. Just live in the past. It’s not easy to live in the past. Accept it. Encounter it. You are in the right place. Surrendering the past is not trying to run away from it. Alright, move on. Embrace the past with both arms. It is ok to have had the experiences. Don’t be afraid of it. You can handle it. It won’t go if you are tying to avoid it or being averse to it. Somebody is making a book that describes the five levels of surrender. How do you define surrender? Surrender has been misused so many times. First type of surrender comes into play when there is failure. When you are defeated, or you are miserable, you let go. Letting go, when life is a burden or mainly associated with defeat, is one type of surrender. Another type of surrender, which happens out of love, like a mother’s love for a child. Nothing else is important to her. If it is a choice between her own pleasure and that of the child, she will choose the child’s pleasure. In a love relationship between husband and wife, they feel completely at ease, fearless, with no concerns. A mother is so attached to the child; She willingly gives up small inconveniences or pleasures because she loves the child so dearly. Third type of surender mostly happens with knowledge. There is nothing anyways. It happens when you surrender to God. Fourth type is knowing that it is an illusion. Thinking that you have to give up something which you do not have is an illusion. This is the surrender of wisdom, it is just a sense of ease, knowing it all belongs to the one. This very state of surrender leads to the same place - the small mind opening to the big Self.
Q: This is the first time you are reading my question. I get sad sometimes because I feel guys do not like me. No one has asked me out on a date or wants a relationship with me, and I do want to be in a loving relationship.
Sri Sri: Well, I have no experience. Are you sure that no one has asked you out? Sometimes people are shy and you are too. When you feel worthless, then that type of vibration comes up. But you are worth more. Beauty is in your confidence and smile, the peace you have is real beauty. You feel confident and connected to the universe and cosmos, then see how things change.