Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Gurudev, we are very lucky to have such a great master in this age, but what is the reason you have chosen us although we do so many wrong things?
Sri Sri: See, when you are sick, at least then you go to the hospital? If people are sick yet they don’t want to go to the hospital, what do you tell them?
So if you do wrong things, never mind, at least come and sit in satsang. Your tendency to do wrong things will become lesser and lesser, and simply vanish.
Isn’t it already happening?
Q: Dear Gurudev, we are told to give up desires, but on the other hand, we were advised to strive for moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death). Isn’t this also increasing our desires?
Sri Sri: Yes, increase your desires for the large things in life, not small things. It is the desire for small things that causes problems. If you have to have desires, ask for the highest, that is, the Supreme Being. Seek to make the whole Universe your own, desire for everyone’s happiness in this Universe.
When desires are big they are no longer detrimental. When you desire for truth, when you are committed to truth, the mind becomes calm and clear. Small desires give rise to restlessness, but desire for the highest truth settles the mind. Restlessness is something that brings pain.
Q: How to combine our inner journey and the outer world events?
Sri Sri: Inner journey and outer world events are complementary. If you are happy inside, you are able to work dynamically outside. The more dynamic you are, deeper and better is the rest and meditation. When you meditate the joy increases.
People who are lazy, they cannot be happy. And people who are dynamic, it is not necessary that they will be happy also. Dynamism should be combined with inner silence. So, time to time, one should take a few days off, learn how to go deep inside and meditate.
Q: We see a lot of children with allergies and run down immune systems. Little children don’t have stress. Is there anything in our life-styles which we can change to help them?
Sri Sri: Sure. Don’t put children in front of televisions and video games for a long time. Their little brains get bombarded with impressions for too long. It affects their eye-sight; brings in Attention Deficiency Syndrome, and other things.
So, children should not spend too much time in front of the TV, maybe a maximum of an hour per day. Right now, the moment they wake up, the TV is switched on, they sit and watch cartoons. They go to school, come back, again they sit in front of cartoons. They have dinner in front of cartoons. Am I right?
We should avoid this for our children. This is my opinion, and many child physiologists also agree.
Q: It seems we are rag dolls. Could you please throw some light on this?
Sri Sri: Yes, it is a very big philosophical question.
If you ask anyone who did very good work, or those who have done the worst crime, they say somehow they did not do it, it just happened through them. This is the experience of many people.
There is something inside you, which is just a witness of all the things that are happening around you. If you would like to read more on this topic, read the book Ashtavakra Gita or Yoga Vasistha. These will give you a much deeper understanding.
Q: Do dreams become clearer when you improve your food and you do breathing and meditation?
Sri Sri: Yes. The quality of dreams definitely improves.
Q: Gurudev, what is Om? Who started Om?
Sri Sri: Om is the essence of creation, like the seed of a tree.
In the seed, the whole tree is there, right? You sow a mango seed and the whole mango tree comes. This is the reason why mantras are called bij mantra (bij means seed).
Om is the param bij mantra, that is, bij mantra of all the bij mantras (param means supreme). Om is the word that has been with creation from the very beginning, or from beginningless time.
Q: Why are we born? We eat, drink, sleep, and watch television; we are in and out of relationships. What is the life?
Sri Sri: This is a very important question. One who knows the answer will not give it to you. Anyone who gives you the answer does not know it. Do you know why? That is because this very question is like a vehicle, which will take you home. It is the fuel for your life. When you keep asking again and again, ‘What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose of life?’ Then all those things that are irrelevant will fall off, and things become clearer for you to move forward. So, it is better that I don’t give you the answer, but it is a very important question.
This very question sets you on the real journey of life. Before that, you only exist, whereas this question puts you on the spiritual track.
Q: Gurudev, are you saying children should not play video games?
Sri Sri: I don’t say that they should never play any video games.
There are many brain teaser games that children should play. I would suggest we avoid the violent video games.Their little mind does not know the difference between the virtual world and the real world. In the virtual world when they keep shooting, people get up again. So, they think people will get up again if they shoot in the real world, like in the virtual world.
Many crimes happen because their thought process becomes blurred between the virtual and real world.
I am all for games. Children should learn games. I am not against children playing video games or watching TV, but not for too long periods; only for an hour per day.
Q: Why can’t we remember our dreams sometimes? Is it the quality of our food, or are we not meditating?
Sri Sri: We don’t need to remember all the dreams. It is good that we don’t remember them. Then, we are more in the present moment. A dream is a dream, it is gone.