Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: How does one know whom to trust and whom not to especially, after Swami Nityananda incident?
Sri Sri: Trust in yourself. Have faith in your choice of actions and the path you would be following. If you don’t trust yourself, how can you trust the Master? It is enough to have faith in yourself.
A Master or a Guru does not remove the doubt, but He creates more doubt. The more you burn in the fire of doubt, the more strong you come out to be. Truth is never afraid of doubt, and truth can never hide.
There have been so many saints in ancient India like Vishavamitra, Valmiki, Gautum, and you will deprive yourself of knowledge if you start doubting all of them.
If you put your attention on the real and authentic, you would doubt the fake. But if all your attention is on the fake, you would start doubting the authentic also.
Q: Is memory a blessing or curse?
Sri Sri: Forgetting bad things is a blessing. Forgetting good things can be a curse.
Q: I have done many sins in my life. Am I a right candidate for this sacred path? I want to repent for my wrong deeds.
Sri Sri: Your very wish to repent has solved the purpose. This wish to repent is an indication that your intellect is getting matured. Otherwise, you would not have been aware of your wrong actions. Something wrong has happened through you and you want to repent for that, this means you are out of it in the present. The wish to repent arises only in the matured intellect. You are innocent in the present moment. Don’t live in the past, but take this sankalpa (Resolution) that you don’t have to do this in future.
One with deluded intellect supports even his/her wrong actions. Know that the one who does a mistake and supports it is lacking in maturity of intellect.
Some people do repentance with guilt. That also doesn’t solve the purpose. That is why Master/Disciple tradition exists. Master would guide the disciple to do something to be free from the guilt. Or if you simply tell the Master that some mistake has happened through you, then also you come out of the guilt. Even if you tell this to yourself in your mind that you have done some mistake, the mind calms down. Why does a mistake happen? Because of ignorance. When you have lighted the lamp of this knowledge inside you, you become free in the present.
Q: How to overcome self pity?
Sri Sri: The moment you recognize, you stop it. That is it. If you are asking for someone else, then only they can come out of it. Only meditation can help. Do advance course.
Q: How to transform negative energies into positive energies?
Sri Sri: That is what we all have to do, and that is what we are doing. Let us get more and more youth together and change this atmosphere in society.
Q: What role has a woman to play in bringing transformation?
Sri Sri: Woman has great role to play. Women can influence many men around them – father, brother, children, spouse. They have more power and more influence. In Indian mythology all the powerful portfolios like defense ministry, finance and education are with women. What else do you want? In India we believe man and woman are equal partners. There is concept of Ardhnarishver – God is neither male nor female. Divine is half male and half female. Everyone is like that. Nobody is full male or full female. There are genes of both mother and father within each one of us. So, we must respect women. Women should take more lead in the society. And I think that women can be better peace maker, and then less conflict, greed and corruption will be there in the world. Corruption can only happen outside the boundary of belongingness. Heart can never be corrupt. It is mind which goes corrupt. Heart always longs for old and mind for new. Isn’t it so? You want more and more in mind but the heart says,” I am happy”. Heart wants to give and mind wants to take. women are more with their heart. She should keep that quality while developing leadership and taking more social responsibility.
Q: What is the best thing to do after one recognizes one's mistake?
Sri Sri: Recognizing your mistake and going forward is good. There is no point in hiding or justifying. Save the mind. When the mind is established, you can’t do mistakes even if you want. With the knowledge of the self, all negative emotions like fear, anger and sorrow disappear.
Q: I feel happy and peaceful here. My heart is really contented. All negativity comes when I go out. I encounter all problems like corruption and bribery. How to face these problems? How to maintain the same positivity when I go from here?
Sri Sri: You forget a strength in you – Prayer and power of your Sankalpa (positive intention). You keep doing practices and your things are taken care of. Don’t ask for small things in your prayers. Ask for big things – Let government be good and stable, Let this knowledge reach out to many more people. It is up to you to make a divine society. You can start a collective moment. There are many good people and a very few people who cause disturbance, but their influence looks like they are many. You come together and you will find what difference you can make.
Q: Many people have started preaching their own practices like Sudarshan Kriya. What to do about it?
Sri Sri: Many people have started their own things. These kind of wrong practices don’t work in the long run. Don’t worry about all of them. People try, get headache and then they come here.
The spiritual practices like Sudarshan Kriya are not only at physical level. It is the divine grace which works.
One can do 21 days teacher training, and spread this knowledge everywhere after becoming a teacher.
Q: You have been involved in this. How do you propose or manage to reconcile between enemies?
Sri Sri: Many times those who appear to be enemies are not actually enemies. I would give you an example of what we did in Iraq. We gave some meditation and Sudarshan Kriya to the troubled youth there. There was such a huge transformation in them. The youth minister sent 50 youth leaders to the ‘Art of Living’ international centre in Bangalore to be trained as ambassadors of peace. It was challenging to begin with, but there was amazing transformation in them in a period of one month. The same boys went back and started to teach thousands of people how to be calm. You know, we are not taught how to manage negative emotions neither at home nor at school. You get angry, upset, greedy or depressed, but we are not taught how to manage our mind.
I am not saying that we have solutions to resolve all the conflicts in the worlds tomorrow itself. It is not practical. But what has given us hope is, after experiencing meditation, there is enormous change in the same people who appear to be aggressive or enemies.
In 2001, there was a difficult situation in Kashmir. But things have changed now. We can make effort drop by drop. In Jahanabad also our efforts have given good results. All this has given me enthusiasm to go in all conflict zones and do more work. Though, it is a big challenge.
When some people think that only they will go to heaven and others to hell, they create hell for others. We need to educate them with a broader mindset. So, every child should know little bit about all the world’s wisdom. We have globalized things like potato chips but we haven’t globalized wisdom, and education on peace and non-violence. When people are stressed, they either become violent and aggressive or suicidal tendencies arise in them. The solution for depression, suicidal tendencies, social and domestic violence is to teach them how to calm their mind. It is very important to teach them how they can get rid of negative emotions, stress, and all those unwanted emotions. How can we heal them? That healing touch is essential.