Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Whenever I see you, tears start to roll down the eyes. Ifeel as if I know you since ages. Is it true?
Sri Sri: You are doubting your own experience. Thenit is surely true. We doubt the positive, and not the negative. We doubtsomebody’s honesty. Nobody has ever doubted dishonesty of a person. Same way, if somebody asks you if you arehappy, you say, “I don’t know whether I am happy or not”. But we are so sure ofour depression. We doubt in the existence of God. We never doubt in theexistence of this changeable and mortal world. Evolved scientists understand that there is a question mark on the apparently looking reality.
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: 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: Can you please talk about Trauma care?
Sri Sri: That is what happened after Tsunami. All these fishermen were afraid even to go near the sea. They were begging to be taken away to some hill. All their life what they did was fishing. Simple pranayama and a few minutes of meditation brought them out of trauma in matter of three days. The same people asked for boats to go back to sea on the very third day. So, trauma can be released. Same was observed in after 9/11 incident and Katrina. There are many volunteers who are devoted to bring peace in such areas.
Q: How can we strengthen the faith?
Sri Sri: Your very thought to strengthen thefaith strengthens it. Move ahead assuming that your faith is very strong. Whenyour intellect is purified, faith automatically gets strong. We should have apure diet in order to purify the intellect. So, pay attention on your food. Ifyou eat food thinking all sort of negative things in the world, that alsoaffects the intellect. Many times people get time to converse only duringmeals, and they discuss about topics like diseases while preparing and eatingthe food. This is very wrong, and we need to get rid of this habit. You becomewhat you eat. The type of food you take governs your mind. And again your mindhas a direct impact on your body. That is why you should eat food with a happystate of mind. If we are very excited, we cannot swallow food with ease. Alsoif we are restless, we end up eating more food. So, it is important to havefood with awareness.
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: Are you really enlightened? I won’t go from here if you don’t give me a direct answer.
Sri Sri: Every question is not answered on the spot. Once a couple went to a Master and expressed their wish to ask two questions. The Master said, “You will get your answers if you do service for two years”. The more precious is the question, more effort is to be done to get the answer. I will give answer to your question, but I will also put a condition if you are putting a condition.
Q: Sometimes, I feel that you are with me and watching meall the time. At some other times I feel that I am not connected. I feeldistracted during those times. I am unable to do sadhana also in such times. A lot of thoughts come in the mind.What should I do then?
Sri Sri: you have given answer in the questionitself. Nature of love is such that you feel longing in its absence. Once youget a glimpse of devotion, then its absence causes perturbation in mind. It isnot that devotion is absent there but you feel as if it is not there, and youfeel restless with this feeling.
If we look in the light of knowledge, Shri Narada has said in BhaktiSutras that the very indication of devotion is that you experience bliss inits presence and its absence makes you restless. This shows that you havedevotion, and consider yourself as lucky when you experience such restlessnessin mind.You feel absence of devotiononly for some time. Devotion is anyway always there, it never dies, but you mayfeel that it has decreased. This is natural. This happens only to those whohave a very good luck. Otherwise, inert person doesn’t feel any devotion. Mindof such a person is tormented with worries.
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.
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.