Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: According to Raj Yoga, it is said that practicing meditation is meant for people who
are reclusive and follow a strict and definite approach to reach salvation. Meditation is
difficult for a person with many responsibilities. You said everyone should meditate. What
are the implications of this on a normal person? (From Conversation with students of
Great Lakes institute of management, Chennai)
Sri Sri: There are different forms of Yoga. Raja Yoga is Royal Yoga. In some forms, they spend a lot of time in practice. Some forms are for people like the prince who has so many responsibilities such that they can do the practice in a short span of time. Meditation is useful for people in all walks of life.
Q: Guruji, how to maintain the purity of teaching Yoga in today’s commercial world?
Sri Sri: First of all we shouldn’t blame the world and we should not blame the cause. Purity of Yoga is there when your intention is clear, you are here to serve. If you count that there are twenty people and I will get this much money, if you think that then it can spoil the purity. That is why we have kept our courses in such a way that the teacher gets a very little amount to cover whatever expenses are there. You know you are doing it as a service and you are keeping a charge because without any charges people don’t value it, and of course you need some finances to make arrangements like the durries and the microphone and all this stuff. So if your intention is pure, if you are financially and otherwise okay and this is only an added support or income to you, then it is okay but if you are thinking only on these lines that I want to make money out of teaching yoga then your whole attitude is changed. Just imagine a school teacher is teaching the children only to get money and not to see that the students are passing or they should get better. A teacher comes for tuition for an hour and he keeps looking at the watch then within fifteen minutes he runs away, what is the quality of such a teacher. So there is no individual, personal attention that is given, so if the commercial thing doesn’t enter your mind then you are there for the cause, you are there for others.
Q: Why are there so many different philosophies?
Sri Sri: Why not? God loves diversity! What if there was only okra to eat? But you have so many fruits and vegetables. God seems to love diversity. He has created so many of us in different shapes, features and colors. He is definitely not someone uptight waiting to punish you. A spirit that loves diversity must be diverse in itself too. That is what the Rishis or Ancient sages found in meditation. There is only one energy force but with so many different forms. See, we all are same yet different. We like different things, so one can choose the form He/She likes to adore. Any form that one can connect to! See unity in diversity and celebrate diversity. Intelligent ones celebrate diversity, fools fight over it!
Q: Dearest Guruji, Jai Gurudev! Once I am on this path, is my spiritual progress your responsibility or my responsibility?
Sri Sri: Now that you are asking this question, it is both of our responsibility. Yes, do your 100% and relax and when you feel that you can do a little better or a little more that indicates that you have been responsible. When you feel you are doing everything that you can then the responsibility shifts away from you.
Q: You have highlighted the importance of innovation and creativity, but with there comes a lot of risk and uncertainty. It’s only after numerous failures that a successful new technology or product is evolved. So how should one manage the failures that come as a by-product of striving for innovation? How to rise up after each failure and restart the journey to discover something new? (From Conversation with students of Great Lakes institute of management, Chennai)
Sri Sri: Failure is a part of the process. Meditation will help you to go ahead in spite of failures. Innovation without failure is possible, if you are able to use your intuition perfectly. Both should act perfectly to achieve zero failure in innovation. If intuition is not in proportion then failure occurs more often.
Q: Dear Guruji, what is the meaning of being natural? Is it doing whatever comes to the mind and doing whatever one feels like?
Sri Sri: No it is not doing whatever that comes to your mind. Doing whatever comes to your mind without any attention, awareness or thought would be foolish. Whatever comes to your mind should pass through the test of intellect or wisdom. Being natural is feeling at home; feeling at home even in adverse situations. You know when everything is good you feel at home but when things do not go your way you don’t feel at home and you want to run away. So feeling at home in every situation, yeah!
Q: Guruji, the concept of death is bothering me a lot. If death is inevitable then what is the point in living. Please kindly enlighten me on this?
Sri Sri: If a bud feels anywhere I have to wither away why I should blossom, what will you think? A bud has to blossom and bring joy and fragrance in this world, and then it withers away, right. If a tree thinks anyways a fruit has to become a seed so why should I bear fruit? So, nature is such; as long as you are here on the planet, see how much guidance you can give.
Q: In the Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna says that one must not care about the result of his work. But if we do not think about the fruits that follow our hard and Smart work, then what will motivate us to do that hard work?
Sri Sri: If you don’t think of the fruit, how would you know which direction to put your efforts in? Give your 100 percent, but know that there is no control over the fruit of action. If the attention is only on the end result, then you can’t perform. Let us take a runner - if he starts looking behind at whom is running, and not looking at the path he needs to run on, then ultimately he will lose, no matter how good the runner may be. You have to follow your own track, to complete the run whether you lose or win. Lord Krishna is utterly practical in his advises.
Q: There are some schools of thoughts that say that you must always be aware of what your competitors are doing because if you don’t see your competitors, you will be like a bridled horse. You will end up making the best calculator of the world when the world has moved to computers. So how do you reconcile the two schools of thoughts?
Sri Sri: The challenge is to manage the two contradictions - that is the job of the youth. One should be aware of the competitors. At the same time, one should have an eye of Arjuna. Be aware of what’s happening around you and one-pointedness towards the goal. However, over ambitiousness will not lead to anything. Improve your intuitive ability, enthusiasm and the quality of relaxation. It will give you everything that you need.
Q: Do we have to be independent or do we need to look for interdependency?
Sri Sri: You don’t have to be interdependent; it is just that you need to realize it. The word ‘independent’ is obsolete. It is nature that we are interdependent on. We have one nature, one ocean, one air, one earth and everyone is dependent upon it. We are interdependent! From tailor to farmer, from teacher to doctor – we depend on all for some purpose or another. So, total inner dependence is not possible in the world.