Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
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: 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: 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: How to achieve excellence while following the middle path?
Sri Sri: It will happen. Your intention is enough. Main thing is Sadhna (Practices and self effort), next is awareness, and third is - no feverishness.
Q: I am centered on the Divine, yet there is restlessness, though on the outside everything seems perfect.
Sri Sri: In every seeker’s life there comes a time when the heart is at unease, and there is restlessness. In the West, it is known as the “dark day of the soul”. There comes a time when satvik shakti (positive energy) is less and rajogun and tamogun are high, that leads to the restlessness. There are three kinds of taap (penance) and one such taap is known as adhyatmic taap (spiritual misery). Yet it is for a short while. Therefore satsang is very important, especially when you don’t feel like doing it. Once in twelve years a lack in spirituality comes up. There will arise a doubt on the self, the path and the Guru. This is what the Scriptures say. Therefore the Kumbh festival takes place once in twelve years and all the saints get together to clear all their sins. This tradition is very old. A place where seekers do satsang and where Vedas are recited - kalyuga* never comes there.
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: 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 they (themselves) only can come out of it. Only meditation can help. Do advance course.
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.
Q: What would be your best memory of happiness?
Sri Sri: Happiness is when you want nothing, and you want to give. Where the wanting and desires end, and the sharing begin, happiness is exactly there. Memory is not happiness. When you are happy, you forget everything. It is when happiness is gone that you dwell in its memory. In the world, people are either dreaming of happiness or remembering happiness. That is either being in the past or the future. But happiness is that which is in the present. And it is your very nature.
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.