Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Why does a desire arise? Where does it come from? What is the purpose?
Sri Sri: All desires have got one goal, and that is happiness. If a desire brings unhappiness, it has not reached its goal. The goal of desires is to bring happiness. So, that is the purpose.
Where does it come from? It comes when you are not aware of your Being, your Self. Desire is your wanting to stay in the moment. Desire is to experience joy. Joy is only in the moment. And when you are in the moment, there is no desire. When you are joyful, when you are satisfied, there is no burning desire at that time.
Q: Can you give me a suggestion – how to be calm when your spouse is always mad at you?
Sri Sri: : Well, an answer coming from me won’t be authentic! There are many experienced (spouses) ones here, you can exchange notes with them! But if someone gets angry so often then you get used to it, and it doesn’t bother you so much anymore, isn’t it? But if they are sweet and then get mad at you then you get more bothered about it, right?
There is a very popular story in India. A gentle man got married to a woman who was very shrewd. She would do everything against his will. Whatever he will say, she would do just its opposite and he was so bothered and sad about it. Divorces were not that common those days in India, so he was stuck with this situation. Then, when you are stuck in a situation, you go to a wise man, so he went to meet a yogi.
The yogi whispered something in his ears and three months later when the yogi met this gentle man again, he was beaming with happiness. He came and told the yogi- “Your formula worked, now we have peace at home!” The formula was-whatever he wanted, he said just the opposite to his wife! So if he didn’t want to wear a green shirt that day, he would say- “ I want to wear a green shirt”, and she wouldn’t do that for him anyway! So, you only need to know the pulse and do accordingly.
If your spouse is all the time angry, then I know you might have experienced and found how to handle it , and how to increase or reduce the volume, right? Interesting!May be (with such people), you should try this for one month or two months, and take them by surprise. If they are angry, praise them, and love them so much. Don’t be too predictable with anger.
Q: Dear Guruji, is it true that it is not the devotee who chose the Guru but the Guru chooses the devotee? If yes, then what took you so long to choose me?
Sri Sri: : Ha, Ha, Ha!! Let’s not go in the past! Let’s look ahead, having great times. Great days, yes?
Q: What do you say about doubts? Should we have no doubts?
Sri Sri: : No, I never said you shouldn’t have doubts, you should have doubts, have as many doubts as you can, for truth can never be concealed by doubts . Yes, doubt can’t defeat the truth, so you doubt as much as you want, but finish it quickly otherwise you will be wasting so much of time. Have as much of doubt as you want and then get over it.
I remember one incidence which happened in Sweden. There was a public meeting/ gathering and a journalist was sitting right behind. He came forward to me and said- “I want to ask you a question”.
I said- “yes, go ahead.”
He asked, “Are you enlightened?”
I said, “No”.
But he insisted, “No, please tell the truth. I know, you are always making fun, always kidding, please tell me the truth”.
I again said, “No”.
You see, my answer of NO should have finished the conversation there, but he won’t listen and kept insisting, “No, no, you are not telling the truth, tell me the truth, are you enlightened? I want to know the answer right away”.
See when you say , ‘no’ –it finishes , there is no need for further proof or explanation, chapter over, but this person won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I said, “So what takes you not to take a ‘no’ for answer? You should be happy with the answer now”.
But he said, “No, I don’t believe it!
I said, “You see, there is something inside you which is telling you something, some deeper inner feeling saying –this is not correct, right? So you have the answer then!”
So often, you listen to your own inner voice but doubt it from the surface mind but deep inside your heart and mind are saying something, you feel something different- a gut feeling and that is what you always rely on and not on what someone else says, isn’t it so? If someone says, “I love you”, do you take them on face value? No, you look at their face, you look at them and even without looking at them, you feel something deep inside. So, what I am telling you is generally true. And every one has this faculty of intuition and what can overshadow this faculty is your greed.
Greed can overshadow the faculty of your intuition, being over ambitious can overshadow your intuition. Do you understand what I am saying? Wisdom gets covered with greed, feverishness or with over ambition. So, doubt as much as you can!
Q: Guruji, when you meet terrorists and naxalites, don’t you get frustrated with their attitude and lack of knowledge?
Sri Sri: : This is like asking a doctor- Don’t you feel sick of seeing the sick patients?!!
Q: Dear Guruji, recently scientists have said that they can create life in a laboratory by manipulating and intervening the genes. Isn’t this contradictory to spirituality and religion, with man creating life and giving consciousness to innate objects?
Sri Sri: : Not at all. You have heard this saying – ‘God made man in his own image’. Right? So, whatever God can do, man can do too. God made man, created him as his own image. It is written in the Bible. Right? There is a story about it in Mahabharata epic also, written some 5000 years ago.
So, test tube babies are not new phenomena. Queen Gandhari , from one embryo, had put pieces in hundred pots and created hundred types of kids. But what quality the kids came out with, that you all know! So, there is a big question about the risk, but this is a fact that Gandhari created 100 children in hundred pots. So, test tube babies or creating life in lab is not a new phenomenon. It was done some 5000 years ago also!
Q: Dear Guruji, I heard and understood the truth, but it is not my experience, please help me realize the truth . Yours truly.
Sri Sri: Good! Good to be in space of, “I don’t know”, then you have a chance of knowing. If you think, you know then you are stuck with the concept. In the Upanishad, it is beautifully said, “one who says, ‘I don’t know’, he knows, and the one who says he knows, doesn’t know!”
Q: Dear Guruji, I have never been a spiritual or a true religious person. How can I learn to let go and believe?
Sri Sri: You don’t have to label yourself- I am spiritual, religious person etc. No need for it.
Just be natural, beautiful, good human being. That’s it!
If someone is not a beautiful human being and says, ‘I am a spiritual person or a religious person’, what is the use of that? What good he or she is for? Isn’t it? The purpose of spirituality is to make you a beautiful human being, the purpose of religion is to make you a righteous person, connected to the universe, to the universal spirit. And that’s what spirituality is and that’s what a simple, natural, normal human being is! Got it? Right, so it is better not to label yourself.
If you think you are a believer or a non believer, then even a non believer is a wrong label. Someone who says, ‘I am a non believer, I tell you, this is not true. You simply can’t honestly be a non believer; there is no honesty in it. Somewhere in some corner of your consciousness, you believe something; you know something, for your consciousness is very ancient. You don’t know your consciousness, it is so old, so ancient, there are so many layers, so many impressions on our mind, on our consciousness- it is such an amazing phenomenon!
Q: Guruji, are we influenced by mistakes from previous birth? If so, then how does one prevent getting influenced by that or find a way to remove that influence?
Sri Sri: You don’t have to make too much effort. Just do your practices, your Sudarshan kriya, sing and meditate and all the bad karmas and impressions, they will get washed away by themselves. And with few advanced courses, few hollow and empty meditations, all impressions get released.
Q: You say that choice is mine and blessing is yours. How do I know I have made the right choice?
Sri Sri: Time will tell. If it has come with a blessing, it will be good.