Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Can spirituality save the world?
Sri Sri: What is destroying this world? It’s the greed, jealousy, hatred, narrow mindedness, selfishness, and all these negative emotions and qualities which are destroying the world, right? Because of greed of few people, anger and hatred of few people, lack of awareness, lack of understanding or misunderstanding and narrow mindedness of a few people, the world is getting destroyed. How can these negative emotions be overcome? Is there a way? Yes, SPIRITUALITY. It is only spirituality which can turn hatred into love, anger into awareness and selfishness into compassion. It is only spirituality that can save the mind of the people, isn’t it so?!
Q: What to do with the doubts that come in the mind?
Sri Sri: You know, the doubt is always about something positive, if not then the doubt will not come at all. The doubt comes because something is right, something inside says yes this is good. So in the initial stages, that type of doubt comes. You move on and from your feeling you decide, oh this is my teacher, I respect and love, then that’s it! Understand what I am saying?!
Q: Are you my Guru? But they said Gurus find their devotees!
Sri Sri: : That you have to decide!
Yes, Gurus find their devotees, this is usually said. You know when was this said? In ancient days, when children would go to the Gurukul, the teacher would come and test the aptitude of all the children - this child is good in engineering, this child is good in music, this child will be good for this, for this, for this… Then the teachers would say, ‘Okay, you come and you do Veda, you study Ayurveda, you study music’; so teacher used to pick up. That was when parents would bring their children to the Gurukul and then the Guru would pick up which student would study what.
Once you are here in the knowledge, once you are on the path, your heart will tell you,” This is the place for me and I have to get here”, and that is when you accept someone as your teacher. Not that someone comes to you and says ‘I am your teacher, I am your Guru’. If so happens then don’t believe that, okay! Nobody can impose that; it should come from within. Your heart tells you that this is genuine, this is right, this is good. So once you accept someone as your Guru or teacher then this anguish disappears to a great extent, and know that you are not alone!
Q: Dearest Guruji, what if someone offers me some other technique for self realization? Should I accept or reject?
Sri Sri: Listen, there are so many people trying to give so many techniques and if you take all of them, you will be in confusion, it will be a mess. Its better that you stick to one set of practices and go deep into that. If you don’t get any change or benefit at all from this technique, even after practicing for a good amount of time, then I would myself tell you that this doesn’t suit you and go to that. If you have got some benefit from this, I would tell you to stick to it and go deeper into it.
That is very necessary. Even if you get ten percent benefit in any one path, you should continue for some time. It’s not the technique that is important, it is your attention, your dedication and your eagerness to grow that is good enough. Collecting techniques will not help you, yeah! To drop everything and relax will help. Your growth happens not by doing too many things but learning to undo or not do anything. Many people will ask you to do this or that, I would say RELAX. And you all know the three golden rules to Meditation.
For the next few minutes I want nothing, I do nothing and I am nothing.
This is the highest technique and any technique should lead you to this level of being nothing, removing all the labels we put on ourselves of the roles we play. If it doesn’t, then it’s no good a technique and it’s only a very mediocre, some preliminary beginning technique, may be just to bring some focus. If you understand this philosophy, ‘I want nothing, I do nothing, I am nothing’ rest is all done! Yeah, so simple and yet very profound… very profound!
Q: How can I get rid of my sense of guilt?
Sri Sri: When you feel guilty, just chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. Do some Bhastrika, some Pranayama, Kriya. Doing ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ chanting one hundred and eight times also helps a lot. You chant one hundred and eight times, and then relax and meditate. See, new energy has come in you and you have become a new person. That person who did a mistake is gone, has packed off his suitcase and gone. Now inside you is a new person. Start believing in the innocence of the present moment. In the present moment, the YOU in you, the ‘energy in you’ is innocent, okay!
Q: Dearest Guruji when would you give advice to drop or to change a commitment? Thank you so much.
Sri Sri: When you feel you can never achieve the commitment or when you feel the commitment is stifling you. When you feel the commitment you have undertaken was done in great ignorance and you are getting nowhere then you move out of that commitment, okay!
Q: Guruji, What is Bhakti (devotion)?
Sri Sri: : Listen to Bhakti Sutras talk, I have spoken in that, yeah!
Q: How do I give more love to myself?
Sri Sri: You want to give more love to yourself, IMPOSSIBLE. If an ocean says how can I give more water to myself, what can be said? If sugarcane says how can I give more sweetness to myself, what would you say? It is like sun saying how can it give more light to itself? It is impossible for you to give more love to yourself.
In fact you love yourself too much, and that is the problem, you’re only thinking about yourself. Start thinking about everybody else, and give love to others. You are ‘love’ my dear, just relax and reduce your wants. Your wants and your desires are eating you up; you simply relax.
You should have wants. There is no problem if you have your desires, but don’t let the desires have you. I don’t mind you having desires at the initial stages. Later you find, before the desire arises in you, it gets fulfilled.
Q: What’s a spiritual leader got to do with politics?
Sri Sri: What is politics? It is caring for people and what does a spiritual leader do? Care for people. Politicians rule over people, spiritual leaders serve and care for the people. Politics and spirituality are two different fields but they should go hand in hand. That’s why spiritual leaders were placed the highest in ancient India. Any king or emperor would go to the spiritual leader and take his advice. Emperors used to run the kingdom on the blessings and advice of the spiritual leaders. A spiritual leader should not get into politics but should guide the politics. That is necessary.
Q: How to make teenagers do the course?
Sri Sri: This you should think, how to make teenagers do the course. You think and come up with some ideas. You allure them by skillfully telling them the benefits of the course. You can tell them, ‘Come, we will take you for a holiday somewhere’.