Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Is there a different path for men and women?
Sri Sri: No! Spirituality is the same for men and women. At some time in history, men put certain bans so that women should not rise in power. But there are certain norms of society and one should adhere to that.
Q: What happens between the time of death and next birth?
Sri Sri: What happens between the time when you are awake and asleep? Same thing happens – you are dormant. When the consciousness is back, when the time comes, it will come back.
Q: What can I do as a woman if even the elderly of the family have forgotten the tradition and traditional values?
Sri Sri: Whatever you want to learn, you can do it on the internet. Such a glorious age – one laptop and that is it. Google it and anything on earth is available! Knowledge at tips of the finger. I used to say that knowledge will be at the tips of your fingers. I didn’t understand why was I saying it and neither did those who heard me. All the information, not knowledge is there.
Q: Is it very important for a woman to marry? Is it not ok to let God be her care taker? Can she still be complete even if she is not a mother?
Sri Sri: You can feel you are a mother to the whole world. Being a mother is in the very nature of a woman. That compassion, that love and caring will be there.
Whether she should marry or not, that is your decision. Most important is to be happy. That is my opinion. There are many who are single and happy, and there are many who are married and not happy, and vice versa! Choice is yours, blessings are mine.
Q: How to do samarpan (surrender) in bhakti(devotion)?
Sri Sri: In the same way how we have sweetness insugar.
Q: Guruji, what is Nirvana? Or better, give it to us right now!
Sri Sri: Nirvana is bringing the balance and having no feverishness for any desire. Desire means a lack. When you say, I want nothing, I am content, that is nirvana. But that doesn't mean you shun your duties. You perform your duties well but you are with your center. Even craving for enlightenment is an hindrance to enlightenment.
All emotions are linked with people, objects and events. Catching on to objects, people or relationships hinders freedom, liberation. When the mind is free from all impressions and concepts, you are liberated. The state of nothingness is called Nirvana, enlightenment, Samadhi. Nirvana is getting back to me from mine. Who am I?
When you go deep inside you, layer after layer, that is nirvana. It is like peeling an onion! What do you find in the center of an onion? Nothing!
When you know that everything is changing - all relationships, people, body, feelings - suddenly the mind which clings on to misery comes back to you. The return from mine to me, gives you contentment and freedom from misery. Reposing in that state of contentment is nirvana.
Q: When someone has done something wrong and don't even realize it how do you forgive them?
Sri Sri: When you forgive then your mind becomes calm. Tell them with compassion and love, not with anger. If you become happy by putting guilt in someone's mind that is not good either. Tell them with love and then you drop it.
Q: The women in our epics seem to have done so many extraordinary feats, it is difficult to believe they are true!
Sri Sri: Let us take gandhari for eg, she produced a 100 children from pots.Test tube babies is exactly what she created. One embryo and 100 pots! We did know what the science behind is! Unless proven otherwise it is a fact. Like nobody believed that dinosaurs existed but you have the proof. Jatayu, a dinosaur bird existed and carried Sita. There are facts that Lord Krishna existed. The way it is presented is usually a little mixture of imagination and facts. Like a poem is facts and imagination mixed. If you read the biography of Abdul Kalam, Jawahar lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, you will find they add things.
Q: Can you talk about how one should be with mentally retarded people?
Sri Sri: They have come here to take service. Simply serve them
Q: What are the most important 8 traits that a human should have to achieve any kind of goal?
Sri Sri: Why to fix it to number 8? You want me to list the 8 or stretch up to 8? Let us think.
First is fixing the goal itself. The mind is so wavering – so getting the goal fixed is most important. Then you have to fix the time frame. Then weighing the consequences - adverse and favorable and then your ability to adapt to changes. Ability to adopt the means to achieve the goals is important.
How many done? (Four) Rest you can look into.