Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
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: 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: 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 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.
Q: Can you please talk on the concept of Ardhnareeshwar and the symbolism behind Goddess Durga and Saraswati?
Sri Sri: Everyone has both female and male genes. You are made up of both your father and mother – Half father and half mother. Divinity is both male and female. This was acknowledged long ago and represented as Ardhnareeshwar. God is not just man, or just woman. He is Ardhnareeshwar – Whole creation is both male and female.
Goddess Durga riding on Tiger: Durga is the mother, so sweet and compassionate, and She is riding on Tiger – most ferocious. Completely opposite! Opposite values are complementary and ancient people recognized this. Scientifically, the whole creation cannot sustain even if one animal goes missing. Each of these animals brings down to the earth a bio-energy corresponding to a particular wavelength. A tiger carries the vibration of Goddess Durga.
Goddess Saraswati is with so many hands! In one hand, she carriers a rosary – rosary represents meditation, in another she carries a book – intellectual knowledge and with the others she plays a musical instrument – veena. Only when intellectual knowledge, music and mediatation come together, then wisdom dawns.This complete knowledge was there even several million years ago. Saraswati sits on rock meaning once you have acquired wisdom, it is deeply grounded in you. Goddess Laxmi sits on lotus meaning money is flowing – anytime anything can happen. Wealth moves and it should move.
Q: What should I do to be in the present moment more effectively?
Sri Sri: You are planning now what to do in the future to be in the present moment! Got it?
Q: Can you please talk about the common things in Spirituality and Communism?
Sri Sri: Yes, communism says equal opportunity for everyone. Spirituality says Divine is in every heart and so all are unique. That way both talk of the same thing.
You can have the same feeling but the expression will have to be different. You express love differently towards the elderly and with kids you are different. Love is same but the way you express it is different.
(Conclusion of a discussion with the audience: Ganges is a river that was made by ancient people – http://www.bharathgyan.com/
has stories with some facts of Bhagirath and how it was made by Seers and Saints and how Mansarover was directed from West, else the entire plane would have been dried.)
Q: How to do samarpan (surrender) in bhakti(devotion)?
Sri Sri: In the same way how we have sweetness insugar.
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.
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.