Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: How does one deal with people telling lie? Can’t one actually progress being truthful?
Sri Sri: We can make progress being ethical. One thing is you have to make them really understand that you can rise very high like satyam and fall down like astayam (laughter)! So many such cases! One who is truly honest lives like a King, one who walks on wrong path, his own consciousness doesn’t allow him to smile from heart. Such people can’t even sleep properly.
Okay! Does that mean living like Satya Harishchandra? 100 percent truth is also not workable. So, it is so beautifully said in our Shastras! A Brahmin or Sanyasi is not allowed to speak lie, not at all. A teacher cannot! But a king, an administrative can do a little if it is in favor of public in general! Then there is a little more possibility for businessmen. Bahut khush nahin ho jaana (laughter)! (It loses essence while translating but still “That doesn't mean you should take it for granted!”) Like there is salt in food only that much lie is allowed in business. Like in one – two cases, suppose you have to sell your product, you can say it is the best, even when you know it is not! You won’t accrue any sin that way. So as there is salt in the food! If more... will it still be eatable?
Philosophy of death:
Q: Does Birth and rebirth exist? If yes, then what does it mean to be a human?
Sri Sri: Why human birth? Human Life is there to know life.
Q: If love is not an emotion but your very existence then how come love disappear one day and appear again some other day?
Sri Sri: See, the sun appears to have disappeared but in reality, it is not. It is just hiding or we have turned to another side. That’s it!
Q: Why are some forms of Devi so ferocious like that of Mahakali?
Sri Sri: Love and fear are two shores of the same consciousness. If you can love such a frightening form of Divinity, then you can love anyone. There is no fear left! When the acceptance level has increased manifold to accept both beautiful and ugly as your own forms, you come up stronger and solid. So to present beauty and ugliness as forms of the Divine is the intelligence of the ancient seers.
Fear and even ego also is all of that one Divinty. From serene to frightening, birth to death - when someone is awakened to such a level of consciousness that He sees divinity in all the forms, then only all this can be seen as maya. When the mind is calmed then the divinity is here only.
People decorate even with a cactus. So, recognizing beauty in everything – Flowers as well, and thorns as well. If you can accept such frightening aspect of divinity, it completely removes fear from the mind and the body. One who has undergone such states, their acceptance has become so strong. Beautiful and ugly both are your nature. Most beautiful and most ugly forms – everything is a part of one truth.
Q: What are the ingredients to be successful? How come Lord Krishna found Success in everything He does?
Sri Sri: For success in life you need yukti (skill) and shakti (strength), Bhakti (Devotion ) and Mukti (Freedom).
Freedom and love in personal life! Without freedom you will find no love and without love there is no joy. Freedom doesn’t mean doing anything. You follow some norms, a little discipline. And in social life you need shakti and yukti, strength and skill. And this is what Ramayana and Mahabharata tells you.
Though Duryodhana had all the power but he had no yukti, no bhakti. The skill was with Krishna and so he won.
Q: What if Boss is so corrupt and he wants you to be part of it, how to handle such a boss? It is difficult to survive in such a case.
Sri Sri: I know I know (laughter, clapping)! I can understand your difficulty. You need a lot of skill for that. You have to somehow tell the boss, “Boss I am not good at it, if I do some mistake you will be in trouble. Better to give it to the other person (clapping). I’m not skilled at this”. You can tell this or you can suggest your idea and say, “This is better boss, maybe. You know better, you are the best judge”. If you throw this last sentence he may think of taking your suggestion. But if you tell him you are wrong and what I’m saying is right then this would be the wrong way to communicate. Not only with your boss even with your parents, sometimes even with your spouse.
Q: During the time of Buddha it is said 10000 people were enlightened. In your time how many will be?
Sri Sri: This time the number will be even greater! :)
Sri Sri: Maya means all which changes, which can be measured. Everything that comes in purview of the five senses is changing – is Maya.
Q: How to prepare for death?
Sri Sri: There is no need to prepare for death. You die for the past, when you let the past die then you are living for the present. Art of living, Art of dying are two sides of the same coin. You should die for all the past things that have happened. Live in the present! If you have to live in the present you have to discard all the past(clapping). Every second, discard the past. If you know the art of dying every second of life then life blossoms in its highest state. Mind dying each moment is death. Anyway there is no end to soul. What you think of as death is only separation of body and mind. Our body changes, mind changes, intellect changes, everything changes. That which doesn’t change, the very core inside us – the indestructible, if you can connect to that, that unchanging aspect in you, then that makes life fun! (Applaud!)
Handling corrupt boss
Q: Dear Guruji, Most of the religions have come into being when people started following some great person or soul. How did Hinduism come into being?
Sri Sri: Hinduism is not a religion; it is just a way of life. When thousands of seers, prophets were there and they all said something based on the Vedas - The first scripture in the world. And then people had particular norms and they followed the way of life. Our past president of India, Dr. Radha Krishna was asked who a Hindu is. He described a Hindu as 'He who does not put any sort of label on oneself, of being Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Parsi or Hindu is a Hindu, because Hinduism is just a way of life'. I think it was Dr. Radha Krishna who defined it that way. But I would say Hinduism means liberalism. Many ways to worship one truth, one reality. Hinduism has three characteristics. First is the freedom to worship the way you want, any form, any name. Second, the whole world is one family. And third, there is one divinity which expresses Himself in many forms. Only one God but many names and many forms and acknowledge this. God and its creations are not two different things. Like body and mind are not different – One is manifest and other is not manifest. You cannot see the mind, and body does not do anything without the mind. If mind is not there, body is a corpse. So, the spirit and the matter – Prakriti and Purusha - this is what the whole concept is. The whole world is the body of the Divinity. The Divine is in the water, in the mountain, in trees, in rivers, in you, in me, and in everybody. God is not sitting somewhere up in the heaven, but God is the substratum in which everything exists. God is like the space in which all the other elements exist. So, everything is made up of God and is God. This is the basic concept of Hinduism. And good and bad – right and wrong are only relative, they are not absolute. Liberalism – Liberalism means freedom. Freedom, equality are the main precepts of Hinduism.