Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Guruji, how to maintain the purity of teaching Yoga in today’s commercial world?
Sri Sri: First of all we shouldn’t blame the world and we should not blame the cause. Purity of Yoga is there when your intention is clear, you are here to serve. If you count that there are twenty people and I will get this much money, if you think that then it can spoil the purity. That is why we have kept our courses in such a way that the teacher gets a very little amount to cover whatever expenses are there. You know you are doing it as a service and you are keeping a charge because without any charges people don’t value it and of course you need some finances to make arrangements like the durries and the microphone and all this stuff. So if your intention is pure, if you are financially and otherwise okay and this is only an added support or income to you then it is okay but if you are thinking only on these lines that I want to make money out of teaching yoga then your whole attitude is changed.
Just imagine a school teacher is teaching the children only to get money and not to see that the students are passing or they should get better. A teacher comes for tuition for an hour and he keeps looking at the watch then within fifteen minutes he runs away, what is the quality of such a teacher. So there is no individual, personal attention that is given, so if the commercial thing doesn’t enter your mind then you are there for the cause, you are there for others.
Q: Dearest Guruji, in the Part 1 course one of the knowledge points is living in the present moment but my present is so painful that I rather live in the past that was beautiful. Now how do I apply this sutra?
Sri Sri: See even if the present is painful it is better to just be with it and finish it otherwise you are just sweeping it under the carpet. Living in an imaginary world and not realizing the current reality, yeah. So it is better to live it and go through it.
Q: I did the Art of Living course to become sharp and focused but Guruji now you have become my biggest distraction but I love this distraction. I hope it is okay?
Sri Sri: For sometime it is okay. It is said when you put alum in water it removes all the impurities. Purifies all the water and then dissolves itself, yeah!
Q: Bible claims – ‘Jesus Christ is the only living God and Thou shall not worship any idol or God except me’. If the almighty is one, then what should it be?
Sri Sri: Yes, these words are said in almost all scriptures. Lord Krishna also says-
‘Maam ekam sharanam vraja.’ you take refuge in me and nobody else. So Lord Krishna’s words are exactly the same what Jesus said- ‘I am only the way.’
There is only one God and not many. One God is worshipped in different languages, in different ways, in different forms, that’s all. When people see others worshipping another form of God, they say that there is another God but there is no another God, there is just only one God! And whether it is said in Gurumukhi (Panjabi), or in Pali or in Latin- it is the same thing. You may see even some of the names are the same. There may be difference of languages, expressions but the essence is the same. It should not be misinterpreted to believe that only if you are a Christian then you will go to heaven otherwise you will go to hell or that only if you are a Muslim you will go to heaven otherwise you will go to hell. This sort of fundamentalism comes when you don’t have understanding of others’ ways of religion and wisdom.
All the fanatics and terrorists, they quote from the scriptures that theirs is the only way. One gentle man, whom I met in USA, said that heaven is like where only one religion followers go and rest all go to hell, then heaven must be a very lonely place and not so colorful! And that too they say – if you follow our denomination then you will go to heaven and not by following the other denominations of the same religion. This is true for almost all the religions - the concepts are wrongly understood and misinterpreted. In Vaishnava sect also they say- only worship Krishna and not Shiva, for if you worship Shiva you will not find ‘mukti’ or liberation.
Krishna has very clearly said- ‘sarva dharmaan parityaja maam ekam sharanam vraja’, “you drop every thing and take refuge in me alone. I will relieve you of all the sins. You can’t relieve yourself from your sins. I will relieve you. Don’t worry, don’t be upset and don’t be sad, I will relieve you of all the sins”.
Same way Lord Buddha also said- all the devas are coming and protecting you, similar things are said in Jain religion also.
So you need to have a proper understanding otherwise misinterpretation happens. Know that there is only one God, one consciousness though spoken in different words, and wisdom given by different people in many different ways. Jesus said, “People who came before me were robbers and thieves and I am here and now you look at me only.’ This was said because when Jesus was there, people were not listening and attending to him. They were thinking about the past only. That’s why he said- “Your mind has been robbed off by the people of past, now you listen only to what I am saying.”
Lord Krishna also said the same thing- “you are stuck in the past, you are crying and worrying for what is not worth doing. Be in the present moment!”
This wisdom has to be understood and grasped properly. Otherwise fanaticism will grow.
One sect of Christianity will say- this is the only way to go to heaven, and talk to some sect of Islam, they will say- there is no other way, our is the only way! So why different people were saying- ‘this is the only way’- was with the purpose of bringing the focus in the students at that time.
Q: Something binds the body to the soul. What is this binding factor and what prompts it to part ways after sometime?
Sri Sri: Impressions in the soul binds it to the body. That is what is called Karma.
Q: Dearest Guruji, Jai Gurudev! Once I am on this path is my spiritual progress your responsibility or my responsibility? If it is yours then why is my progress full of obstacles and slow, and if it is mine then why is my effort so poor. Please help me!
Sri Sri: Now that you are asking this question it is both of our responsibility. Yes, do your 100% and relax and when you feel that you can do a little better or a little more that indicates that you have been responsible. When you feel you are doing everything that you can then the responsibility shifts away from you.
Q: Dear Guruji, what is the meaning of being natural? Is it doing whatever comes to the mind and doing whatever one feels like.
Sri Sri: No it is not doing whatever that comes to your mind. Doing whatever comes to your mind without any attention, awareness or thought would be foolish. Whatever comes to your mind should pass through the test of intellect or wisdom. Being natural is feeling at home; feeling at home even in adverse situations. You know when everything is good you feel at home but when things do not go your way you don’t feel at home and you want to run away. So feeling at home in every situation, yeah!
Q: Dearest Guruji, looking at the events in Japan I have started to feel like mother earth and nature is very angry with us. You approach is very effective Guruji, please use some of your approach and calm it down.
Sri Sri: Yes, mother earth is in distress.
Q: Dear Guruji even while I am watching the webcast I feel your presence. I get a feeling that you are looking at me. How do you manage a real presence in this virtual world?
Sri Sri: That is a trade secret!! Join the club.
Q: Guruji love should be fearless yet why does one experience fear in love?
Sri Sri: Yeah because fear is love upside down. If you do the advanced course you will get all these answers. What are these three emotions, love, fear and hatred and how they are all formed by one energy and how you can turn fear and hatred into love.