Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: I see lots of people around me, I do not why they have come here. And for what? it goes beyond me, even I am sitting here I have no clue why I am here, Is it because of some hollowness within me
Sri Sri: This is more a wonder then a question, I leave that wonder with you, Life should be full of wonders and it’s good to wonder, why is there so much beauty. You know we often question in misery. We wonder at the beauty in the world. Every wonder is nothing but a question which is not looking for an answer. Life is a journey where you turn question into wonder.
Q: Bali culture is connected to India, would you throw a little more light onto this?
Sri Sri: If you go into the native cultures all over the world, you will find that they are all similar - in British Columbia, Australia, New Zealand, India etc. They all are similar to one another. They all honor the directions, the moon, the earth, the sun, the water, the mountains. They all honor creation. India and Bali are in Southeast Asia, and are of course connected. It’s good to find similarities, and celebrate differences.
Q: What made God alive? When did you start believing in God, Have you seen God, what does God look like?
Sri Sri: This same question was asked 10000 years ago by a little boy to his dad.
He asked his father, “Dad, what is God, how is God, how does God Look like?” Dad takes him by hand, brings him out of his house and asks him, “What was here before this house was built?” The boy says Space.
Dad: Where the house is built?
He says in the space.
Dad: When this house will demolish what will exist, what will remain?
He says space.
Dad says that is God.
God is not a person sitting somewhere and showing little finger and as you try to catch him he runs away. It’s only so in some paintings. God is love, God is the space in which everything exists. God is from which everything has come and into which everything dissolves. And that is what is said in Upanishads, it says God is Brahman. God is like a space, joy and love that is all pervading. The space around you is not dead space, it is filled with energy, intelligence and that energy, that intelligence is divinity and it is inside you, outside you, and everywhere.
If you see the native cultures of all parts of the world, most of the countries in the world have this concept; they say God is in the mountain, in the river, in the flowers, in the trees, in the animals, in the human beings, God is everywhere all pervading. Love is god, you can feel it and not see it, but you can experience this enormous energy when you go deep in meditation.
Q: I was wondering what exactly the mind is. Is it a little space in our brain or is it universal? And yes, I want to tell you that you rock.
Sri Sri: Mind is energy which is all over the body. See, every cell in your body is emitting some energy and the totality of all that energy around you is what you call the mind. Mind is not present at some point in the brain, but mind is all over the body. There is so much deep knowledge about consciousness; we should sometime go much deeper into it. We will understand more. The more you understand, the more wonder-struck you are. Wow!
You know, people have phantom hand, that means they really don’t have a hand, but they feel they have a hand, and they feel sensations like itching or paining in that hand. People who have lost their hand or leg in a war or accident, later sometimes, they feel they have a phantom hand or a leg. Though, they don’t have it physically. That explains or gives a clue that the mind is not just in one spot, it is all around the body. The aura of body is mind. We think that mind is inside the body, it is the other way around - Body is inside the mind. Body is like the wick of the candle and mind is like the glow all around.
Q: How can I concentrate on my workload? I get so upset and disturb at times with customers complaints, which are totally not true.
Sri Sri: what’s great is when you can smile at complaints. You have achieved something if you can smile at Complaints. Complaints are opinions. Listen to them carefully and if there is something good in it then you can take or if it’s an outcome of prejudiced or biased mind, smile at them. That’s my policy. You can take something on board. I say you should take criticism with open mind and also give criticism with open mind; you should never be shy about criticism.
Q: My mind always travels to many things. I do have jealousy and hatred with my own people. I know it’s not right, how do I control the mind that takes me away and never leaves me good. Please help me Guruji, I hope that from today I will have good feelings and peace of mind. I want to be a different person, I’m sick and tired already.
Sri Sri: I think you have too much free time on your hands. Just get into doing something good for the world, some service projects, something. The mind is like that, sometimes up and sometimes down. You like something, next day you don’t like it. Who cares! If you’re caring for your emotions too much, you will be nowhere. One day you feel good, another day you don’t feel good. Again the same thing! So the mind goes up and down. Centeredness is knowing that you are much more than your mind, than your emotions, and mind plays tricks. Just imagine you are a mother and the mind is the baby. Sometimes the mother agrees with the baby, sometimes not. Sometimes the child cries and the mother will attend to the baby. At other times she will let it cry for a little while. Don’t be bothered by this all of the time. See how much harmony you can bring into others.
It’s our responsibility; each one of us should take responsibility to create an uplifting atmosphere, one of positivity. Once you are centered than you become a source of inspiration, a source of joy, a source of peace to everyone. So we have to think, “so what?” Not every time, everything goes according to what we want, so then we say “so what?” and if “so what” doesn’t help then “so hum” (the Sudarshan Kriya taught in the ‘Art of Living’ courses) definitely helps. A combination of “so what” and “so hum” puts you on a higher platform.
Q: I’m confused as to who I am, how can I be more natural? How can I be myself and develop a strong sense of self? Is it ok to be very different than other people?
Sri Sri: Confusion is a very good temporary state. Do you know when do you get confused? When you grow! When a particular concept in your mind just falls apart, breaks apart. You thought you were somebody, and that concept breaks so then there is confusion. So, it is a sign of growth. Is it shocking? Good. If you want to know who you are, you are in the right place and it is all right to be confused. In fact, we are all different yet we try to imitate others. That is where there is a problem. Just recognize the difference and celebrate the differences. To be yourself, you are in the right place. It’s all right to be different, your difference need not conflict with that of other people. People who are rebellious want to be different to compete. You can be different, but you don’t need to exhibit yourself as different. Got it?
Q: How to decide that enough is enough? I have a child and want to go for a divorce.
Sri Sri: Ask yourself if you have given 100 percent? If the mind says no, and you have given your 80 percent or even 95 percent, then wait till you give your 100 percent. Even better, give your 101 percent for the sake of the children. A little sacrifice for the children will take you a long way
Even after that if it does not work, then in a friendly manner tell your partner that your paths are different and it is better to part.
Q: What is the goal of spirituality? I enjoy the path but do not know the goal.
Sri Sri: The goal is to bring a smile on your face that doesn’t wither away.
A smile that no one can take away.
A peace that simply expands and spreads to others.
A love that never diminishes or distorts.
That’s the power that you grow into.
It’s better that you don’t worry about the goal. You be in the moment, you will see you are on a conveyor belt or escalator. The steps take you where you have to go. You have to do nothing.
Q: Despite so much research there’s not yet a cure for HIV. Is there any hope and what is your message to those afflicted with HIV?
Sri Sri: Those who are living with HIV and AIDS must remember that we are all going to lose our body one way or another. Everybody is going to die. Now lift your eye above this body consciousness to know your spirit. Spirit has no disease. Spirit is beyond it. Keep your mind alive, energetic, loving and happy. People with disease die and people with no disease also die. Sometimes they die out of nowhere. Sometimes sick people live longer and many times healthy people suddenly die. All possibilities are there. So, know that you are more than the body. You are consciousness. You are light. Honor that light. Please don’t sit and brood over it. Look ahead and engage your life in educating others who are not informed about HIV. And instead of seeking solace, become a giver of solace to others.
“When the essence of religion and spirituality are universal human values, it is vital that we drop
our miniscule identities, join hands and take bigger responsibilities to make this world free of
disease, stress and social evils.”