Q: Gurudev, I have one question for you. I am very much aware that there is this enormous spiritual and practical power in women. But I am also aware that this power is very much hidden from us. How can the modern woman awaken this power in her?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
First of all, let us understand that spirituality is not something that is out there, that is going to come into you. We are all made up of matter and spirit.
Our body is made up of carbohydrate, protein, amino acids, etc. Our spirit is made up of compassion, care, commitment, love and distortions of it, like anger. All these qualities. Nurturing the human values, the qualities in you, is spirituality. It is seeing life from a broader perspective, i.e., 'I am not just flesh and bones, but I am scintillating energy. I am a fountain of love. I am feelings. I am intelligence. I am thoughts'.
This identification with our consciousness is what spirituality is.
It doesn't take a long time for you to invoke the spirituality inside you. You simply have to see your life from a bigger perspective.
Look at this planet, it is huge; unfathomable. From billions of years it has been in existence. And what’s our life of 70-80 years in comparison to this? See your life from the context of space and time and you will see how tiny your life is. At the same time, go deep into it. Go deep into meditation and you will find, 'Wow, there is so much energy. I am this beautiful energy. My thought has power, my emotions have power, and I am a part of everybody!'. This feeling that you are part of the entire living species is what exactly spirituality is. That connectedness with the entire universe brings you enormous strength.
(Marina Spadafora: fashion designer from Italy)
Q: Being a mother of three, I always ask myself, what is the best approach to teach my son to respect women, and to respect girls. So my question for you is, what is the best way for a mother to teach her boy that he always has to respect women, take care of them, protect them and treat them the best way possible. So when this boy will grow up, he will be a good man and we would not have as much violence as we have in today’s society”.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Well, I’m not so qualified to answer this question, because I have no experience in that field (marriage and parenthood). But I have a suggestion.
In my observation, I found a mother can influence a child only to some extent. Especially when the kid becomes rebellious, the mother cannot influence the kid. But a good aunt can do it.
So, if you want to be a good mother, you have to be a good aunt to the friends of your kids.
You know, the friends of your kids will listen to you much more than your own children.
In India, we have a saying. In the mango season, when you want to pluck the mangoes, don't throw stones directly at the mango, but throw it at the branch, and the mango will fall. If you throw stones at the mango, you won’t get the mango, you will only get the juice.
So, to catch the mango, you have to get it indirectly.
In the same way, if you want to influence your kids, you should influence his or her friends circle. If the friends circle is influenced, your kid will automatically get the lesson.
So you cannot just worry about your kid, you will have to worry about all the other kids in the society. Then you will get somewhere. And many people have been successful in doing it.
(Asha Bhosle: Playback Singer from India) Q: Gurudev, children today are so much into phones, ipads and computers. And not only children but adults as well. So much so that they cannot remember a phone number if their phone is taken away. They are so dependent. Everything is in the phone, if the phone fails then they also fail. If children don't move forward and do anything new, if they don’t study hard, then what is the use of these iPhones and iPads? Nobody will write songs, nobody will sing them, nobody will write books, then how will life go on like this? I am very worried about the kids.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes Ashaji, you are right! People have forgotten how to count. I want to tell you something interesting. A few people were staying here, and we gave them a combination lock for their room. They would always forget the combination, and would ask to be given some easy combination! What is so difficult about a combination lock? When we don't allow our brain to function, when we don’t allow creativity to blossom, then it will rust! You are right, it has begun to rust due to modern gadgets. Yes, these gadgets are necessary, you also have it, but there should be something written, there should be some creativity; this should definitely be done.
From time to time, we should, for one or two days, decide that we will not watch TV. One week should be No TV week. One week you tell kids, this week you will not watch any TV. At least they will start reflecting upon something. Otherwise they are simply bombarding information and impressions into their little brains, and they are unable to use it in other ways. It is a cause of concern.
Most of the Attention Deficiency Syndrome among teenagers is a result of the mother and father being busy and putting the kid in front of the television. If the little 3-4 year baby sits and watches the television for 3 hours then what will happen? Our brain needs some rest. Some relaxation, only then creativity can happen.
(Arpine Galfayan: Human rights activist from Armenia)
Q: Dear Gurudev, in almost all religious institutions and practices, women are not allowed to represent the word of god. Even if women are not considered something evil or secondary, still women cannot be priests and conduct poojas. So the question is, do you consider this to be an unfair practice? Do you see the need of changing it, and if so, how?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You know, I am a rebel in this field. I say women have equal right as men, and here (in the Ashram), we say women can all do poojas. Women can participate in all rituals, and be priests as well. You have the right, you can do it.
Nowhere, at least in the scriptures, what I have learnt or whatever little I know, is there any discrimination on the basis of gender. So, women should come forward and take up their rightful place. Don’t ask someone to give it to you.
In life you will have 101 reasons to get frustrated. However it is up to you keep the enthusiasm alive without allowing the frustration to seep in. Here are some pointers to help you keep frustration at bay.