Basically I don’t really know how to say it, it’s a question I have been asking myself for a very long time and it might seem a bit awkward but as I look at the whole universe and see everything is interrelated, I really wonder how the human kind is really useful in the system and are we of any use while we are here?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Very good question! What is the purpose of life, why are we here? And you know you should give a pat on your back. If this question has come into your life that means your intellect is mature. There are millions of people who live their whole life without even asking this question, ‘what is the purpose of life? Why am I here?’ They simply eat, drink, watch television, make love or fight, and die. They have no idea; they don’t even stop for a minute and think what life is? Who am I? What do I want? What can I do and how can I be useful? None of these questions even cross anybody’s mind; if it has come into you that mean you have begun living. Your life has started the right journey and this journey is what you call spirituality - to find out exactly what is the purpose of life. What do I want? Who am I? Before you can ask what you want, first you should know who you are. What is life? There are two important aspects to this question, one is the science and another is spirituality. You know what THIS IS through science, and through spirituality you know ‘WHAT AM I?’
‘ME’ and ‘THIS’; ‘THIS’ you understand through science, ‘ME’ you understand through spirituality.
What is this ‘I’? To know the ‘I’ first you understand ‘THIS’. What is ‘THIS’? Oh ‘This is world’, ‘This is body', and ‘how did this body come into existence?’ It came as a baby weighing only four or five kilos. Then the baby took all the material from this earth and becomes fifty kilos. So what is in this body, how this body has come up?
You talked about the body. I want to know what the connection is between the body and the five elements.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Earth, water, fire, air, ether - the five elements. If any one of this element is missing, this body cannot stay or sustain. Isn’t it? Earth element - food, water element, then you need fire element or heat. Without heat, this body cannot survive. Then is air – impossible for body to exist without it, and space or ether. The five elements have been the cause or reason for the body’s existence and what happens to this body? It has come out of the five elements and will go back to the five elements, this is science.
There are five elements in the dead body also. So what is the difference between a living and a dead body? In a living body, there is life and what is this life?
When the question begins then you see oh, ‘PRANA’ - there is life force, and then you go deeper into the study of ‘PRANA’ and you see there is something more than ‘PRANA’.
What is that, that is the mind! Oh, then what is the mind? How many types of mind are there? How many functions of the mind are there? This curiosity takes you to the 'Art of Living'.
Can you please talk in a little detail about these levels of existence you have talked about?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Mind, intellect, memory and ego are four functions of the mind or mind has these four aspects.
So what is mind? Are you listening? If your eyes are open and your ears are of course open, sound anyways goes into your ears but if your mind is elsewhere, can you listen to me? No! Isn’t it? So this mind is that through which you perceive, you feel, correct! That, which goes out through the five senses and experiences, is mind. Okay! so if you experience through mind then what is intellect? As you experience you say, ‘oh, this is good, this is not good, I want this, I don’t want that’. You know intellect is the judging or discriminating aspect. As I am speaking now, your mind is saying, ‘well, I don’t like it’ or ‘I believe it’ or ‘I don’t believe it’, you are going into a dialogue, this is intellect; and then memory, that which stores all this information. So sometimes you feel, when you experience something, ‘oh! I have experienced this before’. When you enjoy apple pie, not for the first time, you say ‘oh I have enjoyed this before, I had this pie before’. So memory is recognizing the experiences and storing it in the memory and then ego.
Ego is – ‘I am something, I am intelligent, I am stupid, I like this, I don’t like that, I am rich, I am very poor, I am ugly or I am beautiful, I am something, I am’, that is ego. When you understand all this then you feel is this the thing? No! After understanding ego also, there is something left, what is this? That is the self.
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