‘You have to let go (of the breath) to enjoy the fresh air. In life, it is the same thing’
Bangalore, (India), May 19 (Tuesday), 8: 25 pm: The heavy rains in the ashram didn’t dampen the spirit of the satsangees who continued to sing, and dance in Vishalakshi Mantap. As soon as Sri Sri stepped on stage, the audience erupted in delight, and satsang continued with celebration.
Following are the excerpts of the Q&As that followed:
Q. What can make us centered? If we are shaken, how can we come back to ourselves?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Become more hollow, and empty. Practice more meditation. Do more seva. Seva brings the merit to go deep in. When you go deep in, the mind becomes fresh, energetic, and intuitive to do more seva.
Q. In the Isha Vaasya Upanishad, there are references to renunciation. What has to be renounced? What is tena?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Isha vasyam idam sarvam, yat kincha jagatyaam jagat, tena tyaktena bhunjitha, ma grdha kasyasvid dhanam.
Tena becomes this world. It is a practice. This whole universe is being permeated by That. Enjoy the world, without getting attached to it. You have to take a deep breath in. But you can’t hold onto it. You have to let go (of the breath) to enjoy the fresh air. In life, it is the same thing. Letting go is important.
Q. Shiva is the Lord of the Universe. Who does He meditate on? And why?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Shiva is not a person sitting somewhere. Shiva himself is meditation. Shiva is Shiva tatva. How do you experience it? By meditation. When you sit and meditate, you get in touch with the Shiva tatva deep inside you.
Q. Is there anything wrong in idol worship?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You keep the picture of your beloved ones. Is the picture really your beloved one? (Audience replies: No). But still, you keep the picture. The picture is not the person – yet it reminds you of that person. That is how murthi puja is practiced in different parts of the world. Some don’t believe in it. If you don’t want to see God in a form, it is fine.
If you want to, that is also fine.
You are only seeing something that is beyond the form, in the form.
Q. How to retain the positive energy of the ashram in the future?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, by meditating everyday, singing and chanting.
Q. When we are entangled and cry out for the Divine, will the Divine come to help us? What should we do when we are in fear?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Tell me, what is your experience? Is the Divine doing His duty properly? These questions are irrelevant. When you need help, the cry for help is spontaneous. You can’t plan what you will do when you’re in crisis.
Q. In our society, the people who break the laws are considered to be heroes, and those who follow the laws, are thought to be fools. When can we expect a change in this?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Change is happening, and it will continue to happen. Don’t worry. Change will happen.
Q. Does the Divine feel like a human being? How can a simple human being be close to God?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Only simple human beings can understand The Divine. If someone thinks they are special, they cannot.
First understand yourself, and God will chase you Himself. Ask yourself – Who Am I?
Anybody can do that.
Q. What is Guru tatva?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have a question, you want an answer. Wherever the answer comes from - that is Guru tatva.
Q. If something bad is happening, what do we do about that?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First, you accept that something bad is happening, and then realize that you want to stop the wrong from happening. The wrong will stop at the right time.
Q. My friends want to come to the ashram, but don’t have the money.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t worry. Those who cannot afford must come. They have to come.
Q. What is the significance of the sacred thread?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.: The sacred thread indicates the three responsibilities that you shoulder: duty to parents, duty to society, and duty towards the knowledge you receive in life. You have to disseminate the knowledge in life.
Once you finish the duties, then the thread is thrown – this means that you have taken Sanyasa (renunciated the world). No more duties left.
Q. What do you think about the election results?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good! It’s better that national parties come to power than smaller parties amalgamating. A party with a national agenda should be there, instead of smaller parties trying to bully each other.
Q. What do you think about the situation in Sri Lanka?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Peace has to come in Sri Lanka. Still it has some way to go. It will happen.
A member of the audience stands up and shares an experience. “I did the Art of Living program in 1997 in Abu Dhabi. Since then my life has been full of joy. In 2002, I was detected with brain cancer. My sincere gratitude to Guruji. With his blessings, I have recovered. Doctors say I am a survivor hero. I have taken chemotherapy, radiotherapy and would like to tell all - do the Sudarshan Kriya, regularly and with enthusiasm. Do seva. "
(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Bangalore, India)
© The Art of Living Foundation
© The Art of Living Foundation