Q. What is more important: what the Guru thinks about the disciple or what the disciple thinks about the Guru?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The Guru does not think at all. The Guru also wants the disciple to stop thinking. What will you get by thinking? Whatever we think in the state of ignorance is always wrong.
Q. Lord Krishna has spoken about surrender to the only One. What is surrender and how do we surrender?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Firstly, surrender to only one. Everything is, anyways, only one. Understand that everything is only one and then surrender. When we try to surrender to too many, surrender does not happen. You can travel in only one boat at a time. You cannot travel is many boats at the same time. That is why Lord Krishna said, ‘I am only One and surrender to me.’
Q. Is knowledge born out of meditation or is meditation born out of knowledge?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The knowledge which is born out of meditation is authentic knowledge. Even astrologers and astronomers experience good meditation. They think about stars, galaxies and about quantum physics and they go into deep meditation. From knowledge, meditation is born. Both – knowledge and meditation - give birth to bhakti (devotion). If you do meditation, a fountain of devotion flows in your heart. Bhakti also rises in the heart of the knowledgeable person. They all are one. They seem to be different only from the surface.
Q. First, there was silence. Then an impulse came and manifested as word. Please tell us the mechanism by which yesterday’s impulse becomes today’s thought.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Have you all heard about Anadi and Anant? That which has no beginning, nor an end. Nobody knows when it started. It is present from millions of years. If we don’t know how it started, how can we know when it will end? Children often ask, ‘What is above this sky? How far does the sky go? We want to go above this sky.’ They speak this in ignorance. They say that this sky is a curtain and we want to see beyond it. Sky is ananta. It has no end.
Q. When we don’t have to do anything in meditations, then why are there so many different types of meditations?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The mind is fixed in different type of habits, thoughts and feelings. That’s why Maharshi Patanjali* has given so many techniques for samadhi. Maharshi Patanjali says you can attain it by meditating on God or breathing in different ways. Gorakhnath (a 11th century yogi) has given about 108 techniques for meditation. In our country, since centuries, different techniques have been used for meditation. People have different habits, thinking patterns and feelings - that is why we have meditations with different ideas. So that people can experience meditation, through one technique or another.
Q. What should be done with people who talk very nicely but act in the exact opposite manner?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Anukampa, understand that they are doing it helplessly or in ignorance. And by behaving in this manner, they are inviting trouble for themselves.
Q. What is your suggestion for those who want to concur the world through a sharp intellect?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you sharpen your intellect but don’t think that you can drink through the eyes. You can only see through the eyes. You cannot drink thought the nose or ears. Similarly, you can know of the Divine and satisfy your intellect. However, if understood through the intellect that there is no God, then you will not get the experience. Can you listen to music though the eyes?
Like every sense organ has its own function, God can only be known through the heart. What is beyond intelligence is only Divine. However sharpen your intellect to become silent, sharp and talented.
Q. I don’t want to be reborn as a human being because there are so many cruel people. Please tell me what I should do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a Sanskrit saying which says, “My salutations to the cruel people first, then the good people”. This is because the cruel set an example on how we should not be. They harm themselves but give us a lesson. Secondly, if there are only good people in the world then their value will decrease. Have you seen the statue of Lord Natraj (dancing form of Lord Shiva)? Below his feet, there is a rakshasha (devil). Bad people are there in the world, but they should be below the feet of the good people.
You should think about how you can turn these bad people into good ones. You know, nobody is bad or cruel by birth. They are what they are due to two reasons: firstly, either they are suffering in life. Secondly, they are acting in ignorance. If you remove their suffering or ignorance, they will become good human beings.
Q. What should I do to come in God’s most wanted or the top 10 list of people?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The desire to be in the top ten along with seva is good enough to keep you on the right path. This is healthy competition. We should have such competition.
(From the Office of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)
* Maharshi Patanjali compiled the Yoga Sutras (ancient scriptures on Yoga) around the 3rd-4th century BC
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