Bangalore Ashram, India, Nov. 14, 2009:
The third day of the Kannada advance course.
Q. I would like to bring some reformations and changes in my village. However, every time, I meet with so many obstacles and it is quite frustrating for me. What should I do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sanghe shakti kaliyuge. One or two people alone can't bring in a reform. A coming together is required. For that knowledge must dawn. So bring people to programs like this. Bring people together and do this work. What we do sometimes fails and if the failure repeats you can lose your courage. When we want to bring in reforms, even if we fail 10 times we should go ahead. We have to be so strong. Know that you will never be alone. Come together and work to increase awareness in society. Do satsangs. I will guide you constantly.
Q. When we meditate, why do we take our attention to different parts of the body when we have to go beyond the body level?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When we want to build a tall building, the foundation must be sufficiently deep. The string of the bow is stretched back further when the arrow has to go far. So to transcend the mind we bring our attention to our body, and then we realize we are beyond the body.
Q. There are so many problems in the world. Isn’t it better if we have the power to know them wherever we are so that we can do something to help?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Aren’t you seeing enough on television? Why do you want to know about all the problems? Whether you know or not, meditation and Satsang will bring the transformation. Knowing is not a big deal. Where you put your attention, you will get knowledge about it. Yet once you have the power you will not want to use it. A scholar does not carry all his books on his head all the time. He refers only when necessary. Same way the consciousness knows, when necessary it knows.
Some karmas have to be experienced. The effects of some can be reduced through upayas (solutions).
Q. What is the significance of bowing down to the feet in India?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Only in India, so much significance has been given to the feet. The legs take you forward. Our energy can be transmitted through the hands and the feet. The energy or vibrations are absorbed by the head. This transmission can happen simply through sight as well. Even just being in the presence is enough to soak in the Divine energy.
Q. Guruji, you say that self blame is not good. But I feel sometimes it’s good as it brings perfection.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you feel you are becoming perfect by blaming then do it. Yet if you keep blaming yourself then that is not perfection. Also, make sure you don’t blame others! Don’t try to make others perfect.
All of us have divine qualities. When you try to raise these qualities of others and they don’t want it, then what is the use? It is like forcibly helping an old lady to cross the road when she doesn’t want to. Whatever work we want to do, do it with good intentions. Nobody’s curse can affect you if your heart is pure. If your heart is impure then surely it will have an influence.
Q. What is the significance of using salt for nazar utarna (a tradition in India where a handful of salt is taken around the person to remove the effects of the evil eye)?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The defects in our aura can be cleared with salt. In the West, people take salt baths. Others’ feelings can affect our aura. Instead of worrying about the influence, just use the salt. Each substance has its own aura. People find it relaxing in the ocean side because of salt in the water. Through salt, the toxins in the body and mind are removed. Yet if you intake too much salt you will get blood pressure and if you sit everyday in salt water your skin will get affected. So do everything in moderation. Athi savatra varjayeth.
Q. What is the significance of the conch? It is used in every puja or celebration or big event.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In the olden days, people started wars by blowing the conch. Water from conch is used along with chanting associated mantras. There are definite vibrations for each object. The conch is a symbol of auspiciousness and prosperity. Shankhabasma (ashes of the conch) is very good for health. It brings strength in body.
In this creation every blade of the grass has importance. Bilva, parijata, neem - all have their significance. More than all this, you are very important. Your consciousness is important. You give importance to the external surroundings and fill your house with garbage, then it is of no use. So first have a pure heart then everything in creation is significant for you.
Q. Can you speak on the importance of vaastu?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Everything in creation has certain vibrations. This world is an ocean of vibrations. Every being has definite vibrations. The gods are all depicted as riding on different vahanas (animals as vehicles). This indicates the specific vibrations of the gods. Elephants attract, from the cosmos, the vibrations specific to Ganesha. Tigers, the Devi vibrations; peacocks attract the vibrations of Lord Subramanya. Yet don’t trouble yourself with all this. Just say Om Namah Shivaya. All the corrections in Vaastu will be taken care of.
Q. Does learning traditional music make us spiritual?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Music is called laya yoga. Bhakti is different. Music as music without devotion is not so useful. Only one part of your brain is developing. Total personality does not develop. Gyana (knowledge), gaana (music), dhyana (meditation) - all are required. Gyana nourishes the left brain. Gaana nourishes the right brain. Dhyana nourishes both sides. All three activities are essential.
Q. Why is human life considered the highest of all life forms?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Because you can ask these questions and understand the answers. If you don’t ask or understand you are not better than any other animal or species.
Q. Despite meditating, I still get angry and tense. What should I do?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Even now you get tensed, but it goes away right? Anger, tension - many people don’t even know they are like this! At least you know. On a white clean cloth - a small dust particle is also seen. When the mind is clear, little anger or tension is also seen. Slowly you will see nothing is affecting you. A few months or years of practice and you will see that nothing can touch you.
Q. What is your advice on the Fatwa against education for women?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is ignorance. Fatwa against women going to school is anti-progress.
Women should be given equal rights as men. That is the symbolism of Ardhanaareshvara- half Shiva and half Shakti. Women should not be treated like second class, third class or a servant.
Saying that you cannot sing Vandemataram because it praises the earth as a mother - people are not listening to such dictates anymore.
Women should be given all rights. They should be empowered and should have a say on everything. We should have one common law. Politicians keep dividing society to enjoy privileges, vote bank. They don't want education to reach the poor people so that they can rule over them. This is a rotten mind. We have to go ahead and educate the population. Illiteracy is the reason that wrong people enter politics.
“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
~ H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
© The Art of Living Foundation for Globalizing Spirituality