Q: When will India be fully progressed and how?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When youth like you start thinking about what you can do.
Q: Guruji, if someone criticizes me and it is right, it is ok. But if it is not true, I am not able to handle that criticism and I lose my balance. Please guide.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Blame is what you call that criticism which you cannot accept. How do you deal with blame? With patience, it needs enormous patience and faith that truth will triumph always, things will get better.
Q: I find lot of changes in me at subtle level but people around me don’t.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You see changes in yourself that is good enough. Others’ can’t because they are caught in their own mind. With patience express yourself better. Many times our actions are not aligned with our feelings. Outward action may be rough but you may not feel rough inside. Your feelings have changed but your actions and expressions have not changed. In most cases that is what happens. Then you need to change your expression a little.
Q: How can one be both friendly and centered?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you don’t expect anything from your friends then you will be centered. You know, when you are friendly some sort of expectation is there, you enjoy being friendly. Stop enjoying being friendly. But be friendly because it’s your very nature. Then you will be centered.
Q: Women leadership in villages
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Women leadership in villages is a skill. The transformation won’t happen overnight. Gradually transformation will happen and it is important that you continue to work for that.
Q: How to educate those people who have developed a dislike towards Spirituality?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Are you single or married? (Laughter). If you are single then you don’t have that problem (More laughter).
If your spouse is against your being on the spiritual path, then you have to apply an indirect solution. Through the close friend of your spouse you can reach out to your spouse and when it comes from them, your spouse will listen.
For others, you keep educating them. Share the knowledge with them. In English there is a saying ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ but in our case it is lack of familiarity which breeds contempt because they don’t know. So educate them.
Also Maoist and leftist indoctrination has turned many people against spirituality. Within Nepal also so many people are against spirituality. Out of 600 districts in India 212 are not touched by the Art of Living. Once we reach out, a total turn around happens. There was an incident when a Maoist guerilla came to attack one of our teachers in a Satsang (song & celebration) in a village in Jharkhand. They came and saw people singing so happily that they also joined in. later on they insisted that the teacher have a Satsang for them as well.
The story of Angulimaala from Buddha’s life is not just history or a mythology. It is happening now, here, today. Where all legislations and money doesn’t work, what works is Love.
Q: Is there death to Atman?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you turn off Television do you see waves or not? You don’t see it but waves are still there. The same way life is always there. Jeeva atman is eternal. Whether seen or unseen, manifest or un-manifest is a different question.
Q: How do we decide whom to praise?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is good to praise fools but for the intelligent there is no need to praise. He will work either way.
Q: Maharashtra assembly fight, Bangladesh, Pakistan…My heart weeps looking at all this. I feel afraid at times.
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you look at all this you feel pain in your heart. The pain should be there. When the pain is there you take a step. Otherwise you keep sitting until your own home is on fire.
Observe how Mahatma Gandhi gave a direction in those days. This way you will also get ideas in your mind on how to move ahead. All should sacrifice a little. Whatever we can we will all do. You feel afraid at times, that’s ok. It happens at times only isn’t it? Do meditation, Pranayama and you will be out of it.
Q: How does one get rid of guilt and repentance?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you come here you have entered a new life. That old person has died – it is a new life, new human being. You want to carry the burden of that old stone with you still? In ancient days there was a tradition. When someone came to the Guru, their name was changed reminding them that they now have a fresh new life.
Q: What should a child do to become an ideal citizen?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Keep your eyes and ears open. Know your roots. Deepen your roots and broaden your vision.
Q: Environment issue
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Environment is a really serious issue. You should all plant trees, use less refrigeration, and turn to vegetarianism. You know, scientists today say if the whole world stops butchering the entire green house effect issue will be resolved. One slaughter is equivalent to the cutting of 500 trees for it releases that much methane. The amount of feed used for one animal can be used to feed 400 people. GO VEG: Stay healthy and save the planet. It is as simple as that.
Q: How do I enter politics? Is it only for the rich or those with a political background?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is not the case. It’s all about people. People come first. Become a good social worker, people will automatically vote for you. First you must work among the people. I know somebody who worked a lot for the betterment of villages and people of villages not only voted for him but also gave him Rs10 per person for the elections.
Q: Is feeling helpless is sign of weakness or strength?
H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Feeling helpless is obviously a sign of weakness but if with that helplessness prayer arises in you then an unknown, unseen, irrefutable strength comes to you. But you can’t force yourself to feel helpless or to pray. It comes automatically.
“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 for Spirituality