Bangalore ashram, Jan. 16:
Q: Guruji, the way I feel so connected to you, do you feel the same?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: More than that. You know, connection means that there is a difference. I don’t feel connected for I don’t feel the difference. I feel you are a part of me.
Q: If truth is contradictory, how to find the truth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Truth is something you can’t avoid nor confront. There is no effort. Truth simply comes out. If you tell a lie, you have to manufacture. To tell a lie, a lot of effort is required. You’re feeling cold, you’re feeling hot, that is how you feel. No effort is needed.
Q: Even after surrendering problems, I worry about them. What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is to say, ‘I gave it away’ and even after giving you say, ‘I have it with me’. If even after giving it away again and again, it comes back to you like a ball you again and again keep giving it away. Don’t give up until you have totally given up!
Q: What are the characteristics of an ideal devotee?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (After a little pause) You are One. You don’t doubt that. And whatever additional quality you want to have, you can always develop.
• Someone who has a calm and serene mind,
• Wants to live in knowledge, has some knowledge and a desire for knowledge,
• No grudges, no hatred towards anyone,
• Has compassion.
Q: What do you expect from us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A lot. You live in knowledge, you keep smiling, you keep serving, you keep connected. I don’t expect - I know you will do it. Only I am impatient. I want you to do it quickly.
Q: Guruji, telling the truth causes problems outside and telling lie creates problems inside (us)? What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Solve the problem. Problems are to be seen as challenges. Someone who is brave like challenges and you are brave, I tell you.
Q: Guruji, when we say Jai Gurudev to someone, are we referring to the Guru in the person in front or we are remembering the Guru in ourselves?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I leave it up to you, whatever you want. It has so many meanings – Hello, How are you, Good bye, Welcome, Thank you…So many words come in that Jai Gurudev. You want to say, ‘Oh my God’ you say Jai Gurudev, you want to say, ‘Oh I give up’ you say Jai Gurudev. It’s just become a habit. I don’t insist at all. You say whatever you want to say.
Q: Do I exist beyond body and soul? And if I do then in what form?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nothing exists beyond the soul. Beyond the body? Yes. When you realize, you see you are not your body and you will realize that yourself.
Q: Guruji, there are moments when I am enthusiastic, when I am very confident but there are two problems: 1. I forget things. 2. I fear of what happens if this state continues. This is predominantly from my wife’s side. What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I remember in one course a gentleman with his wife participated. At each knowledge point, the husband would say, ‘Look, I have been also saying the same thing.’ Like I said, ‘Forgive and forget’ and she would say, ‘I told you the same thing, now Guruji is also saying same.’ (Laughter) I told him, these points are for you to apply and not to just pass on. Charity begins at home, Love begins at home. Start from where you are.
Q: I get physically attracted to many people. What to do? Is it ok to be physically attracted?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you see your mind, so many thoughts come. You can’t act on all the thoughts. If you try to act on all the thoughts, you end up in a mental hospital. Whether thoughts of attraction or repulsion come, you do not get attracted but you also feel repulsion for many people. For example, the mind says to strangle somebody, you have to act out of wisdom. You have to see what is right and what is wrong. You have to see what is evolutionary and what is not. You have to see what is giving you happiness in the long term and what is giving misery. You have to see what is permanent and what is temporary. That is discrimination, Viveka, is so important. Otherwise, it will be just senseless, thoughtless action leaving you in misery.
Q: We give so many botherations to you? To whom do you give all these botherations?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That you don’t worry. I have a processing unit where all garbage gets processed to manure.
Q: If atma (spirit) is neither created nor destroyed then from where do these new souls come? How is the population of the world increasing?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My dear, so many animals are also getting extinct. Very few sparrows are left, many crocodiles are missing. Like this, many other species are missing. Just imagine. I think you will get the rest of your answer.
Q: Guruji, I do all practices when I am in problem but otherwise I stay away from path. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This you figure out. When misery comes, everyone thinks of God. But to one who thinks of God even when happy, why will misery touch him? There is an old proverb which says this Sukh mein simran sabh karein, dukh mein kare na koi, Sukh mein simran jo kare to dukh kahe ko hoye This applies to us also. When you are doing pranayama, Sudarshan kriya, when you are happy, then that happiness will continue. Today, there was an article in the paper which says that the only way to cure depression is by meditation. Anti-depression medicines will make the depression come back. There is a rebounding of depression with anti-depression medicines but with meditation there is no rebounding. Today millions of people are suffering from depression and they don’t know something like this exists. They don’t know there is a way which can make them free from depression. When you go back tell everyone about meditation. It takes one out of depression, suicidal tendencies. Look at Rashid (pointing to a youth who has come from Kashmir), he is smiling after 12 years and is now doing wonderful service also.
Q: When I come here I find so much peace and harmony. How can I take this same peace and harmony back to Kashmir also?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You also come up with ideas, I will also think. More youth like you should come from Kashmir, experience this and go back and serve. We will start the Art of Living in Kashmir and make it big. If you all resolve, we will definitely do it. We can do organic farming there. We can train more teachers, all can heal and bless them, bring happiness in them. We already have a residential school there. We all need to do more and more.
Q: If something bad happens to a person we say that the previous birth karma is responsible. Will you please speak about that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Paap kya punya kyat tu bhulade’ Karam kar phal ki chinta tu mitade’ Forget what is sinful and what is noble. Be free from the desire of the fruit of action. Don’t sit and worry too much about all this. I have spoken more on this in Celebrating silence (a book written by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ravi Shankar).
Q: It is said in the Gita, do your duty and don’t expect for the result. How to live this knowledge in normal life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Live naturally. All Art of Living points are from life’s experience. There is no effort in it. Do some meditation, yoga you will see how life has transformed effortlessly and automatically.
Q: Guruji, is it true you have some super power. You have stopped rain so many times just looking at sky, you can read thoughts.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know love is the most super power in this world and that power is with everybody, not only with me. When mind is free from lust, greed, possessiveness, arrogance etc., when the mind is in the pure form with which we were all born with, then nature listens to you. You are a child of nature and nature loves you. When that manifests, when you are clear then two things happen - your wishes get fulfilled and you can fulfill others’ wishes also. When you are content, that is when blessing happens, Don’t think only Guruji can do it. This is no achievement and no effort is required. That is natural from our state of being, that state of innocence. Most of us have lost it but I still haven’t lost it.
Q: How do you speak so sweetly always?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s like asking jaggery, how can you taste so sweet? It’s the nature of the jaggery to be sweet. I don’t put any effort to speak sweetly. If I put in effort, it will turn to be salty. What I am, I speak the same. That’s why you find it sweet. And secondly, you are also sweet so you find me also sweet. If your mind is turbulent then even if I speak sweetly, you will find it salty. I also don’t know how to be otherwise. I am grateful that I never got an opportunity also to do something which is not in my nature. There was never a need to speak a lie or cheat someone. It has never happened that I pretend to be someone else which I am not. It doesn’t seem also I would be doing it in future. (laughter) But I don’t give any guarantee (more laughter). It hasn’t happened till now and God knows about future.
Q: Guruji I worked in a slum and I got so much happiness. I am feeling so blissful and life is so beautiful.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Life is beautiful but we don’t crave for happiness: ‘Oh, life is beautiful. I want joy.’ When you are happy – serve. When you are sad – give up, have the courage to give up your misery. Adveshta serva bhutanam maitra karuna evacah| Nirmamo Nirahankarah samah sukah dukkah kshami|| Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that one who is dear to me, who doesn’t hate anybody, who doesn’t have any ego – I, I, me. One who is calm in success or failure. Whatever he gets - sorrow or happiness - he takes it all with a smile. The Gita also talks about the three gunas – Rajas, Tamas and Sattva. What type of food you should eat, how the cosmos affects. Ayurveda, yoga, psychology, all these subjects are there. People from Tamil Nadu had come for the satsang.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar welcomed them and introduced the Pongal festival which was celebrated on January 14. Pongal is the biggest festival in Tamil Nadu. The flavor of Pongal is a little bit salty, little sweet and is prepared with rice, dal (pulses), and turmeric in a clay pot and celebrated.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said: The Intelligent celebrate everyday Fools fight everyday“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
~ Sri Sri Ravishankar
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