Q: Guruji, I often see people bow down to you. Is doing all that necessary?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, no, not at all. These things are really insignificant. You know, these outer gestures are insignificant. Don’t give too much importance to them. All these gestures don’t matter. We all are connected from a deeper level, level of heart. That’s how we have met and we are all here.
Q: Yesterday you talked about leela(game). One can comprehend it intellectually but how to make it an inner experience?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You don’t have to make it an experience. You simply have to wake up and see life is a game. Wake up this moment when I am speaking. Whatever happened till now, is it not like a dream? You had dinner this evening, meditated in the morning, did yoga in morning and went to bed last night, and if you go to your own memory there were good events, bad events, you had profit, you had loss but right this moment it’s all gone.
Wake up this moment and see from tomorrow to the next 10 years is also like a dream! When you realize this whole phenomenon that has happened in the past and future is all like a play, a game. You don’t have to think this is a concept and I have to experience it. My dear, memory is memory. Your thinking that you have to experience memory is a concept and your thinking that you don’t have it is again a concept. You simply have to realize right away it is a dream. This could be a dream. That very moment you feel a sense of relief. A soothing wave overtakes you. Don’t wait that someday you will experience it’s all a game.
May be after you leave the body you will experience one day. Then also you will realize I could have done that much before.
Q: What is difference between dispassion and indifference?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, in indifference there is a sense of apathy, rejection and disappointment. In dispassion there is joy and enthusiasm.
Q: Do we all have a purpose in life or we can all come and go when it is? If there is one purpose what is it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know it’s best to take out paper and pen, and list out what is not the purpose of life. By negating it will be easier for you.
Q: Is Guruji the best Guru? Is Art of Living the best spiritual path? People say it is the best. Isn’t it a seed of war, calling my belief to be the best? The symbols of other religions in Vishalakshi Mantap (meditation hall in the ashram) tell us that all other religions are also good.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I leave it up to you. You discuss and decide. Go through all the confusion and come to your own conclusion. I never say it is the best and I also don’t say it is not the best. It is up to you.
It will not be the truth to say it is not the best. And it sounds very funny for whenever someone says, ‘it is the best’, you have a sort of resistance for that. So sometimes some of these questions are best not answered. I am not here to clarify your doubts. I am here to create more doubts.
Doubt is always about something which is positive. When somebody tells you ‘I love you’ and you say ‘really’. But do you say really when somebody says ‘I hate you’? You doubt your capabilities and you never doubt your weaknesses. You are so sure of your weaknesses. You doubt in the honesty of people and never in their dishonesty. Nature of doubt is such that it always clings to something which is positive. So if you have a doubt I will encourage you that this is very positive.
Q: Guruji you said to be a perfectionist is cause of stress. Yet everything about you is so perfect. You are perfect, your actions are perfect, your words are perfect, your understanding of God is so perfect, this Ashram is perfect and so many other things. What is the difference between your perfect thinking or, mine or ours?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just that you have to look yourself in the mirror. That’s it. You move from perfection to perfection. You move from one perfection to another higher perfection. That’s how you have to look at life. Otherwise you see this is not perfect , everything is imperfect, everything is hopeless. And we tend to get into negative framework. Isn’t it?
Q: What is upanishad?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sitting close by and listening is Upanishad. Upanishad is a collection of discourses of high knowledge, how it was transmitted from a Master to students. It is very interesting.
In one of the Upanishads, it is beautifully said. Once a boy goes to his father who is also his Guru and asked what is God. Father replied, ‘Food is God’ for everything grows from food, everything is sustained by food and in the lack of it, everything dissolves and everything again becomes food. So the boy went and thought about it for several months, understood all about food and came back to his father, and again asked ‘What is God?’
The father, also his Guru, said, ‘Prana is God’. The boy went, thought and understood all about prana, how it is going in and out of the body, how many types of prana are there and read all experiments about prana.
He again came back to his father and asked, ‘What is God?’ The father looked at child’s face, so glowing and so vibrant. Father said, 'Ok, the mind is Brahman, mind is God.' Like that, the boy went and thought till he finds the ultimate bliss. Neither the student complaint to the teacher that he was told, ‘Food is God, but it is not the ultimate, you told me the wrong thing'. He simply came and again asked the question. So this is ancient way of teaching step by step – food, then prana, then the mind, then the inner spirit, then the universal spirit, bliss.
Bliss is Divinity, the space. You are like the space. Then he said, 'There is no difference between you, me and the infinite self. We all are one. The Self, Guru and the universal energy are not different. All are made up of one substance. Today if you talk to scientists who study string theory, who study quantum physics they will say the same thing that is said in the upanishads. In upanishads, it was said thousands of years ago, ‘God is not a person, sitting somewhere up in heaven but God is present everywhere. He is omnipresent and omnipotent, the energy of which you are also made up of, everything is made up of’.
“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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For Global Spirituality