6 march 2010,
Q: After coming on the path I find it difficult to fulfill religious rituals. I don’t understand should we continue doing that or leave that. Please guide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a couplet by Saint kabir:
karka manka chod kar,
Manka manka fer.
It is best to do meditation. But I don’t say one should completely abandon rituals. You perform some rituals on festivals. A little bit of rituals are good. But don’t be too much stuck with the rituals. E.g. if you had resolved to perform a ritual and due to some circumstances you were not able to fulfill that, then there is no need to think that God will be angry with you or you have acquired some sin. I give you guarantee. Maharishi Narada has also said ‘ God is total love’.
Devotion and surrender are greater than any ritual. A little bit ritual is necessary for two reasons. Children are introduced to religion and spirituality through the rituals. Secondly, performing rituals also purify the atmosphere at home. E.g. when all family members come together and do Pooja on Diwali, the atmosphere of our home changes. It is same when you offer Ardas in Gurudwara.
There is no need to be afraid of or feel guilty if you couldn’t keep up with the ritual due to any reason.
Q: Does past karmas affect our life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both past and present karmas affect our life.
Q: How much difference is there between science and spirituality? Why do not scientists believe in spirituality?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Evolved scientists surely believe in spirituality. Those who are not yet fully evolved may not believe in spirituality. Scientists like Einstein had said that he had never seen or heard a book like Bhagwad Geeta. If you hear a quantum physicist talking, you will feel as if the text is being quoted from the scriptures only. ‘What is this?’ is science.’ Who am I?’ is spirituality. We need both science and spirituality to bring contentment to our soul.
Q: How do we survive in a world where most of the people earn a living by illegal and wrong means?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do not think that all people survive doing illegal or wrong actions. There are many good people who survive doing righteous actions. One who survives on wrong means has only a very short period of survival.
In our scriptures it is said that a teacher, guru or saint is not to speak lie at all. A king is allowed to speak a little lie. A business man can go a little further. A businessman can say one’s product is the best even if it is not. Only that much lying is allowed. It is like salt in the food.
Q: I am in love with a guy and I want to marry him. But my parents are against this. Whatever I chose I lose the people I love most. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Try to convince your parents or try to understand why they are opposing. If they are doing this because of caste system or any superstition then you talk to them and make them understand. But if they have some other concern then you should try to understand their point of view also. Sometimes you are blindfolded when you fall in love. You are driven away by feelings and you cannot see what others can.
If you are not able to come to any conclusion then give time a chance. Have patience, relax and pray. Prayer has enormous power and it works.
Q: What is the finest form of karma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What we don’t want for ourselves, we don’t do it unto others also.
Q: What is the best way to deal with the problem when you are passing through that phase?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do you want to keep problem to yourself? Drop it here before going. You can come here with problem but you can’t go back with your problems.
© The Art of Living Foundation
For Global Spirituality