Q: Guruji, in your company we feel as if Vrindavan has been created here and now only. But when we move out in the world, entanglements cling on to us again. How to be free from that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Keep coming again and again. Have you noticed that the entanglements do not cling on to you with the same intensity as it used to be earlier? That grip is loosened. Gradually, when you become more centered, those worldly things do not distract you anymore.
Q: How do we differentiate between devotion and blind faith?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Blind faith is that which do not give you any positive result. In blind faith you move on with notions that you have heard from people here and there, and carry similar hopes with you. Either you are deluded or you are there for fulfillment of any strong desire or craving holding on to you.
Q: You often say we all are like your hairs and you come to know even if one hair is stretched. I have been pulling your hairs since many days, but it seems as if you haven’t noticed it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (With a naughty laughter) yes, some of the hairs seem to have been uprooted!
Everything has its own time. If you pray and wish all your prayers get fulfilled today itself, it is not possible. Have patience. (Making a gesture with his hands where right hand is facing audience and second is slanted downwards, and both palms shown above) Have you seen hands of all Gods and Goddesses like this? Same for Laxmi, Vishnu…Do you know its meaning? Have patience, I am giving. This is one meaning, when you need something. Another meaning is – come, surrender and you find there is no need to be afraid of anything whatsoever. (Right palm raised and facing audience) This is called abhaya mudra. Abhaya means without any fear. (Left hand slanting downwards with palm facing sky) And this is called Varada mudra which indicates - I am giving you whatever you want.
I don’t mind even if you ask for more.
Q: If one rotten apple spoils others in the basket then how can we handful of people can make this world a healthy and safe place to live in? There are little more bad people than good ones in the world.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is not the case in reality. There are more good people in the world than there are bad ones. There is more love in the world than hatred. There is more happiness than misery. But it seems the other way around. Don’t blame the society. You have a responsibility and you carry on fulfilling that. Continue spreading satsang (company of truth). Same was done by Mahatama Gandhi. Before independence in India, people were so depressed thinking they would be enslaved forever. So what did Mahatama Gandhi do? He started to have satsangs across various places in the country. People got courage from that. Same way we need to spread that a wave of satsang and awareness, not that of hatred.
Q: Guruji, you can do anything. So why don’t you erase all corruption and violence from the world and make it perfect?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (Jokingly) This is a very clever way that you have adopted to skip! If I do everything, then what would be left for you to do! Why have you come in this world at this time? You also have a role to play. It will be a monologue if only one person plays all the characters in a play. I haven’t come here to do that. I am not here even for dialogue but I am here for multi - logue (Laughter). Everyone should play his/her own role.
Have you heard the story of the squirrel? When Sri Rama was building setu with his army of monkeys, a very little squirrel was putting sand in the water. Some members of the team laughed at how much this little squirrel could contribute. But that squirrel was very happy playing his role in Sri Rama’s army. He was happy thinking that he also has his job to do. Sri Rama felt very happy and blessed the squirrel moving his hand at his back. Because of his small size, only three fingers of Sri Rama covered his whole body, and he got mark of three lines on his back. This can be a fictitious tale but the message is - we also have a responsibility even if God is doing everything. Whatever we can do, we do that.
Responsibility is that which we can do.
Q: Guruji, what should a devotee do if his faith is shaken?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Shaking of faith and devotion sends you a message about the strength of your faith. What is the need to be afraid of? Shake it as vigorously as you can. I would say only that faith is authentic which stays even after shaking. This is job of the master– to shake the faith and let it grow stronger. Guru doesn’t build your faith but he shakes your faith. This is the strategy moving from ancient times. When the faith shakes, it reveals that it can be made stronger. If it is authentic, anyway it will grow strong. In the whole process you realize, this is all mere a play of mind. Faith and devotion were always present. Devotion towards truth can never disappear. This is maya(illusion) of the mind which makes you feel it is shaken.
Q: Is there any formula to have peace at home?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have asked a very difficult question! But its answer is very simple. You keep on smiling irrespective of what happens around you. If noise is there, accept it. If somebody is shouting, let it be for some time. Try considering the whole atmosphere of your home as if you are watching any television serial. Do you get upset when you watch television? Some people were telling me that same arguments take place on television which happens at their homes also. Think as if some live show is going on at home. And only a camera is missing. When you remember this thing and see yourself as the director and not actor, then at least you will have peace in your heart. And up to what time others will play their role? They will be tired in sometime. All this trouble is in wake state, neither in dream nor in sleep. God has granted you few hours of sleep and some other routine activities like bathing etc. take some more time. So at least for these ten hours, you are at peace. (Jokingly)And enjoy the other 14 hours show. What else can you do? But if you want to enjoy, remember not to be the actor.
Q: How should be one’s relation with the Master? One is an ordinary person and other is a person with so many powers. Should it be like a friend or a beloved?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Let love be love. Don’t give it a name. Love is above all relations. Being in love with the master is like being in Love with the divine. Master, God and spirit are not different. These all are one. Only one exists – one non dual existence. Everything is divine.
Q: What is the meaning of Kumbh?
(The Kumbh Mela is one of the most sacred pilgrimages in Hinduism. The word Kumbh means 'pot' or 'pitcher' and Mela means 'festival' that is why it is known as "the pitcher festival". It is a fair that energizes your mind and soul)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Wherever people come together and do satsang, that is kumbh.
Q: Do planets have any effect on us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, planets do have an effect on us. But the effects are minimal on those who are on the path of sadhna, satsang and knowledge. For those, negative effects reduce and positive effects start to increase. It’s like when you take umbrella under the hot sun, you feel less heat on your head. Practices and mantras are the solutions.
Q: Should one believe in the horoscopes?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If your mind says you should do it, then you should. But that shouldn’t be given too much importance. Sometimes the recorded time or place of birth may not be accurate. There are many issues involved. So neither should we totally ignore it nor should we take it to be exactly right.
Q: Is it ok to be driven by emotions?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The difference between a human and a stone is that, humans have emotions. When feelings are combined with wisdom, then that is good. It’s like when water flows between two banks, we call it river. But if water is scattered all over the place, then that is flood. In life, along with intellect, feelings are also to be nourished. To maintain a balance between intellect and emotions is wisdom.
Q: What is liberation? Is it possible to be liberated in this birth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is possible in this birth only. You should listen to Ashtavakra (A commentary by His Holiness ).
Q: How can I be contented? Lots of needs keep bombarding the mind.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Tell me one thing. Are you contented today?
(The gentleman said ‘No’)
What do you need?
(The gentleman continues ‘I need to have something after having what, all my desires are pacified)
It’s good if you are aware that lots of desires are disturbing you. This desire - I want to get rid of all desires, is called mumuksha.
Q: Can you please talk about our karma governing our future?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, your karma forms your future. I have talked about all these things in the book ‘An intimate note to the sincere seeker’. You should read that.
Q: What should we do when nothing is in our hands and we don’t understand what should be and what shouldn’t be done in a relationship or career?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You should meditate then. When you are so much deluded and confused, meditate for some time. You will find clarity dawning instantaneously.
Q: What question should I ask?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My dear, you are asking me to tell you question also! Is it your New Year resolution not to use your brain come what may? You want to borrow even questions! No way. The questions have to be yours. It’s not school where they give you questions and you give answers. Here you have to come up with the question. And you don’t have to; if it comes up in you then that is your question. Nobody can tell you what question you should ask, what you should prayer for or what you should seek. It is a spontaneous outcome from within. Need is not to be dictated by somebody or anybody. Need is that which arises from within. In reality when you come in this energy all questions in you disappears.
Q: How to be in the present moment?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (Making a snapping sound with his fingers) Like this. Are you here now? (The lady nodded with a yes). Then be here now.
“That which you cannot express is Love.
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
That which you cannot reject/renounce is Beauty.
That which you cannot avoid is the Truth.”
~ Sri Sri Ravishankar
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