A dip in knowledge purifies the mind

10 March 2010,
Rishikesh, India

Q: What is the importance of bathing in Ganges especially during mahakumbh?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: it is believed to be good to have a dip in the ganges. However, taking a dip in knowledge is even greater for it purifies the mind.

Q: If a person feels emptiness inside in spite of having material prosperity and a good family, what should he do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: He should consider himself to be very lucky to feel that there is something more in life besides eating, drinking and sleeping. When you feel that emptiness within, then only the quest for the truth arises.

Q: What is the difference between prayer-oriented and meditation-oriented religion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Everything has its own place. Prayer is asking from God and meditation is listening to the God. Both are important.

Q: Does astrology and planets carry any importance? There are so many television channels which talk about stones and planetary effects. Should one believe in those?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Astrology has its importance. Astrology is a science but astrologers are not scientists. So any astrologer cannot be trusted like that. What is shown on television is very general and not specific to one person. Planets do have their effects but know that you have much greater power than that. ‘Om Namah Shiva’ – this mantra is like a shield and it takes care of all planetary effects.

Q: Can a person struggling for livelihood progress on the spiritual path?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Some people say that to walk on the spiritual path you have to abandon your professional life. But I say you can continue pursuing your profession or business, and progress on the spiritual path as well. In fact, they are complementary to each other. Pursuing the spiritual path makes it easy to accomplish tasks in your professional life as well. Only listening to this knowledge doesn’t help. Doing your practices along with it is equally important.

Q: What is difference between love and attachment?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Attachment is that which gives you pain. Love is that without which you cannot live. If love becomes attachment, then the same love which was giving you joy, starts to inflict pain. Attachment is when you want something in return. If you love and do not want anything in return, then that love doesn’t turn into attachment. I have talked about love in the Narad Bhakti Sutras.

Q: If we have come from God, we are a part of God and to dissolve in God is our aim then why do we do stupidity of moving away from God?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometimes you get bored of sitting at your home and you go for a walk. But then you come back. If you don’t come back home then people like us come to take you back home.

Q: Why is getting married so important in India?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To live in a society, we have to follow the norms of the society. These norms are there to maintain orderliness.

Q: If alcohol is obtained from a natural crop then why is it harmful and hazardous to health to consume it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What I have observed is people who are into alcohol are very sad. Once the intoxication is gone, sadness dawns again and that too with greater amplitude. The aim of life is not to lose awareness but to live in awareness. To get rid of sorrow, awareness is needed. Intoxication will only stop it for a while and then it bounces back with even greater intensity. Alcohol spoils your health, makes your brain dull and gives rise to so many conflicts in the mind. It not only makes your life miserable but also the lives of those around you. If you want to lose your health and that too at your own expense then continue consuming alcohol.

People in villages earn a good income but they lose 60 percent in alcohol, and remain in poor financial and health conditions. You have a much better source of enjoyment – satsang. It gives joy to everybody – you and to people around. All other types of intoxications will seem dull in front of the intoxication you get in a satsang.

Q: Do we have a logical reason for not eating non – vegetarian food?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are three types of beings - Herbivores, Carnivores and scavengers. Carnivores kill other animals for their food. They kill animals and consume fresh meat. But they don’t kill other animals unless they are hungry. Scavengers eat animals which are already killed. A very few come under this category.

If you want to do some intellectual work or you want to be a genius, then non – vegetarian food is not good. Scientists like Einstein were vegetarian. For a healthy body and lightness in mind, vegetarian diet is best.

Q: It is said that after lots of merits one gets a human birth. Then how come the population of humans is increasing in the world because people are not very meritorious in the world today?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Population of many animal species like scorpions, snakes is also decreasing. Animals in forests might have taken birth as humans. You think over this.

Q: What do you advice to farmers?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The crops which were produced in abundance in India are now being imported and hence their prices have also been raised manifold. Earlier three crops were grown in one field and even if the yield of one crop is destroyed, the others would give the farmers a living. So this system of growing multiple crops would never let farmers be in debt. But with the hybrid crops you get a good yield only in the first one or two years and then it decreases the soil fertility. It leads to depletion of essential salts in the soil. So I suggest to all to adopt the ancient methods of farming. Multiple cropping yields a good profit.

We have also started a seed bank in Maharashtra. 1 kg seeds have been given to 50 farmers this year. 1kg seeds will give them a yield of 40 – 45 kg and next year they would be returning 2 kg seeds. This way 100 farmers can get free seeds next year. It will be good if such banks are started in Punjab and Haryana also. Farmers will be happy and we will also get a good crop. Otherwise the crops which we get with chemical farming cause pain and other illnesses in the body here and there. So multiple cropping and chemical free farming are the best solutions.

Q: Will you please tell us about BT crops? Why is it advised not to consume BT crops?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: BT – Bio tech. Yes we should not use it. Because of BT cotton thousands of farmers committed suicide. Also the virus emitted by these seeds affect many other plants too. 10- 15 years ago leaves of the neem tree never used to get dry. But because of BT cotton even that has happened.

It was also planned by some people to launch BT brinjal in India. But due to the collective voice raised against it, that issue has been subdued for now. Even France and America have banned those seeds. Research has shown that such seeds adversely affect the kidney, liver, heart, and cause a rise in cancer. But corruption was going to allow this to happen in India. Then they were planning to launch BT rice etc. That’s why it is so important that good people, saints and social workers come up, and people are made aware of all this.

Q: Doesn’t there arise any conflict between different religious and spiritual organizations?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are different methods and patterns but the ultimate aim is same – to uplift humanity. All are good. Inter religious seminars are conducted time and again. As far as my knowledge is concerned there are no conflicts between them.

Q: What is ignorance and what does it mean to be in knowledge?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you are bombarded by so many thoughts in solitude also, you are in ignorance. If you are calm even amidst a crowd then you are in knowledge.

“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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