Wayzata Community Church,
Q: According to Vedanta we are all one. But we have different personalities and ideas. Can you explain?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Everything is made up of atoms. Like furniture is made of wood. The door, the bench, the table, the chair are all made of wood. Wood is in each of these things. But the roles are different. The door cannot be used as a chair, nor can a table be used as a door. Quantum Physics is based on the principle of Advaita (non duality).
Q: How to handle stress without conflict?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First find inner peace, and then you can handle situations. When you are peaceful, then the solutions come.
Do you mean problems in relationships? If your question is about conflict between spouses, then there are three options.
Advice for women – Don’t ask your husband to prove himself. Pump his ego. The whole world might say that he is an empty head, but you as a wife must always praise him. You can tell him, “You are brilliant. It is a different thing that you don’t use your bright mind”. Never step on his ego. He has to prove himself in the world, but he wants to relax when he comes home. He shouldn’t have to prove himself at home.
Advice for men - Never step on the emotions of your wife. She will tell you the problems at her home and may complain about her father, brother or relatives. But if you join her bandwagon, she will take a U turn. If she wants to go on a spiritual or religious program, don’t stop her. If she wants to shop, give her your credit card.
Advice for both - Never question someone’s love for you. If someone asks you to prove your love to him or her, how would you feel? It is like a burden. Demand destroys love. Never demand love. Instead of this you say, “Why do you love me so much? I am not worthy of your love”. The moment you say this, the other person will melt and start loving you even more, and will even forgive you for your mistakes.
Q: Sri Sri, in your presence I feel the darkness disappear, I feel light and happy. How do I retain this state of being?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditate, do service, be part of a service project. You will be close to me and retain this state of being that way.
Q: What advice do you have for parents handling teenagers?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The ‘Art of Living’ Foundation has wonderful programs like ‘Know Your Child’ Workshops which can help parents understand their children better.
Q: How does one live without expectations and still achieve great things in life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have all that you need to blossom. Do Sudarshan Kriya, do meditation. In ‘Part 2/ Art of Silence’ program, participants experience blossoming of their talents and new skills start developing.
Q: I am a woman who is trapped in an abusive relationship, what can I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Firstly, get out of the victim consciousness. Nobody else can make you come out of it. There is a part of you that no one can touch. When we talk too much about our problems, we begin to enjoy talking about those. Truth and reconciliation is important.
Q: Sri Sri, if joy is our nature, why do we lose touch with our nature? Why are we distracted?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Spiritual voyage can give you the joy and keep you in touch with your nature.
Q: You are like Mahatma Gandhi? Did he inspire you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: While we were little children, we grew up listening to stories of Gandhi. We grew up with a pride of being non-violent. My teacher was a close associate of Gandhi. The stories of non-violence were a part of our upbringing. We could never think of hurting anyone. This value was a part of our life.
Q: What do you think of religious scandals? How can you avoid such scandals?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If somebody has made such a mistake, he/she should simply admit it. There are such people in every field who don’t speak the truth. Don’t blame the field for it. There are doctors who steal kidneys and sell it for a price. Some people are scared of being operated. But you cannot doubt all the doctors. Noble professions like medicine and education are becoming corrupt. There is a fine line between being cautious and being paranoid, and prejudice occurs when you cross the line.
Q: Any predictions when the world will be one?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you and I start working together. Technology has made the globe into a village.Spirituality will make it a family.
Sri Sri then invited people in the audience to visit India.
“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
© The Art of Living Foundation