Seeing the Divine in the most fearful as well as the most beautiful form, you experience Divinity everywhere

March 10, 2011, Bangalore Ashram

Q: Dear Guruji, Most of the religions have come into being when people started following some great person or soul. How did Hinduism come into being?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 
Hinduism is not a religion; it is just a way of life. When thousands of seers, prophets were there and they all said something based on the Vedas   - The first scripture in the world. And then people had particular norms and they followed the way of life. Our past president of India, Dr. Radha Krishna was asked who a Hindu is. He described a Hindu as 'He who does not put any sort of label on oneself, of being Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Parsi or Hindu is a Hindu, because Hinduism is just a way of life'. I think it was Dr. Radha Krishna who defined it that way.  But I would say Hinduism means liberalism. Many ways to worship one truth, one reality. Hinduism has three characteristics. First is the freedom to worship the way you want, any form, any name. Second, the whole world is one family. And third, there is one divinity which expresses Himself in many forms. Only one God but many names and many forms and acknowledge this. God and its creations are not two different things. Like body and mind are not different – One is manifest and other is not manifest. You cannot see the mind, and body does not do anything without the mind. If mind is not there, body is a corpse. So, the spirit and the matter – Prakriti and Purusha - this is what the whole concept is.  The whole world is the body of the Divinity. The Divine is in the water, in the mountain, in trees, in rivers, in you, in me, and in everybody. God is not sitting somewhere up in the heaven, but God is the substratum in which everything exists. God is like the space in which all the other elements exist. So, everything is made up of God and is God.  This is the basic concept of Hinduism. And good and bad – right and wrong are only relative, they are not absolute. Liberalism – Liberalism means freedom. Freedom, equality are the main precepts of Hinduism.

Q: If love is not an emotion but your very existence then how come love disappear one day and appear again some other day?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, the sun appears to have disappeared but in reality, it is not. It is just hiding or we have turned to another side. That’s it!

Q: Do thoughts happen by previous Karma or impressions in the mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Karma is nothing but impressions in the mind and brings about similar thoughts. Ya, it is very much possible.

Q: Who is Radha?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Radha is one who is going towards the source. Dhara is flow, and read other way it becomes Radha. So, one who goes towards the Self!

Q: Are soul and spirit same?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Q: I get angry often and I don’t live knowledge up to the mark. But I feel I am very close to you. Is this an illusion or really it is so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Of course! Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Be natural. Ok? Don’t drain yourself thinking, “Oh I don’t live up to the knowledge”. If it happens sometimes it is ok. Move on. Life moves on. So many things fall into the river – leaves, flowers and the river takes everything forward. Time is carrying life forward. So, move forward.  Actually what we are doing? We have turned our head backwards and are trying to moving forward.  All that you need to do is to look ahead. You have done mistakes in the past, accept it and move on.

Q: How do I come out of the victim consciousness, esp. when past memories refuse to leave?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The fact that you have realized this itself means you have come out of it. This is where the karma comes into the picture. Something happened in the past, it was to happen and so it happened. Accept the past and don’t brood over it, move on. Suppose you have committed some mistake, you have insulted somebody and that person holds on to it for so long, even after you have asked for forgiveness from them a million times, what do you do if that person still doesn’t forgive you?  Somebody has been wrong to you and you also have been wrong to someone. Don’t you seek forgiveness and move on? You don’t want someone to hold on to your mistakes for your whole life, isn't it? If the person forgives you, moves on, understands your position, how do you feel?  See the other person in the same way.

Q: If somebody is feeling guilty for the wrong done but may be because of ego He is not able to talk, what should one do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You being in victim consciousness and having rage and anger, does it help you any way to carry on your life? Absolutely not! Waste of time, waste of your potential and life. So we must forgive, forget and move on. You hurt someone in the past and somebody hurt you, that account is closed now. Finished! There was some problem that has to come, and that has come and our own foolishness made it happen. Now it is finished and move on. This is the line of thinking that you must adopt and that makes us feel better.

Q: How come people who harm Nature have sound sleep?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Ya! That is a big concern. Not giving back to nature but taking too much from nature. Yes. Not planting trees or not preserving the planted trees, not preserving water bodies, wasting food, using plastic....! There is so much awareness since last 5-7 years than before.

Q: A baby is born in USA and the baby’s grandmother thinks that her husband has reincarnated as her grandson. My question is, is it possible for a soul to travel from Bombay to USA?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, yes! Definitely! In no time, without ticket and visa, and no immigration issues.

Q: How does memory survive when the body is dropped?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Memory is not a physical phenomenon. Of course it is physical but it has its impression on the consciousness as well. You are speaking into the mike and those words have become electricity but again it becomes the sound again. How does it happen? That is the intelligence in the consciousness. Sound becoming electricity and then becoming the same sound! So the impressions are in the brain cells and it is carried on from life time to lifetime. That is why in the consciousness so many memories are there of the past. It is very obvious. So many things happening and some have been recorded as well.

Q: I am very naughty and do a lot of mischief and got badly scolded as well. I know you were also very naughty then how come you didn’t get any scolding anytime?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Oh! I also used to be scolded, and that adulthood is not even worth which hasn’t undergone scolding in the childhood!  

Q:  Why are some forms of Devi so ferocious like that of Mahakali?
 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Love and fear are two shores of the same consciousness. If you can love such a frightening form of Divinity, then you can love anyone. There is no fear left! When the acceptance level has increased manifold to accept both beautiful and ugly as your own forms, you come up stronger and solid. So to present beauty and ugliness as forms of the Divine is the intelligence of the ancient seers.
Fear and even ego also is all of that one Divinty. From serene to frightening, birth to death - when someone is awakened to such a level of consciousness that He sees divinity in all the forms, then only all this can be seen as maya. When the mind is calmed then the divinity is here only.
People decorate even with a cactus. So, recognizing beauty in everything – Flowers as well, and thorns as well. If you can accept such frightening aspect of divinity, it completely removes fear from the mind and the body. One who has undergone such states, their acceptance has become so strong. Beautiful and ugly both are your nature. Most beautiful and most ugly forms – everything is a part of one truth.

Q: What is Maya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Maya means all which changes, which can be measured. Everything that comes in purview of the five senses is changing – is Maya.

Q: Does Birth and rebirth exist? If yes, then what does it mean to be a human?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Why human birth? Human Life is there to know life.
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