Q: As a woman how can I fully liberate myself without being angry in the so called Man’s world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Lessen your dependency. What do you call independence? First you think you are bound, and then you try to come out of that. You find freedom when you have a say over your emotions and when you are in wisdom.
Nobody is completely independent. Even nations are not completely independent. The word is interdependent. Among nations and communities we are interdependent. We live in an interdependent world. Man depends on Woman and Women have to depend on man.
So it is paradox – independence and interdependence. Try to be independent as much as you can understanding the need for interdependency.
Q: Can you please talk on the concept of Ardhnareeshwar and the symbolism behind Goddess Durga and Saraswati? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Everyone has both female and male genes. You are made up of both your father and mother – Half father and half mother. Divinity is both male and female. This was acknowledged long ago and represented as Ardhnareeshwar. God is not just man, or just woman. He is Ardhnareeshwar – Whole creation is both male and female.
Goddess Durga riding on Tiger: Durga is the mother, so sweet and compassionate, and She is riding on Tiger – most ferocious. Completely opposite! Opposite values are complementary and ancient people recognized this. Scientifically, the whole creation cannot sustain even if one animal goes missing. Each of these animals brings down to the earth a bio-energy corresponding to a particular wavelength. A tiger carries the vibration of Goddess Durga.
Goddess Saraswati is with so many hands! In one hand, she carriers a rosary – rosary represents meditation, in another she carries a book – intellectual knowledge and with the others she plays a musical instrument – veena. Only when intellectual knowledge, music and mediatation come together, then wisdom dawns.This complete knowledge was there even several million years ago. Saraswati sits on rock meaning once you have acquired wisdom, it is deeply grounded in you. Goddess Laxmi sits on lotus meaning money is flowing – anytime anything can happen. Wealth moves and it should move.
Q: Is it very important for a woman to marry? Is it not ok to let God be her care taker? Can she still be complete even if she is not a mother? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can feel you are a mother to the whole world. Being a mother is in the very nature of a woman. That compassion, that love and caring will be there.
Whether she should marry or not, that is your decision. Most important is to be happy. That is my opinion. There are many who are single and happy, and there are many who are married and not happy, and vice versa! Choice is yours, blessings are mine.
Q: What can I do as a woman if even the elderly of the family have forgotten the tradition and traditional values? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Whatever you want to learn, you can do it on the internet. Such a glorious age – one laptop and that is it. Google it and anything on earth is available! Knowledge at tips of the finger. I used to say that knowledge will be at the tips of your fingers. I didn’t understand why was I saying it and neither did those who heard me. All the information, not knowledge is there.
Q: Will there ever be Men’s day? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (Smilingly) For that too, you would have to pray to the Devi(mother Divine). Even demons ask for boons from Her, and angels as well. Once somebody was telling this joke: Once a man was asked who the owner of the house is, and the man replied saying he would ask his wife!
Q: What are the most important 8 traits that a human should have to achieve any kind of goal? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why to fix it to number 8? You want me to list the 8 or stretch up to 8? Let us think.
First is fixing the goal itself. The mind is so wavering – so getting the goal fixed is most important. Then you have to fix the time frame. Then weighing the consequences - adverse and favorable and then your ability to adapt to changes. Ability to adopt the means to achieve the goals is important.
How many done? (Four) Rest you can look into.
Q: Is there a different path for men and women? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No! Spirituality is the same for men and women. At some time in history, men put certain bans so that women should not rise in power. But there are certain norms of society and one should adhere to that.
Q: What happens between the time of death and next birth? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What happens between the time when you are awake and asleep? Same thing happens – you are dormant. When the consciousness is back, when the time comes, it will come back.
Q: The women in our epics seem to have done so many extraordinary feats, it is difficult to believe they are true! Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Let us take gandhari for eg, she produced a 100 children from pots.Test tube babies is exactly what she created. One embryo and 100 pots! We did know what the science behind is! Unless proven otherwise it is a fact. Like nobody believed that dinosaurs existed but you have the proof. Jatayu, a dinosaur bird existed and carried Sita. There are facts that Lord Krishna existed. The way it is presented is usually a little mixture of imagination and facts. Like a poem is facts and imagination mixed. If you read the biography of Abdul Kalam, Jawahar lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, you will find they add things.
Q: What should I do to be in the present moment more effectively? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are planning now what to do in the future to be in the present moment! Got it?
Q: Can you please talk about the common things in Spirituality and Communism? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, communism says equal opportunity for everyone. Spirituality says Divine is in every heart and so all are unique. That way both talk of the same thing.
You can have the same feeling but the expression will have to be different. You express love differently towards the elderly and with kids you are different. Love is same but the way you express it is different.
(Conclusion of a discussion with the audience: Ganges is a river that was made by ancient people – http://www.bharathgyan.com/ has stories with some facts of Bhagirath and how it was made by Seers and Saints and how Mansarover was directed from West, else the entire plane would have been dried.)
Q: Can you talk about how one should be with mentally retarded people? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They have come here to take service. Simply serve them