27th May 2011
Q: Guruji, if we are following one path can we read books written by other spiritual masters?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes it is okay as long as it does not confuse you. Reading too much only gets you more confused. ‘Pothi pad -pad jug mua Pandit bhaya na koi, Dhai akshar prem ke pade so Pandit hoye’. This does not mean you don’t read, read a little, but not too much.
Q: Jai Gurudev, Guruji, why is it that all people who are spiritual leaders have beards?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a uniform; and either they keep all of it otherwise they take all of it out.
Don’t go by appearance; listen to your inner voice. That is when you will know. Just because someone has kept a beard or has changed their clothing that does not mean they have become a saint or a Swami. You become peaceful then you can see if there is anything special about the person, if there is some happiness, joy, some vibrations, this you will be able to feel. Otherwise there are thousands of people who just change their clothes and walk around; nothing happens with this, do you understand? So don’t go by outside appearance. Tomorrow if I remove all of this, my beard, you will recognize me or not? The heart knows to recognize. You cannot recognize your life partner, your guru from outside appearance but through your heart. Something happens in your heart, you feel in your heart that he is honest and good, he belongs to me. So become peaceful.
Q: Guruji, please tell me can we do full moon meditation on a night where there is no moon?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The name is full moon meditation where you look at the moon and then close your eyes and meditate. On new moon night you cannot even see the moon. But if you want to imagine and do then fine, you can do, no problem, but somewhere the mind will say today is no moon day. In the meditation we say we are bathing in the light of the moon, if you superficially say this, then it will be false. There are many other meditations to do on the other days so on no moon day do some other meditation.
Q: Guruji, can Demi-gods or Pitra Devtas or you get angry with us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, I cannot comment about Devis and Devatas but I do not get angry with you. Am I so stupid that if you do something wrong I will get angry for that and get upset? No, not at all. But yes, I do feel compassion when you keep on making mistakes again and again and waste such a beautiful life that you have. This does hurt me but I don’t get angry. But if you feel that I should not do this wrong thing because Guruji will become angry then definitely think that I will get angry if you do wrong.
Q: There are many stories of women like Sati Savitri, Anasuya, Arundhati, etc. They are all Pativratas, this I heard from my childhood but I never heard of the names of any males.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why, Laksham, Ram, they were all Patnivrathas. Ram said, 'besides my wife Sita I am not going to look at anyone else', and that’s when the entire problem started. Surpanakha came to marry Lakshman but he refused. Had he married her the war at Lanka would have not taken place at all. It would have become the house of his in-laws. He said,' no, I am already married to Urmila and I will not marry once more'. Ramayan started because of this, because of Patnivrathas. In those days their father had three wives but Laksham refused and said,' no I already have a wife'. Ram also saw that his father had to compromise after marrying three times and he decided one is enough.
Q: Dear Guruji, please tell us what significance rivers have on our culture or religion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know rivers are considered very sacred. Rivers are very sacred in our culture. All our civilization grew on the banks of the rivers. All over the world, in England civilization grew on the banks of river Thames, in Germany it grew on the banks of river Rhine, all the castles are near river Rhine. So water is important to life. Without water there is no life. So in ancient times people had cities built on the banks of the rivers.
In this country, all sacred penance also happened on the banks of the rivers. Each river is known for its own special events, like Ganga is known for knowledge. All the Rishi Munis did tapasya on the banks of Ganga. All the love stories blossomed on the banks of Yamuna. Sri Krishna played Rasa Leela on the banks of Yamuna. Narmada River is known for bhakti (devotion), knowledge and logic. Saraswati River is known for brilliance or architecture. Sindu is known for its own special culture; the Sindi culture blossomed on the Sind river banks. Brahmaputra River is the only male river, All other rivers are female. Because Brahmaputra was not gentle at all, it was never gentle, it was always a rogue river. It would change its course and cause so much sorrow so Brahmaputra was called a male river, a very arrogant, adamant river. So like that rivers are considered sacred and people never used to pollute rivers. When they go to rivers they would first bow down to the rivers and put their feet there but they would never spit in the river water. Even today villagers don’t spit in the river Ganga, so you don’t pollute the river. People would never urinate in the rivers, they would go away for the urination and when they come to the river they consider the water very sacred. Whenever you consider something sacred you preserve it, you honor it, and you see that you don’t pollute it. Today that is not the case. We have forgotten that and we throw everything in the river. What all people throw into the river, we must not do such things, we need to keep the river pure. All the dirt of the city is thrown into the river. From Gangotri, the Ganga River, by the time it reaches Kanpur, it becomes very dirty, not just Kanpur, even before that. After Haridwar the water is not clean enough to put it in our mouth, to drink it is not possible, that is what has happened. We must not do this, in the Ganga river we must only put things like raw rice or flowers but besides that nothing else. Plastics, cloths, and all these things we must not put in the river.
Q: Dear Guruji, I do Sudarshan Kriya everyday but even then I have not seen the changes that I expect as of yet. Still there is a lot of negativity in me. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What changes are you expecting? Sit with your teacher for a little time and do DSN or listen to Ashtavakra Gita, negativity will not stay, definitely will not stay in you, they will all go away.
Q: Guruji, what do I have to do to be your daughter in my next life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My daughter! Let love be love, don’t give it a name. All relationships are temporary but love is eternal so just be peaceful and believe that I am yours. The day I was born I declared I am yours and saying this I have come along that I am yours so you also know that I am yours. There is nothing else. Just be happy and bring happiness to others. With love you can win over everything. So put all your effort.
Every person is living life according to their understanding, not everybody can live life your way. Everyone has their own ways and they all beat their own drums, sometimes in tune and sometimes out of tune. When they are playing out of tune, just be a little patient and pray that they start being in tune and you will see that it will happen. It’s all about time. When time is good then even your enemy becomes your friend but when time is bad then even a friend starts acting like an enemy. This you must keep in mind, and if you remember this then no one can disturb you. So, it is not difficult to change your bad time to good times. That will happen with meditation, prayer, surrender and chanting of mantras. Listen to the mantras ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ or ‘Om Namo Narayana’, keep listening to it for a little while and see how the situations and environment changes, just say Jai Gurudev!
Q: Is it a sin when we use insect killers to kill insects and mosquitoes?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be in moderation; don’t destroy all the insects but sometimes you may have to use them. Use the natural ones which are not harmful for others. Use those insecticides which cause less harm.
Q: Why ladies are not allowed to participate in Pooja like during navratri during their monthly periods?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, in the ancient times people wanted to give women total rest because women used to do all the work at home and once she would start, she won’t stop. Have you noticed? In your home, when your mother starts her work, she does not leave it until she finishes all the work. She wakes up the first in the house and sleeps last after everyone has gone to bed. So full day she would do so much work, isn’t it? She would do everything, lock everything, give milk to the family members and then go to sleep after cleaning the kitchen. First thing in the morning, wake up and clean the house and do rangoli - they used to do all of that. So when their cycle would start, the Rishi Munis said, ' for three days no need to do anything, no need to go inside the kitchen, just take rest'. With this feeling it was said but as time moved forward it started to have a different relevance. The whole idea was to give women complete rest.
Q: If our fortune is decided by the supreme power then how much responsible are we for our own deeds?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Who said the supreme power decides your fortune? You decide your fortune.
Q: Do miracles happen in everybody’s lives, or we do not know it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ask everyone around you once they are all out of silence they will say it is happening. How many people feel it is happening, raise your hands? See in everybody’s life it is happening. Where there is love and faith miracles will always happen.
Q: How do I know what exactly will give me happiness and true contentment in my life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you get it you will know.
See, there are two kinds of happiness, one is the happiness that you get by getting and another is by giving. Like children, if you give them sweets in their hands they become so happy, happiness of gaining something. But if you ask the adults of the house, the grandmother and the grandfather when their grandchildren visit they make different kinds of food and feed everybody and they are happy. It’s a mature joy of the elders in giving. When they give somebody something they feel so happy. So until you don’t give yourself to others you will not find contentment or happiness. You can never be content in taking. Contentment comes only in giving. But people want to be contented in taking and they go after things but no one finds contentment. That is why people are not contented. Only in giving there is happiness.
Q: Guruji is moksha possible in this birth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes definitely, it is!
Q: Guruji, why is it that many times we do not trust our own people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: One could be because you know him very well. That is why you do not trust or you do not consider him as your own and that is why you does not trust.
Q: When I prepare for my exams I set my goals of what to study and how to study, but I always get distracted and study half the time, what do I do Guruji?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In-between studies take some time to relax, listen to music. Eat proper food, sometime it is the type of food you eat. Junk food can also block your mind. Have confidence that everything will be okay - this is number one, then prayerfulness - the best will happen to me, and then proper food and rest, pranayam and yoga - all this will help.
Q: Guruji, sometimes I get overconfident and sometimes I lack confidence. How do I get rid of this and just be confident?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, you should have some variety. Otherwise it is too boring. You lose confidence only at times, right? That is okay and then you will pray. If you have confidence all the time you will forget to pray also. Nature has a good design.
Q: Guruji, whoever meets me ends up pulling my cheeks, what do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t be tense about it; you must be really cute for everyone to pull your cheeks.
Q: Guruji, how to control my anger, I am a very short-tempered person.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all you should not put this label in your head that I am a short-tempered person, then you can improve.
Q: Guruji, when someone discourages us or disappoints us then how should we handle the situation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Go with more zeal and enthusiasm.
Q: How do I get rid of my addiction to computers and other gadgets?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You want to do it, you can do it. Know that you can do it for the next one week. You will not touch it or spend more than one hour on the computer. Not one minute more than one hour. You take such a vow for one week - I am going to do this - and you can do it.
Q: Guruji, when God has enormous power why doesn’t he destroy all the bad things at once rather than wait for the time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Then what will you do, you will have no job to do. He wants you to have some job to do my dear!
Q: Guruji, what should a girl do when she is raped or something like that, how can I help her?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Help her to get confidence. Help her to move on to the future. Of course the trauma of the past will haunt her and for that she should do some pranayam, yoga, kriya, meditation. All this will help her to erase the past memories and move on to a brighter life.
Q: Guruji, my parents always underestimate me and so my enthusiasm to do something goes down, what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are other people who encourage you, right? so focus on the encouragement of the other people. Parents will not always do like that. Sometimes they do that when you don’t spend enough time with your studies. They become a little concerned. You try and understand them and move on. Whatever anyone says, your life is in your hands. Whatever you have to do to handle your life, think and do that.
Q: Guruji it is said that we should respect our parents and do what our parents want but what if they are wrong and stubborn. Sometimes my thoughts don’t match with them, please help me Guruji. My mother gets sandwiched between me and my father as he is very stubborn.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See this question is too general, if I answer you in a general manner than you will start applying it for specific incidents and I am not going to give room for that. Many times parents are right and many times you are right. So you have to strike a balance between that. Listen to what they are saying and if it is outdated and you feel something else is right, then compromise. Harmony is most important. You cannot discard whatever parents say as rubbish all the time at the same time you can’t take everything they say as gospel truth.
Q: Sometimes I meet people in the Art of Living and they seem so familiar even though I am meeting them for the first time, there is some unknown connection even if I don’t speak to them, what is this connection Guruji, is it from the past life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is good to wonder about this, yes. I will leave it for you to wonder.
Q: When we see you we feel complete, but please tell us what do you feel for all your devotees?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That’s good. I am happy if you feel happy and when you move on the right path, right knowledge and engage yourself in sadhana, seva and satsang, it’s very good for you and everyone.
Q: Guruji, how to clearly identify intuition? What is the best way to identify and get rid of past happenings?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A sense of deep acceptance, that nature has given in the past. No point in doing a postmortem of whatever happened in the past and questioning it. You know most of our time gets wasted when we start questioning the past. The future, you cannot question, because nothing has happened. So if you have a deep sense of acceptance for the past and be dynamic in the present you will see a new dimension added to your life.
Q: Many times a film song keeps repeating in my mind again and again which drains up my energy because of that my nervous system has become weak. How can I come out of this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Advanced course, sit in an advanced meditation class.
Q: I trust people very easily and get hurt in the bargain, what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This idea,' I trust people very easily', has already created doubt in your mind, do you see what I am saying?
Q: Guruji, who made God and why is God so powerful?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Really! Who made God? We made God, the devotees made God. If devotees are not there then how can God be there
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