Berlin, July 6:
Q: During the World Culture Festival, what did you enjoy most?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Every moment!
Q: If we are to let go of our efforts, why should we make any effort at all?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: During meditation, let go of all your efforts. Before that, you have to make effort otherwise what will there be to let go? (Laughter)
Q: Being in silence and being alone leads me to a melancholic mood. I feel sorry for myself. Is this ok?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, don’t feel sorry for yourself.
Q: Every time I leave you, I feel very sad. Can you record a meditation that says “see you soon”?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good idea. Some things are good as ideas.
Q: How is it that having experienced dispassion and bliss, the mind still goes towards the mundane?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is the nature of the mind, never mind! The mind is made up of three qualities ie, sattva (purity/clarity), rajas (activity/action) and tamas (inertia). According to the combination of these three qualities, different states of mind prevail at different times. Don’t be bothered by these. Everything comes and goes.
Q: How do I change failure into success?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just move on, move forward. Don’t look back. Failure can only be in the past, never in the future. Again, it’s about understanding the event. If you see it from a broader perspective, you will see it better.
Q: Today we did meditation in motion. It was so painful. Have you done this? (laughter).
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it’s blissful! After every pain comes bliss.
Q: Could you talk about the role of women? Today, women are portrayed as a commodity. How can we change this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Pity those who see women as a commodity. Praise those who see women as people who can make a difference in society.
Q: Why is the body cremated in the Hindu religion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The world has a big population. Less space is taken up; land is so expensive. The body goes to Nature. Bones remain and are given to the river. Once the body is cremated, 700g to a maximum of 1kg of bones and ashes remain. The soul becomes freer.
Q: I am young and sometimes I like to go out and drink with my friends. I don’t feel guilty. Should I?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometimes you do so only socially. When you become unhappy, this socialising drink will catch on and you will drink more and more. You could become an alcoholic. Just say no, keep away. Be firm that you won’t have it, then you are in a safe place. From here, you can never turn into an alcoholic. I’ve seen so many people become alcoholic with the same logic. They start with ‘once in a while’. Alcohol does so much damage to your nervous system that can reflect in the pure consciousness, the deeper reality. Drink brings dullness. It is like driving with the brakes on.
If you want to progress, you must put some barriers,for instance, tobacco. Smoking was considered part of the culture some 35-40 years ago. Today, it is not. We have been saying this for years and it has taken so long and cost millions of lives. So many lives would have been saved.
No smoking, no drugs, no alcohol – put these barriers.
Q: How do know when to keep knocking on the same door and letting go?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, do both – knock and let go and let go and knock.
Q: How can I offer both positive and negative to God?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just let go. If you find it difficult, just live in the present moment. Now, now. The past is gone. The future is yet to come.
Q: Can meditation happen if the person next door snores a lot? (laughter)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Many options. Poke them. If they continue, accept it. If you find it is irritating you more and more, get up and sit somewhere else.
Q: This is my first meditation course. So far, it’s much better than I expected. I am worried because I would like to meditate all the time. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You will get going home instructions.
Have fun. Take life lightly and seriously too. If you take life all serious, it is very boring. If you take it as all fun, it becomes frivolous, superficial. You should have depth. Life should be silence and celebration, a combination of both. Be dispassionate, totally centred and totally passionate to bring transformation. Passion for transformation and dispassion for momentary pleasure – these two can make you a very, very deep person. If you walk this path, you will have no dearth for anything, all will happen at the right time.
© The Art of Living Foundation