Q: Dear Guruji, I have become free from materialistic things, desires and feverishness to a great extent, but when it comes to you, my thirst keeps increasing. What is the solution for this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is okay. When one withdraws from the materialistic world, and moves towards the self, this is what happens. It brings some essence in life and life is not dull. The path is not dull. And there should be some essence (ras) in life, isn’t it? Otherwise it would be Sushka Vairagya, dry renunciation.
When we have someone that is very dear to us, whom we love very much, then life becomes interesting. If there is no one in our life whom we can love dearly then life will not be interesting, it won’t have any juice in it. And love will not dawn.
That is why this essence or juice (ras) is needed. And then that one appears everywhere. Gradually, you realize that the same Divinity is present in me, in everyone and everywhere.
Q: Guruji, how do we be in ‘Sakshi Bhaav’ (witness consciousness)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You don’t need to do anything to be in witness consciousness; it dawns on its own.
The more peaceful you become, the more you repose in yourself the more it dawns on you. You don’t have to do anything to attain this.
Nowadays what has happened, all sadhaks (seekers) keep asking (the Guru): ‘What should I do? What should I do?’, and the Gurus keeps saying, ‘Do this and do this and do that’, and both get frustrated. I say, there is no need to do anything, just relax! Relaxation is the mother (janani) of capability, peace and perfection. The root of everything isvishram (relaxation). There is ‘Ram’ in ‘Vishram’. It is not attained by too much action.
This does not mean that you just eat and sleep the whole day, no! Mit-Ahaar (moderation in diet), Mit-Vyavhaar(moderation in conduct), Mit-Bhaashi (moderation in speech), Hit-Bhaashi (beneficial speech) all these are vital.
Q: Guruji, is life easy or difficult?
In Buddhism, they say, ‘The first truth is that life is difficult’, and you say that life is joy. Which one is true? Don’t tell me that both are right.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why? I will say that only! Both statements are true. When a sad person feels that life is sorrow, if you tell him that life is joy, he will not be able to understand. He will only be able to understand that there is sorrow in life.
However, as he progress in knowledge, then he starts to realize, ‘Where is sorrow?’ Sorrow disappears as he progresses on the path of knowledge. The benefit of yoga and meditation is that it removes sorrow from your life. Then you realize the truth, that life is joy and you were unnecessarily worried.
Whenever you have been worried in the past, wake up and see, you will realize that you were worried unnecessarily. How many of you have felt like this?
The results of the exams came out yesterday. However, a few days ago, you were so worried whether you would pass. Now, don’t you feel that you unnecessarily wasted your time being worried? Everything came out well. Take for example, the students of the Ashram School; all of them passed with distinction (highest grade).
By worrying, time is wasted and the mind gets disturbed. That is why it is said that when the event is over, only then we realize that worrying was unnecessary. Therefore, joy is the reality. Joy has always been a part of us, it is our nature. Worries just came like a cloud and then disappeared. Only that which remains unchanged can be called as the truth, just like how the sky is the truth and the clouds just come and go.
Q: I am finding it very difficult to make ends meet and have been struggling since fifteen years. The astrologer recommends that I should perform some poojas to change my fortune. Kindly advice.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh, so your expenses are more than your income.
Take a sankalpa that you will get prosperity that is enough. Doing pooja is a good thing; some pooja is good, but too much pooja is not required. You should meditate; go for satsang, Rudrabhishek and do hawan (fire ritual). When one performs hawan, the atmosphere and the mind gets cleansed. But sometimes, they ask people to perform a lot of rituals and poojas which are not really required.
Q: I am in love with a person who is from a different caste; and my parents are very orthodox. I tried my level best to convince them, but it is not working. What is my dharma? Should I live for myself or for them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be skillful. Weigh the consequences. If they are so adamant, then there is no point in putting them through so much misery. You will also not be happy. Both of you will be miserable. Use your skill to convince them. Try some middle path. If you cannot, then you should see; weigh the consequences.
Q: But what does dharma say? Being a daughter, I can’t hurt them, but I have to live my life too.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are correct. For your children you do it that way. But now, if you are the only daughter, you have to take care of your parents. Even if you are one of the daughters, there is a problem. Use all your skills to convince them and find a solution. If you cannot, then sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the happiness of others.
Q: How do we deal with arrogant people in professional life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Boost their arrogance.
If they are arrogant, there are two ways to deal with them.
One is to just neglect them and ignore them. They will react very fast.
The other is to boost their ego. Say, ‘You are so good, so nice. How can you be so efficient? I need to get some training from you.’ Then they will become happier with you. Got it?
You don’t lose anything by giving them a few compliments. One should praise fools and get the work done. Good people anyway do the work whether you praise them or not. Arrogant and foolish people succumb to praise, so you praise them and get your work done.
Their arrogance will bring them suffering, why should you be worried about it? And it is good because the suffering will bring them back to their senses. Suffering also has its own significance.
Those times have gone where one would break a person’s arrogance and show them the path of knowledge. Nowadays, it is difficult to break anyone’s ego. The ego somehow manages to show itself. So it is better that you praise them, they will automatically learn.
Q: How to raise children with the right values?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By living them yourself.
Q: I want to stay at the Ashram. I feel I have taken care of my responsibilities and now I want to do sadhana, satsang and seva at the ashram. My relatives and in-laws are opposing my decision to join the ashram.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you know the whole world is my ashram! Wherever you stay will be an ashram.
Moreover, I don’t stay in one place, I keep traveling. I have come here after two months and I will be here for two weeks only. I keep going and coming and going again.
You win over your relatives and in-laws with love. Do your sadhana and seva there and make your home an ashram. Keep coming here once or twice a year.
If you tell them that you will go away to the ashram, they will become worried. They will feel, ‘She is our daughter-in-law but she wants to leave the house and go’. Don’t do this, okay!
Q: Whenever I come to ashram, I don’t inform my people at home. I also tell lies and make excuses at college to be here. I am handling these things skillfully; however, at times I get fed up of telling these lies.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, you should not tell lies. See, you don’t have to keep coming here again and again. Wherever you are, keep doing your meditation every day. You are anyways able to see me every day. Even now, this satsang is being webcasted and lakhs of people all over the world are seeing me.
It is okay if you come here about once or twice a year, but if you come here every day then obviously they will oppose this at home. Even if I were in their place, I would oppose to this.
So don’t do like this. Concentrate on your studies and your profession, and try to become an ideal person, alright? It is more important to follow the teachings rather than just coming to Ashram and seeing my face.
Q: My mother says that, if you tell lies to us, hurt us and go for Art of living events, then you will not get the merit for that. Is that right?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is correct in a way.
Q: But she doesn’t understand. She does not do Kriya either. Even if I force her, she doesn’t do Kriya. Please take care of both my father and mother.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now you have given your work to me! Aren’t you supposed to take care of them? Anyway, I am doing my work. See, this is what is happening. People keep saying ‘Guruji, do this, do that’. I keep getting orders from everywhere.
Q: When I think about other peoples’ faults, I get arrogant; and when I see my faults, my ego gets bruised. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Look at your shortcomings and understand that at least someone is there to remove them. Have faith that there is someone who will remove your shortcomings. Just by having this faith things can move forward.
Look at your shortcomings and surrender them with faith, ‘These are my shortcomings, I am offering them to you.’
If you have difficulty in surrendering, then just know that there is someone who will rid me of these shortcomings. Just like when a school-going student realizes that he doesn’t know how to count numbers, but he has the faith that the teacher will teach him. When he opens the first page and he is unable to understand what is written, he still has the confidence that he will be able to understand the book because the teacher is there for him.
Without faith, the vehicle of life cannot proceed. Faith is the petrol of the vehicle of life. Even the petrol called faith has started becoming too expensive! If you don’t let it become expensive, the vehicle of life will move further and reach its destination.
Q: If everything has been created by God, then who has created Him?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Who told you that everything was created by God?
Why are stuck with the concepts of creation and destruction? What is there is there. There is one particular word – Swayambhu that is used to describe God, which means something that originated by itself. It has always existed.
We cannot even call say ‘originated’; it just exists.
We say that the sun has risen. We can see the sun rise and set; but actually the sun neither rises nor sets. In reality the sun is there, but just because it is not visible that does not mean it is not there. Therefore, what is always there and was never born is God.
Q: What is the significance of the Kalash in the temple?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Kalash is important as per Vaastu and for architectural reasons. It stabilizes the electricity and other vibrations. Secondly, it is also a symbol of Divine energy. It is a medium to attract cosmic energy to the earth.
Q: I have been working for twenty-five years, but I am still not able to understand the difference between self-respect and ego.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nobody can take your self-respect from you. But ego is dependent on others. Whenever there is ego it will hurt you and bring you sorrow; but self-respect will always bring you peace. Got it?
Your ego can be hurt, but your self-respect cannot be hurt. There are many ignorant fools in the society who abuse people. No matter how much good you do, there will always be people who talk negative. We must not be bothered by that.
Q: I am not able to continue my job due to tension.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No. You just keep smiling and do your work, no matter what people say. Don’t quit your job just because someone said something.
You just walk like a king, and if someone asks you to do anything wrong, just humbly say that you will not do it.
‘I don’t want to go to jail by doing anything wrong’, saying this, just keep doing your work. Take a decision that you will not do anything wrong which might get you into trouble later. When we do this, when we respect ourselves it is called self-respect.
Q: There are crores of Hindus all over the world. However, Hindu Gods and Goddesses are being humiliated. Is God angry with us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, God is not angry. Some people are doing these things. Don’t worry about it.
No one can insult the Hindu religion. Whoever is doing this is just showing his ignorance. Even if someone is behaving offensively in the media or cinema towards Hinduism, it should not make us sad. Hinduism has been there for hundreds of thousands of years and it will continue to be there. So if anyone says anything against Hinduism, just take it as their ignorance and foolishness.
If we get angry and retaliate in an improper way, burn buses, throw stones or try to harm those who speak against Hinduism, that will not increase the respect of Hinduism in society. The respect towards Hinduism will improve with our behavior, our softness, our service and by educating others.