The following are the answers given by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar by the questions asked by audience at Bangalore Art of Living Ashram on August 30th, 2013.
How do we deal with constant blame, especially from a dear one?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, you get used to anything that is constant (Laughter). So don’t worry about it. If someone constantly keeps blaming you, then do not care about it.
It happens so often, when mothers constantly blaming their children, the children stop caring about what their mother is saying. This is because they know she is going to continue the same behaviour every day, right?
The trouble happens when someone who never complains suddenly complains. When someone who is never rude suddenly becomes rude, that bothers you more, isn’t it so?
Either you are eternalizing the problem, or you lack the skill to deal with what is happening. These are the only two aspects to it. So skilfully handle these situations and do not eternalize them.
Everybody has a right to be a little imperfect. You should accept others’ imperfections and your own imperfections as well. When you do not accept peoples’ imperfections, you get angry. And when you do not accept your own imperfections you feel guilty and then you become angry at yourself. Both situations are not healthy and congenial for you. So, you need to keep a little space in life for imperfections, and just move on. Do not get stuck in the past.
Gurudev, Lord Krishna revealed His Vishwaroopa form (the Supreme Universal form of the Lord) to Arjuna. When will you reveal your Vishwaroopa form and to whom?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, the entire creation is the form of the Lord. This is what Vishwaroopa Darshan means. It means seeing the one Lord in everything around you, whether it is the rivers, the mountains, stones, people, or animals.
God is love. You must acquire this special vision first, only then will you be able to behold the Universal form of the Lord.
The narrow vision with which you perceive the world will not help. It is because you keep thinking, ‘Oh this person is like this, and that person is like that’. You cannot perceive the Universal form of the Lord when you vision is so clouded with cravings and aversions. First you must acquire this broad, all-encompassing vision of love, which I am anyway giving to you. Once you have this, you will automatically be able to see the Vishwaroopa form of the Lord.
Gurudev, you say that the human birth is precious and one gets this birth after passing through 84 lakh yonis (births or incarnations of the physical body). But the human beings today have to wake up early in the morning, rush to work on a scooter or in a local train, and face lots of problems, only to come back home tired, and goes to sleep. Sometimes one cannot even sleep due to stress. I am thinking if it was worth going through 84 lakh yonis to face all this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s a good thought. There is a saying in Hindi: ‘Ajgar kare na chaakri, panchhi kare na kaam. Daas Maluka keh gayye, sabb ka daata Ram’ (One need not make efforts for anything as God provides for everyone).
When one has this faith, that God is the one who provides everyone with everything, then you will never lose your enthusiasm, come what may. When you go to office or travel in the local train, just look around you and see, there are so many good people who have such good and positive thoughts, as they go about their daily routines.
Work never gets done by worrying about it. It gets done by intelligent thinking and clever action. For that your mind needs to be calm and happy. And how do you bring that calmness and happiness to your mind when there are so many difficulties at work? It is by having that faith that God is there to look after and provide for everything that I need.
Tell me, how many of you here feel that whatever you wish for gets fulfilled? (Many devotees in the audience raise hands).
I am not able to do anything consistently. How can I develop this quality in me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankari: This you need to realize for yourself. How do you say that you cannot do anything consistently? Why do you label yourself like that?
First you should admit that you do not truly know yourself. When you do not know yourself, you do not know how much potential you have within you.
You have no idea about how many things you can do. So you have to first simply remove this label that ‘I cannot do this consistently’. That was the past. Right now you are different. Every moment you are new and different from what you were earlier.
Our life is like a river. You cannot get into the same water twice. So life is both new and ancient at the same time. Your consciousness is older than the stones, the rivers, the mountains and everything else in the universe. In fact, it is much older. Just like the sun is so old; it is around 19 billion years old. Yet every day the rays of the sun are new and fresh. You do not ever get the same rays tomorrow.
Gurudev, how can I live my life to its full potential?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is exactly what you are learning here (at the Art of Living). It is the ability to accommodate the opposites in life: rest with activity. If you are simply active all the time, it will not work. If you are only resting it will not work then too. You have to accommodate both. Got it?
Similarly you cannot be fun-loving and keep having fun all the time. You cannot also be serious all the time. You need to have fun and seriousness.
Similarly you need to be sensible and sensitive. Those who are sensible are not sensitive, and those who are sensitive are not sensible. You need both. You have to be direct yet you also have to be gentle. People who are direct often find themselves labelled as rude, and those who are gentle are many times considered to be weak and meek. We need a combination of the two: to be direct and gentle.
Gurudev, while expounding the Purushottam Yoga (The Yoga of the Supreme Being), Lord Krishna speaks about three Purushas or types of beings: Kshara, Akshara and the Uttam Purusha. Please throw some light on this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Kshara means that which keeps on changing. The whole world and everything in it keeps on changing. So that which is constantly changing is a kind of Purusha (person or being).
Just observe within yourself, so many thoughts arise in your and so many feelings arise in you. Your body, your thoughts and your feelings, they all keep on changing constantly. Now that which does not change is what is called Akshara.
And the most subtle and fundamental Tattva (element) that is beyond these two modes is what we call as the Parama-purusha.
Gurudev, you have said that our ancient scholars never allowed our sacred scriptures to become limited or relevant only to one particular place or time. In that case, are these scriptures just stories told by these scholars, or are they real life events?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They are all true events. But even while writing about these true events, our scholars did not allow the narratives to become specific or relevant to one place or time alone. This is the specialty of our scriptures.
It is like how someone was asked to write a poem that would hold true for all time and be relevant everywhere. If you write a poem only for a particular event or festival, such as Diwali or Holi, then you can sing that poem only during that time. You cannot sing the songs for Holi during any other festival, isn’t it? Such songs are for special times and specific occasions.
But some songs are such that they can be sung at any time. So our scriptures were written keeping in mind that they should be relevant everywhere and at all times.
Gurudev, you had tweeted two days back, ‘Celebrate with the inner stillness amidst all chaos and take full responsibility. Awaken the little Krishna in deep rest, because it is time to get witty, seriously! Inculcate wisdom playfully’. Please speak about this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, celebrate with the inner stillness amidst all the chaos outside. So when there is chaos outside, you find that inner stillness.
Wisdom should not be a burden on the head. It should be very natural. So you should become playful through wisdom. Got it?
Gurudev, I am not able to behave intelligently or cleverly before the one whom I love and respect a lot. I do too many silly things because of this. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Never mind, it is alright. There is some beauty even in behaving foolishly. That silly behavior also amuses people.
Sometimes an intelligent person cannot give the joy and amusement that a foolish person gives because of his ways.