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#2392 - Tuesday, February 14, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

    In this issue is featured an interview with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Shankar is a very peaceful, simple, naturally quiet, grounded person, which you'll pick up from reading the interview.   I liked this exchange from the inteview:  

K S Rao : Using your persuasive power if you could solve the India-Pak and Palestine problems, the world at large will be peaceful. Will you please make an effort?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : why do you want me to do anything, why don't you do some thing?

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The following interview has a number of spelling and grammatical errors, and sometimes the transcription breaks up like a bad cell phone call, but it is very comprehensible and all appreciated.



photo: Ravi Shankar    


Vinod Bhat : If love is the essence and driving force of life, why there is so much unrest and hate in the world?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Love without wisdom turns into jealousy, all negativeness... ok>

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : THe first education as child was thou art that...

Rao : Why all our (Hindu)religious leaders are claiming that they avtars of God. U cannot find this in any other religion. And those who claim finally they are bogus!!!! and Cheats!!! I really hate this. What is your comment

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Theres a misrepresentaiton of vedanta. everything is made up of the divine, and that is the answer. if god loves you, me, everyone is made up of love, that is not to be spoken to everyone. it is foolish to do that. if you know it, just keep quiet. that's what i would say. don't tomtom it. it is an experience of oneness with divinity. jesus said me and my father are one. this is a mystic experience. unfortrunately, in india that's a loud pronoucement

K S Rao : Using your persuasive power if you could solve the India-Pak and Palestine problems, the world at large will be peaceful. Will you please make an effort?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : why do you want me to do anything, why don't you do some thing?

Rajiv Bishnoi : I have 2 'unpleasant' questions.....Hope rediff forwards these A) Why AoL is not transparent in its financial dealings. There is nothing on the site which tells income and expenditure and whether AoL pays its taxes 2) Why you like to be referred as ' his holiness Sri Sri' rather than simple Ravishankar ji.. doesn't it mean that you consider yourself some super human-being or equivalent of God! Why this arrogance? Is it because a lot of people think they are benefitted by your speech and some paranyam stuff? Please note, as a person, I have no dis-regard for you... but as an institution, I believe transparency must start from the 'teacher'!!

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : why should i be called holiness, you can call me anytihng, i don't mind. these things com e from the public, i don't believe in titles. art of living is totally transparent. we have several institutions, it is decentralised, we have several trusts, and everything is audited, our finanfcial statement is most clear. if anyone wants any detail, they can get it. they have only to call that particular organisation. it is all audited, wherever we are tax exempted, we claim it. we pay tax for services. in fact, we have been paying tax for all our pu blications, recently the tax authorites said why are you doing it, you don't have to. anyway, it has gone to the government, we don't regret it.

sridharan : Is it true that idol worship is meant for those who are still in the initial stages of spiritual development and formless worship is for those who are advanced?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : internal meditation is considered superior, but that doesn't mean other forms of worship is not good. i would say, honour every form of worship. you don't have to do the highest everytime

Joseph Dominic : How would you define good and evil and what is the reference point for these?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Good is that which brings goodness to you and everybody; bad is that whicy makes you miserable. longterm goodness brings you longterm happiness. that which brings you short term joy and long term sorrow

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : they are no different from people who think a particular is all terrorists, a particular community is all foolish. all jokes are made about one community in india, that's not correct. similarly, there are good people in every religion, every field has some fakes, not that spirituality is immune to it. just like there are in business

Utsav Mitra : What do you have to say to Javed Akhtar, that he ridiculed spiritualism and called you a guru of the rich?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : I will just tell him, everybody has the right to be ignorant. and if they want to be ignorant, nobody can stop them

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : gthe way i have been travelling, no woman would have been accepted it, if i was married, she would have been jealous, and i would have been in trouble

Anilkumar : is it marriage is neccesary in human life???if yes why not u?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : it is an individual question. i didn't grow up, i remained a child. and i hope to live the same way

riyaz : Dear Sir, I appreciate all the work you have done for the enlightenment of the humanity. However I would like to ask you that as a spiritual guru why is that you are associated with the Hindu Fundamentalist organisations of India and also you support their views on Ram Janambhoomi? I expect that as a spriritual leader you can only belong to the relegion of Humanity, else you are just a 'LIBERAL HINDU GURU'.

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : i belong to whole humanity, not to any set of beliefs. that ram bhoomi problem was a burning issue, then i cannot turn away form burning issue. i just kept one criterio. if that was a holy place of any one else, what stand will anyone take? the same stand we will take. suppose it was jesus's birthplace, what will the world have told the other community. when millions of people hvae faith, we have no right to question that. fortunately, it is not a sacred place for both communities, like in jesusalem, it becomes more complicated. so it is not joining hands with anyone, it was framing a solution for an old problem of 400-500 years. we are just trying to solve the problems, we have to make them understand, of give and take. i even said, let the leaders apologise for the demolition, then it can be given away. many leaders asked me to take interest, so i interacted with both communities

premkumar : How to Identify a true spirutual leader in this present world of fakes

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : If you are a sincere student, you will see sincere teachers. but if you are charmed by miracles etc, it will take a little longer route

Nilesh Parihar : Dear Sir, I have some very simple question. In India we see so many Gurus,Gods, faith etc. I am very much confused. Hence I want to know (1) Who is God (2) Who am I ? and (3)What is my relationship with God ? This will make things very clear to me. I will be very thankful if you can clear my confusion. Thank in advance. Nilesh

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : SWhy don't you srart with second question first? this will take you to deep meditation, do pranayama, meditaion, you will find anaswers

Ajay Bagga : Dear Guruji, How should one reconcile spirituality and business imperatives ? How to go beyond cosmetic corporate social responsibility to a more meaningful corporate ethical code?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Even if this question arises in corpoate minds, half the work is done. it is lack of awareness in corporate minds that people are not moving ahead. the willingness to share, care, in corpoarate minds can make a huge difference

Pinaki : can you transform osama bin laden to a good human being

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : If he comes to me, definitely yes

Mini : Guruji how can I have the kind of serenity you have on you face

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : See your life in a broader perspective, commit yourself to service.

Vaidyanathan : The Art of Living Programme/Course though very very helpful appears to have become a "Commercial Venture". Due to some financial constraints i could not enroll myself in an Art of Living Programme conducted by one of your followers in Juhu, Mumbai. On conveying my regret, i was told "You do not know what you are missing in life". Which in my opinion is not a good gesture. The reply could have something polite. I suggest that the programme, if possible, should be open for all and on Voluntary Donation basis. We are looking at you, your highness, as our Spiritual Guru and in the traditional Guru Sishya Prampara no fees can be Demanded.

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : In facgt in guru shishya parampara, dakshina is always demanded. we are keeping a fees just to see how much value yuou give to come and learn. but of course, in villages, where there's already faith and conviciton, we do it free. even in mumbai recently, we conducted free courses. but what have seen is that when people pay, they learn better

neeta Shah : Which duty is the best of all duties?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : To be dutiful

muruli : Namaste, I am in software industry and I get opportunities to go to US and meet our clients. Offline discussions, some times, turns into our Religion and Culture. Common question that most of the people ask is, "Why Hindus have so many gods?". How do I answer this question? One of the answers that I got was "Hindus have one God and many Gods that we pray are symbolic representation". But, this answer does not convince me. So, please let me know how do I answer this question.

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : our body is created by one cell, that one cell multiplies and becomes eye, brain etc. different impulses of intelligence. our ancient people knew all this. like 7 colours of the white line. similarly, many attributes of one parmatman, those attributes are called by various names

Srinivasarao : Guruji, Why do I do those things i do not want to? Where from these impulses are coming from? How to handle this conflict?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Conflict arises in mind, do meditation. that will resolve the answer

Deepali : What is Guru? What is spiritual path? How to follow it?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : if you see a man with gun what happens to you? likewise a person with compassion, brings out the compassion. a guru is embodiment of living principles. football, cricket all has coaches or guides. your mother is your first teacher, then there friends, family, teachers for various things.

Sheikh Azad : What is the relation of Dharma and Yoga? Why your Yoga and other activities mostly revolves around Hindu Dharma ?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : hindu dharma is not a religion propounded by anyone. yoga is part of that dharma. hindus, sikhs, all adapt meditation etc. it is a way of life that has come out of this ancient land, and so it has become part of it. you can't separate yoga from dharma. dharma means righteousness. the first step of yoga is ahimsa, truth, compassion, charity, all necessary for holistic deveopment. dharma is not what you eat etc, but that which uplifst the spirit. you cannot separate yogafrom mantras. or from a separate lifestyle or exercises. it does not intgerfere with your honouring any other religion. a muslim or christian or jew or buddhist can practice yoga, cos it only enhances. it became a religion much later since everybody had to be identified.

Ajit Dongarkar : If happiness and sorrow are two sides of the same coin which are in compliment with each other, how we can remove sorrow/sufferings from this world??

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : it is dark at night, but you hvae the intelligences and power to bring light even when its dark

Basanth Lalchand : Guruji, Even people who have progressed on the spiritual path ocasionally tend to be drawn back into materialism and small-mindedness. Why does this phenomenon happen? Can't the progress be like a flight?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : it totally depends on you. for some it may be a flight, for some it may be a crawl, or a walk. it depends on you entirely. the learning ability, adapting ability depends on the individual, and even that changes form time to time

Sridhar : There are many religions in this world and each religion is having a 'definition' of its own for God. But every religion says there is only one God who rules this world. Then who is the 'actual' God? There is no case where a Religion is said to have explained about other religion existing in other part of the world.How do you explain this? Thanks for the answer in Advance.

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : i think you have not studied scriptures. if you read adi shankara, he talks of what jainists say, buddhists say, purva paksha etc. swami dayanand also speaks of this. this sort of intellectual debate has been there for a long time. same way, there has been standoff between religions.all that you hvae to do is take the essence of the religions, as practically one cannot study all. if you want to see the commonalities, it is up to you. if you want to see the differences, it is up to you

Balamurali Srinivasan : Namaste swamiji I have a feeling that there is a onslaught on Vedic Culture and Sanathana Dharma by intellectuals, western and local and neighbouring powers eventhough they preach universal love ,brotherhood and tolerance. why it is so?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Vedic knowledge is so powerful and strong. it won't disappear due to any onslaught. have faith in sanatan dharma. its timelessness. and educate people in the benefits of it

Pankaj Ballal : Ravi Shankarji, Given the current tension that exists among world religions, how could Art of Living become a way of life for everyone irrespective of religion. In other words, how can everyone be convinced that 'art of living' is an Indian concept

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : They transcend concepts and limited belief systems. this is much beyond belief systems. ayurveda works on concept

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : How can god be angry when people are becoming loving, compassionate. god will be angry if you are not engaged in any activity that enhances divine spirit.

Sara : Why are Hindu leaders scared of addressing hindu concerns?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Truth will never perish. and collective effort

Kiran : I am an agnostifc, how to overcome anger

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : satsang and group meditation will help. engage in service activites. tendencies which are bothering you, remove everything

Nandagopal C.S : Revered Swamiji, What is the status of a person once he attains moksha. He is a male or Female. What is does there. How does he / she spend time there

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Its like they say, goonge ki mithai (a dumb person tasting sweet) how he can't express the sweetness of what he has tasted

goutham shanker : why is patriotism required, when we see the whole world as on family?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : patriotism will in no way stop you form having universal brotherhood or love. you have love for your family or brother, does not come in the way of you having love for all the others in society.

Rajshekar : Why we advertise courses?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : to make people know. we have very few teachres, so when they travel they would like the people know. thats all. there's no compulsion for anyone to do anything

Kamatchi : Dear Guruji,Nameste, Should we follow certain religion or God is only one? Is it ok if we follow more than one religion?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : adapt spirituality, be faithful to your religion, and honour all religions

vivek pandey : : How to handle stress in IT job.Because in IT sector the job is not secure.Always have great tension tommorrow I will be in Company or not.Waiting for your kind reply.

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Do prayanam, meditation, sudardhan kriya, see how stress evaporates. learn how to handle your mind. the faith in you, the confidence will automatically dawn

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : A mere attempt to change the world, is also god's attempt. god is also changing thru you

Vikas Prabhu : With salutes to His Holiness. I believe that God controls everything that happens in this world. Even a leaf cannot shake without HIS consent. In that case, all the hatred and aggression that is prevanlent in today's world should be a handiwork of the almighty himself. Can you please tell me why he first creates such a wonderful world and beautiful creatures and then puts flaws in them? If he wanted us to fight and kill each other, why did he create us in the first place? Did he purposely make this happen or has the world gone out of his control? If this is the way he wanted it to happen, then should we make an attempt to change it?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Agreed that god controls everything that happens in this world. when you think god controls everything, then you get into theological mess. god is a field in which everything is happening. and even a question that comes into your mind, is comin from the same area. the instinct to do good is also from there. the whole universe is played and displayed on consciousness. the doctor is also divine, the patient is divine. the teacher is divine, student is divine. they are part of the character. you uneed to understand quantum physics to understand this riddle

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Art of Living:

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