Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly called as Guruji, the founder of Art of Living Foundation through which He relieves the stress at individual levels, thus reducing violence, sufferings and conflicts and spreading the love, harmony, peace throughout the world in various societies.
In the whole creation, the origin is never seen. A seed is sprouts, but what is happening inside the seed is not known. Similarly a baby is getting formed in the womb, but it is not visible outside. A river is born somewhere, but you can never really go to the source of the river. Sothe origin remains a secret.
Similarly, death is also a secret. Your origin is a secret and what happens after death is also a secret. From the subtle to the gross to the subtle again. And from the subtle how again it comes to the gross is again another secret.
So when you look at the secret, there is amazement and amusement in the mind. A 'wow'. This amusement is the basis for yoga. When you are amused by the creation, that means the preface of yoga has started.
Children are amazed by everything. They look at their fingers with amazement. They look at flowers and butterflies with amazement. They look at the stars in amusement. So, when amazement or amusement dawns in life, then yoga (synonymous of union) has also started.
Gurudev, how does the individual work when their individuality has already dissolved?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
These are two dimensions. We live an individual life and at the same time we also lead a bigger life. When you sleep what is happening? Your individuality has dissolved into cosmic nothingness. When you wake up, you have your roles to play.
Similarly when you meditate, what happens? You are dissolved. And when you come out of meditation into action what happens? Individuality exists. So life is a combination of the individual and the universal. There is one aspect in us which is universal.
In the Upanishads there is a beautiful story. It says: two birds are sitting on one branch. One is watching, another is eating. Similarly inside you, there is one thing that is universal, that is just watching, that simply exist. There is another thing that acts: the individual self.
Are you form or formless? You are both! Your body is form, mind is formless. Right? Someone may say, ‘How is it possible? Either you are form or formless. How can you be both?’ This is wrong logic. Gurudev, you are the only saint in the world to reveal all forms of yoga. Now you have launched The Art of Living Academy of Performing Arts (ALAP). What is the importance of Arts to the world and to an individual? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Here in The Art of Living, we always look at everything from an holistic view. Music is definitely part of life. In all the cultures of the world, music is part of life. Babies first sing and then only they speak. Music comes first, language comes later. Have you seen babies singing ‘Aaaa...ooo...eee?' Singing comes first and then they understand language. So it’s important to have music as part of life. Gurudev, I used to work in the financial markets for around eight years before coming here. One of my primary roles was dealing with risks. I have seen you taking a lot of risks. How do you manage risks? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, you don’t manage them, you just jump into it and move on. Knowing very well only the best can come out of it for you. I learnt a news today that Mongolian scientists are examining a 200 year old mummified Buddhist monk found in the lotus position, whom some believe is still alive in a heightened meditative trance called 'Tukdam'. They also say that it is very close to Nirvana which according to Buddist belief is the highest possible state achievable when the physical body dissolves. Is that kind of meditative state ever possible? Can that be true? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditative state is possible and it does impact the body also. The body will not decay for some people. We don’t know whether somebody is still alive after two thousand years. This we have to see. Why would somebody hold onto a body for two thousand years. Would you hold on to the same dress for the next fifty years? When you don’t like to hold on to the same dress, why would somebody hold on to the body for so long? I don’t want to say it is a lie or anything. Body may stop decaying, but it is not necessary that the soul holds onto the body. If a soul is holding onto a body, it is not enlightened. What is the difference between ethics and spirituality? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes spirituality connects all aspects of our life. Ethics is something to do with your relationship with people. Spirituality is your relationship with yourself and with the universe.