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.
I think you don’t have any other question to ask! Why does this world exist? I have no idea! But instead of finding why this world exists, you can ask, 'Why do I exist'.
I have answer for that. You are here to make this world a better place. You are here to celebrate life and not to complain and brood over life.
For the question, ‘Why does the world exists? Why is there so much diversity?’ This is more a wonder than a question. And you already know the difference between wonder and question. Wonder is not looking for an answer, it is just wonderment. 'Vismayo Yoga Bhoomika'. Wonder is the preface for yoga. So, I will leave you to wonder about why there is so much diversity. This wonderment can take you to the wonderland of yoga.
How can we help friends who are experiencing trauma and have no interest in spirituality?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I leave this question to you. You may find many ways and apply all those ways. Whichever way works, good luck to you!
Once I had sent my teacher to talk to the Naxals. The teachers went and sat with them. They were with their guns. The teacher asked them do pranayama. They asked, “Why? What do we get?”
The teacher said, “You feel very shaky, right? You feel very afraid. This will help you gain more strength".
They said, “Oh, is it so? Let's learn”.
Once they did the pranayama, they never took back the gun again. These are skills. There is skill in teaching. Yoga is skill in action. 'Yogaha Karmasu Kaushalam', that is what Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita. Yoga is Skill in action.
Usually people say, “My mind is all over the place. It can never stay in one place. I cannot meditate”. Now, you meditated for 20-minutes, did it not calm down?
It needs that little skill to make the mind settle. It is not difficult to have a mind without any thought and go into deep meditation. You only need skill.
The controversy of Sun Salutations being religious is painful. If the mantras are not chanted during Surya Namaskar, isn’t it just a beautiful yoga?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The word Namaskar has two meanings: worship and greeting. When you meet somebody, you say 'Namaskar'. Namaskar means that you are greeting the person, and not worshiping them. Do you see what I am saying? It is used both during worship, and also as a greeting.
Now this has become a big controversy in India because it can give a religious overtone to it.
Similarly, these different mantras are sound vibrations. Sound vibrations affect different parts of the body. For example, when someone is stressed, what is the sound that comes out of them naturally? Hmmmph! This Hmmmph-kara is a mantra.
There is a story in Devi Bhagawatam. It is said when the demons came and attacked, Mother Divine stood up and said, 'Hmmmph', and all the demons got destroyed. All the demons turned into ashes.
Now what does this story mean? When a lot of negativity comes into the mind, there is an inbuilt mechanism in your own body and that is Hmmmph-kara. Take a deep breath in and say 'Hmmph', and the negativity leaves you.
So these sounds have their own vibrations and they mean something to our system. If someone has reservations, they do not need to do it.
Do you get negative thoughts? And if you do, how do you handle it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You are not the thoughts at all, my dear. You are not the thoughts at all. Thoughts come and go, they hover.
I want to ask you a question. Do you ever get a thought to kill somebody? You will say, 'No, it is not natural to me'. Then why is someone else getting that thought? When you get negative thought, you feel everyone must be getting it.
As a child, you never had any negative thoughts. You had concerns, you had fears, but did you think bad about anybody? No! So you have experienced this yourself.
Take your memory back to when you were a three-year-old baby. How was the world for you? It is a small world. Is there any negativity there? Why? Negativity is like an electron, it is at the circumference. At the core of your existence, it is all positive. So none of the negative thoughts are yours. They just come and hover around, so don’t hold on to them.