Guru of Joy - An Interview with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Posted on: Saturday, April 20, 2013 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe


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Call HIM a guru, a teacher, a spiritual master or what you will. Without doubt he is known globally as one who has initiated people into the Art of Living popular with the young and the old.
He is at home equally at a gathering of religious leaders as he is in a World Economic Summit. It is this along with his affability that imparts the magnetic quality in him.Gurudev, as he is fondly known, advocates a disease-free body, a quiver-free breath, stress-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, obsession-free memory, an ego that embraces all and a soul that is joyful and sorrow-free. His simple words, songs and satsangs along with the sudarshana kriya endear him to the people.
Here is as interview with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, when he had visited Hydrabad to inaugurate the Vyakti Vikas Kendra

Why are people drawn to you? What is the secret of your charisma?
I have no idea (laughs). Perhaps I am just a child and I refuse to grow up and children are attracted to everybody.
Is there any distinction between being a guru who is a teacher and a spiritual master. Many people think you are both.
I give total freedom to any one to call me whatever they want to.
You are advocating a joyous state of being all the time. How does one bring oneself to experience it?
If not all, at least for some time. It can be experienced with all your efforts - knowledge, education, meditation.
This phenomenon of gurus is a dominant trend in today's society. What do you have to say about this, the so-called `cult' culture that is so widespread?
Cult is different. It is exclusion. This word doesn't exist in India. It means you belong only to one and everybody else is an outsider. Spirituality is not a cult at all. It says the whole world is your family.
Every religion could be a cult, but spirituality demolishes the boundaries of cult or religion. Spirituality says all belong to one. Take the example of Mahatma Gandhi. Everybody came to him. Do we ever say Mahatma Gandhi cult or Gandhi Cult? We don't, because it doesn't exclude anybody, it includes everyone. Spirituality includes everyone.
Do you call Guru Nanak a cult? No. Why? Because in Guru Nanak'sdarbar there were Hindus and Muslims. Where everyone comes together with a universal message of harmony and peace, it cannot be called a cult.
Why are people going to gurus these days? Is it a belief or a need?
Going to a guru is like going to a doctor. Why do we go to a doctor? Why do people go to a teacher? Why do people see a movie? Why do people watch cricket - for entertainment, knowledge and health. They come to a guru for knowledge - as their minds are full of confusion and they want to know something more.
Life is not just eating and sleeping. Books cannot give a sense of belonging, truth of love and experience. Merely by studying books one can't gain experience - interaction with people is necessary. It's quite natural to have a guru.
Every province in India had a saint. When the British came, they did not understand this. They thought all the swamis and gurus were cults - that word doesn't exist here - it means a narrow-minded approach where people don't have freedom.
In Hinduism, there is freedom of expression - there is no ex-communication from Hinduism - it has never done so.
Your sudarshana kriya is known to be a de-stressing technique. Does it bring about a change in people in terms of their perception of life?
When you are free from stress, your perception, observation, expression will be different. When you are stressed, it will be different.
What are the chances of youngsters spending some time with the Art of Living when their senses are assaulted from all directions?
The Art Excel course imparts all-round training to youngsters. Why is one looking here and there? It's only for happiness after all.
In a society where a large number of people are poor and suffering, do practices like meditation only enrich the individual distracting them from social work?
In fact not. Spirituality and meditation helps the rich to open up their hearts and serve. It helps the poor to gain confidence and become entrepreneurs. The poor normally don't do anything to develop themselves. With spirituality they will stop pointing fingers at others and empower themselves.
How would you describe the essence of your life?
A smile that's not fragile, a love that embraces all and truth that leads to progress.
That answer, perhaps, sums up the personality of a guru who is truly a global phenomenon.

Source: Speaking tree


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