SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR (AOL) WITH ANURADHA SENGUPTA (CNN-IBN), FEB 2006
The Art of Living turns 25 this week and followers are trickling from all aver the world. There is a sense of expectation in the air and a sense of belonging. We are going to try and cut through this haze of feel good and find out what is like being Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Who is the man behind the Guru?
1. I know we are doing a longer interview, but on the eve of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, the three days, all the world leaders, 2.5 million people, to what purpose?
Sri Sri : What purpose? To reinstate the faith in human values and to dedicate our self to doing good in the society.
2. You have explained why people need a Guru and why they need to look up to somebody, to the philosophy. How do you keep the philosophy going when the charisma and the personality of the Guru have passed?
Sri Sri : You should go beyond the personality and charisma and go deep within to the silent corner of your heart, that's the main purpose.
3. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, this is such a wonderful week to be meeting you. 25 years of the Art of Living foundation, everything, the entire philosophy that you have given to so many people all over the world, how are you feeling right now?
Sri Sri : Before I used to feel very shy when people used to compliment me and adore me but now I don't, that's the only difference.
4. Is the man we know today as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is he still there an individual or is he sort of completely subsumed or consumed by the Guruji?
Sri Sri : No Guruji is a relationship that others have. For me, it doesn't have any sense. I am just what I am. Like the tree, the stones, the nature is there, like that I am here. To me, I am not playing a role all the time or any time. Are you understanding what I am saying?
5. I think so.
Sri Sri : It is very difficult to put in words and make you understand. It is like you know you have a pain in your leg and you can't tell others what the pain is. You can't make them understand what the pain is, so it is very personal. Knowledge, that's why I say the knowledge takes you from being some body to being nobody, and from being nobody to being every body.
6. When you gave us the sudarshan kriya, did you come into your own as a spiritual leader or do this things not cross your mind at all? Because my questions are there where I am.
Sri Sri : I didn't intend to become a leader or to do something. I just let the nature take its course. I never had any ambition that I had to make organisation or build something. Not at all. Everything just simply kept happening. I am quite satisfied and fulfilled in myself.
7. I was talking to a few people who have had an opportunity to hear you and all of them say that when you speak, then they feel that you are speaking only to them, no matter how large the audience. So, you are a master communicator, isn't it? Isn't that the key skill? I want the key skill to propound your philosophy.
Sri Sri : I don't know whether it is a skill, I think that it is just my nature. I can't do any othe way.
8. You are just being very modest.
Sri Sri : No. I think that I am just myself. I'll never do anything that is not in my nature.
9. When you hold discourses, is it completely free flowing like water?
Sri Sri : Absolutely, I never prepare my speech. I don't prepare at all and I don't read at all. I just sit and sometimes I feel that there is nothing big in talking of what you have read and known. To talk something that you don't know is really beautiful. If you are talking from that intutive level of yourself, your speak own mind. Speaking from your memories is one thing, but when you speak from that nowhereness, it is where you are.
10. So, you are saying that acquired knowledge is nowhere close to where experience is?
Sri Sri : This is a secondary thing. But that which comes from your soul, from your heart, you also learn. It is spontaneous and it is invigourating.
11. When I came here, I saw all the preparations, I have been hearing about all the variety of people who are going to be there over the next few days. I asked one of yuor volunteers that it must be very stressful, isn't the Guruji stressful? And he started laughing and he could not relate to it at all. How could you not be stressed?
Sri Sri : Yeah, I understand that it is difficult to understand the situation. When you know that the power behind all that is happening in the world and you know that it is taking care of everything, there is no stress.
12. Stress of all these interviews, all the people, of the organisation, of time?
Sri Sri : Nothing stays.
13. I think we are going to let ypu go into the satsang, just one second. In the week of the 25th anniversary, I want you to leave us with something really special.
Sri Sri : Know that you are very special and be a very ordinary person.