MORE EXCERPTS OF GURUJI'S INTERVIEW :
SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR (AOL) WITH ANURADHA SENGUPTA (CNN-IBN), FEB 2006
1. I was reading what you have said, there are different points. Some of the things that you say are so lucid and yet they are like motherhoods, they are like axioms, they are like home truths. Why is it that we need to find a Guru before we can understand any of this?
Sri Sri : Why do you want the answer for this question? You want the answer, right? When you want the answer, whoever gives the answer and you accept it, they become a Guru. If there is no need, then the question does not arise at all.
2. I mentioned that when I came into Bangalore, at the airport, I saw delegates waiting. You reminded me that it is at the train stations, at the bus stops. Why is it that the Art of Living is only for the elite or the upper strata?
Sri Sri : I think that it is a wrong perception. If there are 25 lakh people, who were only the rich and famous in this country, the shape of this country would have been very different. It is not so. We have so much more in villages, in every nook and corner, in tribal areas. It is a perception of the media. Perhaps they think that only celebrities come here. In fact, media follows celebrities. Of all the funds that we have received, we have not taken any donation from any industries. It is all coming from the grass root levels. All our finances are taken care of by the local chapters. I think when we kindle the spirit in them, the true spirit in them, the people are able to take responsibility for their own lives and they make things work.
3. I have heard from people who have been to the courses say that sudarshan kriya has changed my life. What I cannot connect with is the satsangs, bowing to the portrait of Guruji. Do you see this as your thoughts getting corrupted by people as it gets disseminated?
Sri Sri : Everywhere in the world, hero worship is a common thing. However, you tell them that you don't have to do that. In fact, you simply have to go deep into your meditation. It is a big problem for me when I go somewhere and everyone wants to come and touch the feet and bow down. People who are behind them cannot see them and then they fall and it becomes to manage. But this reverence to elders, for the Gurus has been in our tradition. Whether it is a veena Guru or a violin Guru, this tradition has its value and beauty. I remember I used to touch the feet of my mother everyday. Sometimes I used to fight with her, argue with her, then also I used to do pranam and run to schoool. So, there is a sense of connection, same they do for any other religious leader anywhere else in the world. But unfortunately, our journalists only question only when it is done to Indian teachers or Indian Gurus. Because, you call Indian Gurus as godman and you put a tag and look at them as something fishy. In every area, there are some who are not genuine and there are some who are authentically working and who are people have great reverance for their work. But this prejudice against India spirituality has become much less now. Ten, twenty years ago, there was a lot of prejudice about Indian spirituality around the world.
4. Even with the Indian middle class, isn't it?
Sri Sri : The only so called educated people.
5. You have changed that?
Sri Sri : I hope so. The lack of spirituality brings two extreme types of problems. One is domestic and societal violence, other side is the suicidal tendencies. Anyone who has a Guru, there is no way they can get into suicidal tendencies. That shift happens. That is why they say - Guru bina gati nahin hai. (There is no speed without the Guru) That is a common saying throughout India. More so in the North - Punjab, Haryana - than in the South.