Last Friday I was at the Bangalore Literature Festival 2013 and had the great fortune to listen to a talk on ‘Writing on Spirituality’ by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Though I am not spiritually inclined, this brief lecture by the revered guru had me enthralled. I must say I was to a certain degree enlightened. It was a bright sunny day and this made my experience all the more memorable. In between clicking pictures, I managed to jot down some gems from his speech and the Q&A session that followed:
“Literature and spirituality have a long connection.”
“Words feel very inadequate to express a deep sense of vastness and authenticity one feels in meditation”.
“Love cannot be defined or explained nor can it be hidden from its expression”.
“Breath and mind are closely related”.
“Hold on to dreams, one day they will come true”.
“To keep our mind sane, we need to have passion, compassion and dispassion in equal degree. Passion alone, or compassion alone or dispassion alone will cause a nervous breakdown”.
“Literature plays an important role in instilling common sense in people. It can also prejudice people. Prejudice should be done away with. An open-minded approach is what is required”.
Q. How many languages do you know?
A. I only know one language – the language of love.
Q. What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?
A. Knowledge is up in your head, wisdom comes from experience. Knowledge is like reading a menu card, wisdom comes after tasting an item(s) from the card.
Q. What is the difference between worry and tension?
A. (Laughs) I have no idea. I have not experienced any of these.
The man then adds:
Q. It is said that a man gets worried when his wife gets pregnant, and gets tensed when his girlfriend gets pregnant ..
A. (Laughs again and the audience joins the laugh riot) See you know the answer yourself!!!
Q. Is spirituality only for the rich?
A. No. Spirituality is for everyone. Our space is made of moods like creativity, peace, sadness, happiness, anger, etc. Spirituality is attending to these moods. Everybody on planet Earth has spirituality in them. Everyone consciously or unknowingly instills spirituality. You don’t have to wear a dhoti or kurta to be called spiritual.
Q. What are your favourite books?
A. I read very little. I read people and I read myself. I have the capacity to admire anybody.
Word of advice:
Guruji recommends relaxation to those who have got a writer’s block: “When you relax, a channel of energy opens in you. The writer’s block vanishes. Few minutes of silence helps us to express ourselves much better.”
Joy in giving:
There is a joy in giving. Authors are content that they give something to society – their writing.