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Q: What is the principle behind the Shiva Linga? Please explain.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Love is Shiva. The substance which is everywhere is Shiva. Something that is everywhere, how can we recognize it? To recognize it as a symbol, a stone is kept, a form is kept. That is it. God is not in that form. The form is a symbol that reminds us of God. It is like you look at your grandfather’s photo and say this is my grandfather. Seeing the photo you get reminded of your grandfather or grandmother or mother. But is that photo your grandfather or grandmother? No! Because of the photo, we get reminded of them. In the same way, through the form we worship the substance beyond the form.
Q: It is said that there are similarities between Islam and Christianity and also Christianity and Hinduism. Is there any similarity between Hinduism and Buddhism?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, definitely. Gautama Buddha was born as a Hindu, and then he became a Sanyasi. There is no difference between what Gautama Buddha said and what is there in the Upanishads. It is almost the same. In Hinduism, we went into a lot of rituals and customs; he said there is no need for all these. Killing animals for sacrifice should not be done. No need for yagyas. Thus he took people from that state to the state of meditation. Buddha spoke about meditation. In Buddhism, it is said that let everyone be happy, let all the Gods take care of us. It is the same that is said in the Upanishads.
Q: Why are Sri Lankan Tamils still suffering? Do they have a lot of negative karma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This asking of ‘why’ all the time is a problem. We cannot understand why they is suffering. Ask what we can do for them. It is better to ask what we can do for the Sri Lankan Tamils, rather than asking why they are suffering. All of you work towards that. Swamiji Sadyojatha and other volunteers from the ashram are all working towards that. All of you join; we will bring it all back to normal together.
Q: Guruji, I want to give these peacock feathers to you and Annaji.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Keep the wings with yourself, you have to take flight. We have already flying. You need it, keep it with you. Learn to fly! I don’t take feathers, I give feathers!