The following interview took place in the year 2006, when Sri Sri visited California.
Michael Fischman: Is enlightenment really possible for the average person?
Sri Sri: Yes, a big yes. Enlightenment is very possible for the ordinary individual. Actually, it is easier than for someone who thinks that they are special. You see, when someone thinks they are special, their ego becomes involved. “I am a great teacher,” or “I am a great writer,” that is only ego. Whenever someone is ordinary, simple, innocent and natural, that is enlightenment. Enlightenment is your very nature. It is in you already, in seed form. When you drop all the tensions and hang-ups and become natural, then it is right in your hand. We simply need to let go of the old patterns that are in the mind, just drop them. Then you see that something in you flowers and dawns. It is beautiful.
Michael Fischman: During the Art of Living Basic Course there is a lot of focus on the breath. Why is that?
Sri Sri: Our breath plays a very important role in our life. The breath is the connecting link between the inner world of the mind and the outer world of the body and environment. You see, there are seven levels of existence: body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego and the Being. Meditation works by bringing an effect from the level of Being to the mind. With the breath we bring this effect to the physical level as well.
Michael Fischman: How did this knowledge come about?
Sri Sri: The past several years, I have taught meditation and yoga to thousands of people all over the world. I noticed that there was something the people did not catch. They had very good experiences during meditation but on the level of the heart, joy and love did not seem to manifest and open up fully. When I began to give the Art of Living course and introduced people to Sudarshan Kriya, then there was a big difference. In a very short amount of time, people would open up.
Michael Fischman: How does the Sudarshan Kriya work?
Sri Sri: There is a rhythm in nature. Seasons come and go. In your own body, there is a rhythm too. You feel hungry at a certain time and sleepy at a certain time. The body has a particular rhythm. Life has a particular rhythm. Similarly, your breath also goes in a particular pattern. Your emotions move in a particular rhythm, as well as your thoughts. All these rhythms arise from your Being, which has its own rhythm. In Sudarshan Kriya we get into the rhythm of our Being and see how Being is permeating our emotions, our thoughts, our breath, and our bodies. Soon, every cell of the body becomes so alive and releases all the toxins and negative emotions it has stored from times past. Once again, we are able to smile from our hearts.
Michael Fischman: What effect does this practice have on relationships and the way we feel inside?
Sri Sri: However you try to hide what you feel, it definitely reflects on your face and in your actions. So, when you feel good, naturally your relationships will be good. Trying to work on the surface, or just the relationship aspect without feeling good deep inside doesn’t seem to work. People who are trying to be what they are not become unnatural and create much more tension and stress. That is why one must go deep into the source of one’s nature, one’s Being and come from there. You see, I don’t say that you will never get upset again in life. You may still get upset but the quality of your life will not be the same. You will not get so caught up in your emotions for long periods of time. People have found that after they do the Sudarshan Kriya, they are able to come back to themselves very quickly.
Michael Fischman: What is the true meaning of life?
Sri Sri: Ah . . . this you better find out for yourself. Don’t ask the meaning from me. It’s like asking me to chew your candy for you. It is not possible. Be with this question. I can tell you one thing, you are very fortunate that this question arises in your mind. One in a million people will get this question. It is a very sincere question. It means you have started your journey toward the light. Be with this question, and don’t be in such a hurry for a ready-made answer from somebody. Go deep into yourself and you will find out.