Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Gurudev, it is said that Shankaracharya had experienced the pleasures of life by entering into the body of a king. How then could he be considered celibate? Is celibacy (Brahmacharya) of the body or of the mind?
Sri Sri: It is of consciousness; the quality of consciousness is celibacy. Brahma means infinity, and charya means tomove. Moving into the infinity is Brahmacharya (celibacy). Identifying with the infinity is really what Brahmacharya is. It is a happening; it happens. That means, you don't find any big pleasure in a physical act to experience the joy because the joy is already there.
Any physical act is done to experience some joy, but if the joy is already there, then why bother with the act. That is what celibacy is.
Body has its cycle. It goes through cycles. Consciousness not getting involved in it is the real skill.
Gurudev, in the yajnas, the Rishis were invoked. What is the exact process? How come the people who existed so long ago still exist today?
Sri Sri: You know consciousness never dies; the mind never dies! Nothing ever dies. It only changes form. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. So is the same with energy.
In the consciousness, the Rishi energies are present.
It is like, you have all moods within you, and when you are acting in a movie or in a play, you create those moods. An actor creates different moods at different times. He shows anger, he shows fierceness, valor, or fear. So we can manifest all these emotions; we can act them out at any time.
The mind expresses its moods, though all the moods are within itself. At will it can express any of it at anytime. In the same way, in the higher consciousness, there are different impulses which indicate different abilities and qualities of consciousness. And they can be manifested by invoking.
Gurudev, what is the significance of offering ghee in the flames of yajnas?
Sri Sri: Ghee is basically oil, clarified butter! The final product of milk. I have not heard anybody offering oil in the yajnas. (Laughter)
There are different kinds of engines. Some require petrol, some require diesel. Similarly I think the yajnas tune in only to ghee and not to oil.
Someone should take it as a research, what happens when we put ghee in the fire. Someone can analyze, when ghee is put in the fire and it evaporates, what type of gas does it produce. It will be interesting to know. Some reason must be there why only ghee is used.
Also, a particular type of wood is used, and not any wood. The wood they use is called Samit, taken from the Peepal tree. The sticks from the Peepal tree is what is used in havan (fire ceremony). So we should see, what type of reaction or vibration is produced from the combination of wood from the Peepal tree and ghee. It could be a good thesis for someone to do. Someone from a chemical engineering background may find out.
Gurudev, what exactly happens to you when you go into bhaav?
Sri Sri: I don’t know! That is all I can say.
Gurudev, people accuse me for a sin which I have not done. What should I do?
Sri Sri: If you have not done and people think you have done it, then educate them. But if you have done it, then without denying it, accept it.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
August 29, 2013
Today is an occasion of celebration. 1100 types of food items have been prepared by our volunteers (referring to the occasion of Annakuta or Govardhana Puja, a day commemorating the day when Lord Krishna lifted Mount Govardhana and defeated Lord Indra). When we go deeper into knowledge, then everyday becomes a celebration. On the occasion ofJanmashtami, there are a few things that Lord Krishna has said in the Bhagavad Gita that we should all remember.
The first thing that Lord Krishna has said is – ‘Come take total refuge in Me, and I shall liberate you from all your sins and negativity. You cannot free yourself from your sins by your own efforts’.
The second thing that He has said is – ‘See everyone in Me, and see Me alone in everyone’. It means to see everyone and everything as a manifestation of Lord Krishna. In the Gita, He says to Arjuna, ‘I am not a person (not limited to this physical body). I am a Shakti (divine power); I am Ananda (bliss). I reside in everyone, so see Me in everyone around you’. If we just remember these two things, then that is sufficient. One point pertains to Arjuna, while the second one is that of Devi Radha. Arjuna had to surrender and take refuge of the Lord, but Devi Radha did not have to do so, because she would see Lord Krishna everywhere and in everything around her. There was nothing else she could see. So we need to imbibe both these in our life.
You all must have heard the story of how Lord Krishna lifted the huge MountGovardhana entirely on his little finger. The (prefix) ‘Go-’ means knowledge, and knowledge is so vast, like a huge mountain. But one who has blossomed in knowledge can lift even a huge mountain very easily and effortlessly, using just his little finger. Can you lift anything with your little finger? You cannot actually lift anything using the little finger, isn’t it? But here, Lord Krishna lifted the entire Mount Govardhana using just his little finger. The word ¬Govardhana means that which enhances and augments our knowledge. So when we stand in the enclosure of knowledge, we receive a protection, a shield from the storm and the heavy rain (signifying misery and suffering). To shelter yourself from the miseries of the world, you must come under the protection of Mount Govardhana (knowledge), and by doing this you will continue to blossom, and progress more and more in knowledge.
The word ‘Go’ has four different meanings: Jnana (knowledge), Gaman (travel),Prapti (to receive) and Moksha (liberation). Gaman means to keep on moving ahead in life and not look back at the past. Prapti means to reflect upon all that you have received. When you look back at your life and reflect upon what you have received, you will realize that you have received nothing other than knowledge in your life (meaning: everything else received in life being momentary or temporary). When death comes before you, there will be only two questions to answer for yourself: one is how much knowledge have you received, and second is how much love have you given to everyone around you. That is all there is to the act of giving and receiving in life. In receiving, you have to reflect on how much knowledge have you received, and in giving you must see how much love have you shared with everyone. When such knowledge increases in your life, then that is what Prapti is. So all four of these: Jnana, Gaman, Prapti andMoksha come to you when you are under the protection of Govardhana, which the Lord lifted so simply with his little finger.
When Lord Krishna lifted the mountain, all his other Gwalas (cowherd friends) also stood with Him below the mountain and placed their bamboo sticks to lend support to the mountain. They wanted to feel that they too are a part of this and are contributing in some way. They too wanted to satisfy that sense of doership in them. The meaning from this is: we must not think since that God will do everything, why should we make any efforts? No, you too should make your efforts and put in your stick along with the others (contribute in upholding the mountain). God is anyway doing everything, but does not mean that you do not do anything and remain idle. No, you too have to contribute your efforts and place your stick under the mountain. So the deeper meaning here is that we must do our duty and what we need to do. Instead of being idle and negligent, we must become proactive and responsible. Doing this combines all the three together: Karma,Jnana and also Bhakti (devotion).
How is that so? To save oneself from misery and suffering, one cries out to the Lord for safety with a sense of love and faith, this is Bhakti. Placing your own stick under the mountain (making one’s efforts or doing one’s duty) is Karma Yoga. And knowing that the Lord is upholding everything and taking care is Jnana. All three are important in life.
Gurudev, Lord Krishna started breaking the pots filled with butter in others’ houses because children did not get sufficient milk and butter at that time. The same situation is prevalent even today. What should we do?
Sri Sri: Well, the butter was stored in pots that were kept at a height and out of the children’s reach, which is why Lord Krishna would climb up and break the pots. This story is also a kind of symbolism. Today it is everyone’s duty to provide children with what they need.
Gurudev, which form of Lord Krishna is more important for the times of today: the one wielding the Sudarshana Chakra (the Lord’s divine discus); the one holding the flute; or the one upholding a chariot wheel by his hands?
Sri Sri: All of them are important and relevant for today. If there is no flute in life (meaning no music, singing etc.), then life becomes so dry and tasteless. And if one does not have bravery and valour (represented by the form of the Lord upholding a chariot wheel), then also one cannot accomplish anything in life. At the same time, the society must keep on running smoothly. When society stops functioning properly, then everything in country also comes to a standstill. All the businessmen are sad today. Many industrialists complain that their industries and businesses are in loss and have stopped. So this must not happen. They too should keep functioning smoothly. So you need someone to keep running it smoothly. And the Sudarshana Chakra is very important. So many Dushasanas (representing immoral and corrupt people) and Shakunis (representing fraudulent and criminal minded ones) are growing in numbers in our society today. They have to be shown their rightful place in society once again. Today there are so many Shishupalas(greedy and corrupt people) in our country, so the Sudarshana Chakra is very much needed in the times of today.
Gurudev, in the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna has spoken about Ananya sharan bhaava (having a sense of total surrender to the Lord). Please speak a bit more about this. Also please explain what is meant by Gopi bhaava.
Sri Sri: Gopi bhaava is a feeling of innocence and deep love. The word Gopi means those who have soaked and drank the knowledge so completely and totally that nothing else remains. When one is so deeply immersed in knowledge, then only love remains. So in such a deep and heightened state, it is that intense love that gets expressed. When such a beautiful and intense feeling of love dawns in life; then that is said to be Gopi bhaava.
August 28, 2013
When skilfulness blossoms within us, then that is Yoga. It is said “Yoga karmasu-kaushalam”. When we do something, we do not do it half-heartedly thinking ‘Will this happen or not?’, or, ‘May be it will be only half-done or so’, or, ‘Oh! This is going to take a lot of time’, etc. Once you decide upon something, just do it. When things start to happen merely by our thinking about them, then that ability is called a Siddhi (extraordinary ability). The goal of human life is to be able to gain this Siddhi, and not just to enjoy the pleasures and material gains of the world.
India would be not be India if you take away Lord Krishna, and the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. These epics are like the two eyes of our country, and are collectively called as Itihasa. They are not related to just one religion or school of thought. They are deeply connected with our entire culture and heritage. Ramayana and Mahabharata are read and discussed in every village of our country. The speciality of these epics is that it is not like they took place once upon a time and are not happening anymore. No, these epics are alive and are happening even now. There is a Mahabharata happening every day, in everyone’s life. There is a discourse from the Gita that is coming true every day.
Janmashtami is the day when we celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna signifies Ananda (bliss, pure happiness). We express any happiness by celebration. So Janmashtami is celebrating the birth of Bliss. It is the day when that (divine) joy became manifest. Actually, it is not right to use the word ‘birth’ here. Lord Krishna was never born. That (divine) joy was always present, but it is on this day that it became manifest and evident (in the form of Lord Krishna). So where should you look for Lord Krishna? Everywhere! Lord Krishna says – ‘One who sees Me everywhere, in everyone, and sees everyone in Me is truly intelligent’. Now, no one wants to be foolish in this world. Everyone wants to be intelligent. So, one who recognizes the Parmatma (Supreme soul or all-pervading one Consciousness) as thatAnand-tattva (the element of Bliss) that is manifest throughout Creation is truly intelligent. Everything has emerged from that Anand-tattva. This is the special message of Janmashtami. What does one need for this? You need to be innocent at heart; you should have that child-like innocence. It is said – ‘Bhole bhaav miley Raghurai’ (One attains the Lord through the innocence and purity of feelings).
Today’s knowledge is this: It’s time to seriously enjoy and celebrate! (Laughter) You can realize Lord Krishna only through deep rest. You cannot realize Lord Krishna through your struggle and efforts. And when can you get that deep rest? Deep rest happens when your mind is not restless and entangled with feverish desires; when it is not caught up in cravings and aversions. It is in those moments of deep rest that one witnesses the birth of Lord Krishna (here meaning divine bliss).
You should look at Lord Krishna’s birth from a more spiritual point of view. Devaki (Lord Krishna’s mother) represents the physical body, while Vasudeva (Lord Krishna’s father) represents the Prana (the vital life-force). So when the Pranaflows through the body, then Ananda (bliss, represented by Lord Krishna) is born. But at that time, the ego (represented by Kamsa, Lord Krishna’s maternal uncle and an evil King) wants to destroy the bliss. Where there is joy, there cannot be ego. A person who is full of joy will never behave wrongly with anyone. Such a person will not go about hurting people and create problems for others. One who troubles others is actually suffering himself, and is hurt or wounded in some way. Such people give misery and suffering to others around them. One who has suffered injustice tries to do injustice with others and make them suffer. A person who is happy and content will never trouble anyone else in anyway. Such a person will never steal from others. So knowledge, happiness and love are the greatest enemies of the ego. Lord Krishna is the symbol of love and joy. How can the ego survive where there is love? The ego is only scared of love, nothing else. That is because ego has to bow down before love. No matter how great a person may be in the world, he has to melt before the love of his own child. When the child falls sick, then no matter how strong and brave the person may be, he melts out of love and concern for the health of his own child. He naturally gets worried. So love, happiness and naturalness are the greatest enemies of the ego. And what does Lord Krishna represent? He is the symbol of happiness, joy and being natural. He is the very source of bliss.
This is why there is a war between ego and love, because ego melts and disappears when love dawns within. Kamsa represents the ego, and ego is born along with the birth of the body. Devaki (the body) is Kamsa’s sister. When Lord Krishna was born in the prison cell, all the prison guards fell asleep. When there is no happiness and joy (Lord Krishna), the body feels like a prison. So when love (Lord Krishna) was born in this prison (body), all the senses (symbolized by the prison guards) fell asleep. The five senses – the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin – are the guards of the body, and they always look outwards for joy. They are actually the guards of Kamsa (ego). So they fall asleep when one turns inwards towards the source of joy, the bliss that is born within (Lord Krishna). Now after being born, Lord Krishna had to be taken to another place for the sake of protection and safety (from Kamsa). So Lord Krishna went to Vrindavana after being born, to the house of Nanda and Devi Yashoda. So when you look deeper into these stories, you will be able to understand their greater spiritual meanings and values. The morals and importance of these stories and events are not limited to one particular place or time; whether you consider the Ramayana or the Mahabharata.
Do you know why Lord Krishna stuck a peacock feather on his crown? How many of you do not know the secret behind this? You know, Lord Krishna never walks or stands in a straight manner. His one leg rests completely on the ground and another is off the ground resting only on its toe. So he stands askew but talks very directly. Why the peacock feather on the crown? A crown is usually very heavy, and it symbolizes responsibilities. One who wears the crown is responsible for the entire society. So it can be a great burden for the one who wears it. Whom do you hold responsible when something goes wrong in the society? You hold the king accountable for the society, isn’t it? So the crown on a king’s head represents the burden of responsibility that he carries. But if you were to carry out all your responsibilities and duties as lightly and effortlessly like a peacock’s feather, then you would not feel any burden at all. That is what the peacock feather on Lord Krishna’s crown means. It symbolizes having being able to shoulder many responsibilities without feeling burdened by them.
God never feels His own creation to be a burden for Him. A mother never feels that her children are a burden for her. In the same way, Lord Krishna, who is also called Yogeshwara (Supreme among Yogis) never feels that any responsibility is a burden. Every responsibility feels light and easy. That is why his crown is adorned with a peacock feather. Just like a peacock’s feather has so many colours, so also He has many responsibilities but they are not a burden for Him at all. They simply appear to be a game.
One of Lord Krishna’s many names is Maakhan-chor (one who steals butter). From milk we get curd, and from curd we get butter. Milk is liquid and very nutritious, from that we get curd which is thicker and more refined. And by churning the curd we get butter. When butter is formed, it floats on the surface and does not sink to the bottom of the vessel. So it is both light and extremely nutritious also. So when our intellect becomes refined and mature in this same way, just like butter and when we blossom in knowledge, then we become Sthithaprajna, i.e. one who is equanimous at all times. But one who can steal the hearts and minds of even the most equanimous ones is Lord Krishna! Lord Krishna is pure attraction. The only one who has the ability to attract and lure away the most wise and knowledgeable of persons is Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is one who can attract the most dispassionate and detached wise saints and sages. A wise saint is one who has become ripened in knowledge and wisdom (like butter), but one who can steal the heart and mind of such a wise one is who Lord Krishna is. That is why He is called Maakhan-chor. Lord Krishna alone can melt the heart and stir the mind of the most dispassionate and wise person. And how does He do that? It is by love.
Ok, can you all try to say ‘Ka’ (the first syllable in Lord Krishna’s name) without the accompanying ‘-a-’ sound? Just try. (The audience tries but gives up soon after). See, no matter how hard you tried you were not able to do so. Is it possible to do so? It is simply impossible. So when we try to utter ‘Ka’, that very instant we are transported to the very Source from where this sound originates, and that is the Brahman. It is the space from where voice and sound return back, because the Brahman or the Atma-tattva (the Soul or Self as the fundamental element pervading all creation) cannot be reached through sound or words. In the space of the Brahman, the chattering mind comes to rest, there is no voice or sound, and there is a profound experience of stillness. In that state one slips into deep meditation, and you become one with the Self. So, trying to say ‘Ka’ without the ‘-a-’ sound is a meditation in itself. You should all try this sometime, whether before going to sleep or after getting up in the morning or at any time of the day. Just try doing this and then observe what happens in your mind and intellect. You will find that suddenly everything comes to a standstill and there is a deep silence that is born around you. In that state you go deep in wonder, and a beautiful innocence dawns within you. When you were small, you would try to repeat and say every word that you heard innocently. You need to return to that same state of innocence, which takes you to the Source from which all words and sounds originate.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says:
Purvabhyasena tenaiva hriyate hy-avaso-api sah |
Jijnasur-api yogasya shabda-brahmativartate || (6.44)
He says – ‘Even the wise one who is inquisitive about Yoga eventually moves beyond words and transcends them to reach their Source (Brahman)’.
Today people from all over the world are connected with us and watching the celebrations live from thousands of Art of Living centres across the world. So we have gathered from all over the globe to celebrate Janmashtami – the festival of Bliss. We have to bring about waves of such happiness in our society today. This is each and everyone’s duty.
Gurudev, what is the secret behind Lord Krishna having succeeded the test of time (meaning to have become eternal)? Despite the passage of time, Lord Krishna is still alive in the hearts of people.
Sri Sri: Yes, this is a secret that you must unravel in your heart. You must discover this for yourself. Truth always wins in the end, and truth is eternal. It is never destroyed. This is why Lord Krishna is alive even after 5100 years. Why is this so? It is because He was never limited to one particular place, or to one particular time.
Lord Krishna is Sanatan (meaning that which is eternal and never-ending). One who is Anadi (without beginning) andAnanta (without end) is called Sanatan. It means that which has always existed and is ever present. No one knows where it began. Such is the knowledge that Lord Krishna gave.
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna – ‘I and you have taken birth several times, but I remember all those lifetimes and you do not. We are both Anadi – no one knows how many times we have incarnated and taken birth here. We come in this world, we depart from it, and we will come again’.
Gurudev, in Chapter-14, verse 27 of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that He is also the primal cause of the Para-Brahman (Supreme all-pervading Consciousness) and He is also its very existence. This became a point of confusion among many learned scholars. Sri Adi Shankaracharya also got confused when he read this. Please throw some light on this.
Sri Sri: Lord Krishna gave knowledge in three different ways: the pratham purush (meaning to narrate as first person), madhyam purush (meaning to narrate as second person) and uttam-purush (meaning to narrate as the detached Seer or the Self). So at times Lord Krishna spoke about God using “Him”, or “That” or “He”. At other times He spoke about God using words as “You” or “Yours”; and then He also spoke about God by referring to the Self, saying “Me” or “I”.
So we say “Tat tvam asi” (Meaning: You are That), and we also say “Sarvam khalvidam Brahmasi” (Meaning: Everything is Brahman). “Tat tvam asi” means you are That, and That (the Self or consciousness) is within you. Then it is also said “Aham Brahmasmi”; meaning “I am Brahman”. So, sometimes you find that Lord Krishna says ‘Come take refuge under Me’, while sometimes He says ‘Take the refuge of God’. Both are correct in how they are said. The duty of a Guru is to take a person forward from where he is on the Path. Before Lord Krishna revealed His Vishwa-Rupa (supreme universal form) to Arjuna, He said:
Ishvarah sarva-bhutanam hrida-deshe Arjuna tisthati |
Bhramayan sarva-bhutani yantrarudhani mayaya || (18.61)
He says that God resides in everyone’s hearts. And then by revealing His Vishwa-Rupa form to Arjuna, He showed him that everything resides within Him, after which He says, ‘Surrender everything and take refuge in Me alone’.
The Gita has been interpreted in thousands of ways, called Tikas. But the essential thing is that the Truth is one, but it is explained in different ways from time to time (depending upon the need and conditions of mankind at the time). And there is contradiction right from the beginning to the very end in Gita. Arjuna himself asks Lord Krishna, ‘O Lord! Tell me one sure way to be free from misery. I am confused listening to so many ways. One moment you suggest one path, the next moment another path. I am already confused and dejected, why are you confusing me further?’ See, the Bhagavad Gita shows a unique way of helping a person go step by step towards Divinity, towards the Self. There is no other scripture equal to the Gita. There is no other scripture other than the Gita that leads one to the Truth through contradiction after contradiction.
Gurudev, in the Ramayana, Ravana abducted Devi Sita and in the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna abducted Devi Rukmani when she was being forced to marry Shishupal (an immoral King in the Mahabharata). In the Lord’s incarnation as Lord Krishna, Ravana incarnated as Shishupal and Sita incarnated as Devi Rukmani. So is there some connection of karma here as well?
Sri Sri: It is said ‘Gahano karmano-gatih’ (unfathomable are the ways of Karma). So the ways and the pace of Karma are mysterious and unfathomable. No one can understand it.
Gurudev, you have tweeted that ‘too many Dushasanas and Shakunis are around today and should be shown their rightful place in society’. Who are the Dushasanas and Shakunis (referring to immoral and corrupt characters in the Mahabharata as metaphors) today and what is their rightful place?
Sri Sri: I leave that to you to guess. Their rightful place is Lord Krishna’s birthplace (referring to the prisons, where Lord Krishna was born). Did you get it? The jail is where all the Dushasanas and Shakunis should go. Do you not think so?
Sunday, October 13, 2013
October 04, 2013
Deep silence and joyful celebrations is what Navratri is all about! It is a time to step out of the worldly things and go into the other world.
Gurudev, Dasha Mahavidyas (ten cosmic personalities of Divine Mother) are worshipped in Navratri. What are these and what significance do they have in our daily lives?
Sri Sri: Yes, ten Mahavidyas are there. I also don’t know the complete thing about them.
Whatever Vidya (knowledge) we study and understand with our intellect is limited. What we get through silence and meditation is Mahavidya (greater knowledge).
The knowledge that we gain by effort is Apara Vidya. And the one which is gained through effortlessness, through silence and intuition is Mahavidya.
When Avidya (ignorance) is dispelled, you get Mahavidya. Also you dispel Avidya using Mahavidya. Both these things are there.
Gurudev, you had mentioned that we can never be sure of a friend or an enemy. And that one should rely on oneself. Is that being selfish?
Sri Sri: No, it is not being selfish. It is being aware that there is a bigger force that guides you in your life. So when your time is good, and when your life is in the hands of that bigger force, or the Divinity, then that rules your life. This is what we need to see. It is that one power only that comes to you as a friend, as an enemy; as everybody. When you recognize that one thing that is present in various forms in front of you, then you are at peace with yourself.
Gurudev, it is said that sadhana gives desired results. If a demonic person does sadhana, will he also get a boon?
Sri Sri: Yes, it has happened in the past. Ravana did so much penance. And there were so many demons that became powerful by doing penance. But because of their ego, they made some or the other mistake. That is why they were not completely successful.
Gurudev, sometimes I feel I am giving too much attention to the destination, i.e., Moksha (liberation), and so I forget the journey, i.e., life. What to do?
Sri Sri: Just Relax! This is part of life. Life is love, energy, enthusiasm and freedom. And freedom is Moksha. Moksha is not an end, at some place. Moksha is throughout life, at various stages.
Moksha means relief, and relief from work is essential. Relief from non-work is also essential. If you are simply sitting, lethargic and then you do something, you feel happy. You feel the energy. So everything is there. Just Relax!
Gurudev, I don’t understand Sanskrit since I am from outside India. Could we have some session to understand Sanskrit better?
Sri Sri: You don’t need to understand much. In fact English language has got a lot of Sanskrit in it. Even the names of months are in Sanskrit only. November, December, January, all these months, the names are in Sanskrit (November –Nav Ambar (ninth sky), December – Dash Ambar (tenth sky))
So there is no need to understand much! All that we need to do here is just enjoy the vibes of the sound (mantras) and relax, and then meditation happens.
Of course, if you want to learn, then there are many opportunities to learn. There are so many ways to learn. But basically even people who speak different Indian languages, they don’t understand these Vedic hymns. Nobody understands them. What is important is just its vibrations, the intonations, and how it is chanted. That is what is most important.
But if you want to go scholarly into it, you are most welcome. You can go into Google and get the meanings. But the meaning that you may find on Google are very incomplete. That much you should bear in mind and then read it. It is not totally correct but not totally wrong also.
Gurudev, is getting a certain experience the goal of Sadhana? I haven’t got any experience in my Sadhana till now. This keeps bothering me.
Sri Sri: No, never mind! It is the experience of going from the scenery to the seer that is important. If experiences come, they come. If not, never mind! Still it is okay. Experiences change all the time.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
October 02, 2013
I want to tell you about my teacher who is still alive, and who has completed 116 years of his life. This gentleman taught Mahatma Gandhi the scripture, Bhagavad Gita, when he came back from South Africa.
The Bhagavad Gita often states that one must be equanimous. So he shared this incident of Mahatma Gandhi.
My teacher was in Yerwada jail, along with Mahatma Gandhi. There were only three of them, Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s wife Kasturba Gandhi, and my teacher.
This incident is of the last day of Kasturba Gandhi. She was on her death bed, and Mahatma Gandhi comes out of the room, and he says to my teacher, ‘Bangalori, today is the day of my trial. Today is the day to see how I can maintain my equanimity. How I can see everybody in the same way. Today is the day of my test.’
Saying this, he asked him to read the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. While he was reading the Bhagavad Gita, drops of tears were flowing down Bapu's (Mahatma Gandhi's) eyes. And that day Kasturba Gandhi left her body.
Mahatma Gandhi then realized that he had always imposed his will on his wife, and she had no will of her own. He said, 'She is the real saint because she served me till her last breath'. This is what Mahatma Gandhi said when Kasturba Gandhi left her body at the Yerwada jail.
Bhagavad Gita was Mahatma Gandhi's guiding light. He stood against religious conversion, but today nobody talks about it. He was against liquor, but nobody talks about it. He was against slaughtering of animals; he was the most compassionate person and said that we must follow Ahimsa (Non-violence).
Mahatma Gandhi would not even drink cow's milk because he said the first right of the cow's milk goes to the calf. There was also this one incident when they were milking the cow and a drop of blood came out because they had milked the cow too hard. From that day, he left drinking cow's milk and he would only have goat's milk.
Mahatma Gandhi was such an advocate of Ahimsa, and today India is the largest exporter of beef in the world. 7.8 million animals have been slaughtered in this country in the past couple of years.
It is a very sad thing that we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, but we do not follow what he has said. So I think the youth of India should wake up, and follow the precepts of Ahimsa (non-violence). Follow his idea of compassion (compassion to animals), prohibition of intoxicants, and attend satsang. Mahatma Gandhi would conduct satsangs everyday. When we follow this, then we are honoring Mahatma Gandhi.
Also, no religious conversion. Mahatama Gandhi was against persuading people to change their religion, and all these things that are happening in India today.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
August 27, 2013
Gurudev, Buddhists say they do not believe in God. Even Lord Buddha said that we must not worship idols. Now He too was an enlightened being, so what did he mean by that?
Sri Sri: Lord Buddha never talked about God. He never really entertained any discussion on God. What He said was – the first thing is to realize that there is misery. People keep denying there is misery, many don’t even recognize it. Many a time if you talk to a sick person, he will say “I’m perfectly healthy and fine”. The more egoistic the person, the greater is the denial.
Many times people are very miserable from within, but they wear a mask of cheerfulness or even act confident and dominating on the outside. They will keep pretending as if everything is fine, yet you can see the misery drip from their faces. Every part of their body reflects anger, bitterness, hatred and misery. This is what Lord Buddha has said – that there is misery. Recognize it, and then there are remedies for it. If someone says being miserable is my nature, then nobody can do anything about it, not even God Himself. So misery is not our nature, it comes because ofsamskaras (past life impressions) or karma. And this can be removed by other samskaras. One remedy for this isPratyahara (one of the eight limbs of Yoga which means to exercise control or restraint over the senses and withdraw them inwards). Another remedy to this is meditation. So through meditation, pranayama, and Satsang we can be liberated from the miseries. It is then that we come to realize that our nature is happiness, bliss. Just as light dispels darkness, our Atma-shakti (the powerful soul as consciousness within) removes misery. On the path of Sadhana, all negativity and distortions such as fear, anger etc. fall away. The goal of Sadhana is get immersed in that indescribable bliss which is part of our very nature.
Lord Buddha said the same things that are said in the Upanishads. There is a verse:
Na karmana na prajaya dhanena tyagenaike amrta tvamanasuh |
Parena nakam nihitam guhayam vibhrajate yadyatayo visanti ||
(- Sanyasa Sukta, Maha Narayano Upanishad, 4.12)
It means: Neither through one’s actions (Karma), nor by begetting noble progeny (referred to by ‘Praja’ in the verse above), nor through wealth (Dhana) can one attain the Supreme Lord. Only through sacrifice and renunciation (Tyaga) can one attain immortality (Amruta). This is what Lord Buddha has said as well. If you read the Upanishads carefully and then read that Lord Buddha has said, you will find they are the same. There is no difference at all.
That is why Shri Adi Shankaracharya is often called Prachanna Baudha (a hidden or unproclaimed Buddha, meaning an enlightened one), because whatever he said seemed to be so similar to what is mentioned in Buddhism. So there is no difference between the Sanatana Dharma (another name for Hinduism) and Buddhism. The principles are nearly the same. I won’t say that they are exactly the same, but they are very close indeed. Buddhism advocatesShoonyavaad (the realization that “everything is nothing”; Shunya meaning Zero or nothing in Sanskrit), while Vedanta advocates Poornavaad (the central belief that “Everything is One and whole”). In Buddhism the first important step is the realization of misery, while in Vedanta they say that there is no misery. They say – ‘Wake up and see! You are full of joy (the Self as bliss)’.
So in Buddhism when misery disappears, joy is seen and in Vedanta when joy (of the Self) is realized, misery disappears automatically. So going from bottom to top and top to bottom, these are two different approaches. But the goal is the same. Even in Vedanta, it is not said that one should necessarily worship idols. It is said that worshipping the Atma-deva (referring to the Self as the Divine deity housed within the temple of the physical body) is the highest form of worship. But to begin with, one needs an environment, an atmosphere for reaching that stage of worship. This is why there is Puja. Ultimately at one point you see everything as the expansion of yourself, everything appears as a manifestation of that one Self. When one realizes that there is no difference between the world and the Self (Brahman) - which is present everywhere, in the trees, in the idols, in the earth, in water, in the blue sky; then one can worship anything and anywhere (meaning: to reach a stage where one sees everything as the manifestation of the one divine Self).
Even in the Rudra Puja, there is a rule that ‘Na Rudram Rudram Archayeti’’ which means until you become Lord Shiva yourself (realize your own true divine nature), you cannot worship the Lord. So you should first become God and then worship Him. It means to be firmly established in the Self. So it is said to worship God after becoming God, being established in your Self. Puja is just a play, it is a leela (a game), a way of expressing this deep feeling of worship.
Gurudev, you say that ‘Sukhasya dukhasya nakopi daata’ (No one gives us pain or pleasure except our own mind). So is there no effect of our actions on others at all then?
Sri Sri: What we do affects others only to the extent that they take it (i.e. choose to accept or be affected by it). If they do not take it, then no matter what you do, it won’t affect them at all, be it good or bad. There lived a saint named Diogenes, who was enslaved by Alexander. Alexander had him tied up in chains and handcuffed. When he was being sold at the slave market, he looked so strong and confident that the person trying to sell him looked like a slave. Diogenes wasn’t looking like a slave at all. So whatever we do affects people only as much as they take it inside them.
If you swear at someone and he doesn’t listen to you at all; and instead he thinks you’re talking in another language or he thinks you’re praising him, then what effect would your words have on him? Say you are talking about something very wise, maybe you are giving knowledgeable advice but the other person is not listening to you at all and just sits like a stone, then what influence will your talk have on him? Unless the person decides to absorb what you are saying and take it inside him, he will neither be positively nor negatively affected by it.
This does not mean you should try to give people grief and misery. This saying - ‘Sukhasya dukhasya nakopi daata’does not mean that you keep giving as much grief as you can to others. No! You must be sensitive. What you do not like for yourself, why should you do unto others? This is Dharma. So if someone swears at us, we feel sad about it. Then we too should not swear at others. And if we do not like people stealing things from us, we should also not steal from others. So whatever we don’t like being done to us, we should not do to others. This simple notion is the essence of Dharma – the knowledge of one’s duty.
Gurudev, what was the relationship between Radha and Krishna. What was so special about their relationship that even Krishna’s wife did not get the same place as Radha?
Sri Sri: Though I have never read the Srimad Bhagavatam but I have heard that it is mentioned that Radha is not mentioned anywhere. The very meaning of the word ‘Radha’ means to return to your source. ‘Dhara’ means that which comes from the source, while ‘Radha’ means that which goes back to the source. So Radha is a Shakti (divine power). Until we go to the source we cannot experience Lord Krishna. Why is it so? It is because Lord Krishna is the source and Radha is the way or path to the source. So even if you are Rukmini or Satyabhama (the main wives of Lord Krishna), till you become Radha, till you return to the source, you cannot attain Lord Krishna. This is the hidden meaning behind this symbolism.
Gurudev, sometimes on the path of yoga one gains Siddhis, and these Siddhis can sometimes become a distraction. How can one handle these Siddhis without running away from them?
Sri Sri: Don’t pay too much attention to it. Don’t run after them. Many such things will come to you on the path. Many of you must’ve experienced this also. Don’t give it too much importance. When you go to some place, if someone asks you for a visiting card, you give them one, but you are not the visiting card. So remain established in your Self. That is the goal.
Gurudev, I fear the death of my near and dear ones. Please tell me how I can overcome my fear.
Sri Sri: Is there anyone who in this world who does not belong to you? Who is a stranger to you? Just observe. This is where your faith in God becomes important. Just believe in God, know that He is there and He will take care of everything for you. He will protect you at all times. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says:
Ananyas chintayanto mam ye janah paryupasate |
Tesham nityabhiyuktanam yoga-kshemam vahamy-aham || (9.22)
Lord Krishna says that once you are surrendered to God, once you take His refuge, then He takes on the responsibility to provide you with all that you need, and also protect that which you already have. This is why Lord Krishna says:‘Yogakshemam Vahamyaham’. Here Yog- means to give you what you have yet to receive and kshema- means to take care of and protect what you have already received. Both are His responsibility. Lord Krishna says this very clearly. So just know this and relax.
Gurudev, you consider everyone as the same, but when someone says that you are his/her Guru, I get very jealous. You belong to all of us, right? So how do I make this mind understand this? I can share everything with everyone, but how do I share you with others?
Sri Sri: If someone says ‘Guruji is mine’, you say that he is mine also! Who stopped you from doing that? If they say it once, you say it twice (Laughter). See, when you open the window of your house, the light of the sun enters your house through your window completely, doesn’t it? And if someone else opens the window of their house, the sunlight completely appears there also. Has it ever happened that the sun has shone less through your window and more in your neighbour’s window? The same is with air. Does air ever discriminate and go flow more in house and less in the other? When there is heat outside, has it happened that this house receives more heat than the other? No, Nature treats everyone the same way. Suppose you look at the full moon, the moon appears full to other people in other cities as well. It does not appear more or less in one place or the other. The full moon will appear as the full moon, no matter where you go. Suppose you are a mother of four children. Nowadays two children are more common. So, no matter what anyone may say, don’t you see all your children as the same? Will you feed only one and keep the other hungry? A mother can never do this.
So as we rise higher, an expanded sense of belongingness and a broad vision effortlessly and naturally becomes a part of our lives. Feelings of anger or jealousy do come sometimes. It is okay. So, even if these feelings of jealousy etc. come, they come and then they go away also. Only with knowledge you can deal with all these negativities and distortions.
Gurudev, how do I know if I am deeply in love with a person or if it is just an attachment?
Sri Sri: Time will tell (Laughter). Always know that there is a sense of sacrifice in love, while attachment only brings misery. In the name of love, if you fall in an infatuation or attachment, then you will only get misery. But in true love, even sacrifice brings contentment. Love brings sacrifice and contentment, while attachment and feverishness can only bring misery.
Gurudev, our conscience knows what is right and wrong. In spite of knowing that, we often do not listen to our inner voice. What is it that prevents us from listening to our conscience and how can we overcome this?
Sri Sri: It could be old habits, or the illusion that doing something else will give you pleasure. These are the only two things.
Gurudev, it has only been a few months since I got connected to you, and you have already made me crazily in love with you. Can I get all the love I lost over these past years? I wish to cover up the backlog.
Sri Sri: Our bond of love is ancient. The heart takes pride in the old. It runs towards the old, the ancient, while the mind on the other hand is attracted towards the new. For example our mind gets attracted towards the latest clothes, latest scientific discoveries etc. This is why science also runs towards making new discoveries and inventions. So our mind, our intellect always gets charmed by what is new. But it is not so with the heart. When we love someone, we don’t say we’ve loved them for two days or two weeks, we feel as if we have loved them for ages, even lifetimes! This is the quality of the heart, to long for that which is old and familiar. Our life is a combination of the ancient and the modern. We must take them together.
When you are in delusion, or when the heart and head are in conflict, then all kinds of quarrels are over old things. All our craving and aversions pertain to things and events from the past. One says things like – ‘When I attended your marriage 20 years ago, you didn’t wish me properly. You didn’t give me enough sweets and gifts. You did not treat me well. Your mother and father did this and that’. People keep nurturing that bitterness in their minds, even after 20 years. So people get entangled into all this because of Aviveka (lack of Viveka or right discrimination). So you should become aware of all this using your Viveka. Let go of the past. Why? When your mind or intellect keeps chewing and hankering about the past, it gets stuck in negativity and begins to rot. And when the heart runs towards (the attraction) of the new it becomes unstable. So keeping everything in its right place is Viveka. One needs both intellect and emotions to function well. Both intellect and feelings are important in a person’s life. Do business with the intellect and live life with feeling (heart). If you use your head at home and heart in the business then both will be in trouble.
Gurudev, the value of the rupee is falling; I am being alienated from my religion in the name of secularism. Will we improve only we also go through what has been happening in Egypt (referring to the recent events of civil war and public unrest)?
Sri Sri: By God’s grace, may that never happen here to our country. What is happening in Egypt and in Syria should not happen to any country. Here in India, if there is any injustice being done in the name of secularism, then you alone are responsible for it, no one else. It is because all of us do not stand united against these things. We do not respect our own religion, then how will someone else respect it? Do not blame others and point fingers. We must introspect upon ourselves. There is so much communalism and casteism happening today. We are so sharply divided in the name of caste. We need to rise above this and unite everyone together with love and compassion. We need to become active and responsible citizens. If nothing else, at least once in a month or so make the effort to have everyone gather together, say in a temple or any other place. We need to do this even in villages. When we celebrate festivals, we do not make efforts to organize and celebrate together in a united way. Everyone wants their own separate celebration. When we have festivals like the Ganesha Chaturthi or Janmashtami, we do not gather together at one place and celebrate. Instead we hold separate individual celebrations in our own colonies or streets. It is all a play of the ego – everybody only thinks ‘Me’, ‘Mine’, ‘Myself’. This is the great misfortune of India. It is our bad luck that we are so divided and do not stand together as one people. We are divided on the basis of language, race, caste, state, region; even on the basis of political party etc. When all of us unite and become one, Dharma (righteous conduct) will rise and be uplifted. Then who will hurt you or bring you down? That is why it is said – “Sangha Shakti Kaliyuge” (The company or Sangha of good and virtuous people is the only source of strength in dark and evil times).
Today many people are saying they are suffering from injustice. People in Jammu and Kashmir, in Kerala often complain that they feel as if they have become second-class citizens in their own country and state. People from North-East and even in Andhra say that there is so much apathy and injustice, no one cares for them. I have heard many such things and many people come and tell me this often. In West Bengal, there is such grave injustice and malpractice happening with the majority communities. People come and cry in the front of me about this. I tell them, ‘you all should unite against injustice and stand as one. Stand on your feet. As long as you are divided and scattered among yourselves, someone else will take advantage of it’. Instead of doing so, we put the blame on others. See, everyone has a right to form their own union and have the right to make progress. So if someone is making progress, then why should we pull them down? Let them also succeed and let us also make efforts to succeed. This thought should arise within us. When I went to Punjab, the people there said the same thing – that they are treated as second-class citizens there. It is a very unfortunate thing. The same is happening in the economic scenario of our country also.
Today even in a small town there are ten different temples constructed. Now having ten temples is not a bad thing at all. But what happens is that there is a sense of competition among them all. And then there are arguments between management committee members of the same temple over petty matters. All this is Aviveka. Then they keep complaining that “We are not being treated properly; what we want is not happening”. In every sphere of life, be it religious or political or economic, Viveka is needed. All this needs a transformation and I am confident that our youth with come out of all this narrow-mindedness and bring about this transformation. They should come together and do good work.
Gurudev, what is a ‘Blue Star’? I have heard a lot about it. Please explain.
Sri Sri: Why don’t you ask somebody else? You can see the stars in the sky and not on land. But when someone walks as if they’re walking on the sky without their feet on the ground (meaning: being foolish or impractical), then the person is called a ‘blue star’ (Laughter). That is its meaning. Okay? In the Ashram, when a person diverges from the practical point of view, then people say he has become a blue star. No one knows what he says or does. But there is a cure for that too!