Saturday, September 5, 2009
Experiencing the infinite is the highest aim in life
India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 3:
Q. Many times because of desire for joy and old impressions I repeat the same mistakes. How to rise above this?
Sri Sri: There are three ways to rise above it. First is to remind yourself of the pain it has given you in the past. Every time the desire for joy has given you misery. Either recall your own experience or learn from the experience of others.
The second way is to have a mere glimpse of the highest joy. The joy that is derived without any effort is higher than the one achieved with effort. Then, the third way is keeping yourself busy. When you are so busy then the greed for joy will remain hidden or its seed will not sprout.
Q. What is the significance of Ananta Padma Chaturdashi* and what is the reason behind wearing a thread on the wrist?
Sri Sri: Ananta Padma Chaturdashi celebrates the Ananta (infinite, eternal). Experiencing the infinite is the highest aim in life. Without the experience of the eternal, human life is like the animal life. A mere glimpse of the vast infinity of the Self brings transformation in our life. All seekers do this, they become seekers through this- a glimpse of the infinite and they experience it in meditation.
The painter portrayed Lord Vishnu like this - there is a sheer sagar (ocean of milk) with a bed of snakes, on which Maha Vishnu, the lord, rests. Sheer sagar is the blissful mind, the mind in which waves of contentment arise. The snake represents an awakened state of mind, kundalini shakti, that is within us. The consciousness rests in the blissful and awakened state of mind.
There are three layers to it. The ocean of milk means that the environment is very balanced. Only when the environment is favorable can samadhi (deep meditation) happen. Even for the discussion of scriptures or to sit and think peacefully, one needs to be assured that the atmosphere is free from trouble. If there is a flood or earthquake around, then no one would read scriptures or talk of research and knowledge. Thus the ocean of milk represents a favorable environment.
Until the depth of knowledge is experienced, it remains on the surface. No matter how many Vedantas one reads, it is important to have a favorable environment. When the kundalini shakti rises, the chaitanya shakti that lies within us, the infinite and eternal reigns. From the stomach of that infinite power, a lotus comes out effortlessly, from which Brahma appeared. Thus the creative power rose from there.
A blissful consciousness gives rise to creative power. The greatest of scientists came up with new inventions, only when they were in rest. It is extremely vital for researchers and those who experiment to have a favorable environment, one without noise and chaos. You cannot ask someone to do an invention in two days. Invention is not bound to time and cannot take place in an unfavorable environment.
The navel is also called the second brain. There are two brains in our body. One is the head and the other, the navel. It is called the solar plexus. The work that brain does is supported by the solar plexus. Half of the work is done by it. That is why when the stomach is upset, mostly there is chaos in the mind, there are a lot of thoughts in the mind.
So it is said, those who practice yoga sadhana have a blossomed solar plexus. Those who don't practice yoga sadhana have a solar plexus smaller in size like that of an amla (Indian Gooseberry). The solar plexus grows to the size of an orange for those who do yoga sadhana and meditation. And the one in whom the kundalini shakti is fully, it is even bigger than an orange – it is like a blossomed lotus.
The thread is a wonderful symbol. Every month we have a festival here (India), the message is to celebrate somehow and rise above. Some people fast, some do pooja and as a symbol of that they put the thread with fourteen knots around the wrist. Especially a day before or after the full moon, we have a festival in our country. The mind is associated with the moon. There is more activity in the mind during the full and the new moon. Psychological and physical illness may increase during these times. Therefore if we are busy in celebrations during those days, then it is good for the health too.
Also, during full moon, one tends to get less sleep so the activity of the celebrations helps with the sleep.
Every vrat (fast) has associated stories. About kings or businessmen who maintained the fasts and overcame their troubles and got immensely benefitted. So, out of greed people do certain practices. Every story depicts some problems and show how the problems are overcome after performing pooja. These days people think that just by listening to the stories they can overcome their problems. Our ancestors were really skilful so with every festival they associated some reward.
Thus, desiring the results and benefits or out of fear we remain engrossed in pooja and other rituals. This is not excellent.
The best way is to be grateful for all that we have received in life.
To perform pooja out of greed is medium and it is lowest to perform it out of fear. But still it is beneficial to do it anyhow.
Q. How do we know that self realization has happened or not?
Sri Sri: What is the proof that you have pain in your leg? How do you come to know that you have pain in the leg? Once self realization happens then such questions will not arise. Asking others if you are self realized or not is ignorance. We don’t need any proof once self realization has happened. Like your pain is itself the proof, similarly self realization is itself the proof. But also don’t have fancies and imaginations of how self realization is going to be. Be simple, natural. You are, what you are, therefore relax. Self realization doesn’t happen by doing something but by relaxing and you can relax only after you have done something.
Once you do pranayama, asanas, rajoguna nivrit hota hai (one rises above the rajoguna) and then satvaguna arises. When that happens, we can meditate and are awakened. Satvaguna will not arise till you sleep properly.
One can rise above tamoguna through rajoguna and to rise above rajoguna, one needs to relax and be active.
In the Bhagwad Geeta it is said, yuktahara-viharasya yoga bhavati siddhitah.
Samadhi is neither for those who oversleep nor for those who work with extreme wakefulness throughout the day. A balance has to be maintained.
* On Ananta Chaturdashi day, Ananta Padmanabha Swamy (Lord Vishnu) is worshipped.