Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Firmness, Softness & Love

April 13, 2013

Montreal, Canada

Today is Vaisakhi (a festival celebrated across India especially in the Punjab region by the Sikh community); It is celebrated as the day of the Khalsa in Punjab. Today is the day when the Khalsa clan was started by Guru Gobind Singhto protect dharma, destroy evil, and uplift human values.
Guru Gobind Singh’s message is so relevant today.
He said, ‘You should be dynamic, and still be soft in the heart. You should be inwardly spiritual. Be a Sant Sepahi, a saint and a soldier, together.’
He meant, you have to stand up against injustice. You cannot just be a saint and say, ‘Okay, whatever has happened, let it happen!’ You should stand against injustice, and simultaneously, be compassionate within you, like a saint.
It was Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, who established this rare combination of firmness and softness.
When Guru Gobind Singh left this world, he said, ‘After me, the next Guru is the book, Granth. All the knowledge is kept in this Granth. This is the Guru; your guiding light.’
Thus, in all the Gurudwaras (places of worship of the Sikh) you will find the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Scripture.
The wisdom that these scriptures bring out to humanity is invaluable. The story of sixteen different saints and their teachings are compiled in the Guru Granth Sahib.
Sikhism had ten Gurus. The story of all the ten Gurus of the Sikh tradition is so heartwarming and uplifting. It is one of sacrifice. The gurus sacrificed everything they had for the sake of protection of the good, the innocent, and the righteous. People were given the cream of knowledge in simple, understandable words.
There is a beautiful story about Guru Nanak Dev, the first guru.
When his parents would ask him to go and sell things, he would do so. However, as he would start counting from one, he would get stuck at 13, as tera (in Hindi) means yours. So, even while doing work, his mind was never in work, it was always immersed in the Divine. Guru Nanak said, ‘I am yours, I am yours, I am yours.’
Guru Nanak’s life was filled with pure love, wisdom, and valor.
There is a beautiful greeting in the Sikh tradition, ‘Sat Sri Akal’. It is one of the best greetings in the world. Sa meansTruth, Sri means Wealth, and Akal means Eternal, i.e., Truth is the real wealth, which is really eternal.
The eternal transcendental Divinity is the truth, and that is the real wealth.
So, all of you have gained the real wealth here, by meditating, getting into that inner space. That is truth. That is Sat Sri Akal.
Many people simply say, ‘Sat Sri Akal’, without knowing the meaning of it. It is one of the best greetings, as it reminds you when you meet anybody, that truth is the real eternal wealth.
The greeting that you exchange is all about spirituality, eternal knowledge; reminding yourself of the true wealth. Isn’t that so beautiful?
Jo Bole So Nihal! Sat Sri Akal: One who says it, (Sat Sri Akal) they will exalt.
Nihal means Exaltation; you will get uplifted. Saying, ‘Sat Sri Akal’; not only does it fill you with valor, but it also fills you with the spirit of eternal being.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna said, ‘Oḿ ity ekākṣaraḿ brahma vyāharan mām anusmaran yaḥ prayāti tyajan dehaḿ sa yāti paramāḿ gatim’(Chapter 8, Verse 13). The Brahman, the all prevailing Divinity, is called Om.
In the Guru Granth Sahib, it is said, ‘Ek Onkar Sat Naam’, there is only one Om, which is the true name for infinity.
Om is the eternal sound that exists in the depth of one’s consciousness. If you go to the ocean and listen carefully to the waves, you will find the same sound, Om. If you go on top of a mountain and listen to the wind blowing, you will hear the sound Om. Before this birth, we were all in Om. After this birth, after we all die, we will merge into that cosmic sound,Om. Even now, in the depth of creation, that sound still resonates.
So, in Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Shintoism, in all these religions, Omkar (Om chanting) is given so much prominence.
I feel Amen (in Christianity) and Amin (in Islam) is also another form of Om only. So, Om is this one word for the eternal, diverse consciousness.
Today is also celebrated as a New Year in Bengal, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
Questions & Answers
Dear Gurudev, my husband loves me a lot, and still he does not miss a single opportunity to count my negative qualities. My enthusiasm goes down. What should I do?
Sri Sri: You should behave differently. Give him a surprise.
If he counts your negative qualities, you shower a lot of love, affection, and praises on him! Tell him, ‘Wow, you said it absolutely right! This is what I wanted to hear!’
Don’t react the same way all the time. You have a choice of acting the way you want to act, isn’t it?
Someday when he brings you flowers and compliments you, frown at him and say, ‘Why did you do this?’ When he scolds you, feel happy about it.
Remember one thing, you are responsible for your happiness. Come what may, whoever says whatsoever, you protect your mind, and keep yourself happy. You be determined, ‘I am not going to let my happiness be taken away by anybody! Even if God comes and yells at me, I will tell God, ‘Thank you, this is your gift to me.’’
Make this determination today.
Today is Vaisakhi. It is a gift to you. What is the gift? Come what may, I will not let my mind slip down in the maya; in this ever-changing relative world. I am responsible for my happiness. I will not let anybody bring down my happiness. You go with this determination and see what happens. Anyway, this place is there for you to come back, again and again and again. When clothes get dirty, we give it for washing, or dry-cleaning. This (ashram) is a good washing machine, it cleans everything.

I want to be in love, but there seems to be a conflict between love and knowledge. How to integrate the two? With all my love!
Sri Sri: You have done it already! If you don’t have love for knowledge, why would you ask for it? And if you know it, how is it possible that you can’t be in love? Knowing brings love in you, and love in turn, creates that interest to know more.

What are the five koshas? What is their spiritual significance?
Sri Sri: Kosha means sheath, covering.
The first sheath is the environment. If the atmosphere is filled with poisonous gas, can your body exist? No! Because there is air, your body can exist. So, the environment is your first body. Annarasamaya koshaanna means food, and rasa means juicy. The outer environment is juicy; it attracts your eyes, captures your nose by fragrance, and enthralls you with sound. All this is rasa, means juicy. The environment is full of juice and food. They are also food for the body; for example, sight is food for eyes.
So, our environment, annarasamaya kosha, is the first kosha. Some people think it is the physical body, but I think it is the environment that is the first kosha.
The second sheath is the physical body, Pranamaya kosha.
The third sheath is Manomaya kosha, which is the mind, thoughts, and emotions.
The fourth sheath is Vignyanmaya kosha, which is subtler than the mind, the intuitive feelings. It is something that is beyond thought, beyond reason. There is a body inside you, from where all innovation and creativity comes from. It is from the Vignyanmaya kosha that every discovery, innovation, new art, poems, come from, and not from theManomaya kosha.
The fifth sheath is Anandamaya kosha, the blissful body. Actually, the blissful body is much bigger than the physical body, which is why whenever you are happy you feel a sense of expansion. Isn’t it? When you are unhappy, what do you feel? You feel like you are being crushed.

Gurudev, please explain the relevance of covering the head in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib.
Sri Sri: This is a tradition that has been prevailing from a long time.
There are five things that go with the Sikh tradition, uncut hair (covered in a turban), a comb, a dagger, a bracelet, and a specific style of clothes. These are all the five symbols of Sikh tradition. They should be respected because the Guru has asked you to do these things, to make an identity for you.
In those days, every family gave one boy, most probably, their first son, to the Guru, and the Guru trained them all. This is what happened to everybody’s son. So, they were all trained to act like soldiers, as well as go inwards. To pray and to act, and to protect the dharma.

Dear Gurudev, if God and the Divine are not objects of perception, then what are you?
Sri Sri: You find that out. To know who I am, first you have to find out who you are. Start from where you are. If you know yourself, then you will know me. You can’t know me if you don’t know yourself.

Dear Gurudev, how do we help people accept their sickness, or the sickness of their close ones, or family members?
Sri Sri: Don’t do anything about it; just be there with peace in your mind. Through words you cannot bring comfort to people who are sick, nor can you make them accept their sickness. However, your positive vibrations can change the atmosphere.

Dear Gurudev, why do people seem to love your feet so much? Is it a cultural thing?
Sri Sri: Yes, it is a cultural thing.
In Japan, they bend half to greet people. In India, they bend fully and touch the feet.
It is said that radiation, energy, comes from the feet. That is the old belief system, which is why they do it. Sometimes, that makes it very difficult for me to walk.
Once as I was walking in a crowd, two people caught my feet from the back. I was in the diving pose, invedavadrasan, my hands hanging in space. Luckily, I didn’t fall, otherwise they would have found a Guru walking with crutches.
See, I balance myself in every situation. It happens quite often, as it is a cultural thing.

My dearest Gurudev, how can I be more like you? What tips can you give me to grow more into my true nature?
Sri Sri: Just turn back and see how much you have grown. Look back and see, what the state of your mind was before you took the Basic Course. Can you relate to that person who never did meditation and who you are now? Notice that big difference! This is good enough for you to move forward. And with a smile, relax, repose in yourself, and be dynamic. That is it. Keep doing seva, sadhna, and satsang.

Dear Gurudev, for the past 9 months, I have been feeling spiritually disconnected. There is no interest, no practice, no seva, and no longing. This has become quite painful. Any advice?
Sri Sri: Such things can happen to people, this is called the Dark night of the soul. Suddenly, you lose interest in spirituality, or anything that is good. Your mind goes into things which are really not evolutionary, or may get into a destructive mode.
Such things can occur once in 12 years or 30 years. If it comes once in 12 years, it stays for a year, and if it comes once in 30 years, it stays for nearly 2.5 years.
The best way to overcome this is to hang on to your sadhana, and chant Om Namah Shivaya. It is the best chant to sail through such unpleasant vibrations or mindsets.

Dear Gurudev, how do I attract abundance in my life?
Sri Sri: When you don’t crave for abundance, it comes to you. If you’re hankering for it, saying, ‘Oh, I want abundance’, then it remains far away. Just relax! Know that what you need, you will get. 
There is a saying in Sanskrit on how to make abundance comes to you. It says, ‘Udyoginam purushasimham upaiti Lakshmi.’
Udyoginam means putting 100% effort. Purushasimham upaiti Lakshmi, means having the confidence and centeredness, like a lion.
See, a lion does not run around like a chicken; have you seen how a lion sits? You should have that centeredness and confidence. The one thing a lion does not do is, put effort; it is not hardworking.
Udyoginam purushasimham upaiti Lakshmi. If you are hardworking and centered, when you are in touch with your inner spiritual strength, then Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, will simply come to you.
So, abundance comes when you are centered, confident, in touch with your inner spiritual strength, and hardworking, rather smart working.

Gurudev when will all the negative thoughts go away?
Sri Sri: They won’t go away, they will stay! What are you going to do? You have to live with them! There is no chance to get rid of them. The best thing to do is to make friends with them, shake hands with them, and make them sit next to you.
If they are on your lap, tell them, ‘Please sit next to me, not on my head or my lap. It is too heavy, too long.’
There is no chance to get rid of them. What do you do?

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