Gurudev, when our focus is outward we feel jealous. In the same way, if we see the Guru outwardly also can we get trapped in jealousy?
Sri Sri: Yes.
Many times we think, ‘See Gurudev has given him a garland but he has not given me’, or, ‘Gurudev spoke to him but not to me’, or ‘Gurudev did not smile at me. Is he angry with me?’
These are all projections of your own mind. Why should I be angry with you? If you do a mistake, why should I be angry? No way. If someone has done something wrong, he will automatically pay for it. So never think that the Guru is angry with you, or is ignoring you. It is not like that.
Outward appearances and behaviors are like that only. Don’t look at outwardly behavior, instead keep your attention inward and realize that you are very dear to God. You are no less than anyone else my dear. If this one thought gets solidified in your mind, then jealousy will not touch you.
What should I do to keep my attention on the Guru Tattva?
Sri Sri: You should feel that everyone belongs to you, and you should have patience. You know in a day I have to listen to around 2000 to 3000 questions. Do I listen to them or not? How many every questions are asked, I reply to all of them.
And I listen to them with enthusiasm. So stability in the mind, sharpness in the intellect, and softness in the heart, these three things are important in life.
The heart should be soft, the intellect should be sharp and the mind should be pleasant. Never lose these three things. Even if it seems to be lost, just think that it is just hidden somewhere and it has not actually gone away.
When someone hurts us, we get into depression.
Sri Sri: How can others hurt you? Those who hurt others are foolish. Will you blame anyone who is actually foolish or is mentally ill? No, isn’t it?
So, just think that those who hurt you are either foolish or ill. If you think like this, then you will not feel hurt. Okay?
If you think that everyone should act wisely, how is it possible? Everyone has their own little mind, own desires, problems and ignorance. Just accept them. No one can hurt us until we permit them to do so.
Gurudev, sometimes I am not able to understand the knowledge given by you. What should I do so that I can get both your love and knowledge?
Sri Sri: Whatever you find difficult to understand, it is not to be understood at all. If it is all going above your head, let it go. Take only what you can understand.
See, everyone’s capacity to gain knowledge is different, but to be in love, to be in devotion you don’t need any capability. When it comes to devotion, everyone is same and equally capable. There is no special qualification for it.
Now, when we talk about knowledge, then yes, everyone has a different capacity. Some people have a higher capacity for knowledge and some have a lesser capacity, but this does not make any difference when there is devotion and a feeling of oneness. Don’t think that only if you are knowledgeable, God become happy with you or become fond of you. It is not like that. The purpose of knowledge is for your own joy.
To purify your intellect, you need Knowledge.
To purify your heart, you need Love.
To purify your karma, you need Seva.
All three should go together.
Sati was also a form of the Devi just like Parvati. Why is it that Sati attained Self-realization while Parvati became the consort of Lord Shiva?
Sri Sri: Devi (Mother Divine) does not have just one form, She has many. That is why She is known as Leela. She comes in different forms to teach different things, that is her Leela. Just understand this much.
For a devotee, what is more important, worship of the form or worship of the formless?
Sri Sri: First you tell me, do you have a form or not?
(Devotee: Yes Gurudev, I have a form.)
You have a form? Where is the form? What is the form of your mind?
(Devotee: The mind does not have a form.)
See, your body has a form but your mind does not. Aren't you a combination of both? You are the body which has a form and you are also the mind which is formless, isn’t it? So you are a combination of the form and the formless. In the same way, the entire creation is the manifested form of the Divine who is formless.
Consciousness is formless and the manifest creation has a form. That is why in our country even the cows are worshiped and considered holy. The Peepal (sacred fig) tree is considered holy, because the Divine resides in everything.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna also says that among trees I am ‘Ashvath’ (Peepal). Has He said it or not?
In the same way, He has said Bhutanaam Chetanaschaas, I am Chetana (consciousness).
He has said, Jeevanam Sarva Bhutesu, i.e., I am the consciousness in all living things.
Even the Gopis (the group of cow herding girls famous for their unconditional devotion to Krishna) went from worshiping the form to worshiping the formless. And this happened very naturally for them. They started seeing Him (Lord Krishna) in everything and at every place. They were not able to live without Him even for a single moment. This is the pinnacle of devotion, the height of devotion.
Devotion always starts with the form and ends with the formless. The traditional practice itself has been like this, first worship the feet, then worship the idol, then worship the saligram (referring to the practice of worship of Lord Vishnu in the form of a sacred black stone), then worship the yantra.
It is said that more important than the idol, is the Yantra (the diagrammatic representation of the deity in the form of symbols).
Every deity has a Yantra and a Mantra dedicated to him or her, and the procedure or rituals of worship of the deity is known as Tantra.
The idol does not get its spiritual strength until its Yantra is installed. And the Yantra does not have any power until it is empowered by the chanting of the Mantra. The mantra also is of no use without the presence of a saint or a seeker.
If you just take a mantra from just anyone, it will not work. The mantra has to be received per the holy tradition and rituals for it to work.
So everything has its own significance.
What is mahat and how can we recognize the mahat tattva?
Sri Sri: First the mind should become subtler. Then intellect should become sharper. As this happens, the ego dissolves. When the ego dissolves, then mahat tattva reveals itself.
To bring the mahat tattva to light, the ego has to disappear, it has to dissolve. Those, whose ego has dissolved, are called Mahatmas
I have three questions. If God is present as consciousness in everyone, then why do we search for Him within ourselves? Why has He created Maya (delusion)? Why does He let wrong things happen in the world?
Sri Sri: Yes, you have asked a good question. The answer for this is that He does not like to remain quiet. Only if there is some chaos can He come down as an avatar to solve it. It is a game.
I will ask you a similar question. Why do people play football or cricket? 11 people are standing this side and 11 people are standing on the other side and they are knocking the ball from here to there. What is the benefit of all this?
(Devotee: It is an experience or entertainment)
Yes, He is getting entertainment out of it.
How relevant are orthodox superstitions like the evil eye, etc.? Are they correct or wrong?
Sri Sri: The world of thoughts is a subtle world. There is some effect of all this and there are simple ways to remove these effects. All this is based on vibrations.
There are vibrations everywhere. The whole word is just vibrations. Every object is a vibration. So there may be some negative vibration that can come towards you and you may feel a little discomfort.
If someone abuses you, then doesn't your mind get scattered and lose its focus? Doesn’t it happen to you? A simple solution was found by our ancient people. They have said that waving or sprinkling some salt near the body removes these negative vibrations. Even in foreign countries when people are feeling a little disturbed they go and sit on the beach, or near the ocean. Do you know why? It is because the salty air cleans and energizes their consciousness. That is why when they sit by the beach they feel better. Just by using salt and water, you can cleanse your subtle aura. Nothing more is required than this.
There are a lot of superstitions and false beliefs like holding a baby upside down in temples, or burying a child in sand for a minute or so. All these are very wrong and should not be done.
Our society has many such wrong beliefs and there is absolutely no mention of this in the scriptures. It is mentioned very clearly in the scriptures that anything that does not appeal to your intellect or anything that does not appear practical and appears to be a wrong should not be done at all. The Sanatan Dharma (another name for Hinduism from the ancient days) is against such superstitions. But such superstitions have crept into all religions. We have to remove these superstitions and adopt only good practices.
In Jainism it is said that yagnas should not be performed because fire kills several living organisms. I have attended the yagnas (ritual offering and sacrifices to the sacred fire) here and they were very good, beyond words. How do I understand what the scriptures say in Jainism ?
Sri Sri: The main essence of Jainism is meditation. The second is ahimsa (non-violence). They both go together, ahimsa and meditation.
Religions have blossomed at different times and at different places. According to the time and place they have said these things. Like in the desert there are no trees, there is nothing with which one could make a fire. So in areas where there was not enough wood, the tradition (of not having yagnas) became congenial to that place at that time.
In Jainism it is said that you have to filter the water with a cloth before drinking it. It is a perfect science. But today what do people do? They tie a cloth around the mouth of the tap (to filter the water).
I remember once in Surat, I stayed with a Jain family and they had tied a cloth to all the taps in the house. And on the cloth there was so much dirt that had settled that when you open the tap, the water would come along with the dirt.
The purpose (of tying the cloth) was different, but we interpreted the scripture in a different way and made the good water even more polluted for drinking.
So sometimes we stretch ahimsa too much.
In the same way, people have stretched yagna too much. They spend too much and burn so many things which are not necessary. There is something in every tradition that is worth appreciating.
In Jainism also there is not just one tradition, there are many traditions. In one particular Jain tradition they also do some hawan (another term for yagna). Hawan is a part of some Jain traditions as well. In Buddhism also they do hawan.
In Jainism there are some differences like Sthanakvasi (a sect of Jainism that believes the soul to be formless and hence shuns idol worship), Moortipoojak (a sect of Jainism that practices idol worship), etc. Some people worship the form, some people do not. So there are many different notions.
In some particular Jain traditions, they do not keep any moortis (idols) and in other Jain traditions like Digambar, Shwetambar, Sthanakvasi, etc., their worship rituals are different. But the main essence is meditation.
Yagnas are done for creating a subtle vibration, a subtle energy, which has its own value. Of course in some Jain traditions you cannot even speak without a cover on your mouth. But this is not practical. Just imagine if all the people in the world are putting a cover on the mouth.
And there are particular sects in Jainism which say no to using electricity. You should not use a mike or light or anything. I would say these are all stretching it too much. We are going beyond the real meaning of what Tirthankaras (enlightened Self-realized souls) have said.
These are the things which need to be reformed. It is very good that some Jain munis have already started reforming; they have started moving in cars and planes. In ancient days it was said that you should not get on any vehicle because vehicles were driven by animals and it is torturing the animal. That is very true. But today vehicles are not driven by animals, it is driven by petrol. So this much Viveka (discretion) we must use.