Prayer cannot be cultivated, it is a phenomenon. It just happens to you!
August 31, 2011
The transcript for this satsang will be added soon....
Questions & Answers
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How to deal with religious fanaticism in our families and communities?
Sri Sri: This question does not have one answer. You have to ask this question repeatedly, and each time you will get a different answer for it which you must apply at that time. See, the answer to a question can be given correctly only once. This is not such a question, it is a journey. On the way, we can go forward and backward any number of times. How we can get rid of fanaticism, terrorism – we have to keep asking this question with an open mind and with a willingness to embrace every one, a sense of belongingness. Once there is a spiritual experience, no one can remain fanatical. The blind and ignorant are the only ones who can be fanatical. Conscious and wise men and women cannot be fanatical. Their minds are open, hearts melted, hands energized, with an enthusiasm to do seva.
People raise children with the hope that in their old age, their children will support them. Is this not a selfish motive to bring children into this self-serving world?
Sri Sri: No, that is not necessarily true. Having children brings a certain joy to the parents.
Also some people have children without any intention to have children! You cannot see this situation from such a narrow viewpoint. There is joy in having children. It is unfair to put everyone in the same category, that would be wrong. If anyone raises children in the hope of getting support in old age, that also would be a big mistake. There may be a few people who do like this, I don’t know. But most people want children for the joy and satisfaction of being parents. There are so many different kinds of people in this world, all are not the same.
Gurudev, if I am complete (sampoorna), then why do I need my better half (ardhaangini)?
Sri Sri: (Guruji laughs) then how can you say you are complete? You will be complete with your wife.
If you look at the needs of life, no one is complete by himself or herself. You do not make the cloth of your cloths yourself, somebody makes the cloth for you, a tailor stitches it, and then you wear it. You do not grow your food yourself. In our life we are dependent on others for a lot of things. However, with regard to your inner life, you are free to be happy (happiness is your choice). Whether your better half stays with you or not, you can remain happy. Many people are not happy even after getting married and many are unhappy being single. What I am trying to say is, as you go deeper in meditation, you experience that completeness. This cannot be experienced by someone telling you so, or by listening to something. When you become aware of this completeness, and it is reflected on your face, then you can bring comfort and satisfaction to others also. Then you won’t have to sing, ‘aadhaa hai chandramaa, raat aadhi’ (lyrics of a popular hindi film song – the moon is half full, so is the night). Only one who is fulfilled within can love completely.
How much should we believe in superstitions, such as cat crossing the path, wearing black?
Sri Sri: Listen, how can you believe superstition? You cannot see the bright sun in the middle of the night! Impossible, when you think something is superstition, that is the end of it. That finishes it; that is it.
Don’t force yourself to believe somebody else’s belief. Once you know it is superstition, you should move on from there. Cat crossing the road, so many times cat crosses the road. In our country, we have so many such wrong notions! In some temple, I heard, they dangle the children upside down, so they will be healthy, or something like that. These are all to be done with, this is all absurd. We should put an end to such practices.
Many such wrong practices are happening, not just in this country but all over the world. Intelligent people should wake up and stop all this. We have to do this. In our country animal sacrifices are done, offering chicken to the goddess. In all religions there are such superstitions. It is necessary to remove this. In the name of religion many such things happen.
When you refer to the shaastras, it is not superstition. The word ‘shaastra’ means systematic understanding of reality. Now I will tell you one example. People in the south used to say, ‘You shouldn’t keep your head towards the north and sleep. For many years I also used to think this was a superstition. What difference does it make which direction you keep your head. The earth is round after all. But when the scientists said that it is better to cut the magnetic field, rather than sleeping in that field, because then the magnetic current flows through your whole body, then it made sense. If the magnetic current passes through your body, then it drains a lot of your energy and you wake up in the morning, you feel still a little bit low. If you sleep cutting the magnetic field, then what happens, the magnetic field is not passing through the nervous system from head to toe, it is passing horizontally. So you feel better.
These are the things you have to understand; where is the right thing, where is the wrong thing. Let me speak about another superstition: the janeyu (the holy thread worn by Hindu men across their torso) should be wrapped around the ear before going to the toilet. I thought that this was definitely a superstition. Can one not relieve oneself, or have a bowel movement if one did not follow this injunction? Will the janeyu lose its sanctity? But a physician in New York discovered in his research that applying pressure to the nerves around the ear facilitates bowel movement. Then I realized that what is considered a superstition had some substance in it. So what we should do is, unless there is a valid reason behind it, we should consider it a superstition. But once a reason has been found, we should not continue treating it as superstition but instead we should accept it. We should never step down from a scientific temper. You should have the scientific temper.
So now he is saying that applying pressure to the nerves of the ear lowers the blood pressure facilitating bowel movement. In the lobes of the ears are present all those nerve endings that create alertness in the mind.
What punishment was given in school? They told us to hold our ears when we made a mistake. Pull the ears. Now scientists say that pulling the ears activates those neurons which are responsible for bringing alertness. Then we should consider this good. Also piercing the ears is in our tradition, to lengthen the ear lobes. Lord Buddha is depicted with very long ear lobes it is not because he has such big ears, no. It means Buddha had such high awareness that he never made a mistake.
In Tamil Nadu, do you know what they do? People they gently knock their forehead with their knuckles when they go to Lord Ganesha’s temple. That does not mean they are asking for forgiveness from Lord Ganesh for mistakes? You know the nerves that are located in the forehead region get stimulated when we knock on that area gently with our knuckles, and that increases alertness.
In our culture there is a custom where they mix some sugar and mud. Then the way to separate sugar from mud is to put it in water. So, water signifies discrimination (viveka), which means what can be proven right using discrimination, should be accepted. The other thing is, whatever sankalpa (intention) is in our mind, it begins to get strengthened. So with our own sankalpa we strengthen an idea. We need to pay attention to this fact.
Guruji, can one choose the womb to take birth from and also the time and place of birth?
Sri Sri: Listen, now that you are already here, why do you worry about the next life? Just be here. Make the best out of this life. We will see the other one when it comes.
Guruji, Gayatri mantra is to be chanted mentally whereas other mantras like ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ should be chanted aloud. What is the science behind chanting aloud or doing it mentally?
Sri Sri: You know when you sing aloud, it creates more energy all around, so singing has its own type of energy; mentally chanting it has its own energy. But main thing is the ‘bhaava’, the feeling behind it.
Blessings and prayer – how to make both effective? Tell us some tricks, Guruji.
Sri Sri: Prayer can only happen when there is an utter helplessness or immense gratitude. When you feel so grateful, prayer automatically happens in you. When you feel totally helpless - ‘I can’t do anything’ - at that time also prayer happens.
Prayer cannot be cultivated, it is a phenomenon. It just happens to you. And who is praying to whom – the mind is praying to the self, the wave is praying to the ocean; and you are both. You are the ocean and you are the wave as well. Inside you there is mind, inside you there is ocean. That is why in the Yajur Veda it is said, ‘devo bhootva, devam yajeta’. So you get established in the Divine and then you pray to the Divine, not as somebody outside.
The mind curling back on the Self is prayer. So prayer automatically happens, spontaneously it happens. All that you need to know is, wake up and see how much you have received in your life. Even all Devis (goddesses), Devataas (gods) have one hand upraised, and one hand lowered, palm facing outward. Do you know what this means? This is all symbolic of, ‘I am giving you so much, don’t worry’. Then that gives a sense of comfort. The upraised hand is for ‘abhaya’ which means don’t worry or fear not. The lowered hand is ‘varadaa’ which means, you are getting.
In the Rig Veda, in the end it says, ‘sanat pitev soona’, like the son says to the father, ‘Paramaatmaa (God), you are giving so much and you continue to give. Protect me, like how the father protects his son.’
In the same way the divine protects you all the time. So he is giving you all the time.
Guruji, on the spiritual path I feel I am very satisfied. Does my satisfaction mean that I have stopped growing, or is this not satisfaction?
Sri Sri: No, that is good. Satisfaction is needed but satisfaction should not make you sleepy, dull or take away your motivation. The best combination is having the dynamism and motivation to do, along with the inner satisfaction.
Guruji, should we have some criteria or minimum qualifications set as a prerequisite in order to become an MP or an MLA? What are the qualities we should look for to elect our politicians?
Sri Sri: What are the qualifications to be a politician - this is the question. The ideal situation is when they don’t want anything for themselves but want to serve the people. The ideal situation is what – I am content, I have everything I need, now I want to serve the population, serve the people. This intention indicates that you are now capable or qualified to care for the society. This is the most ideal. The second is I will do my best in my capacity to represent people, take their voice and bring back what they want for themselves. Two things: you have to take their voice to the assembly and bring back to them what is needed by them.