Gurudev, I have been told that a human soul can often take one to two million years to find liberation. Is it true that by doing Kriya and meditation every day, this liberation can be obtained even in one lifetime?
Sri Sri: Everything works with some strange karma. You must lift your eyes and look into this realm.
There is a beautiful couplet that says, ‘This world has all the wealth, all that is needed, but one who has no karma, cannot get it.’
So, whether you get something or you don’t, it all works with some strange karma.
Recognition, money, power, relationship, health; everything depends on some law in creation. When good times come, your worst enemy starts helping you, and when bad times come, even your best friend behaves like an enemy. All these things happen due to some very strange karma.
An intelligent person doesn’t get caught up in all this. He still keeps putting in his effort, and keeps moving on.
You do whatever is needed to put in an effort, and then you leave it.
Do you know Lord Krishna went three times to stop the Mahabharata (narrative of the Kurukshetra War) war?
When someone asked Lord Krishna, ‘If you knew that the war was going to happen anyway, why did you go three times for peace negotiations? All three times your peace negotiations failed, then why did you go?’
That is a very valid question.
Lord Krishna said, ‘If I had not gone, then the question would have come that you could have done peace negotiation, why didn’t you do it?’ You have your duty towards your karma, whatever you need to do, you do it!
Suppose the peace negotiation would have succeeded, then the whole Mahabharata would have finished, and the Gita would never have come! The immortal song of the Divine (Bhagavad Gita) would never have come into existence!
So, very well knowing that the Gita had to come, and the war had to happen, still Lord Krishna went for peace negotiations. This is because it is in our dharma, our nature. We should keep putting in our efforts and not get attached to the consequences or the results.
Do you get what I am saying? This is very subtle because the mind gets sucked into maya in some form or the other.
Yesterday, some of you painted some designs on the wall. After five or six years, this wall will need painting again. So another painting will come on all the designs that you did.
Similarly, when you grow something in your garden, weeds also grow along. You go and weed it out. Again, when the weeds grow, you cannot say, ‘Oh, I just cleaned the garden, and weeds have come again!’ This is nature.
The nature of the body is to get dirty. After you take a shower, you can’t say, ‘I have taken a shower for the whole year!’ You have to keep taking showers, again and again.
Similarly, the mind needs to be hammered into knowledge. It can easily slip out of these four pillars of knowledge, Viveka (discrimination), Vairagya (detachment), self-control, and honoring what you have (not grieving about what is not). And then, wanting liberation!
So keep on hammering the knowledge back, again and again! Suddenly, you will find it is all there, anyway.
Now, when you slip, then also remember that is another level.
Knowing all this, suppose you still get caught up (in maya), then don’t feel bad that you got caught up; even that is part of nature. Don’t say, ‘Oh, I did not apply knowledge!’ or ‘Either someone else is wrong, or I am wrong!’
This tendency has been in our society, in our life, for a long time. We need to snap out of it. Many times you snap out of it, and sometimes you get caught in it, right? Snap out of it and see things as they are! In this moment, that is how it is, because this moment is all that is!
In this moment, whether unpleasant things are happening or pleasant things are happening, I am a witness to it. And my mind is getting caught up in it, even that is a part of the happening; I am witness to that also.
This is how you rise above the situation!
Maharishi Patanjali, who founded the yoga sutras, said, ‘Sa tu dirgha-kala-nairantarya-satkarasevito drdha-bhumih’.
You have to practice pranayama, meditation and knowledge for a long time. The whole life itself is a practice, and when you practice with honor, then this knowledge becomes well-founded in you.
Gurudev, until now, we kept our eyes closed while meditating, so we could go inwards. What is the reason for keeping our eyes partly open during meditations?
Sri Sri: Many times, when you close your eyes, you have the tendency to go into your mental fantasies, or drift off into a dream, or sometimes fall asleep. This is called Mano Rajaya in yogic terminology.
Mano Rajaya is a state where the mind starts creating its own kingdom and reels in it, either in conflict or in pleasure. You sit in your own mind, thinking, fantasizing or recreating something that makes you feel happy or upset.
Either you think everybody is against you, the whole world is against you; your mother in-law, father in-law, husband or boyfriend; everybody is out to get you. Or your mind thinks about how you should convince or impress somebody. These sorts of things go on in the mind.
When your mind is stuck in Mano Rajaya, it transpires all the more during (close-eyed) meditations.
In this meditation, where you keep the eyes partly open, you have very little chance to drift into Mano Rajaya; a different quality of meditation starts happening.
Gurudev, what is the difference between Shiva Tattva and Krishna consciousness?
Sri Sri: Shiva Tattva is a theory, it has no physical form. Krishna is one who imbibed the Shiva Tattva in total, in the human form. Krishna was a historical figure. He lived 5,114 years ago.
Krishna walked on the planet, but he imbibed the Shiva Tattva. He was hollow and empty, and then he reflected the Shiva Tattva fully, time to time.
I am able to have an Art of Living experience everywhere, except with my family. Could you please explain why, and how do I come out of it?
Sri Sri: Sometimes, some people at some places push your buttons more than other people. That is your tapasya, your sadhana. Be there, don’t run away, that is where your test is happening. It is a test as well as a practice. You have to endure that.
It is the third pillar of knowledge - shat sampati (six types of wealth), that brings you that much needed strength.
Gurudev, what are the benefits of Shakti kriya? Is it only at the body level or does it affect the mind too?
Sri Sri: Both. Anything that benefits your spirit, definitely benefits the body. If the body is healthy and strong, it also reflects on the consciousness, and the mind.