Guruji, why don’t I have same experience in doing meditation here and at home?
Sri Sri: Places do have an impact – that’s only in beginning. The stronger you become, you start influencing places instead of places affecting you.
Can you please talk about restrictions during eclipse like not to eat?
Sri Sri: The mind has a deep connection with the moon and the moon is connected to water and water is connected to the body: 60 to 70 percent of the body is water. Everything is interconnected. When a celestial phenomenon happens, it impacts the body also. For example, the way you feel early in the morning is different from how you feel in the afternoon or evening. Evening goes with romantic music and melodies, morning goes with wake up calls. You can’t play romantic music in the afternoon.
The mind has an impact on the mind and body complex. Time has an impact on the mind. Planets have an impact on mind and the mind-body complex. Ancient people have written about it. When the mind says, ‘It’s wrong’, you try to prove it wrong and when you can’t prove it wrong, the mind accepts it. For example, turmeric. In the 70s and 80s, people dismissed it as only being a pigment with no food value but now scientists say it has the best anti oxidant value like amla (gooseberry) and tulsi (basil). They have started rediscovering the ancient sacred herbs as being very useful and a must for healthy living.
The reason we say, don’t eat during and before the time of eclipse is because the food increases metabolism in the body. Increased metabolism doesn’t let the mind be in a calm state. If you have food, you would simply fall asleep. We advise this to soothe the system and not excite it during the celestial phenomenon.
I would like to have self realization. I have come to the advanced meditation course. At what stage and in what course will my desire get fulfilled?
Sri Sri: It’s good. This is the highest desire, the only one worth pursuing. Whether you acknowledge this or not, everyone has come to this planet with this desire. If you have recognized this it’s very good.
The advance course will take me to what level and how many steps do I need to take?
Sri Sri: Very few steps for enlightenment. What is enlightenment? Being unconditionally happy. Everyone wants love that doesn’t get distorted. Love gets distorted as hatred, fear, jealousy and other imperfections. Enlightenment is having such a love.
There are two steps to enlightenment:
From being somebody to being nobody.
From being nobody to being everybody.
And how to be nobody? Just wake up and realize that this is a vast universe. What are you in this? Who are you in this? You may be a great businessman or scientist or doctor but how long will you be there on this planet? In 70 – 100 years you will go and the earth will continue to exist. It has been there from billions of years and it will continue to be there. Who are you? Where are you with respect to this magnanimous universe?
From being nobody to be a part of everybody.
Knowing that my life goes by karma, is it still alright to ask for something after prayer/puja?
Sri Sri: It’s like asking should I feel thirsty? If you feel thirsty, you will ask for water. Should I ask for water has no meaning, since you have already indicated that you’re thirsty. If a prayer comes, let it come. It just comes up.
I have been on path for many years but I don’t feel your grace as people talk about?
Sri Sri: Don’t focus on what others want. See what is it that you want. When you stop looking inside and look at others, that is when you miss the boat.
Can you please elaborate on the power of mantra? It is said that the power of mantra is greater than that of a planet. Does a sadhak (one who is on the spiritual path) need to pay attention to horoscope?
Sri Sri: Yes, mantras are very powerful. The power of mantras is greater than the power of the horoscope. Don’t worry too much about horoscope. Om namah shivaya , Om namoh narayana are much more powerful. Shiva has five letters which refers to the five elements. All the five elements earth, water, fire, air and ether are referenced when you chant Om namah shivaya. You don’t have to imagine that Shiva has a big trishul and is sitting somewhere. Artists had made that mistake. Shiva is not a person. Shiva is tattva.
It’s said in the Upanishad:
“Shivam shantam, advaitam, chaturtam, mannyante sa aatma sa vigyeya.”
What is Shiva? Shiva is so auspicious, so benevolent, so soothing, so beautiful, so comforting. ‘Chaitanya atma’ – the consciousness is Shiva, not a person but that energy.
In Kashmiri Shaivism, there is a book called the Shiv sutras. In some books of Kashmiri Shaivism, it has been so beautifully described. Some of these books are so precious, so nice - all that knowledge, those books are lost.
The main purpose is to express the timelessness of mind, the consciousness. That fourth state of consciousness which is neither awake nor asleep is called shiv tattva.
I am in a dilemma. I am a second year student of engineering. I took engineering with my choice but now I find that it is not for me. I find journalism my choice. What should I do?
Sri Sri: Choice is yours blessing is mine.
What to do when responsibilities come between you and your practices?
Sri Sri: Guru Nanak or one of the ten Sikh Gurus has spoken on how a student should be. Like water. When stones are there on the path of water, what does it do? Water rises above the stones and flows. Similarly obstacles are there in life. You rise above obstacles and move through it. Have patience and flow over them.
Guruji there are so many people in the world who are suffering on behalf of ancient beliefs and rituals. Can you please talk about it?
Sri Sri: People are suffering with modern beliefs also. They think drugs, cigarette, alcohol gives them joy and then they suffer. Not every ancient belief is wrong and not every modern belief is right. We need to accept combination of both old and new. People are suffering because of superstitions which have no sanction of scriptures or science. People are suffering because of some rituals which are not at all part of ancient scriptures. It’s a lack of wisdom which make people suffer. Nothing else.
How can we love someone who did a terrible thing to us?
Sri Sri: Don’t love them. Just accept them. First accept and then see the culprit not as a culprit but a victim. Due to circumstances they did so. If they would have had wisdom they wouldn’t have done it.
Just a few days ago, a lady came to the ashram. She has three children and her husband was killed by Maoists. Later she became an Art of Living teacher and when she went back, she taught the Maoists Sudarshan Kriya and pranayama. Maoists were so amazed. They asked her: ‘You are not angry with us, we killed your husband?’ She said, ‘No, you didn’t have knowledge of what you were doing. I want you to be in knowledge’. They all did Sudarshan Kriya, pranayama and left the path of violence. They were crying in front of her like babies. The way she described brought tears in everybody’s eyes. All those 2000 people present had tears in eyes.
This is the power of wisdom. It unites people of all roles and attitudes.
Guruji, how much influence does previous karma have on our present life. Is one sad or happy owing to previous karma?
Sri Sri: I have already talked about this in a book ‘Celebrating silence’. You can refer to that for deeper understanding.
Our mind is ancient so it has impressions. Previous karma does have an impact but so does your present karma. Don’t be too much stuck into that. Don’t have a fatalistic attitude. You have a free will to change it as well.
Guruji, I am very possessive about my things. I can share my things only with my dear ones and I don’t like others using them. What can I do to come out of it?
Sri Sri: Never mind. Others have accepted you as you are. You can think you have given a chance to accept as you are. Never mind. The time will come when you will rise above all this, me and I. Right now, don’t feel guilty. Allow your boundary to expand gradually. Don’t force yourself. May be after 10 years or 100 years! Then anybody can use your things. Then you can’t say only my grand children can use my things. (Laughter)
Mind is so tricky and so funny when it comes to possessiveness. It’s ok. There is a time for everything.
I want to do a lot of work in society but I don’t know where to start, how to start?
Sri Sri: The seed is there and it will grow. You want to work for society, the seed will grow. Good. Let it grow. Satsang, sadhana will nurture this seed.
Guruji, the surroundings I am in have many drug addicts and people in all such other stuff. Can we do something for them?
Sri Sri: Definitely. We can conduct courses there. We have many de addiction centers running. We will think about it.
Guruji you often answer my prayers and questions but sometimes I feel you completely ignore me.
Sri Sri: Because you are so special. I pay attention to only ordinary people to make them extraordinary. You are already extraordinary.
Guruji, under stress and tension for small things I have spoilt much of my hard work which has affected results also.
Sri Sri: Stress and tension can spoil anything, you understand this by your experience that’s very good. People keep on doing the same and then also they don’t realize this. When stress and tension starts, become aware and do pranyama, Sudarshan kriya and get rid of it. That is why we have courses. It’s good you have acknowledged that stress is the culprit.
The second stage is to get rid of it. And the third stage is ‘Don’t let it come’. Here wisdom helps.
Practices are there to get rid of stress and wisdom doesn’t allow stress to come. We need to have both. Practices alone won’t work because more stress will come again. Wisdom alone won’t work because it will be only set of ideas. Both are required.
What is the best form of prayer?
Sri Sri: Prayer happens in two conditions. One is when you are utterly grateful and second is when you are utterly helpless, nowhere to go. Both are authentic and always get fulfilled. Being both, helpless and grateful, is very rare and very powerful. It is a total form of prayer.
Guruji, the more I follow you, the more attached I get to you. What to do?
Sri Sri: I don’t know what to do? (laughter) You know, what is it that you are attracted to? Good qualities. But if qualities are only superficial they will go and if qualities are your very nature they will never go. I tell you, all those qualities are present in you. Enhance those qualities more and more. Then you will find that you are me and I am you.
Longing and love are two sides of the same coin. You can’t say, ‘I love you but I don’t long for you’. And it is impossible to long for someone without having love. That is why it is said: ‘RadheShyam’. Radha is longing and Sham is love. RadheSham (longing and love) go together in life.
How to see Divinity beyond the objects?
Sri Sri: Don’t try to see Divinity. Take it for granted. It is there, like the air. You know that the air is all there. You inhale air and exhale air. You can’t see air but you know it is there. Similarly Divinity is all there. Only the heart can feel. Eyes can’t see it. When you are totally relaxed you feel that the whole universe is filled with Divinity. When your mind is relaxed, your body is relaxed, you find that the chirping of the birds is Divinity,
the moving of leaves is Divinity, the flowing of water is Divinity, Even people fighting, & mountains - all - exuberate Divinity. You will find that beyond all this phenomenon, there is a field or phenomena that exists – that is Divinity.
How to handle people who argue using kutarka (wrong logic)?
Sri Sri: Intelligent people never argue, especially bhaktas, lovers, devotees never argue. It is said in the Narada bhakti sutra that if you are a devotee, you are lover of God, you never argue. Arguments have got no loyalty. They can go this way or that.
There are eight types of kutarkas. I tell you our nation, Vedic philosophy has tremendous knowledge, insight on this aspect. Like one is ‘pitanga’ – conveniently quoting one line and forgetting the other line. The second type is ‘I am saying so it is right’. Different types of logic to confuse you and make you feel like you have won.
At the time of Adi Shankracharya, ancient time two garlands were put on people involved in arguments. It was believed that the one who is wrong, who is trying to prove something wrong, his garland will wither away and the one who is authentic and trying to put forward the truth, his garland will stay. That is how Adi Shankracharya won arguments from place to place.
Wise people don’t get into arguments. They say, ‘Ok you want to win, ok you win.’