Gurudev, it might sound silly but it is a genuine question from the heart. How does one begin to love oneself more?
Sri Sri: There is an anecdote. Someone was trying to catch a black cat in a dark room which was not there.
First of all, you think there is a cat and then you try to catch it. The first assumption that you don’t love yourself is itself wrong. You ARE Love. When you think I don’t love myself, and make so much effort to love yourself, it results in total failure. I tell you, you cannot make an effort to love, either yourself or anybody. You simply have to relax and realize that you are love. Got it?
Even the person who wants to commit suicide and thinks he doesn’t love himself, loves himself much more. He loves pleasure so much that he is unable to go through a little discomfort. That is why people commit suicide.
By committing suicide you will not get out of discomfort. It is like removing your jacket when you are feeling so cold. You are feeling so cold and you remove your jacket. How does it help?
Simply realize that you are love. Don’t try to love yourself, just relax. The best way is pranayama and mediation. Breathing exercise and meditation.
Gurudev, every Master in history has said, 'My way is the best'. Although on the surface it looks like a narrow minded thought, what is the deeper meaning behind it?
Sri Sri: Jesus Christ had said, 'All those who came before me were robbers and thieves'. Do you know why he said that? Because people who were sitting in front of him were thinking either of the past or future. They were glorifying the past, or expecting something in the future. Their minds were not in the present.
'Your mind has been robbed by the past. Come on, now you be here', that is what he meant.
This (moment) is where you are. This is the best. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush, isn't it? So if you are thinking about two in the bush and leave the bird in your hand, you will be such a fool. That is why people have always said, this is the path, now, where you are. Come on, wake up.
Jesus said the same thing. Lord Krishna said the same thing, 'Come unto me, I will relieve you of all your sins'.
So this is the only path, path to wisdom, path to truth, path to yourself. You will find this everywhere. That means, BE HERE NOW.
You will find so many parallels; if you see what Lord Krishna says, 'I will redeem you of all your sins, come unto me', almost same words Jesus has also mentioned.
Gurudev, please explain why there are so many paths for spirituality. How can I be sure of which one to choose?
Sri Sri: It is like asking, there are so many people, how do I know whom should I choose as a life partner. Listen to your heart. When your heart says this is right for me, then just walk in that. Not out of greed.
How do I know the right time to be an Art of Living teacher?
Sri Sri: If you are practicing for one year, then you are eligible for it.
Gurudev, I am so happy to know that The Art of Living is sponsoring cows in India. Please can you help the animals and cows which are so cruelly factory farmed in other countries? What can I personally do to help you do this?
Sri Sri: Create awareness in people about animal rights and how to preserve them, and protect them; especially the breeds.
I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, there are two types of milk proteins. A1 protein and A2 protein. The native cows here (in India) have got A2 protein which is same as mother’s milk, and goat’s milk. Whereas the highbred cows which are imported from Denmark and Scandinavian countries, they and all other cows have A1 protein. A1 protein causes cancer and all these other things, even though those cows give more milk. The ones with A2 proteins though they give less milk, the milk is very nutritious, and it has the same quality as mother’s milk.
Here in India, since thousands of years, cows are called mothers; honored and worshipped as mothers. It is amazing how the protein of the cow has also changed. Now, Brazil is importing lots of Indian cows, in big numbers.
A2 protein is good for human consumption. So create awareness in people. Even though these cows give little milk, it is good enough for human consumption. It is nutritious and healthy, it is anti cancerous. Everyone should consume it.
Gurudev, you spoke of one God at Satsang. Does that mean that you see Hindu Gods as more metaphors than Gods and Goddesses? And does this conflict with your lineage?
Sri Sri: No not at all. See, one white ray when it goes through a prism, it splits into seven colors. All these seven colors are part of one rainbow, yet they are all different. They have their own quality, their own identity, their own flavor to it. So it is a rainbow.
The Divine loves diversity, that is why he made us all different. You don’t expect him to come in a military uniform at the same time. So God chose to wear as many costumes that he or she would like to.
Someone asked me, 'Why not Santa Claus be a woman?'
I said, 'Impossible, because she wouldn’t like to wear the same garment year after year'.
She goes for new fashion. God is not only a 'he', but also a 'she', and she comes with various costumes. But mind you, it is one light, one Paramatma.
Paramatma (Supreme Being) is only one, Devtas (Gods) are various. This is also true, that is also true. This is also right, that is also right.
You have quantum physics which says that everything is one and, then you have the periodic table in chemistry which says every element is different. Iron is different from Gold, which is different from Silver, which is different from Uranium. This periodic table is also correct, and Quantum physics which says matter does not exist, all this does not exist, it is all just wave function, that is also correct. Got it?
If you can’t understand this philosophy, you have to go into science. Through science you can understand this philosophy.
Why do we cry when deep knowledge is assimilated? It happens to me when I listen to you Gurudev, and your words?
Sri Sri: Yes. In the scriptures it is written, what happens when you see your beloved, when love is kindled in you, the knot in your heart opens up, all the doubts disappear and tears flow from your eyes. These are the signs that happen when the heart opens up, and is deeply touched. It is experience also, isn’t it? When something touches your heart, the doubts disappear. That feeling wells up, gratitude comes up, tears flow; it is normal. It is very common here.
Gurudev, can destiny be changed by changing the name? Or by changing the spelling of the name?
Sri Sri: Some numerologists do say this. But listen, you are beyond the name. With small things like changing the name, or wearing some stone, can our destiny be changed? No. Your sentiment can change your destiny. If your feelings are pure, your heart is filled with love and prayer, there is meditation, and you do seva, that can definitely change your destiny.
Gurudev what is Ananya Sharan Bhaava (single minded devotion)? How does one acquire that?
Sri Sri: Don’t get into the circle of acquiring this. Know that it is already inside you. Don’t do spiritual shopping.
Sometimes people might tell you, 'Come to this place and bring a black purse with you, and you will get all this luck or power', don’t get into such things. People who are greedy fall for such things.
When I went to Delhi last time, two of our teachers told me, 'Gurudev, there is this one Baba (name for a sanyasi in India) who only gives people blessings, and to receive the blessing, people have to take a black purse with them. And after the blessing all their work gets done. Now everyone is going there'.
I told them, 'This is nothing. It will only work for a short time, you don’t worry. You keep on teaching meditation. Just see, those who go there will come back'.
Our own determination can make things happen. Keep on doing meditation, seva and satsang. This is Ananya Sharan Bhaav (Single minded devotion)
If someone comes and tells you that I know someone who has this Siddhi (power), and he can give you this or that, you tell them, 'Is that so? I do Namaskar (act to honor) to him from far away'.
Say, 'DSN: Door Se Namaskar'.
Do Namaskar to everybody. Everyone has some good qualities, some bad qualities. You never know what is where. Why condemn anyone? Why should we evaluate anyone? Just do Namaskar to them, but we do not need to go to them. We have come on one path, we are getting everything here, this is Ananya Sharan Bhaav.
Here we are getting what we wish for, and we will get in the future also, that is the trust.
Gurudev, in Mahabharata, many of the warriors were killed by the Pandavas through wrong means. What was the reason behind this? All the bad that happens, is that also Divine will?
Sri Sri: Yes, Mahabharat is a very beautiful story, and very symbolic also. Don’t think that it happened once in the past, it is happening every day, especially in this country. There are many Shakunis (the devious uncle in the story of the Mahabharat) who are playing tricks on this side and that side. It is amazing how this one epic, for the last 5220 years has influenced the lives of billions of people, not just in India, but also Malaysia, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and all the way to Australia.
Do you know that the name Australia is Sanskrit! Australia has no meaning in any other language but in Sanskrit. Astralaya means where they kept the weapons. It seems they had very powerful weapon, very similar to nuclear bombs and things like that. That is why the central part of Australia is all deserts. Nothing grows there. This is the place that is called Astralaya. It was mentioned in Mahabharata.
When British came to India, they said this culture is too strong. You cannot rule this country unless you destroy it. So Lord Macaulay, when he went to London, he wrote to Queen Elizabeth, saying, 'I have travelled the length and breadth of India, and I have not see one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage'.
Since then, they British started to bring certain laws and rules to oppress the people, and completely take away those values.
Today you will find hundreds of these palm leaf manuscripts in Germany, Tubingen University, in Hamburg University. They all have taken from here. In England there are lot of these manuscripts, which had been taken away from India.
Gurudev, in Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says do everything as it is my work. How can I do my job and other daily activities thinking that it is Divine’s work?
Sri Sri: See, when you want to attach sacredness to anything you do, it is up to you. Any job you do, when you are doing selflessly, not just for your pleasure, but for the benefit of others, it is sacred.
Don’t waste time sitting and creating a feeling. You should not do mood making. Just be natural.
Gurudev, I feel, if I marry, I will be caught up in worldly matters and will sway away from spirituality. A person looking for enlightenment should marry or should not marry?
Sri Sri: You are putting me in a fix now. If I say in one way or the other, you will ask me this question again in a different manner. Whether you marry or remain single is your personal choice. And, you can have both. You can have a married life and you can also pursue spirituality like many here are doing.
But if you want to have a very extended family, care for the whole world and dedicate yourself for the service of people, and you want to be single for that, that is also fine.
But one thing I can tell you. Whether you are married on single, just be happy. There are people who are married and unhappy and there are people who are single and are unhappy. You don’t fall into their category. This is important.
So you are welcome to chose to be one amongst those who are single and happy, or those who are married and happy.
Gurudev, nowadays everyone gives me free advice. Each one is trying to be my Guru (Teacher). Without asking I am getting the advice. Whose advice I should listen to and whose I should not?
Sri Sri: This is not only nowadays, it is happening successively since many decades. One should listen to everyone and do what one wants to.
There is no cover over the ears, they are open. Why? So that you can hear everything, but see only that which you want to see. That is why eyes have lids over them. Ears don’t have that. Otherwise we could have closed the ears also.
Therefore listen to everyone, but don’t take it too much inside. You have understood that all are giving free advice, and it is okay.