Gurudev, You have mentioned that present moment is infinite. It is both vast and deep. Can you please shed light on the vastness and depth of the present moment? Is it that lot of things are happening at the same time is what is meant by the vastness of the present moment?
Sri Sri: Yes, that is what it is. Just like the sky. We often say – ‘The sky is the limit’, is it not so? What does it mean? It means the sky is limitless. The ocean has a bottom but the sky does not have a top. It has no end. It is endless and beginning-less. That is how our consciousness is, and that is how the present moment is also. It is so deep that to be still and established in the present moment is liberation. So forget about past and stop worrying about future. Once you have faith about your future, then you do not worry about it.
Do you know when do you worry about the future?
You worry when there is no faith or confidence about it. When you have faith that your car will be there outside (in the parking lot), that is why you are sitting here without worry. Isn’t it? If you have fear that somebody will tow your car away then though you are sitting here, but your mind will go on worrying about your car outside. Having faith frees you from worrying about the future. And forgiving and forgetting your past will free you from (the regrets of the) past. When does our past overwhelm us? When we do not forgive people or ourselves for whatever happened in the past, then the past becomes a heavy burden on us, and we stay stuck in the past. When we are fully in present moment, only then do we go deep within. That is meditation. God and world are not two separate or different entities; they are one. Have you seen those 3-D pictures or holograms, where on one side you see Nehru ji on other side if you move it a little you can see Mahatma Gandhi? That is how God and the world are, just like a 3-D hologram.
What do you mean by this “world”? What you see is Carbohydrates, Proteins and amino acids etc., isn’t it? (Laughter) That is what everything is ultimately made up of. But these are hollow and empty. It is the mind which is restless and goes up and down at times. Lights of different colours are glowing within each person. In some the lamp of anger is glowing, in some it is the lamp of jealousy etc. Just like the Diwali or Christmas lights which change their colour too from time to time, just like how the top of the Vishalakshi Mantap changes its colours when the lights come on in the evening. Everything is composed of particles at the fundamental level.
I was invited to CERN, Switzerland where they conduct research about particles and recently discovered the ‘God’ particle (referring to the discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle as the smallest indivisible particle and unit of matter). I met the scientists who work there. It was all very interesting. They all had a glow on their faces, like they are living in the present moment. One of them said,’ I joined here as an intern while I was studying Particle Physics. I researched for forty years only to find out that particle I was researching on does not exist!’ It is only because of the observer that matter is perceived to consist of particles. If we (as observers) are not there, then it too would not exist. I gave them the book on Yoga Vashishtha (a sacred scripture which elaborates the path of liberation through the dialogue between Sage Vashishtha and Lord Rama), and another one named ‘Creation’ written by our devotees Dr. D.K. Hari and Mrs. Hema Hari. They were very similar. When I asked them why was titled as the God particle and how they discovered it, they told me a very beautiful thing, They said, ‘Gurudev, we initially thought to call this particle as the ‘God of all particles’, because it is the fundamental particle from which everything else is made up. But then the media said that such a title would be inappropriate and we should change it to ‘God particle’. So that is how the name happened’.
What these scientists have said is so similar to what has been written and described in our Vedas way back in the ancient days. The Vedas say world has been in existence since 19 billion years. The scientists also come very close to this same figure. They say that the creation is 18 billion years old and humans have been in existence since 12 billion years. Our Vedic Panchangams (a tool for calculating time and the positions of stars and planets in Vedic astrology) too come to the same conclusion. I feel that people at every point in time had some sort of knowledge about this. Then over time these sciences disappeared and were lost to the world. Back in those days all these sciences were taught and discussed at the Indian universities.
We had Vedic universities like Takshashila University (now in modern day Pakistan). Actually the science of Ayurveda was born in what is now Pakistan. There was so much deep research about herbs and medicinal plants back in the Middle Ages. There was an area of forests which used to be called as Naimisharanya. It was discovered in what is now the state of Madhya Pradesh and was written long ago. But as a science it was practically taught in the Takshashila University. Many great Ayurveda doctors, practitioners and architects all came from the Takshashila University once upon a time. So the ancient and the modern approaches are very similar. We have to take both together in life. Our life is like a tree. The roots are old but the leaves are new. So we have to take both the ancient wisdom and modern sciences together with us.
Our heart craves for the old and familiar, but the mind always craves for something new. Our mind craves for new things and latest trends. You never say what was the ‘old’ fashion, you always call something fashionable as new, isn’t it. For our friends, we always say that it is a very old friendship. In fact when people fall in love they say it is a continuation of the love from their past lives. Not just from one life, but from several lifetimes. This is because the heart takes pride in what is old and the mind takes interest in whatever is new. Both are needed in life.
Gurudev, please explain in detail about parallel universes. Is it true that we exist identically in other universes? Do our actions in this universe will affect our twins in other universes? How can we gain access to other universes?
Sri Sri: You have plenty of access to this universe to work with. So let’s keep ourselves concerned with this universe for now. Let's do something good in this universe. Let us not only think – ‘what about me?’ all the time. This world is on fire (in strife and pain) and you are needed here to stop this fire. Do you know how much violence happens in this world today? It is simply unbelievable. So let us all do something good in this world now. You will definitely not miss the other worlds. When you go deep in meditation, you do get access to different dimensions. Apart from that you need to gain good merit and that comes to you when you do seva (service). Do Seva, Sadhana and Satsang and don’t worry about anything else. I also don’t know. There are many universes.
Gurudev, everytime in your talks on knowledge about Meditation, you have mentioned about awareness. What is this awareness?
Sri Sri: Are you all listening? (The audience says ‘Yes!’). That is awareness.
Gurudev, you have said that awareness comes after meditation. Please explain whether one does or does not need to meditate later after enough practice?
Sri Sri: Yes, after enough practice Meditation happens automatically. Then after reaching that stage, when you sit and walk or talk or do anything, meditation continues to happen.
Gurudev, do thoughts and feelings affect our Karma (actions)? Like it is said in Sri Ramcharitmanas ’Jaki rahi bhavna jaisi, prabhu murat dekhi tin taisi’ (Meaning: In whichever way one chooses to perceive the Lord, in that very form the Lord appears to him).
Sri Sri: Yes, it is indeed correct. One’s thoughts and feelings both determine one’s karma. The way one perceives people and things around himself, they will appear in that very same way to him. People will appear to you the way you perceive them to be. If you see a person as a friend, he will come across as a friend to you. If you consider someone as your enemy he will behave like an enemy to you. Then they will appear as your enemy to you even if they do not do anything. It is said – ‘Yatha drishti tatha srishti’ (Meaning: As is one’s vision, so does the world appear to him).
Gurudev, there is a quote in Upanishads, ‘Sahaj smaran hi uska dhyan hai‘. (Meaning: Simply remembering the Lord is meditating upon Him). How is this effortless remembrance (of the Lord) possible?
Sri Sri: When you have to do some work, your mind gets so stuck with that, and the thought of that task stays with you from morning till evening. Is it not so? For example, you think that you have to tell something to so-and-so person. Now until you go and tell that person whatever you have to say, does the thought not keep on coming to your mind again and again? This is what Sahaj Smaran is. Once your mind is set upon something, then the thoughts of that thing keep coming in your mind again and again. And it happens effortlessly.
Dear Gurudev, what is meaning of Pratyahara in Ashtanga Yoga (referring to the one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga as given by Maharishi Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras)?
Sri Sri: Pratyahara means alternative food. It means to refrain or refuse from eating food that you usually have, and choosing something else to eat (referring to food more conducive to the body for spiritual practices). Our senses have a tendency to go outwards. To bring them inwards we need a different regime of food and set of thoughts. That is Pratyahara. Just as we give a pacifier to crying babies to calm them, similarly we give alternatives to a mind that is restless and not at peace. That is Pratyahara. Going inwards is the first step.
Dear Gurudev, though I always serve the best, I always feel the lack of money. What do I do?
Sri Sri: Who does not feel the lack of money? All the governments in the world are feeling the lack of money. America is in big debt. This country is in debt. Pakistan, Bangladesh and almost every other country is in debt. See all this from a bigger perspective, and then you will find out that I am getting what I need. There is enough for everybody’s need but not enough for everybody’s greed.
You should never eternalize a problem. You should never say that – ‘I’m always unhappy’ or ‘I’m always sick’. Who is always sick? Can anyone be sick always? No. We often generalize and eternalize a problem. This is a big issue.
Gurudev, after a good satsang, I feel a rise in prana level within me. But after Satsang, I feel a sudden feeling of aggressiveness and restlessness too. Please explain.
Sri Sri: It is the stress release that happens. Sometimes the stress, the dust underneath the carpet comes up this way. Don’t worry about it.
Gurudev, what is the right way to retire from one’s job and what should one do after that?
Sri Sri: See, the choice is yours, and the blessings are mine. There is so much you can do on the planet. Be a volunteer for a better India. Go to different places and do good work, spread awareness. There is so much work to be done in our villages. Create awareness about health, hygiene, and human values. You can become a teacher of the Art of Living and can go and teach people everywhere.