Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: Gurdev, there is only one sky. What is the meaning of seventh sky, eighth sky?
Sri Sri: There is 360 degrees in the galaxy. They are divided in twelve parts, and each one of them is a zodiac sign. This is called Rashi.
When the earth is moving, the earth perceives the Sun to be in one of these degrees, and that becomes One Sky.
See, the stars are constant, but the earth is moving. When the earth moves around the sun, the earth is perceived to have moved, and it sees the Sun to be in different position. That is called Aries. When the Earth moves again, it finds itself in Capricorn. When the Earth moves further, it finds itself in Virgo. So, that is what seventh sky, eighth sky, etc., is.
Q: Gurudev, how to live life with absolute confidence that Guru or God is there to take care of me when I have surrendered?
Sri Sri: There is no way you can do it! You simply have to bear the cross. ‘Whatever happens, happens’, just say that and then see what happens.
If you're trying to bring in confidence, it doesn't work at all.
‘I want to keep my faith’, what faith do you want to keep? Throw your faith! You’re trying to keep your faith is such a burden I tell you. Instead say, ‘I don't care!’
If there is faith, it is there. If there is no faith, it is not there, what can you do? It is as simple as that. Even faith is a gift. You cannot try to force faith on your head or your heart.
Sometimes, even when your head, with all its chattering and all its negativity discards faith, still, something in you stirs and pulls you in that direction. Just recognise when this happens. And it does happen.
Someone says, ‘I don't believe in anything’, but still he sits and does his meditation. And if you ask him, ‘Why are you doing meditation?’ He says, ‘Well, something tells me to do it’.
A person says, ‘I don't believe in Guru!’ Yet, when Gurudev comes, he will say, ‘Since I have nothing to do, let me go there’, and he will be there. Something pulls the person, makes him come to the airport, or come to the satsang. What is that?
You decided that you don't have faith, and you tried hard to destroy your faith, or deny that you have any faith, and still, there is something that came along, that didn't allow you to let go. There you must recognise, ‘Yes, faith is there.’
So, faith cannot be imposed, it is there. Once it comes, it stays. If it goes, it makes you miserable. When you become miserable, know that, ‘Faith is gone, that is why I am miserable’. And you don't want to be miserable. So the moment you resolve that ‘I don’t want to be miserable’, then faith continues to stay back.
Faith was there anyway, it just re-surfaces again.
Your trying hard to keep faith, is such a difficult thing.
Sometimes, people feel that they are keeping their faith, just because of God or Guru. For God’s sake, you are keeping faith. Remember that if you don't have faith in God, he doesn't mind. He says, ‘Okay, don't have faith, so what? I am here! If you think I'm not here, you are free to think whatever you want to think.’
Many people say, ‘Oh, I believe so much in God’. So what if you believe so much? Whatever has to happen, will happen.
Our faith is so shallow. Our faith is for comfort, for little things to happen. Our faith, mainly, is to fulfil our own ambitions. If our ambitions are fulfilled, then we say, ‘Oh, I have faith’. If it is not fulfilled, we say, ‘My faith is shaken, I do not have faith’. I tell you, life is much more than ambitions. And faith is even more than life.
Faith remains, and it surfaces when sattva or purity or harmony happens in you. All that you can do is, keep the harmony, and keep your mind clear through proper exercise, food and knowledge. All this will help you grow in that direction.
Q: Since we are ‘Om’ (the primordial sound of Creation), does ‘Om’ refer to the sound vibration, or the principle that ‘Om’ represents, or the effect of ‘Om’ after the vibration ceases? In other words, since ‘Om’ creates peace; so it is that peace that we are, or are we the creation (result) of that peace?
Sri Sri: All that is said, and all that is unsaid, is all ‘Om’. All that is clear and all that is confused (unclear) is also ‘Om’. Is it clear now, or is it still confusing? It is still all ‘Om’ (laughter).
Anything that you say or you don’t say is all ‘Om’. Whether it is vibration or no vibration, beginning or end, it is all ‘Om’.
So ‘Om’ is the beginning, the end and also the middle of all that is. And all that is beyond time – past, present and future – is also ‘Om’. This is what is said, and that is what is really true also. That is why for anything good, we say ‘Om’. And the elderly sages would chant ‘Om’ even when there is pain or some sort of ache in the body.
This reminds me of the story of an elderly sadhu (an ascetic or sage). I think I have narrated this story somewhere, perhaps in the commentary on the Ashtavakra Gita.
This happened in the early nineties or mid-eighties when our Ashram was very small.
I had given my room to an elderly Swami to stay, but he refused. He was around 85 years of age, but he never once fell sick in his life. He was very confident that he would be able to stay in the open.
Now it was December and there was a chill in the air. Yet he wanted to sleep outside out of his own choice. So he did, and in the morning we heard loud noises of chanting ‘Om, Om’ from him. We thought why he was saying ‘Om’ so many times. He was probably meditating or doing some japa (chanting). But the chanting continued for a long time. So we all went there and saw that he was frozen! His shoulders and legs were frozen from the cold and he could not move his body. His back was frozen stiff, and the only thing we could hear was the repeated chanting of ‘Om’.
So there is this generation of people who will say ‘Om’ for everything, and they will say it in different tones as per the emotion. A very sharp and loud ‘Om’ meant that Swamiji was angry, while a pleasant sounding ‘Om’ meant that he was calm and happy. So in those times, it was a sort of greeting that was exchanged, come what may. Even if they experienced pain, they would chant ‘Om’.
‘Om’ is not limited to Hindu Swamis alone. It is chanted in Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism and Shintoism. This is because all these religions have the practice of meditation and during deep meditation, they only heard this sound. So whether they are Jains, or Sikhs, or the Lao-Tzus (followers of Taoism), they chant Om and also practice one hand clapping. I feel that the word ‘Amen’ (So be it) is the distortion of the sound ‘Om’. Like in Islam, they say ‘Ameen’ (So be it), I suppose it is the same.
Q: What is the significance of the last rite ceremonies?
Sri Sri: The last rites also have a purpose, they are very nice.
A mantra is said in the ear of the corpse, because the soul is still there for some time, it has not gone. They are told, ‘Look, this body is going back to its original elements. You are not that. You are light. Move on.’
It is the son or the daughter who says it. Today, this ceremony has become male dominated.
There is a belief in India that you have to have a son in order to be liberated, because even after you die, it is the son who will say these mantras, give you knowledge and liberate you. Without the son, there is no liberation! However, this is not true! In the olden days, girls also had these rights.
The Art of Living is fighting against female feticide. We are working with UNICEF and United Nations Family Fund for gender equality. The Hindu scriptures speak about gender equality, but somewhere in the middle Ages, this changed.
If you go to Bali, an ancient Hindu culture, you will find female priests there. (Bali’s Hindu culture is much older than India)
In India, this practice disappeared. Females are not allowed to become priests.
Isn’t it nice, to say to those who have passed across, ‘Be satisfied! Be content! Be happy there!’ I thought it is a fantastic message, even if you say it mentally.
Mental action is for people with a little higher intelligence.
People with little lesser intelligence want some action to be done. You don’t need to bring a flower for someone who is intelligent. However, an unintelligent person wants to do something that is action oriented.
Those who do not have a high level of intellectual maturity, they cannot survive without action. Therefore, in the action also, they made it so meaningful.
Take a few sesame seeds, pour some water from your hand, and remember the departed. That’s all. This is shraadh, nothing else.
Later on, the priests and pundits thought, ‘Anyways people are making offerings, why not put one or two rupee coins along? So, when they put the coins, the pundits take them.
The coins are not mentioned anywhere! Only sesame seeds! You do it with this feeling that, ‘Be satisfied! Drop all the cravings; if you still have any desires, leave it to me.’
Q: Dear Gurudev, can you please explain how to overcome attachment, and what to do about the attachment for you? These days it has become very painful.
Sri Sri: You cannot hide love. Nor can you express it fully. This has been the story of love since ages. When there is love, it oozes out and you see it in your eyes, and in your actions. Love can never be hidden, and yet it can never be expressed fully. However much you try to express it, you find you have not been able to express it the way you want to. This is the problem, and the pain comes with it.
It is the same for truth also. You cannot avoid truth, and at the same time you cannot define it either.
Similarly, beauty is something that you cannot renounce. And yet you cannot possess it also. That is why the human race is in such a problem. They want all these things – love, truth and beauty.
Tell me, who does not want the truth? Can you tolerate it if everyone around you tells lies to you? You will boil from inside. You cannot accept it. You expect everyone to be truthful to you. Don’t you? If not everybody, you expect at least some people to be truthful to you. When you feel that too is lacking, you feel devastated. But are you truthful to everybody else around you? That is a big question mark. Which is why truth is something you cannot avoid or get rid of. Yet you cannot define, what truth is.
Whatever is the truth for you at this moment may not be the truth for someone else. Do you see what I am saying?
Say you believe in something as the truth. If you go a little beyond, you find ‘Oh, what I believed as the truth was false’.
How many of you have had this experience, where you thought something as the truth, only to find out that it was not the way you thought about it. Raise your hands. (Many raise their hands)
So how can you ascertain what is truth? Can you define what truth is? No.
Have you heard the story of Akbar and Birbal (referring to the famous Mughal emperor Akbar and his intelligent minister Birbal)?
I have told that story before. There was this emperor in India whose name was Akbar. One day he got an idea to pass a law that anyone who tells lies will be hanged and sent to the gallows. So when this law was announced, there was panic in the kingdom.
First, all the merchants got together, and said, ‘This is a draconian law. Whenever we sell our fare, we always say that this is the best product available. When we sell silk, we sell it by saying that this is the best silk available, knowing fully well that it is not the best. You get better quality silk down south. But we have to sell our products also. What do we do? We cannot run our business otherwise’.
Then came the doctors’ community. The doctors discussed among themselves, ‘Whenever we give some medicine, it is after guessing the problem. We give the medicine hoping it will cure the patient, but still we assure the patient that it will certainly cure him of his problem and make him better. Suppose it does not work, then we too will be sent to the gallows’.
So the doctors said thought the king has gone crazy. They could not carry on with this law; so the entire medical community was shaken as well.
Then came the astrologers. They said, ‘This man is out to destroy our business. While making predictions, we understand some things and guess certain things and then give the prediction’.
So the astrologers in Akbar’s kingdom also got terrified. They thought this law would be disastrous and they would have to run away somewhere to make their living, probably to America!
Then came the lawyers’ group. They thought to themselves, ‘This law is unfair. We always make a living by proving black is white and white is black. That is why people come to us’. So the lawyers too were in trouble.
Then the priests were also in trouble.
So every community was in great trouble because of this law. They all thought, ‘Now who will bell the cat and save us from this law?’
Then they caught hold of Birbal, who was a wise man and also a court jester. He was very dear to the emperor. Birbal heard all their troubles.
So one day, Birbal was walking into the king’s inner chamber and the guards stopped him. They asked him, ‘Where are you going?’
He replied, ‘I am going to get myself hanged’, which was obviously not true.
This news soon reached the emperor. Birbal had indeed lied by saying that he was going into the king’s chamber to get hanged. But if they hanged him now, then what he had said would have been true, and by hanging him, they would have actually punished an innocent guy.
In those days, if a king punished an innocent person, then he too would have to suffer the punishment as well. This was the rule in those days. It was the biggest crime.
Now, if the king allowed him to go free without any punishment, then it would be breaking his own law. And if he punished him, he would be breaking another law. So the emperor was in a state of confusion. He called all his scholars and debated this.
‘What do we do about Birbal in this case?’ The emperor asked them.
‘Birbal had indeed lied in this case. So do you punish him or not?’
Then Birbal came and said, ‘See, truth is not what is expressed or what is said. Truth is what is. And to know what is, is a different thing altogether’.
So they removed the law and everyone lived happily thereafter. That is the end of the story.
So, truth is not that which you speak (it is not limited by words). It is that which is beyond time - past, present and future. That which stands the test of time is what truth is. That is why truth can never be defined.
You also cannot avoid the truth. The same is the case with beauty. Beauty cannot be renounced. If there is something you can renounce, then that can never be beauty. And beauty cannot be possessed also. Got it?
These are the three essential components of human existence.
Q: Gurudev, could you tell us about the Saptarishis?
Sri Sri: The universe has a rhythm called chandas. Everything is in a wave function; the receivers of certain wave functions are known as Rishis.
Rishi is a position; it is not the name of a person, and there are more than a thousand Rishis. Of these, seven are very important, and they relate to the seven chakras.
Rishis have been there in every age; there are many stories about them. A Rishi is like the Dean, or the Vice Chancellor of a University. They also underwent training, and then became part of the tradition.
So, like how you say, ‘I am an Alumni of Harvard’, or ‘I am a Stanford graduate’, similarly, there are Gotras.
Go means knowledge, and Gotra means, belonging to a particular knowledge group or Rishi tradition. So, just like we have different DNA or blood groups, we have different Gotras or families that come from certain knowledge groups, or Rishi traditions.
Q: Sri Sri, please tell us about forgiveness. How do we forgive?
Sri Sri: Don’t forgive, hold on to it! Who is at a loss?
An event that happened, it happened! Whether it was your mistake or somebody else’s mistake, it is over. However, if you are holding on to it, then you are suffering.
Imagine you are in that position, where a mistake happens through you. If someone else doesn’t forgive you, doesn’t understand you, and holds you responsible for all your life, how would you feel? You would feel very bad, isn’t it?
You forgive a person not for their sake, but for your own mind, so that you can save your mind. See, in life, some pleasant things happen, some unpleasant things happen. Some things we wish for them to happen, some things we don’t want in life to happen. Whatever happened, it happened; finished! You put it back, and move forward - that is very important. Do it only to save your own mind.
In fact, if you see from a wider angle, you will find that every culprit is a victim of ignorance in a situation. When you see things from this perspective, you will automatically feel compassion. We have seen this with those incarcerated, when we teach in prisons. These people who are being condemned in prisons, they are good people, but due to ignorance, due to lack of awareness, they made a mistake.
To make your life richer, I would suggest you spend five days in these different places:
1) In school with children.
2) In school, as a teacher. When you are teaching children, you understand what it is to teach. The role of a teacher makes you very rich.
3) In a mental hospital. When you are with crazy people, you realize it is the same thing as being in the outside world also. People just say anything they want. Once you have this experience, then nobody can upset you.
4) In a prison. When you are with those incarcerated, you will understand the pain and suffering of a victim.
5) On a farm. When you are with the farmers, digging soil, sowing seeds, working with mud, just being there enriches you in some unknown manner.
And one day, you should spend just by yourself, with nature.
Q: Beloved Gurudev, I usually feel complete only when I am in a relationship. How do I overcome this tendency because I suffer?
Sri Sri: Well, this is very difficult. When you are in a difficult state, then any advice appears to prick you like thorns, and nothing really makes much sense.
You have simply asked a question; we sympathize with you.
You know, there are five types of questions that people usually ask. You have heard me speak about this earlier also. We shall take it up some other time.
Whenever anyone is miserable, they repeatedly ask this question, ‘Why me? Why this suffering for me? Why is God so unfair to me? I am so miserable’, etc.
When someone is in such a state, even if you try to tell them anything, they will behave as if they are deaf. They will not listen to you.
Have you had this experience with people at home? When elderly people are very unhappy, they ask questions, but any answer you give them, they look somewhere else. They do not take your answer at all.
So people who are miserable have a question inside them. In such a case, it is better that you keep quiet.
The second type of question is the one that people ask when they are angry. They will ask, ‘Why this injustice towards me?’ They are very logical, but they are angry. So they also have a big question. Again, there is no point answering them.
The third type of question is asked by people who already know the answer but still want to ask. They do this to check out whether you also know it or not. They will ask you questions like, ‘Tell me what has been said in the third stanza of so-and-so Upanishad’.
They do this to check out if you know or not, although they know the answer.
The fourth type of question is asked by people who simply want to make their presence felt. They will stand up and ask you the question, and when you start answering the question sincerely, they will start doing something else. They are least bothered about your answer. They just stood up and made their point, so that everyone notices that they are there, and that you also know that they are there.
The fifth type of question is asked by people who sincerely want the answer; and they know that you know it. They will take the answer you are going to give them.
See, there is no point in someone asking a question without their believing that you know the answer.
Say you are from North Carolina, and someone asks you, ‘How long will it take to travel to Rayleigh?’ You will know the answer. So when they ask the question, they know for sure that you know the answer, and they ask this with the sincerity of getting the answer.
This is the question that is worth answering. For the other four types of questions, simply respond with a smile. And that smile should be a measured smile. You should not give the same smile for all the four questions.
For the first type of question, the smile should be just a little, like 2%. When someone is miserable, do not give a big smile, otherwise you will get something ‘big’ in return as well (laughter). When someone is angry, then your smile should be just 3%, or so. Your smile should convey an innocent sense of ‘I do not know’. But for the third and fourth type of question, you can smile a little bigger.
Q: Dear Gurudev, you have spoken about letting go. But if a person goes on making the same mistake day after day, what to do? I can let go the first time, the second time, but not the third time. So should I tell them, or teach them, or do something about it? Please help.
Sri Sri: Yes, you should tell them, teach them, but keep them out of your mind. Letting go does not mean keeping quiet.
You know, if someone is committing a mistake and you tell them, ‘Do not do this, because it hurts me’, then they are never going to stop. But instead if you tell them this, ‘Your making this mistake is going to hurt you’, then they will not do it.
This is the difference between a teacher and a victim.
A victim says, ‘I am a victim. You are a culprit so you better not do this wrong-doing’. A victim can never correct a culprit. But if you are a teacher, then you can.
What does a teacher do? He tells the other person, ‘Look my dear, what you are doing will hurt you. So don’t do it. I am telling you this out of love and compassion for you, so please do not make this mistake because it is going to hurt you even more’.
Then something stirs within the other person and they listen to you. They change their ways.
So just remember this, a victim can never correct a culprit. And if you wish to correct somebody or teach them a lesson, you need to have that magnanimity of a teacher. You have to have compassion, a broad vision and equanimity within you.
Three things are essential, magnanimity, equanimity, and skill. Then you can digest their mistakes with ease.
See, mistakes keep happening on this planet. You cannot stop mistakes from happening. It will continue to happen, and has been happening through the ages. When you do not want a particular person to commit a mistake because you see them as a part of you, when you see them suffering and you feel that they should come out of it because it is not good for them, then you guide them out of it. Got it?
You cannot say that there should not be any drainage, or that there should not be any dirty swamps in the world. Swamps do exist on the planet, but you do not want your friend or dear one to fall into it. So you should simply guide them away or out of it. That needs compassion.
See, how do you help someone when they have fallen in a ditch?
Just by your standing there and telling them, ‘Hey! Come out of that ditch’, is not going to help at all. You have to give them your hand, and they should trust you that you are surely going to help them out of it before they give their hand in yours.
You can pull them out of that situation only when you can catch hold of their hand. Only then can you transform people. Just by pointing someone’s mistakes to them is not going to work. You need to have that magnanimity, equanimity and that skill.
You may have the skill and magnanimity, but you also need to have equanimity.
You may have the equanimity and be able to keep your calm when someone makes a mistake, and you may also have the skill to correct them, but if you do not have the magnanimity of accepting them and uplifting them, then also it will not work. This is what has been my observation.
So you can change a culprit with the help of three things together: magnanimity, equanimity and skill.
This point may actually be good for all of you, because some of you are Art of Living teachers, and some of you are organizers in different places.
I want to share an incident with you all.
Once, there was a program conducted in Mumbai. We have a few senior teachers in Mumbai, and we have an Apex body also which was organizing the event and taking care of all the arrangements.
Now the senior teachers had been organizing such events there for many years, and the new members there did not like the way they were going about organizing things.
The senior teachers had always been in charge of such events, and these new members wanted a chance to contribute and take responsibility of the work. So the new members started to empower the others but found that the senior members were not giving them a chance to do their job properly. So they all had a meeting, and the senior teachers came together and in one voice scolded the new junior members.
Following this, all the organizers resigned. This happened just two weeks prior to the event. So I called up the senior teachers on the phone and said, ‘Look, did they take your advice by your scolding them?’
They said ‘No’.
So I said, ‘You know that they will not take your advice. So why do you give them advice? And they will never take your advice by scolding them. No doubt you poured out your heart to them. But what was the impact of doing so? Did things become more constructive or did they get worse?’
They said, ‘Yes it became worse’.
So this is what I want you to see.
For example, let us say, you are working in a company, and you get a brilliant idea. If you go to your boss and tell him that what he is doing is wrong and scold him, do you think he will listen to your idea? No, he will not listen. Then why do you do something which is not going to be productive? It consumes so much of your energy and time.
True that by pouring out your emotions you became empty. But that is not going to help in any way.
So I told the new members that the senior members were not going to listen to them since they were all accomplished people in the society. They are all big business people and they know what they are doing. Or they think they know what they are doing. And they are not going to listen to someone else even if they are wrong. They will not take it from some other person, or from the youngsters.
You know, there are different levels and barriers in the society. There is the age barrier, the status barrier, etc. If nothing else, there is the ego barrier.
So the next day, they got together and again had a meeting. Since everyone wanted me to visit Mumbai and I was going there after a gap of two years, there was such a strong yearning for this among the people, and so in the end, everything worked out well.
What I am trying to say is that, all the three, magnanimity, equanimity and skill, need to be there. This incident suddenly opened up the minds of all our senior teachers. They also agreed that it was the correct way, and that there is no point in pointing out a mistake which has already happened. People will not listen to you and they will only justify their mistakes.
So when the situation is such, what is the point in behaving this way? You should put your point forward as a positive suggestion instead of telling the other person that what he or she did was wrong. Tell them like this instead, ‘May be this way would be a better idea’.
Let me tell you another story about an astrologer.
Once an astrologer went to a king. The king showed great reverence to the astrologer, made him sit and honoured him with gifts. The king then showed his palm and the charts to astrologer. The astrologer examined everything and then said to the king, ‘O King! You will lose your entire family. Everybody is going to die before you. You will be the last to die’.
The king got very upset upon hearing this and put the astrologer in the jail.
This news shook the entire astrologers’ community. They thought, ‘We cannot tell the truth to the king. If we do so, he will simply put us in jail. What do we do?’
When someone hears some negative prediction, they don’t like it. They obviously want to hear something nice and positive instead. And so it was for the king as well.
The king then called for another astrologer to appear before him. Many tried to escape this request but one senior astrologer agreed to meet the king. So, he went before the king, and the king welcomed him in the same way with gestures and gifts. The king then showed his palm to the astrologer. The astrologer said, ‘Oh King! What a great fortune you are blessed with! You have a very good horoscope. Nobody in history has had such longevity of age as you are going to have. In fact, nobody in your dynasty has had such great longevity’.
The astrologer never said to the king that he was going to outlive everybody else in the royal family. Instead, he told the king that he was blessed with great longevity and that he had a great horoscope.
The king was so flattered upon hearing the news of his long life and good health. He told the astrologer, ‘Ask whatever gift you want from me and I shall give’.
The astrologer said, ‘Please release my poor colleague who is in the jail’.
So that skill in communication makes a huge difference.
There is a couplet in Kannada which means ‘Through words, fun and laughter happen, and it is through words that enmity can also happen’. So it is speech that creates conflict.
What is the conflict between North Korea and South Korea, and between them and America today? It is all because of the words that have been used; all because of the speech. There is no trade issue or anything else.
There is a song in Kannada which says, ‘Your speech should be so wonderful and sweet, that even Lord Shiva should simply listen and nod happily in agreement, saying ‘Oh yes, Oh yes’. So that is how lovely your speech should be.’
Q: Since God, who resides in us is capable of doing anything, then are we also capable of doing anything? If so, then how does destiny and Divine will fit in?
Sri Sri: It fits in very well. When your thoughts are in alignment with the Divinity, then you call it free will. When your thoughts are aligned in a direction opposite to that of the Divinity, you call it destiny. Got it?
If you have not read the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, then you should read it. In that, this is the first thing that I have spoken about. It is about the five modulations of the mind. May be I shall speak on this sometime later. It is very important.
The five modulations are: Pramana (proof). We want proof for everything. We want proof of love, of truth, of someone’s honesty, of God. We want to prove everything.
The second modulation is Viparyaya (incorrect conclusions or wrong understanding). Viparyaya means the mind making up its own universe, which is very different from what actually is in reality. In the Yoga Sutras, it is said, ‘Viparyayaha mithya jnaanam atad rupa pratishtham.’ (Yoga Sutras, Ch.1, V.8)
Do you know, 30 years back, people used to use this word called ‘Viparyasa’ which means, that what you thought, was not what was actually happening in reality. It meant, you were having a wrong understanding of reality. Today, those words have gone into a basket and people have forgotten about them.
So Viparyaya means seeing the unreal as real, and the real as unreal. It means seeing that which is temporary, transient and perishable as permanent and imperishable.
It is like, sometimes others think something about you, but those people are gone, and that thought is gone as well, but you have held on to that thought in your mind and you are miserable. Got it? This is Viparyaya.
A simple example could be: you are going into someone’s house and they do not see you entering. There is a gust of wind, or maybe they see a lizard entering the house, so they shut the door, but you think that they have banged the door on your face.
It was simply a coincidence of your going towards the door and them banging the door shut. You thought they saw you coming because you saw them, and they shut the door. These are some simple examples of Viparyaya.
You sit and think, ‘Others are thinking badly about me’. But in fact if you ask them, they will tell you, ‘I never thought about you. I was busy with my own work’. Where do people have the time to think about you?
The third is Vikalpa (fantasy or imagination). It again means the mind thinking or galloping on that which is not there at all.
The next one is Nidra meaning sleep, and the last one is Smriti (memory), meaning dwelling upon something in the memory, or thinking all the time about something that happened in the past.