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How do we know whether we are progressing on the spiritual path or not?
Sri Sri: There are three points you should always bear in mind when you have come on the spiritual path.
The first is: God is mine. You should think that, ‘God is present right here, and is within me’. Have faith in that and simply relax. You should do whatever seva you can do.
Just observe, all of us are present here today, yet, do not all the events that have happened until today appear like a dream?
Just try to remember what you did a day back, two days back, one month back, a few months back, or what you did exactly one year back on this same day of Makar Sankranti. Does it not feel that all events have passed you by, like a dream?
Right now you are sitting here. But this event too will end and you all will go home. Then this too will appear to be a dream. In the same way, each day will pass by and one day, we will be no more. But this Earth will remain, and continue to exist.
When you think in this way, your entire perspective and way of thinking shifts to a very different level altogether, from where you can say with awareness that ‘I am not the body, I am the eternal spirit. I have always been and will continue to be for eternity. I will appear on this planet again and again in the future’. This experience will not come simply by listening. It can come only when you go deep within yourself.
That is why it is said that you need both Vairagya (dispassion) and Abhyasa (regular practice). When there is a shift or change in your perception, the entire creation appears very differently to you.
Gurudev, today, the sentiments of devotees and followers are misused in the name of Yoga and religion. In such a situation, how should people trust and whom should they trust?
Sri Sri: This is not a new thing. Ravana (the demon king of Lanka) abducted Devi Sita by force by cheating her in the disguise of a Sadhu (a wise sage or ascetic) asking for alms. Is it not so? He took advantage of her simplicity and pious nature.
Even today we have people who are doing the same thing. There are many good people in the world even today, and there are many true and wise saints present even today. And not just anywhere else; there is a great saint sitting within each one of you. Such miscreants and bad people are there, but are few in number.
In every field you go to, you will find such exceptions (wrong people). Isn’t it so? There are some doctors in Noida (a town in Uttar Pradesh, India) who were caught stealing the kidneys from innocent patients. It was reported that they stole some 150 kidneys from the patients they operated on. And the people did not even know about it.
When the patients used to come to them, they would tell them, ‘You need to undergo a minor surgical operation for this’, and then they would steal the kidney and donate it to someone else in exchange for a hefty sum of money. You all know this, don’t you?
This happened some eight or ten years ago, and it was a huge scandal.
So like this, there are such fraudulent and wrong people in every field today. But just because some doctors were found doing this, does it mean that all doctors are like this? No, not at all. We usually generalize the qualities of a few wrong people to the entire community of people. We should never do this. Yes, you must all be very cautious and aware of what is happening.
Gurudev, when will you openly declare that ‘Mam ekam sharanam vraja’? (A verse said by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita which means, 'Take refuge in Me and I shall free you of all sins')
Sri Sri: See, this declaration has already been made some 5000 years back. What is needed is that we must walk on the path illumined by the Bhagavad Gita.
Lord Krishna says, 'Sarva-dharma parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja. Aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma shuchah'. (18.66)
Everything is made up of One Divinity only. So see that One in everyone and everything around you, and see everything and everyone as (manifestation) of the One Divinity.
Gurudev, I have heard that whenever a Brahmajnani (an enlightened soul who is established in Self-knowledge) appears on Earth, the collective consciousness of the entire humanity gets increased. How can we understand this?
Sri Sri: Yes, it is true and this has been observed in the past, and it can be seen even today.
If children are busy attending six hours of school, and then four more hours of tuition classes, how and when can they get the time to enhance their talents? How can the education system be reformed?
Sri Sri: I suggest you to make them regularly practice a little Pranayama and to meditate daily. They will not feel the need for tuition classes anymore.
If you really have to, then one hour of tuitions is more than sufficient for them. To enhance their intelligence and skills, you also need to pay close attention to the kind of food they eat and their behaviour. Do not give children fried foods to eat right in the morning. Make them have lots of vegetables and fruits in their diet.
Adopt Ayurvedic techniques and give them herbal medicines like the Medhya Rasayana (a nervine tonic for boosting memory and reducing mental stress); give them milk with Ojasvita (a milk powder made with combination of seven powerful and nutritious herbs). So encourage children to take such good food and supplements to enhance their intelligence and skills.