Sri Sri: What is it that you have to surrender? Anyway everything belongs to the Divine already. But when you think that something belongs to you, then I say, ‘Let go’.
When you are holding onto something so tight, that is when I say, ‘Hey, relax’. Relaxation is called surrender; it is nothing else.
If something is bothering you in your head, offering that botheration is surrender. It is just like offering aahuti (the act of making prayerful offerings to the sacred fire). So whatever bothers you or troubles you, offer that as aahuti to the Divine.
That which you cannot handle by yourself; that which has become a burden for you; that which you are tired of carrying on your head, just put it down and let go! That is what is meant by surrender.
Otherwise what is there to surrender? Your body belongs to God. Even your mind belongs to God. Everything belongs to God. But you think it belongs to you. So just let go, relax and smile. Letting go, relaxing and smiling is what the meaning of surrender is.
In Buddhism, it is said ‘Buddham Sharanam Gachhami’, which means whatever burdens you cannot handle by yourself, offer it to Lord Buddha, or offer it to God, or offer it to the Guru, or offer it to anyone who is dear to you. This is for you to feel that there is someone who belongs to you and is very dear to you, and you are very dear to them.
I will give you an example.
A child, when it knows that mother is at home, it feels so comfortable. The child will roam about here and there and play happily. But when the child does not see the mother, and mother has gone somewhere, then it starts looking for her and starts crying.
Though nowadays the children actually become happy when they find that mother is not around! (Laughter) Then they can do even more mischief. But this happens when the children grow a little older.
Small children often keep a watch to see whether mother is around, isn’t it so? One eye will be on the mother. This is because the child feels comforted to know, there is someone for me, who is sitting there.
Nowadays parents leave their children sitting in front of the television (to distract the children so that they do not bother the parents). This is very harmful. Children should not watch television because it is very taxing to their brain.
Often parents put on some cartoon show on the TV and make their children watch. This is not good because it causes so many impressions to be formed on the child’s mind, that the child becomes so dull. Many children are not able to count, and develop disorders like the Attention Deficiency Syndrome. It is common in America today.
What is Prana? I only know that it is subtler than the breath. Has science discovered something in this field? Are there other dimensions of our life that science also agrees to?
Sri Sri: : Yes.
I was recently reading this book called The Proof of Heaven, written by a neurologist. He writes about his experiences when he went into coma. He died clinically and had an out of body experience, and so he has written about his experience, and it is exactly what we have been saying.
He saw a big light and said that the name of this light is Om. He has no idea of Indian spirituality, but out of his own experience he said, it is known by a sound called Om. And it is so peaceful and so loving.
He describes exactly what the Gita says, ‘Urdhva-mulam adhah-sakham’. The roots are above and the branches are below (to signify that your origin is the Divinity; the consciousness. That is your roots).
He had this experience of going into the roots, and then going beyond the roots into the dark space, and then beyond the dark space into the Hiranyagarbha (the source of the creation of the Universe, or the manifested cosmos in Indian philosophy), what has been said in the Upanishads to be The Golden Egg; it is like a womb of shining gold.
People who have NDEs (Near Death Experiences), they have all experienced what has been said by people in this country for thousands of years. This is so interesting.
Also, the author is an atheist; he never believed in any religion or anything. He was a hard core scientist, and the book talks about how he found through his experience that the other world is so much more real than this one that we see.
This is what we have heard in all the Darshanas (Hindu philosophy is traditionally divided into six schools of thought, or Darshanas, which accept the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures). It begins like that.
See, the knowledge that we gain through the five senses is inferior to the knowledge that we gain through the intellect. You see the sun setting and the sun rising, but the intellect knows that the sun is neither setting, nor rising.
So like this, knowledge of the senses is inferior to the knowledge of the intellect. But knowledge of something beyond the intellect; intuitive knowledge, knowledge from the pure consciousness is even superior to intellectual knowledge.
Intellectual knowledge can be proved and disproved, but a discovery which is beyond the intellectual calculation is something very different.
Dear Gurudev, in one of the knowledge sheets you have mentioned, the Guru is not a person but a presence. How do I see my Guru as a presence and not as a person?
Sri Sri: Every human being, what are they, the body or the mind? If they are the body, then when the spirit is gone, why it is that no one cares for the body. It is the spirit that we value. Try to see the spirit as separate from the body.
What is subtle ego, and how does one overcome it?
Sri Sri: Subtle ego is when you have the feeling that ‘I have no ego’.
When you feel that ‘I am the most down-to-earth and humble person alive’, then that is the subtle ego.
See, if you find that there is some ego in you, never mind, just keep it in your pocket. If it is there, let it be there. It is alright. Why do you want to get rid of it?
If you try to get rid of the ego, then that will become another big problem for you. Because then you will say, ‘See, I have overcome my ego!’ Then that is the subtle ego.
You cannot overcome ego by destroying it. Just be natural. Ego dissolves in the naturalness of your being.
Gurudev, why do you suggest a Sharnagat (one who has surrendered everything and taken refuge in the Divine) to take a Sankalpa (firm resolve to take action)? How is this possible? We don’t need anything except you. Then why take a Sankalpa at all?
Sri Sri: We never compel anyone to take up a Sankalpa. And you are never asked to take a Sankalpa for small things. Your small wishes and desires anyway get fulfilled, is it not?
Everything does happen anyway. So when things are happening, instead of keeping small ambitions, you should aspire for something bigger. You should think for the nation and think of the betterment of the world. This is what it is.
Usually you just have small little desires for yourself. You should take up a bigger Sankalpa, one that is beneficial for everyone. This is what is said in the Sanatan Dharma (another name for Hinduism from the ancient days), ‘Tanme Manah Shiva Sankalpa Mastu’, which means, may my mind always have a Sankalpa that is beneficial for everyone.
Gurudev, you often say that ‘Sahaj miley avinashi’ (meaning: By being natural, one can effortlessly attain the Divine). Along with being natural, we also need a broad vision. How do we broaden our vision of life?
Sri Sri: You have desire to know more, that itself is good enough.
Gurudev, is it necessary for two people to think alike to fall in love? Can there not be love along with differences of opinion?
Sri Sri: See, you have something else on your mind, and you are asking something else. If I give you an answer, you will use that answer in some other way. I am not going to get caught into these traps. If you are clever, even I am clever.
I will share an incident with you.
Once I was at Paris airport and was passing through airport security. There were a lot of people seeing me off, some 200-300 people. Now this one lady came; she must have been in her late 60’s. She came to me and showed me a ring on her finger, and asked me, ‘Is this necessary?’
I just saw the ring with a stone on it and said, ‘No, it is not necessary’. And then I left for New York.
Two days later her husband called me and asked me, ‘Gurudev, did you ask my wife to divorce me?’
I said, ‘No’.
The man was around 70 years, and the two had been married for around 40 years. Both of them are devotees. He said, ‘Gurudev, I know you will never say that, but my wife has sent me divorce papers, because you have said that there is no need to be married’.
Then I asked him, ‘Let me talk to you wife.’
She said, ‘Gurudev, I showed you my wedding ring and asked you, ‘Is it necessary?’ You said ‘no’.
So after that incident, even I have become very clever and cautious of what I say! (Laughter)
I will not just say anything in answer to your question, otherwise your mind will start thinking all sorts of things. Like in the story, the woman wanted to divorce the husband, but asked me for my consent by showing me her ring.
Nowadays, people wear all kinds of stones. I tell you, you don’t have to believe so much in stones and all that. More powerful than any stone is your consciousness. Do not give so much important to stones. You are much more powerful than any stone.
Gurudev, you have given me more than what I deserve. I feel that whatever I do for you, it is nothing. It is my wish that you demand something from me.
Sri Sri: Yes, you be happy and make everybody happy.
There is so much work you can do in this world. Spread knowledge, spread smiles and spread happiness. This knowledge is so beautiful and so relevant. See to it that this knowledge reaches many more people.