Gurudev, when there is love between two people, they decide to get married. Then why does the love cease to exist after marriage?
Sri Sri: See, I cannot say this in this matter. I have no experience in this! (Laughter). Neither do I have any experience of marriage, nor have I ever felt that love has ceased to exist!
See, when we love a person with an intention to gain something from him or her, and then such kind of love is definitely going to get finished. But instead if there is a deep feeling to give and to do something for the other one, then such a love will never come to an end. If all you think about is ‘What will I get from this person?’, then you are always in a race or struggle to get something from them in the name of love. Such a love will surely come to an end someday or the other.
But if you are the one who gives, and thinks about how to give comfort to other one, then such a love endures over time. If you think, ‘How can I keep my husband or wife happy?’ then that love can stay. Also, this thought should come from both the partners. Only then will the love never end between the two. Both of them should have the same goal in life. When the two lines go in opposite directions to each other, they will cross (meaning that there will be conflict or struggle to maintain love). But when they move together and stay focused on each other, and move towards a common goal, then the love will go on forever. Got it?
Gurudev, is possible for me to be spiritual in spite of not being religious? Is Dharma necessary?
Sri Sri: See, spirituality is a part of religion. Spirituality unites everyone. It is an experience from within. It is the essence of all religions.
If you say that I will be both spiritual and irreligious also, then that is not possible. Religion has its own place and significance in our life and in society. Spirituality too has its own place. This is what we must all understand. It unites everyone’s hearts together.
Customs, traditions and rituals are a vital part of Dharma (here meaning religion). This is also important for a healthy society. But the art of joining the hearts together, the souls together is in spirituality. That is also important.
Gurudev, an egoistic person drowns himself as well as his family due to his ego. You have said that love is the remedy to keep the ego away. But Gurudev, I do not feel any love arising within me for an egoistic person. Please give a solution for this.
Sri Sri: See, if someone is egoistic, then he is so because of his ignorance and lack of understanding. If you get angry at his ignorance and foolish behavior, then you too will become ignorant and foolish like him. That is why we should have compassion towards them. You should realize that such a person is behaving this way because he does not have knowledge or the awareness, and is sinking due to his own ego. Knowing this will at least save our mind from anger. Otherwise you also start burning with anger from within and lose all your peace of mind due to someone else’s foolishness. What is the benefit of that?
Dear Gurudev, if someone bothers us constantly and we have to bear with that, what should we do in such a situation? How can we increase our patience?
Sri Sri: Is this your personal problem or are you asking me an indirect question? And you want me to give a direct answer for an indirect question? (Laughter). How is it possible?
You have to see the situation and respond accordingly. If someone is constantly bothering you, then either you move away from there, or you confront that person. I will not advise you to bear someone’s harassment forever. Try to change the situation with intelligence, with tact, with strength and with love. You cannot do this only with power. If someone says that ‘I will change the situation only using physical power, it is not possible. There is a need for tact and intelligent action also. Love can melt even the hardest stones. With love you can bring the change.
Gurudev, great people have said that this world is a mirror. Whatever we do, the life will do the same to us. Then why do the good people have to suffer bad times despite doing good things in life?
Sri Sri: This is a very elaborate discussion. I have written about this in detail in the book Celebrating Silence. Good people do not suffer because of their goodness and virtues. There are many other reasons for this that we have to see.
Gurudev, life has come to a standstill before a major decision. I often wonder whether my decision will be right or wrong. How can I take the decision?
Sri Sri: Just look back at your life in the past. This is not the first time that your mind is confused in a dilemma. You have faced these types of questions and situations many times earlier as well; and every time you have received help to overcome it. And whenever you ask for help, you will surely get it. Your confusion will be cleared in due time. So don’t worry.
Gurudev, What is the importance of Mundan Sanskar (referring to the Indian tradition of Shaving a babies’ head after a year of birth)? Please tell us something about it.
Sri Sri: Our ancestors have told that we have to shave off the first hair of a child. Then the new hair will come. It is the same as how the first teeth fall on their own and only then do new teeth come. But the hair has to be removed first time; it does not fall off automatically like the teeth. They will grow again in time. Mundan Sanskar (Shaving hair) is one of the traditional ceremonies, which reminds us that we have come in this world and you have responsibilities to fulfill. Till the end your life, you have a duty of service and obedience towards to your parents. This is the purpose of Mundan Sanskar.
There are 16 Samskaras (here referring to the Shodasha-samskaras or sixteen fundamental duties or rites of passage in a person’s life denoting the entry into a phase of life, as per the Vedic tradition) in a person’s life as prescribed by the Vedic scriptures. Similarly Namankaran Samskar (the Naming ceremony for a new born child) is also one such Samskar.
Gurudev, the month of Shravan has begun. What is the importance of the Rudra Puja during this month?
Sri Sri: If you read the scriptures, you will find that every month has its own importance. Every month is good and auspicious in its own way. . There is a lot of rain during the Shravan month. During this time you should sit, meditate and reflect about God. In the earlier days in India, there was not much work that could be done during the rains. It was neither possible to work in the fields, nor any other household work that could be done. So people would have to sit idle in their house. Being idle in the house, one tends to quarrel, just by looking at each other’s faces. So instead of that, it was advised to reflect and meditate upon God. It is said to behold Lord Shiva in everything around you. Lord Shiva is seated deep in everyone’s heart. He is Nirguna (One who is without form or its attributes). He is Nirakaar (Has no shape or form), and He is the Para-Brahman (Supreme transcendental Consciousness) that is all pervading. Believe in this. This is Rudra Puja.
Gurudev, few days back you were discussing about Maya (Illusion) and I thought about my mother-in-law. God has given her everything. She has a nice house, servants, car and a daughter-in- law like me. But despite of all this her face is always serious grim. And surprisingly her name is also Maya. Now I know what is Maya. Please let me know how to get liberated from Maya. (Laughter)
Sri Sri: I will first ask ‘Maya’ (referring here to the mother-in-law) and then let you know! (Laughter) Maybe she also wants freedom from someone. Liberation is not one sided. See, even your mother has scolded you at many times, is it not so? There isn’t a single girl who has not received a scolding from her own mother. Everyone here has been scolded by their mother, right? But when your mother-in-law scolds you, it is not even ten percent of what your mother has done. When your own mother criticized you, you accepted it so easily! You did not feel the pinch so much then. Your love towards your mother did not diminish because of her scolding you. Did it? No, it never reduces. So the Mother-in-law is also a mother. She is the mother of your husband. She considers you like a daughter and may speak a few harsh words sometimes. You just take it in your stride and accept that. Why do you get so bothered and upset about it? Why do you take it to your heart and become sad? Go and sit with your mother-in-law, talk to her lovingly and be with her. Don’t let the family bonds break.
We get stuck with such small problems in our minds and become unhappy. We should not do this. Your mother and mother-in-law would roughly be of the same age. Then their nature must also be similar. Now, your mother scolds you so that you are prepared for the scolding at your husband’s place. Sometimes this injection does not work, and then In between there is a need to get advice. Swallow your mother-in-law’s scolding, embrace her with love and your family will not break. Your husband will be happy and gradually your mother-in-law will also be happy. I think that I will have to write a book on how to handle mother-in-law and daughter-in-law (Laughter). Let’s design a course in which we shall make both of them sit together and tell them to criticize and abuse each other how much they want. Once they are done, then hug each other.
There is a beautiful saying in Sanskrit: ‘Dadatu dadatu gaali, gaali panto bhavatu’. There are three meanings of gaali. The first meaning of Gaali is an abusive word or some profanity. The second meaning of gaali is wealth or property. The third meaning is a chakkar (a wheel), means one, which moves forward. So to the one who gives abuses, you should say that “You keep on giving me gaali, but I am going to bless you that you become rich and progressive. This is my blessing to you. You can throw abuses at me but I am still going to wish you only good because every time you give me some abusive word, my bad Karma is reduced”. Every time someone abuses us, he takes away our bad Karma. That is why we should not be ashamed or angry at someone abusing us.
There was a discussion between all the five fingers about who is the biggest. How many of you have heard this story? Raise your hand (Many raise their hands in the audience). I spoke about this on Guru Purnima too. Okay, I will tell the story once more. So once all the five fingers of the hand got into an argument as to which is the best or more important. The thumb said to the others, “I am separate from you all. I am very strong, and whenever someone wins, they show the thumb as a sign of victory. So I am the greatest because I represent victory”. On hearing this, the first finger laughed and said, (the finger one uses to point), “I am the one who shows the road. When I show the road, only then do you follow the path and reach the destination. Because I show the way, I am bigger than you. I am the greatest.” Then the middle finger said. “Don’t argue among yourselves. Look who is at the center and who is the tallest! It is me. I stand in the middle and I am the tallest. The whole world knows about it. It is foolishness to argue about this. So surely I am the greatest”. Then the ring finger said, “The one who is the greatest is made to wear the crown. Only the kings get to wear the crown. The Emperors and the Kings all wear precious jewels and ornaments. But who gets to wear the ring? It is only I. That is why I am the greatest”. Now every finger argued this way and said something or the other. The smallest finger did not say anything. She was smiling. They asked her if she wanted to say anything. She started laughing more. They asked her, “Why are you laughing?” She said, “When someone great person comes to meet us, or when we stand before God, then which finger is at the front? (i.e. when one folds their hands in a prayer or to wish Namaskaar to a guest). Whoever is nearest to God, is the greatest – that is what I believe. Whoever stands before God to pray with folded hands, keeps me in the front right before Him, which is why I am the greatest”.
It is said that the one who is the most humble and modest is closest to God. When you become the smallest (meaning when one discards the false ego), you become closest to God. So what do you have to become to be closest? You have to become the small finger. Be small (meaning humble and modest) and you will always be close to God.