Dear Gurudev, what is it about seva that makes people dynamic versus doing office work?
Sri Sri: See, we have to do something and we keep doing something. When we do something, we want something out of it for ourselves. Now if you do something for which you don’t want anything in return, but you just want to be useful in life, that is called seva.
An action for which you are not expecting a reward, but you are happy just by doing an action, which would bring benefit to others, that is seva.
An action for which you do not want any benefit for yourself, but instead you want to be beneficial to others, that is seva.
What is the purpose of Siddhis (paranormal powers)?
Sri Sri: Okay, when you want something, before the want arises if it is available to you, that is called siddhi.
Suppose you want to get married and you don’t get anybody till you become 70, what do you do? That means there is no siddhi. Suppose, even before you want to get married there are 10 people who are telling you, 'Please marry me', that means you have siddhis.
There is a proverb in India, when you had teeth you had no nuts, and when you had nuts you had no teeth.
So you couldn’t get nuts when your teeth were intact. When you got nuts at that time there was no teeth. So this is lack of siddhi. You got what you wanted, but it was too late.
Now, if you want something but you got lesser than what you want, then that is also no siddhi. Suppose you want to go to California and you needed $1500, but you got only $1300, then that is no siddhi. So when before time, more than what you need appears, is siddhi.
Things should just appear. If it appears later then no point, and if it is not enough thats also no good. So, whatever you need when it comes on time that is called siddhi. More than the need, before the time, the arrival of material thing, is called siddhis.
More than the need, not to satisfy greed. So more than the need and before the time.
Gurudev, just being in your presence is so amazing. Why do we need all these meditation practices? Is it necessary to be regular with it?
Sri Sri: Yes, so that you have something to do and I have something to do.
There are four levels. First is Sanidhya which means feeling the presence.
Then Samipya, feeling close to the Guru or to the Divine. The feeling of closeness has to come from your side. Nobody can make you feel close. It has to come from oneself.
Then is Sarupya, being one with the form. Which means there is no difference between me and you.
And then Sayujya which means just dissolving in the Divine.
Gurdev, if Art of Living has everything to do with spirituality and nothing to do with religion then why do we sing so many bhajans about Krishna and Hindu Gods in general?
Sri Sri: Now, singing is part of spirituality. And the ancient chants that we sing are called mantras, they have vibrations that have an impact on you. So it is just a way of life. Om Namah Shivya is called mantra, and chanting mantras is part of spirituality.
From the time you are born, your naming ceremony, your marriage ceremony and death ceremony are all according to religion. But spirituality is anything that uplifts life.
So even though yoga, meditation, etc., are born out of the ancient tradition, it is a way of life and it is not a religion per say.
Someone asked the president of India Dr. Sarvepalli Radhankrishana who is a Hindu, the definition of the Hindu religion. He said, 'There is no way you can define Hinduism. It is just a way of life.'
So because there are so many religions, the way of life also came to be known as a religion, otherwise Hinduism is not a religion, it is just a way of life.
So these chantings have an impact on our system, on our mind, and our consciousness. The older the chants, the more it impacts the deeper levels of our consciousness. That is why it is said to chant Om.
It is not Krishna or something, but it is the value of the mantra that is most important.
Gurudev, like there are different types of speech, are there different types of silence?
Sri Sri: Are there different types of emptiness. Silence is silence, emptiness is emptiness. If a bowl is empty, you can't ask what type of emptiness is it. But if it is filled you can ask what is it filled with.
In speech, there are four different type of speech, Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari.
Vaikhari.is the gross level of speech, what we are speaking now.
Pashyanti is subtler than this. It is the speech without language. You get the vibrations, you get the idea, and you don’t have to verbalize it. This is pashyanti.
A child never tells you, 'Oh, I love you!' But it just looks at you and you feel the love. Love and the emotions are conveyed without words. This is pashyanti: recognizing without language.
Madhyama is even subtler. Even before it comes to the field of expression. That is called madhyama. It is inherent in the being before it has even started coming into field of expression. It is transmitted without the medium. In pashyanti there is medium. It is transmitted without language, but there is a medium. In madhyama even that is not there.
Para is even finer. It is just the primordial language. It has no language, no words, but just knowledge welling up in the consciousness. That is para.
So para, pashyanti, madhyama and vaikhari is the last one. That is it.
In the book called 'The Proof of Heaven’, the author mentions the communication without language. That is what he experienced when he was in coma. And he says that name of the Divine is Om.
Have you read about this book? It is very interesting.
It is about a doctor in USA who is a neurosurgeon. He went into coma and people thought he was almost gone. When he came back he wrote about his experience, he wrote The Proof of Heaven. He wrote about how he went into other realms.
This is absolutely stunning, and it is the same thing that is in the Vedanta (Oldest scripture of Hinduism), in the Puranas (ancient Vedic texts), and in the ancient texts. Same ditto thing.
He said, what I have been saying for many years, that there is a light and the name of the light is Om, i.e., omnipresent, omniscient, so loving and dear.
He also says that he went through a tree where the roots are above the shoots are below. This is in the Bhagavad Gita. One passes through the roots to go to the other side. So he talks about these roots.
Then he talks about the golden egg, what we call Hiranyagarbha. He says the core, which means the center, is atman. The atman is the core, and the golden egg (Hiranyagarbha) is a shell. This is exactly what you will read in the Bhagavad Gita.
He then talks about the communication, and he says that the communication was without words, without any language, and this is exactly pashyanti, para, madhyama, and vaikhari. It is very interesting.
Dear Gurudev, when you see someone close to you caught up in their head, or in fear, or in concepts, how do you bring them to the level of heart?
Sri Sri: Just don’t worry, they will come back on their own. It is about time; time and place. There is a couplet in Hindi that says, the world has everything, the world has many gifts, but a person without good karma doesn’t get anything.