Dear Gurudev, I’ve always felt that I’m a tool in the hands of someone else, but I want to reach great heights and have a name of my own. Would it still be possible?
Sri Sri: You want to have a name. Have that Sankalpa and forget about it.
If you’re feverish to have a name, I’m sure you’re going to be disappointed.
Let us say you want to go to Chennai from Bangalore. You sit in the car, and it’s a five hour drive. All along the route if you keep on saying, ‘I want to go to Chennai’, you’ll end up, not in Chennai, but in a mental hospital. Or as soon as you reach Chennai, you’ll have to be taken to a mental institution there.
One intention in the mind, and attention on it, and then it manifests (this is called sankalpa). There is nothing wrong in wanting to be good, wanting to be famous, wanting to be enlightened, all these wants are okay, but it should be just an intention, rather than feverishness.
So many times people throw all these tantrums, to draw someone’s attention.
Once, in one of our Rishikesh shivirs (roughly translates to camps), I was taking a walk and nearby a woman fell down. Seeing her, all the nearby people started walking towards her. I just walked by, and people came running to me saying, ‘Gurudev, a woman just fell down!’
I told them that she did that just to draw my attention.
When I came back from the walk, I found her sitting on the same spot. I told her, ‘Don’t try to trick me. You tried to trick me and wasted the time of the ten people sitting around you’.
She said, ‘You don’t even look in my direction, that is why I did that’.
Children do this all the time. They will be silently playing and doing their own stuff, but as soon as a guest comes and you’re having an important discussion with them, they will come to you and show you something they’ve made – a painting, or some paper craft. So children do this to gain your attention.
We are attention hungry. This is a habit which we need to change.
Why are we like this? It is because we don’t attend to ourselves. We are not aware of the light inside us, of the beauty inside us, we are not aware of the peace inside us. We are unable to be content with ourselves. That is why we want someone else to say something so that we can be content.
It’s really amazing. There is no better entertainer than your own mind. Your mind can provide you with non-stop 24/7 entertainment. Not one, but a hundred channels run in your head. Comedy, tragedy, thrill, all of these keep running. It is amazing. Just keep enjoying it, make sure you keep the remote control in your hands. Don’t be worried that - this should not be in my mind, that should be not in my mind - let it display whatever it is displaying, as long as the control is in your hands. When the control is not in your hands, then problems arise in life.
Gurudev, how to deal with failure? No learning, or advice is helpful in that state of mind. What do I do?
Sri Sri: Remember that you’re going to die one day. You are going to leave everything behind. All your degrees, awards, necklaces and diamonds, everything will remain here, of which you’ve been so possessive. So when you know that one day you have to leave everything behind and go, you’ll say, ‘Failure, okay failed, what to do? I offer that to the Divine as well’.
Remember that every failure is a step towards success. It is a learning process. You should see it this way perhaps. There are only two situations: either you win or you make others win. You should be proud of making others win.
When elders play with children at home, they don’t always win, sometimes they make the children win and feel happy in their happiness. So making others win is a sign of a big mind. Finding joy in the happiness of others is a sign of a big mind.
There is a beautiful story in the Ramayan. In the chapter called Bharat Milaap, when Bharat meets Ram, both of them forget their Sankalpas (vows).
Ram says to Bharat, ‘I’ll do whatever you want’.
Upon hearing this, Bharat is overcome with happiness and emotion. Ram had left the kingdom to keep his father’s vow and he had himself vowed that he would not return till 14 years had passed. If he were to return on Bharat’s request, he would be accused of breaking his vow. And Ram took his vows very seriously. He believed in ‘Praan jaaye par vachan na jaye’ (It’s okay if I lose my life, but may I never break my vow).
So, Bharat on realizing that Ram, who valued his vow more than even his own life, was ready to break his vow for him and said, ‘No brother, you please carry on as you wish’.
So it is said that their minds got swapped. Ram’s mind went to Bharat and vice versa. This is what we call a sign of love.
It’s a very unique story where there is no desire for oneself. All these are ideals. These ideals help in preventing us from deviating from our principles.
Dear Gurudev, spirituality is all about giving up, business is all about accumulating, how can being spiritual help me be a good businessman?
Sri Sri: When you want to shoot an arrow, what do you do? You pull the string backward, to make it to go forward. Similarly, the higher you need to construct a building, the deeper you need make its foundation. They all may seem opposite, but they’re complementary. Even today, the previous generation, whenever they were prosperous, they say that it is the good deed, the good karma of our elders. Whenever a business prospered, people have said that these are the merits of our elders. This is true.
The good work you do gives you merit. When you do something, it brings back to you something more. Nature always gives you. If you give misery to others, you get that back, if you give happiness, you get that back, and if you share a little bit of what you have with others, it comes to you multi-fold. So, spirituality is not about giving up this world, it is about letting the mind free. That is it.
Gurudev, how do we grow higher in evolution and how do we get there?
Sri Sri: When trivial things, unimportant things lose their significance in life. When you wake up and realize, ‘Oh, these are small things’, and you stop complaining and talking behind others back, and all these little little tricks of the mind.
When you are tired of negativity, you are already growing. And when you accept the world as it is, then you’re growing one step higher.
Gurudev, if faith is the only thing that matters, then a person who does not believe in God but only in himself is also correct, is that so?
Sri Sri: Yes, but, belief in self implies that somewhere inside there is a higher self and that higher self is what is called God. You may not label it, but you’ll definitely believe in a higher power.
Gurudev, is it true that Mira Bai drank poison in the name of Lord Krishna and it did not harm her? What is the meaning of this?
Sri Sri: Yes. There are many miracles which occur in the world and this is one such. You don’t try that. You can call yourself Mira Bai, but don’t try drinking poison.
That means that the consciousness which makes the body grow – the love and light in her was so much, that the poison did not matter, it just went through.
Gurudev, how should we handle the love and concern of the other people, if at one point we feel it has become excess for us?
Sri Sri: Sometimes it is difficult to even take love, let alone give love.
If you say, ‘I love you so much’, to somebody, they don’t know how to respond to it. They look back like a pale dog, ‘Okay, you love me so much, now what?’
The mind is used to dwelling in small things. Unless and until it gets that magnanimity, the realization that all this is made up of love. That ‘I am that’ realization will make you stable and make you capable of receiving love and reciprocating it unconditionally. That is why knowledge is important; the knowledge about the self.
Gurudev, why are Hindu Gods depicted in blue colour, while Goddesses are not?
Sri Sri: Goddesses are also depicted in blue, sometimes Durga Mata is depicted in blue. Goddesses are usually made from the Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Ether elements. The blue colour is a symbol of the vastness inside; the infinity, transparency.