What is the part played by destiny in our coming here and meeting you, and what is the role played by pure chance?
Sri Sri: Life is a combination of both (destiny and chance). There is a little role played by our destiny, and a greater part played by our free will also. So it is never either this or that alone. Like for any moment, there is both a past and a future also. There is not a single moment that does not have a past or that does not have a future.
So, the past is destiny, the future is free will, and the present moment is so beautiful. If you see things this way, then you are very wise. But if you think the other way around – that the past was free will, the future is destiny and the present is miserable, it is not a wise thing to do. It shows a lack of wisdom. Then life becomes miserable.
Can you see a moment without a past? It is impossible. Can there be a moment without a future? Again it is impossible. So if you ask me, 'Is life the past or the future', I would say that it is a combination of both.
Destiny and free will are not two different things. They are two sides of the same coin.
What do you call as destiny? When your thoughts are not in alignment with what is happening, then you call it as destiny. When your thoughts are in alignment with what is happening, then you call it as free will. It all depends on the direction of your thoughts.
How can you choose the direction of your thoughts? You can do that only when your mind is clear and settled. All that we need to do and achieve in our life is: purity in our heart, clarity in our mind and skill or dexterity in our actions.
We need to bring spontaneity in our action. That is what is necessary. Got it?
As a child we had all three, did we not? Children are very clear in their minds. Have you ever seen the way they look at you? They look directly at you. Their mind is very clear. If you look into their eyes, you will see that the mind is very clear. But as adults we seem to have lost the purity of the heart and the clarity of our mind.
A child’s mind is very clear and its heart is very pure. It is so spontaneous. We can do the same thing when we grow up also.
So you need to have dexterity both in your action and expression.
Gurudev, how can one live one’s life without self-inflicted guilt and the guilt inflicted by others on us?
Sri Sri: You are in the right place. Just know this, guilt is like the dust on our clothes, or on our skin. So what do you do? You wash it with a little soap and water. Knowledge is the soap, and meditation is the water. So with both meditation and knowledge, you can overcome it.
Gurudev, I am a Muslim and I sat for the morning Rudra Puja today. I felt so much at home, for it sounded so similar to the intonations of our prayers in Arabic. At one point it seemed to me that I heard the word Allah during the chanting. Is it a word in Sanskrit?
Sri Sri: Yes, it is. There is a name for God as Allah in Sanskrit also.
All names are the same; all names are of the same God, the one Divinity. This ancient practice of the Rudrabhishekam, with the chanting of mantras, has been happening since thousands of years. It creates such a deep resonance in our consciousness, because our consciousness is very ancient.
The chanting and the pooja creates a very positive environment, and its purpose is to cleanse any negativity in the atmosphere. Everything becomes positive with the chantings.
In Europe, we say that the Pope cannot make mistakes, and that he is infallible. Are you too infallible as a Guru, or do you also make mistakes?
Sri Sri: When you are spontaneous and aligned to the Nature, then mistakes do not happen. Now I can make mistakes if I try to speak in French! (Laughter) I do not know how to repair the television but I can certainly try. I might make a few mistakes here and there. It is not that I know everything.
If your intention is right, then the right action follows. Now in any action, there can never be 100% perfection. But your intention can always be perfect.
If you see anywhere in the world, there is always some imperfection in the best of action. So there is always a little room for improvement in any action.
Whatever I used do, my mother would always tell me, ‘This could have been done in a better way’. So in that sense, growth is a part of our evolution. Growth is another word for improvement, so there is always some scope for improvement in action.
But if you ask about the Being (referring to the Self), or the state of being, it is complete. Like the Sun is complete, but its light would appear to be less or more if the clouds are there in the sky. But you can never foolishly mistake day for night.
Many of us are taking treatments at the Panchakarma (an ancient holistic system of Ayurvedic treatment) centre here in the Ashram. Do you think it is really beneficial and why?
Sri Sri: You tell me. Do you all feel good after it? It is a time tested technique that has been practised for thousands of years. People have found that Panchakarma is a cleansing process. For the first two-three days you may not feel too good because the cleansing is happening. You drink the medicated and herbal oils to start with, and that might be a little uncomfortable in the beginning. But so far, what I have heard from people is that they really have benefitted from it. If you have any specific questions, you may consult our Ayurvedic doctors.