Gurudev, I am not a devoted person, I have never been one. Although I feel that I am missing a huge part of the experiences because of this. How should I handle it? Will it happen sometime?
Sri Sri: What do you think is devotion? Just crying and singing, is that what you think devotion is? Or running after me? No! It is a simplest state of your awareness.
Whenever you are in the simplest state of awareness, that is what devotion is.
Just remember, when you were a child, what did you do? You looked at your own fingers, at your own hands, or at the light, at the colors. You looked at flowers in the plant, you tried to go and touch them and they were all shaking. Remember the state of innocence that you had as a child. When you feel at home, when you feel secure, safe, that is devotion. Whenever you feel secure, safe, total comfort and ease and a sense of belongingness; a feeling that mother is at home, that is devotion.
A child feels very comfortable moving around when the mother is sitting in the car. But the moment she disappears, the child becomes very jittery. So that sense of security, or to simply say, ease.
Do you feel at ease? Do you feel trustful, non-judgmental and loved? That is devotion.
Lord Krishna first tells Arjuna, 'You are very dear to me', then Arjuna says, 'Yes, you are dear to me too'.
So God is telling you, that you are very dear to him, just listen. When you also start recognizing that God is dear to you, that is devotion.
We are definitely dear to God. When he is also dear to us, that is called devotion.
We should never doubt that he loves us. First thing is, if we doubt whether God loves us or not, whether the Guru (teacher) loves us or not, whether this world loves us or not, then devotion or love does not arise in us.
First believe that the whole world loves me and I also love this world, then you can call yourself a devotee.
In my culture (in Paraguay), it is common that when a child misbehaves, parents punish them. Is it not some form of abuse or violence? What do you feel about this?
Sri Sri: Parents should, I won’t use the word punish, but discipline the children, within some limitations. It should not be in excess.
There is a difference between discipline and punishment. You can’t be violent and justify it as disciplining. At the same time, you cannot brand everything as an abuse and not discipline a child at all. Tomorrow that child will hold you responsible for not teaching it when it was young.
So, there is discipline, and one step away from discipline is punishment, and then abuse, or being violent with the child. Violence should be condemned. At no cost should anyone be violent with children because then they become so immune to that, and they become violent.
So many criminal acts in the society can be attributed to the parental violence at home. The way they treated their children
At home, when you raise children, sometimes you should raise your eyebrow (meaning to show anger) at the kids. You should discipline them. Then they become very good citizens.
Just imagine in the classroom, if the teacher just leaves the children free to do what they want, and does not discipline them; there is not even that little fear of being punished, the children will be so wild and uncontrollable! And when they grow up, they will say, why did you bring me up like this? Why didn’t you tell me what is good and what is not good when I was a child. They will ask this question.
So, I would say, discipline them first, and as a second step, punish them if at all it is necessary; once in a way. But that’s it, stop there. Never be violent with the kids.
Gurudev, if there is one consciousness ruling, then why are some things said to be good, and some are bad?
Sri Sri: See, good and bad are always relative. There is nothing in the absolute.
If you go in space, there is no east, west, north or south. East, west, north, south are there when you are on earth. It is relative.
If you ask me whether vitamins are good or bad, I would say, in limitation they are good, but in excess they are bad.
Is milk good for you? Yes it is good, provided you drink only as much as is required. But if you drink twice as much, then the same milk is bad for you. Similarly, poison can save life if you are sick, and the same poison can take away your life if you are not sick and you drink it.
Gurudev, they say visualizing one’s wish makes it come true. Does visualization mean not being in the present?
Sri Sri: Visualizing is like taking a Sankalpa (resolution). But there is a difference between taking a Sankalpa (resolution) and making an effort to visualize.
Effortful visualization is not good. The difference is like this. I want to go to Jaipur, this is a thought you got. Now you don’t sit and get a whole map of Jaipur and all the buildings; you don't close your eyes and make an effort to imagine the pink city, pink buildings; this is no good. This is visualization.
The thought that I want to go to Jaipur, is good, you can go. But if you sit and start visualizing the roads and the buildings of Jaipur, and everything, sooner or later you will end up with a migraine. So this wrong concept of visualization should be done away with.
Many people in the world read these books, where in some people say to visualize you being in that position (in which you want to be). You visualize being a chief minister, and taking the problems of people and all that. Hundreds and thousands of people do it and they get depressed. Sankalpa (Resolution) is having a wish, a desire. It is not even you who can take it, but it just arises in you. When it arises, you give it away to the Divine saying, 'Dear God, if this is good for me, you give me. Otherwise, anything better than this, I accept'.
That is what you say and offer it to God, to the divinity, to the universe.
If you don’t believe in God, does not matter. Offer it to the universe. I offer this thought to the universe. If there is anything better, let it happen, and you forget about it and be normal.
Gurudev, I am a web engineer. I want to ask, what is the connection between spirituality and internet technology? How can spirituality use this web?
Sri Sri: Yesterday you saw that we had a webcast of our satsang, and so many people connected to us from around the world. We had people connect from more than seventy countries.
You should definitely use the internet, write blogs, and make people aware of it. Today because of internet you can get any information. If you want to know a verse from Rig-Veda, you don’t have to go to the library and look for it. Just go to the internet and you can download it from there.
So the internet has made knowledge available at the tip of your fingers. It should be used.
We are all linked through one net from inside, that is inter-net.
What should we do for the mentally retarded people? Can healing be given to them?
Sri Sri: Some remand home should be made for them. There are mentally retarded homes owned by the government. They should be kept there.
Don’t encourage the practice of giving them food on the roads. We should not make them beggars on the roads. Don’t give healing.
These people have come to receive service from you. So even after giving healing they will remain the same, and then you might start doubting the healing. You might think, 'Oh, I am giving healing to him every day and nothing is happening!' So instead of healing, do service to them .