Gurudev, the desire for Moksha (liberation) is itself a desire itself and is a necessity too. But as long as there are desires, one cannot realize God. Please guide.
Sri Sri: It is very natural to have a desire for liberation. After all your desires are fulfilled, it is only this one that remains. In a state of total surrender; in a state of Samadhi (a state of bliss and equanimity, with awareness), the desire for liberation blossoms by itself (effortlessly).
Saint Kabir would often ask people to renounce or give up everything and devote themselves to the Divine. Some disciples went to Saint Kabir one day. These disciples tried to be very clever. They told him, ‘If we have to renounce everything, then why should we keep doing Naam-Japa (or Japa, meaning to chant God’s name) also? We should renounce that as well’. So they gave up everything - their home, their parents, their Guru and even chanting God’s name (Japa). Then Saint Kabir said, ‘You gave up chanting the Lord’s holy names, but you could not give up your anger, your lust. What have you done, my dear?’ See, when you let go of Japa effortlessly by yourself, then it is alright (meaning to reach an intense state of devotion and feeling one with the Divine at all times).
The disciples told Saint Kabir that they felt lazy in chanting God’s names. I spoke about this just yesterday. People often say, ‘Oh! I got so bored doing this’. You do not feel lazy or bored while eating food. But you feel lazy in doing something good. Why do you not give up eating? You bathe every day but you do not get bored by it. You do not get bored by brushing your teeth. Just observe yourself! What are you saying, what are you doing and where it is are you going.
That is why Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita,
Na hi kascit ksanam api jatu tisthaty akarma-akrt |
Karyate hy-avasah karma sarvah prakrti-jair gunaih || (3.5)
It means that nobody in the world can remain without doing anything. We have to do at least something. And whatever we do, we should do using our Viveka (discretion) or discrimination, and we should not be guided by the impulses of the mind. When you have come to this world, do something good that benefits everybody. Do not stay entangled in thinking only what you will get. There is nothing for you to take away from this world. There is nothing to take away from here. You have come to give. You have come here to do something beneficial for everybody. And you should all get together in doing service. Do not complain that ‘I do not get any fun or pleasure in doing Seva’. Doing Seva for the sake of deriving pleasure or some sort of satisfaction too is a very poor approach in life. If you are doing Seva because you get some sort of pleasure or enjoyment from it, then you will not sustain it for long. You serve because you have to. There is no other choice. There are so many teachers sitting here. If you teach because you get pleasure from doing that, then it will not sustain for long because after a time you will not enjoy it. But if you do it because people need it and can be benefitted by it, then you will surely sustain it. If you serve only to enjoy, then you are being selfish.
Many people come to serve. They say ‘we feel happy, that is why we serve’. Then after a while, they start demanding or complaining about everything. If somebody is doing better Seva than them, then they criticize and start pulling the other person down. Such people say, ‘I do such good Seva but nobody appreciates me or recognizes me’. See, the mind traps you in so many ways in the web of its logic that you do not even know about it.
That is why it is said that when the Guru is present, the mind is not there. And when mind is present then Guru is not there (here meaning that one loses sight of the broader vision and the Infinite when one gets entangled with the limited desires and cravings of the mind and the intellect). So either listen to your mind or to you Guru. The Gurus in earlier times used to destroy the mind. The student’s will was not accepted at all. If you wanted to go to Mysore, the Gurus in earlier times would instead ask you to go to Hyderabad. They used to destroy any desire that you expressed, even the small ones. If you are hungry then they would sit and start talking for at least an hour. Just to destroy desires. Because the guiding belief was that when desires are overcome then you have conquered this material world.
The mind makes you so restless, it makes you go aimlessly from one places to another (seeking contentment). Some people switch their jobs. In America and other foreign countries people even keep on changing their girlfriends. At the end of their sixties, they say that they did not find a soul mate even after searching around the whole world. They ask me that when they will ever find a soul mate. I tell them to wait for another 20 years when you go to heaven. You will get married there only (Laughter). If you always go by what your mind says then you will continue to feel restless.
Dear Gurudev, the Vedas are said to be eternal yet the mantras are attributed to some Rishis (wise sages or seers). How can the Vedas be eternal if they have been discovered by the Rishis?
Sri Sri: See, Newton’s law is eternal. It has been in existence all the time. But it was Newton who brought it forth. He discovered it (the existence of the law). Similarly the mantras (chants) were always there in the records in Aakash (Space). The Rishis were just the ones who downloaded it from Space. So they brought it (to Earth and to mankind) and recognized the Mantras. That is why it is never said that the Rishis wrote these mantras. It happened through cognition, which means they only saw and heard the mantras. Then they brought them out. The Rishis do not take any more credit that for bringing it and manifesting them. They do not say that ‘We created the mantras’. Nobody created the mantras.
That is why it is said Apaureshya (that which is achieved without human effort or intervention). Paureshya means that which is done by human beings. So the Mantras were always present in existence. Newton’s laws are not made or created by Newton. They have always been there. These were only discovered by Newton. So mantras were always there. It is the Rishis brought it to light.
Over the years, the Santana Dharma has been defined by so many Rishis. How can one maintain the purity of Dharma?
Sri Sri: By keeping away the superstitions and by being progressive. Dharma is always scientific in nature. Dharma never contradicts Science. Science is a growing subject though. And purity of dharma is maintained by pure intentions.
Gurudev, how can I intensify and speed up my spiritual quest? Is it possible to bring it on the fast track?
Sri Sri: Just wanting to be on fast track is itself is good enough. It means you are already there. The fact that there is passion and desire to grow spiritually is what makes a big difference.
Gurudev, those who are happy, positive and without problems in life normally do not seek God fervently and join courses like Art of Living. On the other hand, those who are bad tempered and negative in thinking cannot deal with problems in life and get addicted. Such people seek God and turn to yoga and meditation. Why is this so?
Sri Sri: Listen, there are all types of people in this world. Do not think that only sick, the weak and the meek will seek the Truth. There are people who are happy, very healthy and very comfortable too have great passion (to become spiritual). Maybe it is a little less or little more. But you can never brand that this is how people are in general.
Gurudev, when we do Puja, who is praying? Are the one who is praying and the one who to whom the Puja is being offered to, the same? Then what is the difference and what is the need to pray?
Sri Sri: A river is also water and a lake is also water. Both are water. But one receives the water (the lake) and another is water flowing into it (the river). Similarly the small mind in you prays and the big mind in you accepts it. So both are there together - the big mind or the Atma (Soul) and the small mind (the limited mind). So you see the small mind which is the little self, and the big mind that is the Higher Self. Everything is water. Do you understand what I am saying? The river (little self) is water, and the ocean (Higher Self) is also water. The river flows into the ocean. In the same way, the small mind which is troubled and which is experiencing the world, which has desires and fears, prays to the bigger mind, which is present like an ocean, constant, joyful, and full of energy and the smaller mind comes closer to that.
Gurudev, so many blessed souls came from India like Lord Mahavira, Lord Buddha and Lord Krishna. And still India suffers so much. There is so much crime and corruption. Why?
Sri Sri: Do you mean that these people were ineffective? No, it is not so at all. Just imagine what would have happened if India was devoid of spirituality. What would have been the fate of this country? You just can’t imagine. Have you noticed that wherever there is a lack of spirituality, there is so much violence? For example, wherever there are Naxalites present, they do not believe in religion; they do not believe in God and spirituality. The communists are so averse to the word spirituality. Till recently they were even discarding Swami Vivekananda. But now they have somehow started putting pictures of Swami Vivekananda in their homes since the last 5-6 years, this has happened not more than a decade ago. Communists have started adoring spirituality, accepting it out of inevitability Do you see what what they have created in all this time? Only a culture of violence, nothing else. Isn’t it?
So spirituality is essential for the growth of the country. Without this India would have been like the Balkan states long ago. Just see what is happening in Andhra Pradesh. Everything was alright until one lady for own benefits or vote bank politics or whatever took a decision to divide Andhra Pradesh. Now there is fire everywhere. There was public unrest for a whole month and Andhra Pradesh has come to a standstill condition. It is spirituality that is still keeping India sane. It is the spiritual nature of India because of which we embraced everyone. We embraced all the religions of the world. We gave place to everyone, from every community. India is the only country where Jews were never ever prosecuted. In every other country of the world they had problems. The Parsis came from Iran and they blended into the people of this country. Every religion is here and there is harmony. There is a sincere welcome for all people to come and be here. This is only because of spirituality.
Spirituality unites people of all religions. If it was only a religious country without spirituality, then it would not have been so. Just see what happened in Rome, in Constantinople. The Church was there but then it was destroyed and mosques were built. Or the mosque was destroyed and church was built. This sort of thing kept happening and millions of people were killed in this process. It is Spirituality that is needed to bind everybody’s heart and mind. It does not matter what religion or what religious sect people follow. What is most important is to be a good human being, and be connected with the Divinity. This is the most important thing. Do you know what is happening in Egypt, and what happened in Syria last night? It is unbelievable (referring to public unrest and civil violence in these countries). So many people are being killed and prosecuted every day.
Gurudev, on the spiritual path I hear this term ‘presence’ very often. What is presence? Is it just a state of mind?
Sri Sri: See, presence is presence. If you ask me, what is the ear and how does it compare with the eyes, what can I say? Suppose someone is talking and your mind is elsewhere then you are not present. I can explain your absence. When you are present that means you listen and hear every word - that is presence. When you are afraid, you are fully present (referring to being fully aware and in the present moment). When you are deeply in love with someone or something, then your focus is there so totally. Similarly this is the nearest you can go to. So ‘presence’ is the feel that there is something around you. Suppose you close your eyes and you know someone has come close to you. You have not seen them but you still feel they are there. So ‘presence’ means that feeling which is beyond sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste
Gurudev, for my marriage should I listen to my heart or to astrology?
Sri Sri: You should use a little bit of both.
Gurudev, your answer turns an apparently ridiculous question into a great one. Can I ever answer like you? What do I need do to answer like you?
Sri Sri: Just relax. Don’t bother about the questions. When you don’t bother spontaneity comes.
How to overcome lust?
Sri Sri: I think you have not read the book - ‘Celebrating Silence’ or ‘Intimate note to the sincere seeker’. I have given many ideas in the book. You should apply all of them. If any of them works then that is good. If nothing works, then wait for the time when you get a little older and it will disappear. It should, but if it does not then there is some serious problem. Then we have to look for an Endocrinologist (a doctor who treats hormonal disorders). For Hormonal imbalances in the body do cause that sometimes. If you follow the language of moderation, then you are saved. If it is in excess, then I have given you a number of things that you can follow. You can watch your food. You can watch your company. You can keep yourself busy. See, there is no end to its satisfaction (of lust). When all the available sources and ways to satisfy lust are exhausted, then the mind latches on to non-available source. It wants to have that which is not available, and that is when you find so many distortions of lust in the world. It is really frightening for people to see all sorts of distortions. People try to have sex with animals and what not! You can’t imagine. There are different distortions like paedophiles (people who derive sexual satisfaction from young children) etc., and all these distortions cause mental sickness in a person. That is why you need to go deep in wisdom. Read those things in the ‘Intimate note to the Sincere seeker’.
Gurudev, We are from the city of Nasik where the Trayambakeshwar temple (one of the twelve Jyotirlingas or holy sites of pilgrimage dedicated to Lord Shiva) is located. When ‘Triyamba’ is one of the names of the Mother Divine, then how come Lord Shiva got this name?
Sri Sri: See, I have not read the Sthala Puranas (a branch of the Puranas which narrate the stories and the origins of various Shiva temples or shrines, written in different vernacular languages). So I am not aware of it. There are so many people from Maharashtra. Ask them. There are so many stories. Yes, Lord Shiva does have three eyes which is why he is called as ‘Trinetra’ (Tri = Three, & Netra = Eyes or vision). And what are those three eyes? There are three main Nadis (subtle energy channels) within the human body – the Ida, Pingala and the Sushumna Nadi.
Gurudev, in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras very little is explained about Asanas (yoga postures). Then why do people connect Asanas to Yoga?
Sri Sri: Because that is what is visible on the outside. So people go on speaking and relating about what is visible to them. Hatha yoga (a branch or limb of Yoga dealing mostly with postures) is only a very small part of the Ashtanga Yoga (Eight fold path of Yoga). People misunderstand that alone to be what Yoga is all about. It is alright. That is also good for keeping the body healthy and free from diseases.
Gurudev, when a person loves somebody then it is called Moha (attachment). But when God or a liberated person loves somebody then it is not called attachment. What is the difference between two? How can we change our worldly love to be as acceptable as Divine love?
Sri Sri: You have already answered your question. It seems like you are asking a question, but you are just giving your opinion. I can differentiate between a genuine question and a statement.
Gurudev, I have a lot of knowledge but very little devotion. How do I go from knowledge towards devotion?
Sri Sri: First stop thinking that you have little devotion. Who says that you do not have devotion? It is there and in abundance. It can never be less. If you want it grow more, read the Narada Bhakti Sutra (A scripture on aphorisms of Divine Love by Sage Narada), sing bhajans, dance and celebrate. If you are reading too much then you should reduce that. Instead, do more Seva and Serve people.
Gurudev, Will India ever get good leadership? Is it that difficult to get good leader in India?
Sri Sri: No, it is not so. India will definitely have good leaders. There are very talented and good people in India. But you all have to work for that. You stand up and rise to the occasion, the need of the hour. The reason why our country is in such a bad state today is not because of the bad people, but due to the silence of the good and noble ones. Today we have this situation in the country because good people remain silent, laid-back, dejected and lazy. First, good people must become political candidates and a vote bank of good citizens must be created, then you will see that no party will give ticket to a criminal. The Supreme Court says that convicted criminals should not be allowed to sit in Parliament. But all the politicians in Parliament today say that convicted criminals should be allowed to sit there.
All the parties are united against the decision of Supreme Court’s denial to deny convicted criminals entry into Parliament. Does this not surprise you all? The parties want the convicted criminals to stay. This is very strange. It is hard to understand what goes on in the minds (of politicians). There needs to be some major research in this area. We see that the people of same party go against their own people and party members. They do not care about their party, let alone the country. They do not care about the future of country. We should ask psychologist to research upon these politicians. Why do their minds work in this fashion? Why do they do such acts which do not benefit anybody? They cut the roots and branches of the very tree on which they sit. Why?
Gurudev, the corporate world is all about making profits. And spiritual world is about distributing wealth. How to strike a balance?
Sri Sri: It is just like how you ride a motorbike. You have to make your institution profitable. If you go into loss, how can you be any charitable? You can’t do charity then, right? So you need to take care of both.
Gurudev, can spirituality make me wealthy? I am very wealthy financially.
Sri Sri: Do not think that spirituality will make you wealthy. Spirituality will make you stronger. Then use this strength in a good way with hard work. There is a saying in Sanskrit that only those who do hard work can be wealthy and full of strength and energy. For hard work you need strength and self-confidence which spirituality gives you. Only spirituality can give you the self-confidence and fearlessness like that of a lion. There is no other way.