Gurudev what is Swadharma, and how do I know what is my Swadharma?
Sri Sri: Swadharma is that action which is in accordance with your nature. It is acting in accordance with your skills and talents, your own nature (svabhava), and that which you are responsible for (karma) .
Any action that does not make you feel afraid or restless is Swadharma. That action which you feel compelled to do, without which you feel restless is swadharma.
Now do not misunderstand this and say, ‘I feel restless if I do not drink alcohol’. No! Not at all.
Every time you feel restless, it not always because of Swadharma. But at the same time not following your swadharma always makes you feel restless.
That is why it is said in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘Swadharme nidhanam shreyah paradharmo bhayaavahah’ (3.35).
When we do something without authenticity, just to show off to another person, that is when we feel fear because such action is not genuine, it does not come from the heart. But when we do something that is authentic and from the heart, then there is no fear.
When someone speaks lies, they definitely feel scared somewhere inside. But someone who speaks the truth does not feel scared at all. In fact speaking the truth and abiding by it brings so much strength to you, isn’t it? This is what Swadharma is.
When we follow that which comes naturally to us in our life, then it brings abundance and prosperity to us. When we flow in accordance with our nature, we grow from within. Any action that uplifts us is our Swadharma. Dharma is that which holds the mind, intellect, memory and our inner soul together in harmony. Growth comes when we follow our swadharma.
Gurudev, in the Gita you have said that God is everywhere, but how can one experience this practically in everyday life?
Sri Sri: See, these are two aspects to knowledge. One is Bodha – the knowledge itself, and the other is Vyavahara – meaning following the knowledge and experiencing it practically.
You know that in your house, the doors, tables and chairs are all made of wood. But you cannot use a table for a chair, nor can you use the chair in the place of a door, isn’t it? Although the cot, the door and table are all made of the same substance (wood), still you cannot use one in place of the other, because practically they are each different from the other and have their own uses.
In the same way, there is one God present in both the young and the elderly. But if you say that they are all one (by the same God) and start touching the feet of young children and blessing the old people, then they will think you have gone crazy. They will think there is something wrong with you. So the way you behave has to differ from person to person. You cannot behave in the same way with everybody. But you should have a feeling of Sambhaava – meaning to see the one Divinity within everyone and everything around you.
When you understand this knowledge of,Advaita (Indian school of philosophy that stresses on non-duality) and keep it in your heart, then you become more firmly established in the Self. Only then will you come to this conclusion that though there is the same soul (Consciousness) within everyone and everything, yet you have to treat everything as per its own nature (meaning to discriminate wisely yet see the underlying oneness of everything around oneself).
Gurudev, no matter what I do to please my husband he is never happy. He keeps finding faults in me. What should I do?
Sri Sri: If you know that this is his habit then why are you getting so disturbed? Accept him and move on. Keep yourself happy. If you do not get disturbed by his behaviour then he will start to change.
Every person has some or the other negative quality in them. And these negative qualities are also there to push your buttons, so that you become strong. Once you become strong, then they will start to change.
In life, everything changes, and there are some things that do not change. We need to accept both these situations.
Gurudev, cow slaughter is on the rise in India. Can any stringent laws be passed in Parliament by which this can be banned?
Sri Sri: It is unfortunate that the percentage of cows present in India today is just 20% of their number before independence. The animal wealth of our country has reduced to a great extent, and is much lesser today than what it used to be.
We are facing a big shortage of milk in many places in the country. You must have heard that the sweets sold in some of the markets in North India are not safe for consumption at all. They mix urea and some other chemicals to manufacture the sweets. There is so much adulteration happening in such places. People add chemicals to make Khoya (a natural additive obtained from milk that lends thickness and solidity to sweets) which they then use to make mithai (Indian sweets). So many people have died because of this, and still many people are suffering. People resort to adulteration only when there is a shortage of basic materials. If there is no shortage, there would be no adulteration. Then it would be more expensive to practice adulteration (using expensive chemicals and artificial substances).
We have to make efforts to increase the animal wealth of our country, and also strive to increase the numbers of cows in our animal population.
Recently I came across a research in which they have identified the difference between the milk from Indian cows and the milk from cows imported from Europe.
The protein that is found in the milk of imported cows is called A1 protein. A1 protein causes high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, etc. A lot of diseases happen because of A1 protein. On the other hand, there is another kind of protein also, called the A2 protein.
The A2 protein is found in mother’s milk, and it is also found in the (Indian) cow’s milk and goat milk. So a mother’s milk, goat’s milk and Indian cow’s milk are the same (in composition).
Do you know how? In India, for many years the cow has been respected and revered as a mother. So this consciousness or thought in our tradition has changed the DNA of the cow to generate A2 protein rather than the A1 protein. The milk from the Indian cows is so potent and useful that it is also used as a medicine for the treatment of cancer.
So cow slaughter should be stopped at any cost. A strict law should be passed against this, but more importantly, people also should be made more and more aware of these facts.
Gurudev, yesterday you said that the divine takes care of everyone, then why is there poverty, why there are floods?
Sri Sri: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Imagine a situation when there are no problems in the world.
You go to see a movie and in that movie there are no problems and no tension. A man gets up, eats, goes to work, comes home and goes to sleep, and does the same thing every day. Will you go and watch such a movie? Will you enjoy such a movie?
When do you enjoy a movie? When there is a villain in it, or some tension, or some problems in it. Then you come out and say, ‘This is a very good movie’.
In the same way, this world is like a movie for God. Anyway nobody dies from floods. They all come back in another body.
We also need something to do. Just imagine if there are no problems in the world, everybody is healthy and happy, then there will be no room for compassion. Who will you have compassion towards? Compassion and all other values will disappear. So problems are here in this world so that we realize our purpose in this world.
How do I get over my crushes? It is very easy for me to like someone and that troubles me?
Sri Sri: I think you have a lot of free time. You have to get busy. This is too young an age to get crushed. You have not even blossomed like a flower yet, you are still a bud. Don’t let anybody crush you now. There is a time for it. Now focus only on your studies.
Charm everybody but don’t stay, move, that is the formula.
Gurudev I once read in a book called, Autobiography of a Yogi that in the Himalayas there are Yogis who travel from one place to another using some special technique. Is this true? If yes, can we experience it?
Sri Sri: No, there is nothing like this. You go to the Himalayas and search all over but you will not find any such thing.
Can we ask you some rapid fire questions?
Sri Sri: Yes, go ahead.
Who are you?
Good Question to ask yourself.
Who were you in your past life?
That is a secret, I will tell you some other time.
What is and who is God?
What and who is not God.
How should we feel god?
Just be quiet. Don’t worry about him, let him worry about you.
How can the world be violence free and stress free?
By spreading The Art of Living.
What is future of Earth?
Bright with people like you.
What is religion?
Religion is that which puts you in the right track.
What is Truth?
That which cannot be defined and which cannot be avoided.
What is positive and what is negative?
Positive is what elevates you, and negative is what puts you down.
Who is Guru?
One who answers this question.
What is mind?
That which is asking the question.
When you feel tension during studies, just relax. And all students must eat carrots.
Especially those who are wearing spectacles, you need vitamin A and that comes with carrots. So start eating more carrots.
Proper food is very essential. If you eat properly you will not fall sick. We fall sick because we don’t eat well. Most of the time we want to eat food that is tasty, and not that food which is good for the body. We should eat food that is good for the body.
Two to three times a week, take one or two Neem tablets. It is very good for the stomach and the nervous system. Do you know, in Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashram they would keep Neem Chutni every day, because it is good for the mind, the body and the stomach. It also improves the immune system of the body.
Triphala is also good very for the body. All the imbalances in the body get cured with Triphala.
So we must take some of these Ayurvedic medicines, they are good for the body. And we must also do some chanting.
Today, I read in an article that Om is not just a mantra, it is a medicine as well. So we must chant Om every day; at least three times.
Chant Om Namo Narayana or Om Namah Shivaya every day. These are called Maha Mantras. We must chant mantras every day.
So eat good food, use medicine, chant mantras and keep on smiling.
Problems are there in everybody’s life. They come and go. No problem stays forever. So have this faith that I will get whatever I need and keep moving forward.