Q: Why do we do Paad Pooja (an ancient Indian ritual of welcoming a guest by washing his feet with water and flowers)? What is the significance of Paad Pooja? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: n the olden days when we received an honored guest in our house, then we used to wash their feet.
They would have come walking and there would be dirt on their feet, so the first thing we did was to wash their feet. This was to express our humility towards them (vinamrata).
Sometimes when the guest comes to our house, we honor them by garlanding them or giving them flowers, or a bouquet. Once upon a time this practice was prevalent all over the world to welcome a guest.
It is customary in India
to touch the feet and take
blessings. But it is not true
that energy or vibrations
come out only from the feet,
it comes out from all over
the body. The same benefit
comes from the vibrations
of sight, and of words. This
is the essence of blessings.
The reason behind washing of the feet of the elderly was also that the hands and feet give out energy. That is why people would ask one another, ‘Please place your hands on my head and give me blessings.'
It is customary in India to touch the feet and take blessings. But it is not true that energy or vibrations come out only from the feet, it comes out from all over the body. The same benefit comes from the vibrations of sight, and of words. This is the essence of blessings.
Simply by thinking about elders we get blessings.
Through thoughts, words, sight and then by touch (sparsha) we get blessings. Through darshan, sparshan, drishti we get blessings. However, you should not say, ‘Gurudev, please touch my head and give me blessings properly.'
Nowadays there are some devotees who try to even teach the Guru how to bless.
Grace and blessings come automatically. It is not necessary that you should touch my feet, or ask me to put my hand on your head. Just assume that you have received the blessings by getting Darshan, or hearing the voice.
You know, you can sit anywhere and ask for blessings in your mind, and you will receive blessing.
This is how Shraadh (tradition of honoring the ancestors) is done. We sit and remember those who have crossed over to the other side (expired) and pray to them to give us blessings. And just by thinking in this way, we receive the vibrations.
You may ask me how is that possible. Tell me, how does Kama Vasana (lust) get aroused? Just by thinking such thoughts, isn't it?! Hormones are then secreted in excess in the body.
How do you get angry? Just by thinking.
How does hatred come? By thinking about others whom you dislike. You think about those who you don't like and your body begins to quiver.
How does fear come? By thinking.
So, if by thinking, lust can come, anger can come, fear can come, hatred can come, then can blessing also not come just by thinking? Are blessings so ineffective, or do you think that you have to work so hard to get blessings? No! You don't need to do anything. Just by thinking you get blessings.
This is why it is said in many religious texts like the Durga Saptashati, that just by reading the text you will be happy. The idea behind this is that just by being in the thoughts of the Divine one receives blessings. This is how it happens.
So whenever you feel grateful just think that blessings have certainly come along with it.
Q: It is said that one get everything from surrender; then is it right to understand that those who have not got everything have not surrendered completely? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: One should think carefully before asking for everything also.
If you ask for everything, it will include both the good and the bad. Joy, sorrow, problems, all these are included in everything. All these are part of life.
Grace and blessings
come automatically. It is
not necessary for you to
touch my feet, or ask me
to put my hand on your
head. You know, you can
sit anywhere and ask for
blessings in your mind, and
you will receive blessing.
See, there is no clarity in your mind. You don't even clearly know what you want. One day, sit comfortably somewhere and think about what you really want.
You have dozens of wants and your mind gets caught up with them; this is not right. Have one want and focus on that. There is no one who can say that none of his desires have been fulfilled. Also there is no one who can say that all his desires have been 100% fulfilled.
The more the Sattva, the more fulfillment comes, and work that you undertake gets accomplished.
The more you are in a joyful state, that much more of your work get completed.
The lesser your cravings for your desires to get fulfilled, the more your desires get fulfilled.
If you sit with new desires every minute then, our consciousness which is like a computer, gets confused - like how you commonly call it, ‘it hangs’ and abruptly stops working.
Even in your cell phone, if you initiate too many operations all at once it will stop working. Just like a cell phone, our consciousness is like a big computer. That is why desiring is also an art, and having your desires fulfilled is also an art.
Furthermore, being able to have desires fulfilled even without desiring is an even bigger art. This is what is called Siddhi (extraordinary or perfected ability).
How many of you here have experienced that before you desire, your needs are being met? (Many raise their hands in the audience).
See, so many Siddhas (perfected ones) are sitting here. Everyone is raising their hands. Even before you desire, if all your work is being done then it is worth praising.
Q: Gurudev you have said that being alive after getting enlightenment (bodh) was the tapasya(penance or austerities) of King Janak. Is it possible to do tapasya even after enlightenment? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I said that after getting enlightened, doing bhog (indulging or engaging the senses) is tapasya. I did not talk about living after enlightenment. Before enlightenment Yog is tapasya and after enlightenment Bhog is tapasya.
Q: The various vehicles of the Shiv Parivar, i.e., the family of Shiva are mortal enemies – like the Lion and the Bull, the Snake and the Mouse, etc. What is the secret behind this? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Opposite values are complementary. Everyone is united wherever Shiva is present. Wherever spirituality grows, all different kinds of people come together. Wherever there is Shiva-tattva or Guru-tattva there will not be just one kind of people, but various kinds of people will be found there living together in harmony. This is the specialty.
Just by being in the
thoughts of the Divine
one receives blessings.
This is how it happens.
So whenever you feel
grateful, know that
blessings have definitely
come along with it.
Q: I have heard that in Kali Yuga, Tamas will be wide-spread; but for a Saadhak it will be a very good time. How can a time when Tamas is dominant be good for a Saadhak? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, when you have become a Saadhak (spiritual seeker) then consider all times as auspicious and beneficial . Both happiness and sorrow have its purpose. One should consider all types of situations as conducive and think of them as ingredients contributing towards your Sadhana.
Q: Gurudev, when your grace is present equally for everyone, then why do some Saadhaks have to struggle a lot while some don't? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All are not the same. God has not made the same prototype. There are different types of people, with different capacities, upbringing and thought-processes and carrying different Samskaras (impressions).
When you are considering yourself a Saadhak, don't compare yourself with anyone. Consider yourself incomparable. Everyone should consider themselves incomparable. When we compare ourselves with others we start looking outwards, and then we get tangled in cravings and aversions and lose ourselves in the mess.
Q: Gurudev, you are antaryami, you know everything. Please answer the question in which is my mind. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I will give its answer there itself, in your mind.
If there was only one question in your mind it would be different, but there are so many, it is like a chain of questions in your mind.
Just be calm and relax. You will see that you will get all your answers automatically.
Q: Gurudev, how were the Purusha and Prakriti born? What is the relationship between the two? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now, I do not know when their birth took place. In fact, I do not know if they were ever born in the first place. They have existed since time immemorial.