Q:What is meditation?
Gurudev: A mind that is in the present moment, alert, without agitation, hesitation and anticipation is meditation. A mind that has become no mind and has come back to its source is meditation. In meditation all other organs are in deep rest. Repose in that cool, calm, serene depth of your Being; this is immensely valuable and precious. In meditation, mind is brought back to its source. The first step is to relax, and the last step, also is to relax. Meditation is not going somewhere else; it is diving deep inside.
Q:What are the benefits of meditation?
Gurudev: You don’t get blood pressure and health problems. The mind becomes clear, intuition develops, obstacles and negative influences due to the planets are removed, and problems become small before coming to you. There are many benefits, such as mental peace, happiness, and more.
Q:What is the sign of progress in meditation?
Gurudev: Like the nature when it is steady, there is a peace; when your senses are steady, there is a peace. Meditation can happen where there is harmony in nature and there is harmony in your senses. If your eyes are going all over the place, the mind is not in meditative state. When you are meditating, your senses are steady, your soul also becomes peaceful, your being, your spirit inside becomes steady.
Q:How does one improve one's experience in meditation?
Gurudev: If you are not having good experiences in meditation, then do more seva you will gain merit and your meditation will be deeper. When you bring some relief or freedom to someone through seva, good vibrations and blessings come to you. Seva brings merit; merit allows you to go deep in meditation; meditation brings back your smile
Q:How long should one meditate daily? Is there maybe too much meditation sometimes?
Gurudev: You know our mechanism is like a system, in which after a while you automatically come out. Like sleep, you can't sleep for fifteen hours a day. You sleep six hours, and at the end, when you have had enough rest you wake up. Similarly, there is a biological clock in us that brings us out, so you shouldn't force yourself to go into mediation. So I would recommend twenty minutes, twenty-five minutes a day, should be good enough. You can do it two, three times, but no more than twice, short bits. You are doing twenty minutes, twice, thrice – it will do you good
Q:Meditation calms the mind. It feels good. But in our daily life we have to handle paying bills, parking tickets and other mundane things. How can we do this with the same calm mind without getting irritated or perturbed?
Gurudev: You take a shower in the morning to clean your body. After that you do all the daily activities. You don't have to take showers throughout the day. It is like that. You meditate and calm your mind, then go on with other activities. It is not easy to keep yourself undisturbed, but it will happen as you keep doing the practices regularly. Then it becomes easy.
Q:Why is meditation so boring?
Gurudev: In the beginning it may be boring, but that will change. Stay on. Go step by step. Meditation is resting in yourself, becoming the seer from being the seen.
Q:Is there any maximum limit as to how much we can meditate?
Gurudev: Do only as much as necessary. Meditation is like taking a bath. To wash the mind, you need meditation
Q:I am afraid of so many things especially death. How to overcome fear?
Gurudev: Meditation and knowledge. Only these two things can help you overcome this fear.
Q:Guruji, my mind wanders everywhere. How do I meditate?
Gurudev: Take a stick and start chasing your mind. See where it goes. Chase, keep chasing and you see your mind is so tired that it will come and fall at your feet. Maharshi Patanjali says meditate on everything, meditate on elements, on Rishis, who are out of craving. When you meditate on Rishis who are out of craving, you get into meditation. You get into meditation also when you sit for satsang. But, if you do not sit for santsang with 100%, you look at the ceiling, you look here and there. You have to bring interest yourself; you have to bring the juice (ras/ nectar) yourself. It is already there, you have to see the one behind. The one who puts the juice. I tell you need not do anything it’s all burning for you, and you don't have to light it at all. When you are taking a dip in the Ganges, why do you need to have a tap and a shower? Become effortless. Just know that I am nothing and I don't want anything. But don't start thinking about it continuously, this is also a Maya. That's why Adi Shankaracharya says it is foolish to even think that I am Zero.
Q:What is the distinction between sleep and meditation?
Gurudev: One is vertical another is horizontal. For now, just think that much. But tomorrow when you sit for meditation don’t think about it. You’ll neither be able to meditate nor be able to sleep. Now is the time.
Q:I always go to the sleep while meditating. Does it happen with everybody? What experience do they have? How to solve this?
Gurudev: Don’t worry about the experiences of others. Be with your own experience and the experience varies from time to time. So don’t worry.
Q:Guruji, in my meditation often I feel like doing some harm to the Gods. How do I get rid of such a feelings? What should I do?
Gurudev: You know if it is so compulsive, so obsessive you do it. Just go ahead and do it. But that way you are going to hurt yourself! Hurt your hand! God is not in the statue or the idol in front of you, God is in your heart. We invoke God and bring it to the statue for some moments only and again we place it back in our hearts. Like the Ganapati idol in India, first we invoke the God in the idol, play with that for some time and after all that tell him to come back to us and reside back in our heart!! If such a feeling persists, just observe the sensation. See what is happening within you. You know these types of violent tendencies also come because of the food you eat. All these are the Rajasik tendencies that come from food. Focus on you diet. Stay away from Rajasik food for sometime. Food does matter a lot. Listen to Narada Bhakti Sutra. Rejoice in the self. Be contented.
Q:Why do thoughts come and where do they originate from? Why do the thoughts rule us?
Gurudev: Where do the thoughts come from the mind or body? Close your eyes and think about it. That itself becomes a meditation. Then you will reach the point or space within you from where all the thoughts come. And that is fantastic.
Q:Something about too many thoughts during meditation!
Gurudev: Some irrelevant thoughts may come. Some good or bad thoughts. If you try to chase them they bother you. When they come, allow them to come. Then you will see in a few minutes they disappear
Q:Some people have positive thoughts, while some have negative thoughts. How does one control this?
Gurudev: By keeping a stress-free mind. If you have a stress-free mind, your thoughts will be positive.
Q:Why do I lose my concentration when I meditate?
Gurudev: Concentration is not meditation. Meditation is de-concentration, letting go. Meditation calms the mind. It feels good.
Q:What can make us centered? If we are shaken, how can we come back to ourselves?
Gurudev: Become more hollow and empty. Practice more meditation. Do more seva. Seva brings the merit to go deep in. When you go deep within, the mind becomes fresh, energetic, and intuitive to do more seva.
Q:What is equanimity? What is the significance of silence?
Gurudev: The brain has two sides. The left side is logic and the right side is music. Both are needed to make one whole. If only music is there the brain won’t function properly. If there is only mathematical and logical mind, there will be no feelings and we will be deprived of the finer aspects of life. So, both are needed. When you are endowed with both then it becomes a satsang. Good song is a satsang. Don’t think about what there is in singing, or whom to sing about or why? Just sing, open your mouth, and sing along or sing from the heart. We observe silence only during mourning. But here it’s different. In mourning, we can’t stand silence for more than two minutes. Here it’s inner silence, a joyful silence. Before you go into silence, don’t keep any troubles in the mind, put it in the basket. We are here to calm the mind and when mind is silenced you experience true peace.
Q:Can meditation remove bad Karma?
Q:What is true happiness?
Gurudev: Know the reason of your unhappiness. If you remove it, then there will be happiness. Meditate. Just do the Sudarshan Kriya and you will find out.
Q:Guruji logically there is no reason to be happy. But happy state of mind doesn't follow any logic. Is happiness related to logic?
Gurudev: The whole exercise in life is to balance the head and the heart. When you are too much into head, you should just let go, and relax, sing and dance. You know your sleep is a gift to you. Do you know that? During sleep the mind gets so much of rest! But meditation is the ultimate rest to your mind.
Q:Guruji, how to always keep up with enthusiasm and joy?
Gurudev: Leave ‘always’. If you think of always, then craving comes. If it is always there then you would not even know that it was ever there!! Like you take a dip in a river, you feel cold and when you come out you feel warm, and again do dip in water, you feel cold, and so you experience cold because you experience the warmth. Leave it to the divine. Our nature is joy and enthusiasm. However sometimes it gets clouded, but it can never go. Our consciousness is 'nitya-nutan' (Ever fresh) this is with us forever.
Q:How to retain the positive energy of the ashram in the future?
Gurudev: Yes, by meditating everyday, singing and chanting.
Q:When I am in a group I often feel I don't belong to them. How to overcome this?
Gurudev: That must have been an old pattern. Take a step, take a leap. Tell yourself, 'I will be at home, come what may', and then you be the master of your feelings. Don't let your feelings rule you. When you are in a group, and there is discomfort, this is because of barriers, of the ego. Take a deep breath, watch the discomfort, it will disappear.
Q:On my spiritual path I passed through different traditions. Last year I started to practice Kriya Yoga, and I thought I found my way. Now I am practicing the Sudarshan Kriya. Can I do both practices or should I choose only one? How can I meditate without using the technique from another tradition if I have not done Sahaj Samadhi course yet? Finally, I would really love to stop seeking and changing spiritual practices!
Gurudev: All practices you did in the past led you here. Don't mix practices. When you are in this path, stay. When there is no progress, I, myself, will tell you to move on. It is impossible not to progress here. Continue. Here you have silence and music, seva and fun, wisdom. Every aspect of life is covered, it is so beautiful.
Q:Is it a conscious decision on your part to focus on youth? They are attracted to you in large numbers.
Gurudev: We are not trying to influence anyone, or to specifically attract youth, or anyone else. I am just what I am. If you get inspired by me, well and good. If you are not, then you inspire me! So either you get inspired or you inspire me. This is our attitude, and that of all those who come to us; they also catch on. Smile, or make me smile. Inspire, or get inspired.Enjoyment and celebration are a part of your personality. Fun, joy of life…It is written in the Upanishads, the atman, soul, is satchitanandmayi (complete bliss). Spirituality is not boring. It is the rasa (flavor) of life. Don't make it a serious topic, or it will become just another compartment. Spirituality should be like gossip—casual and intimate.
Q:What is special about this present age, where we see signs of revival of spirituality and meditation everywhere?
Gurudev: Every period is special whenever values come up. Human values make the time special. Celebrations make a time special. What is special about celebration… it is celebration, which makes everything special.
Q:During the Art of Living Basic Course there is a lot of focus on the breath. Why is that?
Gurudev: Our breath plays a very important role in our life. The breath is the connecting link between the inner world of the mind and the outer world of the body and environment. You see, there are seven levels of existence: body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego and the Being. Meditation works by bringing an effect from the level of Being to the mind. With the breath we bring this effect to the physical level as well.
Q:How does one examine a desire?
Gurudev: Examine a desire. Where you were before the desire arose, and where are you after the desire is fulfilled. You’ll realize that it is a merry go-around. You get off from the same place you got in. If the desire is fulfilled, you’ll find that you’re the same. That whole time you’ve been running around…… If the desire is not fulfilled, it leaves you with a little more tension, and stiffness in your Nervous system. See, Masters say different things at different times to suit different ages, different situations, and people. They all have a purpose, and a time and a place. People, who are told that they have no desire-it’s OK-you sleep, eat drink … and that is enough! They won’t even meditate! Or bother to inquire, about life, about truth.
Q:My beloved Guruji, I think I could be dispassionate about everything, but You! How could I ever be dispassionate about You!
Gurudev: A scattered mind can have a focus! If the mind is too scattered, when it “comes to a focus”, then, the next job will be done by nature, automatically! It will happen… and it will happen naturally – this is already happening – Isn’t it? The mind withdraws from all these experiences… You cannot separate the body and the mind. The gross aspect of the mind is the body, and the subtle aspect of the body is the mind. So they withdraw and rest, simultaneously they go into a state of inertia, wherein the knowledge in the mind, in the consciousness, goes to the background – just like what happens as the sun sets. What happens then? Night “comes”… but the sun has not disappeared; it’s “hiding”. In the same way, when the knowledge, the awareness in this life, the consciousness, withdraw and go into another dimension, then, one is overtaken by sleep. That’s why it is called “tamo guna tamasik” (the dark) – Inertia takes over… It has its time… and then wakefulness comes again. The best comparison of the three states of consciousness — waking, sleeping and dreaming — is with the nature. Nature sleeps, awakes and dreams! It happens in a magnificent scale in existence and it is happening in a different scale in this human body. Wakefulness and sleep are like sunrise and darkness. Dream is like the twilight in between.
Q:What do you think is the best education for the soul?
Gurudev: Meditation and compassion.
Q:Whenever I meditate, I feel some vibration.
Gurudev: That’s good. Vibration or sensation is normal. Don’t pay too much attention to it. Experiences change.
Q:What is the way to keep the mind focused on God?
Gurudev: Where there is love, no concentration is required. Suppose you love astronomy, you don't have to make an effort to study astronomy. Concentration is necessary only when you don't love something. You don't require concentration to watch a T.V. serial, because you like it or you are interested in it. Meditation, breathing exercises, and bhajans all these automatically lead to single-mindedness or focus on God.
Q:How to control mind from bad habits?
Gurudev: Mind can not be controlled directly. Only through meditation and pranayama it can be done.