Gurudev, how to live life with absolute confidence that Guru or God is there to take care of me when I have surrendered?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
There is no way you can do it! You simply have to bear the cross. ‘Whatever happens, happens’, just say that and then see what happens.
If you're trying to bring in confidence, it doesn't work at all.
‘I want to keep my faith’, what faith do you want to keep? Throw your faith! You’re trying to keep your faith is such a burden I tell you. Instead say, ‘I don't care!’
If there is faith, it is there. If there is no faith, it is not there, what can you do? It is as simple as that. Even faith is a gift. You cannot try to force faith on your head or your heart.
Sometimes, even when your head, with all its chattering and all its negativity discards faith, still, something in you stirs and pulls you in that direction. Just recognise when this happens. And it does happen.
Someone says, ‘I don't believe in anything’, but still he sits and does his meditation. And if you ask him, ‘Why are you doing meditation?’ He says, ‘Well, something tells me to do it’.
A person says, ‘I don't believe in Guru!’ Yet, when Gurudev comes, he will say, ‘Since I have nothing to do, let me go there’, and he will be there. Something pulls the person, makes him come to the airport, or come to the satsang. What is that?
You decided that you don't have faith, and you tried hard to destroy your faith, or deny that you have any faith, and still, there is something that came along, that didn't allow you to let go. There you must recognise, ‘Yes, faith is there.’
So, faith cannot be imposed, it is there. Once it comes, it stays. If it goes, it makes you miserable. When you become miserable, know that, ‘Faith is gone, that is why I am miserable’. And you don't want to be miserable. So the moment you resolve that ‘I don’t want to be miserable’, then faith continues to stay back.
Faith was there anyway, it just re-surfaces again.
Your trying hard to keep faith, is such a difficult thing.
Sometimes, people feel that they are keeping their faith, just because of God or Guru. For God’s sake, you are keeping faith. Remember that if you don't have faith in God, he doesn't mind. He says, ‘Okay, don't have faith, so what? I am here! If you think I'm not here, you are free to think whatever you want to think.’
Many people say, ‘Oh, I believe so much in God’. So what if you believe so much? Whatever has to happen, will happen.
Our faith is so shallow. Our faith is for comfort, for little things to happen. Our faith, mainly, is to fulfil our own ambitions. If our ambitions are fulfilled, then we say, ‘Oh, I have faith’. If it is not fulfilled, we say, ‘My faith is shaken, I do not have faith’. I tell you, life is much more than ambitions. And faith is even more than life.
Faith remains, and it surfaces when sattva or purity or harmony happens in you. All that you can do is, keep the harmony, and keep your mind clear through proper exercise, food and knowledge. All this will help you grow in that direction.
Gurudev, earlier ignorance was leading me to fear, but now, sometimes, knowledge is bringing me more confusion. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
That is good! The purpose of knowledge is to confuse you again, and again, and again. It is not to bring clarity. At every level of confusion, you jump one more step higher. So, never mind.
When there is no confusion, it is like a ramp walk, where there is no jumping. But sometimes, it is like steps, where you have to leave one step, and go one step higher. And that is when confusion happens.
Now don't ask me, ‘Does that mean that if there is no confusion and I'm clear in my life, then is there no growth? Or am I not progressing? Is knowledge not working for me?’ Nothing like that! You are on a ramp walk, on a cake walk. When that is not there then you are in a Mr. Toad’s wild ride; a bumpy road, and it is good.
Gurudev, what is the meaning of Dakshinamurthy?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Amurtha means that which has no form and cannot be expressed; that which cannot be seen. Lord Shiva, the formless manifestation of infinite space, cannot take a form. It is nearly impossible. Murthy(literally meaning an idol) is that which has a form and can be seen, and Daksha means to be skilful and capable.
So when the Divinity which cannot be expressed, is expressed in a very skilful manner, then that is known as Dakshina.
See, we cannot express all the emotions that we have inside us. So many times, we express our emotions by offering a flower. Through the act offering a flower, we attempt to express our feeling, isn’t it? There is nothing we can give to entirely express what is deep within us, but we still make an effort to give something. That is known as Dakshina.
Dakshinamurthy is that which cannot be seen, yet it is being expressed. That which is beyond expression, yet is still being expressed through form. It is not visible, yet it is seen, and everything is made up of that only.
When that which is infinite and cannot be expressed or manifest, is expressed so skilfully through a form, then that is called Dakshinamurthy.
The Sun is so large and so many miles away from us, but if you see the Sun using a small mirror, you will see the reflection of the sun on the small piece of glass. Though in reality, the Sun is so big, even then you are skilfully able to capture the full reflection of the Sun on a mirror and bring inside your house. This is called Dakshata (skilfulness of intelligence), and that is what it is known as Dakshinamurthy.
Lord Shiva is called the Adi Guru (The Guru present from the beginning of time, and who is beyond time.) He is everything and everywhere, yet He comes in the form of a Guru. So when the infinite comes in the form of a Guru, He is known as Dakshinamurthy.
From ancient times, the main form of the Guru Tattva (divine element or principle) is called Dakshinamurthy. See, the Guru is not a person. It is an energy that is present in the body of a Guru; that energy is called Dakshinamurthy. It is the Divine, omnipresent, infinite, guiding wisdom, which is un-manifest and yet manifests.
So Lord Shiva is called Dakshinamurthy, the Adi Guru. This is how the story goes. Lord Shiva sat silently. He is portrayed as a young boy, with elderly disciples sitting before Him seeking knowledge. As soon as they sat before Him, in silence, they all received the knowledge, and all their questions disappeared. His discourse was in silence. That means their energy got uplifted. That is the Guru principle. The original Guru, from where all knowledge and wisdom began, is called Dakshinamurthy.
So, in a very skilful way, the inexpressible divinity is expressed. That is the whole essence of Dakshinamurthy.
Gurudev, what is the significance of Kali standing on top of Shiva?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Kali is symbolic of enormous transformative energy; energy of destruction. When that stood on the Shiva Tattva, it became Bhadrakali, which means, the energy which only brings benevolent results.
The whole thing is symbolic; it implies the energy that brings benevolent results only.
Shiva is the transcendental state; it means one who brings only benevolence and good to the world. So when Kali, an enormous, destructive power was in rage; in that moment, Shiva came and lay down. As soon as she stepped on him, Kali’s power got controlled, channelized and became benevolent. So, even if there is destruction, it should be benevolent.
See, when you want to bring down old buildings, what do you do? You put dynamite under the building, and then the building comes down, isn't it? One destroys something, to create something new. So to destroy for a good cause, for benevolence, is very much different from destruction out of anger, jealousy, hatred and ignorance.
It is like atomic energy that is produced when an atom is destroyed. However, if the energy is not channelized or utilised properly, it can be very destructive. When it is channelized, it is used to bring electricity, light, and many comforts.
It is the same with electricity, which as such is a destructive energy. Where high-power electricity is being generated, if you get come in contact with it, then you will be destroyed in no time. But, when electricity is used for a benevolent cause, through wires and transformers, it brings the energy down, and makes it available and useful for public.
Similarly, Kali’s energy was the energy of destruction; when it opened up to destroy evil things, it was so powerful. So Shiva lay down to channelize it and make it benevolent, to protect the universe.
Shiva always does that which is good for the whole world, the whole universe; he even drank poison. There is a mythological story. When the Devas (good forces) and Asuras (daemonic forces) were churning the Ocean of Milk, what came out first was poison. When the poison came up, it was Shiva who took it and drank it. As he drank the poison, his throat became blue. So, he is called Neelakanta; the beautiful one with the blue throat. That is how the story goes in Hindu mythology.
Kali also means knowledge; knowledge of transformation. When Kali stood on auspiciousness, on the benevolence of Shiva, it brought goodness to the world. Thus, the same energy became so benevolent, and Kali then became such a benevolent blesser that she blessed the universe with knowledge. So, she is also called Bhadrakali, one who always does good.
Dear Gurudev, if every formless is Shiva and every form is Shakti, then what is breath, which is both form and formless?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, the formless is Shiva and the form is Shakti. You can define it in any manner.
Prana (life force energy obtained from breath) is also known as Mukhyaprana.
Hanuman is connected with prana, air (Vayu Tattva) is connected with prana, Omkar is connected with prana. So everything is prana in the universe. We are in an ocean of prana, and prana is both Shiva and Shakti.
A point comes where you cannot distinguish between Shiva and Shakti. The border vanishes, it becomes invisible. Shiva and Shakti become one. That is when it is called Brahman, which means it is all one; there is no second.
Advaita means, no second, no two (even to count to one, there must be two. That is why it is said, ‘There are no two things, just one’). It is one field of energy. Nothing other than that exists. Advaita means non-dual, it is the non-dual power in the universe.
This is the ultimate knowledge, i.e., non-dual, there are no two things. The whole universe is made up of one thing.
When you come one step below; it is like Quantum Physics. One more step below, and then it is like the Periodic Table in Chemistry. Do you know the Periodic Table? You have different elements, different aspects; these are all the different devas and devatas (specific divine energies).
Krishna says, ‘The desire that is not opposed to Dharma, is me.’ Can you please tell us how to identify which desires are in alignment and which are opposed to Dharma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The desires which are common, natural, and do not produce any guilt, fear or discomfort in you, or take you away from your naturalness is called Dharmic (in line with Dharma). Anything that shakes you, burns you, or makes you uncomfortable; the discomfort in that desire indicates that it is not Dharma. If it is Dharmic, it is very comfortable. If it is not Dharmic, then there is fear, guilt, or discomfort in the desire.
What is real seva? How can my every action become seva?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Seva mean, doing like him. ‘Him’ means the creator. He does everything for you and he doesn't expect anything from you. So to do whatever you can, not expecting anything in return; is called seva.
There is definitely a payoff. There is certainly a return from that, but when you're expecting the result, it doesn't become seva. Without expecting anything, wanting anything, just do for doing sake is called seva.
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