Divine and worldly dispensation are one and the same, they are not discrete. God is inseparable from this world. He is all permeating. Sarvam khalvidam Brahma – All of this is Brahman.
If you stick your hand in a fire, you get burnt instantly. However, if you sow a mango seed or a coconut seed, in the ground, it takes 4-6 years to bear fruit. Similarly, there are some actions whose consequences are immediate and there are some actions with a delayed outcome. If your grandfather/forefather toils for 20 years to set up a factory, who will enjoy the fruits of his labour – you will! Applying the same logic, karma and its consequences are eternal and beyond comprehension. Some karma can be resolved only by dealing with the consequences, whereas the outcome of some karma can be modified / modulated.
For example, while preparing a meal, the proportion of ingredients can be adjusted with respect to one another. However, once cooked it cannot be reverted back to its uncooked state. Similarly, what your height is today is praarabdha karma(karma that cannot be changed), but your current body-weight can be changed (reduced/increased). That is why doing dhyaan (meditation), japa(chanting), havan(sacrificial fire), daan (charity) helps in changing your karma.
Having an attitude of gratefulness for all that we have received in life also resolves karma. Do not criticize or condemn anyone. However, on the path of Self-knowledge forget about your sins and merits, and just relax and be happy. The more relaxed we are, the more spontaneously (naturally) things get done.
When we were building the ashram, I did not seek advice from a Vaastu consultant. Several years later, some Vaastu specialists commented on how all structures were in their proper place with respect to one another. Our consciousness itself is Shaastra, so if we listen to our consciousness, our intuition, we will function in accord with nature.
Suppose you have no knowledge of electronics, but you need to tackle an electronics issue, you intuitively play around with the wires, and eventually the problem gets resolved. Many people have experienced this. Once I was going from London to Birmingham where I was scheduled to give a talk. This happened more than twenty years ago. Birmingham is a big city. One gentleman realized an hour after we had left London that he had forgotten to obtain the address or the directions to the venue in Birmingham. There were no cell phones then. So I decided to intuitively guide him, telling him to take this turn here and that turn there, until we reached the street in Birmingham on which the venue was located!
Shaastra is not a book, you yourself are the Shaastras. If you study your consciousness, your mind, that is what is in the Shaastra. This is how the knowledge of Vaastu Shaastra, Ayurveda, etc came into being. Dance, music, art, science, have all emerged from the consciousness of the spirit, through meditation. So meditation is supreme.
In the West it is known as intuition. Intuition means that which is ‘right’. This power is within everyone.
This time of the year, it is cold and nature is still and silent. It is darker and there is lesser and lesser activity, and in the middle of all this, springs the celebration.
When the sun is there, there is so much activity. But at that time of the year when there is very little sun, when there is very little activity, when nature is sleeping and when everything has gone into hibernation; in that still and quiet night, springs the celebration with lights, joy and love, and that is Christmas. So it is an outer symbolism of an inner phenomenon.
Inside also, when you are still and quiet, and you are hibernating, then from there comes up the message of love. Stillness brings the message of love.
In activity you are busy. In activity you are looking outward, but in stillness you are looking inward. In activity you are extroverted, but in stillness you are always introverted, and love spring from going within, from looking inside. That is why it is said:
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bring
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
The small mind is like a child, it is always crying and grumbling, and it is dependent like a child. The big mind is like the mother. The little mind sleeps in the lap of the big mind, the little self sleeps in the lap of the universal self, and that is heavenly peace.
Heavenly peace is not outside, or somewhere up in the skies. Heaven is when the small mind rests in the lap of the big mind.
When the small mind is away from the big mind, then there is chaos, confusion and hell. Then when the small mind starts crying, it runs to the big motherly mind, and there it sleeps in heavenly peace. That peace is the real peace.
Good, isn't it? Today you have gotten a different meaning (of Silent Night). Now it is not just an incident at some point of time, but an eternal message. You can draw an eternal message from this hymn. 'Holy' is when the mother and child are together.
This is our Christmas message: when the individual self sleeps in the lap of the cosmic self, then there is heavenly peace.
Tomorrow, you also do this: you put your small mind into the lap of the big mind, and that is meditation. Mother and child in heavenly peace is meditation.
On Christmas, there are also a lot of gifts. When the child is with the mother what comes up? Lots of gifts! Unless we bring spirituality to the world, there will be no peace, there will be no prosperity, and there will be no happiness. Don't you also think so?
When you love a person with an intention to gain something from him or her, and then such kind of love is definitely going to get finished. But instead if there is a deep feeling to give and to do something for the other one, then such a love will never come to an end. If all you think about is ‘What will I get from this person?’, then you are always in a race or struggle to get something from them in the name of love. Such a love will surely come to an end someday or the other.
But if you are the one who gives, and thinks about how to give comfort to other one, then such a love endures over time. If you think, ‘How can I keep my husband or wife happy?’ then that love can stay. Also, this thought should come from both the partners. Only then will the love never end between the two. Both of them should have the same goal in life. When the two lines go in opposite directions to each other, they will cross (meaning that there will be conflict or struggle to maintain love). But when they move together and stay focused on each other, and move towards a common goal, then the love will go on forever.
When egos are there, they do clash. There is no way out. When there is wisdom, you will rise above any small-minded attitude, bickering and judgements.
You judge people all the time, and if you turn back and look at your own judgements, I tell you, 80 to 90% of the time, they will be wrong. Sometimes people send some messages and before the other person gets it, they retract it. How many of you have done that? You type a message to send to someone, and something tells you that this is not okay and so you retract it. How many of you do this? This shows how poor your judgements are.
We create a huge cloud around what is not even close to truth, and it has happened to you so many times in the past. You hold grudges against people, you have concepts about people and you get yourself trapped into it. You must wake up from this. You know, if your time is good, your worst enemy behaves like a friend, and if your times are bad, your closest friend behaves like an enemy. So, your luck or time is totally responsible for your friends and enemies. Your karma is responsible for what you go through. So, you should take your mind away from judging others and bring it to yourself.
Often people who complain that others have a big ego, have a big ego themselves. Often those who complain others are rude, you will see somewhere inside, they are rude. You should reflect on yourself. See, you can’t correct others but others give you a chance to correct yourself.
We fast not to please the Divine, but to cleanse our body. You overwork your liver, stomach and pancreas so much. If there was a labor court for the body, all these organs would have complained against you in that court. We don’t allow them to rest at all. We drink and eat the whole day until night, and we overwork our system. They do need some rest and for that you need to fast.
God is not going to be pleased by your fasting. It is more to detox your own body. And why fasting is combined with prayer all over the world and in all religions, is because when you are fasting, you are detoxified and your prayer becomes authentic and deep. Your meditation happens best when your stomach is empty. Isn’t that your experience?
If you meditate on a full stomach, you will fall asleep. That is why it is said, you can say your prayers when you are fasting as your body is detoxified and your mind is rested and alert.
Just think of your own classrooms. In which period do you feel very alert? First few sessions, or just before lunch. If you have had a heavy breakfast the first session can be boring. And when do you feel heavy and dull? Right after lunch!
When I was in college, I also used to sit and sleep because I had had some nice food, and that too with yogurt. At that time, classes are like a burden. Nobody taught us in those days that food has an impact on our mind. Nobody taught us not to eat these particular things during the day.
Do you know what is the worst punishment? Give someone curd and rice, and don’t let them sleep. It is so difficult. So, our fasting has an impact on our alertness, and our mind which is why in all the religions of the world, be it Islam, Christianity, Hinduism or Jainism, fasting has been followed. But it is only for the body not to please God.
A drop of water on a hot plate takes little time to disappear. It makes some noise and it evaporates.Gratitude in our life seems to disappear even faster. We seem to forget how much we have grown, how much we have received. The mind seeks more and more. And in every wanting of more and more, it forgets the past very easily.So gratitude arises in everybody, but disappears very soon. Today we cannot say that no one is grateful. Everyone is grateful, but for the moment and then it is finished.
Grace is that gratitude which can remain all the time.
It is like the snow in the Himalayas that stays throughout the year. It doesn’t just fall and disappear. Whatever falls on the highest peak stays.
When there is gratitude, complaints disappear. When complaints arise, gratitude disappears, gratefulness disappears. When there is a complaint in the mind, there is discontent, frustration, dejections, depression. All that follows. If you are not grateful, then you will start complaining. You will find fault. Even if there is none, you will try to see it. You will find it. Your mind will do it for you. You won’t even need to try hard. Your mind can easily pick it up. This is the lower journey. Gratitude is the plateau, the middle. And as you rise above that, there is grace.
When the gratitude in you, stays, that very gratitude flows out of you as grace.
Wherever you see divine grace flowing, there you will find gratitude. Just relax and be confident at all times. But at the same time, also be wise and practical. You should not think, “Oh! I have abundance of Grace in my life”, and then put your hand in a burning fire. If you do so then naturally your hands will get burnt. Being confident (of Grace) does not in any way mean losing awareness and being impractical. Also, feeling secure and confident should not make you passive and lethargic in life that you end up doing nothing. You should not become irresponsible. Do your job sincerely and attend to all your duties and responsibilities wholeheartedly. Leave the rest to God with faith.
1. Lack of communication. 2. Lack of trust towards the other, with whom there is a communication break-down. 3. High levels of stress, and an inability of perceive or listen to the other’s point of view. 4. Religious indoctrination. If a child grows up believing that only he is going to heaven, and everybody else is going to hell, he is going is create hell for everyone around him or her. We need a de-radicalization. Radicalization is one of the main issues in conflict zones. 5. Vested interests of certain people. When conflicts become a cash cow because of the vested interests of certain people, then any amount of sense or wisdom does not work because all that appears to such a person is ‘There is a conflict, and I am getting money from this conflict, so I want to keep the conflict going on’.
Non-violence is a principle which is most needed today. Sometimes it appears to be a utopia. We are all here in Norway which is so peaceful and non-violence. Human rights and acceptance of diversity is so high over here. We need to see what we can do to bring these principles to the rest of the world; how we can promote and establish them! This is something that the intellectuals and decision makers of the world have to come up with.
Coming to the topic of Terrorism, we need to educate all those children who have been wrongly indoctrinated with the idea that ‘Only I will go to heaven, everybody else is going to go to hell’. We need to give them multi-cultural and multi-religious education. This is essential! UNESCO must take up this project of providing all children with multi-religious education. Children should know a little bit about all the religions of the world so that they grow up with a broad perspective and with wisdom, rather than having a narrow mind-set.
India has been a victim of terrorism for several years. The same is the case with Pakistan. Unless we all unite and fight against terrorism and poverty, there is no hope for the world. On this note, people all over the world, anyone who is sensible, who believes in justice and freedom, has to raise his voice against terrorism and fight terrorism.
The reformers and rulers have to move together. Being a reformer is the role of spiritual leaders, religious leaders and NGOs. There are a lot of NGOs in the world who can play a big role in all the conflict zones. We can go and meet people in these areas and speak to them; they are all part of us, they are not a different species, but just victims of misunderstanding, with lack of a proper understanding of the others and ridden with fear. Inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. If we can reach out to them, we can have a better world. A two-way approach is needed – humanitarian approach along with political dialogue. The humanitarian approach is needed to help them get rid of stress and tension, look at life from a broader perspective and realize that the peace you are looking for is deep within you.
What is a lie? Something which keeps changing is called a lie. If you said something yesterday, and today you say something else, then that is called a lie.
Now what is truth? Truth is that which is unaffected by time. Something which remains constant and unchanging through the three phases of time (past, present and future) is what is truth.
If you look around and see, everything is changing. The way you were yesterday, or ten years back, you are not the same today. In a year’s time, every cell in our body changes.
So, when I say ‘Everything is a lie’, it means everything is changing.
Now, when you understand that everything is changing, then there must be some reference point which doesn't change, through which you can know that everything is changing. And what is that reference point? That reference point is you.
If everything in you changes, then how can you say ‘I have changed’? If everything in you changes then you have become another person itself. So, you need some reference point for change to be observed, otherwise you can't even know change. There is something in you that is not changing, but what is this that is not changing is not very clear.
We usually say, ‘I went to this school 20 years back’, or, ‘I did this job 25 years back’, but who was that person? Even if you look at a picture of you taken around 20 years back, you will not find much resemblance. Your body, mind, intellect, thoughts, feelings, everything has changed. But certainly, there is something which has not changed because of which you can notice this change. That is why I say, first identify the changes that are happening within you. Once you identify these changes, then slowly you will be able to identify that what is not changing. And once you identify that which is not changing, then you will realize ‘This is what I am, this is what I have been searching for.’
Put yourself in the shoes of the person you hate. A youth came to me once and said, “I hate my uncle, I cannot stand him”. I said, “Okay, you can continue to hate him, but before that, just for half an hour, behave and act like your uncle”. So for half an hour he acted like his uncle and suddenly he came and said, “You know Gurudev, I feel different now”. So, put yourself in the shoe of the person whom you hate.
Secondly, why do you hate the person? Is it for what they are doing? If they are doing horrible things, either they are ignorant or they are stressed. By hating them, can you change them? People make mistakes and you hate them? Why do you hate them, because they make some mistakes? By hating a person who makes mistakes, can you correct them? No, you cannot correct them when you hate them. Do you want them to be corrected? Yes. So what is the way? Not hating them but by educating them. This is necessary.
People like ISIS, they hate everybody and people hate them. By hating we cannot change them and they cannot change us. They also do not know this. Their idea is to change everybody. We hate them because they are doing such heinous crimes. But by hating will they change? No. Not hating them but educating them.
The young children need to be educated before they get into this kind of mind set. That’s why, harmony in diversity should be part of the education. We need to educate the mind because all crime begins here in the upper chamber. To educate someone you need to have compassion.
See, in your life, you come across many people who think differently, and you want them to change, and by you wanting them to change they do not change. When you say what they are doing is hurting you, so please do not hurt me, they do not change so easily. But when you tell them what they are doing hurts them, and so they should change, that will be much more effective. So love can transform the world, compassion can change the world and this is our experience.
Everything is changing and that change is meaningful. Everything is changing, and there is something which is not changing. And the changing and non-changing are two sides of the same coin. The non-changing has become the changing, that is the meaning of it. If you are confused, that means you got it (laughter). If you feel you have understood it, then you have not got it.
Keep the aspiration for higher knowledge. Be content, happy and yet have aspiration for higher knowledge. These are two opposite things – one side is contentment and on the other side is longing for higher knowledge.
If you are simply longing for higher knowledge without any contentment, then you will go all over the place, you will go spiritual shopping and hear and do so many things and get thoroughly confused.
If you have only contentment and you feel ‘I have learnt it all’, then you will allow the passion for knowledge to die out. The skill that you need to develop is to keep the passion for knowledge, and at the same time maintain the contentment; a balance – this is the bicycle that you have to ride!
Longing or craving with frustration will do you no good. The scriptures very clearly say this. If you are longing, craving and running with frustration, you will get more frustrated. You won’t get anywhere. At the same time, if you are contented, inert and laid back, and you think, ‘Anyways whatever has to happen will happen. Anyways it is all karma’, then too, you will not get anywhere.
In India this is what has happened. When it comes to doing something good, people say, “God willing, it will happen”. To do anything wrong, we don’t say, “If God is willing let it happen”.
When I was in Israel, they showed me two groups of people – one group of society are working hard. The other side of the society keeps saying,” If God willing it will happen”, and they haven’t ploughed the field at all. Nothing is growing on the field.
On the other side, the people are finding innovative ways of farming through drip irrigation, and other things, and they are growing.
In India also, it is like this. People say, “If God calls me to do meditation, then I will come.” You think God is going to call you, “Come, do meditation.”
So this is a sense of contentment with no passion. And there are some who have passion with no contentment. Both are two extremes. But the one who succeeds will have passion and contentment, together.
If you look at Mahatma Gandhi’s life, this was there – he was content at every step and he had passion as well. He would do satsang every day, meditate, listen to the Bhagavad Gita. Contentment and passion was both part of his routine. You will also see this in all those who are successful.
(To the crowd attending the satsang): Keep in mind, that you already have both contentment and passion. I see the contentment in all your faces, and it is because you have passion that you are all here. So, don’t doubt yourself. If you have no passion, you wouldn’t come here. You have all the virtues. You don’t have to cultivate any of these. Go with this confidence!
The pain is good will make you very creative. It will bring out the poet from within you, or it will make you an artist. It can also bring out the sevak in you. It can bring out the warrior in you. You have so many good qualities, and longing will bring them all out.
There was one generation of Masters who were very tough. Tough in the sense, if you desire something, that will not happen. They would nip desire in the bud.
If the you would say. “I want to go to California”, then forget about it, you will never go to California. To come to a state of no-mind, they would use this tactic of crushing every desire that would arise. At some point of time you would have to give-up, and then you go to the no-mind state when you are unconditionally happy.
If you would go to them and say, “Oh, I have this problem”, they would say, ”It’s your karma, bear it. You must have done something terrible, so experience it and finish it off”. That was the attitude – no compassion. Just imagine if there is no compassion, then what do you need to do? You have to stand up.
A creeper needs a tree to stand up, but a tree doesn’t need another tree to stand up. So, they would completely destroy all that is delicate in you. If you are emotional, they would take a hammer. If you complain, they would say, ‘Let it be’. If you say, “Some people are blaming me”. They would say, “Yes, more people should blame you”. They would push all your buttons and make you so numb to everything in the world, till you realize that everything is nothing. It was a very tough journey. I don’t think anyone of you can survive for even one day, it was such a tough atmosphere.
All that you identify yourself as would be simply ripped off. It was a long and tough journey. which very few could survive. And there would be a millions chances to doubt and run away, only the very strong could survive such conditions.
In The Art of Living, we have taken a complete 180 degree turn and adopted a completely different route. Here we say, “What is your desire? Okay, let it be fulfilled”. Sometimes I wonder, “Am I making everyone weak?” But there is no option. At least this has put you on the path of knowledge.
I see you all are growing. Everyone is growing but I tell you, don’t get stuck in small little things. This world is Maya. There are always some issues that will prop up in life. You will have some excuse or some incidences to worry about. When such things come, you have to remember that this is all Maya, this is all ephemeral, this is all impermanent and stand up.
Your wants and desires are getting fulfilled. For some people it takes longer time, for some people it happens in a shorter time, and for some people it happens immediately. Many times, we only have put thought-constraints in our own mind. We put the sankalpa and we put the vikalpa as well. And to come out of this mess I don’t see any other path which is as effective as ours right now. If I find something better, I will myself ask you to do it. But the other generations of masters were very different.
The debate on ‘why is it good to be a vegetarian’ has been settled long back.
The internet is full of information on why eating meat is not good for both one’s own health or the environment. For example, according to US Department of Agriculture, 70 per cent of food poisoning is caused by meat, including exposure to arsenic. Another research says production of one kilogram of beef is responsible for as much carbon dioxide emission as by driving 250 km in a car.
There is plenty of disturbing footage also available on what treatment animals are subject to in slaughterhouses, like the documentary ‘Meet your Meat’. They are injected with hormones so that they grow faster and add more bulk. All these chemicals then end up in the bodies of people who eat this meat. But their system cannot take these chemicals and they eventually turn into cancers and other immune system disorders. The milk from these animals is also toxic and is rejected by the consumers’ biology. In fact, large number of cases of lactose intolerance and diseases among meat eaters was what gave birth to the vegan movement.
Our teeth are not pointed and our intestines are much longer than our bodies, very much like herbivores. Carnivores have short intestines through which meat passes easily. It passes through our intestines much more slowly and is very heavy to digest, sometimes taking up to 72 hours. In this time, it rots and ferments in our bodies. Vegetarian food, on the other hand, is digested within a few hours.
Ethically, environmentally and health-wise, it is a wise choice to be a vegetarian.
The only reason that people still continue to eat meat is that they are driven by cultural habit or craving for taste.
The way to overcome this craving is to make small time-bound commitments in the beginning and then gradually increasing it, like deciding not to have meat for a week, then two weeks and so on. People have also found ways to use tofu and other forms of soya to cook ‘mock meat’ which tastes identical to real meat. We have also observed that with the practice of meditation and pranayama, one’s taste changes on its own and the body begins to ask for food that is conducive to keep it light and moves away from foods that make it otherwise. Many people have become vegetarian on their own after doing our workshops.
However, today with a massive global consumer base, producing meat is a highly profitable business. So, there is a big lobby that does not want people to be educated on the harmful effects of meat and become vegetarian. In India, the issue of vegetarianism also assumes religious connotations and therefore, becomes political.
Food being an essential part of any lifestyle, people would like to have the right to exercise their freedom in making a choice; arguing or forcing anyone will not work. The right way is to make people aware and then let them choose for themselves. It may take some time but everybody realizes sooner or later that short term gratification is not worth the long term troubles it brings. Quality of life is enhanced when we make choices that are life-supporting.
Being vegetarian does not just help one’s own life flourish but also that of other beings.