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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Questions and Answers

May 29, 2004
Private Talk - Istanbul / Turkey

It is not only in meditation that this happens. Many times, even in your sleep or when you are sitting very freely and relaxed, your mind gets into meditation without your knowledge. You sometimes cross that barrier of time, suddenly you are in a different time and then you get confused. You get up but you have the impressions of what you have seen. It might be about the future. Currently it doesn’t make sense but when the time gets there, you suddenly say “I know it”. You had seen it one month ago but it didn’t make any sense at that time. If the mind was aware of the past, present and the future, then the mind would get mad. Things would be confused, and you would get disturbed. That’s why it is a safety mechanism that our mind works in. In a mental person, the past, present and the future are all together and he gets confused and becomes a mental patient. It is fortunate that we have our perception of now, not the future. When all the possibilities get in your mind, you become schizophrenic.
You see the mirage. The mirage is not real, but seeing the mirage is real. Even a person who knows the signs behind the mirage and knows that it cannot exist, continues to see the mirage.
Do the Yogis who have supernatural powers know that the world is not real? Is this why they can do such things?
The physical reality follows certain laws. I can only create an illusion that I am flying. I can cerate an illusion and you will all think that I am flying. So it is rather a hypnosis rather than Yoga. I can hypnotize you in such a way that you will think I am flying in the air. God first created the laws, and then the laws became the objects. Burning comes first, and then it becomes fire. If a Yogi denies the fire burning, that means he is denying God. You can not deny the God’s laws. The creation is based on laws.
Are the paranormal powers also an illusion?
It says in Bhagavat Gita that if I have a desire to do something, then the good powers help me to improve my activity. Many times, such things appear to be happening out of nowhere. Let me give an example. One time, I wanted to go to Romania. Romanian Embassy rejected my Visa. I was already in Germany then. There was a great desire from the people there that I should go to Romania. Then somehow Romanian Embassy in Germany calls me and tells me that they will give me Visa. But it was too late, and didn’t have time to go and get the Visa. They told me to come and get my Visa even if it is midnight. So I got my Visa at 23:00. How did this happen? In fact it was a miracle. The taught of me willing to go and do some good things over there made this happen. This willingness goes to their minds and then they go ahead and do it.
Is this kind of like hypnosis?
No it is not very much like hypnosis. These vibrations are already there, you are just catching them.
In Karma principle, it is said that if you think everything positively, then good things will happen. If everything is there already, just by positive thinking, you can pick the good ones for yourself.
The people who take drugs know where they can get drugs in a city first time they get there. They immediately pick up the vibrations and they interact. If you have a good heart, people with good heart will come to you, almost like accidental. Actually it is because the good vibes are attracting the good vibes of the other.
But even if you have a good heart, if the other person doesn’t have that good vibes, then there is no way you can change her. There are even husbands and wives like this.
Then they quarrel and get separated afterwards. If you and I are thinking in different ways, we can be together for some time but after that we separate. There is no need to match 100%. The important aspects’ matching is enough to spend a life time with that person. We might be matching with somebody else in different aspects. A wife might be matching spiritually with somebody else.
Doesn’t that bring competition?
You should not feel that it is a competition. You should feel that it is what you need. If you think of it this way, then you never feel competition.
There are so many girls close to me. They are married but their husbands do not worry that my presence in the women’s lives is going to affect their presence in their wives’ lives.
What is the difference between the schizophrenic people and us? May be we are all dreaming. How can we be sure that this world is real? There is a book of Swami Krishnananda in which he says that this world is a dream. His student asks him that the world look so real and how it could be unreal. He answers: “when you are dreaming, you never know that you are dreaming. Only after waking up, you can say that you are dreaming”. This is the analogy he was making.
We should understand one thing. For a person who is dreaming, the dream is very real. When he wakes up, a consciousness looks at the dream and says that it was a dream. The inside consciousness in a dream, also becomes dream. When I look from the wakeful consciousness, my dream consciousness becomes a dream itself. Then the whole world becomes unreal. When I rise from the world consciousness to soul, then this world becomes unreal. But before that, my being in this world becomes unreal. It is not right if I consider myself real, but the world I live in unreal. We know that what we lived was a dream because we have experienced another consciousness other than the dream consciousness. Only when you are in the awake consciousness can you tell that the dream was unreal. So you have to identify yourself as out of the dream consciousness to be able to do that.
When you meditate, you realize that this world is not real. But afterwards you go ahead and continue to live in this world. That means that you don’t have to reject your dream consciousness. You still know that there is a dream.
I know that I had a dream last night, but again I will go back to a dream tonight. It is like this, I will once again feel that the dream is real. Nobody can be free from the dream. You see the rainbow and you know that there is no such thing as a rainbow. But still you continue to see it. It is just like the mirage example. The knowledge does not take you away from the experience. You will not be influenced by that. Your consciousness that is out of the event will be influenced but not your dream consciousness. So your wakeful consciousness will not be influenced by the dream. But the dream consciousness will be influenced by the dream. It depends on what you identify yourself with most of the time. I try to identify myself with not this consciousness. What is the difference between this consciousness and the other consciousness which is supposed to be my soul? How much I am not attached with this, gives me that consciousness. If you can not get detached, then you can never experience that consciousness.
Is it possible to be detached without being Tamasic? There is a very slight difference between detachment and being ignorant. You can not be detached from just something.
Care comes from loving. I love you so I care for you. So my care comes from my love much more than my attachment. My attachment makes me say:” I am important and therefore the world is important”. If I have an attachment with you and I need you all the time for my sake, it is not the attachment that cares for you. I do not care about the world if I have an attachment. If I love you then I should care for you because of you. If I tell you not to go to work because I want you with me, this is adjustment. I f I love you, you should be free to do however you want. So love cares much more than the attachment. Attachment actually is opposite of love. This is a very common mistake that we feel love and attachment are together. If I really love you, then I should have no attachment with you.
It is also about trust.
Yes, it is. We have a Sanskrit word called “Shraddha”. It means much more than just trust and faith. If I trust that you will do something, and you don’t do it a couple of times, then I distrust you. Trust and distrusts depends on the events outside. Shraddha does not depend on the events outside. My importance that I give to the world is Shraddha. If you have a Shraddha, then no damage can come to you. If you have Shraddha, you can put it on me or on an activity that you do. You may lose your faith in men, but just because of one person, you don’t lose faith in mankind. You can not live alone, so you have to have faith in people.
This is also what Krishna says in Gita.
Yes. Shraddha means basically, “yes, I am open”. So it means that if you offer me tea, I will open my cup and take it. So Shraddha means “I am ready to take”. It is like opening the windows for the sun to come in, but the sun is already there. There are two differences between faith and Shraddha. Faith basically is blind. In faith, the intellect is incapable of taking it. With Shraddha, intellect comes. The moment intellect comes, if I don’t have Shraddha, then it becomes negative. If you have Shraddha, you don’t add motive behind it but at the same time, I will judge with my intellect. Upanishad says:” how do you approach a teacher?” The answer is: “Don’t approach with faith because it is blind. Approach him with Shraddha.” It means that you can re-question whatever the teacher says. You should question it seriously, not negatively. Let me give an example. Shamivaran had a doctor friend called Dr. Clark from Harvard. There were two doctors very close to him; one was Dr. Clark and the other was Dr. Ballentine. I was with those doctors once. A heart patient came. Shamivaran told him to do some things. Ballentine said that doing another test for the patient would be better. But Dr. Clark refused, saying “Shamivaran told us to do only this one”. I asked why they couldn’t critique Shamivaran. He was not even a medical person. They told me that they had faith in Shamivaran. This is wrong. Faith does not mean that you give up your intellect. In faith, you give up intellect but in Shraddha, you don’t. Let us say you are not a medical person at all and you go to a doctor. When the doctor says something, your intellect will not help you there. You have faith in the doctor because you know he has solved similar cases before, or you know somebody whom he has cured before. So you don’t question his diagnosis. For faith, you need a track record of faith. For Shraddha, you need an intellect and an approach. People should come to me with Shraddha, not with faith because I want you to be total. Shraddha means “giving totally” but faith means” I am taking away the intellect I am giving you”. So in faith, you don’t give totally. If somebody tells me he is listening to me with faith, then I could as well have a bug listen to me because bugs don’t have intellects. I want a human being to follow me not a bug. I want an intellect and an emotion to come with my listeners. Shraddha has totality in the picture; the intellect is not kept aside like faith does. If I go the airport and they tell me that everything is all right with my ticket. Then I have a faith that I will fly tomorrow. We need faith in this world to work because the world is co complicated that you can not go into all the details yourself.
If the God is the creator and he is the forgiver, what is the difference between these two ways of doing something or not doing anything?
Anything is ok, provided you don’t have ego behind it. If a person is rajasic, he will be forced to things, or if he is satiric, he will work like the way you water a plant. It doesn’t matter which way you do things. If your way is rajasic, you can only be happy by forcing, if your nature is satiric you are uncomfortable with force.
In case I don’t come back to life again, what will happen to me and my soul?
Should something be happening? You become yourself and nothing else. You become one.
Does this mean “becoming God?”
The language of becoming is the language of the world. Being is not the same as becoming.
What does it feel like to become one?
Don’t worry about that.
If there is a being, then there should also be a non-being.
Our minds are full of “yes” and “no”, and “right” and “wrong”. That is why we have all these questions.
Should we be asking for things, for them to happen?
It is not just a matter of asking. It means you are seeking, and looking for it. You have an urge to know. It is like opening the windows for the sun to come in. If you don’t open the windows, then the sun will not come. So, there, asking doesn’t mean having questions. The moment you say you know something, you will not know any more. But if you say you don’t know, then you are open and you are seeking. Some people come to my seminars for some spiritual journey but if they don’t ask, they can not make any improvement.
Some people were born in Prashanti, then how do they change?
There are three things responsible for a growth. First one is our Karma, and the second one is the environment. The third one is our own effort.
Why did they give up?
They give up because after they were born, they get attracted by the environment that is non- spiritual. They find happiness there. If you want to go to Himalayas, you work hard to get there. Then suddenly you come to a milestone that says Himalayas is 88 km away. Then you get happy only with that and stay there.
When I had a relationship, I realized afterwards that I had to allocate the time of Yoga to my partner. This could happen to anyone and it is a bit scary. If I were born in Prashanti then it would be easier. You can very easily get attracted to something but in Pradhanti it should not be that way.
In Prashanti, once you get used to that routine, then you will be looking for what you are missing. That is why we need “satsang”. Prashanti can offer satsang. It is not something you should do compulsorily, you should do it voluntarily. People all over the world like my lectures and they come and listen to me. But how many of them are in Prashanti? If the personal commitment is there, then the process goes on.
If you see what is there in front of you and take the right step to go ahead, it is not fatalistic. If you go to sleep thinking God will take care of everything, this is fatalistic. When you do everything that needs to be done, only then you can leave things to God. I can not go on eating junk food, and say that God will take care of it and I will not become obese. This is fatalistic. I should be taking the right food and make my exercises. In case I get a cancer only then I can surrender to God. Surrendering to God does not exclude your efforts.
My Reiki teacher told me that if you want something from God, I should ask from God, and then wait for the answer instead of praying.
We don’t ask God anything for ourselves. If you ask something from God, it means you are separating yourself from divinity. My hand does not ask for anything from me, because my hand is a part of me. I am a part of God, how can I ask for anything from Him? What unites us together is love. So we just go to God out of love. He is just wonderful and he is me. Only with love can we two become one. We should be praying for the mankind. We should pray for everybody to be healthy, not just us.
It is said that some of the Gods can never be like the saints and the saints are higher beings than the Gods. How is this possible?
These Gods have certain types of duties they are responsible of. Total internal freedom is much more superior to doing chores. Indra is basically a position. If you can deny even that position and go ahead, then you are a greater saint. Indra has given up his Indra state like a president who gives up his title. You can become so free that you can forget all about your layers. Human beings are superior because they can improve themselves. All the celestial artists are small Gods. A Guru is not just a Brahma but he is a person from high levels.
Are the angels in Islam, Christianity, or any other religion like Gods in the Hindu system?
In Indian philosophy that is why we have several levels of Gods which could be called as angels. These are abstract details. It is not really worthwhile to be spending much time on that. It is much more important to work on how we can free and grow ourselves.
You said we should be praying for the mankind. I pray for my realization.
Praying for the realization of oneself and working for the realization are not opposite to each other. It is not a bad thing to ask for realization of oneself. You surrender your ego in the form of prayer but you still continue to work. If you don’t work then you become tamastic. So it is good and necessary that we pray God for realization and nothing else. The moment I think of something else apart from realization, I separate myself out of God.
The idea of Neti Neti, not his or not that, is a tool. I do not say Neti Neti for things that I do not have any connection with. I am not a Prime Minister, why should I worry about it? If you hold on to Neti Neti alone, than it leads you to negativity. It is kind of desperate. It leads you to a state of depression. Neti Neti does not have the freedom.
Why would you be depressed then?
You are still thinking of being somebody but you are constantly becoming nobody. Neti Neti is even worse than a failure. A failure is all right, and can be improved. But if you are not even a failure it means you are so bad. Many people don’t even attend anything because they don’t want to be a failure. Then they can’t be a success. In the process of Neti Neti you may be becoming depressed inside. It is like walking on a robe.
What is the purpose of Yoga?
Actually the purpose of life is very important.
Then what is the purpose of life?
The purpose of life is living. We constantly struggle to live, rather than living. We don’t appreciate the moment we are living. Yoga is essentially makes you feel that you are living.
So the aim of Yoga is to keep me living. How is this possible? Is it with these postures or with philosophy?
It is basically with philosophy that is translated into practical ways through asanas, pranayamas, etc.
When we do all these asanas, does it make us live? I am not into Yoga, so what I do is struggle for living, but since you are into Yoga, you are living. Is that so?
We should remove from our minds that Yoga is just doing breath exercises and some postures. They are only applications of Yoga. Yoga includes much more than that. We should be doing activities according to Yoga. This means that if you are doing an activity, you should be 100% in that activity. If I am talking, my mind, my brain and my mouth are all focusing on my talking. If I am thoroughly behind this activity that means I am living that activity. A person may not do the asanas or the pranayamas but he may be a Yogi by doing an activity in such a way. A person doing all the exercises but complaining all the time when eating is not a Yogi.
I was told before that the purpose of Yogi was to prevent ourselves from being reincarnated several times and unite with the One immediately.
It is not a question of being reincarnated. Without this experience people will have their own agendas, difficulties, desires, angers, etc. That causes coming back to life again. Then the world, even before you were born, is already bonded with certain agendas. The birth of a person, who has practiced Yoga and is free, will not be out of bondage but out of freedom. Such a person’s only activity will be helping others and enjoy being. Those people that we call as the saints or the prophets are such people who are in this world only for helping others. So it is not freedom from birth but freedom in birth.
What do you exactly mean by freedom? What are we free of? Am I not free?
For me, everybody has freedom. We also have limited purposes. A person who knows it can apply them right away. For example, something really upsetting you has happened. You may apply freedom and not worry about it. There must be degrees to applying freedom. That freedom gives us a big relief. Otherwise we would have been crushed by the life experiences. A broken heart can kill a person but we can overcome it and not worry about it. This realization, with the help of Yoga, helps us to apply freedom all the time.
So you are talking about not caring.
Such a person cares more consciously because he knows he has freedom inside.
Let us say there is something going wrong with my job but I didn’t give much importance to it and I didn’t worry about it. A very close friend of mine has got cancer but I still didn’t worry about it. Somebody crushed my car and I didn’t worry about that either. Is this what you are mean by freedom?
Let me give you an example. Two years ago I was supposed to travel to USA. There was no problem about my visas, passports, etc. Everything was ready months ago. I went to Bombay airports 3 hours ago for the check in. When I went there I realized that there was a big crowd there and a big commotion was going on. I asked what had happened. They said that the plane was already booked and they were not going to take any more seats. I told them that I had a ticket and a reserved seat. They told me that all the other men had the same things and that is why they are fighting. I could also fight or get angry and shout. But because of my peaceful calm nature, I enquired why this mistake had happened. They told me that normally 20% of the tickets were cancelled and that is why they had oversold the tickets. Legally they were all right. I asked them what the alternative for me could be. They told me I could fly tomorrow and they would pay me for all the extra expenses. I thought and came to the idea that I was not going to lose anything by going one day late. I could understand that person’s difficulty and I felt compassionate for him. I could fight with him and spoil both his mind and my mind. However I accepted his offer and told him to fix me a room from a hotel. The man was shocked. He couldn’t believe that I had said ok and not fight with him. I talked with the other passengers who were fighting and tried to convince them into my solution. I convinced a few passengers and in 10 minutes, all the commotion was gone. Because of my peaceful nature and compassion for people, I could go on positively. Let me give you the philosophical background behind it. Brahman and the Atman are the total peaceful states. Immediately next to them comes love, compassion and sense of wonder as manifestations. We call these three things “beauty”. When we limit these with ego, then comes the other feelings like hate. When we give up ego, love, compassion and sense of wonder will come up to the surface. That is why all the prophets manifested nothing but pure love, compassion and sense of wonder. Yoga helps us do this.
Why have the human beings been created?
The material world has the cause and the effect. We always look for a reason. There is always a purpose and an act behind it. But the divine does not work with the equation of cause and affect. So such a question, when you look from a spiritual point of view, is because of God’s freedom to create human beings. In Sanskrit way, we can say the God has become human beings. God has the freedom to become human beings, animals, or anything. A child doesn’t do an activity because of a reason. When we walk, there is a reason to it but children walk for the sake of walking. When we were small, there was a Muslim family living across our house. Their little girl would knock at our door but we weren’t tall enough to open the door so our mother had to come and open the door for her. She would come and open the door. My mother would ask her “why did you come?” and she would answer “to go back”. God works like that.
There are so many paths on this world. Everyone is just going to God at the end of the day. So the ultimate goal of everyone is the same. So it doesn’t matter if you practice Yoga or not. So evolution could never be stopped. There are many ways but Yoga could be a short cut way when you compare with the other ways. But, if the God was a mountain that everyone tried to reach to the peak, the natural way is the long road in which you can do sightseeing and enjoy the road. However there is also a short cut way in which you can injure yourself and it could be painful. Why don’t you prefer the long but good walk but the short and painful one to reach the peak? Also, what does Yoga feel about art?
Art and imagination are parts of divinity. That is why children have interest in arts like poetry, music, etc. But people usually get easily caught up with the idea that they should be engineers or doctors.
I would very much like to play violin. I also want to be an actor on the stage and be clapped. I also want to be a singer but my voice is not good. If I come to this world once again, I would like to play violin if I can. I want to come again and again until one day I can play violin. Isn’t it hurrying up when your goal is to reach the ultimate end through this road not the other? Don’t you miss something when you don’t want to be a violin player?
This topic is very well discussed in the Upanishad. The happiness that you get in arts is a 100 times greater happiness than an ordinary person’s happiness. It is not only greater, but it is also a spiritual happiness. It is spiritual because when you really enjoy playing music, you don’t feel hunger when somebody eats something before you while you are playing violin. If you are truly happy in playing music, you do not even look for audiences to clap you. One of the very great musicians of South India was once singing in Bangalore. It was really wonderful. After the song was finished, everybody clapped very hard with joy. He said “I know that you really enjoy this music but you really do not know how much I enjoy singing.” Singing gives him such a joy that even the listener can not understand that. The most important thing when somebody goes through that ecstatic joy is that he becomes peaceful and calm inside. If I can not sing like him, it doesn’t mean I cannot have such a joy like him. When he sings, many people clap hands. When I sing, my wife drags me away from the house. Upanishad says “you can also have that joy because this joy is due to his mind becoming peaceful inside”. I can reach that peace with the help of Yoga. By doing Yoga I don’t deny the happiness that he gets when he sings. That’s why I am happy all the time. I may not sing like Pavarotti, play football like Maradona, or do gymnastics like Nadia Komanichi but by Yoga, I have the happiness of all these people.
We are all going up the mountain; there is no doubt about it. It is when we have fear, doubt or insecurities about our journey, that is where Yoga can help you. If somebody is already happy, Yoga doesn’t want to disturb that person. That is why it is absolutely an individual decision. If a person makes Yoga, it doesn’t mean that he has lost the joy of all the sight seeing. People making Yoga do not feel regret.
But I can take my time and enjoy the world where as you are trying to go up the mountain quickly. You live the beauty spiritually but I live them physically.
Do you think you enjoy everything? How much can be enjoyed? There are billions f things that can make you happy but you can just see a small part of it. Out of thousands of sight seeing places, you may only enjoy 10 of them. To understand how the ocean tastes, you don’t need to drink the whole ocean. Yogi is someone who has tasted the ocean now and then, and knows how it tastes like.
Is life only an ocean? There are many things tasting differently. While meditating, do you get this worldly enjoyment?
You get much more intense than what the world can offer you. That is why, when you come out of meditation, it is like a fall.
If the reason of my living is experiencing this world, why should I close myself and miss the world by only meditating? I am created to live as a body not only as a spirit.
That is a very beautiful question. Spirituality doesn’t mean being away from this world. This is a wonderful world but we just see the top of the iceberg. It is not like a two dimensional plane. Our existence is in three dimensions. There are so many things deep inside us. We have such a depth inside, that we have dreams and many kinds of creativity. We all have a potential to become a Buddha or Jesus. Each one of us has that depth inside. To go deep into that level we need meditation. If I deny the world outside, I can never appreciate the world inside. If you can not see God in his manifestation, how can you see God in manifest? That is why we advice people not to come to spirituality as a way to escape from the world. If a person who says the world is not good, he is not accepting God. If 3 or 4 people can find peace within my presence, than I am satisfied. A true spiritual person will become accepted in the world but he doesn’t feel the need to be liable to it.
Is there anyone around you doing Yoga and also is very rich? Or is it more likely that people who have experienced catastrophes are more into this spirituality?
One of my very best friends in Bombay has the second biggest pharmacological company in the country. He also sincerely practices Yoga. One of the top most psychologists in Houston also practices Yoga. What is common about the people who sincerely practice Yoga? There are four different qualities. Somebody who goes through sufferings of life and can not find a solution can become spiritual. Another kind wants to get the best in the world but every time he can only get the second best. This leads to deep dissatisfaction and he goes for spirituality. The third kind of people is very intellectual and they ask for the meaning of everything. The fourth kind is by nature very quiet and peaceful. They might get a hint from somewhere that he himself has a spiritual quality.

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