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Email Excerpts of a Guru From the emails of

Swami A tm an an da S ar aswati Atm tman anan and Sar ara

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Vedanta Ashram, Indore

Copyright: Vedanta Ashram E/2948-50, Sudama Nagar Indore - 452 009. India

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Published by : Vedanta Ashram, Indore

This book is humbly dedicated at the feet of Param Poojya Gurudev Sr wami C hinm ayan an daji, Srii S Sw Chinm hinma anan and whose life was dedicated, till his last breath, to spread the unifying & redeeming message of Vedanta to one & all.

Neither by Yoga, nor by Sankhya, nor by rituals, nor by learning, is liberation possible. Only by the realization of one’s identity with Brahman is liberation possible, not by any other means. - Vivekachoodamani

Email Excerpts of a Guru Contents 1. Arise! Awake! 2. The Objective of Religion 3. Implications of belief in God 4. God loves to Love 5. Spirituality and Relationships 6. Mistakes are not deliberate 7. Happy all along 8. Don’t be afraid to fall 9. Going and Reaching 10. Lessons from Life and Death 11. Prayers and Meditation 12. Experience of a Prayer 13. Understanding invokes Prayers 14. Prayers and Asking 15. Meaning of Om 16. Mantras 17. Is it possible never to hurt anyone ? 18. Lessons from Failures 19. Hindu Temples 20. Getting Disappointments 21. Secularism 22. Leadership Training 23. Is Sex a taboo? 24. What does Brahmacharya mean ?


7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 11 11 12 12 13 14 15 16 16 17 18 18 19 20 21 22

25. Sex and Love 26. Why sensual pleasures give joy ? 27. Love and Arranged Marriages 28. Arranged Marriage 29. Points to Consider for Marriage 30. Conversions create conflicts 31. To Ignore is not to be non-partisan 32. Negation of Ego 33. Two Aspects of Anger 34. Understanding Anger 35. Role of Rituals 36. Power and Dynamics of Faith 37. Role of God 38. The root of all problems 39. What is Dhyana ? 40. Handling Distractions in Dhyana 41. Holistic Meditation 42. Mind is our friend 43. The choice is yours 44. Are the Idols God ? 45. Why do we believe in God ? 46. God and Situations 47. God’s wish or Prabhu Iccha 48. The Jiva or Ego 49. What is Ahankara ? 50. When is ego a problem ? 51. What is Maya ? 52. Fragmentation and Self Knowledge 53. Can I be of some service to you ?


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54. Where to find the ego ? 55. Meeting of Physics and Metaphysics 56. The Three Gunas 57. Objective and Subjective Minds 58. Handling uncooperative Mind 59. Unquiet mind and retreats 60. Be considerate to your mind 61. Stilling the Mind and After 62. Is Mind our Enemy ? 63. Role of Quietening the Thoughts 64. The Truth of Thoughts 65. Quietitude and Understanding 66. Losing Temper is wrong 67. Handling negative responses 68. Transcending Thoughts 69. Understanding Desires 70. Is Atma-gyana easy or difficult ? 71. Test of Knowledge 72. ‘I’ - the most used and abused word 73. ‘I’ is like a Queen-Bee 74. Three Steps to Self-Realization 75. Ego is Nishachar 76. Rooting out of the Ego 77. Experience and Knowledge 78. Means and End 79. Bondage and Liberation 80. Samsari, Sadhaka and Siddha 81. Expand yourself 82. Changing impression about yourself


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83. Importance of Guru 84. Necessity of a Guru 85. A Living Guru is required 86. Invoking Guru in someone no more 87. Is purity of thoughts enough ? 88. An ideal student 89. What to do till you meet a Guru ? 90. The Logic of Karma-Yoga 91. The Essence of Karma-Yoga 92. Enjoy the Journey 93. Swadharma 94. Caste System 95. The Four Varnas 96. The Role of Four Varnas 97. Predictions dont make sense 98. Is everything pre-destined ? 99. Predictions deny joy of suspense 100. Destiny and Freedom 101. Who creates destiny ? 102. Sushupti and Samadhi 103. Why people go to secluded places ? 104. Samadhi and Knowledge -

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Arise ! Awake ! The dawn of light is far more beautiful than the eerie silence of darkness. God is the truth of life, so keep at it and you shall find the answers of life soon.

The Objective of Religion Religion is basically a package for holistic development of human personality revealing & facilitating the art of holistic living and culminating into enlightenment. It takes into consideration the body, mind, intellect and also that dimension which transcends all this. It helps bring out the best in a person by basing our lives on the eternal truths of life, and tuning ourselves with the cosmic harmony. It thus helps create a truly complete, integrated and dynamic personality. All this calls for deep understanding of oneself and life, in an atmosphere of complete freedom, without any insecurity, fears or impositions. One cannot ignore philosophy to fulfill the objectives of religion. Philosophy is comparable to science, while religion is like technology, helping us to translate the tenets in our day to day life.

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Implications of belief in God Belief in God not only indicates our belief in the inherent goodness of all, but also in the existence of the power of righteousness, in harmony, in the magnanimity, the love for all, in the existence of infinite, and last but not the least the divinity, oneness and infinitude of our Self too. The world will indeed be a great place to live in if such awareness is spread all over.

God loves to Love God pervades all, so love for God has to embrace everyone. Love for God thus implies our 'ability to love' everyone, irrespective of the kind of relationship & reciprocation. It implies that love has become your very nature. What fragrance is to a flower, love is to such a person. So serve all without bringing in your likes & dislikes. It is immaterial whether the other person loves you or not, but can you think & feel about the well-being of others, and serve all in this spirit, enjoying the very expression of your feelings. That is what God is doing, he loves to love, and that is why we all love him. May God be your role model.

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Spirituality and Relationships Spiritual studies should never strain existing relationships. Any wisdom which is said to lift a person to higher planes should only help make our lives all the more mature & better. I would be happy if with any new found wisdom your relationships with your near & dear ones become such that they too start becoming positively inquisitive about your knowledge & wisdom.

Mistakes are not deliberate No mistakes are ever deliberate; they are a product of ignorance and conditionings. This being the case, all that one can do is to try to retain a high degree of awareness in one’s mind. Having identified the cause one should do what ever is necessary to eliminate the very root of it. It is extremely necessary to identify one’s real problem properly; thereafter sincerity of purpose is natural. Till then not only you will have to be patient, but our teachers too remain patient with us, because they know clearly what all and one has to go through.


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Happy all along I am indeed happy that your mental disposition is being reflected and translated in your behavior so soon. This speaks of the purity of your mind and sincerity of purpose, but I see it more as an emotional upsurge borne out of the joy of getting something or someone you wanted rather than the effect of some positive values and conviction. I say this because on the one hand you say that you are ‘so happy third day in a row’ and on the other hand you say that ‘I believe that in His immense love to me, He gives me exactly the right situation every time.’ If the latter statement was really your heartfelt conviction, then there was no question of suddenly being happy now. It is the same God who has brought this situation who had earlier not yet brought it. True belief in God helps us to be happy all along.

Dont be afraid to fall Whenever you tend to fall, you will get my helping hand to rise again, it may or may not be in the form of this swami, but I will not be far behind. Don’t be afraid to fall. It is only those who try to tread shall fall, and they alone shall reach. Occasional falling is however good for general health too, it makes us strong.

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Going and Reaching Doing something in an intense and loving way is a joy by itself. Enjoy the journey, then the joys of attaining the goal will be all the more sweeter.

Lessons from Life and Death Thanks for letting me also know the details which your father went through before his end. I can understand that the gravity of losing such a near and dear one dawns slowly. It was indeed a big incident in the lives of you all. Such phases indeed make us sit up and try to understand this strange and beautiful experience called life. The birth, the growth, the joys, the variegated experiences, successes, failures, pains, diseases, and finally gliding into the inevitable oblivion - the death. Each one of them is an extremely heart-moving facet of life, all part of a package. The reason why God makes us go through such experiences is that, may we all always realize and remember these convenient and inconvenient facts of life as transitory, and thereafter plan, relate and live. May we all live an enlightened life wherein we go from here with a satisfied heart and the head held high, and may there be people who will truly miss us, even cry for us. That alone is the real bottom line. Nothing else really matters.

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Prayers and Meditation Prayers and Meditation are different. In ‘Prayers’ we bring to our mind the ever-flowing love & blessings of God, and also his great qualities. We become inspired and emotionally overwhelmed by them. We may even present our desires and feelings at the feet of our master. While ‘Meditation’ is the beginning of a process of understanding about this divinity, and having known him, ‘revel’ in that ‘being’ as our very Self. Prayers are beliefbased and facilitate purity of mind, while meditation is assimilation of knowledge and is thus a door to awakening. Make the best of both. A prayerful mind alone is an ideal take off ground for the flights of meditation.

Experience of a Prayer God represents all that we love, respect and cherish, therefore thinking about him brings about the same feeling as we get when we think about all our beloved ones together. Prayers also helps inculcate in us all those qualities which God represents, because we become what we think.

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You should neither put efforts to make right prayers nor wait for it to come by itself. You should just be convinced that what is implied by prayers is something worth doing. Don’t wait for anything. Just do it, enjoying its very doing. Don’t look forward to anything. Don’t look at it as a means for an end, but just something which is a joy by itself. One need not always be so calculative, so as to think that expression of gratitude towards God will bring so and so benefits, and lift me to such a height etc. The overwhelming experience of genuine gratitude melts the very recipient. When you see all what is being showered on you, then you just thank the giver from the core of your heart. If this very act has its own benefits too, then also such a person is hardly bothered. The result if any always comes unasked. All worthwhile things come unasked.

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Prayers and Asking Prayers may or may not involve any asking. When you sincerely realise that there is someone who is already showering everything you have then there is indeed nothing to ask at all, prayer then becomes just a moment to express our overwhelming gratitude. A thanks giving. But there is nothing wrong to ask for something from someone who loves you so much, who is your own. Not to ask any thing at all from your own beloved may at times be an ego-prompted decision. So one should not be too adamant in such things. One should certainly ask God for proper company, knowledge, health, well being of our beloved ones, strength and wisdom to do your duties, fulfill your aspirations, and also well being of the entire world. May all be happy, and such other things. The intensity of any emotion is responsible for its quick or late results. So do your prayers to the extent of self-forgetfulness. Doing prayers in such a way not only fills the mind with overwhelming love, but this brings about various other positive qualities in our mind. This by itself is a great experience, and also helps us remain involved and awake, thus effacing the problems of uninvolved disturbed meditations. They help eliminate the problems of gliding into dullness & stupor too. So prayers have a very important role to play - even for a meditator.

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Meaning of OM OM is a highly meaningful mantra. It is a word, and thus has a definite meaning - which is specific to Brahman, the timeless and transcendental truth of the world. It is one of the best pointers to know the truth of Brahman. Mandukya Upanishad provides these details. It is short and easy to use, and when you pronounce it, then with the utterance of the alphabet ‘O’ you open your mouth, and with the alphabet ‘M’ you close your mouth. It thus represents the whole spectrum of our existence beginning from opening up (starting our existence), to the closing down of this entire manifestation. There is also a third alphabet ‘U’ in between these two (birth and death) which symbolizes sustenance. OM thus encompasses the whole spectrum of our existence, sustenance and dissolution. It also points out that which is untouched by such changes too. However to begin with you need not go into all this but simply take it as a great name of God. It is necessary to truly believe in the existence of God, and establish emotional affinity with him. For beginners it is a great mantra for japa, meditation or even singing etc. Name of God is an important platform to take a leap to greater heights. Name remaining same it keeps on revealing different things to people of different levels. So develop deep emotional affinity with at least one name of God. Chant it, sing it, write it as many times you can.

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Mantras Regarding mantra. One can take ‘any name whatsoever’ which strongly suggests to us the existence & presence of God. If the part ‘Hare Krishna’ has been found to be helpful to you then it is enough. The real strength of mantra or any other such thing is in your faith and not in anything extraneous. Without faith no mantra is effective and with necessary faith any name revealed in the scriptures will do. Rosaries (Mala) do have some role in the beginning, but one can as well do without them. Be very clear about the means and end. The majority gets too much bothered about means and ignores the end.

Is it possible never to hurt anyone? No, it is not always possible never to hurt anyone, for the simple reason that happiness or sorrow is not something which is given to us by someone else, but is a subjective response of our understanding, values and perceptions to a particular situation. That which is in our hands is simply that we should never ‘consciously’ give sorrow to anyone, we should rather try to always retain sensitivity that even unconsciously we never hurt anyone. This should be our ‘genuine feeling’ and effort. This alone is our role. If however, in spite of our best intentions and efforts someone is still suffering then it is clear that the fellow is not suffering because of you but because of his or her own negative values and baseless perceptions.

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Lessons from Failures Even when we have a clear goal and patiently worked hard for it, without any success, then instead of dejection, one should rather try to see as to what has gone wrong where. Why have the notion that ‘what I did was the ultimate, and it cannot be improved upon further’. If there is humility that ‘I still have a lot to learn’, then instead of dejection, the failure will bring about drive for deeper understanding. There is obviously something wrong somewhere, and the fact that signs of dejection are surfacing shows that you are not aware of your shortcomings, but rather entertain an inflated & obviously baseless opinion about yourself, and also excessive attachment for some achievement. Such a mind which is not objective enough to see the real factors which are responsible for such state of affairs, but most often justs jumps to some baseless conclusions of his or her own incapacities, unfairness of God, play of destiny etc., in fact deserves to fail. Learn to enjoy challenges, learn to do something new. For such people the so called failures bring about some worthwhile challenge, otherwise it is a drab & dull life of the insecure ones, who are just bothered to build one more wall of security around them.

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Hindu Temples In Hindu Temples the basic idea is to receive stimuli associated with God through all our five sense organs, namely ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose. So we have a ‘form’ of Lord, the ‘smell’ of incense sticks, the ‘sound’ of bells & mantras, the ‘taste’ of prasadam and finally the ‘touch’ of blessings by the priest. All of these make us ‘feel’ the presence of God in totality, which is the basic purpose. It is well known that when more senses are involved in an experience, greater is the effect of that experience.

Getting Disappointments People who are getting disappointments pretty often are those who have either kept a goal which is beyond their existing capacities, or have resorted to wrong means. If both end & means are proper, then the only thing missing is absence of some positive values & emotions of mind.

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Secularism Regarding Secularism, I fully agree that greater understanding is called for. I however differ that this does not pose any danger to people of other faith. With the present definition of secularism the extent of damage is unimaginable. A heritage of thousands of years is on the verge of collapse, not by positive opposition but by ignoring. It has become the resort of thoughtless, valueless and irreligious people. A person professing secularism has to know the truths of life so deeply that he can have magnanimity which embraces all and is personally not motivated by various factors which are seen to condition thousands of people of different faiths; such a person has to necessarily draw his strength, joy and inspiration from something which is just beyond the perceptual world. The others who also profess about secularism are those who have nothing to do with religion, they are too engrossed to fulfill their selfcentered desires; they see no positive and practical role of religion. For them it is a necessary evil, a product of weak and superstitious minds. They can never even imagine the dynamics of metaphysical dimensions on human psyche. Philosophy for them is a pastime of some impractical people who do not contribute anything ‘worthwhile’ to the society. Absence of right knowledge creates conditions which make them to exploit religion to further their selfish ends. Can we imagine secularism along with ignoring religious education and heritage? Does this really imply that we respect all, sincerely? We have been

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educating millions to ignore religion and that’s what we see around - a nation which competes for the position of the most corrupt nation in the world; thoughtless living, dirty places, immoral relationships, bidding price for sons and a list of such shameful things. Very rarely you see that a person knows what he or she is doing, majority just follow like sheep. Secularism in the hands of irreligious people brings about greater catastrophe. You have to live with liars, who just put up a front. Such people just let the religion rot; when they do speak they speak what the ignorant ones are doing in the name of religion. Such people eliminate the very respect for religion as such. They are doing more harm than the ignorant faithful followers.

Leadership Training The ideal will be to select and train a group of countrymen for the job of leadership, and give them the best possible education right from the beginning. They should truly be the best, who not only understand politics, management, economics, sociology, cosmology, culture etc., but also philosophy and the effect of metaphysical factors in the creation of the human psyche. With such enlightened leadership around we can expect true secularism; we can have good philosophical discussions, providing a free atmosphere to all to raise their understanding to great heights, and of course drawing a line clearly and firmly to discourage people to further their irreligious ends in the name of religion.

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Is Sex a taboo? You are right in saying that the prevalent understanding about sex in some of our countrymen neither reflects the vision of basic Hindu scriptures, nor is it a healthy & balanced outlook. Sex is a fact of life, it is a medium of expressing love, and also an instrument of procreation. None of this is in any way bad or wrong, but is rather divine. For Hindu's, sex was neither a taboo nor an obsession. It was taken in a normal way. It is those who first brand it a sin, alone make it an instrument with which a person expresses their revolt or suppressions. You should feel no guilt at all to express your love physically to someone whom you love dearly. However, never make yourself a commodity that uses sex lightly. Maintain its purity. Give all that you have for someone whom you really love, to the extent that you would like your child also to be a reflection of the person. While we should understand the place of sex, we should also be conscious of its limitation. It gives momentary pleasure, and is thus not the means for real lasting joy. This obviously brings the question of the means to attain everlasting fulfillment. It is here that our scriptures prompt us to go into the truth of our Self and life, and reveal that Anand is not something objective or extraneous, but is a subjective state in which anyone can awake if he or she takes resort to the right understanding of Life

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and Self. So the ultimate goal was always seen as the knowledge of the transcendental truth. Sex becomes an obsession for those who know no other means of getting joy.

What does Brahmacharya mean? The word Brahmacharya means ‘Brahmani charati iti Brahmachari’, one who revels in Brahman is a Brahmachari. So the primary meaning is ‘to revel in God’, and the secondary meaning is ‘not to revel in sensual pleasures (as the real source of joy)’. Now, why does the fellow revel in Brahman? Because of his or her ‘understanding’ that the subjective essence in all of us, is infinite joy, the timeless divinity, God. God is an embodiment of joy, so he alone can really ‘quench’ my thirst for real fulfillment. Sex too has a definite and a very important role to play, but a person should enter the portals of any sensual enjoyment like a master and not a slave. His body, senses & mind should be healthy & enlightened, and he should be in full control. The phase of Brahmacharya takes care of all this.


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Sex and Love Sex is not love; it is something which should always be with love. So make sex something divine by first taking your own time to invoke real love between the partners. Understand that the real joy, even in a sensual experience, is only when both the partners really love each other nicely. Take your own time to let this love come about, and then physical relationship will be something pure and a satisfying act. As a grahasthi we never advise anyone to stop physical relationships, but let it not be ‘the’ important thing. Let it just come when you feel that proximity towards someone on the basis of mutual values, love & perceptions of life. The proximity may lead you to even create someone like your beloved. Having physical relationships without any love is prostitution, and this will never let the person taste the real meaning of love or joy.

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Why Sensual pleasures give joy? Really speaking no objects gives joy, and at the same time all the objects can appear to give joy. All objects play an interesting role to ‘unveil’ a subjective state which is called by various names like joy, fulfillment etc. First we desire an object, and as every desire implies a want, so there is a disturbance of dissatisfaction within us, we then obviously turn our attention towards the ‘object’ of our desire. Then starts the process of acquiring our ‘object’ of desire, and finally after all the hard work we may acquire the ‘object’. Now the desire becomes redundant, and there is a quiet mind, reveling in its own ‘being’, which happens to be pure bliss. That is why and how we experience joy in sensual pleasures. However if such a person in his or her ignorance associates this joy with the extraneous object, and the moment he or she wants to hold on to it, then crops up yet another desire, starting the same cycle again. If someone knows these subjective truths then the natural repercussion of this ‘understanding’ is that the fellow will not look at the objects outside with thirsty Bhogi eyes. He will rather look and value the objects as per their worldly role & necessity, and such a person not only makes the best of his or her worldly pleasures but never grieves too.


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Love and Arranged Marriages Both love and arranged marriages have their own risks. In love marriage even though there is a great joy to start your life with someone you know and love, but because of the fascination in love other aspects in life are either not realized or are ignored. In arranged marriage too, while the parents or anyone else organizing this union, use their wisdom to see that they provide an ideal partner, but the boy and girl are uncomfortably placed. Personally I am of the opinion that mutual love, understanding and compatibility should be the basis of this relationship, but one should not overlook other qualities and factors which ensure a great life-long relationship through ups and downs of life. Blessings of parents or other wise and matured people too are very important, because they just care for your well-being. Please remember that marriage is not merely the getting together of two people but of two families. Everyone should be generally happy with this new member of the family. I say generally because everyone will never be happy with everything. Religion basically is a compendium of knowledge and practices to help bring out the best in you, not only here but also hereafter. It is a holistic package taking care of our all round welfare. Religion can never be against real love, it rather helps invoke real love in us. So if you really love someone then know this to be a religious act and go ahead. All divinity expresses with love around. Weak people cannot love and therefore various things


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have to be told to them. However, remember there is difference between love and infatuation. In love you retain the capacity to be sensitive to all concerned, including your parents, time-tested values, cultural compatibility etc., while in the latter you will be bothered only about yourself.

Arranged Marriage Well! the concept of swayamvara was certainly there, but there were other kinds too. We hear about nine kinds of marriages. One of them was arranged marriage too, where the spirit was that we take the benefit of the wisdom of our parents too. However, the present day systems of arranged marriages reflect more of insecurity and the absence of wisdom to know a person properly and holistically. As marriage is a life-long relationship, so people naturally become very insecure, and thus the ignorant ones have to helplessly depend on what the stars supposedly foretell etc. This is a sorry state of affairs, and we pray that Hindu's rediscover their values and vision, so as to live a daring, thoughtful, dynamic, loving and holistic life.

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Points to Consider for Marriage As marriage is a life long and intimate relationship, facilitating the continuity of your family, and having legal sanction & bindings, so various things need to be considered before getting into this life-long relationship. 1. One of the most important components is presence of great mutual love and respect between both. 2. A common language in which one can express ones most intimate feelings and ideas is a must. 3. Both should share common values, vision and goals of life. 4. Food habits etc should also be preferably common. Both should be able to go along with each others habits and tastes. 5. As far as possible go into the health of both the people, so that both enjoy the life to the utmost, and the family lineage too doesn’t get affected. Assure that your progeny is healthy without any genetic disorders. 6. As marriage is not merely getting together of two people but of two families, so it will be good if both should be able to get along with each others families. It should be preferred that both get necessary blessings of each others parents & other elderly people. Just because you want to get related to A, then it should not result in breaking your relationship with B. It is a must that one should have the


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ability to respect all relationships and people. A person who easily breaks one relationship just because some emotional upsurge has taken place cannot be really relied upon to continue this relationship for long. The moment such a fellow gets some inconvenience then he or she is susceptible for a breakup. 6. There should preferably be some cultural compatibility. You should be able to enjoy the social and religious functions together. Do not plan to live in isolation, because that is exactly what you are trying to eliminate through this new relationship too. 7. Some awareness of the basics of life shall go a long way to make the relationship healthy and beautiful. One should not have a superficial understanding of the world. There is a lot more to life than what is perceptible to eyes, so one should humbly take the benefit of the wisdom of spiritual masters so as to live a complete and holistic life. 8. I have not discussed anything about dependence on things like astrology, and this conscious silence about it reveals my attitude and perception towards it.


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Conversions create Conflicts If we are really bothered about the betterment of any person, then what is important is not changing his existing faith (which is just on the basis of associating God with a particular form etc) , but removing the misunderstandings of God etc., and somehow strengthen his or her existing faith (Ref. Chapter 7 of Gita). The process of spiritual unfoldment calls for a very strong faith in the existence of God, and not merely hang on to some form or a savior. You can very well associate God with any symbol that should not really make any difference. If a person standing in darkness has been from years associating God with a particular form, is now somehow convinced to change the symbol, then do we really help the person, or create a conflict? The joke is that this so called ‘conviction’ is brought about on the basis of lollipops of better jobs, better health care etc. It is extremely necessary to go into the ‘dynamics of faith’ before undertaking the mission of manifesting Godliness in different people of the world. If anyone either weakens or takes away the basic faith of any person then we do not help him but make him weak. If there is only one God, then why convert to worship just another form? Why not simply strengthen the faith of the people in whatever they believe, and rather work to correct the wrong understanding? Why this intolerance to others forms? Do forms of God matter or the God himself, who transcends all forms, for the simple reason that all forms are transient?


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To Ignore is not to be non-partisan A non-believer ignoring all moral and other values is not a non-partisan person, but is a negatively conditioned and ignorant one. Standing apart from all religious and spiritual thoughts amounts to resorting to a philosophy of life which has been so firmly been rejected. Ignoring such values is a license to disaster, it is the undoing of all the cultural built-up, it is closing the ways and means to true and lasting well-being of one and all.

Negation of Ego Non-experience of the experiencer is not its negation. This ‘ego’ fellow shall continue to exist as long as his existence is a matter of our belief, sometime manifest and sometimes unmanifest. Negation of ego implies realization of the fact that ‘I am not a limited being’, that the ego has only a relative existence.

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Two Aspects of Anger There are two aspects of anger. One manifest and the other unmanifest. The first one is what we see externally in an angry person, raised voice, bulging red eyes, shivering body, excessive breathing etc. The second aspect is more subjective - the vacillations of the mind, absence of right thinking, and grief in mind, with all the side-effects of this mind on your body. This latter one is something which one should overcome and conquer. The former one, if it can be brought about without its subjective contents, will be something which is not really anger in the strict sense of the term, but does appear to be so from the others point of view. While this too is definitely painful to others, and has various negative consequences, yet there is no denying the fact that at times wielding a weapon is definitely necessary. There are people who are not available to listen to things told lovingly. So change your tone, raise your voice, and if this doesn’t do the trick then use strong words. It is like acting being angry. There is one anger which comes helplessly and there is another which is deliberately brought about. As long as you are in command it doesn’t matter if you raise your voice or even act tough. The ideal and preferred prescription is to definitely find ways of handling a situation with a cool and thoughtful mind, but yes, responses are situation-specific, so they will have to change at times. Do wield a weapon if you have to, but first learn to wield a weapon.

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Understanding Anger People who are violent, subversive and destructive are prey to some subjective happenings. They in fact do not know that but keep on helplessly flowing in that direction. The first and foremost loss is their own. A person with anger first makes his own life hell, and then becomes a nuisance to others too. But in spite of that, he keeps doing that. The fellow just doesn’t know where the shoe bites. Ignorance of these matters has disastrous consequences. Let us take anger as an example and try to understand its cause and effects. Basically anger comes about when you think that what you know alone is the right way, and the other person does not know. There is domination over others and you want the things to happen just your way alone. There is great hurry and also intolerance. If you watch closely there is a process of isolation going on in such minds. The fellow keeps limiting and isolating himself, all because of the inflated opinion about him or her self. This imagined, isolating and inflated opinion about oneself is the basis of ego and all its product like anger. This egocentric existence is basically insecure, limited, intolerant and always seeking and never satisfied. The more this isolating egocentricity weaves its cocoon around itself, the more he or she feel suffocated, and this alone spills out in various ways. Such desperate people are in fact trying to find ways to come out of their own shells. They just don’t know

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the real problem. Once this ego is brought about the possibility of love simply vanishes. Ego and love cannot co-exist. Ego lives for itself, while in love you care so much for the other that at times you don’t even remember yourself. Ego manifests from insecurity & limitation, while love is seen only in people who have fragrance of contentment within themselves. Ego like any other delusion is a product of misapprehension of the truth of your self, and therefore the solution lies in directly perceiving the truth of yourself. However this journey is possible only when right company is got; exposure of right thoughts is there. Something should happen which should make the person re-think. Even some tragedies may eventually prove to be a blessing, if they get a person to think. With great humility if someone starts searching for the truth about himself then various things are revealed about ourselves, which we never could even imagine, and in the process, our mis-apprehensions of egocentric existence drops. Then alone love really gets a chance to manifest. Till then it is a constant tug of war, a Mahabharat.


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Role of Rituals Rituals do have a role in the scheme of things, but they have their limitations too. They are not to be done for all times to come. They are a great help to help us learn to act positively. They should be continued till a person learns to work with full conviction at his or her command, and develops the following capacities too. 1. To work intensely by using of all faculties. 2. To work with freedom, and not as per conditionings. 3. To work with enthusiasm, confidence, and love; wherein every work reveals the faith that you are basically fine and have a caring & sensitive heart. Having cultivated such a mind, one should dedicate oneself for the knowledge of the truth of life. Later, such a person may or may not do these rituals. It is all his freedom. They are however seen as scripturally sanctioned means to express what I feel about God, my teacher or such a great heritage.

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Power and Dynamics of Faith The power & dynamics of faith is yet to be fully understood by a modern man. Once you really believe in something then it does happen. So also when you associate godliness etc with anyone and thoroughly believe what you believe, then godliness does start manifesting. Ignorant ones will associate these effects with anything that appears logical to them as per their understanding. The doorway to the world of inexplicable incidents is not the existence of some divinity somewhere, but your own faith. This should be properly understood, because then alone your various sadhanas will progress properly. A great devotee of X experiences strange inexplicable incidents which a devotee of Y too experiences. The lesson to be learned here is that it is the ‘purity and intensity of faith’ which really matters, and not any person. The incidents in your life are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg revealing what faith can do. He who is instrumental to invoke this faith is no doubt respectable, but one should certainly know the truth, so that appropriate attention can be put to further this basic ‘cause’. The proof of knowing the right ‘cause’ is that thereafter you too can see more fireworks - the ‘effects’. So if you really want to be blessed all the more then the focus should be your faith. Increase your ‘faith and devotion’ unto HIM - in what ever form you see him and you will be blessed. Others too will be equally blessed if they too have that same degree of faith and devotion unto that which they happen to see and revere.


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Role of God The Law of Karma doesn't believe in a God who does everything out of his whims and fancy. It sees God as someone who provides us the work field, capacity to work, a perfect and non-corruptible system wherein the karma-phala (situations) will definitely and only go to the doer. HE is completely free from all likes and dislikes and thus doesn't give any good or bad situation to anyone out of his whims and fancies. He is the highly compassionate and omniscient facilitator in our work field, who never interferes, but always keeps the system going. He gives us opportunities, and then leaves it to our discretion to make whatever use we deem fit.

The root of all problems Potentially all human beings are good, but the ego-prompted insecurities and fears alone bring in all problems. Ego is the root of all problems.

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What is Dhyana? Dhyana is what is most often referred to by the word meditation. It implies turning our 'entire attention' (both mind and intellect) on something. As all our problems are because of ignorance and solutions to all problems are because of knowledge, therefore a sadhana which helps us to turn our entire attention on something is of paramount importance and help. There is great difference between concentration and meditation. In concentration we simply turn our attention to something, but in meditation we first turn our attention and also try to understand it in its entirety. Thus in meditation, feelings & understanding all focused on one thing simultaneously. It is thus a very dynamic process. Real dhyana has to be on the 'truth' of our self, therefore it culminates in a 'subjective awakening' bringing about total fulfillment and peace.

Handling Distractions in Dhyana Distractions are inevitable in dhyana till one discovers 'love' with his dheya (the object of dhyana). If you really love to do something then a sound here and there or any such distraction is not even registered by our minds. So the problem of distractions is basically one of not yet discovering the necessary intensity of love with the goal

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of dhyana. Having this as the objective, one should pursue better and deeper understanding of the 'goal' of meditation, apart from practicing various sadhanas to facilitate quietitude, deeper insight and the subsequent awakening. The following tips should prove helpful in handling distractions : 1. Choose the right place and time for dhyana. The place which has the least or no extraneous distractions is of course the ideal. 2. Maintain good health and posture. 3. Maintain a positive and cheerful disposition through out the day. Luckily it is the same mind with which we meditate and also do our day to day activities. 4. Have good and inspiring company or friends. 5. Attend lectures or discourses which give you deeper insight about your goal of meditation. If that is not available good books can also be a great help. 6. Before you start the practice of dhyana, bring into your mind thoughts which invoke gratitude, love and reverence towards God. Such emotions have a far-reaching effect to insulate us against most of the distractions. 7. Doing few pranayama’s before the meditation session could also prove very helpful. Specially extending the kumbhaka part a bit.


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Holistic Meditation The 'Holistic Meditation' is a special meditation designed by us to root out the sense of isolated and limited existence. Fragmentation alone is the root cause of all problems. Holistic Meditation has the following steps: 1. After you get up from your sleep and have freshened up, sit down comfortably in some quiet and healthy place. 2. Sit down comfortably and alertly in any asana in which you can sit without moving for about 15 minutes. You can sit down with legs folded on the ground (preferable), or even in a chair. However keep your back absolutely straight, and don't take any back-rest. 3. Deep breathe three times. Inhale to your full lung capacity, retain for some time, then exhale all the air out completely. Breathe with your nose, keeping the mouth shut. Remain with empty lungs for a moment, and then again inhale. 4. While inhalation 'feel' as though all the good qualities you cherish are going inside you, and while exhalation 'feel' that all the negativities are going out from your body. 5. Visualize that you are standing near some beach or seeing the vast infinite skies. Feel blessed to have got the opportunity to experience this beautiful world and nature. Thank God from the core of your heart. Without using any words just let your heart get overwhelmed with gratitude to whoever has blessed you with life & all this beauty. Then, see and feel that you are part of this whole. You are

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one with all. See and feel that everything is very intimately interconnected. One timeless divinity alone has manifested as this multifarious world. You are one with this divinity. You are That infinite & all-pervasive divinity. Be in this state for sometime. Enjoy this being ness and expansion. 6. Then slowly become conscious of your body again. Feel you have donned this robe again to play whatever drama and role which has been provided to you on the stage of life. 7. Pray to God that 'May you always retain the total holistic vision at all times', and 'May all be happy and prosperous'. Resolve never to live a small, isolated and fragmented life. Slowly move your fingers, legs and body posture. Then get up to live a dynamic and inspired day.

Mind is our friend Don’t fear the mind; it is basically your friend. What we aspire is just the ability to enquire and live as per our convictions, thereafter let the fellow play.

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The choice is yours There is order in the creation. Happiness and sorrow, love and hate – all are part of this order. We are free to love and serve or hate and murder. The laws of the world will never stop us from choosing any option. It is we ourselves who have to weigh the various options which God through his fantastic creation has given us. Those who choose the option of hatred and violence will soon get that alone in return, and those who exude positive feelings and emotions beget that in return. These are the eternal facts of life.

Are the idols God? Well! Just as the picture of your beloved is not your beloved, so also the forms of God are not God in true sense. They represent God, and for all practical purposes, we need to treat these forms as God himself. One thing is definite, all forms of God reveal, remind and affirm to us the ‘existence’ of God. They help us to objectify the unobjectifiable, and thus help us to express our feelings towards that supreme intelligence, power and the embodiment of love.

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Why do we believe in God? Every creation has to have a creator; every effect must have a cause. To accept the existence of an effect without a cause is a very unscientific outlook. Upanishads reveal God as that first cause from whom this entire cosmos has come about. As he is the very cause of all forms, so he necessarily transcends all forms, meaning that he is not an object of our senses. Yet he is definitely there. Just because we don’t ‘see’ a cause with our eyes doesn’t mean that it does not exist. Moreover, seeing is not merely by our eyes, it is also by our understanding. Seeing God basically requires that you open your third eye, the eye of knowledge. Now let us go a bit further. Every creator needs to have knowledge of his creation. So we can logically infer that the creator of this world is that conscious being which has the knowledge of this entire world, for the simple reason that he is the cause of all this. Such a creator also needs the ‘power’ to create, so thus comes the logical necessity of the being omnipotent too. All forms are limited in time & space, and he who transcends forms should necessarily be free from all limitations of time & space. So thus we logically believe in the existence of a supreme intelligence, which is omniscient, omnipotent, all-pervasive and limitless. If we really believe in the existence of such a power then you cannot but relate yourself to it. All religious practices are basically a process to establish & strengthen this unique relationship.

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God and Situations Please don’t expect God to directly interfere in the life of anyone, but see the invincible laws of nature, and through them 'see' the creator who has created all this. The presence of all this creation itself reveals the existence of the creator of all this. The very harmony and order shows the presence of God all around. The fact that with right knowledge goodness can be invoked in any person shows the all-pervasiveness of God. He is inherent in all, but has to be invoked. This invocation of the inherent goodness in all of us is the essence of all religious practices. Once you come to know what God means then I can assure you it will be a different life. You shall be in total harmony with the world, and there will be no problems whatsoever. The stage is his, but the script is ours. We don’t look beyond for the state of affairs which man has created or can create with the powers and faculties which God has so kindly bestowed unto us. All that which is a product of ignorance has to be effaced by right knowledge and wisdom. Work if you can for the well being of all, and God will be present right there in you. So while we pray and work for the well being of all, yet we thank various people who provide an opportunity to us to serve and live as per our convictions, and serve all in a more concerted way. The fight between good and evil is constantly on. God has given us all the options. Let’s choose the best, the so called Path of Sreyas or Dharma.

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God’s Wish or Prabhu Iccha Any situation which comes without or in spite of our efforts is prabhu iccha, and whether we like it or not we have to accept it and carve our way through that situation alone. The word ‘prabhu iccha’ implies that we don’t waste our energy in fretting or fuming but rather in finding our way out with a positive and pleasant mind. It is acceptance of a fact, convenient or inconvenient. There is lot to learn but that learning will be possible only when we are mentally available, prabhu iccha not only facilitates that availability, but also introspection. If in spite of our efforts something has gone wrong then the inconvenient situation by its very inconvenience indicates to us that we needed greater attention or awareness. So why not use our energy to learn and grow. If however we feel that we did our best and there was nothing which we could do further then also accept the situation. We never claim that it is our efforts alone which bring a situation, there is something more, lets call it the karma or again prabhu iccha. Thus the word prabhu iccha indicates an attitude with which we receive a situation very holistically. This attitude helps us to live in present, while being truthful to our motivations and responsibilities.


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The Jiva or Ego Jiva is ‘I’ the individual. He is basically the life or consciousness, as conditioned by our various faculties like mind & body. The sense of individuality is basically a thought in our mind, and thus is not seen when the mind is asleep or unconscious. This limited me, not only represents a conditioned and limited consciousness, but also incorporates our perceptions and conditionings about our self irrespective of whether they are valid or imaginary. There is lot more to your existence than this limited manifestation, like there is lot more to electricity than any of its specific manifestations like the light of a bulb. Taking yourself as ego can never bring any real fulfillment because it is an incomplete and thus a fallacious perception about yourself. Moreover, it alone is the breeding ground for all pains and problems, because it is basically limited and insecure. As long as we don’t take this jiva to be the be-all and end-all of our existence, so long this ego is not a problem, but rather has various advantages and blessings. No role is a problem as long as the actor knows that he is much more than what the role reveals.

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What is Ahankar? Ahankar means 'Aham karta', a thought that 'I am a doer'. Doer ship is a great quality of the mind, and by itself is more of a blessing rather than a curse, but when a person does not know that aspect of his existence which transcends this, then the net result is that he or she limits his existence only to this much, and this is the root of all problems. Such a fellow has limited and fragmented notion about him or her self. Karta is the 'subject' with a sense of doer ship & enjoyer ship, and as such the fellow sees himself to be different from all the various 'objects', so he limits and fragments himself. It also has the entire burden on itself of every action. This state of limitation and fragmentation is an imaginary state of an ignorant mind. Progressive effacement of this ahankar does not pre-suppose the existence of Brahma-Gyana. In fact Brahma-Gyana dawns in a mind which has been freed from this delusory presumption. It is just like that Sun rise in a sky where the darkness has already been removed. Once the sun-like Gyana dawns, thereafter this error of taking yourself to be the doer never recurs. Facts of yourself become so very clear, that there is no place for any erroneous presumptions thereafter.

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When is ego a problem? The Oxford Dictionary defines ego as ‘a conscious thinking subject, it is that part of the mind which reacts to reality and has a sense of individuality, and also a sense of self-esteem.’ The sanskrit parallel of ego is ‘jiva-bhava’. In Vedanta the word ‘jiva’ is described as that conscious entity which has a definite sense of individuality and identity - it is a sum total of our notions about ourselves, imposed on the ever-existing and self-effulgent substratum. That I am a conscious thinking subject is no problem, it is in fact one the greatest blessings. That I can respond to a situation is no problem again. If I have a sense of selfesteem then also it should be no problems, and capacity to wield a role-like individuality too appears to be more of a privilege. The only problem is that we take ourselvs to be this alone, and this doesn’t seem to be natural and acceptable to us. Moksha implies freedom from all imaginary sense of limitations.


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What is Maya? Maya is that power which presents something even when it is not there, like a magician presenting something which is not there. Think of Maya as that which continuously changes. Know the entire expanse of the beautiful nature we see around as Maya. It is beautiful but it is also changing every moment. It is ephemeral. A ‘form’ is Maya; it is there yet has no independent existence apart from its basic material. The power to create ‘forms’ is Maya too. Take away the mud from the pot and you don’t have anything left whatsoever. So also take away the very conscious existence from a being and you don’t have anything left. This conscious existence is Brahman and the ephemeral forms are Maya. Scientists tell us that all matter is merely energy. They have definite reasons to say so, yet how strange that this one formless energy is presenting itself in such variegated forms. This is what we call Maya, the incomprehensible and beautiful power of God.

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Fragmentation and Self-Knowledge A fragmented personality always has two entities talking to each other constantly. The mind and the intellect, the ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’, the jiva and Ishwara.The Mundakopanishad says that it is like two birds on a branch. One always hungry and eating various things, while the other sits contended, and watches on. This is the eternal story of life. This however changes completely with the proper knowledge of Self. Don’t think that we will always have to live with this second ‘I’, As Jiva (ego) is just a product of ignorance; it has to be completely eliminated with the help of right knowledge - of the Self. It is something which has to be fully eliminated from its roots, and not something which has to be made asleep.

Can I be of some service to you? Yes, you can be of some service to me. I want some thing from you, but I wonder whether you can give it me. I want whatever traces you have of your ego. Give it to me lock, stock and barrel. Can you? If you can, then never raise such topics again, and if you can’t, then also don’t ask such things again, because you don’t have the capacity to give what is asked for.


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Where to find the ego? Well! you’ll find this non-entity called ego behind all those thoughts and emotions which not only bring suffering to you but also to all those around you, you’ll find it trying to peep through all thoughtless reactions. That guy will be around when you get too excited or depressed in any situation. Its presence will be felt when in spite of being wrong you will not be able to accept your fault. It will be this fellow alone because of which you will be more bothered about ‘your happiness’ and ‘your securities’ rather than thinking about the joys of all those around you. It will be this very entity which will not allow you to melt away in love and gratitude, it will bring about consciousness of an individuality which would rather retain its identity and stand apart, and then try to find answers to its problem of limitation and isolation. To begin with start with these pointers.

Meeting of Physics and Metaphysics Even the modern day physics is turning to metaphysical dimensions to unravel the secrets of life. With great humility and intensity keep probing the unseen and also the seen dimensions of your Self, here alone lies the biggest secret and treasure of life.

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The Three Gunas The great Maya Shakti with which this entire creation has been created, comprises of three Gunas. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. As the cause always flows in the effect so we can see the play of these guna’s in everything around, including our minds. Depending on various factors there is a constant movement in these guna’s. So we see various moods of the mind, and along with these moods follow some inevitable effects. Whenever there is predominance of Sattva guna in our minds, then we will see greater intelligence, quietitude, balance, love etc. Rajoguna brings activity, extroverted ness, flush of desires, egocentricity etc., while Tamoguna brings dullness, absence of enthusiasm etc. All these guna’s have some role to play, but a predominance of Sattva guna should be the aim, it stands for the best in you. All sadhanas aim for its predominance.

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Objective and Subjective Minds The terms ‘Objective and Subjective Minds’ indicate the two aspects of the process of all our experiences. One, we receive a stimuli in the form of some situation, two, we respond to it. That aspect of our mind which deals with receiving the stimuli is called the objective mind, while that aspect which has the ‘freedom of response’ is termed as the subjective mind. The first is like a receptionist while the other is like the decision-making boss. Many a times we see that the responding faculty has become so dull or conditioned that there are no new or creative responses. It is just the same mechanical responses year after year. These conditionings are termed as vasanas. So as long as these conditionings remain the person is not really free. He is going round and round a circle whose circumference was drawn years back. It is like a wheel which has got stuck somewhere. On the other hand a pure and unconditioned mind is one which is sensitive to what comes. It weighs the pros and cons and then responds as per his or her understanding and convictions. Such an integrated & awakened mind is an ideal instrument for making the best of each and every moment of our lives, increase one’s efficiency manifold, and manifest the latent potentials including the divine intuitive faculty. It is with such a mind alone that we can know the truth of anything, including our Self.


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Handling an uncooperative Mind There indeed are times when our mind is just not what it normally is. Such times require some extra patience. Take it easy, because we know that in spite of such moods, sooner or later, the mind does naturally revert back to its normal self. During such times go out somewhere. Do the thing you like most. A short stint of some loving service to others also helps to subdue the flared-up rajo-guna. At the same time inside your mind retain your objectivity and keep an eye on what is going on in your mind. Another thing which helps a lot is some good company, where you can get some new ideas, thoughts and inspiration. It is a place where you can unload too. If the company of some saints is not directly possible, then go over to some friend’s place who are really sincere, wise and loving. Initiate some good discussions or if there are some problems then just unload yourself. Finally, sincerely believe that it is just a passing phase and soon enough you will be your good old self once again.


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Unquiet mind and retreats What is basically an unquiet mind? An unquiet mind implies a mind which is either unsure, unsatisfied or may be indecisive. It is because of these shortcomings that it keeps on building up pressures, and then looks forward to weekends to take his mind away from his problems and duties which he is not able to handle with a cool and intelligent mind. They look forward to a retreat where they can blow their top off or just simply relax. This is not the objective of retreats as per recommendations of Gita. Gita first wants us to be strong and intelligent enough to take the bull by its horn, in our work-fields. Live life in such a way that you are not tired. You enjoy your challenges, responsibilities and your expressions, and there is no need for any ‘blowing the top’ in some retreats. The test of taking the challenges in this spirit is not merely the increase in the your profits, but in your ability to remain unperturbed even in the midst of greatest challenges. Equanimity doesn’t have any meaning without any challenges around. It is this quality which is again and again revealed in the Gita.

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Be considerate to your mind After years of watering when the sprouting has just begun the gardener suddenly wants to have different flowers. Well, you are the gardener, and it is your discretion to have which ever flowers you want in your garden, but be patient and understanding. Old trees, sprouts and flowers reveal your earlier choice, and not someone else’s wish working for or against you. You require patience to give as much time to the new seeds to sprout as the old seeds took, and also understanding to take into consideration the time, place and conditions for each kind of seed to be sowed. Having gained momentum if the driver now wants to go in the reverse direction then he does need to have the necessary patience, otherwise what will happen is just an accident. You are the driver; you can take any decision, but please be considerate to your own mind. It has to first slow down, get a feel of the new plans and then change gears.


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Stilling the Mind and After The capacity to quieten the mind is indeed great, but not enough. What more is required is understanding the ‘basic presumptions’ operating for such an effort. The first presumption is that ‘today you are not that which you seek, and when you will one day attain and then revel in that state for long, then shortly you will ‘be’ that.’ Second evident presumption is that in order to ‘realize the divinity within you have to quieten all your thoughts.’ Please go into these things thoroughly and try to see their validity. Also go into this that ‘what is it which gets dissolved in a quiet mind, and what is it which gets crystallized later, so as to deny us that experience of ‘dissolved expanse’ later on’. Stilling the mind does have its limited role, but the crux lies in ‘understanding’ the basic presumptions operating in bringing about any movement or even the lack of it.

Is Mind our enemy? Basically mind is not our enemy; it goes only to that place where you wished it earlier to go. We draw a circle with our aspirations and the mind faithfully goes around while faithfully remaining in its limits too.

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Role of Quietening the Thoughts Quitening of the thoughts does have an important role to play. What has to be also realized is the fact that truth is not something which lies hidden behind the thoughts. It is something which is all over, even as the very material cause of the thoughts. It is all pervasive and non-dual, so it has to be evident even when the thoughts are there. The problem is just ignorance of such a thing. Do quieten the thoughts and see what is there when all thoughts are quiet, but later confirm your realization by seeing ‘that’ even when the thoughts exist. Quietening of the thoughts is part of the package which aims at realization of that which encompasses and embraces everything even your limited existence. Nothing can thereafter stand apart. The quietening of the thoughts helps because in such a mind we as though brush aside all the distractions which we ourself first create in our minds. All projections, aspirations, likes and dislikes are kept aside, so it does bring about a condition to realize that which exists in spite of the thoughts, but as mentioned above please do validate your wisdom by seeing that alone even when the thoughts are there. ‘That’ which gets dissolved in a quiet mind, and ‘that’ which again gets crystallized later, so as to deny us the consistency of the experience of ‘dissolved expanse’ later, is just our ‘sense of individuality’. Please try to see the truth of this fact.


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The Truth of Thoughts Thoughts, whether positive or negative, can only affect that person who gives reality to them. The truth is that they are transitory, and you the witness is permanent. ‘See’ this fact and stop being buffeted by them. The ideal state is not that you don’t have negative or positive thoughts but have realized the above truth. If the reflection in the mirror is realized as impermanent then what does it matter if the reflection is beautiful or distorted?

Quietitude and Understanding Intense introspection and unconditioned objective enquiry regarding the fundamentals alone is the doorway to the realization of the truth of Self. You are doing fine. Always prefer intense and positive use of thoughts to their quititude. Quietitude of mind has its own role to play too, but is always secondary to right understanding.

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Losing Temper is wrong The fact that you are aware of the negative consequences of losing temper, and want to get out of this weakness is a positive thing. Yes, there are times when the other person is wrong and you are right, but losing temper turns the table, and you too are thereafter wrong. So if a person has to be really right then it is a must that he should remain considerate, loving and also intelligent enough to handle the situation. We don’t have to just handle a situation outside but our minds too. Ultimately see that not only you but everyone is more happier too. Never forget this component, because really speaking this is the goal for which everyone ultimately works. When the end is clear rest is all easy.


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Handling negative responses Whenever the problem is ‘unsatisfactory response to a situation’, then the way out is to work for a more deliberate response. The first thing which I would like you to work on is to learn to respond 'without words'. Never use words immediately or mechanically. Use them as a treasure. You will be surprised to know that how much we can communicate without using words. A glance, a look etc is enough to reveal our state of mind or point of view. As far as possible make it a habit to express your dissatisfaction with just looks and not words. Use words very thoughtfully and often sparingly and that also 'only after a break and pause' - just like a good investment.


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A person, who has realized the ephemerality of thoughts, will not really be bothered even if the perception of thoughts is there. So the thrust has to be to know the truth of thoughts rather than quietening the thoughts. As far as experiencing the state of thoughtlessness is concerned, you any way experience it several times daily. The reference to our deep-sleep experience is for this purpose alone. Yet if that is not sufficient, you may even consciously keep aside all your thoughts and ‘see’ what remains when the thoughts are quiet. The proof of really having seen that which is the very substratum of thoughts, is to later ‘see’ that and that alone as the very essence of one and all, including your thoughts. Thoughts also will be seen as ‘that self-effulgent blissful existence’, which you had ‘directly realized’ after quietening all your thoughts, just as all pots are seen as nothing but that mud alone, which alone was when the pot was not there. Such men of knowledge revel in the non-dual in spite of the perception of this apparent duality. You see one in spite of the perception of many. That’s the beauty of the knowledge of Vedanta. That is what Lord Krishna says ‘Verily, everything whatsoever is Vasudeva alone’.

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Understanding Desires Yes, expectations are desires. While ultimately they have to be no more, but initially we need to have some desires. In fact desires have an important role to play. Desires need to be understood. Desires reveal a want, and thus provide us motivation to do something. They give us direction and energy to work. More intense the desire, greater will be the drive and motivation, and it is the intense & concerted work alone which brings results. There are certain desires which are a blessing too, so desires per se should not be endeavored to be effaced. Even if someone wants to stop their manifestation, then also he or she will not be able to do it, because desire is an ‘effect’ of some ‘cause’. One needs to go deep into understanding desires. While the capacity to desire is fine, yet the necessity to desire something for yourself need not be there. Desire for helping and serving others is a blessing, it has an inherent divinity; but desire for self-fulfillment etc is painful. Such a desire is born out of insufficiency and the desire just strengthens and affirms it. The cause of all self-centered desires is ignorance and the subsequent delusory understanding about the truth of oneself. All desires are born out of this baseless presumption that ‘I am limited’, and ‘something yonder will bring fulfillment’. When because of right knowledge these baseless presumptions drop, so do all self-centered desires. Yes, desires get dropped, and are not really dropped. There is no effort to efface an effect, when the cause itself is no more.

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Is Atma-gyana easy or difficult? It is easy yet it is difficult. It is easy because all what we have to do is to realize your true nature, and it is difficult because we are highly conditioned about our self, and moreover our existing perceptions make our mind look outside. We try to objectify the subject. Self can be known, but not as an object. The process of knowing the Self is also not like the process of knowing the objects of the world. This part alone makes this knowledge something different. Those who do not understand this, for them this knowledge is difficult. Two things make this difficult knowledge easy. One, a pure sattwic mind, and two, access to a right teacher.

Test of Knowledge The test of our direct realization is existence of a contended mind, motivations of merely the ‘well being of all’, not letting any situation - positive or negative, disturbs your equanimity. You can see directly that this entire ‘field of experience’ - the whole world, along with the experiencer, has come from you, is sustained by you and will go back in you. If you directly know all this then certainly you know the truth. If not, then with all your sincerity and humility keep going deep into the factors which obstruct such realization.

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‘I’ - the most used and abused word Yes, it is a fact that very few know them self fully and properly, and almost all human problems can be traced to the non-apprehension and the subsequent misapprehension of the truth of our self. Realizing the truth of oneself is indeed one the greatest challenges of life. The word ‘I’ is not only the most often used word, but also most-abused word. We keep on coming across so many mirrors in life which prompt us to introspect not only our expectations, perceptions and values, but about our very essence. The great sages of yore also point that Selfknowledge should be considered as the ultimate goal of human life. It is the door to redemption from all subjective malaise. Self-realization is God-realization.

‘I’ is like a Queen-Bee The first and foremost thing which one should remember is that ‘the various fulfillment’s and successes are for me and not vice-versa’. I am important & not they. Even if they do not come then also that which is really important is not lost. I am still there, and that is great. This ‘I’ is like a queen bee for which all bees are working so hard to get the sweetest thing they can find. That beloved, for whom all this was initiated, is still around.

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Three Steps to Self-Realization There are three steps to awakening and abiding in your real Self. They are Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana. In Sravana we directly ‘see’ the meaning of the words of the scriptures ‘through the expositions of our teacher’. This has to be repeated many times till we see the meaning very clearly. In Manana we handle all our doubts, misapprehensions etc by ourself, and awake to the same state within, of which a glimpse is got when it was revealed during the exposition by the teacher. The tips and directions even for this have to be got from our teacher. By Niddidhyasana, the habitual errors get resolved to such an extent that we do not have any necessity of removing any subjective veils, the ‘same’ experience is always there. We just remain intensely aware of this newly discovered identity in and through all our worldly activities too. Some time we meditate intensely on that and at other times the awareness just lingers on.


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Ego is a Nishachar Ego is a ‘Nishachar’, it is born in darkness, and also lives, thrives and operates in darkness alone. It is Rajneesh - the king of the night. Bring in the light and the darkness is not there, and along with it also go all the products of darkness.

Rooting out of the Ego Effacement of ego by proper understanding alone ensures its rooting out. Bringing about the state of egoless ness by any other means is a temporary state, and thus ensures its re-surfacing and continuity.

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Experience and Knowledge Even though taking oneself to be this limited individual starts with the experience of our body-mindintellect complex, but the thought that ‘I am the limited fellow - the jiva’ doesn’t depend upon the constant awareness of our body etc. This implies that even when we are not conscious of our mind etc. this identity can & does exist, in a manifest or an unmanifest condition. During the moments of joys or the deep sleep the experience etc ‘I am a limited guy’ is not experienced, yet we never say sushupti is same as samadhi. Mere experience of a state which is free from all limitations is not what Vedanta is professing. What is required is drawing the right lessons from the whole spectrum of experiences which we are getting even without any efforts on our part. The experience of sushupti is available to one & all, but what lessons have we learnt from it, is the million dollar question. Yoga shastra (all kinds of Yogas included) helps us get sattvic experiences, while Vedanta shastra teaches us to get right lessons from the whole range of experiences we are getting every moment. Vedanta declares again and again that ‘by knowledge alone you liberate yourself, and not by any particular experience.’ A student of medicine having completed his degree course, is in the beginning intensely conscious of his having become a doctor. ‘I am now a doctor’ is his ‘experience’, in which he continuously & joyously revels. Later after some time even though he


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may not be consciously retaining that thought that ‘I am a doctor’, yet the initial effort of consciously and continuously reveling in that thought now culminates into a ‘knowledge’ that ‘I am a doctor’, and this ‘knowledge’ operates on all his thoughts, plans and relationships - unconsciously. Now it is immaterial whether the fellow is conscious of it or not, the knowledge will continue to operate. It may be easy to handle experiences, or at times even shove the experiencer on one side, but the real thing is to handle the deeply ingrained ‘knowledge’ that I am a limited experiencer. Can we root out those misapprehensions which have trickled down deep into our psyche? That alone is the challenge in front of all Vedantic scriptures & teachers. Real freedom is freedom from those baseless presumptions and misapprehensions of the truth of ourselves and realization of the truths as revealed by the Upanishads - the pramana granths.


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Means and End There is indeed lots of ignorance about the end and means (the Sadhana & Sadhya). The only problem of a human being is that of ignorance of the fundamental truth of life and himself, and thus the solution is only and only knowledge. Just as darkness goes only by light, so also ignorance goes only by knowledge, and nothing else - whatsoever. Self-knowledge is the means to eliminate the veil of ignorance on your true Self. Further, please understand that knowledge of anything is brought about only by proper enquiry of that thing and nothing else, so there are no different ‘ways’ or ‘paths’ here. It is just and simple unconditioned & deep enquiry into your self, which includes going into your existing presumptions etc too. All other sadhanas too have a role to play, but only to help bring about the right state of mind with which proper enquiry is to be conducted. So basically there is no choice regarding ‘paths’. Paths are there only for handling our specific conditionings which become impediments for an in-depth and objective enquiry.

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Bondage and Liberation Efforts to become something imply the existence of an unconscious presumption that ‘Whatever I am today is not the ultimate; it is not really something which I want & aspire to be’. There is another presumption too, that is, by this process of ‘becoming’, the ‘lack’ within will be eliminated. This presumption is baseless, something totally contrary to what the awakened ones reveals. They declare that the Self is one, non-dual, infinite & transcendental divinity. Whatever you ‘become’ is always short lived, never permanent. If we look back then we realize that till this day we have become so many things, attained so many goals, fulfilled so many desires. Sometimes the feeling was that ‘I am on top of the world’, but still the lingering feeling of attaining something more remains. So the very thought that you want to ‘attain’ fulfillment by yet some other process of ‘becoming’ is a product of ignorance. So the ignorance of facts of life and the truth of our Self, and the subsequent taking of some other thing as a fact is Bondage, and to ‘see’ the facts as they are and thus be free from that intrinsic lack is Liberation.

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Samsari, Sadhaka and Siddha The difference between a samsari (worldly man), a sadhaka (spiritual aspirant), and a siddha (Jivanmukta) basically pertains to their perceptions about their real identities and essence. However, irrespective of their individual perceptions the fact remains that the basic essence of all of these is one and the same - one infinite, immutable, blissful divinity. 'Jivanmukta' is one who knows the above truth very clearly & intimately, a 'spiritual aspirant' is one who knows that he does not know, and thus is putting in sincere efforts to know, and the so called 'worldly man' is one who even though does not know his real truth but still thinks that he knows, and therefore there is no effort whatsoever in this direction of self-enquiry. While a Jivanmukta is effortlessly at peace with himself and lives for others - very lovingly and dynamically, the spiritual aspirant is busy, working for various 'subjective' discoveries about himself. The worldly type is a deluded one, he or she is very extrovert, always very busy - even to pause to think as to who is he, what does he really and ultimately want or where exactly is he going. He has hundreds of worldly or rather 'objective' priorities and aspirations, which he in his misplaced wisdom considers as the gateway to real fulfillment. All the above types of people (which are basically three stages which everyone has to go through & attain)


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are found at all times and places, but obviously the percentage vary. The majority is always of those who do not know, yet arrogantly think that they know - they are the extrovert types and are always on the run. Next come those who are relatively in lesser number - who know that they do not know. They are the quieter introvert types and very humbly try to know that which the truth is. The most rare are those who very clearly know 'that' which is the very substratum of all knowledge and ignorance - as their very self. They are an embodiment of God himself and are indeed a blessing for the world.


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Expand yourself By expanding your self I mean that apart from taking your own ambitions and desires into consideration, try to live & care for others too. Self-centricity brings all the conflicts and confusions which you had mentioned in your earlier mail. Have you ever seen the wish of your mother etc as your own wish? Have you ever gone out to the forests or a garden and fed the birds or the animals? Have you ever helped someone by whatever charity you can afford? Do your goals of life include the well-being of other people of our world, or do you just plan for yourself?

Changing impression about yourself By changing the impression about yourself, I mean to stop perceiving yourself in isolation. Stop taking yourself as a small individual, but as a part of this beautiful and orderly creation, and also a potent part of God himself. The same laws apply to you as they apply to anyone else. You too work within the same parameters as anyone else. You too have your nose in the same tub as others for breathing. Remember we are all interconnected, in various ways. This connectivity exists even at the level of mind and soul, but we have to see it. Isolated, fragmented life is a guarantee for all conflicts.

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Importance of a Guru Proper learning of any knowledge whatsoever requires direct initiation and direction from a good teacher. Better the teacher quicker and better is the understanding. We have learnt to even read or write because of some teacher. As the topic of our understanding becomes subtler, the necessity of a teacher becomes greater. Try to understand classical music or some such thing without a teacher and you will yourself realize the necessity of a living and loving teacher. Meeting the right person at the right time makes all the difference in life. If self-study was the ideal way to know then schools and other institutions of learning would have become redundant. Moreover, every person would have to start from the discovery of the wheel itself.

Necessity of a Guru Just as a lamp can be lit only with a lightened lamp, so also self-knowledge can take place only with the help of a Sat-guru. It is indeed the extremely blessed ones who find company and association of men with true wisdom and love to help us awaken from this realm of ignorance. Knowledge takes place in an atmosphere of love and egoless ness, which is a natural basis in our relationship with our Sat-guru. Those who say that there is no necessity of a Guru in life do not apparently know what is the real ‘means of knowledge’ (pramana) for Self-knowledge. They can never imagine the joys of relationship with a truly enlightened soul.

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A Living Guru is required It is obvious that as the subject matter of selfknowledge is our very Self, the whole inquiry has to be conducted in and by our own mind. The truth too will be revealed as our very Self. These things are never a point of doubt or contention. This is also a fact that the Guru in his true essence resides in all of us, but this by itself has never been of any help to us, we continue to suffer in spite of that ‘guru’ within us. What is required is not the essence of a Guru, but a Guru in flesh and blood with whom we can discuss, talk and find a way out of the mess in which we have brought ourselves to. Truth is right there in front of you - revealed in all its glory, it is just that there is ignorance about it. Having identified the problem, why should there be any hesitation in taking help from someone who has already undertaken this journey. It is indeed funny to see what all excuses the ego thinks about, what all logic it discovers, just to avoid the possibility of its surrendering at the feet of someone who is nothing but an embodiment of true knowledge and love.


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Invoking Guru in someone no more No, it does not help invoking Guru in some saint who is no more around. Guru should be living and also accessible. You should be able to discuss things and find solutions to your problems and questions. You can take some general guidance and inspiration from earlier saints but they can never be an alternate for a living Guru. What is called for is not general inspiration and understanding but specific guidance. Company and association of right people is of greatest importance. If you don’t find the right people, you will discuss from those who are still in dark and that never helps, it only complicates the matters. That ‘you should be your own light’, ‘Guru is already within you’, ‘That you need not look out for a guru’, and all that in my view is wrong. They are just words of no practical help.


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Is purity of thoughts enough ? Purity of thoughts and emotions are indeed necessary, but by itself that is never enough. As long as thoughts exist so long the thinker too exists. Taking ourselves as a thinker etc is synonymous to taking oneself to be limited. To transcend the thinker you need to get light from where it exists. The light is never got someone who is himself a product of darkness. In fact the awakening is when this fellow is no more. Yes, ego is like the proverbial snake which by its very existence veils the rope. Ego has to commit a kind of hara-kiri, wherein the ego is no more yet the eyes are not closed. As long as this limited guy is there so long the doors remain shut. Truth is indeed beyond imagination. It reveals when there is no imagination, but not merely when there is no imagination. Even though progress to a large extent does take place by your sincere efforts, but as you yourself realize this has its own limits. From finite to infinite is not a journey in time, which takes place slowly. It is an awakening. A sudden leap. However great a number you add to your existing denomination it will always be short of infinity. So that’s not the way.


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An ideal student The only thing which we look in a student is the sincerity of purpose for ‘bringing about right understanding about life’ and ‘necessary faith in the teacher’. We don’t bother much about prescribing daily routine. Decide what is best under your circumstances. See what is best to retain your positive mindset. Having good physical health and a good state of mind, along with the above two attitudes is what is really required. Performing all our duties with a loving mind, enjoying every work we do and not being bothered too much about what we get in return, is a very helpful attitude to bring about all positive qualities. A mind which is awake and also at peace through out the day, will have a nice sleep, get up fresh, will be quiet to think deeply about the secrets of life. That is all that is required. Do keep some time to study some good texts, and some time should also be kept apart for some prayers and meditation.

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What to do till you meet a Guru? 1. Be very clear about the role and importance of association with the right, knowledgeable people. Have great value for this. Try your best under your existing circumstances to get such company. Value for such people has its own effect. If you cannot find anyone who can help you provide some light, sincerely pray to God for such a company. Believe me, prayers have great power. 2. Try to identify your problem to the best possible extent and present your question as clearly and as specifically possible to all those who are available. As long as communication is taking place language becomes secondary. 3. Listen to all as objectively as possible, as you have been doing at present, but reserve the right to decide by yourself. Self-knowledge is not something which defies logic. But let the criteria be to discover your Self as the ultimate. This is not a matter of blind belief, but something pending discovery. Just as a patient has an intrinsic faith in his health, so also have a deep intrinsic faith in your own divinity. Believe sincerely you are basically all right, that this fact can be understood even by you, and finally come what you may will one day know it. If others can do it why cant I? 4. Give more importance to ‘understanding things’ rather than to get some momentary ‘experience’. Try your best to study Upanishads and such Vedantic texts. They are one of the greatest heritages of all mankind. They objectively


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analyze and discuss the fundamental things of life. They are not to provide some do’s and don’ts but to help us discover the truth. 5. Pray to God to provide you with more and more opportunities to know more about the secrets of life and yourself. The fact that today I am discussing something with you is itself the will of God. Who else can make such things to happen except God? 6. It is right that you alone have to work and find your way but in today’s world many new vistas in the field of communication have been opened which could never have been imagined earlier. So guidance will be available even at your door steps, if you sincerely want it, not only regarding this thing but in fact for any thing. That’s the way of God and his world. 7. Feel free to write to me and I will try my best to help you find your way. It would be my pleasure. But never blindly follow or accept what I or for that matter anyone says. Think deeply on what is said and if you feel convinced then alone follow, otherwise write back again. Let a good discussion take place in an atmosphere of mutual love and respect.


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The Logic of Karma-Yoga I rate 'Karma Yoga' as the best and finest way to not only purify ones mind but simultaneously achieve greater efficiency and productivity in our day to day life. This has the potential to literally bring about a revolution in our lives. It is a must which everyone irrespective of ones religion or faith should follow. It reveals something universal. It won’t be an exaggeration if I say that the door to eternity will never open without practicing and assimilating the 'Art of Action' as revealed in Karma Yoga. Sri Sankaracharya calls Karma Yoga as the Yoga which facilitates abidance in ones Self (Gyana Nishtha). Karma Yoga incorporates the best of positive emotions (Bhakti), positive perceptions (Gyana) and dynamic living (Karma), and you have a role model like Sri Krishna who had such a bubbling, loving, creative and dynamic personality. He not only preached but lived Karma Yoga - effortlessly. The essence of Karma Yoga is to live a life where we do not begin with the premise that 'I am a limited guy', but with a deep-rooted faith of ones intrinsic fullness. Such a person doesn’t look at the world with thirsty eyes that 'I want this or that', but looks at the world as it is, without bringing in the 'I want' factor. We have the freedom to look at the world with 'me' as its center, or we have the freedom to see the world as it is. While the former perception is the greatest conditioning and distortion, the latter helps us see the truth of the world or of us. The elimination of the self-centricity is facilitated by various things : -


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1. You see the ways and systems of the world so clearly that you prefer and afford to start enjoying each and every moment and action thoroughly, rather than postpone your joys for getting some fruits of action which only come in the future. 2. You believe in God to such an extent that you stop worrying about yourself. 3. You see this fact clearly that fragmentation alone is the cause of all miseries. Expanding ones shores to include 'others' also in 'mine'. This is extremely important to fulfill our dearest and deepest dreams. 4. You see the world as a realm of change, and therefore do not consider the worldly goals as your real or ultimate goal. 5. You see your 'sense of individuality' as a mere product of your mind rather than something which has an indifferent and substantial objective existence. The 'sense of individuality' thus doesnt reveal my 'truth'. If everything in the world has come from one reality then even my 'truth' has to be something infinite, which is what the Vedas too reveal.


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The Essence of Karma Yoga Having discovered a logic for not living just for yourself, you should discover a goal which can become an ideal media to help you serve others. This is the essence of Karma Yoga. Living lovingly for the well-being of all. This Art of Karma has two basic components : A. How we receive a situation, and B. How we respond to a situation. Anyone who is truly selfless receives every situation with full equanimity. As there is nothing personal at stakes, nothing can disturb this person. This equanimity becomes his hallmark, and this alone is the most evident test of the 'purity' of our mind too. If any situation whatsoever can disturb us then we are yet to 'see' the ephemerality of the world, we are yet to really believe in God, we are yet to discover a logic of living beyond our 'sense of individuality'. Such a person is condemned to live a life of miseries for life after life. No sadhana can help us out, till we stop getting worried about anything outside. Secondly, the Karma Yogi responds to a situation with deep love for all. It is his love for others which prompts him to act. This is what love is all about. Karma Yogi is an embodiment of true love, and where love is, there alone joy and happiness is. The right 'way' of receiving a situation is called in our scriptures as 'Prasad Buddhi', while the right 'way' of responding to a situation is indicated by the word 'Ishwar-arpan Buddhi'. These two constitute the essence of Karma Yoga.


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Enjoy the Journey Enjoy the journey, rather than miss out the beautiful landscapes around in the anxiety to reach some place. Those who enjoy the journey enjoy constantly, and they alone really enjoy the goal too. Love for the goal should definitely be there, and so also the enthusiasm to reach it, but one needs to strike a balance in one’s priorities. Goals give direction and drive, but this should never be at the cost of devaluing the present. Remember, your cherished goals too shall come as some present moment. So learn the art of making the best of your present moments. The joys of those who are just bothered about some goal beyond the horizon, are obviously momentary and short-lived, not only because their joy is dependent on just one thing, but also because they have not learnt this art of making the best of that which is in the present.

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Swadharma The word swadharma refers both to the intrinsic nature our mind (from its ‘inclination’ point of view) and also of the Self. At the level of mind it refers to the deep rooted impressions in the mind due to our past karmas. This helps discern the ‘varna’ of every individual. Varna literally means color, and is commonly translated as the ‘caste’ of every individual. If the field of our work is decided as per these intrinsic inclinations then the output is seen to be best, and also it is easiest to purify our mind and facilitate our spiritual unfoldment too. Purification of our mind is our ability to live as per our swadharma in a ‘sattvic’ way. Swadharma also refers to the nature of Self, which is Sat-chit-anand. Once the mind is ready then with the help of Vedanta one should do enquiry and realize ones real nature and abide in it. The first task of every sadhaka is to discern his swadharma at the level of mind and live life as per that in a sattvic way. This is a very delicate task. Initially all impressions appear to be so deep rooted that they appear to be our swadharma, so hasten slowly.

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Caste System Caste system is not anything evil. It is a psychologically perfect system for the division of labor of the people, which every Hindu should be rather proud of. The problem today is the way in which this is understood and practiced. Discernment of caste was basically on the basis of intrinsic inclinations of a person. Depending on the basic inclination of a person the Gurukula’s initiated them in that field, and it was due to this reason that we had great specialists in every field. Children were chosen and trained right from childhood, not like the education system of today, where education is just information-feeding and cant even guarantee a job. Possibility of misuse of any system is inherent in every system, and appropriate ways to safeguard it are thus worked out. The negativities of caste system can not be removed by branding the system per se as evil, but by bringing to fore-front the exact truth of it. If caste system is evil just because it is wrongly practiced then democracy is still more evil - because the people who are supposed to run it are making a mockery of it. Please remember that no religion in the world realized or professed the necessity of psychological compatibility of a person and his work field. Just because some people did not care to go into all this and therefore denigrated or abused this system it does not mean the system is evil. Unfortunately the neo-literates too just keep repeating the wrong understanding of this perfect system.

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The Four Varnas While it is always good to be aware of your deep rooted impressions, yet the word swadharma implies the ‘broad overall thrust of the total deep-rooted and natural impressions’. Four categories have been enumerated by the scriptures 1. Those desirous of pursuing greater understanding of life. Such people feel satisfied even in simple yet respectful living. They live more in present, are sensitive to their duties and responsibilities. They are relatively more intelligent, creative, considerate, fearless and also loving. They are called ‘Brahmins’, most suited to realize Brahman. 2. The second kind is called the Kshatriyas. They too have high and noble ideals but have greater inclination to change the world, rather than themselves. They do change the world as per their convictions. They have strong personalities, and their presence brings awe and hope in the minds of people. They are not really ego-centric, in their heart of hearts they want the well being of people. They respect knowledge and also men of knowledge, but do not feel disposed to pursue it by themselves. They want some pomp and show, grandeur and comfort too. 3. The third kind is the business types, called the Vaishyas. The thrust of their inclination is money and personal profit. They weigh everything, whether it is knowledge, social work, pleasures or even relationships, in these terms alone. They are more self-centered, but the

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most resourceful of the lot, and thus command a status. They are extremely calculative and consider changing colors as their cleverness. They are never too reliable. They are more fascinated by means rather than the end, of which they are not very clear either. 4. People, who are not motivated by any of the above thrusts, are called Shudras. They need to get direction for everything. They are the dull types. Their heaven is where they can get the best to eat, enjoy and sleep without having to work for it. They work best under pressure. These are called the four ‘varnas’. The thrust of ones activity should be as per these broad inclinations, then alone the best comes out. Even though these varnas can be changed, but that is not really necessary. Purity of mind can still be brought about, if some positive values are inculcated and there is execution of their works in a relatively more sattvic way.


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The Role of Four Varnas Basically the Sanatan Dharma expounds that the main goal of life of every person is to get enlightened, realize the Self as the ultimate, transcendental truth called Brahman. (Ayam Atma Brahma) To take oneself as being limited by time and space is an indication and also proof of ignorance in that person about his or her true nature. The realization of Self as the non-dual, eternal reality of the universe is what we call Moksha. Even though we believe that this is our main goal and every human is basically capable of attaining it, but like in any knowledge some prerequisites are required before the knowledge can dawn. The potential for this realization is inherent in all, but this potential has to be manifested very patiently. A mind ready for the inner awakening is called a sattvic or pure mind. The process of manifestation of this potential is a very specialized affair. It is very specific too. We do not profess a single path and duties to one and all. We believe that every person has a specific frame of mind and a definite inclination for some activity. This is termed as ‘Swadharma’ or ‘Varna’ of that person. This has to be identified with the help of our gurus. As a general rule we believe that children of parents having an X kind of inclination are most likely to have that X kind of inclination too. So commonly categorization is made on the basis of lineage. But this is not a hard and fast rule, but is only the best available initial categorization


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system. These natural inclinations of minds are what we call as the Varna and they are broadly of four kinds. The Brahmanas (the simple, clean minded intelligential who are inclined to know more & more of the secrets of life, do research etc.), Kshatriyas (the inspiring, dynamic, fearless and selfless workers which forms the leader class), Vaishyas (the dynamic business class which is motivated best by the possibility of self-interest & profit) and the Shudras (those who do not have any of the above inclinations and therefore are the dull ones). This is what others generally call as the caste-system. We believe that duties, work-field, responsibilities etc. of a person should always be assigned or chosen on the basis of his or her inner coloring or fragrance. Then alone the best can come out. Then alone the mind can be loving, dynamic, creative, selfless or in short sattvic. We respect such kind of activity because dynamic, loving & selfless work helps to bring out our best not only in the field of our work but also manifests our potential for the inner realization. So it is extremely essential to identify ones varna, be true to it and live accordingly. Thus the varna system indicates our field of action, while the ashrams indicate the stages of life.


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Predictions dont make sense Any predictions whether of Nostradamus or anyone else, just don’t make any sense. The only lesson anyone draws from these thing is that if everything is destined in life then ‘we do not have freedom whatsoever’. This is refuted by our Vedas, logic and even by our experiences. It is the ‘Law of Karma’ which alone satisfactorily explains things in the world and not astrology. If even for a moment we accept that everything is destined, then mind you God will become the greatest and biggest sadist of the world. How can the creator ever create the suffering masses, the inequality and all these things? No religion can ever dream of even imagining such a God. So we do not accept that everything is predestined.

Is everything pre-destined? While there is definitely something called destiny, yet everything is not pre-destined. To say every thing is pre-destined will be to deny all that the scriptures have been trying to tell. It would be the greatest dis-service to the ageless vedic wisdom, if every thing is imagined to be pre-destined, and the basic objective of religious masters is equated with predicting future. It amounts to not only denying the scriptures but even your very freedom.


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Predictions deny joy of suspense Predictions take away the very joy of suspense which God has so lovingly bestowed to us. It is only those people who are desperately bothered about getting some situation outside, who do not know how real fulfillment or even a situation is brought about, who do not know their truth, and base their lives on imaginary perceptions are lacking within, who do not know what is the role and place of action, and have not tasted the joys of a creative & loving action - that destiny becomes some thing very important. A person may be deluded on many counts, yet if the fellow enjoys the ‘joy of suspense’, then also he will not go for predictions, however valid it may be. Those who want to know their future are one’s with weak minds, and are missing something great in life. They do not know how to live. They know not what is the vision, message and purport of scriptures. In spite of all achievements they shall remain a weak and wanting being. People who are desperate to know about their future are like a person sitting to watch a movie, and because the fellow can’t bear the suspense has asked someone about the possible turn of events. While the predictions may or may not come true, but the important thing to see is his state of mind. He sits through the movie with a conditioned mind, completely devoid of the joys of suspense. They know not the ways of enjoying a movie.


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Destiny and Freedom There are two aspects of a karma. One, a situation comes, and two, we respond to it. Every situation is a product of the sum total of all our past karma's, both of this life and of the earlier ones. This aspect is destined to come. We are however free in how we respond to these situations. We can respond mechanically, casually, dynamically, intelligently, or creatively in a completely new way. We are free in all this, and in fact this alone is our real freedom, and is of greatest consequence. This conscious exercising of our freedom of response alone is basically our ‘karma', this alone creates all papa or punya. In this alone is our real challenge & creativity. In fact this alone is the real joy of karma. If someone exercises and enjoys this aspect properly then he or she is the most blessed person. One, the joy of such person who enjoys the very act of doing something is never snatched away by any situation whatsoever. Two, even if the person is not too bothered about the fruits of action then also such a person alone gets right fruits too, for the simple reason that his actions have been performed well, and finally, such people acquire all the qualities required to awaken to the transcendental dimension of their own Self. They are called the Karma-yogis. Such people are never bothered about their future; they enjoy every moment of their lives, and are true believers and devotees of God. What they do is their offering at the feet of God, and what comes to them in the form of situations, is the gift of God to them - his prasad.

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Who creates destiny? Two possibilities crop up in our mind. Either this destiny factor has been created by God or by the karma's of man. If God has created destiny then he alone will be responsible for all the pain, injustice and mess we see around. He will have to be seen as the greatest sadist we can ever imagine. Moreover, if he alone runs the show then why should he come and give discourses to humans who are just his puppets, and have no freedom whatsoever. Scriptures like Vedas and Gita who talk about karma's will become redundant. To say that God alone decides everything is to rob the life of all its drive, challenge and creativity. If we however say, that it our past karma's which constitutes our destiny and that alone decides everything in this life, then it also implies that if I am the one who has created these karma's in my earlier life, then I can very well create some papa-punya in this life too. And if that be so then I can very well change or create my so called destiny. This alone is the truth. There is no truth in saying that everything is pre-destined.

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Sushupti and Samadhi There is a great difference between the states of ‘sushupti’ and the state of ‘samadhi’. In the former, the deep-sleep state, you glide in because of your exhaustion & tiredness, while in the latter you go in because of your heightened awareness and understanding. Experience of thoughtlessness being same, the lessons we learn, the knowledge we derive makes the real difference. It is the absence and existence of knowledge which really matters & not the commonness of thoughtlessness.

Why people go to secluded places? There can be two reasons why some people go to secluded places. If they are sadhakas then they may be in a process of manana or are working to bring about complete abidance in truth, and if they are siddhas, then they just like it and do it. They are totally free, they can do what they like, its not for achieving any thing.

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Samadhi and Knowledge Real happiness is not dependent on thoughtlessness but on right knowledge. The ability to glide into samadhi is just a proof that your understanding is right, later on you have the freedom to either remain with thoughts or glide into thoughtlessness (samadhi), it will not really matter. We suggest to our students that they at least go into samadhi once, later it will be their discretion. The nature of discrimination which is revealed in all Advaita Vedanta scriptures is ‘Atma alone is, rest is all Mithya’. If you have really ‘seen’ this fact then you will be able to put everything aside. Our inability to detach ourselves from the awareness of some thing or some person, even for a short time, only shows the importance being given to those things. The importance goes to the extent of our inability to bring to our mind the awareness of ‘that’ about which I seem to be convinced that it alone is the truth. Regarding truth we should feel absolute importance, rest has only relative importance. As going into samadhi is the culmination of right knowledge, so one should not really bother too much about samadhi but only aim to get right understanding of life. Samadhi is like a prasad of right knowledge.

Vedanta Ashram Publication

Om Tat Sat

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Email excerpts from the mails of Poojya Guruji Sri Swami Atmananda Saraswati, of Vedanta Ashram, Indore, India

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