Questions & Answers with Sri Bhagavan
Q Most of us are tired battling with life. We often wonder if life is conspiring against our joy and peace. The more we try to elude pain, the more challenging it becomes. Is it simply bad luck or the fruit of my past deeds or an irrevocable destiny that is forcing its way into my life?
A Life is like a cricket match. It is like a bowler throwing various kinds of balls at you – ball of pain, ball of pleasure, ball of hatred, ball of jealousy, ball of crisis. You are the batsman. Your life depends on how you play these balls.
In a cricket match if the bowler knows you are afraid of leg-breaks, he’ll constantly bowl leg- breaks at you. So is life. If you do not accept the balls it bowls, it will bowl only such balls since that is your weakness. Being a batsman you are expected to face every kind of ball. You cannot afford to say I would not face a particular kind of a ball or a bowler. If you say that then the opposing team captain would only make that bowler bowl. Life knows what you are afraid of and only such kinds of balls would come. Therefore, if you learn to play all the balls, your problems would get solved.
Learning to play all the balls is nothing but Recognizing, Accepting and Experiencing events and incidents as they occur without trying to run away from them. You should not think life would be nice and kind. It would bowl all kinds of balls. A good batsman would not run away from the field saying it is a tough ball.
If you are fighting jealousy then life would keep giving you situations where you would feel more jealous. But if you learn to play the balls of jealousy by experience it then the opposing captain would declare that you have won. He would concede because you are now hitting every ball for a six.
And what is it to hit every ball for a six - To experience everything in life. The art of experiencing is the art of batting. If you could experience every thing, what ever be the situation you have won. If you can do that here, you are fully enlightened. An enlightened man is one who can hit every ball for a six.
Q Bhagavan, do things happen according to our will or according to the Divine will?
A Truth is a many storeyed structure. If you were to look at it from the ground floor, it would look different than if you were to look at it from the ninety-fourth floor. The experience of reality depends on one’s level of consciousness.
For the one who is God-realized and is awakened what exists is only the presence of God. The decision is God. The decision making is God. Hence the question of a free will does not arise at all.
The one in an ordinary state of consciousness is stuck in three illusions: illusion of the self, illusion of separateness and illusion of freedom. Caught up in such illusions, one experiences duality as the me and the not me, as man and God, and free will and divine will.
Those caught in the illusions of a separate entity can react to situations in many ways. When things go the way they desire, they often believe it is because of their effort and free will, and when things do not go the way they desire, they often blame it on the divine will.
These people would see free will and divine will alternate in life, though the percentage of the illusion of free will varies from person to person. There are those who see there is choice where one could exercise control and turn the direction of life according to one’s desire. For them divine will would appear to be an illusion.
In moments when life seems out of control, there are people who refuse to flow and are inclined to blame others and God. They usually have a tendency to quit, compromise or go into depression.
The universe basically is unpredictable because the universe is a living thing and it is changing from moment to moment. When one sees life is beyond one’s control, surrender to the divine with acceptance would be wisdom.
Q What about having desires?
A See as far as I am concerned I have nothing against desires. I am only against craving. So what is wrong with desires? As long as the self is there, you are going to have desires. So, that’s why I talk of two dharmas. One for the awakened and one for the unawakened. The awakened of course don’t need any dharma at all. But as long as you are unawakened you must behave like one who is not awakened. It is very natural to have desires for money, for property, for marriage, for this or for that. And it is very healthy to have desires. Because there is very good ‘becoming’. There is the need for ‘becoming’ for the self. So I have not found desires harmful at all. Infact people have come with a lot of desires and after the desires have been fulfilled they have told me, Bhagavan enough with desires, we want to move on to something higher. So that is why I go about trying to fulfil desires. So, I am not for complacency. I am to find out what is wrong if desires are not getting fulfilled. Any natural desire, which is very rightful, is ok. It is ok for a man to ask for money. What’s wrong with it? The ancients said – Artha, Kama, Dharma, Moksha. It is perfectly fine. We are not talking of that. But creating wealth is very good. It is good for the society also. And you want to marry somebody, what’s wrong with it? Noting wrong with it. And I have not found anything going wrong by fulfilling people’s desires. So I would say, as long as desires are there, you must go after them. If it is not getting fulfilled, let us track down what is wrong and what should be done about it. We will track them anywhere in the 4 baskets or in the FCDs or in the vasanas. And once it is set right it would naturally be fulfilled. So I would say, go ahead and fulfill your desires. It would not make you unspiritual at all as people talk about. Certainly not. Either the desire should be fulfilled or dissolved. But controlling your desires could make you non-spiritual. You would get nowhere.
Q Bhagavan, God is one, then why the response of God varies from person to person?
A The amount of grace you receive or the form in which God manifest to you depends on the relationship you have with God. That is why it is important that you do not have an image of a punishing god or an indifferent god. If you thought, God would be angry with you for your thoughts or your life and therefore afraid, God would certainly punish you. If God to you were a lazy father, would answer after endless entities and petitions, that would be your reality. You create your God.
You have made a mess of your lives, unaware of the power and freedom you hold in creating your God. One of the greatest curses you could lay on yourself is to create a wrong kind of God - a defective God who could sit over you in judgement and punish you.
Remember when I say creating your God, I do not mean creating an non-existent God through your own imagination. God is your creator and how could you create God?
Creating your own God means to awaken to the power you wield. God is powerful, but you too being a part of God, are quite powerful, hence the problem. You have the freedom to design the kind of God you want. It is like the potter, making use of the clay and creating master pieces. You are the potter and God the clay. Your God would then respond to you the way you want. That is why, we use the word ...'Elokthakari' - one who does as bidden.
Do not think it is presumptuous to design God. You have all along being creating your God unconsciously, only now do it consciously and intelligently. God does not define himself or herself. Humanity defines God.
Create a God who is powerful enough to awaken you and also fulfill your desires. If you relate to God as playful, powerful and a compassionate friend, who will respond to your needs instantaneously, that would be your God.
If on the other hand, you define God as the unapproachable then the doors of heaven shall not open, because there is big board which would say, 'no entry'.
If you say God is indefinable that certainly would be your experience. You could choose to have a frowning God, or a smiling God or a laughing God or your playing God.
Q Bhagavan, give us more clarity of suffering is not in the fact but the perception.
A See, do animals have suffering at all? They do not have suffering except for a very, very short while. They have physical pain. If you beat an animal it has got physical pain and for a short term it may be very angry with you.
Now after sometime it's no more angry with you because animals have only short term memory. They don't have long term memory.
Whereas we have long term memory and therefore, we go on thinking about an incident. Thinking about that incident is what gives you suffering.
Suppose somebody comes and gives you a fine slap. Now, what has happened? The hand has hit this side. It's hot here for a few minutes. That's all. So where is the problem? You can think of it as some kind of good exercise for your cheeks, for your head and then go about it.
But then you are thinking, who is that rogue who hit you, why did he hit you, how to get back at him, how to punch him, all the things that happened.
That's what we call suffering. The fact is simple. Just one hand came and hit your cheeks or somebody kicked you in the back. That's all. So many times you've fallen down. So what? But why are you making such a big fuss out of it.
Because that memory is there and what is memory? Memory is a flow of thought and thought is the culprit. Thought always makes mischief. It always creates trouble. It survives by comparing.
So thought is the root cause of all trouble and therefore it creates suffering by converting that fact into a perception. But then if you live a life of inner integrity you could stop it.
If you lead the life of inner integrity thought itself may stop. It may come only when required or even if it comes it would only be formal functional thought: this light is burning, switch it there, switch it off like this, put it this way.
That kind of thought would be there, not going on thinking about what has happened either in the past or what is going to happen in the future. You would just be in the present.
In the present you cannot think. Conversely, you can think of the past or the future. The present is a living experience. There is no thought at all. But, you've got into this habit. Like lying, this thinking has become a habit. Non-stop you're thinking. So all the time thinking, thinking, thinking, which is a waste of energy.
That's why very often you feel tired, you can't enjoy life because of non-stop thinking. So what's the point of that thinking? So if all this must stop, you have to go back to inner integrity.
Similarly, I told you, all the time you are speaking lies and if you speak the truth, you would destroy society. But if you don't speak the truth you will lead a life of lies which has its own harmful effects.
So how do we handle the situation? Well at first we have to move into inner integrity. If you move into inner integrity you can be honest as well as not disturb society. That's why we're trying to teach you inner integrity.
So that is the truth if you want to speak lies. If you want to stop speaking lies you have to practice inner integrity. And as lies reduce there is no need for thoughts to go on working like this.
The thoughts are so full of lies from the ego going on thinking, continuously covering up things because if it does not go on thinking, the truth will be exposed and you do not want to see the truth about yourself. You do not realize that while you know so much about the other person you know very little about yourself.
You know very little about yourself, but you seem to know so much about others and the fact is if you look into yourself you know what you'll find there? Everybody wants to think nicely about themselves, to think good about themselves.
You don't like the feeling of feeling guilty, feeling bad. So everything is nicely decorated. All that rubbish in you is nicely decorated. It's all hiding inside. That is your problem. You've never seen yourself.
Speaking lies to somebody is ok, but speaking lies to yourself destroys you. And then you'll come out a liberated being. You'll be as free as the bird that is flying in the skies, so totally free you'll become. But you have to practice inner integrity. The only tool is inner integrity.
Q If we are in love there is a fear of losing the dear one. If we are not in love then we suffer from loneliness. Then why should there be relationship if it's going to cause suffering?
A You are in love precisely because you have the fear of losing it. You'd never value a thing if you do not have the fear of losing it. So everything in this universe is a paradox.
If there is a front there is a back. If there is a high then there is a low. That is how the universe is structured. Unless you have a fear of losing your friend or your spouse or your children, for some reason or the other, you would not be able to love them. And there is loneliness, so you have got to love.
This love is sustained by the threat that you are going to lose the person either through sickness or whatever it could be. That's all there is to life, and the beauty of life is if you could see this and the inevitability of the situation you would start accepting it and in fact, you would fall in love.
Actually, there is no problem with a given situation. The problem is you are not able to accept the "what is." The "what is", is whatever is there at that point of time and nothing can be done about it. So once you realize that, you would accept it and when you accept it, love spontaneously arises in your heart.
Cultivating a virtue is of no use except helping you fit into society. Trying to be good, to be kind, to be generous all this would not help you in becoming awakened because it is not true to you. That's why we often say if you are not awakened do not behave like one. If you are not a mahatma do not behave like a mahatma. You don't have to compare yourself with Gandhi, Christ or a Buddha.
There is no need for you to feel bad out it. You are you and there is nobody else like you. You are unique with all your jealously, your anger, your hatred and whatever else is there. You should be able to see your own anger, your own jealously like you see an object.
That is possible when you become non-judgmental. Then everything would remain as it is. It would not be what you think they are. Remember these things are put there by the universe. The flow of the universe has produced you. You have to go with it, live with it, experience it and enjoy it.
An awakened person is one who is not trying to be anybody else. He is himself. The problem with you is you are trying to change. It is like trying to straighten up a dog's tail. You'll never be different.
When you actually see the improbability, accepting yourself and loving yourself happens. You don't accept or love, it just happens.
Q What is surrender? How to surrender?
A When we use the word surrender what we mean is that you should understand that this mind cannot really help you and that you have to get beyond the mind. If you let go of the mind, that letting go is what we call, surrender. You must realize that the human mind is limited and there is no use wasting your time with the mind. It is only going to create obstacles for you.
If you can see that, the mind would stop interfering. If that happens, then we say you have surrendered. That is all. It is not some kind of slavish surrender. It is never used in that sense. God would not like you to surrender like a slave. He is after all your friend. So, when we use the word surrender it means putting aside the mind, knowing its limitations.
You discover surrender when you feel you are helpless. When you feel you are totally helpless you will discover surrender. That is when Grace comes pouring in. Imagine that you are struck on the railway line and the train rushing at you, then you will certainly surrender! Many people have surrendered to me like that. Most people surrender only in dire moments. That is why miracles too happen only in those moments.
Q Bhagavan, how do we accept things?
A See, the mind is a very good businessman. It naturally does what is profitable to it. What is not profitable to it, it does not do. When you do not accept something, the first thing is, it's a fact that it is there.
You cannot wish it away. By fighting with it, you are creating a lot of conflict. By conflict there is a lot of dissipation of energy. When energy is being lost you become unhappy and also you become a failure. On the other hand, if you accept what ever is there, there is no conflict. No conflict means there is no wastage of energy.
When energy is still, there is no movement of energy as wastage. That becomes joy and happiness. It leads to greater success. If you can see this whole process, then naturally you'll accept because it is a better choice for you. You cannot do unprofitable things.
Somehow you are imagining that if you fight with it, it is good. Therefore you fight with it.
When you observe that fighting is not profitable, the mind naturally will drop it. You must see how all the fighting is not profitable to you, then it's all over. It is very simple but because you are not used to this observation, the situation is going to be difficult.
But once you learn it, it is as easy as breathing but, until then, it looks "Oh! How am I going to do it?” It takes some effort and understanding. Still it will be difficult but I am there! If you know how to ask me, I can make you actually do it.
Q Bhagavan, are you God?
A Basically, it is like this. God essentially is unmanifest. That is, He cannot be seen, He cannot be spoken to. But He is there. But since you cannot see, you cannot speak to, He is as good as not being there as far as you are concerned. Then, the God that people normally talk about is the God who you call as Antaryamin. i.e., He can be seen inside, you can talk inside; He can appear to so many and disappear. That's what people normally refer to as God. Sometimes God can incarnate in physical form. That's what is called an Avatar. I am an Avatar. In that sense I am God.
But if you ask me - am I that unmanifest God right now, I am certainly not because I am fully physical. But I am God in the sense that I am an Avatar.
So, God has these three faces. The example I give for this is - steam, water and ice. They are the same thing. As steam, it is everywhere. You can't control it. A liquid is more controlled, but still it is moving. Ice is much more solid. The physical Avatar is something very solid.
So, Miracles happen around the physical Avatar. You can come to me. You can talk to me about your problem. The problem is solved. If you come to me, I can say, "OK, this will happen, that will happen". Many, many miracles will happen. Now, it is very easy to contact me than to contact the manifested God and still more difficult to contact the unmanifest God. That is the advantage. You take my picture and you talk to me. The response comes back. And I am not claiming that I am the only Avatar. There have been Avatars from time to time. The world is full of Avatars through whom God is acting. That's all.
How can we tackle the Ayodhya issue? To me all problems, whether they are economical problems, or political problems, they all emanate from one basic problem. That is, man is not enlightened. So, if one problem disappears, another problem will crop up, if you are not enlightened. Today, it might be Ayhodhya, tomorrow it might be something else.
So the ultimate solution is that man must become enlightened. And I maintain that large numbers of people will become enlightened, starting from June 2004 and by September-November 2012, most of humanity will be enlightened. When that happens? The problem will just disappear. That is my solution to the world's problems. I don't believe in national boundaries. Dividing the world into nations, into countries, into religions - as long as there are divisions there will be suffering. All divisions must go. If all divisions must go, the 'Self' must go. That is Enlightenment.
Unless man becomes Enlightened, there will one problem or the other. Say there is water in the pipe. If you press it here, it will bulge somewhere else. If you press it there, it will bulge somewhere else again. Ayodhya might go, something else might crop up. Where is the end to all this ? So, the ultimate solution is that man must be transformed. If man is going to live the way he is living, he will destroy himself. With all these nuclear weapons, ecological pollutions and other conflicts. We are only racing towards destruction.
Unless there is a transformation in his consciousness and he becomes a totally new being, there is no hope for man. I am interested in man's problem. That will take care of this problem also. Suppose Hindus and Muslims, they can no more see themselves as Hindus and Muslims, where is the Ayodhya problem? But otherwise where is the solution? The same thing can be applied for India-Pakistan also. It also boils down to a religious problem only. And you must out grow religion, which means you must outgrow the 'Self'. So, we need a radical transformation of man, which is possible. I never talk about that which is impossible. I can demonstrate to you that it is possible.
What is the root cause of fundamentalism? How can it be rooted out? You see, fundamentalism is basically because people are not able to cope up with the changes that are happening. The world is moving too, too, too fast. So the old is not prepared to give way to the new. If you are not prepared to give way to the new, then fundamentalism arises. It can be Islamic fundamentalism, it can be Christian fundamentalism, it can be Hindu fundamentalism. But the fact is we cannot stop these changes from occurring. So, more changes are likely to take place and there could be a growth in fundamentalism also. Again and again I see only Enlightenment as the solution, because the world is growing very, very fast. You are not prepared to give up your old ways, which means you have become a fundamentalist. That's what is happening. Islamic world is not able to cope up with the changes that are occurring and that is the root cause of fundamentalism. So, if you must be able to cope up with these changes, you must outgrow the 'Self'. So, ultimately, you come back to enlightenment as the solution.
How can we achieve this kind of Enlightenment? What I am maintaining is - 60,000 people must become fully enlightened. If 60,000 people become fully enlightened, all else is automatic. i.e. Automatically everywhere people will become enlightened. That's all. It's automatic. A natural process. But to trigger it 60,000 people must go into a very high state of enlightenment. If they emerge on the planet, then the whole planet will be in that state. So my work is only to produce those 60,000 people.
So, I believe that by 2012 I will be able to achieve it. Latest is 2012. It could well happen before that. When that happens, their mere presence on the planet brings the transformation. You don't have to know about the movement, come to the movement, nothing. Wherever you are, suddenly one fine morning you will be enlightened. You'll become very calm, loving and peaceful. It's natural. It happens. That's all. That's what we are doing. So we have allotted some numbers to every country. We have people in every country. All are working towards this.
So, if 60,000 people if we successfully reach, it's all over. What is your vision and mission? My vision is that there must be the Golden Age by 2012. My mission is to make 60,000 people enlightened. That's my mission. The way is - I give Deeksha. That's my vision, mission and way. I simply give Deeksha. I am not asking you to do some terrible practice. You simply come and take Deeksha. That's all. You are enlightened. Like this I want 60,000 people.
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