Importance of Ethics in Sports

A baby, even before it starts recognizing people and speaking, it starts playing. So sport is the first and foremost expression of life. In fact, I would say that sport is the purest expression of life, and so honoring sports is honoring our own source, and our own life. Today, when corruption and unethical practices have in-filtered sports on so many levels, it is high time we wake up and take the corrective measures.
Every village around the world has some or the other form of sports. In fact, even life should be taken sportively. If we don’t take life sportively, then there is a possibility of depression taking over life, and today that is one of the biggest issues in the world – people being depressed and engaging in violence. The way to remedy this is to engage people in creative and active sports, and not just computer games based on sports. This is a very important thing to do to maintain the health of society.
Whether it is politics, economics, music, art, religion or sports, there is only one aim of all these avenues, and that is to bring happiness to the individual, to the environment, and to society. And sport is one of the most important tools to create happiness, harmony and well-being.
Today, when we are ridden with so many conflicts around the world, sports can be that one thing that can bring people together. Now if this very important aspect of life is infested with unethical behavior, it is a matter of big concern. I think we all agree on this! So, it is high time that we take note of this.
I am very glad that some very prominent people from Europe and the rest of the world have formed a think-tank here to guide the field of sports, and to encourage people to walk the path of ethics.
What is ethics? It is not doing to others what you don’t want others to do to you. This is the base line of ethics. You don’t want to be cheated, and so you should not cheat others. That is ethics. And in sports, when people are watching something to uplift their spirit, they believe in it, they have faith in it because it is the religion of the modern day. What is religion? It is something that brings hope and uplifts one’s spirit, and that’s what sports is today. And when the youth watch sports, they want to believe that what they are watching is correct. They would not like to see that they are being cheated, and that there is match-fixing happening at the back.
Actually, though these unethical events are very few, they are being highlighted by the media.
As we were earlier discussing, there are many sincere players all over the world and the ones who are crossing the line are very few. But it is these few who have grabbed the attention of the media and the public. In a way it is good because we correct that 5%-10% of wrong that is happening.
Coming back to ethics, we all need to think – what is it that we can do to fix this. And what is it that we can go to encourage more of the youth to engage actively in sports; especially in regions where there in conflict. Whatever be the reason of the conflict – whether it is socio-economic, religious, ethnicity, language, etc., in all these situations, sports can play a major role in uniting the hearts and minds of people. And for the players of sports, we need to take care of their mental, physical and emotional well-being. Here, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and encouragement towards developing a scientific temper can help sportspersons to sustain their energy.
There is another issue, which is of competition among the players. In the run for competition, there is a lot of anxiety, uncertainty, and fear of failure. Though these players are on the screen and people are watching them and clapping their hands, if you take a keen look at their faces, they don’t look exuberant, joyful and happy. It is our responsibility to bring that much needed happiness. We must not just bring happiness to the people who are watching but to the players as well – by instilling in them a sense of ease, a sense of comfort, and a sense of understanding that ‘sports is sports whether you win or lose – you still gain’.
I usually tell athletes that you have only two options – ‘Either you win or you make others win’. So if you have made another win then you should be happy. If sportsmen and sportswomen move ahead in life with this attitude, then they will not go through so much stress and they don’t need to go for drugs and other substances.
In India, in the ancient days, they always said that ‘Life is a game, don’t take it too seriously’. So have fun in life; whether failure or success, treat it equally. When you fail, that is a stepping stone to success. And when you succeed, then you need to think about how others feel when they fail. 
Once, a little boy lost a running race and he was upset. I asked him, “Why are you sad?” He said, “I lost my race”.
I said, “Look, you lost the race, but the person who won the race, isn’t he your friend?’ He said, “Yes, he is”.
I told him, “Are you not happy that your friend has won? Suppose you won the running race, and your friends were unhappy that you won the race, would you like it?” He said, “No”.
I said, “Then why are you not happy when your friend has won?”
This one question made this little boy think differently, and he said, “I never thought of it like that before. I would not like my friends to be unhappy if I win”.
In a game, somebody is going to win, but that somebody’s win should be a celebration for everybody. If that is not the spirit, then it is not a game, it is a war, or business. So infusing this spirit in sports is important to uplift human consciousness. If this is not there, then we are missing something that is basic to sports.
Sports has this special dimension that – you can be happy just by playing, keeping aside the results. There result is not as important as the process, as how well you have played your role.
The same is with a drama or a movie, whether you are a villain or a hero, who wins is immaterial, what matters is how well you have played your role. That is what makes a movie a good movie.
Similarly, in games, your participation is most important, rather than the end result of a game. If we can bring this message loud and clear to the youth, then most of the soccer games around the world will have lesser violence, lesser problems and lesser work for the police forces.
Somehow the feverishness of winning has gripped the arena of sports which has become the cause of disturbance world over. You know, even between countries; when one country wins the other country gets so upset, and in some cases there is even a riot. These sort of things can be avoided if the true essence of sports is brought to light which is – to uplift the spirit and unite people and have happier societies.
With these few words I once again congratulate all of you who have been putting your heart and soul into this field. May truth prevail and may happiness be the language of today and tomorrow.

Three steps to walking on the spiritual path

Just imagine, from bacteria, birds, animals, etc., 8.4 million lives later a human life comes. In this human life, few get to know the real spiritual path. And among those, very few walk on the path and they are the lucky ones.
Adi Shankara has also said, that the human birth is very difficult to get. After having gotten human birth, the desire of wanting to walk on the spiritual path, is also very difficult to get. Few people get this. And even after getting this desire to walk on the spiritual path, only few get the opportunity to do it; they find the right path.
So many people, who want to walk on the spiritual path get caught up in all these wrong notions that one day the world is going to collapse, or doom’s day is going to come. And so these people pray out of fear. They get onto paths where they are indented with fear and guilt. Fear and guilt are two things that will never allow you to go deep into yourself.
And this is what some of the so called (religious) paths do. Some of the religious paths create this fear of hell and heaven that puts people into such a turmoil of guilt and fear that the mind can never calm down. Meditation can never happen. This is very unfortunate. So even though these people are aspirants, they are not finding the path. 
These people don’t get access to the knowledge. Come on, the mind is like a river, what are you holding on to? Don’t hold on to it. All the events are gone, drop it and move on. Live in the present moment
This knowledge is not available to many people (who aspire to walk the spiritual path). They go on repenting about the past, feeling guilty, and the mind becomes a mess.
Of course they do pray. Their prayers do help, and they get some blessings. Blessings come to everyone, no doubt, but the knowledge, the right path and liberation remains a distant dream for them. Peace does not happen in their life. They sit with the hope that one day they will go to heaven. And so these souls get trapped with desires and fear. 
They get a human life to be free from all this. So they will have to come back again to work out all these things. Again they will get into meditation.
So, a human birth, desire for a path, and the path being available to them (Maha Purusha Sannidho: getting a Spiritual Master), these three things are rare and difficult to get. If you have all three, you are lucky.

Reading Signs from the Universe

The Vishraama Ghaat is the place where Lord Krishna took rest after slaying the evil king Kamsa. Just see how much deep knowledge is there in the way this place has been named. Kamsa represents ego, arrogance. One can find Vishraama (deep rest) only when the Ego is overcome. Otherwise ego does not let you rest in peace. Lord Krishna took rest after slaying the Ego (Kamsa).
We always say that all distortion and negativity drop off when we take deep rest. Deep rest can bring an end to the ego. Maharaj Ji resides and rests in the Vishraama Ghaat where his Ashram is also located. We can receive so much depth and knowledge even from the very trivial things in life. This is what happens when we are in awareness. When there is awareness, then we receive knowledge and wisdom from everywhere. The entire Earth gives us knowledge. 
There is a story I have heard about Swami Ramteerth Ji. One day, he was walking along somewhere. A mother who had named her son as ‘Ram’ was trying to wake him up by saying, “O Ram, wake up! wake up! It is late in the day to sleep. wake up!” These words fell upon the ears of Swami Ramteerth Ji as he was walking by the house. He felt that the Mother Divine Herself was calling out to him and conveying this message to him. He was immersed in his own thoughts as he was walking along. In that moment when he heard these words, all those thoughts came to a sudden stop. He became so deeply alert that he went into meditation that very moment.
This is happening in your life too. It is not that it was something special that happened to Swami Ramteerth Ji only. When we become Sukshma-grahi (able to grasp the subtle or intricate details), then we effortlessly are able to grasp and receive messages and knowledge from everywhere. Our mind is able to receive all this very effortlessly and intuitively.
When you meditate regularly, this experience happens very spontaneously. You do not need to struggle and make too much efforts for this to happen.
At the same time, do not sit for meditation and think, “Gurudev had said that such knowledge would come into my experience effortlessly. What is it that I am grasping now? What is it that I am grasping now?”
Do not get stuck like that, or you may start having some illusions or hallucinations which may not be true – this is called Bhrantidarshana. You may get deluded and misled.
Once, when I was visiting France, an old couple decided to accompany me to a function. The husband may have been 80 years old then and the wife was 81 years old. But she did not appear to be as old as 81 years. On the day of my departure, they were waving me goodbye as I was just about to enter the departure gate at the airport. Suddenly, the wife held out her ring finger to me and asked, “Is this necessary?” I instantly replied back saying, “It is not necessary”.
What I meant was that when you have received so much love and joy in life, what is the use of a stone (referring to the gemstone of the ring). I left Paris and flew to New York. The next day, I got a call from the husband and he told me, “O Gurudev! I am troubled. Did you allow my wife to divorce me?”
I said, “No, not at all. I would never give such advice”. Then I asked him to call his wife to the phone. She said “Gurudev, just before you left, had I not asked you showing my wedding ring that whether this is necessary or not?”
I was so surprised. See, you think something but sometimes end up conveying or understanding something completely different altogether. I was in a great hurry that moment when she suddenly asked the question.
What I had meant was that, when the couple had lived a full and happy life together, and their marriage was anyway going well, then wearing a ring after so many years was not as important as having a happy married life well into the old age. I never meant that she should divorce her husband. But she misunderstood what I said and decided to divorce her husband! (Laughter) And on top of it, she said that Gurudev has advised her to do so. I tell you, the games our mind plays on us is very strange and mysterious.
Please do not misunderstand or take away a wrong message when I say you should become Sukshma-grahi. Do not start building up wrong notions like, “Oh, once the coconuts start falling from the trees, I will change schools or join a new college” etc. Come on! Coconuts will keep falling every day. Do not misunderstand or get into wrong meanings. The essence here is that you should be very aware and alert in life; become Sukshma-grahi -- be able to grasp the intricate and subtler aspects of life. And remember that it happens very naturally. You do not have to put in too much effort for this. Now I have said not to put in too much effort, but a little effort and sincerity is definitely required, not too much.

What happens when you find it difficult to attain what you are attracted to?

Usually when we love something, we want to possess it. If you appreciate a painting, you want to buy it and keep it in your home. You find a beautiful garment, and although you know you will wear it only a couple of times, you buy it and put it in the closet. You have known only one way of loving — love it, possess it and forget it. When you try to possess love, you rob it of its beauty, and then that same love gives you pain. Whoever you love, you try to dictate terms to them. In a very subtle way you try to rule them. And whatever you try to control turns ugly.

You have never loved someone and not tried to possess them. 

It begins in childhood. When the second baby comes, the first baby wants all the attention. "Why did you bring this baby home? Give it away." Many children say, "You belong to me and me alone." It is a deep samskara, a deep impression, this fear of losing our place in the heart of someone we love.

First comes attraction.
When it becomes a little difficult to attain what you are attracted to, you start loving.
Have you noticed this? If you simply get whatever you are attracted to — just like that, quickly — you do not develop love for it. A longing must arise. That leads to love. But love brings the fear of loss. Yet, a love which has the fear of loss does not blossom. It leads you to other ugly sensations and feelings. Jealousy comes. There is someone you love very much — a friend, a boyfriend, a girlfriend — but his or her attention is on someone else. See what is happening in your stomach — it is churning. You try all sorts of gimmicks to deny what is happening within you. Much ugliness arises because there is fear of loss. You never love something that is big, that is enormous because you have not yet become enormous yourself. And as long as you stay very small, there is no joy, there is no happiness, there is no peace. Joy is expansion, becoming big in your heart. This can only happen in a situation where you are very much in love, but you cannot possess what you love.

The best kept secret to getting what you want

The association of a particular sense object over and over again creates a sense of craving for it. If you are used to drinking coffee every morning, then even though you are not born with a coffee fervor you have begun a habit within you that has created a craving. How did it all start? The habit of drinking coffee didn’t happen in one day! Addiction starts with a repeated experience of a particular object. It becomes a habit — and the nature of habit is that it does not give you joy. It gives pain. Therefore, drinking coffee will not carry you to heaven but if you don’t have it, it can give you hell!
The repeated experience or association of a particular sense object makes you want it more. You think about it — and it creates a sensation of more wanting. Wherever you put your attention in the nervous system, the craving for that begins. With association comes desire. And with desire comes anger. Whenever a person is angry, behind that anger is a desire. Whether fulfilled or unfulfilled, desire leads to anger.
So you get angry with somebody. The next step is that you get attached. Now, whoever you are angry with, sooner or later you will regret. Regret brings more attachment. By regretting, you do not move away from the person or situation, you move more into it. All this happens in a subtle way. Have you ever observed that whoever you are angry with or hate, you think of that person more than yourself? And as you think of this person, you get agitated or distressed. On the other hand, if you think of someone you love, you have a nice feeling and your nervous system assumes that form.
When your nervous system assumes either of the forms, it becomes like that and you get drawn to those kind of people. This is entanglement. Therefore, an obsession brings anger which in turn brings entanglement. Entanglement clouds your intellect. Your wisdom and judgment are lost; your ability to understand and access the situation is lost. This is a chain reaction and it happens in such a subtle manner that you don’t even realize it.
Entanglement, whether out of craving or aversion, clouds the intellect. And a distorted intellect doesn't let you be in peace. Such an intellect doesn't even bring up emotions - the subtle feelings within you. Any feeling you get will be gross and make you feel heavy.
With a clouded intellect, the memory of pleasant things is lost. Life has two sets of memories: memories of pleasant things and memories of unpleasant things. Children often have pleasant memories more than the unpleasant ones. That’s why they are so cheerful. But as we grow up and lose our innocence, our unpleasant memories increase.
Spiritual practices help bring back the pleasant memories more and more, and reduce unpleasant memories to almost an insignificant amount. Therefore, it is important to meditate regularly. Once the memory of “Who am I” is lost, the memory of “What do I want in my life,” the “reality” and “seeing life in context with the universe” is lost, wisdom is lost. Then there is no happiness and peace. The role of meditation and other spiritual practices is to withdraw the mind from the sense objects and take it back to its source. This is critical for success in life. The knowledge of coming back to the Self, the self-referral value of consciousness makes it rich, energetic and beautiful.
Pull back your attention from the object of the senses to the senses, and then to the source of mind. This journey within will give you the strength and endurance to go through all the ups and downs of life.
Wherever you put your attention, that will start manifesting in your life.
If you put attention on anger, anger will manifest. If you put attention on lust, lust will manifest.
Focus on love, and love manifests. Focus on imperfection, imperfection manifests.
Observe the intention, and put your attention on whatever you want to grow in life. Intention, attention and manifestation — that is how the universe manifests.

Your Mind is Like A Mirror - II

We have 186,000 nadis, or channels of energy in our body. At different times, different channels open. Sometimes that channel opens by which you get intuitive thoughts. Some other time another channel opens by which you experience emotions. Another time another channel opens. It’s very fascinating. If you keep thinking about happy people, you get happy, that channel gets opened. Thinking about unhappy things, the unhappy channels open.
That’s why I have said, “Don’t hate anybody.” Why should you not hate anybody? What is the reason? Not for the sake of the person whom you hate, but for your own sake. Your own mind, your nervous system, will assume the form, shape and color of that person. That is why we don’t hate anybody. Is this an intelligent thing to do, or not? The most intelligent thing to do is not to hate anybody because whomsoever you hate, you get those impressions embedded in you.
We spoke about the 3 spaces. Bhut Akasha is the outer physical space. Chit Akasha is the inner space, the space of the mind. And Chid Akasha is the space of pure consciousness. All 3 are space: Bhut Akasha - the physical space, Chit Akasha - the mental or ethereal space, and Chida Akasha - the causal space.
The causal space is what is called Shiva, the pure, unblemished, unattached nature of yourself. Why do I say true nature? What is the truth? Truth is that which doesn’t change. Chida Akasha, the causal space, which is called Shiva is your true nature, which doesn’t change at all, - which is ever and always the same.
In the Chit Akasha - the inner space of the mind, thoughts and emotions hover around like clouds moving in the sky. Whatever clouds move in the sky, does the sky get colored by them? Does the sky get affected by them? No. The clouds come, they move, and they go. In the same way, emotions come and they go; thoughts come and they go.
To some extent everyone is aware of this. To some extent you get thoughts on which you’ll never act. Every thought that you have, do you act on it? You get thoughts on which you don’t act. That ability to filter out inappropriate thoughts is what keeps you sane. 
What is the difference between a sane person and an insane person? An insane person acts on almost every thought. That’s why you call them insane because there is no filter there. Going one step ahead in wisdom, not only do you not act upon certain thoughts that hover around, you don’t even identify yourself with those thoughts.
How do thoughts hover around? This is another thing that you need to see. The microcosm and macrocosm are so intimately connected. The macrocosm and microcosm together form one organism. The whole world is just one organism. So how does this affect the space?
It’s just like the meteorological department which says rain is going to come, or they predict thunder showers, or sunshine, or hurricane. All this is predicted. In the same way, the stars and the movement of the moon predict the ups and downs in the minds. This is pure calculation.
Chida Akasha (the causal space) is different from the Chit Akasha. It is just like the space inside each pot is different. Suppose you have ten pots of different sizes, the amount of space inside each pots will be different. It depends on the pot. How do you calculate something as one liter? Because the container has one-liter space in it. Another pot has two liters’ space. A third pot has half liter space in it. It is like that.
So, in a similar way, by looking at the different astrological charts, people decipher the different kinds of chit Akasha. Someone who is Aquarius will keep quiet until one day they’ll explode. With someone whose moon is in Gemini, you might predict that the person is double minded, always yes and no. From the chart of a person who is Taurus, you may predict that they’re very focused, they’re go getters. In the chart of someone who is Leo, you see that they’re very adamant, and they never listen to anybody. So some of these traits are identified from these charts. It indicates the Chit Akasha - the type of thoughts and emotions this person will have.
Then time also matters. When someone has Jupiter in the 8th house, this person, for that one whole year will have all kinds of doubts. They will doubt everything; they will doubt themselves and doubt others. With the 8th house in Jupiter, wherever they are, they will want to run away from there. But it won’t stay forever. After they manage to get through that one year, then it all changes and becomes different.
Similarly, when there is a combination of Saturn and Mars, you will find anger in the individual, as well as in the society, in the cosmos and in the nation. You can say that in the nation there’s going to be anger and conflicts running high. See what is happening now, these last two to three months, there are bomb blasts, issues, and problems in so many areas.
Astrological predictions are just like meteorological predictions. They need not always be correct. Meteorological predictions don’t work all the time. The day before yesterday, they said there were going to be thunderstorms, but we had sunshine! So Astrology is only a probability. You can say it is a possibility.
Similarly, moods depend on the moon. A mood does not stay for more than two and a quarter day. That is the amount of time the moon is at one place. The moment the moon moves from that place; your mood also changes. And when the moon and Saturn combine, people get depressed. So these emotions, these feelings, they come and they go away. Nothing is permanent. No planet is permanently stationary in one place. They all move. But when you identify yourself with any one of these emotions, you get stuck. That’s when you don’t move. That is when it infiltrates into your body and you get sick, and all such things happen. Isn’t it fascinating? So what is the way? How to move on from that?
On a cloudy day, when a flight takes off, what does it do? It goes above the clouds, and then there is sunshine. That is what the spiritual practices are. They move us away from the Chit Akasha to the Chida Akasha. We move beyond all the emotions.
If your flight has a radar in it, night landing is possible because there is a radar. You can take-off at any time, and land anywhere. A helicopter cannot take off, or a primitive plane cannot take off. But one with a radar, one with the sophisticated instruments can take off.
Do you know why 'Om Namah Shivaya' is chanted 108 times?
People a long time ago observed how the 9 planets moving through the 12 constellations brings 108 units of change. So to enhance the good effects and to reduce the malefic effects, 'Om Namah Shivaya' is chanted 108 times. That uplifts you, uplifts your spirit, and takes you beyond. It connects you to the Chida Akash.
In India, especially in Tamil Nadu, they use the term ‘Chittambalam Shiva’. This refers to the space of Chida Akasha. Many people don’t understand the meaning of this. It is, “I call Shiva and I land up in the Chida Akasha, the space which is consciousness”.
In every puja, if you have observed in the ashram, the moment they say Shiva Chittambalam, I take off into the causal space called Shiva. Shiva Chittambalam is the same as Guru Tattva, or Shiva Tattva, or the Self. Everything is that, and that is called meditation. That’s what happens when you transcend. All the thoughts move away. Emotions get settled and we experience the most tranquil, most benevolent and most beautiful inner space. That’s what the Kriya does, takes you round and round, and then takes you out of this orbit. You go round, round, round and then you eject out of the orbit and move into that space.

A little story about Buddha

Lord Buddha never spoke about God because India was the land where everybody knew so much about spirituality, but mostly it was all in the head. So Lord Buddha used to announce the eleven questions that he would not answer. Eleven questions should not be asked, and even if someone asked him, he would not answer. God was one of the eleven questions.
He simply said that there is misery in life, but it is possible to get rid of misery because there is a cause for misery.
One guy came he said, "I believe in God, what do you say?" So Buddha said, "You believe in God, okay, good".
Another person said, "I don't believe in God, there is no God", and Buddha said, "Okay, good".
A third person came and he said, "Some people say there is God and some people say there is no God. I don't know but I want to know".
Then Buddha said, "Oh okay, you come be here and we will discover".
So other disciples who were there got so confused because Buddha agreed with everybody. When they asked him, he said, "You know, the first two people who came had a fixed idea in their mind, they were not open. But the last one was open to knowing and he can reach enlightenment. It's hard for people with fixed ideas to get enlightened". So that's the story.

How to improve your creative thinking

It is very important for us to probe into the source of thought. Often we are called great thinkers, but what is a thought? Where does it originate? Is there any way that we can improve the thought process? What is the source of creativity?

Thought is nothing but an impulse of energy and intelligence. 

That impulse of energy and intelligence, for it to arise and a correct thought to come, you need 16 impulses to meet at a point in the cerebral cortex at a certain speed. In that short interval of time, all the 16 impulses in the cerebral cortex, when they meet, is what we call a correct thought. What do we do about it? We need to train our brain, our mind.

There is always dialogue going on in your own mind. 

We all have a filter in our mind through which we listen and we accept only what we already know. Something which doesn’t already fall within our belief system, we straightaway filter out. This tendency in the mind to take things which it already knows and reject that which it doesn’t know, is one of the main blocks of creativity.

The second aspect for creativity is imagination.

Many inventions happened through certain imagination and linking that imagination to the present state of ground reality. If you are thinking only of the ground reality, then no creativity will come. And also if you base yourself purely on imagination, then there is no creativity. A balance is needed. So, when such blocks come into us, there is a way to eliminate them. How? 

By studying our own seven layers of our existence. What are they? 

The body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego and Self. Are you all breathing now? Many times we are not even aware that we are breathing. We don’t care to look into something that keeps our body alive. Our breath has great secrets to offer.
A little bit of knowledge of these seven layers of existence makes a big difference in our lives. We become so alive and childlike.

Innovation and creativity spring from within us and spirituality — study of our Self, is the technology to tap that source.

What can you do when anger rises in you?

Anger is a distortion of your true nature and it doesn’t allow the self to shine forth fully.  Showing anger itself is not wrong, but being unaware of your anger only hurts you. Sometimes you can show anger purposefully. For example, a mother gets angry at her children and can act tough or shout at them if they put themselves in danger. There are situations that warrant showing anger, but when you get angry, have you observed what happens to you? You are shaken completely. Look at the consequences of getting angry. Are you happy with the decisions you have made or the words you have spoken in a state of anger? No, because you lose your total awareness. But if you are completely aware and are acting angry, that is fine.
Being in the Present Moment
All anger is about something which has already happened. Is it of any use getting angry about something which you cannot alter? The mind always vacillates between the past and the future. When the mind is in the past, it’s angry about something that has already happened; but anger is meaningless as we can’t alter the past. And when the mind is in the future, it’s anxious about something that may or may not happen. When the mind is in the present moment, anxiousness and anger appear so meaningless.
This is where a little knowledge about yourself, your mind, your consciousness and the root of distortion in our nature helps. It is when you are exhausted and stressed that you lose your nature and get angry. Every individual is bestowed with all the virtues in the world. They simply get covered-up by lack of understanding and stress. What is needed is just to uncover the virtues that are already there.
The Secret of Breath
Breathing techniques and meditation are very effective in calming the mind. Learning something about our breath is very important. Our breath has a great lesson to teach us, which we have forgotten. For every rhythm in the mind, there is a corresponding rhythm in the breath and for every rhythm in the breath there is a corresponding emotion. So, when you cannot handle your mind directly, you can handle it through breath. Meditation is letting go of anger from the past and the events of the past. Meditation is accepting this moment and living every moment totally with depth. Often anger comes because you do not accept the present moment. Anger comes when one seeks too much of perfection. When you are joyful, you don’t look for perfection. If you are always looking for perfection then you are not at the source of joy.
The world appears imperfect on the surface but, underneath, all is perfect. Perfection hides; imperfection shows off. The wise will not remain merely on the surface but will probe into the depth. Things are not blurred; your vision is blurred. Infinite actions prevail in the wholeness of consciousness, and yet the consciousness remains perfect, untouched. Realise this now and be natural.

Your Mind Is Like A Mirror - I

A gardener is working in the garden. When you really work in the garden, you will definitely get dirty. Your hands will get dirty. Your gloves will get dirty. Your clothes will get some splashes. But after you come inside and wash up, you don’t identify yourself with the mud that gets splashed onto you while you’re working in the garden, right?
In the same way, while we are in society, moving amongst people, their emotions get splashed onto our subtle mind, and we identify with them. This is what becomes a problem. We identify, “Oh, this is my emotion. This is my anger! This is my greed!” Whether the emotions are positive or negative, we identify with them. And then we try to get rid of them. It’s not an easy job. It’s like the gardener who thinks some mud that is on him will not go away.
Similarly, you’re working in your office, and you are peaceful. You have done a good meditation. But your boss is uptight, and there is some problem, and you get agitated. Someone else’s agitation has latched onto you. and then you think, “Oh! I am angry.”
The clever thing to do is, to not identify yourself with the emotion which has nothing to do with you. You can realize, “I am different from the emotions. The emotions are different from me.”
In Ayurveda there is a practice called Dhootnadi. You go to a doctor on behalf of someone and show your pulse to the doctor. While you’re showing your pulse, you think of the person for whom you have come to collect the medicine. This is called Dhootnadi. It means checking the pulse of a messenger. A messenger comes to collect medicine from the doctor, the messenger’s pulse is taken by the doctor, and the doctor gives the medicine for the person for whom the messenger has come. This is Dhootnadi, reading the nadi by taking the pulse of a messenger. It works because anybody you think of, their emotions and their state of mind latches onto you. Are you getting what I’m saying?
Your mind is like a mirror. When it is like a mirror, whatever comes in front of you is there, reflected in it. But the mirror doesn’t cry “Oh, I got dirty” when a dirty picture comes in front of it. And it doesn’t jump up and say, “Oh, I have got these wonderful qualities.”
When you’re driving, you can see in the mirror that there is a garbage can behind your car. Just imagine the mirror identifying itself with the garbage can. Or, imagine the mirror identifying with some beautiful scenery. In both cases, what would you say? It’s a stupid idea, it’s not the case. The mirror is neither the garbage can, nor the scenery. And that is exactly how it is with our own consciousness.
Our consciousness is like a mirror. Different images come onto it, and they all move away. If we know this, then we’re free. But if we get attached to any of those images, that is bondage. So, wake up! Wake up and see it is a mirror.

Various forms of Lord Ganesha

Shankaracharya has depicted the forms of Lord Ganesha very beautifully. If you read the Ganesha Atharvashisha (Upanishad), you will know of many forms of Lord Ganesha.
Ganesha is present in all directions, in every possible form - the Earth, Air, Sun, Moon, in every form of nature. You are Brahma, Indra, Shiva, Rudra etc., they are all in your form. You can see the form of paramatma (Supreme Being) in one God, the formless in one form - this is known as meditation.
We recite the Ganesha Stotram –Shuklam Baradaram Vishnum, Shashivarnam Chaturbhujam, Prasanna Vadanam Dhyaayeth, Sarva Vighno Pashantaye. This does not have the name of Ganesha at all!
Shuklam Baradharam means the one who is dressed in white, the one who is pure. Vishnum means that he is at the very core of our being.
Shashivarnam means milky white like the full moon, cool like the moon that soothes us, and it has the rays of brightness. (There are two types of brightness, one like the sun that can hurt our eyes, and the other is so soothing that we can keep on looking at it.) Chaturbhujam, bhuja means shoulders that can bear weight, while chatur means cleverness or intelligence, which together means - one who can bear the burden easily.
Prasanna vadhanam dhayeth means that if you meditate on the one whose face is so peaceful, pleasant and remember them, you feel instantly uplifted. Sarva vighno pashantaye, then that one will give you the strength in the mind to overcome all obstacles.
This is not just for Ganesha, it is also related to Vigneshwara, but the most important part in this shloka is about the One who is present everywhere.
If you think God is angry with you, if you feel that you have committed a mistake and feel distant from him; or if you feel that God is always happy and content with you, then you develop a relationship with him.
Many times people say that you are angry with us, as if I don’t have any other work. You make a mistake and I get angry! Why should I get irritated if you make a mistake? Why will a Guru get angry? A Guru is always happy. I feel compassion if you make a mistake.
I feel, "Oh my God, why is he putting himself through so much hardship?" That is why if you think of something pleasant, remember a pleasant face, you get strength! When we think of something pleasant in our mind, the fear of the unknown goes away, we get strength to overcome the obstacle.
What is the form of Ganesha?
Ajam nirvikalpam means someone who was not born.
Nirakaram ekam - you have no form, you are the only one, and there is no one else. Nirananda mananda madhvaita poornam - you are happiness. you are the only one, the whole world is in your form.
The shloka continues with Param nirgunam nirvisesham niriham para brahma roopam ganesham bhajemam, you are the form of the parabrahma, you are present everywhere, you have the chaitanya shakti, the scintillating energy, I meditate on you in my mind.

Significance of the Unseen

A few decades back, it was so hard to talk to people about the unseen, ethereal reality. But today, it seems much easier. People seem to get it. Anyways, there were always some groups of people who believed in something higher, something ethereal, and something unseen.
One of our ashramite boy’s father is a big industrialist. When he came and stayed at the ashram, he told his son, "You are so young, 24 only; this is the time for you to have a passion, an ambition, grow up to have a better life. What are you doing sitting in an ashram like a retired person?"
Do you know what that boy replied to his father? He said, "Dad, people are ambitious about something that is seen, visible, tangible; they want more money, a car, a plane, a little more in their life. Is there anyone who is ambitious about something that nobody has seen? Something unseen, higher, much bigger, where nobody has ventured? I am here because I want that something which nobody has seen, that something which is higher, bigger. Now tell me, who is more ambitious?" The boy’s father had to keep quiet.
These days people are much more open to the realm of the unseen, from where everything happens, from where energies uplift the planet, that which is the cause of all causes. Sometimes the path appears to be a little difficult, but ultimately it is the most comforting, fulfilling, soothing and satisfying. That which is very pleasant and comfortable in the beginning, and ends up as misery in the end (is not good), and that which is difficult in the beginning but ends up as being very sweet and pleasant in the end, is called tapas. Tapas means enduring, bearing the opposites, enduring through the toughness, so you come out successful, and that is long lasting!
One very big industrialist in India, who owned planes also, would come to Bangalore and speak to our ashramites, especially Vinodji. He would say, "I envy you, I'm so jealous of you people".
At that time, I think our people did not understand much because he had everything, they wondered how he was saying that I am so jealous of people in the ashram. Today, it is very obvious because he has lost everything. These things - position, fame, money, they all come and go, they don’t give you the stability and happiness in your life, which they appear to give at some point.