How does one develop the ability to make good decisions?

There are two main reasons why you are unable to take decisions.
1. When there is some feverishness of desire attached to it; or there is some greed. Then you find it difficult to take a decision
2. When there is some fear in you, then also you are not able to take proper decisions. The mind gets stuck in between greed and fear, due to which we remain in confusion. So just get rid of the fear and the greed. That’s it!
How can you develop the ability to make good decisions? Intuition, intuition and intuition.
How do we awaken our intuition? It happens through meditation.
And remember that which gives you long-term happiness and short-term problem, is right. That which gives short-term happiness and long-term misery, is wrong.
Just look back at your life in the past. This is not the first time that your mind is confused in a dilemma. You have faced these types of questions and situations many times earlier as well; and every time you have received help to overcome it.

Step out from your conversations for a moment

I want you to step aside for one moment and watch all the conversations you have had in your life.

There is a completely different world when you step outside and look at all the conversations you have said and all that you have heard, all the television talk shows you have seen and news you have heard and movies you have seen, and how many things you have heard from people and said to people. Can you step aside and look at that?

You have fought with people, praised people, fallen in love, fallen out of love. Is any of that here? If you think life is all about these conversations then you are surrounded in a delusion! This is Maya. Definitely not wisdom.

If it's wisdom, it leads you to an indescribable space and meditation which is unfathomable. But everything else binds you into some limited concepts about yourself and people. And that blinds you from infinity.

In all those conversations there was justice, injustice, dharma,  adharma. Just think about all the opinions you have seen on TV before the elections (referring to US elections). Your life assumes a bigger dimension when you get out of the limited world of opinions and ideas.

Your opinions have changed, likes and dislikes have changed and all those conversations are gone like the wind. We are harbouring them in the mind and we are limiting the mind. We are going around in a little whirlpool when the vast ocean is available to us!

Wisdom is stepping out of conversations, be centered and smiling!

Lord Buddha says this is all misery. You want to get out of it? The first step is emptiness. From emptiness move to the bliss that is Vedanta. So move on to that pedestal.

For a moment imagine you don't know language! All the problems solved! Just imagine you have forgotten language. Even your communication begins from another level where there is no confusion.

Have you seen how the birds they fly in a group, they don't crash into each other. there is no air traffic control there! They are out of the world of conversations and they are communicating on a different level.

When you say let's talk it out you are not talking out of it you are talking into it. "Let us talk, let us clarify..."; let us stop all this! Nothing ever got clarified, it only got more confused.

A Christmas Message

(Repeat of what was said on December 24, 2014 at Bad Antogast, Germany)
When the sun is there, there is a lot of activity. But at that time of the year, when there is very little sun, when there is very little activity, when nature is sleeping, and when everything has gone into hibernation – in that still and quiet night, springs a celebration with lights, joy and love, and that is Christmas. So, it is an outer symbolism of an inner phenomenon.
In the same way, when you are still and quiet, when you are with yourself, almost hibernating, then from there comes the message of love. Stillness brings the message of love.
In activity you are busy. In activity you are looking outward, but in stillness you are looking inward. In activity you are extroverted, but in stillness you are always introverted, and love spring from going within, from looking inside. That is why it is said:
Silent night
Holy night
All is calm
All is bright
Round yon virgin
Mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
The small mind is like a child – crying and grumbling, and it is dependent like a child. The big mind is like the mother. The little mind sleeps in the lap of the universal self, and that is heavenly peace. Heavenly peace is not outside, or somewhere up in the skies. Heaven is when the small mind rests in the lap of the big mind.
When the small mind is away from the big mind, then there is chaos, confusion and hell. Then when the small mind starts crying, it runs to the big motherly mind, and there it sleeps in heavenly peace. That peace is the real peace.
Good, isn't it? Today you have gotten a different meaning of Silent Night. It is not just an incident at some point of time, but an eternal message. You can draw an eternal message from this hymn.
'Holy' is when the mother and child are together.
This is our Christmas message this year: when the individual self sleeps in the lap of the cosmic self, then there is heavenly peace.
Today, on the day of Christmas, put your small mind into the lap of the big mind, and that is meditation. Mother and child in heavenly peace is meditation.

You are never given a problem that you cannot handle. Every problem that comes in front of you is to make you realize that you have the skill, talent and ability to come out of it! It is just for you to uncover your true potential.
It’s all to make your mind, your intelligence function. When do you really need intelligence? When there is a problem, isn’t it? If there is no problem, you will be like cows. Cows have no problem. They eat the grass,  drink water, and sleep. Like that, if your life is so smooth, without any problem, you will just eat, sleep, and become duller and duller and duller.
The Divine has given you brains to use it,  to be alert, and every problem that appears in life is an opportunity for you to use your brain.  But we do the reverse. We don’t use this brain, and we get into more complications! Or we use our brain to get more complications rather than solving them! If we have a problem, instead of looking at the solution, we keep looking at how big the problem can become, or  imagine about the worst outcomes. So do not return your brain to God, unused.

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.

How To Attract Grace Into Your Life?

Whenever there is victory, it is due to some grace. Whether it is victory in sports, in a lottery, in studies, in a competition, or in politics – all of it happens through grace alone. When a person forgets that and gets into ego, then it results in their downfall. So always remember that whenever and wherever there is victory, it is through grace.
There is a commonly-used phrase – “God's Grace”. What does this mean? Whenever you achieve something very significant that felt like it was beyond your capacity, which was worth having, but came to you not by your doing alone, that is grace.
You feel, “I am not capable or qualified for this, yet I got this”.
When you recognize the grace in your life, you feel very grateful, because you feel you have been bestowed with things that you were not worthy of. And this is the language of a wise person. A wise person never says, "Oh, I earned it. This is my right". When you think it is your right, you are getting what you got because of your right – there is no gratitude. Gratefulness is there when you feel that you got this not by your effort but because it was bestowed on you by grace, as a gift. That brings gratefulness.
Grace is causeless and unmerited. It is not obtained through some merit or cause. Grace is received without any conditions. It is not that only after doing something you will receive grace. If so, then that is not grace – that is business. You are blessed with grace just like that – without any conditions whatsoever. Grace is always there, just become aware of it and know that you are being showered with grace.
Grace is something that can go inside even a closed purse. You don’t need to pay money to receive Grace. And if someone tells you that grace will come to you only by opening your purse and giving money, then know that something is wrong for sure. God always blesses you in abundance. You need not pay money to receive it.
Ways to attract more grace in one's life:
  1. The more grateful we become, the more we experience grace in life. A mind that is complaining all the time cannot experience grace. But one who is thankful and contented experiences more grace in life.
  2. We say that we want blessings and grace. Blessings are available in plenty, but if your vessel is small, then what to do?
    If you bring a tea cup and say, “Give me two liters of milk in this”, how can two liters of milk fit in the little cup? The cup is small and you are asking for too much. You need to bring a vessel with the capacity of three liters and then I can give you two liter or three liter, whatever you want.
So, you must remember that whatever you get is your capacity, and if you want to get more, then you must expand your capacity. When your capacity increases, more will definitely come to you.
How to expand one's capacity to receive grace:
  1. Just having the intention to increase one’s capacity itself does half the job.
  2. Be natural, simple, and humble. Humility from within naturally increases one’s capacity.
  3. Meditation, spiritual practices, service to society and knowledge.
  4. Shatt Sampatti (the Six Wealths or Six-fold Virtues)
  • Sama (calmness of mind) 
  • Dama (self-control or restraint of the senses) 
  • Uparati (satiety) 
  • Titiksha (power of endurance) 
  • Shraddha (faith) 
  • Samadhana (equanimity or one-pointedness of the mind)
This is what you must focus on increasing more in your life. By enhancing these virtues, your capacity to receive blessings will increase.

Are you happy? Are you peaceful?

Every time you are unhappy, miserable or disturbed, you are coming in touch with your own boundaries. What can you do about it?

You can feel thankful, “Oh! This was my limitation. I came in touch with my boundaries.” Then, that moment, you turn the whole situation into a prayer: “Let there be peace, not just in me, but in everybody.”

Prayer happens at that moment you come in touch with your own limitations. It is the limitation and the boundary that are the real cause of your disturbance.

You are peaceful, joyful, and happy, as long as you have not come in contact with your boundaries. The moment you come into contact with them, the mind scares: “Oh! Because that person did this, this happened; this is bad, that shouldn’t be; it should be like that, it shouldn’t be this way…” At that moment, what can you do?

Just say, "My Lord, make me become aware of my boundaries, now. You bring peace. You do it. I am giving it all to You." That very moment, you start smiling; there is such a sigh of relief! However hopeless the situation may be, you will walk through it, sing through it, dance through it. This is love!

In Hindi, the word “love” is “prem” – written with two-and-a-half letters. There is a saying: “Who is a real Master, a pundit, a wise person? Not the one who has studied a lot of scriptures, but the one who has studied the word with two-and-a-half letters!” This two-and-a-half lettered word is this moment. It is a test of the moment.

When you come in touch with your limitations, your boundaries, or the small things that come along, then observe - are you hemmed in by your boundaries, or can you maintain your freedom, your non-judgmental attitude and innocent love in your heart? Is it continuing? If it is and if you can become solid in this, then nothing in the world can rob you of peace!

One word, said sincerely, can remove anger, guilt, hatred and distance

Often, in establishing your righteousness, you are insensitive to others’ feelings. When someone is hurt, arguing with them and establishing your righteousness will be in vain. By simply saying “sorry,” you can uplift the other person and take away the bitterness. In many situations saying “sorry” is better than establishing your righteousness—it can avert much unpleasantness.
This one word of five letters, when said sincerely, can remove anger, guilt, hatred and distance. Many people feel pride in hearing “sorry” from others—it boosts their ego. But when you say “sorry” to a wise man, it evokes compassion at your ignorance. And when you say “sorry” to your Guru, he will get angry and say, “Go! Listen to Ashtavakra Gita!” You saying “sorry” indicates doership—you feel that YOU have MADE a mistake.
A mistake is part of an unconscious mind. An unconscious mind cannot do right, while a conscious mind can do no wrong. The mind that makes the mistake and the mind that realizes the mistake—saying “sorry”—are entirely different, aren’t they!

A Message on the occasion of Dattatreya Jayanti

Atri Rishi had no children, so he adopted Datta. Datta means given, taken or adopted. That is why when one adopts a child, they say – Datta Svikara. So Atri and Anasuya had adopted a child who was called Dattatreya. He was special as he had Brahma Shakti (creativity), Vishnu Shakti (skill to sustain or maintain) and Shiva Shakti (skill to bring transformation).

Many people have creativity but they cannot sustain what they started. This creativity is Brahma Shakti. If you have Brahma Shakti, you can create things but you also need to know how to maintain it – that is Vishnu Shakti, which is the skill to maintain.

There are many people who are managers. They can’t create but if something is created and given to them, they do an excellent job in managing it. So, Vishnu Shakti is important; it is the energy to maintain what you create.

Then there is Shiva Shakti which is bringing transformation or newness. Many can maintain but whenever a change is needed they don’t know how to bring a transformation; how to take it to another level. So Shiva Shakti is essential too! When you have all these three qualities that is Guru Shakti! A Guru or a guide has to know all the three Shaktis.

Dattatreya is a symbol of Guru Shakti. He had the power of the guide, creativity, the skill to maintain and bring transformation, all in one!

Dattatreya learned from everything. He observed the whole creation and learned some lesson from everything.

Observation brings wisdom and you need sensitivity to observe. If you are caught up in your own world, you become insensitive to the messages coming to you from those around you. When people are caught up in their own stuff, they don’t see the other person’s point of view at all. And such people also believe their perception is absolutely right, even though you know their perception is incorrect.

In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is said – it is so interesting how he (Dattatreya) looked at a swan and learned something from the swan, learned something from a crow, from the trees and also from an elderly woman. For him, knowledge was flowing from all sides. He was so open in his mind and heart to receive knowledge and amalgamate it in the life.

If you are intelligent, you will learn from life and celebrate. Today, drawing inspiration from Dattatreya, let knowledge take the front seat in our life.

Everybody has knowledge, but sometime it takes the backseat. It is not in the driving seat. When knowledge is sleeping, it is ignorance. When knowledge is in the driving seat, there is only joy and celebration. Then we celebrate in every situation for life is celebration.

When we are in awareness, then everything in Creation gives us a message, gives us knowledge. And the purpose of this knowledge is to uplift our energy and enthusiasm; it is to make life a total celebration. We need knowledge to maintain and uplift our spirit of enthusiasm and positivity.

What is Maya?

The word ‘measure’ in English comes from a Sanskrit root called ‘Maya’. Maya means that which can be measured. So, saying, “All this is Maya”, means everything here can be measured.

Water can be measured, volume can be measured, temperature can be measured, distance can be measured, time can be measured, etc. Everything in this creation is time and space, and both can be measured, and so it is all Maya.

What is not Maya? What cannot be measured? Joy cannot be measured, love cannot be measured, life cannot be measured, so that is why these are not called Maya.

Truth cannot be measured. Truth, consciousness, and bliss – this is what God is. What is God? ‘Sat’ means truth, ‘Chit’ means consciousness, ‘Ananda’ means bliss. God is truth, consciousness, and bliss – these cannot be measured. And this is what you are too! The nature of your spirit is bliss. Bliss cannot be measured, love cannot be measured, and that is what is not Maya.
You are drowned in Maya means you are drowned in small little things that are not permanent, because Maya means that which is always changing. Ever-changing events and things around you is what Maya is. And if you are drowned in the ever-changing, and you are not logged on to the non-changing, life is very unstable. Stability comes when you log onto something in you that is not changing; that remains the same throughout time. That is called getting out of Maya.

There is another meaning of Maya – that which appears but when you try to catch it, it doesn’t get into your hand. That is how everything in the world is. You see something so beautiful and you try to possess it, the moment you possess it, you find the beauty is gone. It is no longer where you thought it was. You think happiness is out there and you chase after that, when you get there, it is not there.

If you are stable, still and content within yourself then everything runs towards you. That is why I have said from the very beginning, if you follow joy, misery follows you and if you follow knowledge, fun follows you.

Lord Krishna's Devi Worship and It's Significance

Lord Krishna used to worship Devi (Mother Divine). This is mentioned in the Durga Saptashati (a series of 700 verses in praise of the Mother Divine, from the Markandeya Purana).
Roopam Dehi Jayam Dehi Yasho Dehi Dvisho Jahi’. These verses come from the Argala Stotram in the Durga Saptashati and become a kavach (armour or shield) for one who recites them.
It is said, ‘Krishnena Samstutay Devee Shashvad Bhaktyaa tathaambikay, Roopam Dehi Jayam Dehi Yasho Dehi Dvisho Jahi.’
Meaning, ‘Oh Devi (Mother Divine) who is worshipped with eternal devotion by Lord Krishna, bless us with beauty (Roopam), victory (Jayam), glory (Yasham) and destroy all craving and ignorance (Dvisho) in us.’
If you see, it is actually the Devi who rescued Lord Krishna. Devi was also born on the day of Ashtami, to Yashoda. And on that very same day was brought to Mathura. Kansa tried to get hold of her and kill her but she escaped from his hands.
Here, Kansa symbolises Ahankaar (ego), Lord Krishna symbolises Ananda (bliss) and the Devi or Durga symbolises Aadhyashakti (primordial energy within us or consciousness).
Ego cannot catch hold of consciousness or the primordial energy (Devi), nor can it catch hold of Ananda (bliss, that is Krishna).
So the Divine Consciousness (Devi) then made a prophecy that the One who is destined to destroy the Ego (Kansa) is Bliss (Krishna) and he has already been born.
When life becomes full of Ananda (bliss), then ego vanishes. When one is feeling blissful there is no ego. But as long as ego remains, a person keeps on suffering and is miserable. They become sad due to something or another, or go on blaming someone or the other. Even then ego cannot destroy Consciousness, because Consciousness is eternal.
Nothing can destroy or diminish the power of Consciousness. It is constant and eternal. Those who know physics would know this very well that energy can never be created or destroyed. So also, Consciousness can never be created nor destroyed. Any efforts to create or destroy that (primordial) energy will only fail.