Why does an act when performed repeatedly loses it sacredness?

This happens when your memory overpowers your consciousness and you lose your sensitivity. For example, people living in Benares do not feel that it is a sacred place. It is too familiar; that sensitivity is just not there.

How can we preserve that feeling of sacredness in our acts? Through living in the present moment and through sadhana.

Your sadhana will not allow your memory to overpower consciousness. Then repetition is not a hindrance. It is good to feel that some places, times, people and symbols are sacred so that you can be awake and alive. But eventually you need to transcend and feel that the entire creation and your whole life are sacred. For the person of God, the whole world, with all its symbols, places and people are sacred at all times. Be a person of God!

What made this monk steal from the palace?

There was a great monk who lived in the Himalayas. He had free access anywhere he went, because people loved and welcomed him. This monk used to go to the king’s palace and have his lunch there every day. The queen would serve him lunch in a golden plate and a cup. He would go, eat and then walk out. This was his routine.
One day after his meal, he grabbed a silver glass and a golden spoon and took it with him. He didn’t even tell anybody that he was taking it, that he wanted it or anything. People in the palace noticed. The queen noticed. He would never take anything at any time, what happened today? He took these things with him, without telling anybody! He just put it into his bag and left. Three days later, he brought back the cup and spoon and left it there. This was even more puzzling. Before they thought maybe he needed it, so he took it. Now he came and put it back. It was more puzzling! So the king called all the wise people and enquired as to why this happened. Why did he take it and then bring it back? They found all the wise people and pundits, who said, “Find out what you fed him the previous day or two.”
So they went and found out all that information. They found, they had fed him food they confiscated from some robbers (some Dacoits). They had found and arrested a few Dacoits a couple of days ago, and they confiscated a lot of grains and foodstuff (everything from them). That was then cooked and served to the saint, and made him rob the things from the palace. In ancient days, people used to look into all these things. If somebody did something very unusual, they went into the root cause of it. Why? Instead of accusing this monk who started stealing… what made the monk steal? The food! Who cooked the food, what was done in the food and what happened? They went into that detail and found the root cause of it.
It is ignorance to think we are the doers. And the way to come out of this ignorance, is definite understanding, definite knowledge in the mind that my body and the world is undergoing change all the time. The entire universe is in the form of fluids, in the state of fluidity. And it is all full of change, going on its own, according to its nature.
This definite knowledge: “I am not the body. I am the Self. I am the space. I am the imperishable, untouched, untainted by prakriti (nature), by this world around me. This body is all hollow and empty. And every particle in this body is changing and changing. The mind is changing and changing.” This definite knowledge is the way out of the cycle.

The One and Only Step You Have to Take

Break through all the barriers and feel that you are blessed. This is the one and only step you have to take; rest will all happen.

This deep sense of feeling that “I am blessed” can help you overcome any obstacle in life. It gives you courage and confidence and it will open your lid for grace to be poured in. Once you realize that you are blessed, then:
  • All complaints disappear 
  • All grumbling disappears 
  • All insecurities disappear 
  • A sense of feeling unloved disappears 
  • Wanting love disappears. 

If you don’t realize you are blessed, then the doership begins. If you want to make a difference in your life, feel you are blessed.

And especially for those on this path of knowledge, there is no reason for you to not feel blessed. So, feel you are blessed. This is the first step towards the Self.

Blessings come to you in many forms.
  • If you are generous, blessing comes to you as abundance. 
  • If you are hardworking, blessing comes to you as happiness. 
  • If you are lazy, blessing comes to you as hard work! 
  • If you are pleasure loving, blessing comes to you as dispassion. 
  • If you are dispassionate, blessing comes to you as knowledge of the Self. 

Look Beyond What Is Known

The mature intellect brings forth devotion that is always in awe of creation. When something is unfathomable, the intellect is in awe. When the mind takes rest in the vastness of consciousness, only then can it know the Truth. This can only happen through Shraddha. Shraddha is not just faith, it is to love something that is beyond the purview of knowing. And if one is willing to look beyond what is already known, then the vast wealth of knowledge embraces them.
The mind keeps wandering from one sense to another in search of satisfaction. It is only when you realize that this joy is caused by something greater, you can be centered. There is a saying that when one appreciates a flower, the flower feels sad as the creator of the flower is not being appreciated. In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna declares himself as the cause of all the joy of the senses. The intellect keeps getting stuck in the senses but when the mind, intellect and Chitta get fixed on the Divine, the highest can be attained.
If one is unable to be completely fixated on the Divine, then one can establish devotion through sadhana or spiritual practices. However, any practice has to be done continuously without exception and with respect. Mental tiredness gives rise to the inability to do any practice. Many people do either only Sadhana or only Seva, and Lord Krishna does not spare either. He says, ‘If you work for Me then you will not be tired, this is for sure!’
Lord Krishna treats Arjuna as a friend and gives him options saying, ‘If you cant even maintain your practice, then at least be part of Me. Feel total oneness with Me.’ The body, mind and emotions are a result of karma. Good and bad things will happen, but be detached. Take refuge in my connection with you and don't ever question this relationship.

Worship - A Sign of Maturity

For a flame to rise, you need space above it. In the same way, for a man to rise up in his life, he needs an ideal, he needs something to adore and worship.

What is Worship?

Worship is the culmination of love and appreciation. In worship, a sense of belongingness, love, honour, and respect, all come together.
Without a sense of belongingness, worship or idealism can bring low self-esteem. The ancient people knew this, and so they insisted that people should feel part of what they worship. They encouraged people to worship the sun, moon, mountains, rivers, plants, animals, and people.

Why is Worship Important?

Worship prevents love from turning into hatred or jealousy, and prevents appreciation from becoming low self-esteem. In life, if you do not adore or appreciate anything, you will be filled with negativity. And a person who has nothing to worship or adore is sure to fall into depression.
Lack of adoration has led to many emotional, psychological, and social problems in society. If you have nothing to hold up high in life, selfishness, arrogance, and violence are sure to follow. Adoring and honoring each other in society eliminates stress and fosters compassion and love.
In the previous century, it was thought that worshipping was an uncivilized and unintelligent thing to do. Worship was thought to rise from a slavish mentality. In fact, it is just the contrary. Worship can only happen through gratefulness and not through subservience. Worship in the true sense is a sign of maturity and not weakness.

Memory - A Hindrance and a Blessing

The forgetfulness of the nature of man is the root cause of all problems and suffering in life. The very remembrance of one’s nature, which is godliness, brings freedom in life. Here, memory is your best friend. The purpose of knowledge is to remind you of your true nature.
In the Bhagvad Gita, Arjuna said to Krishna, "I got back my memory. Now I have realized and will do as you say." Memory is a blessing and your best friend when it comes to your true nature. Memory is a hindrance when it does not let you be free of events, pleasant or unpleasant.
Pleasant events create cravings and competition in the mind, and do not allow fresh experiences, whereas unpleasant events give a biased perception and create paranoia. So the memory is both a blessing and a hindrance, depending on whether you remember your nature or you are stuck with events in time and space.

Need for spirituality courses and techniques

Buddha said, be your inner light, so why are the spirituality courses and techniques needed?
You have to listen to Buddha. Buddha had to come and tell you, be light unto yourself. Right? So that is a technique.
Once in Rishikesh, they built a four story building and there were mounds around because Rishikesh is a hilly area. So after the completion of the four story building, they cleared the mound that was around. When that was cleared, suddenly they realized there no steps to the first floor. Because of the mound, everyone was going through the mound all the materials was carried through the mound. When the mound was cleared, from the ground floor there were no steps to the first floor. There were steps from there onwards.
Like that, I was thinking when people say no need of technique, no need of Guru and all that, then there was no need of this question also. Right? Where is the need for an answer? 
If you were a bird, you don’t need the steps to go, but even a bird needs wings and should know how to flutter its wings. They learn how they should fly. And they need training. If a bird had no other bird around it, if they had just seen cats and kittens around, they would think they were one of them, they would not flutter their wings and fly.
We have a horse in the ashram, and the horse is in the cowshed. It is so friendly with all the cows, it will go and lick them. And somebody brought another horse, and they got very upset looking at each other. It looked like the horse thought it is a cow, when for the first time it saw another horse it became very wild. So you need a mirror to look at yourself, and the mirror is the technique. It’s needed.
To drink coffee you need a cup, right? You don’t drink the cup, but without the cup also, you can’t drink the coffee. You need a straw to have juice, but nobody eats the straw. But there is a connection between the cup and the lip through the straw.

How does one deal with anger?

First, create some space for imperfection in life. Do not expect everyone to be perfect overnight.

It will take some time for you to get to that level, where anger does not even touch you. It will keep coming in different shades and intensities.

Instead of looking at the cause of anger, look at the effect it is having on your system. And then, keep relaxing your system, attend to yourself.

This world cannot be so perfect, so broaden your vision. You cannot make everyone the way you want them to be. Unpleasant things are bound to happen. When it happens, you should have the strength and courage to move on. Meditation will definitely provide you that needed strength to overcome anger.

Once in a while if anger comes up, don’t start blaming yourself. One thing that can be very detrimental on the spiritual path is self-blame. Keep moving ahead.

This is where Sangh, i.e. group or company, can also help. Whatever you cannot do alone, you can get help and support from a group, from good company.

Sangh has many benefits, but a few drawbacks also. It can also take up a lot of your energy. It can be draining at times. Many times you will have to compromise on something.

The positive effect is that Sangh helps you to move forward. It gives you that much needed support to move forward.

Whenever your mind goes topsy-turvy, or if your emotions are going up and down, when your inner faith is shaken, then at such times the Sangh will carry you forward

It will help you move through the situations. One negative effect of the Sangh is that if someone in the group is negative and miserable and you are not careful enough and join hands with that person, then it can bring you down as well. 

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, then you start loving it.

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.

Love is beyond boundaries - the story of Vidyadhar

Vidyadar was a very famous, honored writer in India. He was a very great thinker and scholar. He was invited to a party. And he went to the party in very ordinary clothes, not very nice clothes, a bit shabby. It was a royal party, so when he went there, the guards would not let him in. They chased him out! He went back home and put on his coat and came back.
When he came again to the party, everybody was dining. And he started taking all the food and shoved it in the pockets of his coat. He told the coat, “Now you eat it, you eat it. All this food is for you, not for me.” He put the ice cream all over his coat and desserts all over his coat. He would not eat. The viceroy and other people who were there, they wondered what the matter was with him, “What is it? What are you doing?”
He told his story. “I got honored because I was invited. When I put on the coat, they let me in. Without the coat when I first came, they wouldn’t let me in! So all the honor is just for this coat, not for me!”
Rupa dhana kula kriyadi-bhedah.
And what one does, that is also not important. A devotee could be chopping vegetables, selling tomatoes, could be doing any job. The job is not an obstruction for enlightenment, for living love in your fullness. One can be doing any job. Through the job or the actions they do, do not judge a person. We judge people by their family, or the race, or their educational qualification, or how much money they have, or what they do. Do not look into these things. All these distinctions vanish, because love is beyond all this.

A Message On Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti (Jan 5, 2018)

If culture and dharma is still alive today, the credit for that goes to Guru Gobind Singhvi.

Indian land will always be indebted to Guru Gobind Singhji because of the way he brought change in this country. All the 10 Gurus have done a lot for India and its citizens; they have shown people the right path.

During the 18th century, the saints, sadhus, and mahatmas of this country would stay in their own ashrams or temples; they would remain stuck to their pujas and rituals, and many would not care for the society. And the people who would work for the society, who were warriors, they were far away from Dharma (righteousness). There was no sign of sainthood in them. It is Guru Gobind Singhji who brought the two together. He said, “Be a saint in the mind, have sweetness in behavior, and have warrior-like courage in your arms”.

He raised the slogan, “Sant Sipahi bano”, and in this way­ he became the greatest Sant Sipahi.

He called out to all the saints to become warriors. Only being a saint is not enough – warriors are required. He gave this call and protected India. If Guru Gobind Singhji was not there, then may be India would not have survived.

Guru Gobind Singh’s message is so relevant even today. He said, “You should be dynamic, and still be soft in the heart. You should be inwardly spiritual – a Sant Sipahi, a saint and a soldier, together.”

He meant to say, you must stand up against injustice. You cannot just be a saint and say, “Okay, whatever has happened, let it happen!” You should stand up against injustice, and simultaneously be compassionate within you, like a saint.

It was Guru Gobind Singhji, the tenth Sikh Guru, who established this rare combination of firmness and softness.

Guru Gobind Singhji also brought to light the honour of the tradition of Masters – the importance of Guru Tattva (wisdom) in life.

When Guru Gobind Singhji left his body, he said, “After me, the next Guru is the Granth. All the knowledge is kept in this Granth. This is the Guru – your guiding light.”

In all the Gurudwaras (places of worship of the Sikh), you will find the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikh religion. The wisdom these scriptures bring out to humanity is invaluable. The story of 16 different saints and their teachings are compiled in the Guru Granth Sahib.

He also stated that Knowledge is Guru. There is no difference between Knowledge and Guru. Granth means Knowledge. When Knowledge becomes totally a part of one’s life, then that is Guru. If Knowledge is not lived, then how can one be Guru? There is no difference between Knowledge and Guru. This is what he said, and along with this, he said be a Sant Sipahi.
Can a saint also be a warrior? Absolutely! Saints used to be warriors. For example, Vishwamitra, Parshuram, and others. There are so many Rishis in the Shrimad Bhagvatam who were warriors.

In fact, only a saint should be a warrior. If someone whose heart is clean becomes a warrior, then good will happen for everyone. If an angry, greedy, arrogant person becomes a warrior, then he will mess up.

Mahatma Gandhi is also in that category – he was a saint as well as a warrior.

Message on New Year - 2018

There are three principles that are closely interlinked – Time, Mind, and Events. None of the three are stagnant, they change. Time, Mind, and Events move all the time.
When the Mind is stuck to Events, then there is suffering. If the Mind flows with Time, it is fresh and alive. Time and Events have a tendency to get linked to the mind. For example, your birthday. Every year, when the date comes, you remember, “Oh, it is my birthday!”
Celebrations are an imposition of Events on Time. For example, Christmas celebrations, Buddha Purnima celebrations, or Guru Purnima celebrations – they are all Events sticking on to Time, through the Mind. It is the Mind that remembers, “Oh, today is Buddha Purnima.”
Whether it is a celebration, or it is some bad memory, the Mind sticks to that Event.
9/11 – an Event happened on that particular date, and so, that particular Event got stuck to Time. Every year, when you remember 9/11 or 26/11, you are sticking that date to the past.
Similarly, national days. On the 1st of July, Canada says it is their national day. On the 4th of July, America says it is their national day. On August 15th, India says it is their Independence Day. The Mind connects an Event to Time. And this connection could be pleasant or unpleasant.
Pleasant connections don't last too long, but unpleasant connections create a scar on the Mind and last longer. Now, what is the place of wisdom in all this? Wisdom makes your mind non-sticky.
Have you seen non-stick frying pans, in which you can make pancakes? When those non-stick pans were not available, people still made pancakes. The pancakes would get stuck to the pan, and they would have to struggle each time to get them out. The cleaners had more work to do, to make it ready for the next use.
So, Events are like pancakes that stick to the pan. Now, just imagine, if you don’t clean the pan, and you continue making more pancakes day after day on the same pan and consuming it. My Goodness, how unhygienic!
For years, you are using the same pan. One side of the pan is all burnt because of the stuck pancakes, and it smells because you have not cleaned your pan. Yet you continue making pancakes (causing pain to yourself), and you are serving such pancakes to others (causing pain to others).
This is what is happening. You have forgotten to make your Mind a non-stick pan. It is wisdom that blows the Events out of your Mind, and helps you flow with Time.
Imagine there is a river in which there are boulders and little puddles. Water gets stuck in those little puddles, and then what happens? It starts having fungus, algae, and the water is not clean, pure, or fresh anymore. This is because it is stagnating in one place.
When the river is flowing (when you let go of the past), the water (Mind) is clean and pure; the water moves over all those boulders and runs to the ocean.
The Mind is also like that – it gets stuck in a few events. It cannot get stuck for too long; somewhere, it has to move on, right? Be it pleasant or unpleasant. And wisdom helps you to move with Time and through Time.
Whatever events happened in 2017 is all gone. There were some pleasant days, some unpleasant days; some happy days, some worthwhile days, and some days when you did nothing. The days you did nothing have not left any impression on your mind because nothing worthwhile happened on those days. The impressions of the other days are on your mind because you think something worthwhile happened during those. Wisdom makes you realize that nothing is worthwhile, or rather everything is nothing.
Do you know that pleasant moments make you more unhappy than unhappy moments? Pleasant moments make you unhappy because they are gone. With unpleasant moments, time heals you. But the craving for the pleasant moments, time carries them along with you for a long time; to heal from it takes a long time. Impressions from pleasant moments cause cravings in you, and the cravings don't go so easily.
This is why the wise one sees all Events to be unpleasant – because whether pleasant or unpleasant, they are all gone. What do you say? Almost everyone of you agrees with me on this.
The funniest thing is that our Mind does not want to let go of Events.
Recently, this one gentleman became an Art of Living teacher. Once you become an Art of Living teacher, self-pity is not allowed. If you pity yourself, how can you bring happiness to someone else? If the doctor is chronically sick, how can he conduct surgery on you? Impossible.
Now, this person used to get a lot of pity and compassion from others. It used to make him feel so good. Everyone would give him so much attention and sympathy. After becoming a teacher, it was a dichotomy – it was very difficult to let go of the enjoyment that was coming from people feeling sorry for all his misery.
Why am I saying all this? This is because I want you to see how the Mind works. The Mind wants to stick to unpleasant things because it gets some attention. If people pity you, you enjoy it somewhere.
See, as a child, you have been getting this attention. When a child starts crying, everyone comes and attends to it. They tell the child, “Don't cry”, and the child gets the lollipop, or the toys it was crying for. Somehow, it got programmed in you that if you throw tantrums and become miserable, you will get what you want.
These are Events that are creating impressions on the Mind. Wisdom is, you getting out of all the impressions. When you get out of the impressions, then you are flowing with Time. In fact, you go ahead of Time – that is wisdom.
This New Year, make your mind like a non-stick pan, and enjoy your pancakes, fresh and new. And don't even think back that you never washed your pan in the past; that too is gone. In this sense, every day is a New Year’s Day for you – every day is a celebration. Today is today. Calendars and calculations don't exist then.
When you are happy, you don't feel that you are growing old. You don't feel Time is dragging. You don't feel Time at all – it could be millions of years; nothing has touched you or shaken you, and you have no plans. And even if you have a plan, Time runs so fast. When Time runs so fast, it also stands still.
In the morning, when you wake up, just sit and feel how Time stands so still. When Time stands still, it is meditation.
When Time runs fast, you don't feel it; that is karma yoga. And when Time stands still, that is dhyan yoga, meditation.
See, if you are not used to the stillness of Time, if you are only on the run all the time, you will get depressed. We have this tremendous ability of enjoying both – running and being still.
As you grow older, the body has its limitations. If you have no ability of being still and don't enjoy being still even for a short time, you will feel bored, confused, and depressed. That is what happens to all the so-called very active people when their bodies don’t allow them to be active anymore, and they cannot be still either.
This is where your Mind is not with Time. So, your Mind should be with Time. When the Mind is with the Time, it can be still.
With wisdom comes happiness. You don't have to specially wish everyone a Happy New Year; happiness comes with wisdom. If wisdom does not bring happiness, nothing else can bring it. Wisdom brings real and ultimate happiness. So wish everyone a "wisdom filled year" instead.
Wisdom is not about the books you read. Wisdom is an expanded state of consciousness. It is your mind being non-sticky, not getting stuffed but becoming hollow and empty. The moment you think of wisdom, you think of reading books. No! That is just information. Wisdom is being still and being non-sticky to Events. Let this year be a "Wisdom Filled Year" for everyone.