How to deal with blame

You know, somebody is talking negative about you, they are dumping garbage. You should not hold your gunny bag and catch it. When somebody is dumping garbage, you simply move away from there. Don't take it in. 

If they say something negative about you, there are two reasons: one is, either they are doing it out of jealousy, or they are doing it because they love you very much. They are good friends with you and want the best for you, so they show your negative points or your weak points. 

So if they say something negative, either you thank them because they took the guts and said it, which others normally don't want to say to you. 

If someone criticizes you, they gathered the courage to do so, and they put their friendship at risk to criticize you. So thank them. And if they are just saying it out of jealousy, just forget about them and move on with a smile.

Don't speak sweet lies and unpleasant truth

Remember these three aspects - naturalness, simplicity and belongingness. 
I have travelled to so many countries and met thousands of people but I have never felt that anyone is a stranger and does not belong to me.  When we do not feel that someone is a stranger then they too will not look at us as a stanger. When will someone feel the belongingness? When we feel belongingness with them. Everyone is our own and no one is a stranger - this is the first mantra.
Second, whatever is inside is also outside. Just open up your heart and be natural.
Next is living a simple life. Living with the confidence that we will anyway get whatever is needed, that is simplicity. Right or wrong, I am what I am. If we live like this, naturally, then there will not be any fear. Then there will be no doubts or blocks in life. This is the important mantra of Art of Living.
Now this does not mean that because you are natural and simple, you go to your office and tell your boss, 'you are stupid'. Don't do that! Use your brains a little. Guruji says 'be sincere and natural'; so you go to a funeral, and say, 'I don't feel anything. Why are you crying? Let us celebrate!'
I heard one gentleman went home after completing his Advanced Course, lifted his wife in his arms and happily went around the house. The wife asked, "What happened today? Has Guruji said love your wife?" Then this gentleman said, "No, no. Guruji said, carry your burden and botheration joyfully!'

Innocence with Intelligence is the right formula

The whole world is one family, so it is necessary that we live with naturalness and simplicity; only then life blossoms. 
The second thing is, the wall that we erect between ourselves and others needs to be demolished. Drop all inhibitions between you and others. From your side you drop inhibitions. Go on and shake hands. This is what kids do. However, as we grow up, we tend to lose that. We create a wall between us. We bring formalities between us and forget our naturalness. However, in Mumbai that spirit is there, the sense of belongingness!
All those who are grown up physically, but want to be a child again, or think you are one, just go for it! Don't worry about what others think about you. If the world calls us crazy, let them say, but you be happy. Be in the present and be natural. 
What is most important in the world is innocence along with intelligence. The innocence of an ignorant person has no value. Similarly the crookedness of an intelligent person has no value. What is most valuable is innocence and intelligence. Innocence and intelligence should go together.
We need to bring these things in the society. In children there is innocence, naturalness, and ease. Together with that, intelligence should be sharpened, and our education system should be this way. 
This is what I call spirituality - that which keeps the spirit uplifted. Not that spirit which one takes and experiences a temporary high! The inner spirit - keeping your spirit alive with enthusiasm, with innocence, with naturalness - this is spirituality.
In the Bible, Jesus said, 'Unless you become like a child, you cannot get into the kingdom of heaven.' 
In Hindi, they say 'Bhole bhaav mile raghurayi' - one who lacks innocence can never find Ram. So, maintain your innocence. How to maintain innocence? Know that God is One for everyone and be natural with everyone.
Inside everyone there is a power.  Parmatma means that - that which is present everywhere; that which is omnipresent. So, will it not be present within us? If it is not present within me, it is not Parama atma. And if it is forever, then it exists in the present also. It is not that it was present previously and will appear again in the future. 
Parmatma is always there, and therefore is here right this very moment. Resting with this knowledge is meditation - parmatma is here, in the present, within me. If you rest with this thought, all the restlessness in the mind will quiet down. Once the mind is silenced, Boom! A radiance will be experienced.
This is what everyone had been in search of. For how many lifetimes we had been in search of this, and then one realizes, 'I am THAT!' Aham brahmasmi. 'Tat tvam asi' - 'You are THAT which you are in search of.'
If you close your eyes and rest and meditate a little bit in the knowledge of 'You are THAT', as you go deep, you will also realize, 'I am THAT.' Once you experience this, all your work will get done effortlessly! So, meditation is a very big gift to us.

There Is No Escape From The Guru

You can’t escape from having a Guru, or being a Guru. Everyone has to realize this, that there is no escape, or no way out.
There is a proverb in Sanskrit that says, ‘I first salute the wicked because he is teaching me by falling into a pit. He has warned me. Then I salute the one who has shown me the light’.
See, the one who is showing you the light is not doing so at his own cost. But the one who is falling, is teaching you at his own cost.
So by default everyone is a Guru because you are teaching someone something. You may not be moving people from where they are stuck, or granting them what they want, or bringing them freedom (as that requires a higher qualification), but you are definitely teaching them some wisdom. At least one of the four functions of the Guru everybody has, i.e., knowledge, progress, achievement and liberation.
So there is no escape from having a Guru or being a Guru. By default, someone or the other will learn from you.
The four benefits of having a Guru:
1. Wisdom
2. Progress in life
3. Achievement
4. Liberation
Without knowledge there cannot be organization, if organization is there, that means that there is knowledge because knowledge has organizing power. This is what has been said by the Ancient Seers.
There is a verse in the Vedas that says, ‘Wisdom and knowledge lies in the imperishable sounds and letters which are embedded in the space beyond the physical space, which is the abode of all the angels.’
This space (which the Vedas refer to) is the inner space in which all the Devas are imbedded, and if you have no access to this space then what is the point of all of this knowledge. And one who has access to the inner space is just full of bliss, and nothing can shake him or her. These four things – wisdom, progress, achievement and liberation - come from that inner space.
This is all very interesting! In this era of technology, it is so easy to comprehend. Several decades ago, people would not comprehend this. It is very difficult for many to comprehend this, of course, not for those who have meditated deeply. But those who just read this, it is very difficult for them to comprehend that there is a space in which all the knowledge is embedded.
Do you know, when you sent a text message what happens? The text travels through the space and in a fraction of a second, it enters into the other cell phone. In between two cell phones, where is the text? Have you ever thought about it? I think many people have not even thought about it. That space through which the text message travels is already there.
Supposed you type something, and the receiver gets something else; just imagine if there is some mismatch. You type, “Honey, I love you”, and the person receives a message from you that says, “You’re a stupid guy”. Nothing happens like because that Parame Vyoman is so structured. There could be an error in tying but not an error because of the space element because the space element is so perfect.
Angels are not figures, they are just energies. When we use the word energy, it feels like some dead inert substance, but if you use the word angel it feels alive and lively. If you say, ‘The human body is carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins’, or you say, ‘A living human being’, it makes a difference somewhere. In the same way, the energies are called Devas.
The word Deva has many meanings, but one of the meaning is ‘Light’. Another meaning is ‘Playful’, one who loves to play. Deva also means ‘Perfection’. Perfection,
playfulness, light and positivity – this is what Devas are. It is a very interesting analysis.
We are so fortune to get all this knowledge which has been maintained for thousands of years. Without any scriptures and books also, you can realize this knowledge. But the authenticity of it is when you know that the same knowledge has been there for many years (scriptures). So, the authentication is essential.
Perfection, authenticity, simplicity, clarity, universality and reality – this is what we have in the Art of Living. It is all very sure and very clear. And this knowledge is also practical, it has a utility to it.

Finding the right balance through meditation

Today scientists say, if you meditate even for eight weeks at least once a day, the grey matter in the brain increases and the structure of the brain changes. That's what I have been saying for the last 35-40 years. Today scientists have said the same thing, they have authenticated it in some way – that meditation does so much good to your nervous system and it does so much good to your brain. It creates a positive energy around you, it uplifts your spirit and alters your behavior pattern.
World Health Organization says that the biggest challenge that mankind is facing today is depression, and by the year 2020 depression is going to be much more prevalent. If half the population are on anti-depressants, then that is going to be terrible. Even anti-depressants work for some time and then they stop working. So, we need to bring a lifestyle change in people by making them understand how they can handle their own mind, their energy and their vibrations.
We live in era of quantum physics and today quantum physics says this is all about vibration. The whole world is nothing but vibrations, and this is what spirituality also says – it's all vibration. So, we need to teach people how they can shake off all the stress that accumulates on a day-to-day basis.
30 years ago, when I would talk about yoga or meditation, people would say, “Wow, that's not the normal thing to do. Someone who is crazy would go for all this”. That was the paradigm, that was the assumption people had. Today it has changed. Today, big companies, like Daimler Chrysler Benz, show someone in a meditative pose to depict happiness in their advertising. Relaxation and happiness has become synonymous to meditation. I feel there's a big change in the mindset of the people.

How to overcome feelings of hurt

If you have wisdom, you don’t have to go through pain to learn. We go through pain because we lack wisdom. But remember that you will come out of pain or hurt at some time or the other.
It is important for one to have a larger context to life. When you have a larger context, then trivial things don’t really bother you. They are like waves on the surface of the ocean – they rise and fall. So, if you are in pain, or have been hurt, here are the four ways of looking at the situation that will ease your pain:

#1 The one who has hurt you is pained:
Many a times, people cause hurt to others because they have scars, and they are unhappy and miserable. They can only share what they have. They are hurt and they are sharing the hurt with you. You might think that these people are hurting you purposely, but in fact it is because they do not have happiness inside them, they don’t have joy or peace. They have pain inside them, which is why they are causing you hurt. So, what should the wounded party do? Compassion. You have to be compassionate to those who hurt you, because they are wounded themselves.

#2 The one causing you hurt is just ignorant:
There are people who hurt others out of sheer ignorance. They are not sensitive and they are not aware that their actions are hurting others. They don’t know themselves and they don’t know what they are doing. They are ignorant and arrogant. You can only feel sorry for them and hope that someday they will become sensitive and intelligent.

#3 You’re hurting because it is just karma:
You had to get this hurt, and if not this person, then someone else would have given it to you. You must have caused some hurt to someone in the past, so nature is bringing it back to you now. When you know that it's just the karma being repaid, you feel very settled.

#4 It is being done to make you strong:
Nature is bringing this pain to you so that you become strong, so that you discover the strength and power within you. Usually, when a pole is being installed, after the installation, they shake the pole to check whether it is rooted well enough or not. Hurt is just that, to see whether you are well established in yourself, whether you are in wisdom or not. Every hurt is trying to shake you, to see whether you are strong or not. It tests your strength. It is to make you stronger.
If you think a wise person or someone intelligent is hurting you, then you should be thankful because there is some purpose in that. They want you to be strong.
If your mother is scolding you, she is not doing it with bad intentions. If your father is scolding you, you can’t say, “Oh my father hurt me! My mother hurt me!”
Your parents are not hurting you – they are coming from a space of care and concern for you. We must recognize that they are doing things out of their limited understanding and love for you.
There are two major things that you feel when you are hurt – lack of communication and lack of understanding. Another reason to feel hurt, if you want to count it, is being oversensitive to irrelevant or ephemeral things. Events are all ephemeral – they are all moving and impermanent. Everything is changing. You don’t need to become oversensitive, “Oh he said this thing to me, she said this thing to me!”
Now, if someone is trying to physically hurt you, you just be careful and equip yourself. I am not saying if someone comes to hurt you, you fall at their feet. No, you be intelligent and protect yourself.

Mysterious ways of Karma

What do we get upset with? We don’t get upset with the birds, or the clouds, or with Nature. We don’t get upset with the environment. So, what do we get upset with?
We get upset with the people around us. Our enemies upset us and our friends upset us as well. Our mind gets stuck either in our friends or in our enemies. We either think about our friends or we think about our enemies the entire day.
People become our enemies even when we have not done any wrong to them. Many people have had this experience. We didn’t do any wrong to them; neither did we misbehave and still they became our enemies. This is very surprising! We think, ‘Oh! Why has he become my enemy? Until yesterday he was my friend.’ In the same way, we do not do any special favours for some people, yet they become our close friends.
That is why I tell you, this is some astonishing and mysterious Karma – how some people become our enemies and some our friends.
So what should we do? We should place both our friends and enemies in one basket, and just become empty from within and be joyful. 
All these happenings (people becoming friends and enemies) are run by some law and we don’t know how and where it comes from. We just can’t say when someone’s feelings towards us will change and whether it will be in our favour or not in our favour. We just can’t say. That is why we should place absolute faith on our Self, on God, and not on friendship and enmity. We should not waste our time thinking about friends and enemies. What do you all think?
This does not mean you distance yourself from your friends, or that you stop making new friends. That is not what I am saying. Friendliness should be in our nature; love should be in our very nature. We are love after all!
When someone comes and sits beside us, we do smile at them and exchange a few words. This does not mean you think, ‘Anyways, who is a friend or who is an enemy, there is nothing to share with anyone’, and you walk around with a gloomy face being angry with everyone – this is not a sign of wisdom. This is ignorance and foolishness.
We must interact with everyone around us but at the same time be centred from within. Do you understand?
When we are centred, then we will not feel sad, angry or possessive. Then we will not have disappointment of any kind. Otherwise many times what happens, we become sad – ‘Oh! Look, I made him such a good friend and today he does not even talk to me. I did so many favours for him and he has turned against me!’ By thinking all these thoughts we waste the time we have in the present. We should not do this, Okay!
It is futile to search for a true friend in the world. Befriend the Truth (Divine) and the World is yours.

How to overcome suffering?

If you know that your pain is just momentary, you don’t mind the pain. 
You go to doctor and he gives you a prick. You don’t mind the pain. You are doing exercise with dumbbells and it pains. You enjoy that pain.
Why you don’t like suffering is because in suffering you feel, “Oh! This is death." You associate death with suffering. That is why there is fear. Just simple pain doesn’t give you suffering. You willingly undergo many pains.
By understanding this, layer by layer, going scientifically you can observe that you pay more attention to your mind than to the senses, to your intellect more than the mind and to the ego more than your mind. 
For example someone saying some words to somebody else doesn’t bother you. But if they said that to you then you get upset. If you go beyond that and see, it is just their opinion. If someone passes a derogatory remark on you, how do you see it beyond the ego? With compassion, “Ok, they are saying something because they are upset.” Then you don’t get hurt. When someone calls the person next to you stupid, you see it as a witness but when he does the same to you, there is a difference. Do you see the difference? If you can see that also from the same angle, as though they are fighting with somebody else, then you see it beyond ego. Then you say, “He must be tired, stressed out” , instead of taking it as a personal attack on you, you will see the state of mind, intention or consciousness behind the action.
Suffering has a purpose, which is to connect you to your self. Suffering indicates that you got too involved and carried away by all the relative and transient things around you. That is what suffering is all about.
Once you understand that suffering is only transient, your eyes get lifted to something that is eternal. That is when real joy dawns in life.

Belongingness and Obligations

Belongingness can bring about a host of negative emotions like demand, jealousy, lack of awareness and lack of gratitude. Just look into your own life, you feel more grateful to strangers than the people who “belong” to you. Belongingness reduces gratefulness, awareness; and gives rise to demands which destroy love.
This is the biggest problem in relationships. People are nice to strangers and give more attention to them. With a sense of belongingness comes carefreeness and lack of attention.
Belongingness can make you insensitive, dull, and take away the charm in life! Anyway, who belongs to whom in this world? Here you are a stranger and everyone is a stranger to you. Blessed are those who feel they are strangers. You feel more obliged to a stranger than the person who belongs to you. An obligation is very good to keep a check on your ego. It makes you humble. There is no greater antidote to ego than humility. Being humble is the beginning of all virtues.
People have such resistance for obligations. They do not realize that they are always under obligations, whether giving or taking! Dull people think that one is obliged only when one takes. The wise know that even when one is giving one is under obligations, as the person has accepted what one gives. So whether you give or take you are under obligations. And if someone does not give or take, you are still under obligation! For they are freeing you from visible obligations!
That is to say, you are obliged to all those who do not make you obliged! Got it?
Life renews itself every time by making you a stranger in this old and familiar world. You are simply loaded with obligations and you are a total stranger in this world every moment!

What Is Surrender and How to Surrender?

A desire comes into your heart. You don’t know where it comes from, but it comes. And unless and until it gets completed, you are restless. Isn’t this your experience?
What to do then? A desire has already arisen – it may be a silly desire; sometimes, the desire makes no sense. And sometimes, it makes all the sense. But when these desires come to the mind, you are stuck with them. Whether you are sitting, walking, eating, or sleeping, you carry this desire in your heart all the time.
In the beginning, the desire brings a hope, so there is some enthusiasm, some joy, and an expectation. But a little later, that becomes restlessness. And even later, the same thing ferments and becomes pain. At this point, you want to drop it, but you don’t know how to drop it. You read all the philosophical books… this and that, you meditate, and do all the gymnastics and still it doesn’t leave. Even after experiencing pain, it still doesn’t leave, and this is the worst part.
You know that this desire is painful, but you can’t get away from it, and you want to get away from it. Doesn’t this happen? Does this ring a bell? Does what I am saying make sense? Many of you have had this experience!
Here, you forget that there is a loving presence that cares for you, which takes total care of you, like a mother would take care of a baby. Like that, the presence, or consciousness, or a supreme power—call it whatever you like—this consciousness is fully aware and is taking care, like a mid-wife would do at the time of birth. A mid-wife is there, standing and seeing the pain of the mother, helping her in the birthing process. In the same way, a presence is there, and it wants you to learn something.
What is that something? There is a presence – the presence is caring for you, don’t worry. Offer this desire to the Divine. Challenge the Divine – why did you give me this desire in the first place? It is better you take care of it. At that very moment, that pain, or restlessness, or desire transforms into an infinite state of clear awareness, or love. Immense love wells up in you – this is called surrender.
Surrender happens spontaneously with the knowledge that you are not in control of anything – not even your thoughts or feelings. You cannot do anything about the thoughts and feeling that come to you. When you realize that you are not in control of your life, but life is governed by some supreme law, then surrender happens.
It is unwise to think that the little mind can do everything in life, or is in control of life. Surrender is a realization that your effort cannot bring forth all that you want in life. The big or great cannot be had by the effort of the small mind. Otherwise it is not great or big. When do you call something a gift? When it is so great that it is beyond your effort.
When you are relaxed, you are in a state of surrender. When you are grateful for all that you have been given in life, then you are in a state of surrender. When you are totally helpless, and you realize your helplessness, then you are in a state of surrender.
You can experience this very well in third-world countries, where things don’t work too well. You don’t know when the electricity will come and when it will go away. You are not sure about water, electricity, buses or trains, or anything. All is left to God.
What I mean is, the more organized your life is, the more of a false idea comes to your mind that you are in control. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of things. Take care of things, organize yourself, but at the same time know that you are not in control of anything. Then surrender has happened. And that surrender is unparalleled in this world. It has so much power.
We think surrender is a sign of weakness, when in fact it is a sign of strength. We think surrender means defeat! You know, a person who is being defeated can never surrender, because he appears to be submissive but then he is waiting to lift his hood back up. Surrender comes with knowledge, with realization, and with gratefulness.
Tonight, when you sleep, feel that you have dropped everything and given everything to the Divine – your body, your mind, your breath, your thoughts, your feelings, your environment, everything is offered to the Divine and you have nothing now. Have nothing and be nothing. That is bliss.
If you take this one step, I have nothing, and I am nothing, then you will be the happiest person on this planet, and everything will come to you.

Opposite values appear to be opposing, but in some way they are complimentary

Divine is beyond positives and negatives. Positives and negatives are merely a play and display of the relative. In the absolute, there is neither positive nor negative. Date and time are relevant, only when you are at some point on the globe, the moment you take off to outer space, there is neither day nor night, no time, no date, no year.
Similarly, positives and negatives are relative. Opposite values appear to be opposing, but in some way they are complimentary. Suppose if Ravana was not there, who would glorify Ram. The entire Ramayana revolved around vanavaasi Ram when he goes to the forest and fights with Ravana. Marich, Sugreev, and all these characters, which appear to be negative on one side, are in fact there to glorify the positive.
When I was in Hawaii, on the 14th floor, I looked outside, it was so dark but there were so many lights on in the city of Honolulu. A thought came to me, these city lights are fighting with the darkness of the new moon, still, they cannot win, they cannot vanish the night; the night was so deep and dark. On the other side, I contemplated how the night is giving a chance to all these millions of lights to shine, this is another way to look at it. There are so many stars in the sky, it is the night which is giving an opportunity for the stars to exhibit their glory. The night is glorifying the lights and the other way to look at it is that the lights are fighting the night. It is just how you see things.
Similarly, in life, any situation can be viewed from two points. One is to see how it is glorified; adverse situations glorify your qualities and help your beautiful qualities to come up. You cannot exhibit your goodness in a very pleasant atmosphere. When things go wrong, then you get a chance to exhibit your goodness. That goodness has some values. Goodness still has values when things are good, but it shines forth prominently in situations when things are not so conducive. So, compassion has value, your patience has value, your endurance has value when situations are adverse. And in adverse situations, you hold on to your faith, that is the real faith. That faith has real value.

When life is a challenge, that's when all the skills are needed from within you

Being calm and peaceful when everything is calm, everything is peaceful, has no meaning. Being peaceful when everything is peaceful is dull and boring. You should create some trouble. You should have some fun. You should have some mischief. When everything is absolutely fine and peaceful and quiet, being peaceful has no meaning, but when everything is falling apart, then being quiet and peaceful – that peace has value. A bottle of water has more worth in a desert than when you are surrounded by water. When you are sitting by a spring, then a bottle of water is of no value to you. One handful from the spring is good enough to quench your thirst.
When there is chaos, there is confusion; when there are problems all around you, then calmness is needed the most; wisdom is most valuable then. When life is a challenge, that's when all the skills are needed from within you.
When people blame you, when they don’t understand you, that’s when you need the inner strength to smile. When things don’t go the way you want them to, that’s when you need the endurance, the strength and courage to remain unperturbed. What brings that courage in you is exactly what Krishna said: samatvam yoga ucate (2.48). That equanimity is the test of your yoga.
There is an incident about Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi’s life companion, Kasturba Gandhi, was on her deathbed. Doctors had given up hope. They said, “Just a few hours or minutes – that’s it, for her to live.” At that time, Mahtma Gandhi came out of his kutir and told Pandit Sudhakar Chaturvedi, “Read that verse from Bhagwad Gita for me.” When he recited the Gita, Gandhi said, “Today is your Bapu’s test. Today is my examination. I will know whether I will be able to handle the loss of Kasturba.” As he was saying this, tears rolled down his eyes. “Whether I am equanimous or not, today is the testing day.” Yoga brings that balance, so that an event doesn’t shatter you.
Just observe, how your mind goes, how it flares up, for nothing! How it creates a mess all around. One moment it’s high, another moment it’s down. Bipolar is an extreme condition, but those who are not doing yoga, they are all, in some manner, in a bipolar state. Yoga is the answer for these psychological troubles. Samatvam yoga ucyate (2.48). Yoga is the equanimity that wells up in you, that comes up in you, stabilizes your consciousness.