Every beautiful thing should remind you of the divine

You see beautiful things in the world and every beautiful thing should remind you of the divinity. Then the beauty itself becomes a prayer. 

This is what is soundarya lahari

Adi Shankaracharya wrote beautiful shlokas (sanskrit verses) called soundarya lahari. In that he says that everything he sees reminds him of the Divine. The waves of beauty, it all reminds him of the Divinity. 

If you see some beauty and you want to possess it, then it is lust.

Can one watch a lunar eclipse? Why are there restrictions around an eclipse?

Yes, you can watch the lunar eclipse, no problem. It is a celestial phenomenon. Only solar eclipse should not be watched with naked eyes. You should wear some glasses because the rays are harmful.

Why our ancient people said not to eat at the time of eclipse and before eclipse is so that the food is all well digested and you can do meditation. During eclipse time when you do chanting, meditation, or pray, it has a hundred times more effect - this is what is said. 

The sun, moon and earth are in one line and so the cosmic rays are flowing such that at that time any sadhana you do has manifold effect. 

So during the eclipse do your meditation, chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ or Om Namo Narayana’.

If you chant 108 times during an eclipse, that means you have done it ten thousand times. 

It is a very auspicious time for sadhaks; it is not a bad time. It is a bad time for enjoyment and for pleasures.

Meaning of Purusharth

Purusharth means attaining these four things - dharma, artha, kama and moksha

Dharma is doing one's duty, kama is fulfilling one's desires, artha is generation of wealth, and moksha is achieving freedom from all these. All four are essential.

This is what purusharth is.

How does performing spiritual practices help in waking up from the dream of earthly existence?

You are sleeping and in your dream a snake comes and bites you and you wake up screaming!

So, there are a few things even in a dream that can become the reason for you waking up from the dream.

That is why it is said, 'neki kar aur kuye mein daal' - do good deeds and forget about them as though they are also a part of the dream. When you drop those deeds and meditate, then you will awaken.

There are two aspects of sadhana: nishreya and abhyudayaOne is awakening and the other is comfort. 

Sadhana brings that comfort which one longs for and freedom is attained by it. We awaken from the dream and come out of it by doing sadhana.

The meaning of the rising sun and two swans in the logo of the Art of Living

When the Vishalakshi Mantap building was constructed, what happened is that there was a satsang in Mumbai where there were swans. Someone got the swans from Mumbai and kept them here. Now, when there are swans, they need water, so we constructed a fountain. 

Then someone else brought the Nandi (bull). They had ordered it for a temple in America but somehow it could not be put there. So it was brought here. 

Next, somebody brought a Garuda (eagle). It is a one ton Garuda brought from Indonesia. 

I suddenly realized this very recently that all the 3 vahanas (vehicles) have automatically come in front of the Guru Peetha.

This has happened due to Divine will, otherwise why would someone want to bring a swan here? That means that the Guru Tattva can travel by water, land or air to reach and protect you. Whatever transformation is needed in your life is possible. 

It is not that someone just brought them here. There is a reason behind it. We had never thought about getting all these here. All of them started coming one after the other. 

That means there is truth in the Peetha.

Fulfilment of desires for a mind in knowledge

Wherever the mind can go, that is its jurisdiction.

When a desire gets fulfilled, the mind goes away from it. For example, if you want an umbrella, that is the area of desire. Once you get the umbrella, why would you think about the umbrella? Till you get the umbrella, the mind looks for it. 

Once you get what you desire, the mind moves away from it. This is a natural tendency of the mind. The mind thus keeps wandering from one desire to another. 

In the path of knowledge, whatever is needed for us will come by itself.

How should a disciple be

A disciple should be hollow and empty. 

At the same time whatever you have heard or listened, don’t take it for granted. Study the knowledge and read it again and again.

Know but be as though you don’t know. Don’t let that arrogance of knowing come into you. Just be your natural and simple self.

How to deal with meeting greater failure after coming to the Guru

If that is happening, then every time your project fails rejoice, ‘today this project of mine has failed!’ And then surrender it.

If you are unable to let go off of your failure then how will you ever let go of success. 

When you fail at anything, why do you hold on to it? Let go of it and be free. 

Then you can say, ‘I am free!’

If you are successful, then you will get more and more projects one after another to handle. But if you are a failure then you are carefree!

Just make sure your heart doesn’t fail worrying about failure at work.

5 types of restlessness

There are five types of restlessness.

The first type of restlessness is due to the place you are in. When you move away from that place, the street or the house, you immediately feel better. Chanting, singing, children playing and laughing can change this atmospheric restlessness. If you chant and sing, the vibration in the place changes. 

The second type of restlessness is in the body. Eating the wrong food or vata aggravating food, eating at odd times, not exercising, and overworking can all cause a physical restlessness. The remedy for this is exercise, moderation in work habits and going on a vegetable or juice diet for one or two days. 

The third type of restlessness is mental restlessness. It is caused by ambition, strong thoughts, likes or dislikes. Knowledge alone can cure this restlessness. Seeing life from a broader perspective, knowledge about the Self and the impermanence of everything. If you achieve everything, so what? 

After your achievement, you will die. Knowledge of your death or life, confidence in the Self, in the Divine, can all calm down the mental restlessness. 

Then there is emotional restlessness. Any amount of knowledge does not help here. Only Kriya helps! All that emotional restlessness vanishes. Also the presence of the Guru, a wise person, or a saint will help to calm your emotional restlessness. 

The fifth type of restlessness is rare; it is the restlessness of the soul. When everything feels empty and meaningless, know you are very fortunate. That longing and restlessness is the restlessness of the soul. 

Do not try to get rid of it. Embrace it! Welcome it! Usually to get rid of it people do all sorts of things - they change places, jobs or partners, do this, do that. It seems to help for some time, but it does not last. 

This restlessness of the soul alone can bring authentic prayer in you. It brings perfection, siddhis and miracles in life. It is so precious to get that innermost longing for the Divine. Satsang, the presence of the enlightened one, soothes the restlessness of the soul.

People say married women should not chant Lalita Sahasranama

In our country people just say anything. Some say married women should not chant Lalita Sahasranama. Some say one should not keep a Shiva Ling at home. Some says women should not chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’.
This is all untrue, it is not mentioned anywhere in the scriptures like that. 
Good things should be read and chanted by everyone. One should not get caught up in such superstitions.
These days it is hard to get a Pundit or Priest who is authentic. Many times the Priest who comes for performing the wedding ceremony reads the mantras for a death ceremony and no one knows what he is saying and which mantra is for what. 
The Priest came and chanted the mantras and so the work is done. There is no authenticity in the ceremony or of what is being chanted.
And many times we are in such a hurry to finish the ceremony. We tell the priest, ‘Punditji, hurry up!’ We are lacking the devotion to even sit and listen to the mantras that are being chanted and know what the real meanings of these mantras are.
A Christian Priest gets so much respect but the Pundits in our country are not getting the respect that they should be getting. In our country the Pundits are not even getting proper training anymore.
That is why we have started a school, ‘Ved Vigyan Mahavidyapeeth’, to train the Pundits to perform marriages and other ceremonies according to the Vedic Dharma Sansthan, so that people can understand the true meaning of marriage. Marriage is not just about wearing the mangal sutra, it is the saptapadi (the seven steps) that is marriage. Until you take the 7 steps together till then the marriage is not complete and it is very important to understand the meaning of the saptapadi
I would like to invite those of you who are interested to come for 2 month training. Then you also can become qualified to perform marriages, naming ceremonies, house warming ceremonies, thread ceremonies and the last rituals after death (antyeshti). 
The significance of the rituals performed after someone dies is so astounding. In the ceremony they offer sesame seeds with water to signify, all those desires that are still binding you after your departure are very small, let go of them and become free! We will fulfil these desires for you. That is why it is called tarpanam
A son or a daughter can perform this ceremony. That is why tarpanam is done to tell the departed, let go and become free, we will fulfil all that you have left behind. 
All of these rituals are so important, but we have forgotten all of them. But now at Art of Living we are reviving all of these and training people.

Why does Krishna contradict himself in the Bhagwad Gita?

Krishna says he neither likes anybody nor does he dislike anybody. On the other hand he says some people are very dear to me.

That is Krishna’s specialty, to speak all the opposites and create confusion. 

At different levels of existence and for different incidences he says these statements and both are true.

On one level he says people who are calm, compassionate, happy and loving, I like them the most. So, you are most dear to me - this is true. 

Another time he says, don’t take me for granted, I have no likes and dislikes. Everyone is dear to me and I see myself in everyone.

The Bhagavad Gita is the most contradictory book you will ever read and it is the complete truth because it is so contradictory.

Achieving world peace

World peace can be achieved when people become ready to help each other. All of us belong to one family. Everybody should be able to say: ‘Whenever you are in need, I am with you’. 

There is a fear among people that no one would help them when they are in need. This is the sole reason for all the corruption and violence. People have somehow lost this trust. People have lost faith in themselves, in the Divine and in the society. 

There must be faith in the goodness of people in the society. People must have faith in themselves and faith that the Divine is taking care of us. If a person has faith in all the three, it will bring peace to them and also to the society.

Why must one suffer in the present moment?

Both pain and pleasure exists on this planet. 
The first experience of your coming into the world was painful. You were happily floating in your mother’s womb and suddenly all the liquid was gone and you had to pass through a narrow passage. It was difficult and you had a tough time. That is why as soon as a child is born it shrinks its whole body as though it did some huge work and then cries. That is your first experience of pain. 
Pain and pleasure, they keep happening like meditation in motion but suffering is optional. Pain sometimes is inevitable.
Suffering is when you try to avoid pain or when you have a concept that this pain should never have been there. Suffering is latching onto the past in the present moment. So suffering is also in the present because your mind is latching on to a past moment. Again, there are times it could be inevitable but with wisdom that time is shortened. 
That is why Maharishi Patanjali said, ‘Heyam Dukham Anagatam’. Yoga is there to avoid the suffering which might come in the future. It is a precaution.
If you take good precaution with food and you’re eating habits are good, you don’t get diabetes, or blood pressure or heart problems and other problems. Why you get these problems? It is because you neglect something, somewhere. 
Similarly if you don’t attend to your relationships with people around you then you get into that type of problem. 
Sometimes with no logic if you feel that you are suffering then know that it has carried on from the past which you do not know of. And if you do the Eternity Process or go into deeper meditation then it will appear and then you will see, this was something due in the past and I am paying off the due now. That is it, finish and move on.

How does a married woman strike a balance between her parents and her husband

First of all don’t think they are in conflict. Even if it appears to be, don’t accept that there is a conflict. When you think there is a conflict that is when you struggle. 
If there appears to be a conflict then with skill bring them together. Say all nice things about your parents to your husband and all nice things about your husband to your parents. Usually girls start complaining sometimes unknowingly or unconsciously about her in-laws or her husband to her parents and the parents get even more worried. 
Many times parents come and tell me, ‘Guruji, my daughter is suffering so much!’ I just look at them and say, ‘don’t take whatever she says as 100% gospel truth. She is just pouring out her feelings.’ 
Sometimes you have some problems and you just pour it all out, but actually it may not be that big a problem. People like talking, so when they start talking you don’t know how the horse runs! Your imagination tends to run higher. 
Sometimes you try to get some sympathy and some attention from people and so you go on complaining. Just like someone has a disease and they make it so big when they express it to you.
Often non-sadhaks do this. People who do not have enough wisdom, they exaggerate the problem, because it just gives them a sort of satisfaction that people are giving them attention. And parents tend to see the problem as much bigger when their children complain because they are more concerned. 
So I tell them, ‘when your daughter complains take it with a pinch of salt. Accept only 60% of what she says; leave a margin of 40%. You will find out the truth.’ You have to hear both sides of the story. 
When you meet her in-laws and ask them, ‘Is my daughter behaving okay at home?’ They won’t say anything. If they are decent people they will say, ’no she is fine.’ 
So whenever a person complains, whatever they complain, even they themselves do not believe in it 100%. Always there is an exaggeration; there is a margin that you must leave. And truth lies in that margin!

The story of Shabari and the many paths to the Lord

Shabari, an elderly tribal woman and ascetic, did not perform yagnas or read the Vedas. Yet she found her way to the Lord. How? Through love and devotion. She had one-pointed devotion for the Lord. A feeling of belongingness, intimacy and love with the Lord; all of this!
That is why in India there are so many of these stories. There is not just one path but there are many ways and many paths. Many paths means through knowledge or through service or through love (devotion). These three paths are there. You can go in all the three paths and arrive at the same place.
This is what people sometimes don’t understand. Especially in the West, this is a concept which is new, this essence is not there.
Once a top leader from Iran came here who was Ayatollah Khomeini’s right hand man. This was about fifteen to twenty years ago when I was in the old kutir. This man is a great Islamic scholar who is very well known. He was around 83 or 84 years old.
See the seeking in that gentleman; he came all the way from Tehran. Somebody had told him there is a saint here and so had come in search of knowledge. When he came he asked me, ‘Please tell me, if truth is one, there can be only one way to that truth, how can there be many ways? So if there is only one way to truth, then all other ways have to be false.’ This is what his contention was. 
He said, ‘I have studied from my childhood that this is the truth, then how can everything else be truth? There can only be one right answer to a question, one right path. So there can be only one way to God. What is the correct way?’
I just smiled at him and told him, ‘Okay, you came here from north. So someone gave you directions.’ In those days there was no bus here and the Kanakpura road was almost empty. There was nothing. 
So I asked, ‘What directions did they give you?’ and he said, ‘There is one Banashankari, and from Banashankari they told me to go straight and turn right.’ 
I said, ‘Yes, this is the correct path. Go straight and turn to the right. This is the correct direction. But suppose if you are coming from Kanakpura, the direction to this same place would be to go straight and turn left. Do you think this is wrong?’ He remained silent. 
I said, ‘to go to Tehran from India, I would say go north-west and this is correct. But from Germany I would tell you to go south-west. This is completely opposite but it is also correct. And from Pakistan I would tell you to go west and that is also correct. So, all these instructions are correct or are they wrong?’
He said, ‘They are correct. Though truth is one there are many paths and all the paths are correct.’ He said, ‘Salaam! You opened my eyes. This is what I wanted. Today I feel I am born again.’
For a seeker when the question becomes so deep, he goes around looking for an answer. So though truth is one, the paths are many. 
This is the specialty in India. Kabir went through knowledge and meditation, Shabari only through love and longing. There was so much longing in Shabari, there was a yearning in her to meet her Lord. That yearning leads you to the Lord. 
Meera reached through singing. Shabari never used to even sing. There was only the yearning in her heart.
A knowledgeable person can also reach and so can a karma yogi. All these different paths lead to the same truth and all these paths are correct.
Now if you ask me, then I would tell you that if you choose one, the rest will come along. That is the specialty of the Art of Living, where everything is there together; feelings, devotion, knowledge, play and a little bit of mischief as well!

Charm and commitment

Nobody can have the same charm for the same work all their life unless they are enlightened.

If you are enlightened, you can give the same intro talk a million times and still be so enthusiastic because you don’t live in the memory of it, you are living in the present. Or you are such a child who enjoys doing the same thing, and does not get bored at all. 

That is why the word commitment has come to this planet. Don’t go only on whether you enjoy it or not or because you are charmed by it. You have to do it because you are committed to it. 

In life we need to have both, commitment and charm. Charm gives you that little excitement now and then but commitment carries it on. Commitment will carry life forward.

Truth has many paths

Keep all other concepts on one side and just look into your own life; what have you learnt in your life? What are your experiences?
Look at all that you thought as truth that later turned to be not true. What are the experiences which meant something at that time but after sometime meant nothing.
Observe how your judgements were all just bubbles on the surface of water; they had no facts, they had no stance. You had judgements and you thought that is how it is and later on you realised, ‘Oh! It was just my judgement but not the way things really are.’
So your vision broadens, sharpens and heightens. That which broadens your vision, sharpens your vision and heightens your vision is ‘Swadhyay’.  Swa means oneself, studying one's own 'Self'. Throwing light on your own ‘self’, examining your own ‘self’, this is essential. 
By this introspection you blossom and that inner being is unlocked. Then one begins to understand everything - there is one light, which is within me. Then you find the way and truth dawns and then you recognize that which is in all the Holy Scriptures. Otherwise just memorising the Holy Scriptures and saying it like a parrot has no value. It has to become alive in our life and for that Swadhyay is essential.
Throw light on your own mind, on your own intellect, on your own life and the events of your own life, this is very important. You will be amazed by just throwing light on events of your life what happens. How you were, what concepts you had, how limited your thinking was and now how vast it has become. How your behaviours were and how your behaviours have changed. How your sense of belongingness was and how it has changed now.
Though truth is one, there are many paths and all paths are correct.

When will the world become a beautiful place?

Just open your eyes, it is already beautiful. 

If you think that it is not beautiful then do some work to make if beautiful. 

This work that we are doing, of meditation, of knowledge will make the world more beautiful. 

In my view, the world is beautiful and it is becoming more beautiful. Here we have flowers and buds and the buds will also blossom in some time. You do some work; do some ‘karma-yoga’.

Dealing with pain for the planet

Don’t be disheartened. Nature is intelligent. It has given the will to many people today to plant more trees, to be more aware of the lakes and rivers and people are much more environment-conscious today than before. So we are moving in the right direction. 

The Art of Living itself has pledged to plant 59.5 million trees. Our volunteers have done a lot of work. 

We need people like you who feel the pain for the planet. We want you to come up and the youngsters also to come up. Give one year of your life to this nation or to any nation you are in. One year to make it better. Keep aside your job and other commitments, take a one year sabbatical. 

‘One year of my life I am going to donate to my nation and for the sake of my environment. For eliminating poverty, for elevating human values and for a stress-free, violence-free world.’ 

With that determination, if you come along and spend one year for the society, at least one year, it can make a big difference. 

Today, hundreds and thousands of Art of Living teachers are engaged and selflessly are working for society. What do they need? Simple food and a simple place to live. Simple things, and that is all being met. That is why there is an organization which takes care of the basic needs and so they have no other demands. And they are working day and night. 

We have so many full time teachers here. They have dedicated their lives for the sake of humanity, to bring a smile on everyone’s face, to bring happiness in the lives of people. That in turn gives them so much happiness. 

When you spread joy and happiness in another's life, that brings so much more inner satisfaction, and you cannot buy this satisfaction. Nothing can give you that job satisfaction that our teachers have. That is very good. 

So we need to work more. All of you who have this intention to do something for the society, come along and we can do something great. Alone you cannot achieve much.

One man cannot clean Delhi or Jamuna. But thousands everyday joined hands to clean Jamuna and Delhi, and the project became successful.

Overcoming a persistent bad habit

Stop connecting your thought, ‘I have achieved this’ (after initially overcoming a bad habit) with not achieving it. Sometimes you think, ‘I want to do this’ and it does not happen. Many times your determination becomes weak. Someone else’s sankalpa wins over. 
So it is best not to analyze too much about it otherwise you start feeling guilty, your self-esteem goes down and all these sort of mental tortures and imbalances follow. 
The best thing is to let go and take a fresh determination and move on. Whenever you make a determination, at least it saves you for a certain period of time. 
Suppose you say, I am not going to overeat. You keep the determination for fifteen days or one month and then again you break it and you overeat. When you overeat, you suffer. Then again you should start the sankalpa.
Now, instead of saying, ‘I can’t do this, anyway, I will continue overeating’, start again. Say, ‘okay, I will start again from today. Never mind if I overate, but today I will begin again.’ Having that determination, saved you for one month from overeating. 
So from time to time take such a sankalpa and never mind if it breaks. It is still helping you to move on, so never give up your determination. Even if it breaks ten times, it is good to come back to it.
If you have a habit of smoking or drinking or sex or anything that you feel is not helping you, but you are not able to keep up the promise that you made to yourself. I tell you, continue pursuing it. Even if you break it ten times, again take it up.
Suppose if you had completely not taken it all, what would have happened? You would have overeaten the whole time. You would have indulged the whole time. At least your determination saved you one month, fifteen days, two months or one year. You broke it, never mind, continue again. 
And this will save you going forward. It uplifts your spirit; it elevates you and makes life progress in the right direction. And suddenly one day you see, without any effort, it has become so easy. Naturally you are aligned. 
There is a natural alignment when you feel completely free. That inner freedom simply dawns. But you must take these useful steps.

If this life is a dream, then how does one know the real Self?

You cannot know the real self. What you can know is that everything is changing. 

Once you know everything is changing, one who feels that everything is changing is non-changing. Without the non-changing, you cannot recognize the changes. 

Without a reference point, how can you say something is changing? That reference point is not the object of knowing but it is the knower himself.

If you want to know everything is an object of knowing, then it is not possible. Don’t make the ultimate an object of knowing.

If one can see the Divine, why should one perform pooja

You are completely mistaken about pooja. The rule of pooja is only Shiva can worship Shiva. 
So first you place the names of the Divine on different parts of your body. You become part of the Divine and then you offer flowers and everything to the Divine. This is the actual and right way to do pooja, seeing the divinity inside. 
You are as much part of the Divinity as I am. You must know that godliness is in you too. God is in you as much as in me. If you are able to see well and good. You and I are not different, we are one. You should say, ‘I am a part of the Guru.’
Self-blame should be stopped and you should see that you belong to the Guru, to God and to the whole creation.
Why do I need to do pooja? Do I gain anything? No. It doesn’t matter whether I do or I don’t do but it is a custom. If I do then everybody else will also do. It is to lead by example. 
Lord Krishna also did and Sri Ram also did pooja and it is set in our tradition. So we continue the tradition like our elders did. If I don’t do, then why would anyone else follow? And how can I tell them also to do.
I don’t need to do pranayama, I don’t need to do kriya, I don’t need to do meditation and I don’t need to sit in satsang. But if I don’t sit, how can I inspire others to sit for satsang or to meditate? So, I also meditate. 
For me, eyes open or closed is all the same, but still I do. 
The same question Arjuna had asked Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna said, ’for me there is no karma. I don’t have to gain anything by doing karma nor will I lose anything by not doing it. But still - ‘varta eva ca karmani’ - I keep doing. Why? If I don’t do then people will not follow. They will follow me not doing anything and then there will be disaster.’
He said, ‘Just to lead by example I am doing everything, all the karma. So you also do work.’ Arjuna said, ‘No I am not going to do it.’ Krishna replied, ‘No, you have to do it.’
Arjuna again said, ‘Why? If karma is binding then why do you ask me to do karma? You say knowledge is freedom, then why do I have to act?’ 
Krishna said, ‘I also don’t need to do anything. But still I am doing everything. Then you should also do.’ 
Pooja means creating an atmosphere of Divinity and reposing in it. It is the chanting that is important. The chanting has all the vibrations from thousands of years. 
Like the tuning fork, when similar tune strings are there then they also vibrate. Similarly when you chant those mantras, your consciousness which is thousands of years old, somewhere the deeper layer starts reverberating. That is why when you hear those mantras, something happens in you. I have seen this all over the world, not only in India.
In the beginning when we say some chants, like ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, even those people who have no affinity towards Sanskrit or have never heard it before, when they chant this they say, ‘something happens inside’.
Our consciousness is very ancient, so the Vedic mantras have that power to touch the deepest layers of our consciousness. 
Now you can ask me, ‘why can’t we sing in German or French or Kannada or Urdu or Telugu or Assamese or Tamil?’ You can sing in any language, it doesn’t matter but the effect of these Vedic mantras are different. That is why they are called mantras, ‘Mananat trayatie Iti mantrah’. 
That which takes your mind across by listening to it or chanting it is called mantra. So these Maha-mantras have an impact on the consciousness that is why we say, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, ‘Om Namo Narayana’.
Bhajans are different; you can sing ‘Radhe-Shyam’. Bhajans are different or any other language songs are different. But when you chant ‘Om’, it has an impeccable effect on the consciousness.

How to retain knowledge for application at the correct time

I tell you do not doubt yourself. 

This is self-doubt, ‘I heard, but will this become practical? Will this happen in life or not?' This doubt you should not have.
Like you learned in nursery school, 2 + 2 = 4, once you learn it, then it stays with you. When you have to count, you say, ‘2 + 2 = 4’, it has already come to application. You don’t need to try to apply it in life. Application is spontaneous. 

So when you know, ‘Accept people as they are’, or ‘Present moment is inevitable’, whenever you are disturbed, automatically this knowledge comes up.
‘Oh, present moment is inevitable. Anyway, what can we do? It’s past. It’s gone.’ This knowledge comes to you automatically, as if you are programmed. Listening to knowledge means getting programmed. Once you are programmed, it comes whenever and wherever it is needed spontaneously.
‘I need to apply this knowledge in life’; this thinking is a big struggle. It is a big strain on your mind. You think it is not there. ‘I want to feed this information in the computer’. When you say, ‘I want to feed this information’, that means it is not there.
I tell you, the moment you listen to the knowledge once; it is already feeding in the computer, in the mind which is the super computer. You have already fed it. So, it comes to your help spontaneously, automatically. Don’t worry about applying the knowledge and leaving the knowledge. 
As long as you spend a little time refreshing it, turning the pages of the knowledge books or everyday listening to ten minutes of knowledge, then the application is spontaneous. 
But if you have not listened to knowledge for a long time, you are completely out of touch then you will forget. Only thing is, if you remember, application is spontaneous, automatic, and immediate. And if you have forgotten it then somebody has to remind you and for that you have to come to satsang, or to the Art of Living course and again refurbish the knowledge, refresh your memory.

When Sadhana becomes boring

Exercises are always boring but we know for our good health we have to do it. Like eating is boring, but still we eat.

Sadhana is boring but still we should do it. Make it a routine, sit for a few minutes, do some rounds of bhastrika

Sometimes you have to get on to the treadmill and you feel, I don’t want to do this exercise but still you do it because you know it is good for your health, in the same way you must do sadhana.

Doesn’t matter if you miss it for one or two days, that is okay. Don’t feel guilty about it. 

But if missing becomes regular, then you need to reconsider it. That is why doing sadhana in organized groups is always good. There is a proverb in Sanskrit: ‘Ekas tapasvi, dwir adhyayi’; whenever you want to do a practice, doing it in groups of two or three or more is always beneficial. 

Many times you do things for company’s sake. I have heard many people saying, ‘I don’t drink unless I have company.’ 

When you can do wrong things for company’s sake, can’t you do something good for company’s sake also?!

Coming back home

Let go! What are you holding on to? You are home! Wake up!

Wake up, it is your cravings, which is giving you an illusion that you are far away from your home. And what are the cravings – for pleasure, for recognition. And what did you get in all those pleasures? Five minutes or ten minutes of some sensations and some stimulation; other than that, what is it? NOTHING WHATSOEVER! Absolutely nothing! 

It left your hands burned down, your head and heart devastated. What else do you want? 

Come on! When you want to be back home, it does not take more than a wink of the eye. That means it doesn’t take more than a second. 

Wake up and shake up! Wake up and realize you are already there. The cobwebs around your mind are your own making. You know how the spider makes its own cobweb. Who has done it? Not somebody else. From its own saliva, it made the cobweb and it is all caught up in it and feels,’ I am dying!’

You blame it on the world; blame it on people, blame it on situations and blame it on your own mind. 

Stop blaming even your mind. You simply have to shake and wake up. Done!

Death can anytime rob you of all of it, in one minute. Not even a minute it takes. In one minute death will rob all of what you have. Before death robs you, let go I tell you. Then you are free and you will feel I am home. 

One day death is going to rob you of everything; your home, your kith and kin, your car, jewellery, your fridge, all will be gone. In fact, they will all be here, you will be gone. It is the other way around. 

Wake up and see nothing is yours. Can’t you say this – ‘Nothing is mine!’?

‘Nothing is mine’, and you are home. It is such a freedom I tell you, such a freedom! 

I don’t mean you should go and empty your bank balance and give it all away. Keep the money in the bank, but not in your head. Got it? 

You will not be greedy, you will not be angry, you will not be possessive or jealous. Just one remembrance of an inevitable truth that is going to happen in your life, you are going to die one day! You don’t need to read books to know this. It is such an obvious truth. You don’t need to quote from scriptures to know that you are going to die.

This one thing in sight is good enough to bring a transformation in life.  

That sense of courage, conviction and realization is what wisdom is. First realization, and then courage and conviction, brings so much freedom. Only then real meditation happens. Till then you sit with your eyes open and closed and again open and closed. Yes, there is some quietness in the mind, but nothing beyond.

5 secrets of relationships

None of us are islands; we all need people to live meaningful lives. If you examine any aspect of your life, you will find that it involves relationships. Having said this, it is important to note that as invigorating as a good relationship can be, a bad one can be just as energy-sapping. So, it is immensely useful to understand how to deal with people.
The main challenge in this endeavor is that every person is different. So, we need to exercise all the facets of our personality to get along with the diverse spread of people before us. However, it is possible to utilize some common threads to build bonds with people. That these threads are relatively unknown or unused by the general public is obvious from the strife and conflict around us.
So, how about we explore and see if some of these ‘secrets’ of relationships can inspire harmony and integration around us?

1. Being the architect of your happiness

Do you allow yourself to be swayed and affected by other people’s words and actions? Can your happy and jolly self flip into its sad and anxious counterpart because of someone else? If you said yes, it is because you give more weight to other people’s thoughts and feelings than your own. Instead, how about allowing these remarks to pass by without reaction?
When you stop reacting to other people’s random remarks, they tend to stop saying them. On the contrary, you might find more positive comments coming your way when you stop expecting them. So, try not to allow the weight of expectation to burden your relationships. No one can make you happy or sad without your permission. When you realize this, you will discover joy in every nook and corner. Your flexible, non-reactive and easy-going demeanor will encourage people to put their best foot forward too.
How do you do this? Focus on learning, awareness, and the larger picture. Meditation and breathing exercises can help you in this, as they take you away from the petty elements of life into the abundant universe.
2. Giving up obsession & feverishness
For most of us, being in love is the most sought-after emotion. In front of that one and only love, everything else fades away and becomes insignificant. You are immersed headlong in the deepest emotion, and all other senses disappear.
The problem is that this sort of passion or obsession rather tends to become old and jaded sooner than you’d think. You find it difficult and tiresome to outdo your feverish self of yesterday, and, eventually, run out of steam. This brings out your irritable and unattractive side – the one that repels even those towards whom the passion was directed earlier. You become bored and are boring to others.
Being centered can avoid these pitfalls in relationships. You maintain a calm and composed nature that is pleasant and reliable and that attracts people towards you. Healthy practices like meditation and pranayama encourage and enable this.
3. Communicating effectively
What does this mean? Since we interact with a diverse set of people – in terms of age and temperament, there cannot be one universally applicable answer or method.
With children, you need to display patience and accept them as they are. Teenagers need a friend by their side almost all the time. So, the parent in you takes a backseat. The sick need a compassionate ear to hear their problems. The elderly need an attentive and caring one. If you can adjust your communication and behavior according to the kind of person you are dealing with, you will be more successful in your relationships with people.
4. Giving...and taking
Are you a giver? It is true that we have been taught to give freely without counting or expecting. In which case, perhaps, what you need a lesson in, is in taking! While constantly giving must seem like a noble and selfless quality, you are in fact depriving the other person of experiencing the joy of giving.
For a relationship to thrive, both parties must GIVE and TAKE. This will ward off the bitterness that accompanies those who always give. You must allow the other person to experience the wholeheartedness and generosity that fills them as they give. It will also prevent them from feeling the weight of indebtedness at receiving continuously.
The reality is that there is so much to learn from giving that it is wrong to not let the other person experience the learning. So, ensure there is a balance in giving and taking in your life. Your relationships will greatly benefit from the judicious mix and balance.
5. Take time-outs
Only when you have the time to think, feel and experience, can you begin to think about others. So, at least once a year, take time out for yourself – go on a holiday, retreat into silence, and be with nature. Your mind will feel cleansed of the year-long obsessions, anger, jealousy, tensions, and anxieties.
In this space, there is a possibility for growth, compassion, and thoughtfulness. From here arises thoughts of giving and serving. This helps you discover your true nature and helps you connect with people at a deep and spiritual level.  
If you enjoyed these simple truths, you can read it in more detail in ‘Secrets of Relationships’ by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.