Awareness


Awareness depends upon your ability to open and shut your windows. When there is a storm, you need to shut your windows – otherwise you will get wet. When it is hot and suffocating inside, you need to open your windows. 

Your senses are like windows. When you are awake, you have the ability to open and shut your windows at will; then you are free.
If your windows cannot be shut or opened at will, you are bound. Attending to this is sadhana, or spiritual practice.
To the degree that you are awake, everything around you brings knowledge. If you are not awake (aware), even the most precious knowledge does not make any sense.

The Washing Machine


The human body is like a washing machine, our minds are like cloths, each lifetime is one run or cycle, and knowledge is the detergent. The mind comes into the body to get cleansed and pure. But instead of detergent, if you use dirt, then you have dirty clothes.
Pure water is like love, knowledge is like detergent, mind is like cloth, and the body like the washing machine. If you put in mud instead of detergent, your clothes become dirtier than before.
You will have to go on putting clothes in the washing machine to get them cleaned. And the process repeats again and again. Similarly you will have many more births until you stop repeating the mistakes that you have made.

Change the way you see the world


Do you believe in the goodness of people?

There are basically two types of attitudes or two kinds of people in the world. Those who that all people are intrinsically bad. And those who think that basically everyone is good deep inside, even if their behaviour is a little bad; the bad behaviour is only at the periphery.
The first kind of people cannot trust anybody, and the second type of people does not doubt anyone too much. Do you see the difference? If you think intrinsically everyone is good, then your doubt is only superficial. You don’t deeply doubt anyone, because you know there is goodness in everybody. You believe in the goodness of everybody.
The other set of people have this big issue of trust because they think intrinsically everybody is bad. Even if they appear to be good outside, deep inside they are not good. This attitude—this assumption in your mind—causes you to not trust anybody.
Wisdom is to be able to see that negativity is only at the circumference.
It is so interesting to see that if you find something wrong in a person, you think that is the true nature of that person.
I want to share one incident with you. Last year, I went for a big Satsang in one of the northern cities of India. At the satsang, there was this notorious person who came in, climbed on to the stage and started moving around. All the journalists and everyone else said, “This guy is a criminal, how did he get access to Gurudev? How is he standing with Gurudev?”
This man was so notorious; he would say, “I can make a call and stop any airplane.”
He would just tell any taxi driver to get off the car and he would take the taxi and go. He was someone with a big criminal record. So when he came on to the stage, everyone was wondering, “How did Gurudev allow this?”
You know, this same person, who has not done any course or anything, three months later came to the Bangalore Ashram on Shivratri to meet me. He took my picture out of his pocket, and said, “Gurudev, since I kept this picture in my pocket, I am not able to do my work. What has happened? What have you done? My life is all topsy-turvy; my whole life has changed. There is so much joy here! Now I want to take this joy to my state, and to every home.”
This is the same man who was considered to be the most anti-social element by everyone. Even journalists are afraid of him. Journalists, usually, are not afraid of anybody. But they said, “This guy is horrible.”
The world is as you see it.
You know, how we perceive people, is how the world becomes. In Sanskrit, there is a proverb that goes, Yatha Drishti, Tatha SrishtiAs you see the world, that is how the world becomes for you. If you see the world as full of horrible people, in your experience, only such type of things will happen. If you see the world as full of good people, even in the worst criminal, you will see there is a very nice person hiding deep inside him. You will recognize that.
So, don’t judge people, or label them as bad people or good people. There is only one Divinity that expresses itself in so many ways, in so many people, in so many moods, and in so many colors. It is one light. If we can recognize this, then we will have such deep peace in our hearts, such trust and faith that nothing whatsoever can shake us.
Everyone has light in them.
A seeker is one who should know that, intrinsically, every human being is a spark of God, so they cannot be bad. There is no bad human being created by the Creator. Take it from me – no bad person at all. Everyone has light in them. Somewhere it is hidden, somewhere it is sleepy, and somewhere it is more in action.
So these are the two paths. See in your mind which side are you going. Are you going towards trust, or towards doubt? If you are going on the side of disliking others or disliking yourself, then it is time to give a shift to it, and say, “No, intrinsically everybody is good.”

Respect everybody as you respect me


Respect everybody as you respect me, but don’t expect from everyone what you expect from me.
You usually do it the other way: You don’t respect everybody as you respect me, but you expect them to give you joy and behave ideally. When they don’t live up to your expectations, you get frustrated and you blame or curse them. By cursing, you lose your spiritual energy. When you can bless, your energy goes up.
The world is full of differences; arguments are inevitable. With forbearance, patience and wisdom, skillfully make your way up.
Fools will make you wiser. The number of fools around you indicates the strength of your centeredness. Don’t try to get rid of them! If you lose your center, you will have no patience to put up with them. When you are established in the Self, you find that even fools come up with wisdom; they are your own reflection, there is no “other”.

Love


Do you love someone, because they are great or unique? I tell you - you are hopeless!
Why do you love someone? Is it because of their qualities or is it because of a sense of kinship or intimacy?
You can love someone for their qualities and not feel a sense of kinship. This type of love gives rise to competition and jealousy. Such is not the case when love arises out of kinship.
If you love someone for their qualities, then when the quality changes or you get used to the quality, love also changes. However, if you love someone out of kinship, because they belong to you, then that love remains for lifetimes.
People say "I love God, because He is great". This is no big thing. If God is found to be ordinary, just one of us, then your love for God collapses! If you love God, because He is yours, then however God is, whether He creates or destroys, you still love Him. The love for kinship is like the love for yourself.
Is it that many people do not have love for themselves? No! It is the other way around. They love themselves so much, that they want better qualities and better appearance for themselves. This love of qualities makes them be hard on one self.
If love is based on the quality of a person, then the love is not stable - after sometime the qualities change and the love becomes shaky. Loving someone because of their greatness or uniqueness is third-rate love. Loving someone because they belong to you, great or otherwise, is unconditional love.
Knowledge, sadhana, seva and satsang help to bring about a sense of belonging in no time. When love springs forth from a sense of belongingness then the actions and qualities do not overshadow the love. Neither the qualities nor actions can be perfect all the time. Love and a feeling of kinship alone can be perfect.

Alone, yet not lonely


If you think nobody loves you, know for sure that you are loved. The earth loves you; that’s why it is holding you upright. The love of the earth is its gravitational force. The air loves you; that’s why it moves through your lungs even when you are sleeping. The Divine loves you very dearly, deeply. Once you realize this, you will never feel lonely. 
Someone's company cannot fill your loneliness. Even if it does, it is very short-lived. You can still feel lonely in spite of being in company. In a real sense, loneliness can only be filled by being alone. If you could be comfortable being alone for some time, then you will not feel lonely. When you don't feel lonely, you can spread joy to people around you.
If you enjoy being with your Self, you will not be a boring personality. If you are lonely, then you can be boring to others. And that will make you more lonely! And if your own company bores you, how much more boring must you be to someone else?
Those who are in company all the time look for the comforts of solitude and those who are in solitude feel lonely and want to be in company. Everyone is looking for a perfect balance. That perfect balance is like a razor’s edge and can only be found in the Self. If you take out some time, say one week in a year, to be with yourself and observe our own thoughts and emotions, then you will get a sense of what quietness means.
From time to time, keep a little distance from whomsoever close to you and take some time off for your own space. From the moment you wake up in the morning, you are always with people and your mind is caught up in worldly thoughts. So sometime during the day, sit for a few minutes and get into the cave of your heart. Then you will not feel lonely even when you are alone.
Live your life well. If you are useful to people all your life, there will be hundreds and millions of people to take care of you. Mother Teresa and Acharya Vinoba Bhave, for example, were sick in bed for a long time. Do you think there was nobody to give them company? There were hundreds waiting to take care of them and all they did was to be useful to people around them.
When you make service your sole purpose in life, it eliminates fear, brings focus in your mind, purposefulness in action, and long-term joy. Every time you are unhappy or miserable or lonely, you are just coming in touch with your own boundaries.
It is limitation and boundary that is the real cause of your disturbance. You are peaceful and happy until you come in contact with your boundaries. The moment you come in contact with it, then the mind goes on a trip and you move out of your centre. At that moment what can you do? You can just be grateful and pray for peace. That very moment, you will start smiling and however hopeless the situation is, you will walk through it.
Learn and unlearn from the past and move on with creative zeal and enthusiasm. The trying time brings out the best out of you. The rewarding time gives the best of the world to you. Life is a combination of both.

Desire and Joy


All desires are for happiness. That is the goal of every desire, isn’t it? Yet how often does your desire lead you to the goal?

Have you thought about the nature of desire? It simply means joy tomorrow and not now, doesn’t it?
Joy is never tomorrow. It is always now.

When you are joyful, how can you have desires? And how can you be joyful right now when you have desires?

Desire appears to lead you to happiness. In fact it cannot. And that is why it is maya.

Seva is the savior


The way to expand from individual to universal consciousness is to share others's sorrow and joy. As you grow, your consciousness should also grow. When you expand in knowledge with time, then depression is not possible. Your inner most source is joy.
The way to overcome personal misery is to share universal misery! The way to expand personal joy is to share universal joy.
Instead of thinking, "What about me?", "What can I gain from this world?" think "What can I do for the world?" When everyone comes from the point of contributing to society, you have a Divine society. We have to educate and culture our individual consciousness in order to expand in time with the Knowledge...from "what about me?" to "what can I contribute?"
If you are not having good experiences in meditation, then do more seva -- you will gain merit and your meditation will be deeper. When you bring some relief or freedom to someone through seva, good vibrations and blessings come to you. Seva brings merit; merit allows you to go deep in meditation; meditation brings back your smile.

Only speak Knowledge


Only speak Knowledge. Don't repeat anything that someone tells you or opinions about anyone that someone states -- “That so-and-so said such-and-such about you.”

If someone comes to tell you such things, discourage them. Don't believe it.

If someone blames you directly, know that they are taking away your bad karma, and let it go. Don't believe in it, and if you're one of the Guru's close ones, you will take all of the blame of the world with a smile.

Conflict is the nature of the world; comfort is the nature of the self. Amidst conflict seek comfort.

When you are bored with the comfort, get into the games of the world. When you are tired of the games of the world, get into the comforts of the Self. If you are one of the Guru's close ones, you do both simultaneously.

Trying to end a conflict, prolongs it. Face the conflict by seeking the comfort of the Self.

God is alive in the world, and has been putting up with all the ongoing conflicts throughout the ages. If God can put up with all the conflicts, you can too. The moment you agree to be with the conflict, the conflict disappears.

People who love peace do not want to fight, and those who fight do not love peace. Those who want peace want to run away. What is needed here is to be peaceful within and then fight. 

The whole message of the Bhagwad Gita is to be peaceful yourself and then fight. Krishna tells Arjuna to fight but be in peace at the same time. Does this ring a bell?

In the world, you resolve one conflict and another one comes up. For example, Russia is solved and then Bosnia arises. You make one better, and then another starts up. Your body gets a cold, then you get better; then your back hurts, then it gets better. Your body gets better, and then the mind goes. The world runs like this, isn't it?

Without any intention, misunderstandings happen. It's not up to you to try to resolve them. Ignore them and be alive.

The different kinds of understanding


There are three kinds of understanding: intellectual understanding, experiential understanding and existential realization.
Intellectual understanding says yes, agrees. Experiential understanding feels, is obvious. Existential realization is irrefutable. It becomes your very nature.
All you hear will simply remain a jumble of words if there is no experiential understanding, which is more on the feeling level. You can know intellectually you are hollow and empty but sitting and feeling you are hollow and empty is totally different.
When one gets an experience, one wants to understand more about it and becomes a seeker. If you have only intellectual understanding, you will think you know it all. Most theologians are in this category.
Existential realization contains within it both experiential and intellectual understanding. But it is beyond both of these.

Celebrating life in the New Year


Welcome the coming New Year with a resolution. Resolve to do something excellent, something very good. Resolve to be of use to others. Resolve to be happy and spread happiness, because that is important.
You know, you cannot be unhappy without a reason, but you can be happy without any reason. This is the wisdom that we must bear in mind, 'I can be happy without any reason!'
If I am unhappy I will search for the reason, why am I unhappy. You have to do it, nobody else can do it for you. This is when you find that your unhappiness is due to physical dependency, or emotional dependency; or physical want or emotional want.
It is your physical and emotional wants that make you unhappy.
First we need to know how to handle the emotional wants. What are emotional wants? Appreciation from people. Let others appreciate me, let others praise me; adoration, and appreciation. Then the inability to handle the altercations of others. These are the emotional needs.
Also, thinking, 'Oh I am so good, I always think good about everybody, but everyone thinks bad about me'. This is the sort of emotional mess that we create for ourselves. We only create this, nobody else creates it for us.
Knowledge and meditation is the way to get out of this. Knowledge and meditation helps you to overcome the emotional dependency. When you have overcome that, then physical dependency has its own parameters.
Work hard, have confidence in your talents and abilities, and then reduce your wants and desires. If your wants and desires are high up there, and your physical ability is low, then you will be unhappy. See that your wants and desires match your physical ability.
Suppose you don't have hard teeth and you want to crack the shell of a walnut using your teeth, I tell you, the shell will not crack but your teeth will definitely crack. So you must first see how strong your teeth are, accordingly you should choose. If my physical ability is only to lift 15 kilos, I should not venture to lift 50 kilos. I should limit myself to 15 kilos, and then slowly rise up to lift more by working towards it.
So, you should look into your physical ability, and then your desire should match with it. If there is a mismatch between your desire and your capability, then you will be unhappy.
Suppose you are a heart patient and you want to venture climbing Mount Everest, what can I say to you? I would say, write Mount Everest on top of your staircase and climb. Just climbing the second floor will be like climbing Mount Everest for you.
So, you need to match your desires to your abilities. Somewhere you need to let go, and somewhere you need to hold on. Hold on to faith, and let go of cravings. If you let go of cravings, you will be happy. Hold on to the faith that only good will happen to you. 'Only good things can happen to me. If something unpleasant is happening to me, it is because nature wants to make me strong'. Have this faith in you.
If something bad happens, you should think it is just an accident. You should not think that it happened because I deserved it, no! 'If bad things happen to me, it is only an accident; but good things are bound to happen to me'. This will give you confidence.
So, taking these few pearls of wisdom and treasuring it is essential to make life a celebration. These are the decorations for celebrating life.