Can a devotee get angry at the Guru?

Yes, a devotee can be angry, no problem. It is very safe to be angry with the Guru. 

Tell me, does anger ask you before it coming? No! You get angry and then later on you feel guilty; I should have not gotten angry. 

So don’t try to justify your anger at that time. You got angry because at that time you were ignorant, never mind, move on!

Changing the system without upsetting those with us

For that you should have skill. 

Truth does not mean rudeness. Often people who think they are just being truthful are very rude. Rudeness blocks communication and can disturb the harmony. 

It also destroys the sense of listening. For anybody to hear you, you should have their ears first for listening. If you block the listening however correct you are it just doesn’t get absorbed. They don’t take it. 

So to buy someone’s ear you should not be rude. And if you are rude you cannot buy someone’s ear. You can be firm but you cannot afford to be rude. And often we don’t know the line between firmness and rudeness. That is the problem.

What is the value of life of a person fulfilling his duties of life but lacks humanity, compassion and truth?

Zero! It has no value. Nobody can act without these values. 

Listen, in our country we have been taught about yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. These are the basics of life; the ABCD of life. 
It is better to focus on your own progress rather than focus on someone else. If somebody is doing something wrong, do whatever you can to help them. Keep helping and serving them. 

There is no end to the blame game. Otherwise you will start blaming Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Buddha and all of them. If you look for faults in people then you will only see faults all around you. 

What you should focus on is the goodness and divinity that exists in each and every person who is around us. You should think, ‘how can I help the divinity to prosper in other people?!’

Otherwise we get into a negative mindset that this world is filled with crooks and bad people. Instead think that the world is full of innocent and loving people. 

There are very few bad people and many innocent people. See the good in all and try to help them whenever you can.

How did tulsi (holy basil) plant come into existence and why is it dear to Lord Krishna?

Because we had to come to this earth, plants came into existence first so that we could come. 

In our country anything that is beneficial to life and which enhances the prana-shakti has been considered sacred. Tulsi as well as lemon has been considered very sacred. Neem tree also is supposed to be very sacred. To get rid of any infections neem and lemon are very valuable. 

Devi (Goddess) is believed to reside in all these. 

Tulsi is good for the chest - the residence of Vishnu. The chest is for protection and preservation, and that is why they say Vishnu and tulsi are married. Meaning these two have a very close connection. If you have a cough, you should drink a brew of tulsi. 

In the same way bilwa leaves are very good for the mind and the nervous system; it has a calming effect. Also if you are having stomach trouble, Bilwa leaves are recommended. 

So whatever we consider sacred is found to be useful for various parts of the body.

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.