The world appears imperfect on the surface but underneath, all is perfect.

The feverishness for perfection often makes you miserable. If you are vigilantly pursuing the perfection of things and situations, then you are bound to be anxious and angry.
It’s not possible for all things to be perfect all the time. Even the best, the greatest of actions performed with the noblest of intentions, can have imperfections. The tendency of the mind to hold on to the imperfection makes our feelings and minds imperfect and negative. Wisdom lies in getting out of these cycles and staying untouched and strong from within.
This world functions through opposite values. There would be no value to pleasure if there were no pain. Some reason or the other will always be present for you to be upset about. Sometimes, it could be the behaviour of a family member or a friend. Or it could be the neighbour who is causing problems. And if the neighbour is also okay, then it could be the dogs on the street who keep barking all night.
If you have made a habit out of getting frustrated, then no one can save you from misery. No matter how good a place is, you will still be unhappy if you are caught up in negativity. You can get out of it with your own self-effort and the help of knowledge of life.
The wise will not dwell on the surface but will probe into the depths. In a state of ignorance, imperfection is natural and perfection is an effort. In a state of wisdom, imperfection is an effort; perfection is unavoidable.
You need to change your perception rather than trying to change the people or situations you come across. People have the right to be imperfect. You have no business correcting them. If you live in society, then it is only natural that sometimes you will get praised and sometimes blamed. At the workplace, you cannot expect your boss to behave in a way that is convenient to you. Suppose you have a boss who has taunted you three to four times, then you make a perception about him or her and start behaving in a reactive mode. This tendency to perceive imperfection in others creates imperfection in your own actions and inner space.
Acceptance means creating room for imperfection just like we keep space for garbage in our homes. The only way ahead is to do the right action and accept people and situations as they are. The moment you accept a situation or a person, the mind becomes calm and you get a clear space to think and act rather than react.
Acceptance shouldn’t be mistaken for passivity. It’s all about taking proactive action with a calm state of mind. It is the ability to think through and act instead of acting out of frustration. The finest balance in activity is possible only when the right action is taken without a disturbed state of mind.
So neither get frustrated with people nor with yourself. Keep up your enthusiasm and act when it is needed and where it is needed.

Mysteries are to be lived, not understood

We all came into this world gifted with innocence, but gradually, as we became more intelligent, we lost our innocence. We were born with silence, but as we grew up, we lost the silence and were filled with words. We lived in our hearts, but as time passed, we moved into our heads. The reversal of this journey is enlightenment. 
It is the journey from the head back to the heart – from words, back to silence; it is getting back to our innocence in spite of our intelligence. Knowledge should lead you to that beautiful point of “I don’t know!” The purpose of knowledge is wonder. The completion of knowledge leads you to amazement and wonder. It makes you aware of this existence. Mysteries are to be lived, not understood. They move you from an ugly “I don’t know” to a beautiful “I don’t know!” 
As our intelligence grows, we tend to lose our innocence. The crookedness of the intelligent, or the innocence of the ignorant, has no value, but the innocence of one, who is in knowledge, has value. If one can maintain a gap between “doing,” the “happening,” and one’s self, then it is very precious and it is also very simple. 
It is not that one has to strive hard to do something to maintain innocence. An ignorant person won’t say, “I don’t know!” One passes through knowledge, and then one comes to another “I don’t know!” which is the beautiful “I don’t know!” Knowledge increases your idea of not knowing. As you know more, the unknown seems to increase. It can be in any field – music, science or the arts. With this, comes the beautiful “I don’t know!” and that is what innocence is. 
Ignorance, which has passed through knowledge, gets into another state, which is the beautiful “I don’t know!” Astonishment is the basis of a spiritual opening. Creation is filled with so many amazing things, but we take things for granted, and when we take things for granted, inertia dawns, tamas arises, inactivity and ignorance come. A sense of astonishment brings wakefulness. 
A miracle shocks you; shock is wakefulness, and when we awaken, we see that the whole creation is full of miracles. The entire creation is to be astounded with, astonished about, and wondered upon, because it is all the display of one consciousness. 
The same consciousness burns as oxygen in a lamp, then there is light. What is the similarity between light and life? A lamp (light) needs oxygen to burn – so does a life. If you are put in a glass cage, the life in you will be put out. In the same way, if you put a glass cage over a lamp, the lamp will only burn as long as there is oxygen, otherwise it will be put out. 
Our little brain is programmed to one or two languages, and we think that all understanding and all knowledge can be captured in this little brain of ours. From the point of view of animals, your language has no meaning. It is just like howling! If cats or dogs hear you, unless you have trained them for a long time, they will think you are mewing or barking at them – just with a different sound; it makes no sense to them! Our language, our intellect, and our mind are so limited; their perspective is limited. 
We think we can reason, find logic in, and understand all that exists, because that feeling of “I know it all!” can keep us in a little shell of dullness. But “I don’t know!” creates wakefulness, and you need to be awakened! What is this “I don’t know!”? This “I don’t know!” is the key to spiritual progress.

Nature provides you with opportunities to be amazed, again and again; so wonder about: “What is life?” “What is consciousness?” “What is the universe?” “Who am I?” You are so fortunate if you come to this point. This is the beginning of spirituality, of yoga – union with the one Divinity. 

Let us get astonished at the union. Wonder is the preface of the union and when you are united, you wonder at everything! You walk around, look at a flower, and wonder, “Wow! This flower is so intelligent!” Recognize the intelligence in every petal, in every leaf, in every human being that walks around you. Look at every human being. Consciousness has its own mind, it looks through the eyes, it speaks through the mouth, it responds to you (or doesn’t respond to you) many times. The prana – the life force – is present in every stone, in every object. There is nothing inanimate on this planet. We are all floating in the ocean of life. 

From the microcosm, to the macrocosm, everybody is just a shell in the ocean of life – it is such good fortune, and this is one such phenomenon. The time scale of the present, past and future, is within the purview of the consciousness. Consciousness is beyond time and space; it is all just vibrations. So if you are amazed, astonished, wonderstruck, just close your eyes with a smile, and be in union with the self. 

Change the Way You See The World

There are basically two types of attitudes or two kinds of people in the world:
1. Those who think that all people are intrinsically bad.
2. 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 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.” 
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 colours. 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.
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.”

7 tips to tap the creative genius within

Creativity and innovation are important for any business to strategize and envision. Creativity brings a new beginning for “time”. When you are creative, you break the monotony of time. It is very important for us to probe into the source of thought. Often we are called great thinkers, but what is a thought? Where does it originate? Is there any way to improve the thought process? What is the source of creativity? Here are the 7 ways to tap into your creative genius:

Tap the source with Meditation

The more we relax into ourselves the more we bring out creativity and happiness. Creativity is already present in every point in consciousness and it can be evoked. It is like applying heat to pop the corn kernels. There is inherent creativity in consciousness. Anyone who has discovered anything or any creativity has sprung up in any mind is because it is already present in the field. We are tapping what is already there and taking the credit. Sometimes we are able to do this without any effort; Before we know, it has already come out of us. Whether it is a scientific discovery or an inspiration for great art, the source is unknown. Tapping this field within us, being with this unknown field is meditation.

Go beyond your comfort zone

Anything creative and dynamic can happen only when you stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. You are often stuck thinking that you cannot do something. But if you make an effort and take that first step ahead, then you will find that you are not bound by your comfort zone. A good leader knows this.

Be effortless

The mind and body function on opposite laws. On the physical level, more the effort, better the result. Whereas on the mental level or the level of creativity, lesser the effort, greater the result. When the mind learns to let go and relax, then the ideas spring out. If you have forgotten something, the more effort you put to remember that, the longer it takes for you to remember. The sooner you let go, the faster the ideas come.

Be in the moment

If the mind vacillates between the past and the future, then it’s not sharp enough in the present. For creativity, all that is required is the sharpness of the mind, the ability to perceive better. Perception, observation, and expression -these three aspects which are integral to the success of any activity can blossom when our mind is well-rested.

Silence of mind

Balanced activity, rest and yoga can kindle skills and creativity in you.

Balance Imagination & Reality

Many inventions happened through certain imagination and linking that imagination to the present state of ground reality. If you are thinking only of the ground reality, then no creativity will come. And also if you base yourself purely on imagination, then there is no creativity. A balance is needed.
These simple tips on tapping into your creative genius will help you recharge your work and stay ahead.

How to Become a Successful Entrepreneur?

The challenges that you face as an entrepreneur are not limited to just your work-related field, they are diverse – interpersonal, infrastructural, administrative and even emotional. To be able to deal with all these, one needs to be multi-faceted. All these aspects in you grow in you when you are established in yourself and are free from stress. 
Some level of stress at the workplace is normal & acceptable, perhaps even essential. It can keep you on your toes, help you face challenges, and you’re able to meet your deadlines. However, just like too much salt can spoil the food, stress beyond normal levels can leave you feeling frustrated and powerless.
What is Stress?
Stress is when you have so much to do, very little time and don’t have enough energy. Now to deal with it, either reduce your workload – that’s impossible in a startup! Or increase your time – but a day has only 24 hours. The only option we’re left with is to increase our energy levels.
1) Increase your energy levels
There are 4 ways you can increase your energy levels:
a) Proper food will help you. Not too much, not too little. Also, pay attention to keeping a balanced diet, freshly prepared food that is easily digestible.
b) The right amount of sleep. You need 6-8 hours of sleep. Not more, not less.
c) Breathing is a lesser known but very critical source of energy! Regular practice of breathing exercises like pranayama is effective energy boosters. Breathing exercises help in improving perception, observation and expression, all vital for good management.
d) A few moments of meditative awareness. Meditation is conscious, deep relaxation. Just a few minutes of meditation regularly can relieve all types of stress. About 15-20 minutes of meditation, morning and evening, is good enough. Meditation also helps us get in touch with our inner space – the source of joy, peace, and love.
2) M&Ms!
Meals and Meditation. When teams have meals together or sit together and meditate, they find it so refreshing that they’re able to carry on for the rest of the day with the same energy with which they came into the office. It also brings people closer and creates a healthier work environment.
3) Celebrate Diversity
Learn to accept diversity, and honour it. Everybody has their own strengths. Instead of having defined job descriptions and assigning people to them, see how their strengths and interests can be manoeuvred to the roles you have in mind.
4) Accept the opposites
Accept the pleasant and unpleasant moments of life. You need to accept that you will experience both of these in your life. This will help you maintain the equanimity of your mind.
5) Perfect Imperfections
Lastly, make room for imperfection. Accept a little bit of others’ as well as your own imperfections. It allows you to be more patient. It’s like the space in your house where you keep your dustbin. You need it there to keep the rest of your house clean.
Whatever happens in life, if you can keep these, then you have really found success.

Life is a combination of happiness and pain

Once a gentleman came to a doctor complaining that there was something severely wrong with him. He was hurting all over and was very sad but all the tests came out normal. The doctor said, “There is nothing wrong with you. Go to the circus and watch the clown there. He will make you laugh.” The gentleman said, “Doctor, I am that clown!”
It is one thing to entertain others and be humorous, but quite another to be happy yourself. Happiness does not come by a talent or skills that you develop. Unless you realise who you are, what the nature of consciousness is through your own introspection, happiness remains a far-fetched non-reality. The spirit of self-enquiry in the true sense which leads to meditation is absolutely essential in this quest for happiness.
The 6th century Indian philosopher and thinker Adi Shankaracharya has said that it is dispassion towards the ephemeral and connection with the eternal that brings true joy. In fact, he goes further and asks, “What joy does detachment not bring?”
The word for solitude in Sanskrit is ekant, meaning ‘the end of loneliness’. Loneliness cannot end by changing company, even if it is more sympathetic and understanding. It can only end when you discover your real nature for yourself.
A famous American comedian and actor, who committed suicide in 2014, though he made millions of people laugh, could not end the deep seated loneliness inside him. Only spiritual solace can take one out of despair and misery. Wealth, admiration and external validation and adulation are not helpful in dealing with inner discontent. While alive, he made people laugh and in his death, he gave people a message to lift their eyes above the mundane towards something higher.
You can bid goodbye to misery by connecting with an altogether different dimension, that I would say is solidified silence, a bolt of bliss and a glimpse of eternity, which is in you as you. You simply have to tap into it.
There is little use in having a machine which you cannot operate without a manual. Spiritual knowledge is like the manual for life. Just like to drive a car, we have to learn how to operate the steering wheel, the clutch, the brake and so on, to move towards stability of the mind, we must know the basic principles about our life force energy.
This is the whole science of pranayama. When our prana or life force keeps fluctuating, our mind also goes up and down through the roller coaster of emotions. One cannot handle the mind from the level of the mind. It is for this reason that although counselling or psychiatry seems to help in the beginning, it is not able to provide a complete cure in the longer term.
Just forcing positive thoughts on oneself is not enough and more often than not leads to a relapse. Medication like anti-depressants also seem to help only in the beginning and eventually make the person dependent on them rather than free him/her from the tendency.
This is where knowing the secret of breath can really transform lives. Breathing techniques like Sudarshan Kriya stabilise our life force and consequently the mind. The inner dimension unveiled by the practise of meditation deeply enriches us and its impact slowly spills over to all aspects of life.
As prana rises in the body, one starts to feel a transformation as direct experience and not as a forced mental exercise. One starts becoming happier, creative and more in command of their mind and emotions.
Another thing that can be really helpful in coming out of depression is developing an attitude of service. Thinking ‘what can I do for society’, getting involved in a bigger cause, shifts the whole focus of life and can take one out of the rut of ‘what about me’. Societies where values of service, sacrifice and community participation are ingrained do not have these issues of depression and suicides. The Sikh community is a great example of this.
Life is a combination of happiness and pain. Pain is inevitable but suffering remains optional. Having a broad perspective on life gives you the strength to move forward through painful times. Know that you are very much needed in this world. With all its infinite possibilities, this life is a gift for it can become a fountain of joy and happiness not just for oneself but for many others as well.

Four characteristics II - types of karma

Of the four characteristics, karma is the most well-known and the most misunderstood. Some karma can be changed and some cannot. Prarabdha means begun, the action that is already manifesting. Prarabdha is the karma that is yielding its fruits, its effect, right now. You cannot avoid it, or change it because it is already happening. 
Sanchita karma is the “gathered up,” or “piled up,” karma. It is latent or in the form of a tendency. An impression in the mind is a latent action. It is still action, but it is latent. This is just like a memory. A memory can be functional now or latent. Sanchita karma can be burned off, changed, by spiritual practices before it becomes manifest. 
Agami literally means “not come.” Agami karma is the karma that has not yet come, that will take effect in the future. If you commit a crime, you may not get caught today, but you will live with the possibility that one day you may get caught. This is agami karma, the future karma of the action. 
Every habit is a sort of karma. If you have the habit of drinking coffee every morning, and one day when you don’t drink it and you get a headache, this could be called coffee karma. You can postpone the headache by drinking more coffee or you can take steps to eliminate future coffee karma and stop drinking it and observe what happens to you. Perhaps you will have headaches for some days, so you start some exercise program, or some meditation or breathing practices. 

Four Characteristics I: Dharma, Karma, Prema and Gyana

Every object in this universe is endowed with four characteristics. They are: Dharma, Karma, Prema and Gyana
Dharma means nature. Everything has a definite nature, whether living or inanimate. Monkeys have their nature. Human beings have their nature. In the same way, metals have their nature, aluminum has its nature, copper has its nature. One’s nature, or an object’s nature, is called dharma. 
Along with the characteristics of nature, there is a certain activity that is attributed to, or that comes out of every object. That activity is called karma
The third characteristic is prema, which means love. There is love in every particle of this creation. Love is attraction. Love means bringing togetherness. From attraction, atoms come together and form molecules from which an object is made. Based on the combination of molecules or atoms we identify a material. There is something that holds the parts together. This force that brings things together and holds them together is called love or prema
Love is present in the entire creation. There is love and that is why there is reproduction happening. Because of love the planets are moving in their orbits, the sun is shining, and the stars are there. There is love in every atom, and that is why the electron is moving around the charged particle. The charge of attraction, the charge in this entire creation is a power, is love. 
The fourth characteristic is gyana. You are reading now, but who is reading? Who is knowing what is being read? There is something in this body that is knowing, but what? It is consciousness. This knowingness is present also in every particle of creation. How do we know? Do we know only through the head or only through the senses? No. Our entire body has the ability to know. The mind is not just in the head, it is all over the body. Even in sleep, we have the ability to know. For example, if a group of people are asleep in a dormitory and someone comes in and calls a name, only that person will wake up. Of course, if they call loudly enough, everyone will wake up, but when called lightly, only the person whose name is called will hear. This ability to know is permeating our entire consciousness and consciousness is present all over the body and beyond the body. This is called gyana, the knowingness of the intelligence or the intelligence in existence.

Inner silence is the source of intuition

There are three types of silence.
The first is the silence where there is no talking. This is very beneficial for people just to be aware of what they are saying and how much energy they spend talking. The second is the silence of stillness. This is the silence inside us that is detached from the noise in the world. Silence is disinterestedness in activity, an inward journey of the mind. This inner stillness is very important if we want to understand and grow spiritually. Inner silence frees us from the noise of the world. And finally, there is the silence of Oneness – Oneness with the entire universe. Oneness is the goal of silent practice. Whatever knowledge we study and understand with our intellect is limited. The knowledge that we gain by effort is immanent. The knowledge which is gained through effortlessness, through silence and intuition is transcendental.

Now one might think why bother meditating when sleep is good enough to bring silence? Remember, when you are sleeping, your body is rejuvenating, it is growing, cells are multiplying. There is a lot of activity in the body – in fact, much more than in the waking state. In meditation, the reverse happens. Metabolism, which is high in sleep, reduces during meditation. Since the body calms down, so does the mind. And then intelligence awakens. Since meditation rejuvenates the body and mind at the same time, you feel energetic.

We need to see and observe that most thoughts that come to our mind are not useful at all. Nearly every thought is about the past. These thoughts that arise in the mind are a projection of the past on the consciousness. We project whatever has happened in the past, into the future – ‘This is okay, that is not okay. I like this, I don’t like that.’ We need to bundle up all these thoughts, and throw them out. By just realizing that all these thoughts are useless, the mind becomes free. When you go deep into silence, you experience a form of communication without thoughts. Without words one is able to understand what is being conveyed. This is when all the questions in your mind disappear.

Questions are only vehicles to reach the destination. Answers are the fuel. When the answer to a question is found, the vehicle starts moving ahead. However, it is possible to reach your destination directly too, without the use of questions and answers. How? By sitting in silence. When one sits in silence and a question arises, the answer also comes along.
Inner silence is the mother of all creativity, the source of intuition, and the storehouse of energy, and we all have it. The only thing is we have locked it and forgotten the key! Just like how you forget your computer’s password sometimes. We all have this enormous wealth of silence in our heart, but somehow we have forgotten how to tap into it.

What a single glance can convey, a thousand conversations cannot. And what a moment of deep silence can convey, even a thousand glances cannot. In silence, we get back our energy, which is lost in the outer world. Being so busy in daily life, we do not see the central core of who we are. We are more than our five senses. It is important to go to the source of our being, beyond the mind, beyond emotion.
Silence brings you back home, and it gives you that much needed energy to realize who you are, to realize that there is bliss, there is beauty, there is joy, and that is You.

The secrets of love

What are the signs of love? When you love someone you see nothing wrong in them. Even if you see a fault in them, you justify it in some way saying, “Everyone does that; it is normal.” You think you have not done enough for them and the more you do, the more you want to do for them. They are always on your mind. Ordinary things become extraordinary. When you love someone, you want to see them happy always and you want them to have the best.
When you love this creation, you see it as beautiful. When you are tired of this creation, you find it ugly. That is why to appreciate beauty, first you must understand love. The understanding I am speaking about is not merely intellectual, but looking into all points. Usually when we love something, we want to possess it. If you appreciate a painting, you want to buy it and keep it in your home. You find a beautiful garment, and although you know you will wear it only a couple of times, you buy it and put it in the closet. You have known only one way of loving — love it, possess it and forget it. When you try to possess love, you rob it of its beauty, and then that same love gives you pain. Whoever you love, you try to dictate terms to them. In a very subtle way you try to rule them. And whatever you try to control turns ugly.
You have never loved someone and not tried to possess them. It begins in childhood. When the second baby comes, the first baby wants all the attention. “Why did you bring this baby home? Give it away.” Many children say,”You belong to me and me alone.” It is a deep samskara, a deep impression, this fear of losing our place in the heart of someone we love.
First comes attraction. When it becomes a little difficult to attain whatever you are attracted to, then you start loving it. Have you noticed this? If you simply get whatever you are attracted to — just like that, quickly — you do not develop love for it. A longing must arise. That leads to love. 
But love brings the fear of loss. Yet, a love which has the fear of loss does not blossom. It leads you to other ugly sensations and feelings. Jealousy comes. There is someone you love very much — a friend, a boyfriend, a girlfriend — but his or her attention is on someone else. See what is happening in your stomach — it is churning. You try all sorts of gimmicks to deny what is happening within you. Much ugliness arises because there is fear of loss. You never love something that is big, that is enormous because you have not yet become enormous yourself. And as long as you stay very small, there is no joy, there is no happiness, there is no peace. Joy is expansion, becoming big in your heart. This can only happen in a situation where you are very much in love, but you cannot possess what you love.
Have you thought about why 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 have a sense of intimacy. This type of love gives rise to competition and jealousy. If love is based on the qualities of a person, that love is not stable. After some time the qualities change and the love becomes shaky. However, if you love someone because they belong to you, then that love remains for lifetimes. Loving someone because they belong to you, great or otherwise, is unconditional love. Love that is centered becomes bliss.
And when there is so much love you take total responsibility for any misunderstanding. For a moment you may express dismay on the surface. But when you do not feel the dismay in your heart, you arrive at a perfect understanding. You are in a state where all problems and all differences slide away and only love shines through.
In the world, people love you because you give them comfort. If you are demanding proof of their love, are you giving them comfort? If someone doubts your love and you have to constantly prove it, this becomes a heavy burden on you. Your nature is to shed burden, so when love is questioned, you don’t feel comfortable. Therefore, do not ask for proof that the other person loves you. Love needs no proof. Actions, words cannot prove the love.
Spiritual practices, knowledge of the Self, seva (service) and satsang (coming together in celebration) help to create a sense of belonging. When love springs from a sense of belongingness, then the action or qualities do not overshadow the love. Neither qualities nor actions can be perfect all the time. Only love and a feeling of kinship can be perfect.

Meditation is the journey from movement to stillness, from sound to silence

Meditation is the journey from movement to stillness, from sound to silence. The need to meditate is present in every human being because it is a natural tendency of human life to look for a joy that doesn’t diminish, a love that doesn’t distort or turn into negative emotions.
Is meditation foreign to you? Absolutely not. This is because you have been in meditation for a couple of months before your birth. You were in your mother’s womb doing nothing. You didn’t even have to chew your food — it was fed directly into your belly and you were there happily floating in the fluid, turning and kicking, sometimes here and something there, but most of the time happily floating there. That is meditation or absolute comfort. You did nothing, everything was done for you. So there is a natural tendency in every human being, in every soul, to crave for that state when you are in absolute comfort. And getting back to that state which you have had a taste of, just before entering the hustle-bustle of this world is very natural because in this universe everything is cyclic, everything wants to go back to its source. When the autumn season comes, the leaves fall and go back to the soil and nature has its own way to recycle them.
The natural tendency to recycle all that we have collected in day to day life as impressions, getting rid of them and getting back to the original state that we were in when we came on this planet is what meditation is. Becoming fresh and alive again is what mediation is. Getting back to that serenity which is your original nature is meditation. Absolute joy and happiness is meditation. Pleasure minus excitement is meditation. A thrill without anxiety is meditation. A love without hatred or any of its opposite values is meditation.
Meditation is food for the soul. When you are hungry, spontaneously you go to eat something. If you are thirsty, you want to drink some water. In the same way, the soul yearns for meditation and this tendency is in everyone. That is why I say, there is not a single individual on this planet who is not a seeker. It’s just that they don’t recognize it. The problem is that we try to look for that food where it is not available. It is like going to a grocery shop when you want to fill gas in your car. You keep going round and round the grocery store saying, “I want gas for my car.” It won’t work, because you need to go to the petrol station. So, that right direction needs to be found. Meditation happens in transition. Actually meditation happens, you can’t do it. You can only create a congenial atmosphere for it to happen.
Meditation is uplifting the energy and mind and spreading it out. Whenever you have been happy, that happiness has been associated with a sense of expansion. And whenever you have felt miserable, that has been associated with a sense of shrinking or contraction. There is something in you that expands when you are happy and contracts when you are unhappy. But we never pay attention to what is contracting and expanding. We only keep our attention outside. We have not paid attention to the reason. 
One of the sages of the past, Gaudapadacharya, said, “There is something in you that is expanding that is worth knowing.” Even a glimpse of this consciousness, this energy inside you can make the smile on your face so strong that nothing whatsoever can take it away from you. Nobody can make you miserable; nobody can take away the joy from your life. Life assumes another dimension suddenly — just a glimpse of this, an idea about that something inside us that is expanding. You don’t have to leave things here and go. Just being amidst all the noise and still recognizing that beauty, that thing that’s so beautiful, so wonderful, so fascinating, right here and now is meditation. The peak, the most supreme type of prayer is meditation. All powers are hidden within the Self and everything will manifest when you connect to your consciousness.

I do not follow Hinduism so I cannot understand and appreciate the rituals. Can I still grow in AOL?

Definitely! You know, some of the rituals are very ancient. On Monday all the ashrams do the pooja, you simply sit with your eyes closed, in deep meditation. You feel the vibrations of the sound - that is all that needs to be done. 

Actually Hinduism is not a religion at all; it is just a way of life, the ancient way of life. Like yoga is part of it, pranayama is part of it, meditation, chanting - these are all to enhance the life-force, life-energy and it is universal in its spirit. So you can follow your religion, no problem. You can be a Christian, you can be a Muslim, you can be Jewish or Parsi. Doesn’t matter whatever religion you follow. 

Religion consists of the rituals that are associated with your birth, your wedding, your cremation or that which people do after you are gone. But spiritual practices are different, they are there to enliven the consciousness. That is so vital. It is important that people of the world, everywhere, become spiritual and grow spiritually and honor all the religions. You honor Christianity, honor Islam, honor Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Hindisum, honor everyone. And take good things, if there are good practices anywhere, that we should take into our life.

In the past lots of people have done seva but the world has not changed. Why should I waste time doing seva?

Neva (service) is something that is needed by other people. 

Suppose you are carrying a weight, heavy luggage, and you cannot carry anymore, then you look here and there, you want someone to help you, don’t you? See, we are all interdependent. Everybody needs some help from somebody and doing that help without expecting anything in return is siva.

Without seva nothing can happen on this planet, isn’t it? By seva, don’t think you are changing the world. Seva you do, because you can’t but do it. It’s in your nature. If you are good, if you are loving, if you are happy, you can’t but do seva. And when you are unhappy, if you do seva, you become happy.

Is the world suffering because Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, despite God telling them not to?

That too, it was the fruit of knowledge or wisdom, something like that. That was the wisdom, that they did not listen to. 

You know, suffering is because we don’t honor wisdom. Suffering in the world is because of lack of wisdom. If there is wisdom, there is no suffering. Life is bliss. Don’t put this sankalp (intention) in your mind that life is all suffering. As you sow, so shall you reap. If you sow, you think life is all suffering, then that’s what you are going to get back.

We should understand the science of our consciousness, of our mind. Unfortunately, many people did not know this and they started putting this sort of principle into the mind that everything is suffering and I need suffering.You have to suffer in order to get salvation but this is not the correct understanding of reality. That is why there are so many different opinions. 

Though there is one Jesus Christ, today there are 72 different sects of Christianity - each claiming they are the real one. You know why? Because of wrong interpretation, nothing matched. We say God is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and then you say Satan. If God is everywhere, omnipotent, all powerful, how could Satan be there? Do you see what I am saying?

The theologians are struggling to find an answer for this. They want to put Satan somewhere but they can’t, and if you put him, then you have to denounce the omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience of God. If god knew everything before, why wouldn’t he prevent it? 

These are the questions for which theologians have been hunting answers for a long time and the answers can be found in the Vedanta. That is why the Catholic Priest who came to India, he studied the Vedanta and he said, ‘Now I can understand the whole thing better.’ He was struggling and struggling to put together the pieces of the puzzle, it didn’t make any sense. So many scholars came and they practiced yoga, meditation, learned Vedanta and then understood that this is a different understanding, different insight into truth and reality.

How do you tackle a person with double standards?

With compassion.

You know, double standards are because they don’t know the wealth that they are carrying in themselves. 

Each one of us is a treasure house of wealth. Deep inside, you have the divinity, the light, the peace, the joy, the love that you are seeking. And when you are not in touch with that, you are trying to grab this little bit here, grab something from there. For what? Because you don’t realize that there is a great power deep within us.

So, with such people you simply have to have compassion. By having double standards they are harming themselves.

Letting go of one's commitment

See, if your commitment is going to create problem and bring sorrow to many, then you should drop the commitment. Like a youth told me once, 'I have promised the commander of Lashkar that I will give my life to this organization, I will bring the word of God to anybody and do anything possible to spread this principle.' But when he became peaceful he realized that this is not the correct commitment he gave or he took. 'I don’t want to be involved in violence anymore. But what to do? I have promised on this holy book. What do you do?'

I said, 'No, let go of the commitment because you made the commitment in ignorance.' So there is no point in honouring that commitment which you took in ignorance to engage in violence. Yes, If there is some other commitment you took being so foolish, which doesn’t create such harm to anybody, then you keep it. You weigh the pros and cons and then you follow.

Another person says, 'Yes, I am committed in a marriage and now I have children, but that is an old commitment, I don’t want to do anything now.' You have two kids and now you say, 'I don’t want any commitment, I want to get out of it', then there is no way. Your commitment now is to take care of the children. You can’t run away from that. 

Many people, after being married, after having kids, then they regret, oh I should have been single. I took a wrong commitment. You have no way now, you have to continue. But if you have taken a commitment I will be single and suddenly you change your mind, you want to get married, it is okay because dropping that commitment of yours, you are not harming anybody. So you have to think on those things. Weigh the pros and cons of a commitment.

Balancing personal life with professional life

Do you know how to ride a bicycle? How do you balance? Exactly!

Don’t neglect your profession and don’t neglect taking time for yourself. See, you say the world does not change. Have you noticed if you are changing or you are not changing? You are changing, right?

Just imagine the teachers who taught you the basic course. Suppose if they think,' In the world nobody is changing why should I teach?' If they had not taught anything to you, no pranayama, no meditation, no Sudarshan Kriya, what would have happened? Can you look back and see, before you took the basic course what was the state of your mind and where you are today? Do you notice that? How many of you find a change? See, so many of you changed because somebody did something, isn’t it? Someone took the time off for six days, two hours each day sat with you, took all your questions, taught you something, corrected you, so there is a shift.

Change is happening in the world constantly. If you become a catalyst to that, that’s your good luck because being a catalyst for change brings happiness within you.

The soul is already present and yet, in a sense unattained. How can this impression be erased?

When the mind is outwardly focused, it cannot recognize the soul. It is not aware of its own existence. For instance, when we are looking around at others, we lose awareness of our own body. We are not aware that we are breathing when we are looking outside. Like when you sit in the cinema theatre, all you can see is what is happening on the screen. You have no idea where you are, whether you are tired or your body is healthy. In sleep we forget all our pains and sorrows. 

Similarly when the mind is outwardly directed, it forgets itself and loses awareness (remembrance) of itself. We tend to get absorbed in the scenery and forget about the Self.

Now when we sit down with our eyes closed, unable to see what is happening outside, and bring our attention to our self, our breath, then we become aware of the body. Do you know why the body hurts? Your body wants to draw your attention towards itself. When the head hurts, the most beautiful scenery is not appealing. The mind is drawn to the pain in the head or the leg. So pain has the ability to involuntarily pull the attention of the mind to the body. When we consciously bring our attention to the body, it is yoga nidra or meditation.

Similarly, when the mind is entangled in the body, then there is no awareness of the soul. You have all experienced in meditation, awareness shifts from the body to thoughts, and finally when it is more inwardly drawn, there is awareness only of ‘I Am’, not 'where' or 'who' I am.

From this I Am-ness to ‘Everything Is’ – is God. A step deeper in meditation lies this awareness that everything ‘Is’ – these trees, mountains, river, this body, are no different from one another. I am not anything special - just the awareness of existence. So it is outward focus that leads to forgetfulness. It is not as though the head did not exist before the headache, it did.

Similarly, to experience the soul one has to empty the mind of all impressions. This awareness is lost in the tendencies of the mind. That is why it is recommended in the Vedas to repeatedly practice meditation or erasure of all mental impressions. Just as we alternate between waking and sleeping, repeatedly erasing mental impressions through meditation establishes us in our Self. Those who sleep soundly are alert when awake. In a similar fashion, meditation helps maintain alertness in the waking state.

We feel inspired to work only when we find that something is not right; this is not right or that has not been done correctly. When we are involved in activity, we should feel that which is not okay and needs to be corrected. But when we are in meditation, we should feel that everything is fine.

A fool does the reverse. When he sits with his eyes closed, he focuses on all that is not right. In activity, he accepts and overlooks everything, the corruption, the inefficiency. Such a person is useful neither to the world nor to himself. That is why Lord Krishna has said in the Bhagwad Gita that knowing when to act and when not to act is the sign of satvikta.

So in meditation relax with the thought that all is well. Anyway, for how long can you fix this world, sixty, seventy years? This world has been in existence since ages and will continue to exist. What will you do if a demon is born a couple of hundred years from now? Know that God is taking care of this world. With this thought one should sit in meditation, then samadhi will happen, and bliss will arise. Once bliss is awakened, you cannot continue sitting in samadhi like a stone. Since you have taken this human birth you have to engage in activity. When in activity, recognizing all that is not right awakens enthusiasm within us.

This entire world is God. Serving this divine world is itself pooja. That is why it is said that this entire world is made up of rhythmic vibrations and from these vibrations amrit (ambrosia) is produced. And what do we do in Sudarshan Kriya? Through the rhythmic breath we become aware of the rhythm of the soul (self). It is only through these vibrations that bliss can be awakened. If you speak to modern scientists, they will admit that this world is nothing but vibrations.

Is there a need to be aggressive?

To do something good if you need to be aggressive, you can show some aggression; but you know when you are meditating you don’t need to do that at all. You know, you don’t need to be aggressive, things will happen. 

People will say everything; if you are aggressive someone will say you are too aggressive. Somebody will say something so don’t go by everyone’s opinion. You see what you want to do.

During sadhana, do we connect with the soul or with God?

Are they separate or one? Are waves and the ocean separate or one? The wave is soul and the ocean is God. When there is ‘I’consciousness, it is the soul, and when the ‘I’ness is at rest, it is God. So no one has ever gone or can go outside of God.

Now look, can you live without oxygen? But sometimes, when it is extremely hot, you feel suffocated even though air is there. When you sit under the fan you can feel the air.

Similarly, satsang and meditation are like the fan. If you sit with the fan, you will feel the breeze. This is known as being in the ‘presence’ (sanidhya). It is not that the ‘presence’ is not there, it is there but we begin to experience it, as we feel the breeze when we sit near the fan. Similarly in sadhana, we begin to experience what is God. We experience Love.

Attaining self control

Self-control can be attained by your will. Once you say, I am not going to do this thing, I am not going to eat too much for the next three days, or I am not going to indulge in this thing for the next seven days, done.

First, self-determination; second, fear, ‘Oh may be if I indulge too much I may have a problem’. Or someone tells you, if you don’t indulge in it for one month you are going to get a lottery. Then you will say, ‘No, come what may, I will not indulge.’

So to get rid of bad habits, there are three ways. One is greed; if someone tells you that you will win a lottery if you do not indulge in this bad habit, you will not do it. Second is fear; if someone tells you that your lungs will collapse and you will die within two days if you smoke, then no one will touch a cigarette. Third is Love. I don’t know of a fourth way. Tell me if you know.

How do you control a restless mind?

Through practice and experience the mind will settle down. It is through experience that one feels dispassion/detachment (vairagya).

What is dispassion? As a child, you would get excited about cotton candy, as though eating it was the sole aim in life. Chocolate, cake and ice cream were everything to you. But as you grew older, you became indifferent to candies and chocolates and were drawn to attractive young men or women. With age, the looks of a person also ceased to attract your attention. This is known as dispassion.

In every human being’s life, some dispassion comes in naturally. But through knowledge, dispassion comes in more quickly. Otherwise, the dispassion does not mature and trickles in here and there. But if there is sharp intellect, knowledge and good satsang, dispassion comes in like a jet plane. Dispassion is not being apathetic, that everything is useless, pointless, but the attitude of ‘Been there, done that; I am above all this.’ A joyful, carefree state of being is known as dispassion.

Often, those you consider dispassionate are depressed. That is why some people are scared of those claiming to be dispassionate. Adi Shankaracharya has said, ‘Kasya sukham na karoti viraagaa’ meaning, ‘What kind of joy does dispassion not bring?’ All kinds of joy and comforts come naturally to you, without your making any effort. That is why through practice and dispassion this restless mind becomes still.

How to remain happy and peaceful

Every time you are unhappy, miserable or disturbed, you are coming in touch with your own boundaries and what can you do? You can feel thankful. “Oh! This was my limitation. I came in touch with my boundaries.” Then, that moment, you turn the whole situation into a prayer, “Let there be peace, not just in me, but in everybody.”
Prayer is that moment when you come in touch with your limitations. It is the limitation and the boundary that are the real cause of your disturbance. You are peaceful, joyful, and happy, as long as you have not come in contact with your boundaries.
The moment you come into contact with them, the mind says, “Oh! Because that person did this, this happened; this is bad, that shouldn’t be; it should be like that, it shouldn’t be this way…” At that moment, what can you do? Just say, “My Lord, make me become aware of my boundaries. Now, You bring peace, You do it, I am giving it all to You.”
That very moment, you start smiling; there is such a sigh of relief! However hopeless the situation may be, you will walk through it, sing through it, dance through it. This is love! 
In Hindi, the word “love” is “prem”, written with two-and-a-half letters. There is a saying, “Who is a real Master, a pundit, a wise person? Not the one who has studied a lot of scriptures, but the one who has studied the word with two-and-a-half letters!” This two-and-a-half lettered word is this moment. It is a test of the moment. 
When you come in touch with your limitations, your boundaries, or the small things that come along, then observe, are you hemmed in by your boundaries, or can you maintain your freedom, your non-judgmental attitude and innocent love in your heart? Is it continuing? If it is and if you can become solid in this, then nothing in the world can rob you of peace!

The Secret to Overcoming Anger and Frustration

When someone hurts you, have you ever wondered why did they hurt you? It is because they are hurting. They have lots of wounds and hurts inside and all they could do is hurt others. Why do criminals commit crimes? Because they are in pain, because they need healing, because they are not normal, they are sick. They have no understanding or clear perception of themselves. 
When you see what is going on inside them, your hatred will fall off. You will only have compassion. If you see somebody agitated, angry, have you ever felt compassion for them? Feeling that way is not pleasant for them. No one ever likes feeling agitated or angry. If we don’t feel compassion when we see others’ mistakes, we are bound to get angry ourselves. 
The cause of anger is the lack of total knowledge of what is happening inside that man or that woman. Showing anger itself is not wrong, but being unaware of your anger only hurts you. Sometimes you can show anger purposefully. There is a difference. You may get angry with your children. You can act tough or maybe shout at them if they put themselves in danger. 
There is a place for showing anger, but when you get angry yourself, what is happening to you? You are shaken completely. Are you ever happy with the decisions you have made or the words you have spoken when you are angry? No, because you lose your total awareness. If you are completely aware and you are acting angry, that is fine. The type of anger that turns into fear and hatred comes when we do not know the situation totally when we don’t put ourselves into the other person’s shoes.
I am not saying these emotions are good or bad, right or wrong. We are looking at what the consequences are. In fact, when anger comes, what can you do? You may think a hundred times, “Oh, I shouldn’t get angry,” but when the mood comes, it comes like a thunderstorm. You are unable to control it. All your presumptions, your notions, and your promises simply go in vain. They do not stand, they do not hold. You are swept by your emotions. Emotions are 20-30 times more powerful than the thoughts and promises you make. Understanding this mechanism opens your heart. 
In fact, anger is an instrument. Anger is essential when you are able to be in control of it, when you are able to know it, how to use it, where to use it, and how to apply it. That takes skill. The art of handling your own mind. Knowledge and anger are mutually dependent. Knowledge and love are mutually dependent. This knowledge gives a possibility for you to be flowering in life at any moment, anywhere, anytime. 
Maybe you are walking on the beach, suddenly you are in love with the whole entire universe, sun, moon, stars, the sunset, the waves on the beach, and the wind in the trees. Everything appears to be very lively to you. So alive that you become that moment, and it stirs something deep inside you.

Two type of people who are not good communicators

The insecure and the obstinate are two types of people who are not good communicators.
The insecure do not believe in the love and compassion of the world or of divinity. They do not feel connected to divinity or to people, so they make an extra effort to make a connection, which usually goes wrong. They neither realize the power within them nor do they trust others. They see ulterior motives behind the words and actions of others and are haunted by imaginary ghosts, thus they end up creating chaos and misery for themselves and others.
On the other hand, obstinate people are closed to others points of view and they don’t move with the times. Hence they often get a beating by time. You can not argue with obstinate people, for they have their own logic and reasoning. Making obstinate people see reason is a futile exercise. Their circle of communication is very small and they have an open mind to the views of very few people. There is a combination of planets that can create obstinacy in people.
To deal with both these people is an art. Words do not work. Only positive prana and vibrations can make an impact.