Life is a continuous process of learning to "let go"

This is what we need to do, simply come in front of the table. If you are behind the table, you are half known; in front of the table you are fully there. Right?
Someone asked me, "How do you manage this huge organisation, 152 countries, how do you manage?" I said, ‘I don’t manage at all, it gets managed. I simply don’t meddle with anything, simply let it happen.’
The whole philosophy of the life is based on letting go. Are you with me? What’s happening in your mind right now? What’s next? Right? Suppose I don’t say anything would you still like to be here? I say nothing and I am going to just sit back. Now? See, watch the mind, when you are screening there is an expectation. There is something that you want to happen in next one hour, you want to know the secret of whole life or purpose of it or something, right? Something exciting, yes? Suppose I do nothing, I don’t say anything; would you still like to be here?
This is letting go. Letting go is what? You are stuck in a traffic jam and your car is behind fifty cars. There is no way you can go back or go forward and you are running out of time. What do you do? You are upset. You simply have to let go! Correct? You have gone to catch a flight, the flight is late. You are sitting in the flight and it is delayed. What do you do? Running your eyes up and down in the air, on the plane, it is not going to help.
Life is a continuous process of teaching you to ‘let go’. I wouldn’t say the word acceptance because acceptance has a little connotation of lethargy or what do you call ‘chalta hai’ (everything goes). When we hold on to them, then they become a reason for tension. If you allow the universe to work through you, you will find life takes you to another level of existence.
You know, for any success to happen what matters? First of all, it comes as a thought. Thought get translated into action. First a thought gets translated into will, if it becomes a will then it gets translated into action and action in turn brings success. See, you aspire success but you are not taking those steps, not attending to the steps behind success. We want success, we only make use of the aspect of action but not every action will lead to success. 
If you go to Karol Bagh (in New Delhi), one shop may be running at a loss while the adjacent shop might be making a profit. What is the reason? There is something behind the scenes, what that is? That is what we need to see. That same thing, if we can catch hold of it, is the secret to success. Before success, action is necessary and behind action intention is necessary. How to strengthen our intention? That is the skill. Intention will be strong only when we learn to let go. Are you listening?
Competitive world brings out the best in you. When you can attend to the core of talent, no competition is there. When inner strength comes, there is no competition. You excel in whatever you do. 
A successful businessman always believes that something more than his effort has gone into it. It is not his effort that is bringing him luck, there is more. Recharge yourself again and again. See, you have seen you are constantly changing; you are different than what you were 5 years ago. So much within you has changed; those who are with you have also changed within. Change is the phenomenon of the universe. If it’s changing and you are not, you are stuck; not letting go means you are stuck in a position. Then there is depression, frustration, etc. 
In Europe, thirty percent people are in depression and in the coming fifteen years it may go up to fifty percent. Every other person you name in Europe is depressed or will be on Prozac. Here also, in Indian cities, it has started now, ‘I am very depressed.’ Have you ever heard of this word ‘depression?’ At least I had not heard. Even in Delhi how much depression has risen, tension has increased, why? We forgot to look into the core of life. What is life? Who am I? What do I want? This spirit of self enquiry can trigger something inside you.
As human beings everyone has needs, everybody has some responsibilities also. Now if you make a list of your responsibilities and your needs, compare them, and if needs are more than responsibilities, then you will not be a very happy person. Your enthusiasm will become lesser and lesser. If you have few responsibilities and more desires, life will lose its flavour and become dry. If we want to be happy, what should we do? Reduce your needs and increase your responsibilities. 
So today, when you get home make a list - what are my responsibilities, what all responsibilities I would like to take in the future and what are my needs. You will see that it will bring a sudden shift in you. You will start realising, ‘What have I been doing all my life? I should wake up now; it’s high time I should take more responsibility.’ When you take more responsibility more power comes to you. Everything begins to happen by itself. As you take on more responsibilities and reduce your needs, you find your needs get fulfilled on their own.

How to increase satvik knowledge in life

By means of what you do during meditation - going beyond the three gunas (satvik, rajasic and tamasic). In meditation we get deep rest; freshness, purity, peace and joy arise spontaneously. 

How does joy arise? When you are at peace, when you are at rest. That is why it is said, ‘nistraye gunyo nitya satvastu’, as you rise above the three gunas, sattva increases.

Do not be attached even to good deeds. Drop everything. In deep rest none of these gunas exist. In sleep there is tamo guna, in work there is rajo guna, and when you are not working or engaged in thought, there is sato guna

When you sit in meditation, in that state of thoughtlessness, you transcend the three gunas; and when you come back, sattva rises. By the way, rajo guna is useful in getting rid of tamo guna through awakening frustration and anger. As sato guna increases, rajo guna quiets down. And when you get past sato guna also, sattva is enhanced.

Tantra and its manifestations

There are several kinds of tantras. ‘Vaam tantra’ employs evil spirits, and ghosts to accomplish one’s ends. But that kind of tantra will not work wherever there is satvikta, knowledge and bhakti (devotion). 

You all meditate, do pranayama and chant mantras. In your presence that kind of tantra will be ineffective. Incidents such as Lord Ganesh drinking milk are phenomena of the subtle world – some divine energy displaying its power and influence to arouse and awaken people. 

Some tantriks who perform small, little miracles go through a lot of suffering afterwards. They are unable to stay happy. These tantriks attain minor occult powers (siddhis) by subduing spirits of the netherworld (karna pishaachi – ear demons) that allow them to impress gullible people with their ability to read their thoughts and concerns. However the advice that such tantriks give is highly inaccurate and unreliable. So many people have experienced this.

Some tantrik can describe your past accurately but are unable to predict the future correctly, and only 10-20% of what they say is true.

My advice is that if you come across something like this, keep your distance; DSN - door se namaskaar! Don’t get entangled in it.

Twenty five or thirty years ago, there was a man in west Delhi who would tell people to blow on a blank sheet of paper, dip the paper in water, and pull it out with something written on it – usually questions and concerns in their minds. Someone from the satsang proposed that I also meet him. So I went. He asked me to blow on a sheet of blank paper which he then dipped in the water; but when he pulled it out, the paper was still blank!! The man was amazed, and fell at my feet, and began to perform aarti. I said to him, ‘Don’t exploit this siddhi (occult power) to deceive people. Instead inspire them to follow the path of goodness and virtue. Advise everyone to meditate, sing bhajans and perform seva. If your powers can benefit others, definitely use them.’

These powers can be labelled as neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’. It is all divine play. Do not condemn anything – this is my policy. Do not get involved too deeply in these affairs. If there is some knowledge to be gained or any blessings, take it and move on.


Mahashivratri is the day of Shiva. Wherever there is beauty, truth, and benevolence, there is Shiva. And, there is no place where the Shiva-principle is absent. But, Shiva is not a person. It is that principle which is the summum bonum of the whole creation and pervades the entire universe. This principle, called the Shiva tattva, is the quintessence of life and is present deep within every living being.
On Mahashivratri, we celebrate the Shiva tattva by going deep within us, meditating, and rejoicing in the Shiva energy. There are certain days and time frames in a year when one’s mental health and spiritual faculties are enhanced and Mahashivratri is one such precious day.

Three types of knowledge

As you sow, so you reap. Isn’t it? There is a shloka (couplet) that defines rajasic intellect as that which discriminates among individuals, whereas satvik intellect treats everyone alike seeing the same divinity in all. So during meditation, when the satvik intellect awakens, think of those to whom you feel attached as manifestations of the divine, and those towards whom you feel enmity, also as manifestations of the divine. This is all merely a game. The same divine manifesting in different colours has also manifested within me, as me.
Sarva bhuteshu yena ekam bhavam avyayam ikshate avibhaktam vibhaktesu tat gyanam viddhi satvikam.’ That which is uninterrupted / undivided at all times – the same indivisible mind in discrete bodies, the same indivisible space which appears separate in ten different bowls - one who sees this unity in diversity is extremely special. The ability to experience this state of unity even for a little while in meditation is present in the satvik consciousness, although one cannot remain in this state forever.
A rajasik mind is one that focuses on the differences (disparateness) among all beings / individuals.
Tamasic intellect is that which is stuck in one point of view, and lacks the ability and willingness to look beyond; a thought comes to the mind and becomes permanently rooted – small /narrow mindedness. Say for instance, one forms a negative opinion of someone, treats them unfairly and then uses all means and arguments to justify that behaviour or stand point. 
You see many people in this tamasic mindset all around. They stay trapped in their preconceived notions. The idea that meditation, yoga etc. are useless, and all sadhus (sages) and sanyasis (hermits) are imposters; hypocrisy remains firmly embedded in their minds. They are unwilling to alter their opinion even when contrary evidence is provided. This is tamasic attitude or knowledge.
I will tell you a story; Mullah Nasruddin had a thought that he was dead. He began to deny everything with the argument that he was dead. If his wife said something to him, he would say, ‘How can a dead man reply?’ If she asked him to do any work, he would say, ‘How can a dead man do anything?’ So finally his wife got fed up and took him to a psychiatrist. After a lot of discussion, the psychiatrist asked Mullah, ‘Does blood comes out of a dead body?’ Mullah said ‘No, blood becomes water’. So the psychiatrist took out a pin and pricked mullah’s hand, and blood came out. ‘Look mullah, you are bleeding, so you are alive!’ said the psychiatrist. Then Mullah looked at the oozing blood and said, ‘Oh, today I have learnt a new thing – even dead men bleed!!’
This is tamasic knowledge. Satvik knowledge is essential in life. Through satvik knowledge, God can be found. For earthly life, some rajasic knowledge (discrimination) is needed. Tamasic knowledge increases sorrow, suffering and ignorance.

If I am complete (sampoorna), then why do I need my better half (ardhangini)?

Then how can you say you are complete? You will be complete with your wife.

If you look at the needs of life, no one is complete by himself or herself. You do not make the cloth of your clothes yourself; somebody makes the cloth for you, a tailor stitches it, and then you wear it. You do not grow your food yourself. In our life we are dependent on others for a lot of things. 

However, with regard to your inner life, you are free to be happy; happiness is your choice. Whether your better half stays with you or not, you can remain happy. Many people are not happy even after getting married and many are unhappy being single. 

What I am trying to say is, as you go deeper in meditation, you experience that completeness. This cannot be experienced by someone telling you so, or by listening to something. When you become aware of this completeness, and it is reflected on your face, then you can bring comfort and satisfaction to others also.

Then you won’t have to sing, ‘aadha hai chandrama, raat aadhi’ (lyrics of a popular hindi film song – the moon is half full, so is the night). Only one who is fulfilled within, can love completely.

How much should one believe in superstition?

Listen, how can you believe superstition? You cannot see the bright sun in the middle of the night! Impossible, when you think something is superstition, that is the end of it. That finishes it; that is it.
Don’t force yourself to believe somebody else’s belief. Once you know it is superstition, you should move on from there. Cat crossing the road, so many times cat crosses the road. In our country, we have so many such wrong notions! In some temple, I heard, they dangle the children upside down, so they will be healthy, or something like that. These are all to be done with; this is all absurd. We should put an end to such practices.
Many such wrong practices are happening, not just in this country but all over the world. Intelligent people should wake up and stop all this. We have to do this. In our country animal sacrifices are done, offering chicken to the goddess. In all religions there are such superstitions. It is necessary to remove this. In the name of religion many such things happen. 
When you refer to the shaastras, it is not superstition. The word ‘shaastra’ means systematic understanding of reality. Now I will tell you one example. People in the south used to say, ‘You shouldn’t keep your head towards the north and sleep.’ For many years I also used to think this was a superstition. What difference does it make which direction you keep your head. The earth is round after all. But when the scientists said that it is better to cut the magnetic field, rather than sleeping in that field, because then the magnetic current flows through your whole body, then it made sense. If the magnetic current passes through your body, then it drains a lot of your energy and you wake up in the morning, you feel still a little bit low. If you sleep cutting the magnetic field, then what happens, the magnetic field is not passing through the nervous system from head to toe, it is passing horizontally. So you feel better.
These are the things you have to understand; where is the right thing, where is the wrong thing. Let me speak about another superstition: the janeyu (the holy thread worn by Hindu men across their torso) should be wrapped around the ear before going to the toilet. I thought that this was definitely a superstition. Can one not relieve oneself, or have a bowel movement if one did not follow this injunction? Will the janeyu lose its sanctity? But a physician in New York discovered in his research that applying pressure to the nerves around the ear facilitates bowel movement. Then I realized that what is considered a superstition had some substance in it. 
So what we should do is, unless there is a valid reason behind it, we should consider it a superstition. But once a reason has been found, we should not continue treating it as superstition but instead we should accept it. We should never step down from a scientific temper. You should have the scientific temper.
So now he is saying that applying pressure to the nerves of the ear lowers the blood pressure facilitating bowel movement. In the lobes of the ears are present all those nerve endings that create alertness in the mind.
What punishment was given in school? They told us to hold our ears when we made a mistake. Pull the ears. Now scientists say that pulling the ears activates those neurons which are responsible for bringing alertness. Then we should consider this good. Also piercing the ears is in our tradition, to lengthen the ear lobes. Lord Buddha is depicted with very long ear lobes it is not because he has such big ears, no. It means Buddha had such high awareness that he never made a mistake.
In Tamil Nadu, do you know what they do? People they gently knock their forehead with their knuckles when they go to Lord Ganesha’s temple. That does not mean they are asking for forgiveness from Lord Ganesha for mistakes. You know the nerves that are located in the forehead region get stimulated when we knock on that area gently with our knuckles, and that increases alertness.
In our culture there is a custom where they mix some sugar and mud. Then the way to separate sugar from mud is to put it in water. So, water signifies viveka (discrimination), which means what can be proven right using discrimination, should be accepted. The other thing is, whatever sankalpa (intention) is in our mind, it begins to get strengthened. So with our own sankalpa we strengthen an idea. We need to pay attention to this fact.

How to make blessings and prayer effective?

Prayer can only happen when there is an utter helplessness or immense gratitude. When you feel so grateful, prayer automatically happens in you. When you feel totally helpless - ‘I can’t do anything’ - at that time also prayer happens.
Prayer cannot be cultivated, it is a phenomenon. It just happens to you. And who is praying to whom – the mind is praying to the self, the wave is praying to the ocean; and you are both. You are the ocean and you are the wave as well. Inside you there is mind, inside you there is ocean. That is why in the Yajur Veda it is said, ‘devo bhootva, devam yajeta’. So you get established in the Divine and then you pray to the Divine, not as somebody outside.
The mind curling back on the Self is prayer. So prayer automatically happens, spontaneously it happens. All that you need to know is, wake up and see how much you have received in your life. Even all Devis (goddesses), Devataas (gods) have one hand upraised, and one hand lowered, palm facing outward. Do you know what this means? This is all symbolic of, ‘I am giving you so much, don’t worry’. Then that gives a sense of comfort. The upraised hand is for ‘abhaya’ which means don’t worry or fear not. The lowered hand is ‘varadaa’ which means, you are getting.
In the Rig Veda, in the end it says, ‘sanat pitev soona’, like the son says to the father, ‘Parmatma (God), you are giving so much and you continue to give. Protect me, like how the father protects his son.’ In the same way the divine protects you all the time. So he is giving you all the time.

How to deal with religious fanaticism in our families and communities?

This question does not have one answer. You have to ask this question repeatedly, and each time you will get a different answer for it, which you must apply at that time. 

See, the answer to a question can be given correctly only once. This is not such a question, it is a journey. On the way, we can go forward and backward any number of times. 

How we can get rid of fanaticism, terrorism – we have to keep asking this question with an open mind and with a willingness to embrace every one, a sense of belongingness.

Once there is a spiritual experience, no one can remain fanatical. The blind and ignorant are the only ones who can be fanatical. Conscious and wise men and women cannot be fanatical. Their minds are open, hearts melted, hands energized, with an enthusiasm to do seva.

If someone criticizes us, how should we deal with them?

Give that person a surprise. Tell them, ‘Wow, you said such wonderful things! How
did you figure out these facts?’ Try this and see what happens. 

If someone criticizes you, you counter it with four criticisms of your own and the chain continues. Instead, thank them for their kind words, and see what happens. The day you drop your defences that person will hang their head out of shame and embarrassment. They will not know how to respond. 

This is how we should confuse those who criticise. Have some fun in this situation. What is the fun in finding fault? Our life should not become a football of others’ opinions. Repose in the self!

Does karma affect the body and mind?

Influence of karma affects body and mind. But, what was said in the Ashtavakra Gita, in reality these are all external things. The effect of karma does not touch you at all.

This matter is one step ahead; so both are true. See, do you ever feel that, ‘I never grew old, or aged, I am the same?’ Isn’t that true? Ask any elderly person, no matter how old, he will tell you that he doesn’t feel he is going to die and poor fellow dies. And he looks at someone else and says, ‘Poor fellow died, I am not going to die’. Doesn’t it feel that way? It does! There is something within us which never dies. That is why we feel that we are permanent. All others will come and go.

And then there is another thing that is true, that according to our karma and time, old age creeps into the body. Hairs fall off. In the past it used to take me one hour to comb my hair, then half an hour, and now, not even one minute; Maharajji doesn’t have to do anything! 

So some changes occur with time, we should observe that. On one level, if we observe, everything is changing, our thoughts are changing, and we are no longer the person we were yesterday. Isn’t that so? The person you were five years ago, and the person standing here today, are they different or not? Is that true or not? Yes! Yet it is not the same person who used to be; this is on one level. 

On another level, the same person is standing here who was here ten, twenty or twenty-five years ago. Isn’t it? So both are true, this is true and that is also true. Everything changes, this is true, and some things never change, that is also true. Ashtavakra Gita emphasises on that which never changes. Bhagwad Gita emphasises on that which is changing, such as karma, how to manage it etc. 

Everything changes, but inside us, there is an element that does not change. Know this and accept all the changes.