Don’t think you are insignificant when the world is facing a crisis, You have a role to play!

There is strength in peace. There is strength in calmness. There is strength in love but it goes unnoticed. What you cannot win with a stick, you can win with love. What you cannot win with guns, you can win through love and this power of love needs to be realised. The most powerful thing in the world is love! We can win the hearts of people through love.
The victory that comes out of ego is worth nothing. Even if you win in ego, it is a loss. Even if you lose in love, it’s a victory! Making people realise this innermost strength that we all have is the challenge!
In these times of war and disease in the world, it’s so important that we all meditate a little bit every day. When we meditate, we nullify those vibrations, thereby creating a more harmonious environment around us.
So our being peaceful in a meditative, prayerful state, will definitely help. Don’t think, ‘‘What can I do?’’ or that you are insignificant, when the world is facing a problem. You too have a role to play. Like a tiny homeopathic pill, which has a 1/100th, or 1/1000th potency, makes an impact on a body, which is sixty, seventy kilos! In the same way, every individual — everyone who is breathing, talking, walking, thinking — has an influence on this cosmos, on this planetSo we can all radiate peace, good thoughts, good vibrations, good wishes and that will definitely make an impact on the planet.
I’ve seen this over and over again. When there is a conflict and you interact with both the groups engaged in the conflict, they soften up! When communication breaks down, it causes turbulence, which in turn causes stiffness and rigidity, but when you re-establish communication through love, through peaceful means, through patience — it does yield.
I think we need to do something to bring back those human values in society and smile more! You look at a teenager or a boy or girl who goes to college — do they really smile? See the heaviness in their faces, the heaviness in their hearts. A child is so happy — walking, moving, jumping around and then that same child goes through college to become so sad, upset and depressed! Is this the purpose of our education?
You know, sometimes I feel like shaking everybody, ‘‘Eh! Come On! Smile!’’. I read some research recently that a child, a baby, smiles 400 times a day, an adolescent only 17 times and an adult doesn’t smile at all! If you smile, do you think something might be robbed from you! What is it that you lose? When you smile, others get and you don’t lose anything! We need to smile more! At least give yourself a big smile when you wake up every morning and look in the mirror!
Only a few people in the world cause terror, not the whole population. Of the six billion people on this planet, there’ll be a handful who are causing problems in the world. There are hardly a few thousand who cause crime and the whole world is affected. Don’t you think that with the same law, the reverse will also work? Just a few of us, a few thousand of us, being really peaceful and loving, caring for the whole planet — can we not bring a transformation?
Life is so short! But we cry for what we have and we’re upset about what we don’t have, isn’t it? Is it worth living life like that? We ourselves get depressed and then depress everybody around us! We need to shake ourselves up! Wake up! And when we wake up from this slumber, then we have peace in our hearts and we can radiate that peace and love around us.

Aiming for the ultimate in life

Do you really want the ultimate in life? Not yet, right?

Now your need are for little things. You want a job, you want a family, and you want to have children. Do all that and then the ultimate will also come. 

Don’t just ask for the ultimate when the desires for small things have filled your mind. First finish all these small things, get fulfilled and then.

What is the best seva one can do?

Any seva (service) is the best seva if it is done with 100% attention. Seva is doing what is needed to be done at that moment. 

Right now somebody is in dire need of a glass of water. You may say giving a glass of water is not a big seva, instead let me build a house for them. Right now he is dying out of thirst; he needs a glass of water. That is the best seva you can do.

Learning from past relationship failures

See all the mistakes that you have made. In the name of love sometimes you show so much emotion that it suffocates the other person and they feel like running away.

You should be centred. Sometimes people cannot handle too much expression of love if they are not centred themselves.

Be rest assured, we will overcome this Coronavirus situation

Coronavirus is a huge crisis but it is also an opportunity for us to reflect on our lives, our roles and responsibilities in society, etc. We’ve been so busy, with less sleep, without much rest or we were in too much rest. So use this time to contemplate all those scenarios and see what should be the context of our lives. That will be very beneficial. 
Many of us have hardly spent any time with ourselves, so taste that silence and take some time off. Most of the time we are so active that the doer or the seer is lost in the scenery. Now is the time to abide by the being and come back from the scenery to the seer. That is yoga.
Don’t be so scared! We have seen crisis like SARS, swine flu, and many other influenzas before, even plague ( the biggest pandemic) after the World War. This is a temporary phase. Be rest assured, we will overcome this! 
You are all blessed! Do not panic! You all will be fine. Just follow the rules – do not congregate. Take precautions. Take immunity boosters like amruth and Shakti Drops. Take food with turmeric and pinch of black pepper. Definitely cut down on sweets and sugar (as they bring down your immunity drastically). Avoid eating too much, don’t keep popping things into your mouth. 
Meditate thrice everyday (Morning, Afternoon and Evening). It will help to settle your mind, calm your emotions, bring physical and emotional strength and boosts immunity. If you have the will to survive through any adverse situation, it is possible. 
Cut down on your television time. Do some reading, try something creative – write poems, stories, experiment with cooking food, learn the piano or the guitar (or any instrument) sing, write songs, do a painting, etc. You can do a million things – if nothing else, learn a new language – it can be French, Hindi, Sanskrit or anything you have been wanting to learn. Now you have the time to do all that! 
Now that most of you are home with your family members, you get to spend so much time with them. Listen, don’t talk too much! Keep some silence as well. Talk less and avoid arguments. 
Do not spend your day listening to negative news. That can be very tiring. We definitely need to be informed of what is happening, but do not keep repeating the same thing from 7 am to 10 pm. 
Don’t keep searching “Corona! Corona!” Otherwise, you are unnecessarily giving too much power to this and then your brain gets affected. See how you can keep your enthusiasm in this time of crisis. This will show the valour, the strength and the resilience that you are born with. 
Make use of this extra time – read spiritual books like Yoga Vasishta (this book takes your mind to a different plane altogether) or Bhagavad Gita. Connect with all your friends. Chat and encourage them, give them inner strength and good vibes.

Excelling in one's profession

To excel in your profession, balance your life. 

Meditate every day, sleep well, and in the morning do pranayama and meditation and go to work with a fresh mind. 

Don’t watch too many movies and not more than one hour of television per day. A movie a week should be enough. This is because when our mind is bombarded with so many impressions, it loses its creative abilities and becomes uncreative. 

Spend one hour with people. Spend time with somebody whom you do not know.

When God is one then why do we need to worship so many God and Goddesses?

You don’t need to; it is not a compulsion to worship so many God and Goddesses. It is the One God that you worship in so many forms.

One ray of light has so many colors. There are seven primary colours in one ray of light. In the same way, the same Parambrahma is worshiped at times as Ganesha, at times as Devi, at times as some other form.

How to accept criticism

See, whether you accept or not, the criticism has already happened, isn’t it? You are left with no choice. Only after someone has spoken, you find that they have criticized you, right. How do you know before they speak? Before someone criticizes you, you don’t know. After they have criticized you, it is already done. 

What is the option you have? Okay, don’t accept it, what will happen to you? You will become more miserable. So if you are intelligent you will accept it, if you don’t want to be intelligent you can suffer for some time. That is the only way you can do it.

Spirituality begins with amusement

Amusement is the preface for yoga. When you are amused then you start enquiring into the nature of truth and then your journey begins. So, it is perfect.

Vismayo yoga bhumika’ spirituality begins with amusement, wonder, and then it is like being in an amusement park all the time. You get surprised, wow! What is this? What is this world? So many different varieties of trees, plants, flowers, leaves, vegetables, fruits, people, what is all of this? When such a thought arises, then knowledge begins.

If we accept situations the way they are, how can we be creative?

You must have understood this in the Art of Living’s Part One course, right? Acceptance does not mean inaction; acceptance is actually acknowledging the present situation. 

You know, every child should know that they are a part of all the traditions in the world. Pakistanis’ ancestors were Hindus, Buddhists, Jains; many of the ancestors were from all these ancient traditions. Some were Parsis. The children in Pakistan should have been taught Upanishads, a little bit about Yoga and meditation. Yoga was born in Pakistan; born means it was taught and preached in what we call Pakistan today. Hundreds of people follow all sorts of preaching because they don’t have access to spiritual knowledge, they don’t know about it. 

That is why it has become a very important duty for all of us to educate people about spirituality. Don’t you think so? So we have got to be more active now and see that any sort of fanaticism is transformed into compassion and fanaticism is changed into a commitment to do good work in society. So we all have to work for it.

How do you console dear ones or explain the death of a close one

Why do you need to explain? You know, when you have to console, just be there quietly. Your simple presence will work. By words you cannot console anybody. Everybody has come for some time and they go like that. No logic can console emotions. Logic doesn’t work at all. And it is a wrong thing to pacify emotions through logical conclusions or understanding.

No doubt, the questions will come – why this happens? Those questions should never be answered. Simply be there in silence, in love, compassion, and the atmosphere changes.

How to reduce the wavering of the mind

The nature of the mind is to waver, similar to how the nature of water is to flow. Now how do you reduce this wavering nature of the mind? It is through abhyaasa (spiritual practices) and vairagya (dispassion).
Sometimes, when you are disturbed, you say, “I don’t want anything. Enough is enough!”
This is one kind of dispassion, which you experience when you are disturbed. It is called smashana (cemetery) vairagya.
The second kind of dispassion is when you say with awareness, “I don’t want anything. I have had enough - contentment. Everything in the world changes; nothing is permanent. I don’t mind if I have or don’t have anything. This is the second type of dispassion and is called gyana (knowledge) vairagya.
We need to have gyana vairagya and not smashana vairagya. The mind always moves towards pleasure. If we have knowledge and dispassion, then all the pleasures will come to us. It is also said that the pleasure that comes out of abhyaasa (spiritual practice) is the highest.
Everyone has to experience at least one of the two types of dispassion. So it is better to say, “I have had enough,” out of awareness and contentment. That is the higher kind of dispassion.
Dispassion is not a happening; I would say dispassion is what you invoke in yourself. When you widen your awareness, when you see everything is going to disappear and death is imminent, we are all going to die and everything is changing – when this knowledge comes, then dispassion is spontaneous.
Dispassion is the only way to make the mind stop chattering. Just realize that everything is a dream. It will all soon come to an end. The chattering of the mind is always with regard to a subject, a topic, or with a want. Worries and wants are responsible for the chattering of the mind. Drop your worries and your wants – that is what is called vairagya.
Just be content in your mind. You must keep evaluating yourself from time to time. Ask yourself, "Is what I am doing benefitting others?" Even if something brings pain in the short run, but is it beneficial to everyone in the long run, then that is the right thing to do. This is the test.
Before doing any work, you must ask yourself, “Am I only focusing on the small things or am I thinking from a larger perspective?” This is essential.

Dealing with people who fail to understand your feelings towards the Art of Living

Why do you want to explain everything to everybody? Feelings are such that people don’t understand. You don’t have to express all your feelings like that. They could be insecure and think that you will leave home and go to the Ashram and be there. So see that people don’t have that fear. Your love and devotion should be expressed only as much as they can understand. Same with joy, sometimes you don’t know how to express your happiness; if you express too much people don’t understand.
One devotee went to a funeral of somebody, a mourning meeting and there were bhajans and he started dancing and the people didn’t understand. There is satsang and bhajans, of course you dance when you are in joy and he said that anyways everything should be a celebration. But if you dance there, people can get annoyed. So you should see what a person can understand; how much they can understand and how to convey what you want to convey. Be skillful in conveying so that your expression doesn’t bring fear and anger in others as much as possible. And then ignore. Beyond a level you should simply ignore.

Becoming dispassionate

Dispassion is not a happening; I would say dispassion is what you invoke in yourself. When you widen your awareness, when you see everything is going to disappear and death is imminent, we are all going to die and everything is changing; when this knowledge comes - then dispassion is spontaneous. You need to understand and see life from a broader perspective and then automatically dispassion comes within you; but there is some effort. A little effort from you and then it will happen.

Making a difference by fostering a sense of belongingness

Turn to the person next to you and tell that person, ‘I don’t trust you.’ Did you do it? To trust someone can be difficult, it is easier to doubt still we are unable to do even that.

Let’s do an exercise. Just close your eyes for thirty seconds and imagine everybody telling you, ‘I don’t trust you.’ Wherever you go, everyone looks at you with suspicion, you go to the supermarket, everyone considers you a thief. Okay, now open your eyes. How did you feel; bad, frustrated? Did some feel a sense of liberation, felt good about it?

Look, we don’t like it when people do not trust us; it doesn’t feel good, right? All the energy that we build up around us is full of tension, right? Unpleasant vibrations being produced and then we walk around with such a vibration which says, ‘I don’t trust you, I don’t trust you.’

If you go to the villages you do not see such a thing. Go to a village, you go to a rural area, everyone will say, ‘Come, come; welcome, welcome!’ A sense of belongingness, this is India, ‘Bharat’, where there is a sense of belongingness. The uniqueness of India you can see in the villages. This warmth and belongingness is spirituality.

Where has the word ‘aatmiyata’ (oneness, belongingness) come from? It has come from ‘aadhyatma’ (spirituality). ‘Aadhyatma’ means that which is connected to the spirit. Sense of belongingness is a unique feature of India.

Now observe, has life improved or worsened? In the home, distance is increasing, from mother and father, between brother and sister, sense of belongingness is dying away. Is that true or not? Then there is only sadness in life, life becomes dull, insipid. As life loses its flavor, greed increases. Dullness gives rise to greed. As dullness spreads in life, what then? Accumulate, accumulate, accumulate; how much to accumulate? You will die one day after having accumulated all that wealth in the bank and the children keep fighting over it and court cases happen. All life was spent in accumulating wealth in the bank, and one day you died without having done anything else. And you made the children fight on account of it! There is no love among children even while the parents are alive. They are busy accumulating money. They will cause fights even after death, this is the situation.

The Indian scriptures have analyzed all this so thoroughly. Whatever you have earned, set aside twenty percent for society, twenty percent for yourself, twenty percent for emergencies – emergency funds, twenty percent for children, one fifth for your wife, one fifth for your work, and spend one-fifth on personal expenses. These rules have been laid out. It’s a very beautiful way. If you look there is so much taxation, nobody gives more than that. Similarly, our scriptures have placed a limit on everything. Not that hundred percent should be saved for children, no! If you have to save money for children, set aside only so much. The children will earn the rest on their own once they stand on their own feet. That is what has been said. Make children earn money rather than store everything and give them and make them lazy and useless.

So it’s very difficult when we say, ‘I don’t trust’ and it’s difficult to feel that nobody trusts you. And we walk around creating such a vibration – ‘I don’t trust you, I don’t trust you,’ and you become so unattractive. We don’t want this to happen in our country, don’t you think so? We need to have a wave of belongingness, sense of freedom, trust.

You know the nature of doubt? Doubt is always about something positive. If someone tells you, ‘I love you so much’, you will say, ‘Really?’ If someone says, ‘I hate you’, you won’t ask, ‘Really?’ If someone asks you, ‘Are you happy?’ You will say, ‘Oh, I’m not sure.’ Someone asks, ‘Are you unhappy,’ you are ready to keep a long face and say, ‘I’m not happy.’ You say, ‘Everything is fine,’ but from the face you can make out nothing is fine.

It’s a useless dialogue that we have on a day-to-day basis. Someone asks, ‘how are you?’ Answer is ‘Very well.’ If you look at their face, they don’t look well. But they say they are well! So we doubt happiness. We are never sure about happiness. But we are so sure about our depression. You are depressed then you do not doubt it. ‘Am I depressed or not?’ No one says that. You don’t doubt your weaknesses; you always doubt your capabilities. Nobody doubts their weaknesses.
Similarly you doubt the honesty of someone but you never doubt their dishonesty. Someone is very honest but on one occasion may have been dishonest. But you are sure about their dishonesty. This is not India. In India we are taught to honour even a dishonest person who is teaching us something by falling into a ditch.
Such awareness is unique to India, something unique! But we are losing it very fast. You know who feels insecure? One who does not have sense of belongingness or one who does not have a guide or someone who is there to say, ‘I am there for you. I am there.’ One who can give this confidence is missing. In this country there used to be a Guru or a Purohit (spiritual adviser) in every village. The elderly would give that confidence, ‘You move forward, I will watch over you.’
Nowadays, so many suicides are happening in the IITs for this very reason. They are asked to do pranayama and meditation, and they say, ‘Oh, this is religious; I am not going to do it.’ While the world is adopting our culture; Harvard University, Columbia University and other universities abroad are saying we need these values. Here in our country we start putting barriers saying these are religious. What is there in religion? Doing Yoga, pranayama, meditation, this is all good. It will build the energy; it will help the person from inside. The mental, spiritual energy, the spirit becomes alive. The thought of committing suicide will not occur at all. The whole atmosphere will be positive and full of energy.
At least do one thing. Wherever you go, at least smile more. And if you find somebody who looks down, face looks tired, sad, just talk to them a little. ‘What is it I can do for you?’ We should do only that which we can. If they expect you to do something you cannot do, just beg their forgiveness. If someone asks you to treat them, you will say, ‘I am not a doctor.’ But at least do what you can. Can you do that? We have to create a divine beautiful society.
Drop all selfishness. Whatever we earn in life, we have to set aside two to three percent. There are so many slums in Delhi, there is so much work to be done, and so many people are drinking alcohol, bickering and fighting. Can we do something for them? If we all gather our energy, if we divide Delhi in zones, go to different locations, areas, and create an atmosphere where people are happy, they are meditating, they are doing satsang, they are singing , they are dancing, you will find a huge difference; a change. We have seen it happening in many, many places. I am very confident we can gather our energy and instil spiritual or humanitarian values. It is very easy to give away food and clothes, but creating a force within them by which they can maintain their smile, sense of belongingness - we will be making a huge difference.