Are You Disconnected From Your Power Source?

When we play a game, we often become so engrossed in it that we forget everything else. Similarly, we become so engrossed in our daily lives that we forget who we really are. That forgetfulness cuts us off from our true power.
In a parable, the vine provides nutrients and life to a branch without which the branch can’t produce fruit.

A branch without its vine is merely a dead twig. We, too, must connect to a flow of energy from a power greater than our own.

For those of us connected to a spiritual path, the guru is the vine, the source of the power that sustains us.

When we cut ourselves off from the source that sustains us, we are left with only the power of ego. The ego has its realm, mainly in a small area of human activity involving will power, intellect, choice and the ability to function in society. But if we consider the many basic bodily processes that aren’t under our conscious control, such as breathing, circulation, digestion, and the beating of the heart, we see that there is a deeper power sustaining us. God does nearly everything, leaving only the tiniest part to us.

It reminds me of my granddaughter when she was three years old. We’d assemble all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle except the last one. She would then turn that final piece many different ways and eventually , with a sense of great accomplishment, put it in place and say, “I’ve done the puzzle!“ We’re like that. God does 999 pieces of the puzzle, and when we put the last piece in place we say , “I did it all myself.“

Our egos are like little jets of flame on a gas burner: each one has the appearance of individuality; each is, in fact, but a spurt of the unifying gas underneath. As our consciousness expands, we become more and more aware of our connection to the Divine Source. Real spiritual growth begins when we recognise that true source.

To open ourselves more fully to that source, we need to realise first that we have much more inner strength when we realise ­ that the energy , intelligence and will we’re using come from an infinite ocean. Our will power is like a faucet. As we open up the valve, more and more water flows through.

Second, we have to connect to the deeper, more expansive parts of ourselves. This we can do by overcoming the delusion that we alone are the doer. God is the Doer through us. Third, we need to attune our consciousness to the guru who could help us realise our divinity . By attuning to his consciousness, we draw his grace.

Fourth, we need devotion. It is through the love of our hearts that we open a channel to that sustaining power. Grace then comes in, like sunlight through a window, and changes our consciousness.

Finally , we need to meditate deeply .In meditation we can experience God’s energy as the sound of Aum or as light. We expand not only by contacting that power, but also by offering ourselves into it. It’s like the branch and its leaves offering energy back to the vine that sustains it.

As we deepen our connection with the Divine, finally , we learn that there is no “I and Thou“. There is only the one Source. Then, with a flood of love, we re-establish our union with God and find our true power.

Om Namah Shivay

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सुखी कैसे बने

‘मैं हरि का, हरि मेरे रक्षक, यह भरोस नहिं जाय कभी |
जो हरि करिहैं सो मेरे हित, यह निश्चय नहिं जाय कभी ||

‘ईश्वर का प्रत्येक विधान हमारे लिए कृपामय है’ जब ऐसा पक्का निश्चय हो जाता है, तब ‘दुःख’ शब्द हमारे लिए निरर्थक-सा हो जाता है | माता जब हमारे मनोनुकूल भोजन खिलाती है, उस समय जिस प्रकार हम प्रसन्न होते हैं, उसी प्रकार जब हमें ज्वर आता है और माता कड़वी औषध पिलाती है, उस समय भी हमें (यदि हम समझदार हैं तो उतनी ही) प्रसन्नता होती है; क्योंकि हम जानते हैं कि वह हमारे हित के लिए है | इसलिए अनुकूल दीख पड़े या प्रतिकूल-दोनों ही प्रकार की परिस्थितियाँ अपने हित के लिए है -ऐसा जिसको ईश्वर के विधान में विश्वास है, उसके लिए संसार में दुःख-जैसी कोई वस्तु नहीं होती, उसके लिए तो प्रत्येक परिस्थिति ही अनुकूल है-सुखमय है |
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विवेकके बिना केवल क्रियासे अन्तःकरणकी शुद्धि नहीं होती* । शक्ति विवेकमें है, क्रियामें नहीं । क्रिया करनेमें करणकी मुख्यता रहेगी तो करणका आदर होगा । करणका आदर (महत्त्व) ही अन्तःकरणकी अशुद्धि है ।

अन्तःकरणकी अशुद्धि वास्तवमें कर्ताकी अशुद्धि है;क्योंकि कर्ताका दोष ही करणमें आता है । जैसे, मनुष्य चोरी करनेसे चोर नहीं बनता, प्रत्युत चोर बनकर चोरी करता है । चोरी करनेसे उसका चोरपना दृढ़ होता है । अगर कर्ताकी नीयत शुद्ध हो तो वह चोरी नहीं कर सकता । अत: करणको शुद्ध करनेकी उतनी आवश्यकता नहीं है, जितनी कर्ताको शुद्ध होनेकी आवश्यकता है । अगर करणको शुद्ध करेंगे तो परिणाममें क्रिया शुद्ध होगी, कर्ता कैसे शुद्ध होगा ? जैसे,कलम बढ़िया होगी तो लेखन-कार्य बढ़िया होगा, लेखक कैसे बढ़िया हो जायगा ? कर्ता शुद्ध होता है‒अन्तःकरणसे सम्बन्ध-विच्छेद होनेपर और अन्तःकरणसे सम्बन्ध-विच्छेद होता है-विवेकका आदर करनेसे ।

एक मार्मिक बात है कि अन्तःकरण अशुद्ध होनेपर भी विवेक जाग्रत् हो सकता है । इसीलिये गीतामें आया है कि पापी-से-पापी और दुराचारी-से-दुराचारी मनुष्य भी ज्ञान और भक्ति प्राप्त कर सकता है† । तात्पर्य है कि अपने कल्याणका दृढ़ उद्देश्य हो जाय तो पूर्वकृत पाप विवेककी जागृतिमें बाधक नहीं हो सकते । पाप तभी बाधक हो सकते हैं, जब विवेक कर्मोंका फल हो । परन्तु विवेक कर्मोंका फल है ही नहीं । कर्मोंके साथ विवेकका सम्बन्ध है ही नहीं । अत: विवेकका पापोंसे विरोध नहीं है । इसलिये साधकको चाहिये कि वह अपने विवेकको जाग्रत् करे ।

प्रश्न‒विवेक कैसे जाग्रत् होता है ?

उत्तर‒विवेक दो चीजोंसे जाग्रत् होता है‒सत्संगसे‡और दुःख (आफत) से । सत्संग परमात्मामें लगाता है और दुःख संसारसे हटाता है । परमात्मामें लगना भी योग है‘समत्वं योग उचते’ (गीता २ । ४८) और संसारसे हटना भी योग है ‘तं विद्याद् दु:खसंयोगवियोगं योग सञ्ज्ञितम्’ (गीता ६ । २३) ।

रामचरितमानसमें आया है‒‘बिनु सतसंग बिबेक न होई’ (१ । ३ । ४) । इसका तात्पर्य यह है कि सत्संगके बिना विवेक जाग्रत् नहीं होता । सत्संगसे बहुत विलक्षण लाभ होता है और स्वाभाविक शुद्धि होती है ।

Om Namah Shivay

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No Water No Moon

When the nun Chiyono studied Zen under Bukko of Engaku she was unable to attain the fruits of meditation for a long time.

At last one moonlit night she was carrying water in an old pail bound with bamboo. The bamboo broke and the bottom fell out of the pail, and at that moment Chiyono was set free!

In commemoration, she wrote a poem:

In this way and that I tried to save the old pail
Since the bamboo strip was weakening
and about to break
Until at last the bottom fell out.
No more water in the pail!
No more moon in the water!

Go where your faith takes you. Be where you want to be. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).

Ultimately, it all boils down to one thing ­— the old pail. Human ego. It is painful to break your ego, but it is the path to immense freedom. Like a caterpillar you crawl out of your cocoon and fly out a butterfly. If you find the vessel more important than its bearer, you are bound to misdirect your energies. This temple or that shrine, this guru or that master, makes no difference in the final analysis. Eventually, you must lead a responsible life to walk any path — spiritual, material or both.

The laws of nature are the same for everyone. No guru, no matter how you see him or her, can pluck a mango from an apple tree if you see what I mean. Your own life is the greatest miracle, you are a miracle. Just like a honeybee takes the pollen from a real flower and goes back to its hive, feel free to take wisdom from wherever you get, regardless of its religious or ethnic source, and deposit it in your own repository of knowledge. There is no harm in taking learning from any source you so fancy.

A sense of individual existence you carry in your mind is as temporary as the reflection of the moon in your vessel. One ripple in life, one tiny shake, and the whole image gets distorted. Just like the real moon is not an object that can be held in a pail, the real you can’t be held down by a guru or a belief (read religion). It’s when you limit your own infinite existence to a small receptacle that the reflection starts to feel the real thing.

You break the vessel and all that you are holding within you pours out. In that state you go beyond even emptiness. There is no pail and there’s no water. You are free. Individual consciousness, expanding beyond infinity, merges in the cosmic consciousness then.

No water. No moon.

Or no water, no moon. It’s how you look at it.

Om Namah Shivay

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Surrendering to a Guru-2

The truth is, it is not in your hands per se. What chance does frozen butter have in front of fire? If the fire is real, the butter will melt automatically. The right guru, with the fire of truth in his heart, with the warmth of compassion in his being, with the heat of tapas, penance, and his direct knowledge will melt you in no time. He will leave you with no option. Let alone just surrender, you will find yourself willing to do anything for him. He can inspire you to give up your life for a cause, with his mere presence he can empty you so you may be filled, he can soften you so you may be moulded, he can transform you, with his one glance, he can wash ashore all your bottled up negativity, anguish and pain.

Why do scriptures require showing due respect to a guru? Why are you expected to bow in front of him? Imagine two glasses, one is full of water and the other one is empty. If you have to transfer water from the one that is full to the empty one, the empty one must come a step below, the full glass needs to be higher so that the contents may be transferred. While living in the Himalayas, sometimes villagers would pass by carrying heavy bundles of wood on their head. They wanted to greet in the appropriate manner, befitting our culture, but because of the weight on their head, they were unable to bend down. Similarly, lot of people carry an enormous weight on their heads, weight of labels, of ego, of attainments, of bookish knowledge, of titles. Such burden makes it hard for them to bend, it stops them from surrendering. The right guru will decimate your ego without preaching you. So should you surrender or not is an empty question, a futile one. The question is: are you ready to transform yourself? If you are happy with yourself, why bother with all this master-disciple stuff! If you feel you need to work on yourself and you do not know how to go about it, well then you need to do whatever it takes to learn from the one you look up to.

Imagine a deep wound. If someone has to clean and dress it, it is going to hurt a little. It will become a little itchy as it heals, thereafter it may leave a light scar for some time before disappearing completely. Provided, of course, the person dressing it is a bona fide medical professional. Similarly, when you allow someone, the right guru, to work on your ego, your shortcomings, it is going to hurt a little but eventually it will result in healing.

Surrender requires putting aside one’s ego, it requires strength. Do not try to exercise surrender artificially, let it come from within. If you feel you should be surrendering but you are unable to, that is perfectly fine. Give yourself time. If the one in front of you deserves your submission, you will find yourself doing it automatically. As long as you are not disrespectful, you are good. Be free, be fearless.

Om Namah Shivay

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Surrendering to a Guru-1

How can you fill a cup that’s already full? Who can help you if you believe you’ve it figured out already?

Spiritual and religious texts expounding the Eastern thought are full of master-disciple stories of surrender and obedience. Many people who visit the ashram and many who write to me are inquisitive about the role of a guru on one’s path, they ask me if it is necessary to surrender. Furthermore, a lot many admit having troubles in exercising complete surrender to any guru.

There are thousands of quotes in various texts that lay emphasis on the importance of having right guru. Is it truly that crucial? The answer is it depends on what are you after. If you simply need a teacher who can point you in the right direction based on scriptures and books, there is no dearth of such people. However, if you need someone who can demonstrate any bit of direct experience, someone in whose presence you feel safe, secure, loved, peaceful, you have little choice.

Guru-shishya, master-disciple, relationship has been around since time out of mind. Unfortunately, in this day and age, I see more exploitation than exploration. Majority of today’s gurus are busy in worldly projects, they are selling merchandise, funding private hospitals that are run for profit, they are building ashrams everywhere they can, they are hoarding money, they are collecting profits, how close you can get to them often depends on how much money you have to offer. It pains my heart to see such fleecing and deterioration. Is there anything wrong with that? You decide.

If you meet someone who claims to be a Godman, someone who is giving you the sacred diksha, initiation, without examining you, who is simply interested in what all you have to offer, who makes you feel unworthy, insignificant, who banks on your fears, I would say: abandon that person. He is a wolf in the guise of a sheep, a sinner in the garb of a saint. Never ever hesitate to ask questions. If the guru snaps at you, can he ever preach you eternal peace? If he is attached to his material things, is he the right one to teach detachment? If his negative emotions of anger, jealousy, hatred swell up like any other seeker, how will he ever get you to rise above them?

Before you exercise surrender or before you accept someone as your spiritual master, take your time, be critical. Who was Buddha’s spiritual master? Mahavira’s? No doubt Buddha, for example, studied and practiced meditation, tantra, yoga and austerities under various masters, notably Alara Kalama. His own realization though came from treading his own path with utmost steadfastness.

You need not go looking for a guru, just stay sincere to your own path, to your practice of peace and love, of compassion and contentment; when you do that, the right guru will present himself out of nowhere. The providence arranges for it. Take my word for it. So is it necessary to surrender? And what if you cannot surrender? 

Om Namah Shivay

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A person established in the Self

Q: In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjun asks Krishna to describe a person established in the Self. How does such a person walk, behave, etc. Does external behavior determine if a person is enlightened or not?

Guruji: Not really. This question can only be answered in affirmation or negation. If you ask me, does the love in someone’s heart reflect in their appearance and their behavior, the answer is yes. At the same time, appearances can be deceptive; sometimes it may not be reflected (in their appearance or behavior). So, expression is varied, and you cannot depend on it.
Expression varies in different parts of the world. For example, the way one greets and expresses love. In France, when you greet, you give kisses in the air, two on the sides of each cheek. In New Zealand, the traditional Maori greeting is to rub the nose. (If the other person has a cold, and you greet them, then you have to share it with them.) The ancient cultures have very different ways of greeting; the way the natives greet and welcome you.
In Punjab, a state in North India, the way to greet is by giving a jhappi (a tight hug); you take a cupped palm and thump it (quite hard) on the others back. Now, this kind of greeting is not acceptable in Tamil Nadu, a state in South India. In Tamil Nadu, you hold your hands together, and greet, saying Vanakkam (hello, welcome). So, cultures are very different, even in one country.
The expression of love is very different from place to place, and that should be respected. In Japan, you bend half the body to show your respect. In India, you bend all the way down, and touch the feet of the people you respect.
This world has so many diverse customs and traditions, and that is the beauty of our planet. We must preserve all of them. If everyone starts greeting in the same way – shaking hands, and forgets the way the Japanese do, then we would have lost something. If people forget how to do pranam (salutations) to the elders; suppose this tradition stops, then it is a loss for the world’s culture, not just one country. The world’s diversity would be lost. We must preserve the diversity, it is important.

Om Namah Shivay

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Deeper Meaning of Guru Purnima

It is Purnima (Full moon day) today, but it is very cloudy. This is how it is in life also. You are beautiful and pure just like a full moon, but that is not visible because of the clouds (here meaning inertia and negativity). When grace starts showering in life, all these clouds start to move away and disappear, and then the fully blossomed moon becomes visible.

In the same way, there is a veil (of ignorance) over knowledge. Just understand this: Whenever we are miserable, discontent, and restless, in those moments there is a veil or curtain over our vision, and we are facing away from the light (of knowledge). We are facing away from the light of God in such times, which is why we feel surrounded by darkness. At such times our shadow (of sorrow or misery) appears large and we feel afraid just by looking at it. Whenever we experience some fear in life, it is because of the shadow (of worry or misery) that we see. And we keep struggling and fighting against the shadow. So what do we need to do to overcome this? We need to simply turn towards the light; towards the Guru. The instant we turn to the light, in a matter of seconds the darkness around us disappears, and the shadow we were fighting with also vanishes.
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Like there is fatherhood, motherhood, there is Guruhood also. You all have to play Guruhood at least to somebody. You do play, you keep giving advices and guiding people consciously or unconsciously, and give them love and care. But do it with 100 percent without expecting anything in return. That is living the Guruhood.
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Q: A devotee is very happy on getting a Guru, does the Guru feel the same happiness in getting a devotee?

Guruji: Seeing your happiness he gets happiness.

Om Namah Shivay

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