When You are Hurt

When someone expresses his anger towards us, or speaks in a belittling way, what should we do? The answers to such questions can be found in this incident from the life of Buddha.

Once Buddha went to beg with his disciple Ananda. When they approached a house for food, the lady of the house, spoke harshly. ‘You lazy fellows! You are hale and healthy…why can’t you work for your food?’ she yelled and chased them away. The disciple was enraged at the woman she used such hostile words on his great Guru.

‘Please permit me to teach that woman a solid lesson…’ he pleaded with Buddha. But Buddha walked away in silence.
A little later, Buddha handed over his water container to Ananda and went to take rest.

Having rested for a couple of hours they resumed their journey. On the way, Buddha glanced at the water container and asked, ‘Whose is this?’ ‘It is yours, Guruji!’ said Ananda. Buddha took it and looked at it once and returned it to Ananda saying, ‘No, I gifted it to you a little while ago…it is yours.’

At night, Buddha pointed to the same water container and asked once again, ‘Whose is this?’ Now Ananda said, ‘Guruji, it is mine!’

Hearing this, Buddha said laughingly, ‘I asked you the same question earlier this evening and you said it was yours. Now you are saying, it is mine. How can the same container be yours and mine at the same time?’

Though Ananda was slightly confused, he replied calmly, ‘Guruji, you said that you have gifted this container to me and I accepted it. Hence, I said that it was mine. Initially, when you gave it to me I did not consider it as mine, because, even though you had handed over the container to me it was still yours!’

Buddha smiled at Ananda and said, ‘Similarly, I did not take the words the lady spoke harshly as mine; I did not accept them. So, even though the words were spoken at me, they still belong to the lady alone. That is the reason I said that there was no need to teach her a lesson.’

The advice from Buddha to his disciple expounds a very simple truth.

If someone calls us ‘lazy’ or ‘good for nothing’ we get affected by that word only when we take it to be ours. If we are clearly firmly and aware that we are not lazy or ‘good for nothing’, what that person says about us is just nonsense. ‘Nonsense’ would never affect us. In fact, we would not pay any heed to a person who speaks nonsense!

If someone calls us lazy and we are deeply affected, it only reflects on our true nature of being lazy. The quality in us is pointed out by others. This is the root cause for getting affected. This gives rise to blood pressure and rancor.

Now let us presume that a person is indeed very lazy. Would it be possible for him to change? Of course there would be a possibility! Take a look at the story…

There was a very successful businessman. He lived in plenty and prosperity. Unfortunately, his ship got caught in a storm and sank. His factory was closed due to labour trouble. His debts exceeded his assets and he lost everything in the process and became a pauper. For five long years, he worked very hard and gained back his lost status; constituted a bigger factory; acquired not one, but two ships; now he was richer than ever before! Learning about this turn of fortune, journalists came to interview him. They flooded him with questions about the secret of his success. His reply to them was, ‘I know that I failed in my business…but I never told myself that I am a failure…..that is the reason behind my regained success!’

Failing in an endeavour is one dimension and to treat oneself as a failure is yet another dimension.

This story could be an eye-opener to many.

You may feel lazy…lethargic and loose interest in work. But for heaven’s sake do not label yourself ‘lazy’ or ‘good for nothing.’ If you do that, you will become your own worst enemy, and prevent yourself from becoming successful.

Om Namah Shivay

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How to Forgive-2

These two are wise people. Which two? The one who sees his transgression as a transgression, and the one who rightfully pardons another who has confessed his transgression. These two are wise people.

The key phrase is rightful pardon to the one who has confessed his misdeed. There’s no forgiveness without confession. And a conditional or an incomplete confession is not a confession but a vain explanation, a justification, a pretense. For example, if someone apologizes for their mistake but starts to describe why they did a certain action or why it wasn’t entirely a mistake, it means somewhere they still don’t mean to apologize, somewhere they still believe there was some validity behind their transgression. No real forgiveness is possible in such a scenario. As they say, a stiff apology is one more insult. It’s much better and more effective to fully admit and take ownership of our mistake and vow to not repeat it.

Forgiving and letting go are not the same, for, forgiveness is only possible when the other person participates in the process. Imagine two road accidents. In the first case, the offender comes out, says sorry and exchanges the details so you may claim the insurance. In the second case, it’s a hit-and-run. They don’t stop and speed away. When there’s no participation from the other side, you can’t truly forgive or reconcile. You may, at the most, unwillingly accept that you got cheated. Sometimes, you find yourself unable to forgive and then feel bad that your heart’s not big enough. The truth may well be that with your heart of gold you are eagerly waiting and patiently standing with the gift of forgiveness wrapped in compassion, love and care, but the recipient fails to show up.

If you are on the other side of the fence, if you hurt someone or when deep within you believe you treated the other person unjustly, offer them an unconditional and a sincere apology. You’ll feel light and they’ll feel healed. To seek forgiveness is even more profound than wanting to forgive.

What if the other person is no longer in your life? Is there no way to forgive then? Yes there is; one for another time. And, at that time, I would also elaborate for you the difference between forgiving as an act versus forgiveness as an emotion.

Om Namah Shivay

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How to Forgive-1

Forgiveness is a gift. It’s as much about the recipient as the giver.This is a question I get asked more frequently than any other: how to forgive? Often readers tell me that they have forgiven the other person but they are still hurt. That, thoughts or sight of the other person still triggers emotional pain. That, even though they have forgiven, they are still unable to feel love for the other person. That, the good old times have not returned. I know what you mean.

There’s a common misconception about forgiveness — we often believe that once we forgive someone we’ll immediately start feeling love for them again. It doesn’t work this way. Before we reach the point where we contemplate forgiving the other person, we have already been hurt. Until we recover from the hurt, the harmony and peace can’t be restored. The period of recovery can range from a minute to a lifetime. It depends on the quality of the relationship, our personal strength and the nature of the transgression.

Further, forgiveness must not be confused with reconciliation. They are not the same. When you forgive someone, it doesn’t mean you’ve accepted their manner, demeanor, or actions. It simply means that you have decided, out of compassion or care, for the good of the other person or your own, to not let their past actions ruin your peace. The peace you experience upon forgiving someone quickly vanishes if they repeat the mistake or don’t value your kindness. Think of forgiveness as a gift you give to the transgressor. When the other person doesn’t acknowledge it, or devalues it by repeating their actions, they have basically not accepted your gift. Your gift is returned and it’s lying with you again now. You are back to square one — hurt, resentful and perturbed.

True forgiveness is not possible without reconciliation. And, reconciliation is not possible without a confession. Unless the other person confesses his act, you can’t really forgive. When they don’t believe they made a mistake or when they don’t care about what or how you feel, in such circumstances, I’m sorry to tell you, it’s not possible to forgive. A confession and an apology from the other person, with a sense of remorse, are absolutely integral for forgiveness. Yes, it is possible to forgive someone a hundred times, if they come and confess and apologize a hundred times, but it’s not possible to forgive them even once if they don’t seek your pardon. This is where I see the root cause of the problem: you want to forgive and not resent the other person, but, you can’t do so because they won’t admit they wronged you.
Monks, these two are fools. Which two? The one who doesn’t see his transgression as a transgression, and the one who doesn’t rightfully pardon another who has confessed his transgression. These two are fools.

Om Namah Shivay

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How to Overcome the Mind

What is the mind? The mind means the many desires that you carry within you. Nature knows very well the number of desires you drag and carry as a burden within you. Nature sees how tightly and feverishly you hold on to your desires, so sometimes it grants those desires and sometimes it does not. But when we remain happy and centered whether our desires get fulfilled or not, then you can say that you have killed or overcome the mind.

Suppose you are going to a cinema theatre to watch a movie and you stand in line to buy the tickets, and you get to know that the theatre is house-full. Do you feel angry or frustrated about it, or do you feel “Oh, it’s alright. Never mind”. and simply move on ahead.

You may also think that since you did not get a ticket for the cinema hall, so you might as well go to a temple for some time ; or sit in a satsang for some time. When you are able to do this (skilfully), then know that you have killed and overcome your mind.

Have this unshakable faith that whatever is the best for you, that alone will happen in life. Nature will only give you that which will uplift you higher in life. Keep this deep faith.

When does this knowledge dawn in you? It happens when you give your 100% effort in whatever you do. If you simply sit idle and think that God will anyway take care of everything, then that will not do.

Usually, you do not think twice when you are about to do something wrong. But when you have to do something good or beneficial, you think “If God wants, then it will happen”. Many people tell me, “Gurudev, only when you wish or call us will we be able to come to the Ashram”.

Why do you need an invitation? Does God ever send you an invitation asking you to come meet Him? When we have to do something good, we leave it to destiny (instead of making an effort to do it). But if you want to fulfil some desire or aspiration of your own, you put in every bit of your strength to achieve that. You put your heart and soul into it. This thought process needs to be reversed.

You should know that whatever situations you are currently undergoing in life is because of your Prarabdha Karma (Karma that bears fruit in the present). And whatever you deserve, you will surely get that in life.

You must think, “What do I have to do in life?” And then you should just go ahead and do that with all sincerity, without thinking about what results you will get out of it. You should not worry about that at all. Just do whatever you have to do. Then a deep sense of contentment

Om Namah Shivay

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Every Saint Has A Past & Every Sinner Has A Future

Many people go through their lives carrying the burden of guilt or regret over past mistakes. For some, the weight is such that it crushes their sense of self-worth and they are unable to live a normal life, and they go to their grave haunted by the wrongs they have done.

Most of us know, even if we do not remember it all the time, that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and that we reap what we sow.This universal law warns us of the consequences of bad karma, but it also encourages us to do good karma. If one has done something bad, repentance cannot undo it. But one can learn from it and direct one’s energy to doing good.

Positive and charitable actions lift our spirits and bring benefit to others. They keep the mind engaged in a healthy way, help one forge good relations and, when done repeatedly, create a habit of doing good.

Soon, a time comes when good deeds outweigh past mistakes, and the person not only feels happy himself, but is also a source of support for others. This is how character transformation takes place.

There are several examples in history of people leaving behind an ignoble past and achieving greatness. St Augustine is perhaps the most famous. A hedonistic party goer who fathered an illegitimate son, he eventually heeded the pleas of his devout mother and became a Catholic priest. Today, he is regarded as a Doctor of the Church, a title given to saints of particular importance.

Similarly, Angulimala, a serial killer, became a monk after an encounter with the Buddha, and Valmiki gave up life as a robber and meditated for years in penance before he went on to compose the epic Ramayana. He is now revered as `Adi Kavi’, or first poet, as he is said to have invented the `shloka’, the first verse, which defined the form of Sanskrit poetry .

These examples show that no one is beyond redemption, and each one of us has the potential for spiritual progress regardless of our background.

As Oscar Wilde said, `The only difference between saint and sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.’ This is one reason criminal justice systems in some countries encourage the convicted to do something charitable to make amends for a mistake, or do community service fully or partially in lieu of other forms of punishment, such as imprisonment or paying a fine. Even where such a provision does not exist, convicts get reduced punishment if they show true remorse or cooperate with law enforcement agencies, and sentences are commuted if the convict has a record of good behaviour. Such measures aim to encourage reform, so that convicted criminals emerge better persons from their experience of crime and punishment.

While one cannot change one’s past, its negative influence on the present and the future can be eliminated by changing one’s way of thinking and behaviour. The key is to turn over a new leaf. A mistake does leave a stain on one’s life, but repeatedly thinking about it only darkens the stain. Instead, do good, so one can create bright spots that will eventually shine such that no one notices the stains.

Om Namah Shivay

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शान्त हो जाओ चुप हो जाओ

एक बहुत श्रेष्ठ, बड़ी सुगम, बड़ी सरल बात है । वह यह है कि किसी तरह की कोई इच्छा मत रखो । न परमात्मा की, न आत्मा की, न संसार की, न मुक्ति की, न कल्याण की, कुछ भी इच्छा मत करो और चुप हो जाओ । शान्त हो जाओ । कारण कि परमात्मा सब जगह शान्तरूप से परिपूर्ण है । स्वतः-स्वाभाविक सब जगह परिपूर्ण है । कोई इच्छा न रहे, किसी तरह की कोई कामना न रहे तो एकदम परमात्मा की प्राप्ति हो जाय, तत्त्वज्ञान हो जाय, पूर्णता हो जाय !

यह सबका अनुभव है कि कोई इच्छा पूरी होती है, कोई नहीं होती । सब इच्छाएँ पूरी हो जायँ यह नियम नहीं है । इच्छाओं का पूरा करना हमारे वश की बात नहीं है, पर इच्छाओं का त्याग करना हमारे वश की बात है । कोई भी इच्छा, चाहना नहीं रहेगी तो आपकी स्थिति स्वतः परमात्मा में होगी । आपको परमात्मतत्त्व का अनुभव हो जायगा । कुछ चाहना नहीं, कुछ करना नहीं, कहीं जान नहीं, कहीं आना नहीं, कोई अभ्यास नहीं । बस, इतनी ही बात है । इतने में ही पूरी बात हो गयी ! इच्छा करने से ही हम संसार में बँधे हैं । इच्छा सर्वथा छोड़ते ही सर्वत्र परिपूर्ण परमात्मा में स्वतः-स्वाभाविक स्थिति है ।

प्रत्येक कार्य में तटस्थ रहो । न राग करो, न द्वेष करो ।

तुलसी ममता राम सों, समता सब संसार ।
राग न रोष न दोष दुख, दास भए भव पार ॥
(दोहावली ९४)

एक क्रिया है और एक पदार्थ है । क्रिया और पदार्थ यह प्रकृति है । क्रिया और पदार्थ दोनों से संबंध-विच्छेद करके एक भगवान्‌ के आश्रित हो जायँ । भगवान्‌ के शरण हो जायँ, बस । उसमें आपकी स्थिति स्वतः है । ‘भूमा अचल शाश्वत अमल सम ठोस है तू सर्वदा’‒ ऐसे परमात्मा में आपकी स्वाभाविक स्थिति है । स्वप्न में एक स्त्रीका बालक खो गया । वह बड़ी व्याकुल हो गयी । पर जब नींद खुली तो देखा कि बालक तो साथ में ही सोया है‒ तात्पर्य है कि जहाँ आप हैं, वहाँ परमात्मा पूरे-के-पूरे विद्यमान है । आप जहाँ हैं, वहीं चुप हो जाओ !!

‒२९ जून २००५, सायं लगभग ४ बजे

* * * *

श्रोता‒कल आपने बताया कि कोई चाहना न रखे । इच्छा छोड़ना और चुप होना दोनों में कौन ज्यादा फायदा करता है ?

स्वामीजी‒मैं भगवान्‌ का हूँ, भगवान्‌ मेरे हैं, मैं और किसी का नहीं हूँ, और कोई मेरा नहीं है । ऐसा स्वीकार कर लो । इच्छारहित होना और चुप होना‒दोनों बातें एक ही हैं । इच्छा कोई करनी ही नहीं है, भोगों की, न मोक्ष की, न प्रेम की, न भक्ति की, न अन्य किसी की ।

श्रोता‒इच्छा नहीं करनी है, पर कोई काम करना हो तो ?

स्वामीजी‒काम उत्साह से करो, आठों पहर करो, पर कोई इच्छा मत करो । इस बात को ठीक तरह से समझो । दूसरों की सेवा करो, उनका दुःख दूर करो, पर बदले में कुछ चाहो मत । सेवा कर दो और अन्तमें चुप हो जाओ । कहीं नौकरी करो तो वेतन भले ही ले लो, पर इच्छा मत करो ।

सार बात है कि जहाँ आप हैं, वहीं परमात्मा हैं । कोई इच्छा नहीं करोगे तो आपकी स्थिति परमात्मा में ही होगी । जब सब परमात्मा ही हैं तो फिर इच्छा किस की करें ? संसार की इच्छा है, इसलिये हम संसार में हैं । कोई भी इच्छा नहीं है तो हम परमात्मा में हैं ।

Om Namah Shivay

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How to Attract-2

Narada smiled and said, “O Noble King! Shishupala merged in Krishna because he meditated on Him every moment of his life. Whether you meditate on something out of hatred or love, that is beside the point. Your mind does not distinguish between negative and positive, right and wrong, they are two sides of the same coin, it simply manifests whatever you hold onto. His whole consciousness was directed towards Krishna and that’s the sole reason he merged in Him.”

There is your law of attraction! It is the reason why negative people are able to give you enough examples of their fears actually coming true in their lives. It is why even crooks can be ultra successful. Nobility of intention is not a concept your mind understands. It is the concentration of a thought that matters, the more concentrated a thought, the stronger it is. From the perspective of manifestation, moral purity is not the most important factor, it is the intensity and persistence of the thought. Whatever you focus on resolutely, without any doubts in your mind, it starts to manifest in your life. Of course, your actions aid that manifestation.

Working towards a positive goal you have many doubts. Whereas negative is always there, present in your subconscious. You are not to be blamed though. It is the result of evolution. Our species has worked hard for its survival. It mostly lived in the fear of extinction. The total human population is minuscule compared to animals. Anyway, so the mind tends to cling to the negative, you feel strongly about negative.

Whether love or hate, they are still emotions. It is when you are indifferent, you do not attract — desirable or otherwise. In a deeply profound and revealing quote by Elie Wiesel, a holocaust survivor and a Nobel Peace Laureate, he states:

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. 
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. 
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference between life and death.    

Whatever you feel strongly about, you will attract. For anything you have an emotion for, you will attract it in your life. You hate something strongly, that is all you will get. You love something strongly, that is all you will notice. If you hate people you do not want in your life, time and again, they are the ones you will encounter at every nook and turn of your life. You have as much chance of attracting something you hate as things you love. With negativity, fear comes uninvited. The strength of a negative thought is doubled by fear. It is tripled by self-doubt, quadrupled by attachment.

And what is the ingredient to double the strength of a positive thought? Faith. For tripling it? Persistence. How to quadruple it? Purity of the intention. Go figure!

Om Namah Shivay

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