Live Q&A from Germany
Shree Peetha Nilaya Ashram, 12 April 2020
Today's Satsang Paramahamsa Vishwananda answers questions about Gandhi and non-violence, controlling the senses, what is equanimity, and handling jealousy towards those nearest the guru.
Jai Gurudev, everybody! Welcome back!
So, this year all the wonderful ceremonies and festivals seem very strange because of the Covid-19, so everybody has to restrict themselves and be inside and keep distance and so on. And today is Easter, which normally is so fun here. Easter Sunday everybody can come and really be together. So, it’s a bit quiet. Very quiet actually. It doesn’t feel like Easter.
But the whole thing, you know, is to make one realise that Christ is not in the outside things that we do. Christ is what resides within each one of us. And, of course, outside we like to show our gratitude, we like to show our appreciation for this Master, what He has given to humanity. But at the same time what truly He has given to humanity is not what we see outside, which is what religion portrays, but it’s what He has given inside, that connection, that relationship with God. Because without having this relationship with God, life doesn’t have any meaning. Life goes on in the same way. This also makes one realise that, yes, it is time to find Him inside and when we talk about the resurrection, we are talking about the awakening of something which is dormant.
How long will you be asleep? How long will you be dormant? How long will that consciousness play the same role in the cycle of birth and death? How long will you really say, ‘Yes, I’m a mundane person, I’m just a normal human being who is going through life like that, and life carries on’. You know, waking up in the morning, eating, working, come back, sleeping, and the same thing, the daily routine carries on. The animals are doing the same thing, so it isn't much difference between you and an animal.
The soul has to react, you know. When Christ called upon His disciples, He called upon everybody to awaken to that consciousness. He didn’t say, yes, you have to be on your knees. No, you have to be inside, in love. Love. This is what He has shown. And when we awaken in that consciousness, we awaken into that Love, and that’s what Easter is; it’s that awakening. It’s not just to say, ‘Yes, Christ is risen’ and everybody answers, ’Yes, truly He is risen’, but yet you don’t feel anything. You know, when we say Christ is risen, it’s that consciousness that must arise inside of you. We must have that transformation being like the Master that you are following, which is loving, caring. The life of Christ is not about Himself, you know. He has given His life for the people.
You know, somebody sent me a video where you can see some people screaming, ‘Covid-19, I order you in the name of Jesus, go away!’ Well, Covid is still around! So… You see how much people are deluded by the outside and are looking for Christ in the outside. They talk about the spirit of God, but you see, the spirit of God dwells within you. The guru and the saints are reminders of that spirit of God within. Not these people who are screaming on the TV and saying, ‘Oh, yeah, I order you in the name of Jesus go away!' No, they are just after your money, nothing else. Somebody sent me this video, it’s really funny to see how even in this time there are these people which are after the money of people, but yet, people are so deluded into that they don’t realise it. So, I was just looking at that, it made me really laugh. That’s why I think this time Christ has said, ‘Yes, you will not celebrate Easter on the outside, you will celebrate Easter in the inside realising that I have to awaken inside, you have to let me awaken inside of you.’
In the Gita, Krishna says that to control the mind, we must first control the senses. What is a person like who has the senses controlled and how do we know when we have controlled our senses?
You see, to control the senses is not an easy thing, because we go through life, and we build up habits. Our senses get attached to these habits and, of course, you are under the control of it. To get rid of these habits is something very difficult, because when you make certain things a habit, you attach to it.
The senses get attached to the material world, to the matter outside, thinking that, ‘Yes, this is what makes me happy.’ And that’s what you say to yourself continuously; being deluded by these things on the outside, you think that, ‘If I have this, I will be happy. If I have that, I will be happy.’ But how long are you truly happy? You become dependent upon it. So, you start to create certain vasanas, you know, that keep you, attract you, and pull you down. And to get rid of those can be very difficult. People are so attached to things that it’s very difficult to let go. So, how to control that?
In life we should learn to take certain vows. It’s not about anybody running behind you telling you, ‘You have to take that vow’. No, you have to take that vow towards yourself. You know, just now, Easter, some people have fasted for 40 days. And within these 40 days, what do they do? They let go of things that they like, things they say, ‘Yes, I will sacrifice that.’
Again, that world ‘sacrifice’. Yesterday we were talking about that and now that word, ‘sacrifice’ comes again. You see, sacrifice means: something I like dearly, I will personally let go of. Very often I have heard that when people fast. They say, ‘I will let go of…’, Let’s say you like chocolate, so, ‘I will let go of that chocolate till Easter’, then after that Easter you start eating chocolate again because of the Easter eggs! (This year, no Easter eggs, so…good.) When you take certain vow, you put a certain norm towards yourself, and say, ‘I will not do something within that space.’ You don’t say, ‘I will stop forever.’ No, you can’t, because you see, when you say you will stop forever, there is a certain pressure upon you so that you will never be able to really hold onto that.
So, when you take a vow to let go of certain things, start little by little. Give a test to yourself. Start by saying, ‘I will not do it for 10 days.’ Like that, your mind is programmed so that only for 10 days you will not do certain things which your mind is so strongly attached to. What happens? Automatically you will try to keep away from that. Let’s say you are addicted to cigarettes. That urge to smoke will awaken. But because you have taken that vow, you will do everything to keep on that 10 days. So, when you have done that, and 10 days have happened, you feel more strong inside of yourself, and say, ‘If I have done it for 10 days, I can do it for a longer time.’ So, then you can extend it, without any pressure. You see, you don't need to put pressure upon yourself and in case you break it, it is finished. No. To control it, you keep extending until you can truly let go of these habits or needs or wants.
Even if you broke it, don’t panic, don’t blame yourself, and don’t criticise yourself. Just start it again! Like that you build a certain discipline towards yourself. Like that you will be able to control your senses, and you will be able to control your mind also.
Mahatma Gandhi promoted non-violence and was killed. On the other hand, Krishna asked Arjuna to fight. Was Gandhi wrong to promote ahimsa?
Look, one thing is that we are living in a different time. Imagine Gandhi had provoked the people to lift their arms and fight. That would have created a different kind of India today! So, we can’t compare Gandhi to Krishna. Krishna was doing according to dharma. And also what Gandhi was doing was according to the dharma of now. You see? So, did Krishna promote Arjuna to be non-violent? No, He did not! He was doing what he was meant to do. You see?
These people, the Kauravas, didn’t understand any language. When Krishna went as a messenger to them, what did they do? Duryodhana provoked Him, provoked Krishna! And then Krishna showed His cosmic form. Those who had eyes to see saw that in His cosmic body everything was there. They even saw that they were already killed and the Pandavas were standing with all the might and winning already. So, they saw all these things, but yet due to their samskaras, they could not recognise who Krishna was. Those who are blind, how can they see? They will never see. So, what Krishna was doing truly, was what was meant to be done.
Let’s say a soldier is protecting his country on a battlefield. Do you think he has to look about his dharma or he has to say, ‘Yes, I’m so sad that I have to kill the enemy who is invading my country’? No, the solder has his dharma to fight. That’s what Krishna was reminding Arjuna, ‘You are a soldier, you are not a coward, you are not somebody who has to run away. You are a mighty soldier, people know you for that. If you run away, people will call you a coward.’ And because of that He said the dharma of a soldier is to fight.
Why did Krishna not fight in that battle? Because He could have annihilated everything in one second. Even a second is too long. That’s why He didn’t fight in this. Of course, He was in control of everything. That’s his dharma. A dharma of a soldier is to fight, to go forward, not to run away from the battlefield. And the dharma of Gandhi was to show non-violence, that peace, and that you can solve problems also without fighting, but it’s a different fight. You see? One was fighting for the dharma of the world, the universe, and Gandhi was fighting to bring dharma to the country itself. Because the land of India belongs to the Indians. So, somebody else has invaded it, but how to solve it? Through violence it was not possible, because violence will create more violence.
That’s why everybody has their own kind of dharma, and everybody has their own way. If Gandhi was a military man, of course, then he would take up arms, he would say, ‘Let’s go and fight.’ There were many freedom fighters at that time also, many generals who took up arms and said, ‘Yes, this is the language that I understand, our dharma is to fight in that way.’ But Gandhi said, ‘No, my dharma is different. My dharma is through non-violence. I can show that I can bring peace to this country through non-violence.’ Of course, others have profited from that also.
So, coming back to the Mahabharata and Krishna, it’s true that He continuously said, ‘Arjuna, you must fight’. Not only one time, many times. But when people are so engaged into a certain reality of things, you know, they will not understand that. They will see only, ‘Oh, Krishna is enthused and saying to Arjuna, “Fight”’. But Krishna is telling a soldier to fight. He is not telling a normal person to fight. And Gandhi is not a soldier. Gandhi was a lawyer and he was taking the path of non-violence.
In Chapter 1 of the Gita Arjuna was saying to Krishna, ‘I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to kill these people.’ But Krishna said, ‘No, this is your dharma, you have to fight.’ It’s not that Arjuna had become non-violent all of a sudden, or that on the battlefield he realised, ‘Oh, my goodness, I am a non-violent person.’ No, he is a soldier and Krishna continuously reminded him, ‘You are a mighty soldier, you are holding the Gandiva in your hand. Even if it is true that you are afraid and are falling down or even if your mind is troubling you, yet you have to fight. As a soldier you have to fight. Even if you have to die by fighting, this is your dharma.
Like that, each one in life has their own dharma, each one is fighting their own dharma, and we move forward in life in our own dharma. A doctor is doing their work as a doctor, a banker is doing their work as a banker, a politician is doing their work as a politician. You see, no one can do somebody else’s dharma. That’s why Krishna said to Arjuna, ‘You must fight’, and Krishna said to Gandhi, ‘You are a non-violent person, you can’t fight that kind of fight. Fight a different fight. Fight being non-violent.’
Is it possible to reach the state of equanimity and still feel happiness, love, and compassion?
Well, yes. Do you think when you reach the state of equanimity, you become miserable, depressed, and running away from reality? No, actually, you become the most joyful, because that state of bliss is where the Divine resides. It’s a state of… we can’t say happiness, because it is a continuous movement of happiness, it is an endless state of happiness and joy, so it’s not being miserable. And also, when we talk about love, here we have an understanding of love that is limited, but when you have attained to that state of bliss, love is eternal. Love is continuously growing and there is no limit to it. And this is the quality of love. When we talk about love, it is something which is in constant growth; it doesn't diminish. So, yes, you are extremely happy. And that state of bliss can be expressed in so many ways, you know. It’s not only expressing itself being joyful and happy. You can be joyful and at the same time crying, tears of joy, you know. When we say tears of joy, you are crying, but yet, you are happy. Sometimes people say, ‘You know, I’m crying, but I don’t even know why I am crying. There is no reason why I’m crying; I am happy, but I am crying.’
So, you see, that blissful state doesn’t have like one set of things, you know. Like when you are in the mode of ignorance, you are miserable, you are unhappy, you are depressed, you want to harm everybody else, and when you are in a mode of passion you don’t care about anything, everything goes how it has to go, you know. And when you are in a sattvic mode, you are joyful and happy. But still, when you are in the mode of bliss, we can’t call that happiness. That’s why we call it bliss. Because happiness has an object of your happiness. There is some reason why you are happy, you know; you are happy for something. There is why, what and how; these three things. But in the mode of bliss there aren’t these three things. There is no, ‘I am happy because of something’, no, you are just happy. And that happiness is an indescribable happiness; you can’t describe what is happening inside of you. That’s why it is blissful, it is a beatitude; it is the state of, yes, you are truly living the life you have come here to live.
When we see that someone is much closer to You than us, and we get jealous, is that just the ego or is it because of love? How do we overcome that jealousy?
Yes, often people have this jealous thinking that the people who are close to me physically, near to me, they are very dear to me. No, it’s not that I love them more. Maybe the expression of love toward them is different from those people who are not near to me, but actually, the love is the same. It’s not that I love these people more and I love other people less. No, love for me is the same, but who can receive it? They receive it differently. Those who are near, receive it in a different way.
It’s not that they are more special to me or they are more close to me. No! There are many people who are on the outside who are very close to me but who are not sitting here in The Ashram. And also there are those very dear to me who are not seated in The Ashram.
So, don't be fooled by these things on the outside, thinking that those people who are close to me are very close to me, you know? Some people who have been close to me, were close to me for some time and then they disappeared. So, why do you think it is like that? Some people who are close to me are far away, who have never even met me, but inside we feel this relationship, we feel this connection. That’s how it is. Of course, it’s a normal reaction that when you see people who are near to where you want to be, you feel a certain kind of jealousy, you know? But you should not feel any jealousy, because they can handle me, and that’s why they are close to me. Very often you think that, yes, you can handle the guru. Don’t be fooled by that, because I am very complicated to handle!
To handle the Master, the closer you are to the fire, the more you feel the heat! If you ask the people who are close to me, they know it. That’s why they are close to me, because they can handle it. If they could not handle it, they would never be close to me. So, that’s why.
Okay, Jai Gurudev!