Live Q&A from Vrindavan
Shree Giridhar Dham Ashram, 22 March 2020
In today's Satsang via livestream, Paramahamsa Vishwananda continued to answer a variety of questions submitted by people around the world. This session's answers included: proximity to the guru, discipline on the path, rich vs. poor, and realisation for householders.
Jai Gurudev, everybody!
You can still hear the vibrance of the conches and bells and every noise we could make out of happiness and joyfulness. This is how the curfew is here in India. It is because, according to the astrological chart and so on, the moon is entering a different phase into Revati-nakshatra, and that brings a certain transformation and change inside the body itself. When you are clapping your hands, it makes the blood flow and activates a certain joyfulness and happiness. It is also said that, during this time, if there are viruses or anything, they are at their lowest and weakest point, actually. So, let’s see and pray that changes may happen. Just now I just received a message that the French have found a certain cure which they have tested for the Coronavirus, so by God’s grace, Giridhari’s grace, the world will come again back to normality. It has been nice really being quiet. Here in Vrindavan you can hear everywhere – you can hear the vibration, the noises.
Q: How do we accept fully that we don’t have an externally close relationship with the guru and how do we develop an inner strong and deep relationship with You inside our hearts?
Actually, to have an external relationship with the guru and be close to the guru one must first have the capacity of handling the guru. Don’t think that it is easy to be close to the Master, because the more close you are to the Master, you have to be really strong in yourself. Very often you will see people very close to the guru, but only people who can handle the guru are close to the guru. If somebody can’t handle the guru, it can be also very traumatising, because the energy of the guru and what the guru is saying has to be followed very strictly. So, that’s why the guru keeps only those who can handle it. Like yesterday I was saying, Arjuna asked Lord Krishna to reveal His cosmic Form, but He said also, ‘Only if you see that I am worthy, if I can handle that.’ The same thing: to handle the guru once in a while, it’s fine, it’s easy, but to continuously be in the proximity of the guru, one can’t handle it. So, that’s why those who can handle it, the guru keeps them close.
But for those who can’t, the best way is to follow the teachings of the guru and find the guru's guidance inwardly. And for that also, please, when I’m saying find the guidance inwardly, it doesn’t mean that you have to go into fantasy. Very often the people start fantasising, creating things in their mind, and start believing in those things. So, then they go a bit cuckoo in their heads and they like to tell people stories. So, please, be aware of that also in your life: that whatever you experience of the inner guru, it has to be what the guru said.
That’s why it is very important to study and really absorb your mind and intellect into the teachings of the guru. Know which language the guru speaks, and if your inner self is speaking the same language, then listen to that. But if you see that your inner self is speaking a different language that the one the guru is speaking, don’t listen. Then it is the mind talking to you.
Q: Even if we have been with You for some time and we know ultimately what we want is something other than this world, often I experience feelings of indifference, because I don’t want this world, but also the spiritual path is hard. Is discipline the only way to overcome this?
Well, you see, the spiritual path is not an easy path. It’s not meant for everybody. Everybody is called to be spiritual, but only a few really can connect to it. Because when you go on the spiritual path, there is a certain discipline which you have to put towards yourself. You know, it’s not about the Master running behind you and telling you what you have to do and what you have to change continuously. No. It is a certain self-discipline. Like, for example, practicing your sadhana. The guru has said to practice the sadhana, so one has to practice one’s sadhana. One has to put that discipline towards oneself. If you put the discipline towards yourself, you will see that everything will be flowing in a very smooth way. But if you put pressure upon yourself, then it becomes difficult.
So, the spiritual path is a very easy path, you know, and at the same time very difficult. Because it is easy when you embrace it and really take it. Then it becomes very easy. But if you find it like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I have to do my sadhana now, I have to do my kriya now’, you put your own brakes, and then it becomes difficult because you are not doing it out of love, you are not doing it out of happiness, you are not doing it out of joy. Because whatever you do out of joy becomes very easy. And whatever you do out of necessity, becomes difficult. At the beginning, of course, you have to force yourself, because it’s not your routine. It’s not your normal way of functioning, so of course, you have to force yourself. But don’t get discouraged. You will see that your spiritual path has for a long time been destined for you. Because you would never go on the spiritual path if you were not meant to be on that spiritual path. So, embrace it and try to do, even if you do a little, but try to do it with joy and happiness.
Q: Why do the rich, powerful and corrupted survive and the poor, honest people have difficulty in surviving? I’ve often observed this. Is it because of past karmas?
Look, one thing is that one may be surviving in whatever ways; I will not say only the rich survive and the poor don’t survive. When you see people, very often the rich are running towards something delusional. They don’t know what they are looking for really, because they think that by having money, by having everything, they can control everything. Which is not true! Because that happiness is not about being rich or poor, it’s equally given to those who truly long for it; those whose minds are fully absorbed into that will find this happiness. So, we can’t say only rich people are happy. I know many rich people who are not happy. They don’t even know what they are looking for. And I know many poor people which are really happy and content with what they have.
You know, we had darshan here in January, and I’ll tell you something which I find so beautiful: there was a group from Haryana, one state nearby here and they came for darshan. I asked one lady in that group, ‘What do you want?’ The lady said, ‘Guruji, I just want the grace of seeing Radharani one time, nothing else.’
But you see, that asking was not just a superficial asking. It was asking from the heart. And these people are very simple people. They know what will really make them happy. So, also rich people. I have so many devotees who truly are sincerely on their path, and for them, they are clear about it. So, it’s not a question of rich and poor. It’s a question of how do you connect to the reality, how do you connect to God in your life. It’s true that often people are in a delusional world, especially rich people, because they have everything. Due to them having everything materially, are they really happy? No, they are not! Many people are not really happy. They are still searching for happiness, and true happiness especially. Because they think that by shopping left, shopping right, one will be happy. No, one will never be happy [that way].
If you really want to find happiness, dig into your path, go deeper in your path, and you will find happiness. You will find what you are looking for, you will find that contentment. It’s like when you look for water. You see, if I want to look for water and I dig one hole 30 metres deep and I don’t find water, I move a few metres away and I dig a hole for 20 metres, still expecting to find water. If I don’t find water, I dig another hole for another 30 metres, and I still don’t find water. Like that, many people go digging holes everywhere expecting that they will find what they are looking for. But if one is clever and digs in one place a deeper hole: instead of digging 30 here, 20 there, 20 there, dig 80 metres here in one hole, and you will surely find water.
So, like that, you see, if you are sincere about your path, whether you are rich or poor doesn’t matter. That sincerity in going deeper inside your spiritual path will make you find what you are looking for.
Q: When I look at saints and Masters it seems that most, if not all, of their disciples who become realised are the ones who have given up everything and lived only for guru and God. For householder devotees like us, is it possible to attain that same realisation, and if so what is Your advice for us?
Like Krishna said in Chapter 8, verse 3 [later corrected to 5], He said that those whose mind is focused upon whatever, they will reach to that. So, He said to Arjuna, ‘Focus your mind upon Me.’ That means whether you are grihastha or you are completely detached from your mind and intellect. In Chapter 8, verse 4 [later corrected to 6] He said, ‘Those whose minds and intellects are focused upon Me, come to Me.’ So, it’s not about being grihastha, or being a celibate, because not everybody is called for a life of a renunciate; not everybody is called for a life of a grihastha. So, wherever your dharma has brought you to, there the Divine will reveal itself.
How much you are focusing upon, you see? There are many who put on a gown of a sannyasa, but their minds are fully absorbed into the material world; they are fully businessmen. Do you think they will attain the grace of the Lord? Do you think they will attain Him? No, they will not!
There are many grihasthas when they have finished their life as a grihastha, they took their time to devote their life completely to the service of the Lord. How many in our travelling did we see like that? But grihastha is not throughout life itself, you see. There is a time where you come to a point and say, ‘Look, I feel I’ve been called to devote my life.’ So, then it also happens. There are so many saints who have been married, and even in their marriage itself they have fully dedicated their life to their beloved Lord. Take Tukaram, for example, Tukaram was never a sannyasa; he was fully into his marriage, he had children, everything, BUT his mind was fully absorbed in Vitthala. There was not a single time that his mind was not absorbed in Vitthala. Like that, you will see many saints. Like Namdev, you know, he was married, but his mind was fully absorbed into the beloved Krishna. So, wherever you are, whatever path of life you have taken, whether it’s grihastha or sannyasa, how much you are building your relationship to God – that’s what is the most important thing.
Okay, that was the last question for today.
Jai Gurudev, everybody! And I hope you are all fine wherever you are. Today I heard just now in Croatia there was a big earthquake. My prayer and love goes to all the Croatian devotees and all the people in Croatia. And always, in this time that Europe is going through and that other places in the world are going through, let’s always be positive and keep chanting the Name of God.