Live Q&A from Vrindavan
Shree Giridhar Dham Ashram, 21 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: world peace in Maya, forgiveness, faith vs. expectation, and living in the lifetime of the satguru.
Jai Gurudev, everybody!
Q: Is it possible that true peace and happiness can be established in this world free from all suffering or is it that this world of maya will always be a place of suffering?
Actually, everybody understands happiness in their own way. And some people find happiness even being here in this world because, within this world of maya, the Lord is also hiding Himself. Those who perceive the Lord through that veil of maya attain real happiness.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna, in Chapter 13, verse 25, explained different modes to attain Him. He said that some attain Him by the Self itself, and some attain Him by the means of knowledge, and some attain Him by the means of karma-yoga. In verse 26 also He carries on explaining, and also those who are in tamasic mode, they also attain Him in different ways.
So, if we analyse that, we see that it has opened ways for many to attain Him. The great sages had that knowledge. It’s not only one kind of people that can attain the Lord, but everybody is called to attain Him in whatever ways, from wherever they are. Some who sit in deep meditation and have a calm mind, they have that inner vision; they have that connection with the Lord Himself. Those who through their intelligence – don’t think that when I’m talking about knowledge, I’m talking about book knowledge. I’m talking about the inner knowledge where the mind and intellect is in a calm state and a degree of detachment has been understood and been really put into practice. When one has that kind of understanding, then of course, the path of knowledge also makes one enlightened.
Then we have those who can’t meditate and can’t do much, actually; for them they find happiness into serving others, in doing things, in forgetting first about themselves. Karma-yoga is about forgetting about yourself, in helping others, and also being happy for somebody else.
So, you see, it’s not only one way that one can find that true happiness, but within this we have to know what is the main aim. In the question it’s said that, ‘If we could find in this world of maya’, yes, we can because the Lord prevails over everything. When we see that clearly and have that deep understanding that He is the aim, then our mode of seeing things changes; then we realise that whatever we do, from whatever perspective, wherever we are, we are doing it for Him. And this is what we have to put deeply in ourselves and keep reminding ourselves. Very often it’s easily forgotten because when we go into the world outside, we get trapped in the beauty of the outside of things, and we easily forget about that. That is where japam is important. Because when we are doing japam, when we are chanting the Name of the Lord, we keep reminding ourselves of His presence, we keep reminding ourselves that, whatever we do, our life is for Him and we are His.
So, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, never forget about that. Keep chanting. Even if you don’t have a mala, keep reciting His Name.
You know, here in Vrindavan wherever you go everybody will greet you ‘Radhe, Radhe’. Wherever you look, on the tree, on the wall, everywhere you will see it’s written ‘Radhe’. So, it is a reminder; wherever you go you will see that there is a picture of the Divine, people will say, ‘Radhe, Radhe’. You will see it’s written on the wall as a reminder always that you should never forget about the Divine whatever you do, wherever you are, and that He is with you.
Q: How can you ask forgiveness from someone that you have wronged if it is not possible to see that person again?
This is a question very often people ask, if you would have, you would – let’s say by any means that person has died and you have that regret inside of you, you know, and you feel that you should have asked for forgiveness when that person was here alive or you can’t meet that person again. The main thing is that you have to have that sincere regret inside of you. If you have that sincere regret that, ‘I should have asked forgiveness’, know that one thing is you have been forgiven.
Firstly, one thing is that you have to learn to forgive yourself. Because when you make a mistake, you may say, yes, that person is wrong or ‘x, y, z’ is wrong, but you are also part of that. That’s why you feel this deep regret inside of you, you know, even if you say, ‘Yes, I should have asked for forgiveness, but that person is not there.’ But first, you have to learn to forgive yourself, because one hand doesn’t make a sound by itself. It takes two hands to make sound. So, a mistake is also partly that you yourself have made it. So, learn to find that forgiveness inside of you. Forgive yourself, be at peace. Wherever that person is, whether alive or not, whether you can face that person or not, if you learn to forgive yourself, you will be free from that. Like that, automatically forgiveness will happen.
Often you see people go around and ask – you know, they make a mistake and then they go and ask forgiveness, ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ They don’t really mean it. There is no power in that. Because, you see, the tongue just talks; there are no bones in the tongue, so it’s very difficult to control it! So, people just say, ‘I’m sorry’, then they go on doing the same things. Then there is no real forgiveness. Because when real forgiveness happens, you feel it inside of you. When you sincerely regret, you feel that pain inside of you, know one thing: you have been forgiven. Due to that pain that you feel, due to the sincerity that you are feeling inside of you, your atma has forgiven yourself. And automatically when you have forgiven yourself, God will forgive you. And the person themselves, whether the person is alive or not, from wherever the atma is, that forgiveness will come to you also. And this is the sincereness in asking firstly, ‘Am I really forgiven by that person, has that person forgiven me?’ First learn to forgive yourself.
Q: What is the difference between having faith that everything is taken cared of by guru and God and the expectation that everything is being taken cared of by guru and God?
Look, when you have faith, you know that whatever you do, the grace will be with you and it will be fine however it is. There will be no deception, there will be no feeling of sadness that it has not been like that. You know that, ‘Yes, I have faith guru and God know best and whatever they give me I accept it.’
Whereas when you have expectations, the difference is that you say, ‘Yes, you know, I believe guru and God is doing it, but it must be the way I want it to be.' And when that doesn’t happen the way you expect it to be, you will feel lots of sadness, you will feel lots of frustration and anger. So, all this comes with expectation.
Lord Krishna Himself said that the main things why the mind can’t be calm is because of expectation. When people have expectations, they put their needs first. They don’t really trust. They don’t really. They say, ‘Yes, we trust in guru, we trust in God’, but they don’t really. They say, ‘Yes, we trust, but it has to be how I want it to be.’ So, this is where frustration and unhappiness, anger, arise. So, when you trust really guru and God, whatever comes there is complete acceptance of it. And when there is complete acceptance, you will see that everything will flow.
Q: Knowing that we live on the same time on Earth as our dear satguru, we sometimes may feel so blessed that it feels as if we are liberated already. Is it that or is it that actually it is our time where we have to work the hardest for our liberation?
No. You see, when you are living and you have that grace to be with the satguru here in this plane, in this time, it’s a great blessing. It’s not that you have to work very hard, but you have to just learn to listen. Very often it is very difficult to listen to what the guru is asking, because it is very simple. You try to complicate life and try to take life for granted, try to take that relationship also for granted, you know, but it is not in every life that you have that opportunity. And if God has given you that opportunity, consider yourself really blessed. Not just consider yourself blessed and sit around, but consider yourself blessed and do everything possible to attain that grace, because the guru has something. The guru holds a treasure which is very dear to him and he is ready to give it when he perceives that you are ready.
In Chapter 11, verse 4 of the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna prayed to Lord Krishna. Even in Chapter 3 he said, ‘If You see that I am ready, please, grant me the vision of who You are.’ Chapter 11, verse 4 he said that, ‘I don’t know how ready I am. I don’t know whether I can handle what I want to see, but You know, You hold that grace, and if You think that I am ready, if You see that I am making my effort to be ready and You see that I am worthy of it, please, grant me that.’ The same thing, the atma is asking the Guru also. You are here at that moment. It is a blessed moment we are living, but, ‘I have to make myself ready to receive it.’
Otherwise, I have seen many people who through the grace of God, through many karmas from the past, through their samskaras from past, through the grace which they have done through many lives, they have taken shelter at the Feet of their guru, but they could not handle the guru’s grace. So, what you have to pray: to make yourself ready by really study the teachings which the guru has given. Really this is a time where it is calling you to know about your path itself. Get a deeper understanding of why you are on this path, why Bhagavan has called you to be, firstly, a Vaishnava. Above all, why are you a human being? What does that mean to be a human being? And that’s what it is important.
First, before you accept your Divine Self, you have to learn to accept your human self. If you can’t accept your human self, how can you handle your Divine Self? When you look at your human side, you see all the flaws, you see all the negativity about yourself, you focus upon that, you don’t want to change, so how can you accept your Divine Self? So, the guru is waiting for when these things get transformed. When you are ready to handle something greater, then the guru will give it to you. And this is the grace that the guru holds, you know. And this is the greatest treasure that he holds; to make you ready to receive something more which you can understand with the mind itself.
Jai Gurudev, everybody!
Sending you all much love and a big hug!