Live Q&A from Vrindavan
Shree Giridhar Dham Ashram, 23 March 2020
In today's Satsang via livestream, Paramahamsa Vishwananda continued to answer questions from people around the world. In this one, the questions included: handling desires, self-worth, balancing spiritual life with duties, and the inferiority complex.
Jai Gurudev, everybody!
You have said it is possible to get rid of desires, but is it possible to get rid of the remembrance of these desires and enjoying them?
Well, you see, something that you don’t appreciate, you don’t keep thinking about. When you don’t like something, easily you forget about it. So, desires are also the same. You have desire inside of you, and whether it gets fulfilled or not, to keep remembering it you make yourself miserable.
Very often people take life for granted. The good things in their life they easily forget about. There is no effort to do that. But then they languish behind thoughts that are not to be fulfilled and they keep hanging onto that.
I don’t understand why people have to really make themselves miserable and unhappy about a certain thoughts of a desire. It’s true that desires are there, so some of the desires will be fulfilled and some not. Why it is not being fulfilled? It’s because you don’t need it in your life. If you needed it in your life, once it’s fulfilled then you take it for granted and then you move forward, but still you become unhappy. Your nature is not to be unhappy. Your nature is to be happy. If you keep bringing these thoughts…because thoughts are like that; if you allow yourself to think, you allow yourself to bring past memories when they are not even there. If you sit and analyse yourself, you will see that most of the times when we talk about unfulfilled desires, the thought of it itself: you bring it.
So, don’t invite these "uninvited guests". Once these uninvited guests have gone, let it be there. You don’t need to bring them back and back again and make yourself miserable and unhappy.
Why do we feel so unworthy of the Love of God?
You see, we say God is Love, but can we handle this love? When we take, for example, the saints, they consider themselves unworthy of this love due to their humility. But very often we have a certain notion that we are unworthy for the Love of God because of the upbringing.
Very often in the West they tell you you have to fear God. They don’t tell you to love God. Tell me which religion tells you to love God and have a relationship with Him? When we talk about religion, we see that most of the religions tell you to fear Him, you must fear Him, and when you fear Him, you can really bow down to Him and really serve Him. It’s not true!
God is this bliss, this ball of Love; how can you fear Him? You can embrace this Love and enjoy it, but when you start thinking about it, of course, due to your upbringing you find it difficult to love God because you see all your negativity. The mind’s process is like this.
When we talk about Love, the first thing that arises inside the mind is all your negative qualities about yourself, and when your negative qualities arise inside of you, you see your unworthiness, ‘So, how can I be worthy of something which is Supreme, something which is beyond?’ But the whole essence of who you are is that you are a parcel of that Love of God. This is your true nature, whether you want it or not; your atma in its quality is that parcel of that Divinity inside of you. So, your Self itself is a part of that Love. Whether you think of yourself being worthy or not, you ARE a parcel of that Love.
You know, in Chapter 14 at the beginning, Bhagavan Krishna said to Arjuna, Chapter 14, verse 1, ‘I’m giving you again and again this knowledge by which the sages attain the perfection and at the end of their life they come to Me.’
You see, again and again, He keeps repeating Himself about that knowledge of who you are. You are the atma, you are a parcel of that Divine Love. Here, when He said about the sages, He is not talking about the old men with long beards. He is talking about those who have that knowledge of how to detach from the finite reality and attach to the infinite reality, so He is continuously reminding Arjuna of that. Continuously life reminds us that we are a parcel of that Divinity, we are a parcel of that Love and we have to do everything to detach from the limited self and attain the unlimited Self.
As long as you think of yourself being finite, you will be limited. But when we talk about Love, Love is infinite, Love is beyond any limit, and this is who you are, and when you identify yourself with that Love, you become that Love itself. It’s not that Krishna said, ‘At the end of this life, then you attain Me’. No! You see, when we analyse life itself, death is constantly happening. We were once a child. When that childhood is dead, adulthood takes place. When adulthood disappears, old age takes place. When old age disappears, death comes. So, there is death at each stage of your life, you know. For example, for a mother: for a woman to become a mother, the death of virginity must be there. For a bachelor to be in grihastha, the death of bachelorhood happens. So, in life you have death in many stages.
So, it’s not about when you leave this body itself only that you are worthy to praise God and to be worthy to love Him. Then what’s the use of it, you know? He has given you this physical body to take full and maximum advantage of, to build your relationship with Him, and He has deemed you worthy of that. That’s why He has given you that body. But what are you doing with that? You are sitting on your pity self and crying, saying, ‘Oh, I’m not worthy of this, I am not worthy of that.’ No, you are worthy! He has made you worthy! He has called you. How can you be not worthy? So, change that perception of saying that you are not worthy of the Love of God, because you are fully worthy of it. That’s why He has given you, that’s why He has called you.
How can we balance our spiritual life with our daily life with duties, because it seems to me that if one prevails, the other part of our life suffers a decline? Is this true?
It’s not true at all. You see, this is a misconception that very often spiritual people have. They say, ‘When we become spiritual, we have to let go of our daily duty and fully focus on the spiritual path.’ Which is not true! Every part of your life is spiritual. Whatever you do in your daily life, in what attitude you are doing it, becomes your spiritual path. When you go on your spiritual path, it doesn’t mean that you should stop working. You should work, but it is the attitude with which you are doing your duty that is very important.
On the battlefield, when Arjuna was crying and complaining that he didn’t want to fight, Arjuna gave Krishna many excuses to run away; did Lord Krishna tell him to run away? No, He didn’t. What did He say? He said, ‘Look, if you run away, you will go to hell.’ This is very important to understand: if one runs away from one’s duty in the outside reality, from what you have been given in the outside world, you will go to hell. So, here He is saying to Arjuna that by running away from one’s duty which nature has provided for you, you will suffer.
Very often because people become spiritual, they say, ‘Oh, my job is not good.’ They find many excuses for not doing the job that they have been doing. Of course, if your job is killing animals and all that stuff, of course, that is questionable. But, in reality, He doesn’t ask you to change anything in your life. What you have to do is incorporate Him into what you are doing. It’s not about running away from one’s duty. It’s about loving it and really seeing it as a grace of God that He has given you an opportunity to work in whatever field you are, for Him. So, like that you will not change your daily routine. Like He said to Arjuna, ‘If you run away from that duty, you will go to hell. If you do that duty, also you will go to hell.’ But if both mean go to hell, how would that be possible?
Then He said, ‘Let your mind and intellect be upon Me.’ So, wherever you are, incorporate the Divine by chanting His Name, by thinking about Him. I don’t ask you to think 24 hours of Him. He knows that it is not possible, but at least a little bit of time. You have time to gossip, you have time to call your beloved one, you have time for so many things, but find a few minutes from time to time to just chant His Divine Name inside of you. You don’t need to chant it out loud. Think about Him, connect with Him, find an excuse, go to the toilet, sit down, meditate upon Him.
You see, you find many excuses to do so many things in life, but try to find excuses also to incorporate your spiritual path into your daily life. There is no need to run away to caves. It’s not a time for that and also in ancient times it was not meant for everybody to do that. Only the sages were doing that. Those ones at that time – the sages with the long beards I’m talking about – you know when you sit in the cave there are no shaving things around so naturally your beard will grow! So, make your life your spirituality.
In scriptures many stories reveal how people with big egos have become saints or have got liberation after their ego has been removed or crushed. My question is: what to do for people who have the opposite problem, the so-called inferiority complex. What is their recommended path?
In-fear-iority complex. Again, it is very similar to the first or second question you asked, about being unworthy. Very often we self-judge ourselves because it’s easy. We say, ‘Yes, love everybody.’ It’s easy to love everyone, you know, because when you say you love everybody, nobody really comes and asks you; you don’t need to really engage yourself, you just say, ‘Yeah, I love everybody.’ But when you come to the point of loving yourself, you perceive all your flaws. Then you focus upon that. You say, ‘No, I can’t.’
You know how many people I have met who say, ‘I can’t love myself, but I can love others’? How can you love somebody else when you don’t have it for yourself? Love of oneself means learning to accept yourself how you are. You see? When you learn to accept yourself, you will see that your life itself will change into an adventure. So, this acceptance means to accept the way you are, firstly. It doesn’t mean that you can’t change. It doesn’t mean that you should not change for the best, no, I am not saying that. What I am saying is to learn to accept you how you are, which means love yourself. With that inferiority complex, because you are focusing so much on the tamasic level of yourself, the more you concentrate on that, the more you will not grow. Concentrate on something positive, change the way you think about yourself. That will help you to rise above.
When we look at all the sages, the saints – you were saying about the saints and their lives – one of the most beautiful saints that we tell the story of, is Shabari. Shabari was like a tribal chief daughter. On her marriage day, she ran away, and she ran away looking for her guru. She travelled everywhere, but no one would accept her because they knew that she was a tribal girl. She ran away on the night of her marriage just to avoid the sacrifice of many goats and cows and so on because of her. This was a tribal thing they were doing at that time. So, to avoid that, she ran away. Finally, she went to many ashrams. The ashrams would not take her because they were scared if they took her, her parents would come and destroy the ashram and fight and everything.
Finally one sage accepted her and her daily life changed from where she had such a beautiful life, now her daily life was only to carry water and look after the welfare of the ashram. Nothing else. So, time goes on. Then it was time for the guru to ascend, so she was crying and said, ‘Guruji, the only thing I want is to serve You and I want to be with You.’
And Guru Maharaj knew about and said to her, ‘No, your life purpose and why you have been born here, is to meet the Lord, to serve Him. He will come. He has incarnated on Earth in the form of Lord Rama. He will come and give you darshan.’
You see, like that, often we don’t realise the greatness of being born as a human being, especially when God has given one that grace to know His Name. Shabari didn’t know Rama. She knew only the Name of Rama. And that’s what she was worshipping throughout her life. She was worshipping only the Name of Rama. And every day she would wait for Rama to come. She would pick up the berries from the trees, she would prepare the flowers and the place where Rama would sit. Only that Name of Rama was everything for her.
It so happened that one day that she went to get some water in the river and as she was going, because she was considered being from a low caste, the sages who were around were disturbed by her making noise while taking the water from the river. So, one of the sages threw a stone at her. The stone hit her leg and some of her blood oozed out into the river. When the blood touched the river, the whole river became bloody. She ran away crying because she felt so bad. So, when the sages saw that, they said, ‘Oh, her contaminated blood has contaminated the whole river!’ So, all the sages who were around gathered and started chanting lots of mantras, all these things, to purify the water. Nothing happened.
Finally as Rama was in the forest, in exile, they heard about Rama and said, ‘Lord Rama is Purushottama, He is the Supreme Lord Himself who has incarnated.’ They went and requested of Him, ‘Please grace the place and purify the river.’ So, Rama came with Lakshmana. When Rama and Lakshmana arrived, they asked Rama, ‘Please, put Your Divine Lotus Feet into the water.’
Rama said, ‘Okay, fine.’ He stepped into the water. Nothing happened. So, then Rama said, ‘What shall I do?’
They said, ‘Maybe You should take a dip in the water?’
He said, ‘My feet have not changed that water, do you think by taking a dip it will change something?’
They said, ‘Please, please, please, please!’
So, Rama took a dip in the water, and nothing happened.
They were very insistent, these sages. They asked Rama, ‘Please, can You gargle some water inside of Your mouth and spit it again into the water. Maybe that will change the water of the river.’
Lakshmana opposed that idea, and said, ‘How can you say that to my brother?’
But, Rama said, ‘Okay, let’s fulfil their wishes. You know, they are sages, you know, let’s fulfil their wish.’ So, Rama took some water, gargled, spit it into the river, and nothing happened.
They asked Him, ‘What should be done?’ They were worried. Then they told Rama the story.
When Rama heard about Shabari – you see, that connection between the beloved Lord and the beloved, the lover and the beloved, it’s unique. That longing – which Shabari had throughout all these years from she was young until now as an old lady – that longing for Rama had not changed. Bhagavan, when He heard this name of Shabari, He was filled with bhav and He was jumping around and said, ‘Please, bring me to Shabari!’
They said, ‘How can we bring You to this low lady’s place? She is from a very low caste, very…you know, old lady, bad, how can we bring You?’
He said, ‘No, I need to see her!’
So, they said, ‘Okay.’ They asked for Shabari, and sent a message to her. So, when Shabari heard that her beloved Lord was nearby, she ran like a mad woman towards her beloved Lord. As she was running, a little dust from her feet fell into the water. The moment the dust touched the water, the whole river was purified.
This is very important to see that. She had considered herself unworthy, but Bhagavan has never considered her unworthy. You people consider yourself inferior, but God has given you this physical body, He has made you a devotee, He has given you His Divine Name because He considers you important in His eyes.
When Shabari reached Lord Rama, she fell down at the Feet of Rama and Rama was so delighted to see Shabari.
The sages could not understand what happened; how come the dust of the feet of Shabari had purified the whole river when the mantra and their knowledge and their so-called devotion, could not? Even Lord Rama Himself could not! So, they asked Lord Rama what it is. Lord Rama explained that when they hit Shabari, the blood which had fallen into the water was not Shabari’s blood. It actually was His blood from His heart and the dust of such a devotee had purified that blood. Rama could not purify it Himself. But the simple dust from this devotee herself had purified it.
So, like that, God has seen something deeper inside of you. Let your mind be absorbed into that parcel of divinity which is inside of you, that worthiness of His Love inside of you. Whether you consider yourself inferior or superior, it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that your mind is absorbed into His Divine Name.
Jai Gurudev, everybody!