THE INDIA ETERNAL
Q1) Swami! India (Bharat) is the land of religion and spirituality. All the incarnations have taken birth in Bharat. What is the reason behind this?
Q2) Swami! We find people of every religion following a specific sacred text and a particular path. But in Sanatana Dharma, we have numerous paths, texts, and procedures such as dualism, qualified non-dualism and non‑dualism, the nine paths of devotion, the six Darsanas, the four Vedas, numerous Sastras, and so on. How are we to understand these and practice the principles of Sanatana Dharma?
Q3) Swami! Muslims go to a mosque every Friday to pray (namaj ), and Christians go to a church every Sunday. Then, how is it that Hindus do not meet in a temple like other religious groups?
Q4) Swami! Since God is omnipresent and omniscient, do we need temples and should we go on pilgrimage to holy places like Shirdi, Puttaparti, Tirupati, and so on?
Q5) Swami! Why did the ancient rishis, sages and saints, choose forests to undertake tapas or penance? Why did they prefer solitude?
Q6) Swami! We don't find any understanding between any two persons, but only mutual bickering and differences. We hardly find any unity or brotherhood between man and man. What is the reason?
Q7) Swami! Hindus are criticised for worshipping idols, trees, etc. Many think that this is all superstition and blind faith. What do you feel about this, Swami?
Q8) Swami! Kindly tell us what is to be done in our country now?
Q9) Swami! Kindly tell us about Vasishtha and Visvamitra the two sages who are very prominent in the Ramayana?
Q10) Swami! Among the sages, how is Valmiki noteworthy?
Q11) Swami! We heard about King Dasaratha, the yoga called `putrakameshti', and so on. Kindly tell us something about King Janaka.
Q12) Swami'. We hear that Adi Sankara died at a young age. What could be the reason?
Q13) Swami! Tyagaraja, very well known as a devotee of Rama, composed kr tis (hymns in praise of the Lord) which are sung even today. What is special about them?
Q14) Swami! Right now, we are in Kodaikanal. Tamilnadu is known for its renowned devotees. We often hear about Manikya Vachakar and Tiruvalluvar. We want to hear from you about these two illustrious sons of Tamilnadu.
Q15) Swami! God is attributeless. He is above sattvika, rajasika, and tamasika qualities. But, we are bound by these three attributes. How can we realise God, then?
Q16) Swami! We pray to you to tell us about the two aspects of God, with form and without it?
Q17) Swami! Scriptures declare that God is omnipresent; God is everywhere. Kindly explain this aspect of Divinity? How are we to understand this?
Q18) Swami! When the same divinity is present in everyone, why should differences exist? Divinity being the same, why are we so different from each other?
Q19) Swami! It is said that God is hr dayavasi, dweller in our heart. Is it the same heart, which is on the left side in on our chest?
Q20) Swami! Can divinity be probed into? Is it possible to know it by reasoning?
Q21) Swami! What should we do to receive God's grace?
Q22) Swami! Why are we not the recipients of Divine grace?
Q23) Swami! Our fortune is immeasurable, how many people get this opportunity! This is all your grace. But, how are we to preserve this?
Q24) Swami! How does your Grace affect our destiny and our prarabdha, past karma?
Q25) Swami! Can we be sure of God's grace if we do sadhana regularly?
Q26) Swami! We are here in your presence because of your infinite grace and mercy. Your blessings have brought us all here. We bask in the sunshine of bliss bestowed on us by your Divine dars’ an , spars'an and sambhas an. Do we still need merit from past lives and the samskaras ?
Trends in Society
Q27) Swami! Man is not behaving in the way expected of him. He is losing his very human nature. How should he transform himself at this juncture? How about society, if he remains like this, Swami?
Q28) Swami! May be due to the impact of the Age of Kali, we don't find in these days, any understanding among the members of a family. Instead, we find differences in many families, even conflicts, complexes, competitions; and sometimes matters become so bad as to drag a family to the courts. Please suggest a way out of this sad plight, Swami!
Q29) Swami! Today the whole world is strife‑torn. We hear of racial discrimination, class conflict, bloodshed, war, and so on. Kindly give some message to the present day world.
Q30) Swami! In reality, the entire human race is one and the same, its basic core being divinity. Why then do we not react in the same way? Why do we think and act differently?
Q31) Swami! We hear the words, “rajan iti” and "rajakiyam." Are these, in fact, one and the same? How should we name what we see around us?
Q32) Swami! We have people of varied temperaments, views, ideas, outlooks, ambitions and interests. Conflict becomes inevitable. Each one wants things to happen in his own way. What should we do then?
Q33) Swami! When we say, `men and women are equal', why then do we find differences and discrimination between the two sexes?
Q34) Swami! We hear many funny statements in present day society. People speak about Women's Liberation Movement. Some say that women have not been given their due place since times immemorial. They complain that there has always been discrimination on grounds of gender and never was a fair deal given to a woman. Women now fight for equal rights with men. We pray to you to describe to us the role of women in our society?
Q35) Swami! A change is very much needed in every field of our activity. Almost all walks of public life are nowadays polluted, disgusting and disappointing. How is change to be brought about?
Q36) Swami! We are always in a hurry. We have to rush to so many places to catch up and to keep pace with time and work. In this type of fast life, is it possible to be spiritual? Can we hurry here in the spiritual field too?
Q37) Swami! The growing trend today is to earn more and more money. Ego and pride are growing beyond control. Would you kindly give us the solution for this trend?
Q38) Swami! In an organisation where we have to interact with people, most often we come across people criticising each other and blaming each other. This is very frustrating, and divides people into groups. Sincere persons become frustrated because of uncharitable criticism. It looks like character assassination and mud slinging. How are we to take this evil prevalent everywhere?
Q39) Swami! As we think of the way in which our life is going, we find it confusing and disheartening. We also doubt if it is going in the right direction or not. You are our only refuge. Kindly guide us.
Q40) Swami! How should we conduct ourselves socially? What are social norms?
Q41) Swami! Many people feel that they are too busy to have rest. How, then, is one to take rest?
Q42) Swami! We worry a lot. Sometimes we fall sick also due to worry. What is worry? Please tell us how not to worry?
Q43) Swami! Nowadays many educated people waste their time, money and energy in towns and cities. Bhagawan, we are eager to know your views on this subject.
Q44) Swami! When we are not happy with the type of education and the money we receive, is it right to feel that they are useless? Should we give up these two? What is the way out?
Q45) Swami! Our country, Bharat, is famous politically for its secular constitution. But, political parties interpret "secularism" in a variety of ways. Some offer distorted comments. I pray for your clarification.
Q46) Swami! Today a number of international organisations are striving for peace. It looks as though the guiding principles of these organisations are not focused properly. How then is peace to be achieved?
Q47) Swami! In this modern age, many of us consider our age‑old religious rituals like yajnas and yagas meaningless, ridiculous and outdated. Why has this happened?
Q48) Swami! Kindly instruct us in the main principles making for progress in spheres such as Science, Politics, Ethics, Religion, and Spirituality.
Q49) Swami! Many speak of culture? What is the value of culture?
Q50) Swami! Have people come closer to God in this modern world?
Q51) Swami! How can we come up in life?
Q52) Swami! Kindly tell us how to achieve greatness in life?
Q53) Swami! What is an ideal government?
Q54) Swami! This gentleman is a famous journalist. Many say that he reports well for the newspapers.
Q55) Swami! What is essential for us now?
Q56) Swami! We go to colleges and universities for studies and acquire knowledge. We take up some employment thereafter. We draw our salaries, but, the pity is whomsoever we meet starts saying, "I don't have peace of mind". Why is this so? What is to be done?
Q57) Swami! Many of us are helpless when we interact with youngsters. They often say, "Don't interfere with Bhagawan: our freedom. We are independent and act in the way we choose." We find it difficult to convince them about what we think is right, and to guide them in the right direction. What should we do in the present circumstances?
Q58) Swami! What is the ideal ambience of a classroom?
Q59) Swami! Today we find imitation in all spheres of life. In particular, this imitation is very common among youngsters. What does Swami say about it?
Q60) Swami! Today many people, particularly youngsters, are wasting their time. Many are lazy, and idle away their precious time. So, in spite of rich resources, the country is not progressing. Kindly suggest a cure for this malady.
Q61) Swami! Everywhere we hear people speaking of `brain drain'. Statistics indicate that from year to year the number of educated people going abroad is increasing. Is this good?
Q62) Swami! What are your comments on brain drain? Many highly educated professionals like engineers, doctors, computer experts plan to go abroad and settle there for better and higher prospects of income and placement in life. This is the cause for worry in many circles, both government and private. What do you feel about this?
Q63) Swami! Modern youth, in the name of generation gap, are not prepared to pay heed to their elders. Advise and give us your message.
Q64) Swami! We have on one side our parents pulling us towards the world and on the other, the divine teachings we have been fortunate enough to receive from you. We wonder which of the two will dominate and influence us.
Q65) Swami! We are progressing in Science and Technology. At the same time, our modern youth are not able to face life's problems courageously. They are depressed by the slightest problem. They are not able to bear any suffering with patience, and easily take to drink and drugs. What is Swami's message to our youth?
Q66) Swami! You seem to be very much upset and annoyed when anything goes wrong in respect of discipline, educational standards and personality development in general. Swami! You come down heavily upon students when you see their slackness in coming up to your expectations and openly reprimand the guilty in public. It is terrifying to be a witness to this sort of a thing. I get fear‑stricken when I think of you, Swami, in that mood. How are we to reconcile ourselves to such a situation and take it positively?
Q67) Swami! Today when we meet students and ask them what they are doing, we hear them say that they are in the computer line or doing an M. Tech. Course. We want to know Swami's views on this craze for computer studies?
Q68) Swami! What are the qualities of a leader?
Q69) Swami! We often wonder at the way you instruct and advise your students. We don't think that we, as parents, can ever do this in the same manner as you do. You are great and benevolent, offering free education to our children. You also teach them how they should conduct themselves as responsible citizens in society. Your love excels the love of even a thousand mothers. Your love is an ocean of fathomless depth. Some of the M.B.A. boys of your Institute of Higher Learning are here. Would you please give them a message?
Q70) Swami! Listening to your spiritual elucidation of worldly studies, we are lost in wonder. Our Swami, who brings into the open the values of several disciplines, is the World Teacher. We learn that Swami had given a message to the M.B.A. students. If you consider us fit to receive it, kindly describe the salient points to us.
Q71) Swami! We don't understand what wisdom actually is. Isn't the knowledge we gain in our educational institutions wisdom? If not, how are we to acquire it easily?
THE OUTER DOOR
Q72) Bhagawan! Should we follow any discipline or regulation in our food habits? Is that necessary for our spiritual pursuit? Sai devotees all over the world are vegetarians because of your teachings. This is amazing. We have none today to tell us matters relating to our food habits. Kindly direct us.
Q73) Swami! In your organisation or your institutions, workers, students, teachers, devotees and doctors wear white dress always. Why? What is the reason?
Q74) Swami! Today Sai devotees are spread all over the world. They range from Heads of Governments to ordinary citizens. As your devotees, they enjoy special respect and esteem in society. What is the key to this?
Q75) Swami! We visit temples religiously. We go on pilgrimage once in a while. We continue to do our rituals and religious acts. But there is no cognisable change in our life‑pattern. Why is this so, Swami?
Q76) Swami! Why do we differ? Why does our behaviour vary? What is the root cause behind these differences? How are we to cultivate ideal and good ways in life?
Q77) Swami! Is it necessary for us to observe austerity and follow discipline only inside an asram or in the society outside as well?
Q78) Swami! Some people pose challenges quite unwarranted. Pious and noble people are disturbed and agitated in such situations? What should we do with those who challenge us unnecessarily?
Q79) Swami! We are engrossed in worldly, problems and responsibilities. We get deeply involved in selfcentred activities. Yet, we pray to God. In a sense, our minds are fully occupied with mundane thoughts. What is to be done?
Q80) Swami! Today, Sai glory brought almost everybody from all parts of the world to your feet. People from many countries, whose names we had never heard before, are coming to you. People of almost all linguistic groups of the world are here. We have representation from all walks of life. It is unfortunate that we, who have been here with you, find ourselves less devoted to you than your overseas devotees. We see them practice your teachings with much more sincerity of heart than us! Why is this happening?
Q81) Swami, devotees come from far off places like Argentina, Philippines, Guatemala, Russia and many other countries from all over the world. Name a country, and its representation is there at Prasanti Nilayam. They go out of this place with heavy hearts, not able to leave you. How should they take it and what exactly do you want them to do in the circumstances?
Q82) Swami! It is our common experience that some of us are quite good for sometime, devoted, disciplined and dutiful especially when we are here in your proximity. Then, why do we change when we are somewhere else? What happens to all that we learn here? Why do we lose sacred qualities like sincerity, devotion and steadfastness when we are away? Kindly pardon our mistakes and let us know the causes of our downfall?
Q83) Swami? We are here by your sheer grace and mercy. You say that you spend three‑fourths of your time on your boys. What do you want us to do?
Q84) Swami! How can we develop confidence in ourselves?
Q85) Swami! I am interested in philosophy. Do you advise me to study philosophy?
Q86) Swami! How are we to believe all this is happening everyday in Kodaikanal? Can we estimate our good luck that is responsible for the golden opportunity of sitting at your lotus feet and listening to five discourses a day? How are we to retain this privilege?
Q87) Swami! We have on one side the most invaluable spirituality while on the other, we have also friends and relatives diverting our attention towards the world. No doubt, it is our fault to pay heed to their words. Yet, we face the conflict. What is to be done?
Q88) Swami! It is most unfortunate that there is no tangible change in our lifestyle though we have been here and listening to your divine discourses over the years. We do not know the reason why it is so. Kindly show us the way.
Q89) Swami! Because of wrong direction in our thinking, we feel dejected restless and often fail in our attempts. Kindly show us the way out of it.
Q90) Swami! Now we understand that we should also have such intense faith in God. Naturally, our experience will be proportionate to the depth of our faith. Swami! Does God also respond commensurate with the intensity of our faith?
Q91) Swami! In this Age of Kali, devotion, faith and steadfastness are on the decline. Not only this, we often find people making fun of devotees and leading a life opposed to religious norms. This is a very sad state of affairs. What do you want us to do in these circumstances?
Q92) Swami! In spite of a long period of desiring to be devoted to God, devotion somehow does not grow as intense as it should. What is essential to develop devotion of the magnitude and intensity expected of a true devotee?
Q93) Swami! We beg you to suggest to us a spiritual path that can be followed in the present circumstances. The situation around us seems to be dispiriting. Kindly give us the direction?
Q94) Swami! At times it appears that others may influence and lead us to a total change in our life style, making us ask ourselves the question, `Why should not we be like others? For what should we adopt this special type of living?' I am afraid we may change! What is to be done now?
Q95) Swami! You have complete faith in us. But, our faith in you is wavering: It is not consistently steady and deep. Why is this so?
Q96) Swami! We are dissatisfied and unhappy when our desires are not fulfilled. Why should it happen to devotees?
Q97 Swami! We often hear the word srti. Does this word have any bearing upon the life of the ordinary man? This sr ti , is it only for scholars? For us, the common people, does it have any relevance?
Q98 Swami! We hear about pancak o s as the five sheaths, panca pran as, the five vital airs, and pancendriyas, the five organs. Do they cover our spirit, atma? Are they obstacles to atmic bliss? What exactly is their position and role in our body?
Q99 Swami! We come across words like manas, mind, buddhi, intellect, citta, consciousness, and aham kara, egoism. How are we to understand and correlate them? How do they differ from one another? It is our good fortune that Swami explains in simple terms ever so complex.
Q100) Swami! You stress cittas'uddhi, purification of our heart, but how is one to accomplish it?
Q101) Swami! Now it is clear that cittas'uddhi is lacking in us due to our bad thoughts and bad deeds. We have certain weaknesses, lapses, bad qualities and thoughts. As you have said unless we get over them, cittas'uddhi cannot be attained. The mind gets polluted very often. How is one to control bad qualities?
Q102) Swami! Pranayama, breath control, some say, is important on the spiritual path. Would you please tell us about it?
Q103) Swami! It is said that we carry with us certain traits, vasanas of the past life. Is that true and how does it happen?
Q104) Bhagawan! How is it that we have vasanas, traits of the past life? We are born, we grow and die. The body is bound to weaken, wither, die and decay. How then are our features brought forward to the next life?
Q105) Swami! Three gunas or attributes such as rajas, tamas and sattva are said to bind man. Does a sattvika quality also bind man? Is that also a bondage?
Q106) Swami! We have many qualities ‑ tamasika, rajasika and sduvika Do they change at any time? How are we to ennoble ourselves? Sometimes these attributes may be responsible for conflicts with our colleagues in the office. What is to be done under these circumstances? Kindly give us a solution to this problem that we encounter everyday?
Q107) Swami! We hear of purusarthas, the four goals of life. How are we to achieve them?
Q108) Swami! What is it that we should have in order to deserve your prapti ?
Q109) Swami! What is illusion, maya? Kindly explain.
Q110) Swami! How are we to get over maya or illusion?
Q111) Swami! It is often said and felt that none escapes maya or illusion. Everyone falls a victim to the influence of maya. So, man is prone to delusion. Then Swami, a person who has known what maya is and has been out of maya, how is it that he gets into the trap again?
Q112) Swami! Illusion is a non‑atmic feeling or worldly approach. To identify myself with that which I am not is illusion. Truly speaking, the "I" we often speak of is in reality only atma. Nothing else. How is one to know this truth, to recognise and experience this truth? Kindly tell us about this Swami!
Q113) Swami! What is Vedanta?
Q114) Swami, do you view that the three schools of Vedanta philosophy like dualism, dvaita, qualified non‑dualism visistadvaita and non‑dualism advaita as contradictory to one another? Does one school advocate just the opposite of what the other says?
Q115) Swami! One cannot escape from the effects of fate or destiny. Things are pre‑ordained, and accordingly events happen in our life. This being inevitable, we suffer and face difficulties. Would you please tell us the way out of this?
Q116) Swami! Bhagavadgita wants us to give up the fruits of our actions, karmaphalaparityaga, both good and bad. Since we do good rarely, there is very little or none to offer you as the fruits of our good actions. We feel that it is not proper to offer evil or bad to you. What is to be done?
Q117) Swami! All the experiences, which are dual, are obtained due to our mind. Swami says `Mind is a mad monkey.' Pleasure and pain are both due to our mind. How are we to kill the mind (manonasanam), annihilate it?
Q118) Swami! Are there any who attained tadatmya with God? We hear that total identification with God is the highest step in spirituality.
Q119) Swami! You are referring to anubhavajnanam, practical knowledge. We think we know many things. Is this not wisdom?
Q120) Swami! When does a devotee get total experience?
Q121) Swami! What is wisdom?
QI22) Swami! In the big human body, where is the source of life located?
Q123) Swami! What are the main principles of life?
Parallels and Polarities
Q124) Swami! We hear two terms very often used by pandits: prakrti and purusa . Please explain these two terms?
Q125) Swami! Some worship Vishnu, while some others worship Siva. They don't see eye to eye with one another. There seems to be constant rivalry between these two groups, the Vaishnavites and the Saivites. Kindly tell us how these two groups of devotees of God can be united.
Q126) Swami! You repeatedly mention `love' in your discourses. Why? Don't we have prema, love, within us? If not, how are we to develop it? What is the difference between prema, love and móha, attachment?
Q127) Swami! What are brahma, and bhrama?
Q128) Swami! Some say that God has no form. But, we see devotees praying to idols in temples. The Concept of Avatar, incarnation of God, is of special significance in our land of Sanatana Dharma. But followers of other paths argue that God has no form. We pray to you to clarify this point.
Q129) Swami! We hear of cellular phones and remote controls everywhere. All the necessities of our worldly existence seem to be from Electronics and Computers, drawing the attention of everyone. How does the subject of Spirituality come into the picture here? Where is the time for it? As if this is not enough, we hear of nuclear tests also. How are we to co‑ordinate and integrate these diverse aspects? Kindly show us the way.
Q130) Swami! Are Science and Spirituality contradictory to each other? We are eager to know Swami's views on this subject.
Q131) Swami! We experience love in our worldly life. How is it different from spiritual love?
Q132) Swami! Today everyone speaks of Free Will. Do we really have Free Will?
Swami! In modern society, much knowledge is only half‑knowledge and partial understanding: We don't have a clear picture of anything. We want to know the difference between Free Will and Divine Will?
Q133) Swami! Kindly let us know the difference between devotion and surrender.
Q134) Swami! Out of the two, faith and love, which precedes the other? Is it true that we love if only we have faith or is it the other way round? Kindly tell us about it.
Q135) Swami! We meet many persons who say that they can believe only after going through an intimation of divinity, develop faith only after they experience. But, many also feel that only strong faith gives us that experience. So, which of the two precedes the other? Please tell us, Swami.
Q136) Swami! Is it proper to say that `I am in God'? Or should I say that `God is in me'? Which of the two is appropriate?
Q137) Swami! How is it possible not to be attached to the family and to rise above the feeling of `mine' and `thine'?
Q138) Swami! We come across certain terms used in philosophy and get very much confused. For instance, `conscience' and `consciousness'. Are they not synonyms? If not, what is the difference between the two? Scholars, when consulted, add to the confusion. I am at a loss to know what these two terms `conscience and consciousness' mean?
Q139) Swami! Almost all of us claim to have immense faith in and intense love for Bhagawan. But, we also notice at the same time a lot of ego and pride in our words and deeds. What is to be done then?
Q140) Swami! How can we differentiate thought from intuition?Q141) Swami! We are influenced by social, ethical, scientific, economic and political factors in life. I have one question to ask you. If I am wrong, kindly pardon me. We hear people speaking about equality and equanimity. How can we achieve them? Some groups in society claim to work towards these ideals. How are we to accomplish them?Q142) Swami! Excuse me for putting this question. We speak of `God' and `demigod'. Are both the same? Please clarify.
Q141) Swami! We are influenced by social, ethical, scientific, economic and political factors in life. I have one question to ask you. If I am wrong, kindly pardon me. We hear people speaking about equality and equanimity. How can we achieve them? Some groups in society claim to work towards these ideals. How are we to accomplish them?
Q142) Swami! Excuse me for putting this question. We speak of `God' and `demigod'. Are both the same? Please clarify.
Q143) Swami! Good company is very essential for everybody. Is it as significant as it is said to be?
Q144) Swami! What is your advice to employees, who struggle to make both ends meet and wish to follow Swami?
Q145) Swami! You are unique in explaining both the components of our life, the spiritual and the physical. You alone can do it in this world. It is most necessary that we mix with people, and sometimes even intimately. We have to interact with one another in our daily life. How are we to speak, and what is good for us to speak? Kindly tell us about this, Swami!
Q146) Swami! Is it not a help to a person if I point out his mistakes?
Q147) Swami! Now we understand that we are mistaken with regard to our knowledge. You have explained clearly what awareness is by saying that it is complete knowledge but not the knowledge of a bit or a piece of anything. How are we to cultivate this awareness?
Q148) Swami! Now it is clear that this sort of "awareness" is not available in our educational institutions, that awareness is so very important for all of us. You are the incarnation of God in the present day world. Why don't you, by your grace, grant us this boon of awareness?
Swami! Spiritual aspirants observe austerities like upavasa, fasting, jagarana, vigil and consider them spiritual. We request you to let us know their importance and inner significance.
Q149) Swami! Some want us to do puja, some suggest dhyana, meditation, a few prescribe parayana, reading of the scripture and some others assure us of good results from japa, repetition of God's name. I am confused about what to do and which one to follow. Kindly tell me the best among these ways to be followed in my sadhana ?
Q150) Bhagawan! In our namavali, series of names of God, we address God by so many names. We have more than a hundred names `astottara' and a thousand names ‘sahasranama. ' Of these various names, which is the best and the exact name of God?
Q151) Swami! The Gayatri mantra is being chanted over many ages here in this holy land. But, we hear that women are prohibited from chanting Gayatri and so are non brahmins. Should we chant that mantra at specific times and not at any time of our choice and convenience? What is the importance and significance of Gayatri mantra? We shall indeed be very fortunate to hear from your divine lips about this subject.
Q152) Swami! How should we adore you? How should we serve you? We are not able to decide. Kindly show us the way?
Q153) Swami! Kindly let us know how we can achieve anandaprapti, gaining permanent happiness, and removal of suffering dukhanivrtti.
Q154) Swami! What is to be renounced? What is to be sacrificed?
Q155) Swami! What is true happiness? How are we to acquire it?
Q156) Swami! We meet some people who are not happy, as if they are denied happiness once for all. Why should it happen like that?
Q157) Swami! You want us to look for unity in diversity. You expect us to be aware of unity in diversity. How is it possible?
Q158) Swami! Is sadhana a must in every day life? Is it compulsory?
Q159) Swami! Much emphasis is laid on sadhana, spiritual practice. But we find it tough to do any sadhana. What is the solution?
What is the role of a Guru on the spiritual path?
Q160) Swami! We feel that results are delayed in sadhana : We do not get quick results, at least according to our expectations. What do you say, Swami?
Q161) Swami! Are you pleased with our dhyana, meditation?
Q162) Swami, how many things should we study and learn in order to take to sadhana, spiritual path? How many details should we know from the sacred texts to start our sadhana ?
QI63) Swami! We are indeed very fortunate to have been listening to you. We are in a blissful state. You alone can answer our questions like this, out of your infinite compassion for us. None can do that. Swami, pardon me for this question. It is now very clear to us what enquiry is. But why am I unable to do so? Why is my mind not steady? Is it the nature of the mind to waver? Is it the natural quality of the mind to remain unstable and unsteady that prevents me from concentration on enquiry?
Q164) Swami! Now we understand from your divine discourse and by your grace how important devotion is. But, faith is the base of devotion. How is one to cultivate faith, Swami?
Q165) Swami! Why are some people not devoted to God? Devotion, it seems, has no place in their lives. Would you kindly tell us the reason?
Q166) Swami! Kindly give a direction to our spiritual pursuit? How should it continue? Like the flow of a river? What are the restrictions to be observed?
Q167) Swami! Why and how do we get evil feelings such as jealousy, envy, pride, egoism, attachment and so on. How are we to get away from these evil feelings?
Q168) Swami? How wonderfully in simple terms and in such an easy way you have explained profound things. What is the way to immortality, the ultimate goal of life?
Q169) Swami! How long does sensual pleasure last?
Q170) Swami! How are we to lead a detached life? We are hurt when our belongings, positions and wealth are withdrawn. Please tell us how not to be hurt though these are taken away from us.
Q171) Swami! How are services rendered today helpful in future?
Q172) Swami! Is there death? Are there a heaven and a hell? What is life?
Q173) Swami! Man's greatest fear is the fear of death. How is he to overcome this?
Q174) Swami! How can we realise the divinity within us?
Q175) Swami! How are we to attain bliss?
Q176) Swami! Many spiritual practices are suggested, such as, namasmarana singing the glory of God, dhyana, meditation, puja, etc. But, still total satisfaction is not derived out of any of them. We are not able to practise and follow continuously even one of them. Dissatisfaction over not being able to succeed and frustration about not getting the rewards for the little we do, are overpowering us. Why is it happening like this? Kindly show us the way.
Q177) Swami! Many spiritual paths are mentioned by diverse traditions and religions. How far can these paths lead to experiencing divinity? To what extent are their spiritual exercises to be adopted? From the description of some of these, success in one lifetime appears impossible. On the other hand, worry that no spiritual practice is undertaken plagues us. Is there no way out for us? Kindly grant us peace.
Q178) Swami! When we get wisdom based on our practical knowledge, discrimination and determination, will it stay with us permanently or is there any possibility of our losing it by chance leading us back to ignorance again?
Q179) Swami! Is bodily feeling an obstacle to spiritual progress? The bodily feeling doesn't seem to leave us anyway. Kindly tell us what we should do about it?
Q180) Swami! How are we to grasp easily the purpose and aim of life?
Q181) Swami! What is meant by `quest for truth'? How are we to go about this noble task?
Q182) Swami! Nowadays‑even devotion has become a matter of convenience and business, and is expected to yield quick results. Isn't this wrong in the path of devotion? Are cunning and craft fruitful in devotion?
Q183) Swami! Renunciation, we feel, is the most difficult thing. We have so many attachments and it is not easy to give them up. Kindly suggest an alternative!
Q184) Swami! Many different types of sadhana are suggested and prescribed for seekers and aspirants. They are very confusing and the situation of the present day seekers is that they have almost forgotten what a spiritual practice is. Most often having taken one path, many drop out or discontinue. Why? Kindly tell us the truth of the matter?
Q185) Swami! We are not able to meditate. We do not know the procedure even. What are we to do?
Q186) Swami! My mind is not steady. How am I to do bhajans? Without steadiness of the mind, what for are our bhajanas?
Q187) Swami! Some people are not putting in enough effort in matters of spirituality. They are lazy. Is it proper to be so?
Q188) Swami! Some say that satkarma, good action is enough; some argue that puja is essential, but some hold the view that atmavidya is the only way to liberation. How are we to coordinate and integrate these three? Are these not contradictory to each other? Why should these three be prescribed?
Q189) Swami! We want to know how a true experience can be communicated.
Q190) Swami! What is the cause of agitation? How are we to get rid of it? What changes are needed to be free from agitation?
Q191) Swami! We have been thinking that all things can be achieved through Self‑confidence. In your discourses today you mentioned Self‑protection and Self‑punishment also. Kindly explain these.
Q192) Swami! In the classes, we have learnt about self-awareness. How can our tendency be changed? Kindly teach us the appropriate technique.
Q193) Swami! How are we to realise the existence of divinity, and by what intimation are we to cognise it? Swami is pleased to refer to it in the charming phrase, "Constant‑Integrated‑Awareness". How are we to achieve this Awareness?
Q194) Swami! Very often, you keep referring to Human Values. Restoring these values is, indeed, a task this avatar had set for itself. Kindly enlighten us on how we may cognise their importance.
Q195) Swami! Why do we need human values? What is their role in our lives?
Q196) Swami! How can we acquire human values?
Q197) Swami! Now we understand that the defect of teaching lies somewhere in our schools, colleges and universities. Education is certainly not imparted in these institutions the way you are teaching. Where does the fault lie in our educational system?
Q198) Swami! To what extent are parents responsible for the degradation of values among children?
Q199) Swami! Price hike is a common experience everywhere. People find it difficult to make both ends meet because of spiralling prices. We are eager to know Swami's views on this issue of rising prices.
Q200) Swami! You know everything. It is very true that we as parents must be blamed. You have pointed out exactly where our mistakes lie. However, today we do not see children respecting their parents. They do not follow instructions. They are most ungrateful. Kindly tell us how children should conduct themselves in the presence of their parents and how they should treat them.
Q201) Swami! We know that we should cultivate good qualities right from our childhood. But, now, at this hour, how are we to cultivate them?
Swami! Many people emphasise the importance of character. But, they interpret character in many different ways. So, what exactly is character? Let us know from you.
Q202) Bhagawan! We are indeed very grateful to you for telling us so clearly and vividly the way we should view life in general. What are those essential qualities you wish we develop?
Q203) Swami! We have to work for our own moksha. But, how can we develop spiritually the basic human quality? Will spiritual awareness help us to be more human and ultimately experience the divine?
Q204) Swami! Our ancients gave top priority to satya, truth. It is not so now. Is satya so very important?
Q205) Swami! We do not have a precise idea of what dharma is and we are not able to conduct ourselves according to the little knowledge we have. Scholars expound dharma in a variety of ways. They designate one thing as dharma in one context and quite another in a different context. This adds to our confusion. Swami! Kindly explain dharma to us
Q206) Swami! Transformation of Man, how does this come about?
Q207) Swami! How are we to comprehend the three‑fold path, karma, bhakti and jnana ?
Q208) Swami! It is said that we cannot escape from the consequences of our actions. It means we are responsible for both the good and the bad we experience. The fruits of our actions, thus, are inescapable. Then, how does devotion to God help us? Why should we be devoted to God at all?
Q209) Swami! God is omnipresent. There is no place or object or person without divinity. All names as you have said are His . You have also said that all forms are His. In such a case how are we to comprehend, visualise and experience God.
Q210) Swami! God's creation is absolutely good. Then, from where do we get anything bad in life? When there is nothing bad in your creation how can there be bad actions at all? Or do you say that there are both good and bad in your creation? Kindly clarify this doubt.
Q211) Swami! Pardon me for asking this question. At an advanced stage in our life when somehow our memory fades, we will not be able to remember all that we should. What is to be done?
Q212) Swami! What are the sources of our peace, happiness, wealth, comforts and convenience? How do we get them? Why are some denied these most coveted things?
Q213) Swami! You tell us that we are not mrnmaya (dust thou art), but cinmaya (you are awareness). Therefore, we devotees, should know that we are not simply the body, but awareness. You also repeatedly say, "You are God." Then, when I am God, aham brahmasmi, why should I pray? Where is the need for all this spiritual exercise, then?
Q214) Swami! By now we have known about divinity very well. What more do we need in this world?
Q215) Swami! We do both good and bad deeds. Don't our good actions nullify the evil effects of our bad actions? Don't they at least balance each other? In other words, will our good actions cancel the bad effects of our misdeeds?
Q216) Swami! Is it not enough if we are good? How can we know God?
Q217) Swami! It is said that we can't escape from the consequence of our actions Why do we find some wicked people happy in spite of their treacherous deeds?
Q218) Swami! Since all forms and names are divine, what is the need then for the Lord to incarnate in human form?
Q219) Swami! We feel that life is going on and on. But it sounds purposeless and aimless. Kindly tell us about the purpose of life.
Q220) Swami! I find many people sad. People who are rich and in a high position also are sad. Why? Please tell us what we need to do ?
Q221) Swami! How am I to know that I am nitya, eternal? I undergo difficulties, I notice many changes all around. How can I feel that I am eternal?
Q222) Swami! God is the creator. He should have created only happiness. Why did he create difficulties and troubles? Pardon me, Swami, for putting this question.
Q223) Swami! From where has evil come? Do you say that the mind is the source? Then, what is it that transcends both, good and evil? How is evil to be eliminated? . Swami alone can explain this with felicity, None else can. Kindly enlighten us.
Scriptures and Baba
Q224) Swami! Kaikeyi had sent Rama to the wilderness on the eve of his installation as the crown prince. What was Rama's attitude to her? Generally, it would be one of hostility, wouldn't it?
Q225) Swami! Is it right on the part of Rama to kill Tataka, a woman?
Q226) Swami! Pardon me and treat this question as arising from the influence of modernity. Our society regards Sita and Rama as the ideal couple. Now, kindly do not get angry, Swami! Please! What happiness was there for this couple? Only troubles, for sure! How can this be ideal matrimony?
Q227) Swami! Millions revere the illustrious characters in the itihasas of Bharat, for these have stirred their hearts, inspired their devotion, and offered them refuge. When, taking pity on us, you explain these figures, they appear so novel, and awesome. They come alive, swaying our hearts with their nobility and majesty. I have a question. At the end of the Great War, Lakshmana proposes to Rama that they should settle down in the golden Lanka Kingdom saying, "Bharata is ruling Ayodhya, elder brother! Let us make this charming Lanka our permanent abode!" Is Lakshmana infatuated by riches and pomp?
Q228) Swami! I do not know anything about Satrughna, except listing him in the names of the brothers: Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna. Kindly narrate to us at least one episode concerning his character.
Q229) Swami! In the Ramayana, the role of Hanuman is very prominent. He is the best example of dasyabhakti, devotion of loyal servant, one of the nine paths of devotion. We are so fortunate to hear from you about the devotion of Hanuman. Would you kindly tell us how modern youngsters can emulate his example?
Q230) Swami! Ravana was the grandson of Pulastyabrahma. He was an ardent devotee of Siva. He was a great scholar in all the Sastras and the Vedas. Above all, he was a valorous warrior and an expert in archery. Such a person was reduced to total ruin. What could be the secret behind his fall?
Q231) Swami! Vibhishana was a rakshasa, yet he was a devotee of Rama. Kindly tell us about Vibhishana?
Q232) Swami! The part played by women in the great epic, the Ramayana is very prominent. They have been all ideals for womankind even to this day. Swami! You are matchless in explaining subtle things like this. Would you kindly tell us about the role of women in the Ramayana?
Q233) Swami! Would you kindly tell us how Mother Sita could become the noblest of women, and remain an ideal to the entire womanhood for centuries by undergoing many difficulties, trials and what not, being the divine consort of Lord Rama.
Q 234) Swami! Ravana's abduction of Sita is a very heartbreaking episode in the Ramayana. How is it that Sita wanted a golden deer, which is quite an unbelievable phenomenon? How strange is it that Lakshmana who was directed to guard her couldn't ultimately prevent the abduction. Would you please explain the significance of this episode to all of us who are otherwise thoroughly confused about its inner meaning?
Q235) Swami! Lord Rama was the very personification of satya, truth, and the very embodiment of dharma, righteous conduct. He was verily the incarnation of the omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God Vishnu himself. Rama was very compassionate and he was the refuge of the forlorn. Then how is it he sent Mother Sita into exile paying heed to the words of a washerman? Does it not go against dharma and satya, the basic qualities Ramachandra is said to embody?
Q236) Swami! Kaikeyi, so it goes, loved Rama more intensely than even Kausalya, his own mother How is it then that she could ask such a boon to be granted to her by King Dasaratha that resulted in Rama's exile for fourteen years? Was it not her mistake?
Q237) Swami! Although Manthara and Surpanakha are the two minor woman characters in the epic, the Ramayana, both of them appear crucial in leading to major developments. What lessons should we learn from these two characters?
Q238) Swami! Kausalya is celebrated as the mother of Rama, and Kaikeyi has become notorious for being instrumental in sending Rama to the forest. However, we do not know much about Sumitra. Kindly describe her nature to us.
Q239) Swami! You have shown to the world that the Ramayana presents the ideal of true brotherhood. Would you kindly tell us about this aspect of the Ramayana that indicates what brothers should be like?
Q240) Swami! Do you feel that during the time of the Ramayana, there were no feuds? Sending Rama to the forest and crowning Bharata ‑ are not these plain and simple politics? Is there justice in the way Rama killed Vali? Is not abducting Sita heinous? How then can the Tretayuga be called flawless? Kindly forgive me for putting this question out of my ignorance and for crossing my limits out of my presumption. Favour us with your views on these matters.
Q241) Swami! We hear that the Ramayana shows us ideal figures even among enemies. Rivals never gave up certain values. Would you please tell us how enemies reacted towards each other in an ideal way?
Q242) Swami! Speaking of the Ramayana, is there a mention of things resolved by God's grace and God's grace alone? How did the characters manifest this in the course of the narrative?
Q243) Swami! Were the Ramayana and the Adhyatmaramayana written with different purposes? Many are the versions of the Ramayana. How are devotees to receive them? They are given to the repeated recital of the part called "Sundarakanda.” Bhagawan, why is this so? By your grace, their authenticity is not in doubt. I wish to learn from your lips.
Q244) Swami! Today's atmosphere is, indeed, nightmarish. There seems to be no end to injustice, disorder, unrighteousness, and falsehood. Forgive me, Swami, if my question is not proper. Kindly clarify my doubt. How much justice did prevail in the Age of the Mahabharata? Besides serving poisoned food to the Pandavas, setting fire to the house of lac, and attempting to murder them in other ways, the Kauravas denied them their rightful share of the kingdom, not even five villages, not so much space as the point of a needle. How much of the moral code or the law of the time had the Kauravas followed? How little peace was ever there in that yuga?
Q245) Swami! We lack adequate knowledge of many important things. We have only a partial view of divinity. Hence, we tend to ignore the reality and are prone to doubt divinity. It is our misfortune that we find fault with God too, and attribute human fallibility to him. In the Mahabharata, it appears that Krishna was very partial to the Pandavas and so he did many things unbecoming of God incarnate in order to defend them. We may cite such instances as the killing of Dronacharya, Bhishmacharya, Saindhava and a few others. We pray for your comments on these misconceptions of ours and enlighten us.
Q246) Swami! Krishna made Dharmaja utter the lie "asvatthama hatah," Asvatthama is killed, adding in a low tone, "kunjarah," the elephant. This led to the death of Dronacharya. Was it proper on the part of Krishna to make Dharmaja tell a lie like that?
Q247) Swami! In the Mahabharata, it is a pity to notice the killing of youngsters like Abhimanyu and Ghatotkacha for no fault of their own. It is justifiable if bad people are killed or punished. But, how can we account for the death of these youngsters?
Q248) Swami! We hear that Arjuna was the only one capable of breaking open and emerging victorious from the Padmavyuha, the lotus‑like military formation or manoeuvre, set up as a death trap. But, Abhimanyu knew only how to get in and not how to get out of it; a fact that resulted in his death. There are some stories heard about this episode from the Mahabharata. It appears that when Narada was describing the whole manoeuvre to Abhimanyu who was still in the mother's womb, Krishna prevented him from teaching the unborn baby the way out of the Padmavyuha! What are your comments on this story, Swami!
Q249) Swami! It is said that Draupadi laughed at Duryodhana in the Mayasabha, which made him revengeful and highly furious and which ultimately led to the Kurukshetra war. Will you kindly bless us with your special interpretation?
Q250) Swami! Krishna was surrounded, by eight consorts and is stated to have been associated with 16,000 Gopis, cowherdesses. It is very disturbing and embarrassing to hear of Lord Krishna's many wives. Kindly enlighten us on this matter.
Q251) Swami!. Radha was an ardent, intimate and ideal devotee of Krishna. She represents ananyabhakti, infinite devotion, matchless and unconditional, and as we hear you speak on Radha bhakti we get lost in the ecstasy of devotion. Would you please tell us more about Radha's bhakti?
Q252) Swami! We have now understood from your divine message that the Pandavas could face problems and withstand troubles and tensions because of the infinite grace of Lord Krishna. It is most gratifying to note God's concern and love for His devotees. Kindly give us a notable instance.
Q253) Swami! The incarnation of Krishna is called the perfect incarnation. Then, how is the incarnation of Rama to be viewed? What is the difference between the Lord's two incarnations? In offering them worship, is there a difference of rank or status? Kindly oblige us with a clarification.
Q254) Swami! All your discourses are value‑oriented and nectarine. We notice today `gratitude' a noble value, totally missing. How do our ancient epics depict this value?
Q255) Swami! Pardon us for misunderstanding the scriptures. We feel that certain statements are contradictory to each other, and we are at a loss to know what is to be accepted and what is to be rejected. One scripture says 'brahma satyam jaganmithya,' ‘God is truth while the world is illusion'. You said, "There is no maya." How are we to understand the scriptural statement in the light of what you have told us about maya? Moreover, the same scripture says; `sarvarn visnumayam jagat,’ ‘The whole Universe is Divine.' Then, what and where is delusion or maya! Of the two statements, contradictory to each other, which one is true?
Q256) Swami! After listening to your divine discourses and sweet conversations, we realise that what we heard till now from other sources were distorted versions, misrepresentations, and wrong interpretations of facts concerning Lord Sri Krishna. You reveal so many inner secrets and subtleties. We pray to you to tell us some more details about our Lord Krishna.
Q257) Swami! Bhagavata, besides extolling God and His divinity, also deals with the greatness and nobility of His devotees Watching devotees shedding tears in ecstasy on listening to your discourses on Bhagavata has been our experience. Would you kindly tell us, Bhagawan, the essence and the main principles embodied in this text to be followed by both youngsters and us adults, for our benefit?
Q258) Swami! Sage Vyasa composed both the Bhagavata and the Brahma Sutras. Which is superior to the other?
Q259) Swami! There are two great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata besides the eighteen puranas. The puranas deal with various appellations and attributes of God in story form, which constitute a major part of Indian mythology. They convey to the entire humanity a universal message on all aspects of life. Kindly tell us the main principles embodied there in for us to practice in our daily life.
Q260) Swami! How should we view the Epics and puranas in our spiritual path and spiritual life?
Q261) Swami! We take sumptuous meals twice a day. Again, we take heavy breakfast, evening tiffin and several cups of coffee now and then during the course of the day. Still, we feel weak and exhausted. You don't take anything except one or two spoonfuls of food. But you work and strain yourself a lot. You walk miles in a day. How are you so energetic?
Q262) Swami! I beg your pardon for asking this question. While I am afraid to pose the question, I am also very keen to know the answer from you. Since you are our most compassionate God, I have made bold to ask you this question. Swami! You talk to some devotees as soon as they come here, whereas you don't talk to some others who have been here for a long time. How are we to reconcile these two facts?
Q263) Swami! We don't find out our own faults. Even if we recognise them, we justify them and because of our narrow‑mindedness, we don't understand your infinite love. We doubt and limit your love. As ill luck would have it, you don't seem to look at our faces when we sit in dars'an lines‑ and sometimes it appears that you are avoiding us. We are depressed because you don't talk nor do you at us. How are we to take and face this sad situation?
Q264) Swami! Over the years, we read thousands of books, and heard numerous speeches. But our Swami's speeches are unique, incomparable, deliciously sweet, ever new, and stir our hearts. What is the secret?
Q265) Swami! Your discourses and conversations are full of illustrations, and short and sweet stories. They are simple and easy to understand. They are related to situations from our daily life. They give us immense joy. What is the secret?
Q266) Swami! Please do not mistake us. Please pardon us for a feeling that comes to us quite often. As we listen to your discourses, we find many repetitions. We feel that the things we have heard and already understood are being simply repeated. What is to be done then?
Q267) Swami! How nice would it be if we follow your exemplary acts, take your life as your message, do things at the exact and right time! We see you distributing gifts immediately as and when you decide. Kindly suggest ways and means of emulating you.
Q268) Swami! Your love is incomparable, second to none: It excels the sky and the ocean in its vastness and depth. You are the very personification of sacrifice. Why are we not able to comprehend it?
Q269) Swami! You are the embodiment of Love. Invariably your divine discourses are permeated with Love. If we understand even a tiny particle, we will become blessed. Please enlighten us on the place of Love in spiritual terms.
Q270) Swami! listening to Your conversations, teachings, and discourses is true jnanam. When this is put into practice, this becomes wisdom gained through our experience, and shines as practical wisdom. When, say, will our ignorance be dispelled? Your profound, divine discourses are a feast for our ears, enthusing and inspiring us.