F.A.Q 

Question 14

  Q  Why is krishna so arrogant ?   A  When Krsna says 'Me' he is not referring to his personality. He means the universal Spirit. So there is no arrogance.

Question 13

  Q  What is the difference between your will and God's will and do we or God changes our destiny. Is it not that when were are born our destiny is written then in this lifetime how does our destiny changes?   A  You do not assert your wishes and desires over the laws of nature. This has nothing to do with destiny. For example in summer it will be hot. If you accept it and work around it you will be happy. If you constantly resist it and complain you will be unhappy. Devotion is the ability to align with God's will and accept it.

Question 12

  Q  A relationship means association between two people that is bound by certain rules. How can it be expectations/demands free then?   A  A relationship is based on mutual love and respect. The moment there are rules there is bondage. Expectations and demands ruin a relationship. You are miserable in the relationship and you lose the person in the end.

Question 11

  Q  I am a student and I always remain confused..is there any way in which Vedanta can help me?   A  Vedanta helps remove confusion by giving clarity. Vedanta helps develop the intellect which organises your thoughts and gives a sense of direction in life.

Question 10

  Q What is the exact time of the "Brahma Muhurta"? What is its importance?   A The exact time of brahma muhurta is between 4 and 6 a.m. It is acknowledged to be the time when sattva manifests itself in us. Essentially, we are all a combination of the three gunas sattva, rajas and tamas. Brahma muhurta is the time when our sattvika content comes to the forefront. It is the ideal time for thinking and reflection on the truths laid down in Vedanta. Rajas manifests itself after 6 a.m. It is the time when the day’s activities begin, children have to get ready for school, mothers have to prepare food for the family and office-goers begin getting ready for work. These mark the beginning of a cycle of frenetic activity. It is after sundown that tamas begins to manifest itself. A time when all indulgent activities begin. A Brahma muhurta has tremendous importance in our lives as it is the time when we can invest our energies in developing our sattvika content. It is a time when the mind is calm, free from distractions of the world and the intellect fresh from a good night’s sleep. Thus one is able to focus the mind on absorbing Vedantic knowledge. Brahma muhurta must be optimally utilised because the spiritual path is about developing sattva and eradicating rajas and tamas. Brahma muhurta is the time to develop this sattva in us. So just as we invest our financial resources so as [...]

Question 9

  Q  How does one overcome problems of external origin when they are not in our control? A  The world in which we function is a play of dvandvas, (opposites). There is pleasure and there is pain, there is joy and there is sorrow, there is honour and there is dishonour. At the same time, we have our own desires that we want to fulfil. When the world caters to our desires, we are happy. When it doesn’t we get agitated and stressed out.Our problems with the world arise primarily when the world does not cater to us. What we need to understand is that problems are an inherent part of the world. What is important is how we deal with the situation. We have the choice to let the world dictate terms to us, or for us to take control of our lives. There is nothing in the world that can affect us if we do not want it to. It is in these situations that our mental strength plays a big role.The fundamental principle to understand is that the origin of the problem is within us. Whatever problems we have with the world is because of our selfishness, expectations and attachments. There is nothing outside that can affect our internal balance if we understand the way of the world. So if we face problems in the world, it is a sign for us to introspect and look within ourselves. To identify where we could have gone wrong. Maybe [...]

Question 8

  Q  What is the difference between self-respect and ego? A  From an absolute perspective, there is no difference between ego and self-respect. Ego is the assertion of the individuality against the totality. This then gets further established as an egoistic feeling of kartrtva bhavana and bhoktrtva bhavana – doership and enjoyership. This is normally referred to as egoistic. It also manifests as a feeling of possessiveness towards our possessions. And when this feeling of possessiveness is intruded upon, we get agitated. Self-respect is a milder version of ego. Respect is something that must be universal. We must respect everyone and every being for what they are.We put too much value on ourselves. We always feel what we are thinking is right. We always feel ‘I know best’. But all of it is a manifestation of our egos. At the same time, there must be a sense of confidence in what we do. This comes when we act in accordance with our conscience. There is no greater strength than acting out of our conviction and conscience. The spiritual path is about overcoming ego & desires. And the way out is by the performing the three yogas of karma, bhakti and jnana.

Question 7

  Q  In our lives, what should be given more importance, Self-realisation or serving humanity? A  Self-realisation is overcoming our desires to realise the Divinity that is everywhere. It frees us from this seemingly endless cycle of birth and death and in the process we realise our true Self. It is the state of zero desires. It is the state of Perfection that we constantly strive for.Serving humanity could be a way of overcoming desires to get to the state of Realisation. True service, when carried out selflessly without attachment to the fruit of the action helps us to reduce our stockpile of desires. And it is through this reduction of desires that we are able to discover that Divinity within. However, mere service to humanity without dedication of the action to the Self only creates more unselfish desires which keep us bound to the world. The key is to act selflessly, dedicating our actions to God.Thus Self-realisation and serving humanity are not mutually exclusive objectives. However, not everyone who serves humanity i.e. does social service etc. moves closer towards Self-realisation. It is only those who act selflessly, perform karma yoga, who move towards the ultimate goal of Self-realisation.

Question 6

  Q  Why is it that I feel very depressed when I see somebody known to me suffering? I try to be of help to them to the best of my ability, but still I am not able to get over their sorrows. Why is God so unkind sometimes? Why does He not help people who need His help? A  In life, we must understand that we can only change ourselves. We may take the effort to enable someone else to improve their lives but ultimately, each one’s fate is in their own hands. For example, we may want a close friend to stop smoking but the most we can tell the person is about the ill effects of smoking and educate them about the consequences of smoking. In the end however, the choice of picking up the cigarette or resisting the temptation rests with the friend. He or she may listen to us or choose to disregard what we said. And the person will have to face the consequences of that choice. Thus it would be egoistic to think that we can help someone. No matter how much we do or how much we genuinely care for someone, they alone have the power to lift themselves.As far as the query about suffering goes, we must understand that the world is a play of opposites. There will be heat and there will be cold. There will be joy and there will be sorrow. There will be honour and there will [...]

Question 5

  Q  I have lost interest in celebrating any festivals. And I feel that following any rituals is just waste of time. Instead I would rather spend that time in helping the needy. I want to know whether this is abnormal behaviour. A  The purpose of festivals & rituals is to remind us of our spiritual goals. However, if we are already established on the spiritual path then festivals & rituals play a smaller role in our lives. The point is, irrespective of festivals and rituals, our focus must be consistently on improving ourselves. Acting in a spirit of service and sacrifice selflessly, purifying our minds and absorbing the timeless truths of life through Vedanta. If this focus is not there, celebration of festivals and indulgence in rituals, as they have become today, are of no use.To live the principles of Vedanta one does not have to live in solitude and apart from the world. It is true that one needs to take time off during the day to absorb and reflect on the truths laid down in Vedanta but its real effectiveness is in applying the principles in our day-to-day lives. Vedanta is a knowledge for men and women of action, who are dynamic and have a zest for life. It does not advocate secluding oneself, living a solitary life and running away from our obligations. Vedanta is about detaching ourselves from the world mentally. Thus physical detachment is of no consequence if we are mentally bound to worldly [...]

Question 4

  Q  Can you tell me the difference between the teachings of the Gita and those of Buddha as they seem to say different things? A  Unfortunately, I cannot answer this question as I am not proficient in the teachings of Buddha. However, there are many paths to the same goal. Buddha, Mohammed, Mahavir and Christ explored these different paths to the Truth. Different paths are necessary because there are different types of people. At the essence, all the great masters speak of the same thing, overcoming our base, selfish egos to realise our Infinitude. They all spoke of the same eternal principles. The fundamentals of truth, knowledge, love and service remain the same for every path.

Question 3

  Q  If, as mentioned in the lectures by Smt. Jaya Row, the world is a dream and we must work towards liberating ourselves from it, why should we make an effort to give our best in every endeavour even though this is a dream? A  It is true from the absolute perspective that what we are living in a dream. The problem is, at this point, the world is very real to us because our ignorance of Reality. As long as it feels real, we must play by the rules of the game. From the absolute perspective, rightly, you will ask what is the point of giving our best if everything we see around us is a dream. The point is how do we get out of this dream.Vedanta tells us that the way out of the dream is to reduce our desires and eventually eliminate them. Our desires can be reduced by following the three yogas prescribed by Vedanta i.e. karma yoga (the path of action), bhakti yoga (the path of devotion) and jnana yoga (the path of knowledge). Karma yoga is acting in a spirit of service and sacrifice, dedicating our actions towards a higher, selfless ideal. Bhaktiyoga is the process of purifying our emotions, of being able to see the unity in the diversity. Jnana yoga is the process of constant discrimination between the changing, transitory world and the unchanging, permanent substratum of Divinity underlying the world.You ask why should we give our best inspite of [...]

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