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Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati
Arsha Vidya Gurukulam
Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati
Sri Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati, a disciple of Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati, is an outstanding teacher of Vedānta. He expounds Vedānta with a simplicity and directness that make it easy to assimilate. Having studied and worked in the United States prior to becoming a sannyāsi, Swami Viditatmananda is familiar with the lifestyles of India as well as the West. With this insight, he reaches out to students across both cultures, with equal ease. Swamiji is traditional in his teaching and preserves the entirety of the age-old wisdom of the Upanishads. He takes a contemporary approach in his lectures, which enables the student to relate to his teaching and imbibe this knowledge without effort. Swami Viditatmananda is the resident teacher at Tattvatirtha, which is situated in the western outskirts of Ahmedabad in Gujarat. As the name suggests, it is a center for learning the Tattva, or truth, as revealed in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gītā. Apart from English, Swamiji teaches and writes in Gujarati as well. management. Swamiji visits the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam at Saylorsburg, PA, every year, to conduct Vedānta classes and camps from spring through summer. At this time, he also travels all over the US and Canada delivering lectures. He also conducts management seminars with a view to illustrate the relevance of Vedānta in modern
Value of values ........................................................................................... 1 Freedom from Attachment.......................................................................... 9 Freedom from Desires............................................................................... 11 Freedom from Anger................................................................................. 15 Freedom from Greed................................................................................. 19 Freedom from Worries and Anxieties....................................................... 24 Freedom from Sadness.............................................................................. 27 Freedom in Relationships ......................................................................... 34 Freedom from Limitations ........................................................................ 43
Value of values
Question “There is no such thing as the Golden Rule. It is the creation of man’s mind.” Please comment on this. Answer All human beings know that there is a universal law that applies equally to everyone. It is, that “I should not do unto others what I do not want done to me”. I want to live and I want to live happily. I know that my neighbor also wants to live and wants to live happily. Neither of us wants the other to come in his pursuit of happiness. This applies to everybody without exception. That is why it is a universal law. We are born with this knowledge. It was not created by any human mind at any particular time. Nobody ever wants be hurt or insulted or hated at any time. One always wants to be loved. Firstly, people do understand that others’ rights should be protected, as much as they want their own rights to be protected. I know that he wants his right to be protected. Whether I want to protect his right or not is a different matter! I know that what belongs to me should not be stolen. I know that he does not want his property to be stolen either! That is why thieves steal at night when no one is looking! Whether I protect his right or not is a different matter. But I am aware that he wants his right to be protected. Secondly, when I violate his right, I know that I am doing something wrong. This is because it is my own rule of not wanting my right violated, that I am not respecting with reference to him. The human being has the freedom to violate the rule. This violation is harmful and if people do not understand that violating this Golden Rule will harm them, they need to be told. If I know this, how is it that I don’t always follow it? Am I violating out of choice or out of compulsion? When I hurt somebody, am I doing it willingly or helplessly? Our answer is that it is out of helplessness, rather than willingness that we behave so. If I had a choice, I would not want to hurt anyone. It is when I am overcome by negative propensities like anger and jealously, that I do these things. We accept
something called ignorance. Ignorance creates likes and dislikes, and when our likes and dislikes overcome us we find ourselves violating the Golden Rule. Just because it is violated, it does not mean that the Golden Rule is not there; it is there. In nature, there is no violence. The rule that obtains is that one life form depends upon another life form. Therefore a cat eats a mouse for dinner, because it needs food. It is not that a cat goes around destroying every mouse in sight! A tiger does not go around killing all the animals in sight. It will kill prey only when it requires food. Otherwise it leaves everybody alone. There is no unnecessary violence. Just as creation is part of the universe, destruction is also part of the universe. Birth is an aspect of the universe; death is also an aspect of the universe. Destruction is built into the process of creation, so that the process may continue. It is not destruction for the sake of destruction. The tiger does not have a choice. It is programmed to respond automatically. Its instinct is in keeping with the ecological balance. Ecological balance is always maintained. Where human beings go, they disturb this ecological balance. Nature automatically sustains its balance. It is this balance, which is part of the Golden Rule. All the values that are taught are in keeping with this Golden Rule. ***** Question You feel you want to do something in one way but cannot and therefore, you act in a different way. How do we resolve such internal conflicts? Answer Generally internal conflicts are created whenever we try to go against a certain value or when there is a violation of a value. For instance, on the one hand we have a value for greed and on the other hand we have a value for doing something right. Greed arises from our own needs and our own insecurities. When we act in keeping with the universal values, such conflicts are reduced or resolved. Question Don’t we get inner conflicts for other reasons?
a group effort and divine intervention are required.org 3 Or does it also require . That is how the turn-around would come. If the humanity understands this. because consuming more than what you need is against the law of nature. This is how sathya yuga will come. even though I want to do it or am required to do it. Divine intervention comes as a result of group prayer. a person’s own limitations and helplessness can bring about inner conflicts.Answer Yes. Or the inner conflict may be present because I cannot do something. Adherence to values and acceptance of the situation. ***** Question We are in kali yuga and there is a lot of conflict in the society. ***** www. For instance. Would we be able to turn things around if all of us study and practice Vedānta? divine intervention? Answer Both. Not accepting the reality of a situation can also result in this conflict. If the inner conflict is due to the violation of a value. Inner conflict can be present because I am helpless. At this time. So. If humanity as a whole learns that misplaced values are causing conflict. humanity as a whole discovered the consequences of abusing the environment and so it has decided to change its behavior as much as it can. it will change. which is causing many of these conflicts. are the ways to deal with inner conflicts. Truth is indestructible. It is a value against nature. we should try to align with the value. we have adopted the value of pursuing pleasure and comfort. Truth always wins.AVGsatsang. inner conflicts can be due to other reasons also. Kali yuga will bring so much pain that people will learn from the pain and be transformed. it will certainly try to act in keeping with the laws. I am required to do something that I do not want to do. consumption is a value under our current circumstances. Violating the laws of nature is one of the causes of these conflicts. Humanity has to learn the appropriate values to follow. Truth will assert itself someday. For instance.
What else can you do? You can only be fair according to your own standards. is incidental and product of ignorance. All the evil that we have in the universe. Both are therefore the truth. the cruelty. is fair. We are told that a reaction is both equal to and opposite of the action. there is. Everyone feels fair. Answer What is fairness? Fairness is where the reaction is in keeping with the action. Fairness is when the reaction is in accordance with the action. may I speak satyam. is caused by ignorance. We say that there is fairness in this universe. it is going to be in keeping with my interpretation of what fairness is. there is a fundamental fairness in the scheme of things. and satyam is the truth. Are there two kinds of truths and if so. which means that you are a whole and complete being and that you are inherently a kind and loving person. and then put this understanding into practice. according to his or her own standards.AVGsatsang.org 4 . what is the difference between them? ètam is the truth that is in keeping with what the scriptures say. satyam vadisyami May I speak çtam. Therefore the unfairness. When I practice fairness. which we observe. çtam vadisyami. that we see. which means moral order or moral law. which is in keeping with my understanding of what the scriptures say. In order for me to be fair. Sometimes. I should understand what is meant by fairness. [Taittirīya Upanishad 1-1] ètam means truth and satyam also means truth. Fairness is a value. Every value is to be interpreted in a given situation. I may think that I am being fair. It stresses that you are essentially divine. Vedānta communicates this theme in its teaching. because that is what you have.Question What is fairness? Everybody feels that they are fair according to his or her own standards. This is because I am acting according to my understanding of what fairness www. etc. But they are not fair or neutral to others. But even then. but you may not think so. In the Taittirīya Upanishad. We trust the order in the universe and say that karma.
he finds a glass of milk and a sandwich on the dining table. A sthitaprajña is a wise person who has no doubts. Thus. Absolute fairness is not possible for anybody to practice. the practice of the value is going to be limited.AVGsatsang. but from the result I may discover that it is not fair. is perhaps not fairness. This being the case. But to the extent that I am willing to sacrifice. This is because he doesn’t know exactly what it is that the parents are doing for him. of course. ******* www. vagueness. I may learn from this.” If mom fails to do some little thing. Practicing a value absolutely will require me to offer myself completely. or error with reference to the knowledge of ātmā. which according to your understanding. “Mom. Therefore. As children grow. he doesn’t know what kind of favor is done to him. As we grow in our own understanding of what these values are. He doesn’t know where it comes from. Our standards of fairness are subjective and relative. the recognition may not be there. and have a commitment to be willing to learn. And we are not prepared to do that. It is possible that I think that a given action is fair. but it is the absolute nature of this truth that we have to understand and learn. they will know. you are not doing anything for me. When he comes home from school. Only a sthitaprajña. But I must recognize that a favor is done to me. Life is a process of learning and growing. To the extent that we are not prepared for total sacrifice. Sometimes. perhaps. We understand that it is desirable to adhere to the truth. we keep on learning the meaning of these values as we practice them. it is possible to practice the value of fairness. is prepared for that. the child may feel that his mom is not fair. A child may not understand what the mother does for him. or bears his expenses etc. including my life. they will come to know. To return a favor that is done to me is fairness. because there is insecurity.is. the child may feel that his dad is not fair. When they become parents. What is important is the spirit of fairness. all we can do is to be fair according to our understanding of fairness. If dad fails to do some little thing. he may say to his mom. He may not know who gives him all these things.org 5 .
That would be emotional and improper. But one can go to the other extreme and say that I cannot do without money. or happiness. But beyond this. For instance. Viveka means discrimination and aviveka means lack of Everything that is created is designed to serve a certain purpose. appease our hunger and thirst and provide us the basic comforts of life. All the same. or give me happiness. we need money to www. I would rather call them viveka and aviveka. discrimination. We require them in our day-to-day life.org 6 . There is certain pragmatism when you say that you need money for your day-to-day life. But still. but they cannot give us freedom. You have a family and therefore you need resources for your children and others. We should not expect from them what they are not designed to provide. we need these things. they cannot do anything. They can satisfy our basic needs like hunger and thirst. and freedom upon these material things. and to the extent that we need comfort. Answer There are two kinds of values. We should relate to that purpose and assign them a value that is due to them. We cannot eat money. All material things have a purpose to serve. we cannot say that money has no use at all. This disproportionate value that we give it. To become dependent upon money for my emotional security or for my happiness would be assigning too much importance to money. This superimposition is an emotional value. They are very important to me.Question Please comment on intellectual. Let us take the example of shoes. or security.AVGsatsang. We superimpose happiness. I place them where they belong. The point is that we should assign the right degree of importance to everything. You cannot say that you don’t need money because you do need it for sustaining your life. according it an intellectual value. This is. is an emotional value. It is not designed to provide me emotional security. I cannot bring them into my puja room! Similarly. versus emotional values. security. They can and do provide us comfort. when I enter my home. money has a proper place in our lives. relative to its true role in our lives. intellectual and emotional. They give me comfort while walking and protect my feet and therefore I have a value for them.
no more or no less. but at the same time be able to assess the role that they play in our lives. Some people say there are no problems at all. however. If there are problems we must understand them. it is a subjective projection. This is quite ok. ***** Question To a goldsmith my wedding ring is just a piece of gold. That is also not right. We should assign them the importance that they deserve. You should deal with the loss appropriately. Otherwise you would not call it a “wedding ring”. You cannot be indifferent to the wedding ring and you should protect it. But I have an emotional value for it because it symbolizes something. Thus having a pragmatic approach to things in life is necessary. Therefore. Please comment. When I hate a certain thing. it is a subjective projection too. We should have as few requirements as possible. ***** Question Can I say that all of my emotions are of my own creation? www. You assign it that value. it is overkill. not more or not less. as they are. We can never be totally free from requirements because this is how everybody is created. That is not right because there are problems in life.Of course we all know that there is no end to what we call comfort. This is what we call viveka or discrimination. meaning that it is due to aviveka. Answer A wedding ring has an emotional value. We must recognize this interdependence. Otherwise there can be a lot of conflict in our mind. is dependent upon us. the wedding ring is lost and you feel that you are lost. superimposition or subjective projection. and that you can always buy another ring. You would just call it gold.org 7 . we should keep our life as simple as we can. We are dependent upon the universe for our needs and the universe. You should then be aware that it is gold that you have lost. Giving more or less importance can be called an emotional value. When I am attached to something. If. Some say that there are only problems in life.AVGsatsang. in turn.
***** www.Answer We should define what emotion is. Then you imagine that you see a snake where there is only rope. Love and compassion are also emotions. Therefore. It is a wonderful thing to have emotions such as love and compassion.AVGsatsang. we have to become free from superimposition. This is why we use the word superimposition or projection for other emotions such as greed. Superimposition is to see something when is not there.org 8 . hatred etc. such as projecting a snake upon a piece of rope.
Freedom from Attachment One may ask. We feel we are not wealthy enough and want to become wealthier. enjoy things with freedom’ Lord Krishna also says ‘tyāgācchāntiranantaram. a person who is happy in oneself with oneself alone [BG1 2-55]. When we cannot do without something we call it rāga. We feel we are not strong enough and want to become stronger and so on and so forth. 1 BG = Bhagavad Gītā 9 www. bhaya and krodha. It is just that one begins to see things in the right perspective. We have to live a way of life. This anger. Very often we are controlled by something for which we have a weakness. We confuse attachment with love. What in the beginning is a luxury becomes a necessity in the course of time. Today. whereas attachment comes from a platform of need. fear and anger [BG 2-56]’. 1]. Vedānta says. They cannot make us happier than we already are.AVGsatsang. ‘tena tyaktena bhuñjīthāþ. fear and demand deprive us of happiness. we get attached to things. we should understand that love comes from a platform of freedom and strength. strong and powerful. free from longing. our life is an endless process of becoming what we are not. Lord Krishna further says. bhaya is fear and krodha is anger. Such a person is free from rāga. But these can only be embellishments. “What happens when I gain the knowledge that happiness comes from within myself? Does it mean I become the Almighty? Or does it mean I become Omniscient? Does it mean I control the world?” Nothing really happens. anger and fear. Vedānta does not say we should not enjoy life. Rāga means attachment which results into demands. ‘vīta rāga bhaya krodhaþ. Before we know it. Lord Krishna has described such a person as ātmanyevātmanā tuùñaþ. It is all right to become wealthy.org . The Bhagavad Gītā teaches us to stop the process of becoming something else and begin the process of owning up to what we are. The person has discovered the satisfaction of wholeness from his own self. from [Īśāvāsya Upanishad. we become happy and can then own up to what we are. This person’s mind becomes free from demands. Once these are removed. whereby what we choose becomes a reality for us. attachment or dependence. Though attachment is also love. And the formula to live this way of life is to be ‘vīta rāga bhaya krodhaþ’.
Becoming happy is not easy. For instance. It teaches us the art of becoming happy. It is all right to enjoy good food. We can enjoy everything but with tyāga. but we should not become dependent on that.renunciation follows peace immediately’ [BG 12-12]. there is śanti or peace of mind.AVGsatsang. or dependence on it. or the spirit of renunciation of the attachment to. Thus the Bhagavad Gītā teaches us how to relate to things. it is very difficult. The basic rule to live intelligently is to be free and not be controlled by anything. ****** www. We always associate Vedānta with sannyāsa or renunciation. That for which we have a weakness. This is dependence or attachment.org 10 . should not control us. When the mind enjoys freedom from dependence. Vedānta teaches us to live intelligently. We have a weakness for several things. we cannot control ourselves when we see good food in front of us.
Yes. If a desire is not fulfilled and if we can accept it as such. Ideally therefore. Desires create a problem when they manage us. When not fulfilled. The Vedāntic perception is that you are what you seek to be. Getting rid of ignorance is a process. it is not a binding desire. so that desires do not have a need to be there. The desire is generally for something that I do not have. and accordingly. There could be some desires that may be conducive to our self-growth. This is what is called growth. So freedom from desires is a “growing out” of desires. Such desires are called binding desires.org 11 . Desires therefore automatically become fewer. ****** Question How do we manage our desires? Answer Desire is called kāmā in Sanskrit. there are two kinds of desires. a certain want. www. but a desire that may be helpful to your growth.AVGsatsang. a set of desires for something that I do not have. So we cannot say that desire per se is wrong. Some of the desires are helpful. some are hurtful. as we grow. there should be no needs at all. One. a desire indicates a certain lack in me. We have to see whether a desire will be helpful or not. such binding desires can potentially result in reactions such as anger. our needs gradually reduce as we discover more satisfaction with ourselves. we can afford to have desires. and the other a set of desires for something that I think I do not have. There cannot be a desire to have something that I already have. We have to manage our desires and should not be managed by them. and some are neither helpful nor hurtful. However. The ultimate goal is to become free from the need to desire. Your desire to come to the Gurukulam is also a desire. Usually. As long as we can manage our desires. make a decision.Freedom from Desires Desires are a product of ignorance. But this is not the reality right now! Therefore we accept the need and analyze whether fulfilling that need is going to help or hurt us.
” “What is the condition?” “I should be allowed to go to the movies tonight!” “Sure. a helpless person! I feel I am insignificant and I want to be significant. is because I desire the glasses. A man is reading a newspaper with his reading glasses. The very action. “What is the matter?” “Where did you keep my reading glasses? I can’t find them anywhere!” Although she sees where they are. the glasses are right on your head!” The man then realizes that the glasses that he was searching for all this while are right on his head.AVGsatsang. regardless of what he www. I don’t know where you kept them!” She watches this drama for a few minutes. These desires can never be fulfilled. A friend drops by and this man tucks his reading glasses on his head and begins talking to that friend. He can’t read because he can’t find his glasses. dad. The man tries to resume reading his newspaper. she tells him. like the desire for becoming significant. are all there for something I think I do not have. “Have you seen my reading glasses?” He says. He could never find it no matter what he did. Which category does the desire for happiness fall into? Is it a desire for something that I do not have? Vedānta would say that it is a desire for something that I think I do not have.org 12 . What kind of a desire? A desire for something that I think I do not have! Vedānta says that it is alright to desire something that we do not have. the leader can never find the 10th man. Her son comes and he also watches the drama for a few more minutes. happiness is my nature. He then gets upset and starts screaming at his wife. I think I am helpless and I want to be free. “Yes. but on one condition. the desire for becoming free or the desire for becoming happy.Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati usually tells a story to illustrate the second kind of desire. The youngest son walks in and his dad asks him. I can show you where your glasses are. Or. For some reason I take myself to be an unhappy person. “I have not taken them. The desire for my glasses is also a desire. She is in the kitchen and does not respond. a little person. such as a house or a car. He gets irritated and looks for them all over the house. The friend goes away after about 15 minutes. as in the story of ‘The 10th Man’. Where are my glasses?” “Dad. After a few minutes. of searching for the glasses. like that desire for finding the reading glasses. she comes in and asks him. a limited person. an insignificant person. The reading glasses are already with that man! For some reason. So all these desires. He starts looking for his glasses where he normally keeps them and can’t find them there. he thinks he does not have them! Similarly.
I should recognize that. a desire to be whole or happy is a desire arising from aviveka. However if we are looking for some specific gourmet food. in turn. the first thing to do is to analyze what it is that we are seeking in the fulfilling of the desire.org 13 . there is frustration.does. a Lexus. Are we seeking to be happier than we are? Or more secure than we are? Nothing has the capacity to give us happiness or security.” “Ok. the need for clothes. Such cultivated desires are doomed to fail. Other cultivated desires include. When desires are not fulfilled. there is some frustration anyway. anitya. I do not have a million dollars and I want to have a million dollars. what do you want the million dollars for?” “I want it so that I can buy a new house and a new car. meaning that these desires can never be fulfilled. Therefore. Is it desire for something that I do not have? Or is it desire for something that I have? “Swamiji. not discerning the fact that wholeness is my nature. nitya and that. not action! No amount of action can fulfill the desire to be happy. the one desire behind most desires is really the desire to be happy. non-discrimination which. What I am seeking is fullness. The way to deal with that desire is through viveka or discrimination. to manage our desires. The means of fulfilling that kind of desire is knowledge. say. the desire to be free. When those desires are fulfilled. meaning the discrimination between what is permanent. which is impermanent. There are some natural desires like the need for food. the happiness comes momentarily and then goes away.” “For what?” “So that I can be happy.” Ultimately. Even if we get that Lexus. for instance. How do we manage desires? When a desire arises in our minds. The tool with which to analyze our desires is called viveka. arises from ignorance. the need for shelter and the need for transportation that can be understood because these are desires to help us sustain our lives. the desire for name brand clothes or a particular kind of car. The desire to be happy is there because of aviveka or non-discernment. “nitya anitya vastu viveka”. because the Lexus cannot give us happiness forever. it is a cultivated desire. let us analyze what we seek to accomplish by fulfilling that desire. www. Therefore. Vedānta would say. the desire for happiness cannot be fulfilled. Therefore.AVGsatsang.
that completeness is my nature. knowledge and recognition. But I should know how to fulfill that desire. there will be desire. ***** www. Desires mostly originate from ignorance. Viveka is required to analyze whether the desire is for something that is already acquired or the desire is for something that is not acquired. It is quite all right to pursue legitimate desires. What do I seek to accomplish through fulfilling the desire? Is it sense gratification? Is it ego gratification? Is it merely for that? The things that I am seeking have no capacity to fulfill my desire to be complete! Desires to satisfy our natural needs are genuine desires. The desire to fulfill these natural desires is a legitimate desire.The best way to manage our desires is by understanding where the desire originates. That desire for completeness cannot be fulfilled by action. children and responsibilities.org 14 . But desires to satisfy our ego or the desire to satisfy our senses cannot deliver what it is that we are seeking! To have desire is quite all right. I cannot be without desire. As long as I feel incomplete.AVGsatsang. Some desires originate from our needs because we have a body. Others have to be resolved via discrimination. The desire for completeness can be fulfilled only through knowledge. we have a family.
We all have certain expectations and demands of others. we feel rejected. Lord Krishna says. especially anger.AVGsatsang. which burns itself before it burns anything else.org 15 . Lord Krishna identifies these three tendencies of lust. This is why. as our prime enemies. we can control something. especially children. anger and greed. anger will first burn the place where it originates and then burn everything in its path. Like a matchstick. in fact it is not the person who ‘gets’ angry. Children do not understand why their parents get angry. you cannot get angry deliberately. krodha means anger and lobha means greed. is give up the cause of the anger. Give up the cause and the effect goes away by itself. both to others and to us. if somebody does not invite me I feel I am rejected. if some one does not receive me properly. We should remember that anger does not solve any problem or accomplish anything. This sense of rejection makes us angry. “May you become free from them!” Anger does a lot of harm. I feel I am rejected. Sometimes others with whom we get angry are also unaware of why we are angry. “Your enemies reside within yourself”. If they do not meet with our expectations. Although we say. Anger also causes a lot of damage particularly to children. what can one do to resolve this? Answer Kāma means lust. which afflicts our lives so much? Is anger an acquired emotion? Having recognized what harm it can do to oneself and others. if I do not get the proper place at the table. For example. however. We can only control something that is within our control. Having been invited. It takes so little for me to feel rejected. I feel I am rejected. And what do I do when I feel rejected? www. Having been received. “I got angry” or “Don’t get angry”. krodha and lobha have to be controlled and avoided. We cannot control anger. What is the cause of anger? We get angry when our demands or expectations are not met with. What we can do. So we can neither control nor give up anger.Freedom from Anger Question I have understood that kāma. When we can use our free will. regardless of how much you try. or reject those demands. Could you show me the ways to control them. It is anger that gets us and controls us.
I react by rejecting others. The first thing we can do is understand our expectations of all the people around us as to how they should be or should not be. their own lives and their own destinies. No growth is possible in an atmosphere of control. If you reject me. But very often these demands from children are for our own sake. The role of a parent is. Why do we expect this from others? It is because we don’t feel good about ourselves and want others to make us feel happy. there is one less cause for anger. “Is it fair that I make this demand and desire to control behavior so I am happy?” For instance. etc. We should slowly stop demanding from the individuals around us that they should conform www. we should become free of this tendency to control. we have many behavioral expectations of our children and when these are not fulfilled. tenderness. Our tendency to make demands of the behavior of others is our desire to control them to behave in a certain way. to have expectations. I hurt you in return. to help our children grow. I think it is quite fair. concern and freedom to grow as best as possible. As long as this demand is for their well-being. to need other people to change and be agreeable.org 16 . My suggestion is that as best as we can. We should ask ourselves. we get angry. We fail to recognize that children are independent entities with their own minds. I reject you. to make demands. Very often children do not even know what our expectations are. If you hurt me. So anger is our reaction to feeling rejected. An analysis of every episode of anger will enable us to learn about some demand that is buried within us that came to surface. like that of a gardener’s to help plants grow. We want to mould them to fit our own image of what is desirable and make us happy in our being able to achieve it. so as to make us feel good about ourselves. their own things to do. as parents. what they should do or should not do. we do not have the freedom to demand that they be fulfilled. We should give care. of them. to fulfill our expectations.AVGsatsang. We should remind ourselves that while we may have the freedom to make demands. If we can resolve to drop even one demand. What we really expect from others is that they should gratify our ego in being who we would like them to be. We have become very sensitive and feel rejected in no time. so that we can be happy.
It is our notion that it belongs to some one or the other.AVGsatsang. calm it and try to make it a friend. All wealth belongs to the Lord or the totality. The basic reason for anger is within us. please help me to become free from likes and dislikes. we make an issue of it. “Lord. Thus. All anger stems from expectations and demands. and let me be happy with as much”. Let us understand ourselves better.to being what will make us happy.org 17 . Help me rein in my expectations and give people the freedom to be who they can be. and hence. as individuals. Whatever you have given me is the result of my honest effort. do not accept ourselves and even reject ourselves. that what begins as a kāma or a kāmana . Let us then become aware of how our mind functions and see what kinds of demands we have of the individuals around us. Prayer to the Lord is also one of the things that we can do to help control our impulses. The Īśāvāsya mā gçdhaþ kasyasvid dhanam May you not covet any body’s wealth! [Īśāvāsya Upanishad. We should recognize that we have inexhaustible inner resources that we could tap for becoming and remaining happy. becomes krodha or anger when it is not fulfilled. are rejected. when our expectations are rejected we will not feel that we. The other important thing is to not equate ourselves with our demands. ***** www. Recognize that wealth does not belong to you or anybody else. you should not covet even your own wealth. Let us learn the values of life. Upanishad says. Lord Krishna says. May I have the freedom to work hard and be satisfied with what I get. This is how we can gradually deal with kāma. Let us strive to let go of all hurtful impulses and tendencies. Let us learn to understand.a desire or a demand. We do not feel good about ourselves. This is the only way to become free from krodha. Lobha or greed is another undesirable aspect of the mind. if not control the mind. 1] In fact. krodha and lobha. when others seem to reject us. Let us learn the Bhagavad Gītā better. Our relationship to it is merely that of a trustee.
Detachment means freedom from these passions. It can only hurt either others or oneself.Question Can a person be ‘comfortably angry’? Answer Nobody can be comfortable being angry. such as a need to be recognized or a need to be successful or a need to get ahead or a need to be better than others. Anger cannot do that.org 18 . Some kind of a need on my part motivates me to achieve greater things. greed and jealousy are the result of attachment. Anger. Question But anger drives and motivates people to achieve greater heights! Answer No. or drives a person. Not anger. www. Question Is it possible to be detached and be angry at the same time? Answer Anger is a result of attachment. It is such a need that motivates a person.AVGsatsang.
demand exceeds supply! Those who have power are always concerned that someday it may be snatched away from them. we do not seem to find security and want even more. we can control others! These are some of the means of security. power. or dominated over. because we see security in them. we do not feel secure. that we can have whatever we need. others may want it too. arthamanartha§ bhāvaya nitya§ nāstitataþ sukhaleśaþ satyam www. Lobha or greed arises from a sense of insecurity. We feel we are not big enough or comfortable enough. We feel that wealth makes us secure. And even after possessing more. fame. name. we need to surround ourselves with things. Therefore. Greed however has another aspect to it. Our sense of discontentment or insecurity doesn’t seem to go away despite our acquiring so much! The more we acquire.org 19 . even when there is a worthy recipient. etc. Unfortunately. though we look upon them as a source of security. Thus greed is a disposition on the part of a person who is not satisfied with what he has. and instead. It is a zero-sum game. it is defined as not being able to part with what we have. It is also a lack of contentment with what we have. the more we are concerned about protecting it. What is greed? Typically. which we look upon as a source of security. and who cannot part with what he has. and have the need to hold on to it. We know that if we have it. even after acquiring them. We are not able to derive security from within ourselves. that we will thus not be controlled. That is why. We acquire wealth. they do not have the capacity to give us security. manipulated. We feel that power gives us security.AVGsatsang. Power is always like that. whenever we need it.Freedom from Greed Question Can you please elaborate on lobha? Answer Lobha means greed. In the case of power. We build fences around ourselves to protect ourselves.
It is remarkable.” Sankara cautions. He immediately assumed that one was missing. It can never satisfy you. there were only 99! He started working again. a valuable lesson about lobha. The next morning he counted the coins. it may perhaps create the wrong impression. artha§ means wealth.Wealth is calamitous. name.org 20 . he acquired one gold coin and put it in the bag. Again. and anartha means harm. or that. He worked overtime and saved money. He is warned that artha is harmful because artha includes wealth. If the same thing is told to anybody else. illustrates how one can never be satisfied with what one has. truly there is no joy in it. bhāvaya nitya§” means that we always observe the fact that artha is anartha§. Yamaraja offers Naciketas wealth. Artha has several meanings. fame. Naciketas says to Yamaraja. He would not even eat properly because he wanted to save that money.AVGsatsang. man is not to be satisfied with wealth” [1-127]. “Understand that what you call wealth is in fact anartha. as in pada and artha or word and meaning. there were only 99! There is an old verse in Sanskrit. A guru wanted to teach his disciple. recognition. when the disciple opened his door. it would have been wonderful!” He now wanted the 100th gold coin. After six months he earned another gold coin. Recognize that what you call artha is harmful. which illustrates the grip of lobha even better. 29] “Arthamanartha§. Here. The more we have. This is told to a mature person. He put it in the bag. [Bhajagovindam. In the Kañhopanisad. “na vittena tarpaõīyo manuùyaþ. Śrī Śankarācharyā uses a different meaning of the word artha§. meaning that a human being can never be satisfied by wealth. everything. in arthamanartha§. which brings about all kinds of calamities and causes you harm. Yet again. and not to anybody else! Whatever teaching is imparted must be imparted to an adhikārī. for the 100th coin! After a lot of labor and pain. Reflect thus at all times. The story of the 99 gold coins. who is now ready to think about the meaning of life. “If there had been 100. and not anybody else. nissvo hyekaśatam śatī daśaśatam lakùam sahasrādhīpaþ www. upon counting. he found a bag containing 99 gold coins. One morning. All this. the more we want it. One of them is ‘meaning’. It is a person who wants to grow spiritually who is addressed here.
The soverign of the earth wants to be Indra. Indra wants to be Brahmā. the king of heavens. www. He wants to be the Lord of Heavens. “I want to become Brahmā”. Brahmā wants to be Viùõu. Have 100. All right. are you happy?” Surapatirbrahmaspadam vànchhati. a lakh of rupees.” The lakshyam of those days is like a billion today. “Are you happy now?” Cakreśaþ punarindratam.” Śatī daśaśatam. He wants power now. “Hey Indra. Viùõu wants to be Śiva. Ok. All right. The one who has 100. give the sahasrādhīpaþ. “I want to become Vishnu”.000. I want to be a Chakravarti. I will be happy. He is contesting elections. What does he want now? He has all the money. “Give me 100. a king. Who has ever attained the end of craving? Nissvo hyekaśatam.000 wants to be a king.00. the one who is the Lord of the whole earth. The one who has a 100 wants 1000. make him king of one kingdom. “Are you happy now?” Kùitipatiþ cakreśavat sampadam. Ask the one who has 1000 or sahasra. was a lot of money.AVGsatsang. “Are you happy now?” Lakùeśo kùitipālatām. of the three worlds.” Lakùam sahasrādhīpaþ. The wealthy wants to be a kùitipāla.lakùeśo kùitipālatām kùitipatiþ cakreśavat sampadam cakreśaþ punarindratam surapatirbrahmaspadam vānchhati brahma viùõupadam harirharapadam tçùõāvadhim ko gataþ The one who has no money wants 100.” “Here it is. the king of the whole earth. Go to him after six months and ask him. make him Indra. go to him. “Are you happy?” Brahma viùõupadam. “Are you happy?” “I want lakùam or 1. After six months. make him the king of the whole earth. “What do you want?” “Just give me 100”. In those days. The king wants to be a soverign of the earth. Ask him. wants to be Indra. “Are you happy now?” “I would like to have 1000.org 21 . “No. “Ok. All right! Make him Brahmā.” Ok. That is how it was. Nisva means one who has no money at all. 100.000. The one who has 1000 wants 100.
We require money. Resources are good. to serve requires resources. This is the nature of lobha. If you satisfy a desire. they leave you at least momentarily. you have to discover contentment from within yourself. Craving is such that you can never satisfy it! The more you get. Money is a resource. “I want to be Hara or Śiva”. it is nice to have money.AVGsatsang. and we require some power too. and you can contribute. I would suggest that you acquire as much as you can. but are not the end. It is good to have power. Do that.Hariþ harapadam. Tçùõāvadhim ko gataþ. wealth is a resource. Yes. acquire as much power as you can. the stronger the craving becomes. Consuming these things can never give you contentment. they can never fulfill the purpose. Therefore it is compared to a ocean. You take from them what you need and make the rest available for others. when you satisfy them. We require all these things. power is a resource. The contentment you get by satisfying somebody else is a lasting contentment. www. we require some recognition. Otherwise you cannot help. You acquire as much money as you can. The more you try to satisfy it. and acquire as much recognition and fame as you can. the fiercer it becomes. You can serve. If you look upon these things as the end. To help. or greed can very fittingly be compared to fire. it goes away momentarily and similarly. We definitely require wealth as well as other things. Then alone can you help people. it goes away for the time being. “Whoever gained the end of the craving?” the verse concludes. But lobha will never go away. when you express your anger.org 22 . recognition and some influence also. Recognize that contentment is born of your inner security and that you have to discover this security in yourself. But understand that they cannot give you satisfaction or contentment. so that you can help. that is without any bounds. In the case of kāma and krodha. Be content with what you have. We need them in our day-today life. Know that you can never find contentment from what you have or what you will get. So lobha. much more than the contentment you get by consuming it yourself. They can be the means. What should one do about lobha? Cultivate santosa or contentment.
niyama (see definition above). [Bhaja Govindam.AVGsatsang. celibacy. dhāranā (fixing the mind).Santosa is a component of niyama. samādhi (absorption) are the eight limbs (steps) to yoga or total absorption. dhyāna (meditation). study of scriptures and meditation upon (or renunciation of fruits of action to) Īśvara. non-acceptance of gifts.īśvara-pranidhānāni-niyamāh Niyama comprises purity. contentment. as Śrī Śankarācharyā says in the Bhajagovindam: mūóha jahīhi dhanāgamtçùõā§ kuru sadbuddhi§ manasi vitçùõām yallabhase nijakarmopātta§ vitta§ tena vinodaya cittam Hey deluded person. penance. Be content with that whatever wealth you get by your honest work. 2] ***** 2 Yama (restraint – non-injury. may you give up the craving pertaining to wealth. prānāyāma (regulation of breath). Again. āsana (correct posture). truth). and entertain the thought of the Lord in the mind free from craving.org . prescribed in the astānga-yoga of Patañjali2: sauca-santosa-tapah-svādhyāya. 23 www. The only antidote for lobha or greed is santosa or contentment. Patañjali Yogasutra 2-32. non-stealing. pratyāhāra (withdrawl of the mind).
Why are we worried? There may be a question about physical security. tasmādaparihārye’rthe na tvaü śociturmarhasi You should not grieve over that which can not be altered. It is natural that we are unwilling to accept pain and unwilling to accept the unfavorable. [BG 2-27] When there is something inevitable in life that we cannot change. willingness to accept the unpleasant. security or income? If we can alter the unpleasant. Let us understand the nature of worries. Income can be a cause for worry. I must be willing to accept them www. Anxiety occurs because we are not willing to accept the unpleasant. Worry will not accomplish anything. the unfavorable. We must.Freedom from Worries and Anxieties Question How do we become free from worries and anxieties? Answer To worry is something natural. there can be some genuine causes for worry. Though it would be easy to declare that there are no reasons to worry. It is not as if there can be no worries in life.org 24 . The future can be a cause for worry. But we have to remind ourselves that the unpleasant. however. If I find that I cannot avoid certain things. If we find ourselves worried about something. the undesirable is also a reality of life. There are certain inevitable things in life that we cannot help and which we cannot change. Worrying about things that we cannot change is not right. there can be a worry that I may again be abused. Lord Krishna says. recognize that mere worrying does not help. we should try to change things to make the situation more pleasant or agreeable. we have to accept it gracefully.AVGsatsang. Suppose I am subjected to physical abuse. Worried about health. Health can be a cause for worry. we must confront the object of worry and act upon it. We must have the willingness to also accept the unpleasant realities of life. These are some of the things we may be worried about.
This does not mean that we remain with folded hands and don’t do anything. We have to accept it gracefully. but that we may get the strength to face them if they do come. What we cannot change. death will surely come. as being what God has destined for us. When association is there. not defiance or worry and anxiety. But we must have śraddhā. Physical pain is one thing that we may not be able to avoid. we are bound to grow old. we should use our will and courage to change.org 25 . the grace of the Lord. Let us pray and seek the grace of the Lord so that the unfavorable situations can be avoided. poverty can also be at hand. If possible. or sadness and fear. Worries and anxieties call for a response from us. “Swamiji. we should accept gracefully. It should also be acceptable that it may not always do so. As they say. We just worry. What we can change. so. we should try to provide the response in our willingness to accept the inevitable in life. as boldly as you can and with a prayerful mind. what we need has been provided to us. So what will happen? I cannot www. let us ask this question. faith or trust in the scheme of things. not out of a sense of helplessness. a reasonable trust that there is fairness and that it will take care of everything. that whoever has caused this birth. but with grace. disassociation can be there. if…? Suppose that happens. there are certain things that we can change and many things that we cannot change. ‘”Why am I worried?” Let us confront that worry. When birth is there. diseases are bound to occur. what will happen? I won’t have income. Accept the unpleasant. everything was provided for us. In every situation. Have some trust.gracefully. These are some of the laws of nature. join them’. When wealth is there. This being the case. in that there is somebody who is taking care of us. will take care. accept pain gracefully. Prayer will also help in reducing the anxiety. When we are born. When worry comes. This is the way to deal with worries and anxieties. To the extent that we can. Accept it gracefully. ‘if you cannot win them. Do so in a spirit of humility. When the body is there. As we have been going along in life also.AVGsatsang. When we were born. however difficult they may be. then what?” Sometimes we do not confront the situations. What if I lose my job? I ask. accept them as prasāda. what will happen. we have to accept them.
pay my mortgage. we pray to the Lord to give us the strength to confront what we need to confront in our life. give me the serenity to accept gracefully what I cannot change Give me the will and courage to change what I can And give me the wisdom to know the difference www. If not. We have an image about ourselves and think that we cannot be otherwise. Very often. What will people think of me? Let them think whatever they want. When we really take this process far enough. we impose so many requirements upon ourselves. God. we will be able to confront the unpleasant also. But we can be. So what will happen? I cannot live in this house? Go to an apartment.AVGsatsang.org 26 . We can. It is not that we cannot confront it.
Grief arises when. The ātmā is the person. We do not understand that the whole universe functions according to a certain order and that we cannot change this order. we will be able to deal with it comfortably. we are not willing to accept these realities. then also I feel bad about it.” But what happens is that I keep thinking about what he said. Hence. there is sorrow. then also there is sorrow. or when I find that I have victimized somebody. Sometimes. When I feel like I am the victim of somebody’s actions. that is what I am. we do not understand the realities of life. we learn that we should not grieve for things that we need not grieve for. Let us say that somebody insults me. If I simply do not accept it. “That’s his opinion.AVGsatsang.org 27 . the personality. It is ever full and complete. These are the two entities and neither of them deserves to be grieved for. And when I am immortal. even when we understand. can you please elaborate on this point with reference to day-today living? Answer The answer is contained in the question itself. I feel bad about it. we need both understanding and acceptance. there is no cause for grief at all. It is free from birth and death and growth and decay. We should not grieve for things that we need not grieve for. When somebody has become the victim of what I do. and number two. when there is hurt and when there is guilt. What is the reality about the self? The reality about the self is that the self is immortal. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gītā that there are two entities. I could just shake it off thinking. If we understand this reality.Freedom from Sadness Question In the Bhagavad Gītā. Or when I become a victim of what somebody else does. when I am complete. in order to deal with the grief in our life. the non-self. we do not accept it. The other is what we call anātmā. My bodymind-sense complex is what we call anatmā or the non-self. He called me a thief or a liar! How can he do that? Who is he to do that? This train of www. Swamiji. the conscious being. Grief or sorrow comes when there is a certain loss. This is the nature of the self and that is what the person is. or ātmā. Sorrow comes as a result of a buildup of a certain sequence of thought. One is what we call the self. number one. the self.
Lord Krishna teaches us: nityaü ca samacittatvam iùñāniùñopapattiùu . heat and cold. and gathers sufficient power to throw me off or drown me. it keeps on changing. We should accept them with a balanced mind. of the undesirable is a reality of life. success and failure. I need not worry. Therefore. In case of someone insulting you. gains momentum. because then I can learn something from it. Sometimes pleasant. or. pleasant and unpleasant. unpleasantness is a reality of life and so is failure. If I consider myself responsible. if you know you are not what the other person thinks or says you are. Like the two sides of a coin. There is no rule that comfort will come after discomfort. Do not encourage the build-up of a negative thought because it would gather momentum and ultimately sadness. We cannot predict in what order they may come. sometimes unpleasant. there is anger.and always evenness of mind regarding the gain of the desirable and the undesirable… [BG 13-9] Iùña means desirable and aniùña means undesirable. so also a given thought builds up. With reference to that. birth and death etc. comfort and discomfort. these pairs are always associated and they will come to us.. also. honor and dishonor. That is how life is.AVGsatsang. there It is better that I do not blame anybody. one by one. That there is a possibility of failure. Life consists of pairs of opposites like the favorable and unfavorable. When someone says something about me. either the person is wrong.org 28 . sometimes www. become alert and recognize that you are allowing this build up to take place. the person is right and then also. or that success will come after failure. with equanimity. The idea is to develop a comfort with this basic reality of life.thought keeps on building up and gains momentum. is frustration. just drop the thought. which can grow into depression. The situation never remains the same. Like the water in a river that gains momentum and turns into a flood. I need not worry. We should greet both of them as they come. If something unpleasant or unfavorable happens and I consider I remind myself that someone else responsible for that. when you find your mind repeating a certain thought pattern. do something about it. in which case. These pairs of opposites are called dvandvam. If there is some validity in what that person has said.
Arjuna. this is how life is. and for that which is dead. where several passengers come together. knowing that it is going to happen some day. The example is given is that of traveling in trains in India. there is no point in grieving for what we cannot avoid. a situation will not cause grief or sorrow. birth is certain. and in the train these ten or fifteen people share a certain compartment. It begins as an acquaintance. “Therefore. www. Arjuna. sometimes unfavorable.” This is just an example of what we call the realities of life. This is understandable. there is definitely a loss in our life. As Lord Krishna says. I can understand that if somebody near or dear dies. to say that there should be no grief at all may not be easy to follow. Lord Krishna says. it does not behoove you to grieve for that which you cannot change. but we can deal with the grief if we are prepared. or will die. death is certain for the one who is born. This is how you develop a certain relationship. and you buy some fruits for everybody.” In short. We can ask. I am afraid. jātasya hi dhruvo mçtyurdhruvaü janma mçtasya ca tasmādaparihārye’rthe na tvaü śociturm arhasi Because. “do not grieve for that which you cannot change or control. as well as their lunches. Hence. [BG 2-27] “Hey. therefore. “What can I learn from this? How can I use this situation for my growth?” To grow is the purpose of life. Sometimes the railroad journey is for twenty-four hours or more.org 29 . for that which is born. Someone buys a cup of tea for everybody. death is certain. most of us will definitely grieve on account of death of ‘near and dear one’. Death is a big thing. They are going to function in their own way. you should not grieve over that which can not be altered. and birth is certain for the one who is dying. the whole universe is created and functioning according to a certain order and according to certain laws.AVGsatsang. because you just cannot avoid it. There is a vacuum created and it is going to leave a deep impression on us. “Therefore. But then we also grieve for many little things in life. Arjuna”. If we can remain free from blaming.” Even though. We have neither created the laws nor can we change them.favorable.
I would call the result. I have to leave you. people will go their respective ways. a success. It is simply a result of an action. He says that the result is always going to be in accordance with the action. Since we are prepared for the fact. That I may make an effort and the effort may not produce a successful result is another reality of life. But if we keep in mind the fact that some day everyone has to leave for his or her own destination. destiny has brought us together from different origins.and then when you start sharing something. www. and therefore. and we share and help to make each other happy and help each other grow. we may say that. one by one. please don’t leave me. “Oh. If you have this understanding. When one person leaves and says. is it success or failure? If you want the sound. Therefore. then we can deal with this fact. in the course of train journeys.” He says. it is failure. sorrow or grief arises on account of not accepting the realities of life. we do not weep because we know this. If I go on clapping but then don’t want clapping to make the sound. there is acceptance and comfort with this fact. We know that we are going to separate. We develop relationships.org 30 . in keeping with the laws of nature. Swamiji used to say. Within the home and in the family.AVGsatsang. its own journey. Everything functions according to the law. perhaps a certain bonding takes place. Lord Krishna does not like to judge a result as a failure. Every soul or jīva has its own agenda. I would call the result. there is a clapping sound. It is a wonderful thing. and destiny has decided the different destinations. If you don’t. My destination has come. We need not call it failure. So the sound of clapping is neither success nor failure. failure. But we know very well that as the destinations arrive. thanks. it is success. When I bring my palms together. we have gotten together. Usually. and the sound of clapping is produced. When I clap my palms. there is a similar situation. this getting together. “Are you leaving?” with tears in my eyes. “Oh. If I keep on clapping and want the sound. bye-bye. there is no such thing as success or failure.” I say. wherein everybody is pursuing his or her own agenda. “Okay. In the process of that journey.” Everybody has to leave when his or her destination comes. we do not have much difficulty in dealing with the separation when the passengers leave.
I think I have failed. But. It is not a reality of life. there are those whom nothing can offend. And. wonderful! Therefore. is the very event that is judged as a failure by somebody else. So there is no such thing as pleasant or unpleasant. what is success and what is failure. And the body. regardless of what you do. What is aroma and what is stench? All of these things are relative. Even comfort and discomfort are subjective. feels that he has succeeded. what is favorable and what is unfavorable.Understand that success and failure are relative. delicious or tasteless. but then when he served me. even though I was made to sit at the proper table. If I expect an A plus and get an A minus. The ātmā. the food is very delicious” is what somebody says. the non-self. That’s it. That would be enough to make him miserable.AVGsatsang. does not deserve to be cause of sorrow because it is mortal. I am a failure. There is always somebody who feels cold and somebody else who feels warm. and another person doesn’t care for it. does not deserve to be a cause of sorrow because it is immortal. he didn’t do it properly. it would be a miracle. the host did not talk to me properly. Lord Krishna says that there is no reason for sorrow at all. We have preconceived ideas of what is right and what is wrong. But somebody who expects a five percent rate of return but gets fifteen percent. Swamiji. “Oh. which somebody judges as a success. In any environment.org 31 They think everything is . And. So understand that success and failure are entirely subjective. If I expect my investment to yield a rate or return of twenty-five percent but get only fifteen percent. If I expect a B minus and I get an A minus. He talked to me properly all right. meaning that they are more a projection of my mind than a reality of life. sorrow is purely a projection of the mind. What is comfort? Is this temperature comfortable? Is everybody comfortable? If everybody were comfortable. Somebody may feel happy that he was invited to a party while somebody else can feel miserable because he was not made to sit at a given table and somebody else sat at that table. Everything is relative. www. there are people who feel very cold and will wrap themselves in a shawl while other people feel very warm and remove their wraps. It is most amazing that an event. I am successful. what is honor and what is dishonor and so on. anything can offend a person and one can feel bad. After all. the self.
AVGsatsang. “But I can’t see at close range. “Lord. Thus there are limitations as well as privileges. But you have to perhaps think about it. I can see. we may be able to see his grace. count your blessings and don’t complain about what you don’t have. But we can perhaps give God the benefit of the doubt. A reaction arises because we resist or do not accept the reality of life. And. A graceful acceptance of that which is not in our control is a very practical thing. But we can always allow the benefit of the doubt that there is a basic fairness and therefore things happen according to the fairness of the Lord. A wrong perception gives rise to sorrow. There is a very beautiful prayer by Pujya Swamiji. You have given me the eyes with which I can see. or half empty. I have nothing to ask of you because you have given me everything without my asking. We call this serenity ‘prasāda buddhi’ or the graceful acceptance of things that we cannot change. I think that you have given me plenty. the mind with which I can think and the intellect with which I can make decisions. and the right perception will bring freedom from sorrow. while in others we may not. Is it prasāda?” I do not know. give me the serenity to accept what I cannot change. it is also a fact that there are a number of things that we do have. Lord. I accept it gracefully because I cannot change it anyway. Thus. It is a good policy and will help us deal with reactions such as sorrow. all right. It is all a matter of how one perceives life and therefore sorrow is a result of a certain perception. give me this wisdom that I can see your grace in everything. therefore. the Lord has given me eyes. www. This is how we can deal with sorrow in our day-to-day life. the ears with which I can hear. But at the same time. We can always complain about many things that we don’t have. The glass is half full. Why not three eyes?” One can ask this question. you can either call it half full.org 32 .” One can say this.” Somebody can say. In some cases. We may not be able to see the grace of the Lord in many things.” One can say this too. somebody has given me a slap. And freedom from sorrow is a result of another perception. but I can’t see very far. “Oh. also. “Swamiji.therefore. when we understand the realities of life we can accept them as prasāda or the grace of the Lord. but only two. All of these are given to me. “Swamiji. even if I do not understand something.
” Well. “Somebody is treating me badly. Let the situation be what it is. Let me examine the perception that has caused this and correct it. sorrow is the result of a given perception.” Why do you call it an insult? That is the other person’s problem. I live in New York. and San Francisco lost. If you want to be miserable. also.Understand that sorrow is a result of perception and nothing else. there are enough reasons to be happy. Remember that sorrow is a result of perception and happiness is also the result of a perception.org 33 . of right perception. “What are you doing?” “I hate these Giants!” Why? Because he was rooting for San Francisco! Even though he lives in New York. ****** Ultimately however. there must be some wrong perception on my part. don’t personalize it. and I was rooting for New York. And don’t retaliate. don’t accept it. there will be enough reasons to be miserable. he was rooting for the Forty Niners.AVGsatsang. we have to decide to be happy. The same event could make one person happy and another so miserable. all right. don’t internalize it. I am not saying that you should not do something about the sorrow. One should do whatever is practically possible in order to create comfort for oneself. I am being insulted. You can try to correct or change the situation if that is possible. A boy who was watching this game rushed over and just kicked the TV. Whenever I feel sad. One can do that. If you want to be happy. The other day the Super Bowl was being played. I said. “But Swamiji. And freedom from sorrow is a result www. You can create distance from a painful situation or with someone who harms you. Given any situation. whenever I feel sorrowful. The Giants won.
AVGsatsang. You are accepting that person. If I focus my attention on the virtues of the person. Following the Bhagavad Gītā’s advice and just accepting the results of actions seems to be difficult in this situation. Now you do not have a job and are unable to send your kids to college. Every person has his or her virtues and limitations. you should see the good in people and elevate them.org 34 . Everything is a combination of the pleasant and the painful. While nothing is perfect. whatever is created also has a purpose. Again. is worth praising. I will think that it is very pleasant. I will reject the person in my mind. There is a rose in my hand. I am going to respect the person. but at the same time. In everything and everybody. Please understand that respect and acceptance is not an action. some value. Focus on that purpose and you will see the goodness. there is always something. Let us say you follow this advice in the current economic down turn and elevate your colleagues at work in front of your boss and in the process keep your contributions unknown. Whatever has been created is imperfect and incomplete. I will think that the rose is painful. some utility. the boss may come to the conclusion that your colleagues are superior to you and decide to fire you. nothing is worthless either. some beauty or a contribution of some sort. That is what elevating means. Elevation means acceptance or respect. Kindly comment. perhaps. respect and rejection are both the results of a perception. Elevating does not mean that you have to praise or publicize that person. This is how a reaction depends upon how we perceive a thing. it is an attitude of mind. a combination of virtue and limitation. If I focus my attention on the limitation of a person. If I give importance to the rose. there is going to be a respect and acceptance of that person. “elevating him or her” means that you are making that person feel good about themselves and comfortable in your presence. This is all it takes to make the person feel www. If your mind can see that useful or beautiful aspect in a person.Freedom in Relationships Question According to the Bhagavad Gītā. and there are thorns on its stem. If I give importance to the thorns. Answer Whenever you interact with somebody. which. As a result.
I think that when you make the dosa. “You don’t know how to make idli properly” or you say.org 35 When you have an accepting . you know. and so on. Nobody likes to be rejected. if there are two lines drawn. Otherwise. This is what we meant by saying that you should elevate the other person.the Swamis know all about getting the best food out of a person . there are two ways of making my line bigger. the other day. but for that you need not make the other person smaller. This is very negative and unproductive. . “Oh. you should have this batter done this way”. Unfortunately. focus your attention on the things that are good. what we often do is make the weakness or limitation of a person an issue. When you relate to somebody. you make the person uncomfortable. This is called ‘love’. you are going to be rejected too. “What is this chutney? It’s no good”. Suppose. relationship. you make the person comfortable. If you think that things are not good and can help the person make them better. and two are bad. When you have a demanding relationship. I can either make my line bigger. Let the other person also feel big in your presence. feel elevated. you are not going to inspire the best in that person. or I can make the other line shorter. and two are good. You can become bigger than you are. two are not so good. what should you be talking about? Focus your attention on the things that are good.accepted by you and feel good about himself or herself. If six food items are prepared. When you reject somebody. help them.AVGsatsang. people make the other line shorter and have the feeling that they are superior. Have the attitude of always helping the other person with reference to his limitation rather than making his limitation an issue. the way to get the best out of that person is to make that person comfortable.a simple compliment such as. because the rejected person will retaliate. the dosa you made was wonderful” will ensure that you get the best dosa. If you say. that you want to inspire a person to make the best food. feel good and feel accepted. Usually. Don’t make a demand upon the person that he should be different from what he is. Then you are accepted as well. “Oh. Love is when you make the other person feel bigger in your presence. For example. www. I feel good about myself in the light of the limitations of others. to try to feel good about ourselves.
www. I will practice the value within my boundaries. will require me to give up myself totally. Practicing a value always requires me to give up something or do without something. ask yourself. Having the job is important. So I practice a value to the extent that I am willing to give something up. and practice the value such that we do not hurt ourselves. as yet. Practice every value. takes my word for what it is and since I praise the person. This is an extreme case where I imagine that the boss doesn’t understand for himself. and you also have to look at the maturity of your boss. I am not prepared for that. even the values of truthfulness. But I do make a commitment that to the extent that I can I will try to stretch my limits every time. being honest may be hurting you. you can do that provided you are willing to live with the consequences.org 36 . Let us recognize our limits. Any one value. which we cannot practice right away in total measure. So. I would expect that bosses are smarter than this. if you feel that your boss will take your words for granted. within your own limits. honesty or non-violence. because sending your children to college is important. The thing to understand is that there are values. thinks that he is praiseworthy and I am not. Each value has to be interpreted and practiced within certain limitations and we should set boundaries when we practice them. Therefore. and elevate your family also. the meeting with the boss and elevating a person by praising him in the presence of the colleagues. So practicing a value requires me to suffer a little bit. “Am I willing to be hurt that much?” If I am not. Then. whether you are saying something out of courtesy or something that is genuine. supposing that this scenario is true. Sometimes it may even result in some deprivation. So. if you are not able to live with the consequences. You have to consider your own capacity or the extent to which you are able to stretch yourself. I think the boss must have some other data. Supporting your family is important. and the purpose of what you are saying. to be practiced in its totality.In the situation that was described above. That suffering is the means of my growth. to answer this question.AVGsatsang. But there is a limit to how much I can suffer. regarding what this fellow has been doing and what you have been doing. Sometimes. promote your colleague and fire you. You are required to elevate your children. please practice this value within your own limits. don’t do that.
I have to strike that balance between the various roles and their attendant requirements and conduct myself in view of that. Answer Acceptance is not a behavior or an action. “But I did not do anything to make him feel that way. When does a person get angry? Usually a person gets angry when he feels rejected. But it also tells you not to tolerate adharma and nip it in the bud at the level of the family and community. Similarly. place and situation.AVGsatsang. He may feel that he is not accepted or respected. “But Swamiji. at a given time. Always remember that a value has to be interpreted with reference to a given situation. elevating a person or accepting a person. people who are angry or intolerant are suffering from insecurity. It is an attitude of mind and spirit that you have. even one who is angry or hurtful of other people. and must be practiced accordingly. a father. a doctor etc.when you are functioning with the spirit of elevating others. what is honesty? It is not a given action that is called honesty or dishonesty. which is called honesty or dishonesty. ***** Question The Bhagavad Gītā says that you should see the good in people and elevate them. Usually. is having sympathy in your mind for that person. but the intention with which you perform the action. you will find a person who feels hurt. Understand that every person has to perform many roles. you have to strike a balance between elevating a colleague and elevating the family. This particular family member is just angry. A man is a husband. not insane and cannot be approached gently. They typically suffer from a sense of rejection. It is the attitude that you have in relating to the person. Very often. but he still feels rejected! Feeling rejected is something subjective.org 37 .” Perhaps it would help if you could look at the person behind the behavior. For instance. Which of the two should be followed in a family situation when according to everyone in the family one person lashes out at people without provocation. Every value calls for a balance between the roles.” You may not have done anything to reject that person. www. how can you sympathize? This fellow is hurting everybody. behind aggressive or hurtful behavior.
Anger is my response to your rejection of me. have more than their share of hurt. So here is a person who is entertaining or nursing a lot of resentment and anger against the people who. there will be sympathy for the person at least in your mind. why he behaves the way he does and how he suffers from a sense of rejection and hurt. regardless of what the child does. have done him an injustice. but somebody else has hurt him in the past. the least suggestion of non-acceptance. in his opinion. creates a sense of hurt and rejection in that person. Every one of us has some people who are important to us. the person seeks to justify what he does. he may have been rejected again and again by the elders. to the slightest sign of non-acceptance by somebody else. This is what we mean by accepting the person.AVGsatsang. All I am saying is that there is some reason for the person to act the way he does. We may not have done anything to deserve that and I am not saying that just because a person is angry with you. you may inadvertently be evoking the hurt person in www.Somewhere along the process of his growing up. The situation may not call for that kind of reaction but then. people who were not fortunate enough to get this manner of nourishment and support when growing up. And the person reacts by rejecting you. What happens is that by your behavior. Very often. This is why he reacts quite out of proportion. the child says. If you understand where this person is coming from. “Is that all? Not ninety-five?” In this manner. which the children are not able to satisfy. The father may be the important person. hurt him or not accepted him. with pride. there is hurt.org 38 . whose approval and acceptance is also important to us. He grows up with this kind of feeling of anger and resentment. If you get their acceptance. Though it may not seem reasonable from our standpoint. Elders sometimes make demands of their children. or the mother may be the important person. he does not seem to satisfy the people who are important to him. A rejected person rejects others. “What is your score on that test?” “Ninety percent”. and you may have become the occasion for that hurt to surface. or even an uncle or someone else. you deserve that anger. You may not have done anything to hurt that person. because the person has become so sensitive. or hint of confrontation or questioning. there is nourishment and if you don’t.
therefore.org 39 If we can cultivate as much sympathy as possible through our understanding. Some people’s way of expressing themselves is not very clear to others. in his yard that was like a pet. Afterwards. What you should do depends upon the particular situation. Whenever he went away on his trips. two things may be involved. If we keep on reacting. Kindness doesn’t always mean favoring. the tiger would be angry and would not come to him for a little while. Some time ago in India. ****** Question Swamiji. then we are also hurting ourselves or damaging ourselves. do that. you may want to look at yourself. It is not easy. He was very comfortable with wild animals. What would the tiger do to express its love? It would www.AVGsatsang. Here is an example. “Am I doing something by which that hurt person is invoked? Can I bring about some change in my own approach or my own behavior so that the person feels more accepted?” Try to see if you can do that. But that restraining should not be a punishment. When he returned. I met a person who was a Forest Officer. it will be from the platform of sympathy rather than from a platform of reaction. And. dealing with these kinds of situations. what do you do when friends or even close family members sometimes mistake kindness and love for hatred? How do I avoid this wrong perception? Answer It is rather unusual that friends or close family members interpret kindness or love as hatred. But. it will help us in . If you feel that such a person must be restrained because he is hurting either himself or others. If you cannot. peace would be re-established and the tiger would express her love. at least have sympathy in your mind for that person. the tiger missed him. Kindness may involve favoring and sometimes even restraining also.him. This tiger loved him and he loved this tiger. it should be done out of as much sympathy as possible. but this is what we can do for our own mental health. This is all we can say. Perhaps my way of expressing my kindness and love is such that people do not know where I am coming from. naturally. It is not easy to mistake kindness or love for hatred. He used to have a female tiger. so that whenever you interact with him.
other people should be willing to change their perception of you. So when this tiger licked his hand. Also. is in your mind. It is possible that your way of expressing kindness and love may be such that it is interpreted as hatred.lick his hand. But if they are available to changing their perception.AVGsatsang. they think that I am just posing or pretending. So if you are genuinely kind and loving. People sometimes may not understand the way we express love. which they continue to have. perhaps you have to look at the way in which you express the kindness. Is it expressed in a way that people can understand? It is not enough to have good intentions. Love also. because it is in their interest not to change their perception. because he is an accommodating person. the hand would start bleeding. “How do I avoid this wrong perception?” Maybe you may try to avoid giving others a wrong perception in the first place. behavior. love is also inferred when he accepts us and does something that we like. that even though my kindness is expressed in action. It may be that they do not want to change their perception. Thus. the perception can be changed. Similarly. People infer your love or kindness by your physical actions. and a loving person. “What action of mine makes you think that I hate you or that I am not kind?” www. we may have to examine the manner in which our intentions are communicated and see whether some change can be brought about so that people can understand our intentions for what they are. Another possible reason for the misinterpretation of our good intentions could be the people’s unwillingness to change their existing impressions of us. Maybe I was not a loving person. It is possible then. Then you cannot do anything. It is conveyed in your actions. Maybe in the past I was a bit rough. Her tongue was so rough that it felt like thorns. So even if I now act as a kind or loving person. Maybe I was not very kind. Our words. You can ask. people may not actually give me credit for that. or body language may be such that perhaps the intention is not conveyed. How we communicate our intentions is also very important. We can always communicate in words. This is what their general impression of me may have been. This is because kindness is in your mind. a giving person.org 40 . Others can only infer your kindness or love. We infer that a person is very kind.
If each is willing to understand the standpoint of the other and meet halfway.AVGsatsang. Maybe we can learn from people who interpret our actions as unkindness or hatred. because both are seemingly right from their own standpoint. particularly when both parties seem to be right? Answer This can be done by negotiation. We can learn what makes them think that way. In that case. ***** Question How do we resolve conflicts. perhaps it may work out. Attachment implies demand.org 41 . you are reaching out. But this can only happen if both are willing. you should draw boundaries depending upon the extent to which you can stretch yourself or reach out to others. ***** Question Does detachment apply to personal relationships? Answer Yes.Let us also learn from others. When you are honest. you can be taken advantage of! For example. When you help others. That is a case where I am non-demanding but they are demanding. Detachment means love. you are www. But I find that they keep increasing their demands. it appears that outwardly you are not demanding. non-demanding love. Question But if you are non-demanding. learn and try to bring about changes in the way we express ourselves. I cooperate with all my colleagues and my boss at work. you are reaching out. you have to protect yourself. but inwardly. We may help the situation by communicating in words and at the same time making an attempt to change our language so that they will understand. We can communicate with the people whose acceptance is important to us and from that. When you follow values. When you are kind. Answer When you say you are non-demanding. Every value requires you to reach out. you are demanding that others should not take advantage of you. very much.
reaching out.org 42 . ***** Question Is it possible to be detached and still be emotional? Answer Yes. with your needs and your limitations. grief or jealously make me uncomfortable with myself. anger and greed are passions. you will develop the ability to reach out more and more. But you must respect yourself as you are.AVGsatsang. you can be emotional in true sense only when you are detached. to be able to live with pain. This boundary depends upon your ability to let go. Therefore we call our responses. For example. emotions when they are our nature and passions when they are not our nature. All values require you to reach out. You can reach out thus far and no further. or compassion I am comfortable and happy with myself. Hopefully. call it passion. Whenever you are not comfortable with an emotion. I am uncomfortable. call it emotion. you also respect your own boundaries and hope that you can stretch the boundaries as you go along. Anger. Otherwise attachment converts emotions into passions. depending upon your capacity to give or your capacity to sustain pain. While following the values. Therefore draw boundaries. If you over stretch yourself. When there is kindness. When there is anger in my mind. We cannot control our passions. But there is generally a limit to the extent you can reach out. Whenever you are comfortable with an emotion. you will hurt yourself. ***** www.
Each one of these has a capacity. My brain doesn’t go there. I may have a certain potential that I can explore. each one of these also has a limitation. To live with it means to develop a comfort with the fact that limitation is all right. I can know more and I can do more. The other day I saw a dissection of a cat and I decided medicine is not for me. I am a limited being and I have to accept that fact. This fact about me has to be accepted and I have to www. I can make certain types of changes and still the fact that I am a limited being will not change. “Swamiji. I also have a personality consisting of the body. someone may say. There is nothing we can do about it. For example. I cannot change the fact that I am limited. I just cannot learn computers. we are what we are and hence. and what if they start saying the same thing back to us? Could you please explain? Answer Although there are certain things about us that we can change. but within these limitations there can be some differences among people. there are certain things about us that we cannot change. Does this mean that we can’t change or learn new things? We all want our kids to do well in school and outside. eight inches tall” these are things that cannot be changed.org 43 . “Medicine is impossible. I do have an intellect with which I can learn and know. but there is going to be a limit to what I can do with my intellect. So. but the fact remains that I am created and therefore I am limited.” “I am five feet. Everyone is created limited. but I may not have some other potential. everybody cannot do everything. my legs. It is not a crime to be limited. and we just have to accept that and live with it.AVGsatsang. For instance. sense organs.” Somebody else may say. Differences exist. “I was born as a man. Somebody may be more limited in one way and less limited in some other way.” “I was born as a woman.Freedom from Limitations Question Swamiji.” Everyone is not cut out for everything. you had said that we are what we are and no one can change that. everybody doesn’t have every potential. There is a limit to what I can do with my hands. I can change what I know and what I do. mind and intellect.” “I am the son of these parents. but at the same time. with whatever equipment that has been given to me.
I cannot change. I lose the capacity to bring about a change in myself. I will always feel inadequate and will never be comfortable with myself. But. it means we should accept ourselves with all our virtues and limitations or faults. but not out of anger. while accepting myself as I am. I cannot change. This does not mean that we can’t change or learn new things. Therefore. The sense organs are given to me. Living with it means that I accept it gracefully and develop a comfort with it. we can change and we can learn new things. because each of these capacities also has its limitations. They are given to me. Still. I am still going to be a limited person. I want to deal with my anger. and we should.accept it gracefully. as in the examples I just gave. while still accepting myself. I definitely try to overcome the limitation. I should accept it and live with it. I cannot change.AVGsatsang. but that is not to be done by rejecting ourselves. I will have to accept myself as I am. without rejecting myself. That I am a son of these parents. We can have a commitment to do whatever we can with our faults. The moment I reject myself and get angry. I am an angry person.” You can try to change. I can definitely explore these.org 44 Sometimes people get angry at their own . www. because it is natural to have faults. But during that process there must always be self-acceptance. The brain with its potential is given to me. “Swamiji. anger. The body is given to me. That I am the father of this son. When we say we accept ourselves. Still. there are certain things about me that I cannot change. We can change things and we can learn new things. I can proceed to change whatever I can. Wherever change is possible. But there also are a few things I can change. I have to discover comfort within myself and accept myself. however much I grow. I want to bring about a change in myself. a capacity to act. and grow. yes. a capacity to desire. I have been given the capacity to learn. I should bring about a change. If I keep judging myself by comparing myself with others. ultimately. And I accept it gracefully. That I am a brother of this sister. So. Therefore. The mind with all its sa§skāras or impressions is given to me. I have not created them. This does not mean that I do not do anything about my limitations. I have to accept that it is quite all right that I am a limited being.
not push. I can become mighty. “This seed must produce a mango. You may also ask. When you say you want your child to do well.The question is. There are all kinds of aptitude tests one can take. I can become well informed. But even after discovering what my limitations are. “You must become a doctor. What is meant by growth? While we encourage our children to do the best they can. We know ourselves very well. I will always find myself limited at the level of my personality. “How do I know what my potential is?” Perhaps we can consult someone else if we do not know what our potential is. Even if I become more accomplished than I am now. For example. Apples. accept that. Therefore we are aware of our limitations as well as our virtues. my ego may not like to accept that I am a limited person. ***** Question How do we know what our limitations are? Answer I think we know them very well. the ego will feel limited. also.” It may not be able to. because it is direct knowledge. to flower? It is like a gardener saying.AVGsatsang. The seed has it own potential. learn something more about it.” That is wonderful. “We all want our kids to do well in school and outside. what do you mean by ‘well’? That he or she must become a doctor? Or does “well” mean that my child should grow in keeping with his potential? Will you allow whatever personality there is. We can. at the same time recognize what their potential is. we should. The ego will always have a problem. it may be an apple seed. “What if they start saying the same things back to us (that certain things can’t be changed)?” Kids also have limitations. but I can never become almighty. Sometimes we want to push our children. not a mango seed. It is not that only mangoes have done well. perhaps. and accordingly guide. our children. we can see whether we have potential in mathematics or physics. www.org 45 . but I cannot become omniscient. have done well in their own right.” That child may not be inclined to be a doctor or an engineer. We can learn by consulting other people or exploring different things by ourselves. That I will always be a limited person is the basic fact. Therefore.
Therefore. but later on turns out bitter. ‘that which in the beginning is bitter turns out to be very sweet in the end’. Śreyas is the path of the good and preyas is the path of the pleasant. Therefore. in the beginning.AVGsatsang. the answer would be. This is the intelligent lifestyle that the Bhagavad Gītā teaches us. is limited also. Treading the path of the pleasant would mean. “Live a life that is based on independence and not on dependence. It is. becomes sweet. There is also a modification of fear in the form of jealousy and a modification of anger in the form of resentment. I recognize that not only am I limited. Fear and anger come from dependence. giving in to our impulses. the only way to live a life based on independence is to ‘fake till we make it’. How do I accept it? In the same way. One is called ’śreyas’ and the other is called ‘preyas’. This is called ‘sāttvik sukha’. This is what we call ‘stress’. He says.Recognizing that limitation is a reality of life. When we analyze why we have stress in our life. When we get increasingly attached to things. but all that is created. Winter is very cold.org 46 . fear or anger. how do I accept the weather? Summer is very hot. Sāttvik sukha is the way to really enjoy something. ***** There are two ways of living life. The Kañhopanishad describes two lifestyles.” Since we know that we are needy and dependent. Thus. but then I know it is the nature of winter to be cold. but later on. Lord Krishna says. which in the beginning is sweet. everybody else is limited as well. We have to behave in a manner that we are independent and free from need. but then I know that it is the nature of summer to be hot. Lord Krishna describes this very well in the Bhagavad Gītā. we get angry. and the other way is to progressively become more and more independent of things. When we do not obtain them. For instance. we must become comfortable with it and accept it gracefully. I have to gracefully accept the fact that I am a limited person. There is also another way. If I do not accept the fact that I am limited. One way is to progressively become more and more dependent on things. dependence on something always brings ‘fear’ and ‘anger’. about my limitations. a little bitter. I can never be comfortable with myself. It means that www. It is then that I can do whatever is possible. Fake that we are free and not needy. there is always fear that we may not get them.
our mind is already contemplating what to eat for lunch.AVGsatsang. name. Thus our mind is preoccupied with discovering new ways of getting gratification. we value money. It is a stream of thoughts flowing from within us. we end up becoming a slave to those things. We find that all of them value money. Our senses are gratified when we get objects of pleasure. We also grow up thinking that happiness lies outside of us. new fashions. new computers and so many more new items available for purchase. It also happens that our mind needs variety. Our mind is like a river flowing towards the ocean. We are bored with the same thing and want new things all the time.we keep on acting as prompted by our likes and dislikes to appease our temptations. It has all kinds of fascinations. elders and other people in the family and learn from them. This is what is called a life of ‘preyas’. the path of the pleasant or bhoga. back to its own source. It is because of this that we have new cars. We watch our parents. We have to change this flow from running out and dispersing. This is a life that is dedicated to the enjoyment of pleasures. the River Ganges turns towards its own source and therefore these places are considered very sacred and auspicious. power and recognition. One is at the level of the senses. But we are taught the path of good. It means. not seeking gratification all the time from something other than ourselves. In India. This is a life whereby our ego is gratified. This does not mean turning away from the world. like the turning of the course of a river. When we eat breakfast. and the other is at the level of the ego. But there is no end to this. balloons and many more things. We find that many people simply live a life based on impulses that occur in their mind.org 47 . clothes. Thus our mind has this fascination and temptation for things outside and keeps on making demands. This path is dedicated to discovering the wholeness within us. in places like Rishikesh and Haridwar. If we do not examine these demands. Our mind is prey to a lot of temptations. candies. but give in to all the whims and fancies of our mind. fame. This is not an easy task. to slowly coming back towards itself. Thus intelligent living would mean turning towards our own source. www. Thus as we grow. Thus we seek two kinds of gratification. Our mind can be compared to a river. without examining whether it is right or not. We learn that money is very valuable and can buy toys. thereby releasing all its energy. As children we do not know anything about life. but this is what we need to do.
was a person who was free from all conflicts. He was a Greek King who wanted to conquer the whole world. Lord Krishna told Arjuna that one does not become a renunciate just by wearing saffron-colored clothes. he would like to be born as this man. resting does not mean being lazy. thereby losing the opportunity to really rest. Arjuna wanted to drop out of the battle. Lord Krishna was not impressed with Arjuna’s arguments. one is satisfied with oneself by himself [BG 2-55]. Here. He further pointed out that Alexander might also die pursuing his ambition. if at all he were to be born again as a human being. it may be too late. Alexander told this man that since he was so relaxed and free. Freedom does not mean the ability to fly in the air or walk on water. and in a condition where the mind is completely satisfied with itself. Alexander went to this man and introduced himself and asked him if he could be of some help. This is not easy at all.AVGsatsang. We have to understand that resting does not mean becoming inactive. Arjuna told Krishna that he wanted to become a renunciate. resting also does not mean doing nothing. relaxed and resting. The other man. rather than on being born again. The man mentioned earlier. We always think that mokùa or www. This is what we call ‘freedom’. He had planned to conquer India too. not doing anything. not because he was afraid of fighting the battle. Likewise.org 48 . free and enjoying life. This is not what the Bhagavad Gītā teaches. In fact. But Alexander wanted to conquer the whole world. It is not easy to be satisfied with oneself. was satisfied with himself. The point here is that one need not achieve everything in life to really rest or relax. It is a state of being ‘ātmanevātmanā tuùñah. Alexander noticed that this man was very relaxed. The man pointed out that Alexander did not need to wait until he conquered the world in order to relax. but because it was extremely painful and emotional to fight his own cousins. Merely going away to the forest also does not make one a renunciate. The man asked Alexander to move away as he was blocking the sun. The man told Alexander that he could be like him right that moment. with no need to conquer the world. insecurity and demands. Alexander did die on his way to India and did not get an opportunity to rest. fear. Sometimes. One day Alexander was walking on the beach when he saw a man sun bathing. It does not mean dropping out of life.We all know about Alexander the Great. This man was very handsome and Alexander was impressed with him. A renunciate gives up all responsibilities. Resting means being free from conflicts.
AVGsatsang. there will be a whole set of different values. and of the world. But that is not so. We need to have a clear perception.liberation is something unusual. but results in the nectar-like sweetness of freedom. It is born of the prasāda or the purity from within one’s own self. When we feel we are not needy. which is not easy. action and jñana. The first step to achieve this would be to ‘fake it till we make it’. Therefore Lord Krishna says: yattadagre viùamiva pariõāme’mçtopamam tatsukhaü sāttvikaü proktamātmabuddhiprasādajam That happiness is called sāttvikam. Karma and jñana are not two separate paths. Mokùa means being free from conflicts. They are karma. First we need understanding and then we need to translate this understanding into reality. Intelligent living is doing things by which we progressively discover this freedom. When we perceive things in this way. knowledge. from complexes. because whatever we do is determined by the perception we have about ourselves. we act as though we are generous. Bhagavad Gītā teaches us. We act as though we are free. ***** The translation of the understanding into reality is a life of ‘śreyas’ or a life of yoga and this is what the The Bhagavad Gītā teaches this self- www. purification or emotional maturity. The first stage is doing something and the second stage is knowing something.org 49 . in two stages. This is what the Bhagavad Gītā also teaches us. to make us free and discover the freedom from ourselves. We act as though we are rich and not needy. that something unusual is necessary. which is very difficult in the beginning and is like poison. We do have a lot of insecurities. [BG 18-37] This is a process of self-purification.
in itself. only to have them resolved by Swamiji’s practical and reassuring solutions. as well as at satsangs held at homes and in the Family Camps of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. This booklet is a compilation of all the weekly emails in an effort to synthesize them so that all seekers can benefit from Swamiji’s pragmatic answers. Connie DeMartino. Davey May 2003 www. as he guides us with compassion through the process of reconciling the ancient wisdom of our scriptures.Acknowledgements This booklet contains responses to a number of interesting questions answered by Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati during the course of the New Jersey Public Talks. we encountered questions that we have ourselves grappled with.AVGsatsang. Ramesh for help with the transcription and editing that have made these weekly emails possible. possible. Our pranams to Pujya Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati from whom we have all learnt so much and without whom this booklet would not have been Jayshree Ramakrishnan Krishnakumar (KK) S. Time and time again. Swamiji answers these questions. of the workings of the modern mind. however diverse or repetitive. His responses illustrate how discerning he is. We would like to express our deep gratitude to Swamiji for having given us the opportunity to work with him on this project. Our heartfelt thanks to Madhu Chatrath. Chaya Rajaram and K. with the realities of modern life. been an instructive and enriching process for us. with great patience and deliberation. Kalyani Dave. June Christopher. and provides clarification in his characteristic style of undemanding simplicity.org 50 . and heard the echo of doubts that have arisen in our own minds. Putting this booklet together has. These have been appearing regularly in the form of weekly emails to interested seekers in the tri-state area.
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