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