This blog post is in response to Questions asked by the blog readers. Checkout, ask questions and Questions and Answers List.
Q: Would be nice if you shared some photography tips on the blog, maybe like a weekly article so that we could benefit.
A: Hi Abhishek. I don’t think I am qualified to do that. My insights about photography and the visual image are pretty subjective and deal more with the metaphysical or philosophical aspect of how we view the world. However, here is a site that might help you; they send weekly updates, tips and reviews (for free), and are quite up-to-date http://digital-photography-school.com/
The other inspiring site for me is Michael Reichmann’s http://www.luminous-landscape.com/
Do check these out and let me know what you think.
Q: I wanted to know the difference between a sadhak and a bhakta. If someone does lots of pooja, goes to the temple, does so many rituals but doesn’t do any sadhana, is it alright for a spiritual seeker? Is it possible to do pooja without any fear or greed? Pooja and sadhana where do they stand on a spiritual path? Doing regular meditation and not believing in rituals or pooja ,is it alright? Plz throw some light and tell if u r a sadhak or a bhakta or both.
A: The sword that cuts through ignorance has two blades — gyaan and prem ie knowledge and love (devotion). In my experience, if you are doing even one of them 100%, then the other follows naturally. A musician who does intense sadhana to master an instrument develops a deep love and respect for music itself; a scientist who enquires deeply into the mysteries of creation experiences such wonder, peace and love. Mostly, the conflicts that you may have encountered can be traced back to not immersing oneself deeply enough in the path of one’s choice. I have met many people who only do poojas and rituals, but are so centred and peaceful. They also develop a very disciplined, meticulous and scientific approach to life. I have also met people who don’t go to temples at all, but are very devout even though they never express it. Their practice of meditation inculcates a vast sense of love and respect for everything in creation.
Therefore I don’t see a contradiction in the two. Actually, I suspect your question isn’t a question at all, but rather an example of a specific argument that you may have had with one person 🙂
As for me, I like the following categorization that our shastras offer (rough translations/interpretations are my own):
1. Shishya (student) — one who follows the teachings of a Guru
2. Bhakta (devotee) — one who worships the Guru, and keeps Him in his heart always
3. Antahvaasi (one who dwells within) — one whom the Guru keeps in His heart always
Q: I am a Journalist working in The Economic Times at present, however the time I did my first Yes+ course, I knew that I had to become an AOL teacher. Now also there isn’t any doubt on my becoming one but I always attach a condition to my becoming a teacher…that I have to become like you or Dinesh Bhaiya, Atika DI, Aravind, Rashmin Bhaiya, as in I have to become one of the best. I don’t wish to waste time doing Journalism (I’m doing so only to gain some professional experience — needed to become a dignified teacher?) but as soon as I think of doing TTC within a year, I doubt if I would have got the amount of knowledge, maturity, that thing which one perceives when one does a course with you all.
I have a very strong belief and faith in what I’m doing, but when people ask me their doubts regarding what I’m doing, I don’t have anything to argue or contradict them…I don’t know will I be able to answer the questions that students grill the teachers with.
A: That’s a wonderful perspective. if you ask any of the seniormost teachers of AOL they wd tell you that they know very little (or nothing) of what they are doing — it’s such an infinite knowledge that if we were to wait to master it before teaching others, we would wait forever! That said, we do study and practice constantly, and keep helping each other to upgrade our skills, and of course Guruji has really groomed us with such diligence, patience and love that we had no choice but to become good at what we do! I would encourage you to do TTC and then practice practice practice!
As far as your job goes, it might interest you to know that by profession I am a journalist myself; and even while teaching AOL full-time I never stopped writing or following media trends closely. If you think journalism is a waste of time then you are in the wrong job anyway. Don’t confuse that with your AOL activities.
Q: Am I real for Guruji or just a dream (Maya)?
Is Guruji real for me or just a dream (Maya)?
A: Bipinbhai, at last we get around to your question, which may be one of the best questions that I have ever been asked. I am happy that someone at least got this thought!
Guruji had once said, “Ignorance is seeing a dream as reality, and wisdom is knowing reality as a dream.”
I had heard about a prasang (episode) between Lord Narayana and Narada muni, where Naradaji keeps asking the Lord, “What is Maya?”
The Divine, mysterious as always, never clarifies but only smiles. Then one day as they are travelling on Earth, the Lord asks Narada to get him some water from a nearby village as he rests on its outskirts. Narada goes to a house, asks for water, is smitten by the daughter of the house, stays back, marries her, joins her father’s business, has children, and settles into a life of domestic bliss. many years pass, and then there is some natural calamity whereby he loses all his money, then his children, and his wife. In desperation, he turns heavenward and cries out for the Lord! At this point he awakens from a dream to find the Lord smiling beside him, saying “This is maya, Narada.”
There is a wonderful discussion about reality and dream that begins the Ashtavakra Gita. Also, the Yoga Vasishtha has a detailed exposition on how our world is a projection of our own sankalpa. My overall experience has been that this entire creation is but a play of consciousness. For me, it is repeated glimpses in meditation that have led to the crystallization of this view. Interestingly, I don’t hold fast to this view, as the experiences get subtler and less definable day by day, and I have absolutely no clue where they will take me. But I too wonder, for Guruji, being established in this experience at all times (actually for me He is the very basis or substance of creation), do we really come across as the identities we presume? Or are we just pinpoints of energy in a field of electromagnetic waves?
Once a seeker sat querying Guruji about Ashravakra Gita, countering His every explanation with intellectual logic which seemed to have little authentic experience to back it up. However, since the questions were both sincere and refined, Guruji kept replying (for our benefit, I suspect!) Finally, he asked, “Guruji, you say that everything is Maya; then even the Guru’s vaani (words) should be maya?”
Guruji paused, and gently nodded, “Yes, even the Guru’s words are Maya. The only truth is the Guru’s silence (satya hai to keval Guru ka maun)”
And all our sadhana, seva, satsang is lovingly crafted to nudge us ever deeper into this Silence, this Presence.
Hobo ........ ........ ........ says
I wish to meet someday.
Wonderful Knowledge Bhaiya.
Gr8 that Q&As came up:)
Jai Guru Dev!
Vikram Bhai , your reply to the last question was sealed magnificently with Guruji’s words.”The only truth is the Guru’s silence”.
Its so true. We as sadhaks often yearn for some external reaction or some external acknowledgement (whether it be in the form of words or gestures) from the master or a teacher. We often completely shift all our focus to the external rather than revel in our hearts and feel the presence.We fail to see the dimension behind the words and actions, which is infinitely deep.
All this intellectual blabbery has its limit..Guruji does not stuff us with information but he kindles the light of knowledge in us.. Jai Gurudev.
” Words end where truth begins”- Celebrating silence.
with tears of gratitude.
What beautiful answers to these questions. I am a recent reader of this blog, but you have gotten me hooked with the simplicity and depth of your answers. So far I knew you as a great orator (silver jubilee) and a wonderful musician. So good to hear wisdom through you. Jai Gurudev!
Thank you, Vikram , for the beautiful answers to many of the questions I myself I had in min
This last Q and the A is really profound.. thanks for writting all this for us..I simply adore the way you use your language..the basic course was great.-swati
Thank you for such illuminating answers and its nice to know that despite your busy schedule you take out time to answer these questions….
I had asked you about the Gita but dont worry I am in no hurry :).
I just want to add another question to the list. Something which is quite prevelant in the country.
In India we consider our parents representatives of God. Most of the times, our parents have a say in our lives (sometimes even the relatives as well) even after marriage and kids. If we dont listen to them, we are considered ungrateful. There is a major animosity between the mother in law and the daughter in law as well since subconsciously the mother of the son considers the wife of the son as a rival…atleast thats what i have seen.
I read Khalil Gibran once and he said that “your children are really not your children, they are not from you but through you”. Every parent looks after their children not because they are doing them a favor but because they are chosen by God to do this…is it alright to consider the child, particularly the male child as an investment? the fact that in arranged marriages two people are thrust together and forced to live with each other, is it really what we should do? Are women really so inferior to men that they need to earn the love of man particularly in an arranged marriage? If sacrifices are essential in a relationship, shouldnt both be doing it?
I really want to know what you feel..since this is a question which plagues not just me but a lot of Indian women who suffer silently and hope for some kind of a relief!!
Jai Guru Dev
Manish Bajaj says
I have done part-I corse an year back and was brought in the family of AOL by my childhood freind Nitin-who does satsang and is a very talented singer, you met him in MDI, gurgaon last year. My query is that, due to a sales profile job and newly born baby girl9 just 3 months old), I often miss my sudarshan kriya. But I make sure not to miss our weekly follow ups, Is this some kind of test Guruji is taking of me? I mean I have been trying to be a regular at doing my Sudarshan kriya as it has changed my life a lot, but I am in no position to do it everyday nowadays, my daughter wakes up at 11: 00 Pm and plays till 3, 4 am in morning and I just manage to wake up and rush for office and come back 8-9 pm in night.
Kindly guide me bhaiya, how to be a regular in sudarshan kriya?
loved the last one…. here’s to more QnA’s… looking forward to it.. 🙂
neelam sharma says
Guruji says ” Truth is beyond words ! So every thing we say is not reality ! 🙂
Jai Gurudev !
beautifully answered bhaiya…. feels like i hv got answers to many of my questions… n a biggg smile on my face,everytime i read ur blog…
Oops! Vikram….I read the last 4 to 5 posts…from the Boraco photos upwards….
It was a meditative experience! Am speechless, yet inspired.
Love & Jai Gurudev,
Thank you bhaiya.You said “It is repeated glimpses in meditation….” touched me.I had wished you should reply from your own experience
and it happened so.I am grateful to you for this wonderful aunthetic answer.
when will you b coming to banglore ??
Is enlightenment real or it is the carrot in front of the Donkey??? Conceptually whatever Guruji says is perfect… But on an experiential level??? Don’t know what is real…
Not seen any posts on the blog for the last 6 days….I hope all is okay with you?
“Guru’s Silence” ….. What a beautiful nimbus to follow.
blessed are the souls who will ever experience the communication through Guru’s Silence. This is the singlemost thing that will liquidate all the questions.. doubts.. whatever.
Thanks .. for such a lovely exposition
Vikram Hazra says
dont worry, just make sure yu do the kriya a couple of times a week, and it will gradually increase — no need to feel guilty about missing a few days!
Experiential clues are provided in every step of our daily practices; right from simple pranayam to sahaj. Unfortunately most people dont care to experience, observe, examine, question, and again experience deeper — they do their sadhana seva n satsang like a mechanical process. i dont think one has to be special or blessed to get these experiences, just being simple and smiling is usually enough 🙂
Vikram Hazra says
and by the way, who wd even care for some so-called technical term like enlightenment — i feel i hv Guruji, that’s all i need. the rest is His headache — whatever He wants to give He is free to give 🙂
I loved this above comment bhaiya, Yes i loved this ……………….
hey bhaiya, how r u ?????
” people dont care to experience, observe, examine,question and again experience deeper ” , wow… it gave me answers to so many of my questions.
WOW!!…….i am all urz Bhaiya..beautiful are ur explanations! You indeed are His messenger 🙂
i belong to You!
if there are words to say how good it is i would! But i am silenced by the perfection!
SACHIN CHANSARKAR says
Jai Gurudev, No words to express how wonderfully you have written this. …..Jgd
Hi Bhai !
I thought and thought and thought to ask a question, but was heartbroken to see no answers ! Thanks to Guruji, for I can still smile throught it. Ok ! gotta try again next time 🙂
Vikram Hazra says
I just found your question about seva, tucked away in my mailbox. will put it in the next QnA
“The only truth is the guru’s silence..” Wow!!
so beautifuly answerd bhaiya. Its the lines, everytime v cum across, is beautiful N more..
Wonderful answer bhaiya, “The only truth is the Guru’s silence”.
When Guruji came to Delhi a month back, He had a meeting with all the teachers. He remained silent for about 15 to 20 mins. We were just looking at each other and then He said, “all teachers’ meeting should be like this, no?”
There was so much depth in his silence that one drops the desires for wanting the answers. His mere Presence spreads the knowledge.
Guruji then explained to us about four different types of vaani (speech). Vaikari, madhyama, pashyanti and para; moving from verbal communication to silence. He emphasized that your presence should communicate the knowledge more than your speech.
Such wonderful knowledge!
Awesome! Jai Gurudev
jai gurudev bhaiya i have now done my advance but still my sadhna is very irregular and bhaiya about seva, the politics around me in art of living (Indore)is not allowing me to do it. bhaiya am so much caught up in these politics that i simply want to runaway.
whenever i go for the seva there is one perfect dialogue that is always thrown at me you are that teachers volunteer go to her…
am i not guru’s volunteer bhaiya pls guide me
Jai Gurudev Bhaiya..
What is the difference between trust and faith?
How does faith happen?
hi,i m an computer engg,i wanna to do a job in spiritual foundations ,i m not getting what should i do ,i dont know the foundations ,i m asking about gurgaon(ncr),n i wanna to join the spiritaul research team,plz help me soon