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PS, 70, is a life long student of Spirituality. She has studied the Bhagavad Gita for 45 years and talks about the importance of realizing our 7 original divine qualities, the relationship between Anger and Desire, and how our happiness doesn’t have to depend on external factors. She says since every thought has creative energy in it, we should surround ourselves with positive thoughts and discard the ones that are like a dustbin. She makes a case for why living in the moment is the only way to be free from suffering. She tells us the importance of using our intellect to control the wayward ways of the mind. Here’s the transcript of my face to face interview with her.
Heart: What is spirituality?
PS: The quest for realizing your Atma is spirituality.
Heart: What is Atma?
PS: Its an energy center. Our body is simply a physical manifestation of energy. Our Atma is the energy source. You say, my nose, my ears, my body, but not “nose me”, “ears me”, “body me”. So, it means the body and me are separate. We have 5 sense organs. Our body that consists of all these sense organs is here in this physical world to play the role that whatever we are here to do on this earth.
The chair is here, the table is here, but they don’t have energy centers in them. They have no life, we say, isn’t it? They don’t respond to rain or shine. They don’t feel cold. Our body will be destroyed with age, but not the energy center within us. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. So, thats’ how the Atma is permanent.
Heart: How can we find God?
PS: “Ahaṁ brahmāsmi”
You’re already the Paramatma, The Supreme Soul.
But will everyone believe you if you call yourself Paramatma? You have to have his characteristics to call yourself The Supreme Soul. You have to have his Gunas (qualities of his nature), his strengths, perform divine duties and have divine values.
Be kind towards every living being.
When you chant, you’re a devotee, do all the chanting you want, but a real Gyani (learned man) is the one who has implemented this lesson in his life.
“abhyāsa-yogena tato mām icchāptuḿ dhanañ-jaya”
Practice your focus on me, and I will manifest for you.
Heart: It sounds like when you like someone, you try to emulate their style. The way they dress, they way they speak, or act. And that’s devotion.
PS: Exactly. So, if you love God that much, and inch closer to him, you get attracted to his noble ways. God, is the ocean of all divine qualities. He is Sarvantaryami. He’s everything and everywhere.
Heart: What are the divine duties?
PS: “yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaḿ sṛjāmy aham”
The divine duties are to establish moral values, to establish Dharma. Whenever there’s a need to re-establish Dharma, God manifests on earth as divine souls. He came in the form of Gandhi when there was so much to be done in India. He came as Mandela when South Africa needed him. Why do we call all these men, Great men? Because they had divine qualities.
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge”
Heart: How do we improve ourselves?
PS: We have become Asuras (evil) only because of two qualities, that’s what Gita says. Otherwise we would be divine?
We have all these wants. If our wants are fulfilled, we have desire.
If our wants are not fulfilled, we have anger.
This is what Paripoornanda Saraswati says. “There’s a guy who buys a BMW, because its his lifelong wish. Then from day one, he has to take care of it, polish it, keep it in great shape. His desire for it is too great. Imagine what would happen if the car meets with an accident? He’s devastated. Because his happiness depends on the condition of his car.”
All this happens because we don’t realize that we’re manifestations of pure bliss. By improving ourselves means we go back to the original qualities of our Atma.
The 7 original qualities of our Atma are:
1. Gyana (Knowledge)
2. Pavitrata (Mental cleanliness)
3. Sukha (Bliss)
4. Santhi (Peace)
5. Sakthi (Strength)
6. Aananda (Joy)
7. Prema (Love)
We forget that we are embodiments of bliss. We forget that we are knowledge, we are peace, we are strength, we are love. When we’re already everything within us, why is our happiness dependant on external factors?
If you like a sari, you wear it because you like it. You get joy out of wearing it. When you step out, you want everyone to look at it and tell you what a beautiful sari it is. If no one says anything, why should your happiness decrease? You know why that happens? Because we have expectations and when expectations are not met, sorrow follows. Your internal happiness battery starts depleting because of outside circumstances.
There are three subtle characteristics of the Atma:
1. Manas (Mind)
2. Buddhi (Intellect)
3. Samskara (Values)
Let’s say we want to give away some old furniture, but then we immediately think, “Our kids are getting older, maybe they will need all this one day when they live on their own.” And so we keep all the furniture to ourself. See, that’s why charity is so difficult.
Every thought has creative energy in it. What does this mean? It means the more the mind creates positive thoughts, the more positive energy we receive. That’s mind over body. We feel positive when we have positive thoughts. How did we progress so much with our industrial and technology revolutions? If it was not for our mind power, could we’ve created all these amazing things around us?
Heart: How do we control our thoughts?
PS: After you understand them. There are 4 kinds of Sankalpas (Thoughts).
1. General thoughts: Say, for example, you’ve to travel next week, you’ll have thoughts related to planning your trip. You’ve list for buying or packing etc.
2. Waste thoughts: 80% of our thoughts are about the past. They’re recycled thoughts. The past is not coming back, so what’s the point of thinking. And the rest are anxious thoughts about the future. The problem is we don’t live in the present. But, if we make a conscious effort to live in the moment, mankind will be happy. See a herd of zebras where a lion comes and attacks one of them and drags it away, in the next moment, you can see that the rest of the zebras have gotten back to grazing happily. That’s the difference between man and animal. They don’t worry about the past and be anxious about the future. They are just there in the moment.
In our meditation class, we’re taught:
“Just for today, I’ll be grateful.”
“Just for today, I’ll change my attitude.”
Before going to bed, give gratitude to the day. Think of all the things that went well.
“He said that to me, he insulted me, I could’ve said that to him, instead of staying silent.” We constantly churn these thoughts in our head, but that’s all in the past, what’s the point?
Heart: That’s what I always wonder, why should we suffer for other’s rude thoughts and actions?
PS: Exactly, these are dustbin like thoughts. If anyone puts a dustbin in our lap, what will we do, immediately throw it away, won’t we? Then why don’t we do the same thing to our negative and wasteful thoughts? That’s why living in the present is so important. Meditation helps us live in the present, it can be anything, a song you like, a dance, a painting, anything.
3. Negative thoughts: It produces negative energy around us. If someone says something bad about us, why should we surround ourselves with negative energy? Gossiping, complaining, back stabbing, all these are negative emotions. Every thought has creative energy in it. So, what kinds of thoughts do you want to create? Positive ones.
So, these are the three kinds of thoughts that we are wasting our mind power on. With negative and waste thoughts.
4. Positive thoughts: To increase our mind power, we need to indulge in positive activities that give us pleasure. Go to the temple, go to music concerts you enjoy, attend spiritual discourses to train the mind to think positively. You’ve a choice to check videos on Whatsapp or do what makes you really happy.
When you watch something, a thought is being created. And if its something positive, a positive thought is being created. This is why TV is such a powerful medium, it imprints what we see on the mind immediately. You’re what you see. In the old days, yogis (holy men) would go away far from this material world to meditate in jungles. To be physically away from all these influences, they would go meditate in caves. They did this to be Antarmukha, look inward. In Lalitha Sahasranaama, there’s a shloka.
“Antarmukha samaradhya bahirmukha sudurlabha”
God says, “You won’t find me, unless you turn inward.” We have to turn our mind, intellect and our Samskaras inward to find God.
But you don’t have to go to a cave to meditate. You can look inward in a few minutes of silence or when you are listening intently to spiritual discourses. Just look at children watching TV. They forget the rest of the world. That’s how you should surround yourself with a positive environment. That’s the highest form of Gyana (Knowledge), the highest form of positive energy.
When you cultivate positive energy by positive thoughts, that’s when you’ve put all this philosophy from The Bhagawad Gita into practice.
So the duties of the Intellect are:
1. Decision making,
2. Experiencing and
Our intellect should be more powerful than mind, especially when we are in the middle of making a decision. When we make a decision with our mind, and implement it, we will experience the result of our action. And if the experience is what we liked, we want to keep doing that action. Let’s say, you like banana chips, and you want to keep eating them. But, if you don’t use your intellect, you’ll finish the whole bag in one go.
What is focus here? When your mind and your intellect are on the same action, that’s focus. When the mind determines an action and the intellect experiences it, that’s called focus. That’s the purest form of attention.
You’ve to talk to the mind while making decisions. You’ve to mold it the way you want it to behave. You’ve to let the intellect guide the mind. You’ve to feed the mind positive things.
mām icchāptuḿ dhanañ-jaya”
Practice feeding the mind all good things first, if you can’t focus your mind on me.
The untamed mind always seeks the joys of materialistic pleasures. If a prince were to be crowned king, how many hours of practice does he need to be eligible to be King? The untamed mind will do what it does, whether good or bad actions, and that becomes our Samskaras (Values). So use intellect. Don’t bring any thought in the mind into action right away, be deliberate with intellect to decide. The untamed mind overpowers the intellect, remember that.
“buddhi-nasho buddhi-nashat pranashyati.”
Once our intellect is destroyed, we are doomed.
That’s the only difference between animals and humans. If we see garbage on the side of the road, what does an animal do. Go into the middle of it and scavenge. But, human beings will walk away from it. So, think, how much are we using our intellect?
Heart: How can we practice meditation?
PS: Meditation is a state of being. Its the state of focus, the focus on the highest place, God. Do any amount of chanting you want, but it doesn’t mean your mind is doing what your mouth is doing. If you know these mantras by heart, you’ll only chant them physically, but you might not be there mentally.
There are three kinds of Tapas (Meditation) according to the Gita.
1. Manasika Tapas:
The purest and highest form of positive thinking. Pure thoughts, positive thinking, devotion to God. Again, what’s God? Its a form of service. Take for example Mother Teresa. She’s equivalent to God. Where did she focus her energies on? To bring the poor untouchables into her care and take care of them.
She did this without expecting anything in return. She was not looking for an advantage because there is no advantage in looking after the poor. She was not even an Indian, but she served our country. Frankly, everyone is doing their duties with some underlying selfish motives. But, what she did was Manasika Tapas.
2. Vaacha Tapas: At no time, should we speak in a way that hurts others’ feelings.
“satyam bruyat priyam bruyat na bruyat satyam apriyam”
You cannot get away by being brutally honest. Speak truthfully, yet pleasingly. I should point out your shortcomings, but I should not say it in a way that’s hurtful to you. Give constructive criticism if you can.
There has to be an element of diplomacy in how you handle things. The greatest diplomat in the world is Krisha. Pandavas and Kauravas had come together for making peace, but he made them go to war.
3. Karmana Tapas: Doing noble work is Karmana Tapas. Think of a mom who is being mistreated by her children. She knows everything, she understands everyone’s nature, even then she goes on doing her duties sincerely. She chooses to only look at the positive side of things. She is playing the role of a mother there. Doing your duties with the purest intentions is Karmana tapas. Don’t expect anything in return. Just do your duty.
Don’t give anyone grief, don’t accept grief. Its equally bad. If anyone gives you a rotten banana, will you eat it? Won’t you discard it immediately? Then why do you keep grief that others have given you?
This is what we are told to tell ourselves during meditation about our Atma. You focus on your Ajna chakra between your eyebrows when you close your eyes and tell yourself.
“I’m a pure, powerful and divine soul.”
Note: Before you rate this episode, please consider if you would’ve been so open and authentic about your own life. Earlier episodes available at The Anonymous Manifesto™.