Answer: The secret of right action lies in our motives and power of application. Power of application means skillfulness in action, knowing how to adjust ourselves quickly, how to perform a task with the least expenditure of energy. By doing small tasks whole-heartedly, with concentration and skillfulness, we evolve within ourselves a power which will enable us later on to perform some great task which now seems like a mountain, inaccessible and unobtainable.
Answer: Modern psychology describes anger as one of the emotional reactions of the fundamental instinct of self-preservation. When the question self-preservation comes a creature reacts either by fight or flight. When it is fight, anger is the prompting emotional reaction. When it is flight, fear is the prompting emotion.
So anger is basic to human nature, as also sexuality and greed for possession. But if man gives free rein to them, he will be reduced to animality.
Generally anger comes when one feels that one has been insulted or injured or in any way harmed by another. These feelings are Vrittis, or modes or waves coming in the mind. Generally when these feelings come we identify ourselves with it, and forget all good sense. They are just like clouds coming over the clear sky. When the cloud comes, the sky looks all dark, though really it is clear. If you train yourself to look at these feelings in a detached way when they overtake your mind, you will be able to establish over them gradually.
In daily life man can exercise control over anger if he observes a few practices. When anger is roused, he should not react by speaking. He should keep quiet, and either repeat the name of God or discriminate.
Question: What is the place of Vedanta (Scriptures) in modern society?
Answer: It is not true that the Vedanta as a subject matter for sannyasins/mendicants and as having no significance for the life of man in this world. This is not a proper view. Bhagavata Gita, a very authoritative text of Vedanta, contains the message delivered by Sri Krishna to Arjuna, who is a normal man with likes and dislikes in life.
Question: Why does man suffer when God has created man in His own image?
Answer: The question is put in Biblical terms. According to the Bible, all the trials and tribulations of mankind are attributed to the ORIGINAL SIN (of the Adam who disobeyed the Divine commandment, which has been inherited by man. This is agreeable to those who accept this theory of Original Sin unquestioningly. To others it seems very queer.
The Hindu mind has thought of it in more philosophical terms. Essentially, man is Divine, which is free from body mind complex, and which is of the nature of pure Consciousness. Due to the ignorance of his real nature, man thinks that he is a body associated with a mind which is full of desires and wants. The mind, which is limited by time and space, struggles to get the freedom from the wants in life by achieving the objects in the world which by themselves are limited by time, space and causality.
So, any amount of acquisition makes him dissatisfied and the struggle goes on in the form of suffering. But when the mind gets maturity through the various situations in life, it turns back to the basic questions like “Am I really a body-mind complex?” “Should I seek worldly objects to the fulfillment in life?”, “Am I not Divine intrinsically?” etc. When these questions arise then the knowledge of our True Nature comes to us by the grace of a Master/Guru.
Then the individual recognizes the fact that there is no suffering at all in the creation of the Merciful God. It is the ignorance of the FACT that “I am Divine”, makes him to identify with the limited and ephemeral body-mind complex is the cause of all sufferings in life.
Question: What is the place of Bhakti in modern society?
Answer: Faith in God and devotion to Him are important needs of in all societies and at all times. Forces favourable to it and forces antagonistic to it have also existed everywhere and at all times. Anti-devotional forces are not a speciality of our times as some people believe. There is however an element of truth in this assumption. Intellectual sophistication has a tendency to make some men skeptical. But more than intellect, it is man’s intense attraction for the life of the senses that misdirects the intellect into skeptical channels. Otherwise the intellect is neutral in regard to faith in God. It may question and demolish many of the crude and superstitious ideas and practices that have developed in the name of faith and that type of cobweb-cleaning is a very necessary process. The intellect is aware of its own blindness about the ultimate nature of things. This position is confirmed by modern philosophers of science too.
To the extent that devotional life is eliminated from the life of men, they will find themselves meaningless creatures in this mighty cosmos, and their daily life too will lose all moral significance. A human society without any sanction for moral code is worse than animal society. For, as far as animals are concerned, they have in-built irrevocable checks to regulate their instinctive life, whereas man’s regulative forces are largely voluntary and under the control of his thought-life. Unless some ultimate meaning is given to life, man’s thought becomes weak and chaotic and his life is reduced to the condition of a rudderless boat. So faith in God and a devotional ideal are quite necessary even for man’s happiness in life and they are more necessary today than at any former period in human history; for without them man will become increasingly corrupt and unhappy which we are experiencing at this juncture.
Question: What exactly blocks one from becoming Great?
Answer: Your question ‘What exactly blocks one from becoming Great’ is easily put than answered. In the first place, the word ‘Great’ is understood by people in different ways. One may be great in wealth, in immense power in the world, in learning, in character, in spiritual attainments and in many such things.
It is perhaps the power you bring with you from your efforts in the past lives and the concentrated effort you put now in the direction you want that helps you attain the fulfillment of your ambition. I do not know whether there is any force like gravitational force that blocks one’s way to go up. In our bodily life there is one environment which may be either hostile or favourable. In our moral and spiritual life there are the tendencies we bring with us from our past lives, which are either favourable or otherwise. But there is the power of the Atman (your own intrinsic infinite nature) within all, with which we can battle against these blocks.
Answer: Knowing and loving are the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. At first we may not be able to love the Lord, but we can be impressed by His majesty through the manifestation of it through Nature that forms our external environment. This is a kind of partial knowledge. But if it is real, intense and a result of real quest, it can develop the emotion of awe, not fear as on seeing a tiger. The more we study Nature, the more are we impressed by the wisdom that is revealed through it. In the course of our development, it can lead us to love for Him. Bhakti is described as firm and unshakable love, preceded by an understanding of Dive Majesty. It is vastly different from personal love with other human being.
Question: How to effect a balance between duty and spiritual life?
Answer: You state that your difficulty is to effect a balance between your work in the school and your spiritual life. Every one in this world, whether monastic or otherwise, will have to effect this balance between spiritual life and one’s duty outside. Every day in the morning and evening if you devote an hour for spiritual practice, like japa (telling the Lord’s name), meditation (thinking about the Lord’s form or His lilas etc) you can gain this balance. If you try to practise the attitude that all the energies of your body and mind are given to you by the Lord, and in discharging your duties, you are making an offering of your energies and works done with them to the Lord, your work becomes equal in value to meditation. There will not be any gap between the duty and spiritual practices. Your whole life will become the worship of the Lord, which is the purpose of this human life .
Answer: Concentration is the natural state of a healthy mind. We need not improve it all. A healthy mind is naturally concentrated on the subject which it likes more. The problem with us is we like many things at a time and disturb the natural concentration of the mind.
To keep in its natural state of concentration you should give a specific goal, which you like very much in your life. That can be only one. That is called “The goal” of your life.
To achieve this Main goal, you can have subsidiary goals which will help you in achieving that main goal.
In our scriptures there are 4 main goals mentioned for any human being.
1. Artha – Wealth
2. Kama – Sense Enjoyments
3. Dharma – Righteousness
4. Moksha – God Realisation.
You can choose any one of them as your main goal of life and make other goals as subsidiary ones. To achieve any goal you should pay the price accordingly. If you select the God as your life’s goal then your life will be successful along with peace and joy. If you make Dharma (Righteousness) as your Life’s goal, then you will succeed in worldly life without any sorrow. But, if you make ‘Wealth & Sense enjoyments’ as your life’s goal, then suffering is inevitable. So be thoughtful while deciding your life’s goal. After deciding the goal learn to love that goal and Struggle consistently and systematically to achieve that goal in righteous way.
However, to keep the mind healthy in general you can observe the following disciplines in day to day life.
1. Healthy food – avoid all types of food which will make you addict and weak.
2. Physical Exercise – which suits to your temperament and makes you strong physically.
3. Reading Habit – Life of teachings of Sages and Mahatmas which gives us mental clarity.
4. Proper attitude – This life is for gaining knowledge of the Facts and not for enjoyments.
5. Naama japa – Repeating the name of the Lord whom you like very much.
6. Service – Serving the poor and needy as much as possible.
7. Sadhu Sangha – Relationship with good and noble people.
Question: Is Lord Ramakrishna still initiating devotees directly through visions and dreams?
Answer: If the devotee is pure to the core and prays to Sri Ramakrishna, He may graciously grant visions or initiate him in dream, or appear before the devotee in person. It is all left to the Lord and the devotee. Even after the disappearance from the physical body, the Lord can give Darshan to the devotees. There are lots of incidents in the lives of Mahatmas, where, Lord appeared and blessed them in the form of the ‘Ishtadevata’ of the devotee. We request you to read the lives of sages and saints, who lived a life of devotion and purity, so that you also can develop the faith in the grace of the Lord and get his blessings.
Audio, Video, Articles, Moral Stories, Humor, FAQs & Important Links