Divine teachings: Questions and Answers
Questions and Answers
Q. Where is the abode of God?
Q. What does renunciation (sanyasam) mean?
When one gives up all materialistic desire right from birth, that is renunciation.
Q. Is doing pooja a must for realizing God?
The reason for doing pooja is to concentrate our wavering mind and direct our thoughts towards God. By doing so, we get rid of bad and negative thoughts at least for that duration of time. Prayer and pooja is the best method to control and concentrate our minds towards the Almighty. That does not mean that pooja only will lead one to God.
Q. When can one attain mukthi or salvation?
If one understands completely who he or she is in the real sense, then one is on the road to self realization.
Q. Why is meditation considered superior to devotion?
There is no expectation in meditation. We try to concentrate on the Ultimate which we seek to realize and get merged in Him during meditation. This is more difficult than devotion where one tends to pray to God for getting his desires fulfilled.
Q. Who am I?
You are that which you seek.
Q. Why should one go to the temple to worship God?
When thousands of people worship the Lord in the temple, one feels that God is really manifested there.
Q. Why do some brahmins put sacred ash (vibuthi) on their foreheads?
Our body is mortal and one day it is going to perish and turn into ash. Whenever one touches the bhasmam (sacred ash), one is reminded of this fact. So, as long as we live, we should develop good thoughts and do good to others at all times and at all places. We should try to mould ourselves to make others happy and not be self centered. Our prayer to God should be to bless us in this endeavour and with that feeling in our minds, we apply vibuthi which would also remove the fear of death.
Q. Why are the lotus feet of God considered more sacred than God Himself?
This is because the lotus feet carry God Himself.
Q. Help and service; are they different?
When one renders service to another with an expectation from the other in return, that is help. When one renders help without the least expectation, that is service.
Q. What is the difference between Guru and Sadguru?
Guru is one whose aim in life is to attain self realization. In that endeavour, his disciples accompany him. He can be a family man. A Sadguru, on the other hand, is an enlightened soul having attained self realization. He is a sanyasi right from his birth and seldom does he know about his birth and parents. In this respect, he is Rishi moolam or Nadhi moolam (just as the place from where the river originates is so remote that it is not known to many). Shirdi Saibaba, Swami Gnanananda are all Sadgurus. In their previous births, they were sages. They attained samadhi after death.
Q. What is the significance behind doing abhishekam to God?
Whenever we take bath, we try to remove the external dirt from our body. But we do not clean the soul within. When one does abhishekam to an idol of God, it is equivalent to cleaning our soul (God) within us.
Normally abhishekam is done with turmeric powder, milk, curd, honey, sandalwood paste and sacred ash. We do not normally take bath with these items. We should feel that God is within us and by doing abhishekam to the idol, we are, in effect purifying our own soul.
Q. You always say that service to humanity is the greatest offering to God. Can you explain?
Service is an act where there is no expectation in return. When one renders service to another through monetary help, by physical effort or by delivering discourses, writing books, or even by keeping quiet, that is considered as service to God. Hands that render help is much better than the lips that pray. Service to humanity is the real service to God.
Q. What is the real purpose of life?
Life's real purpose is to seek God within oneself and realize that divinity is within oneself, in everyone and in everything around us. When one attains such self realization, then there is no difference between human and God. The body soul gets merged with God and salvation, absolute bliss is attained.
Q. What are the key factors that lead to success in our lives?
Self discipline, constant enquiry on the nature of I, hard work, absolute faith in oneself while ridding oneself of ego, quelling shallow desires, service to humanity and complete faith in the Almighty — all these will lead one to real success.
Q. What does happiness mean?
Happiness is a relative term. Its definition varies from person to person. When one is fully content, that leads to happiness.
Q. What is absolute bliss?
When one has no thoughts and the mind is completely unperturbed, like in deep sleep, that state is absolute bliss. One should try to attain and maintain this state in every waking moment of our lives.
Q. What is the significance of Hindu males putting the pavithram made out of dharbai (grass) as a ring before starting any pooja?
Vyas is a type of grass. During the war in Kurukshethra between the Pandavas and Kauravas, Lord Krishna indoctrinated Arjuna in the sacred Bhagavad Gita. The grass Vyas worried that this divine truth and wisdom, the very essence of life, would be lost with only one ordinary mortal Arjuna hearing it. Arjuna not being eternal, after his death there will be none to impart these sacred doctrines to the rest of humanity. Thus, Vyas, in distress, started uttering "Krishna Krishna". The Lord felt someone utter His name with incomparable devotion and yearning. He searched everywhere and finally plucked a clump of grass. The grass Vyas, thus became the first guru later manifesting itself as the great sage Vyasar. Lord Krishna blessed the grass Vyas saying that since it heard the divine teachings first and had realized its significance, whenever any one performs a ritual, he will wear the sacred grass as a ring.
Q. What is the significance of south Indian brahmin ladies wearing the nine yards sari and men wearing the five yard dhoti during rituals?
Adi Parashakthi — the divine mother is the controller of all nine planets. One yard of cloth is adorned for each planet. By wearing the nine yard sari, the lady symbolizes the Goddess and after purifying herself, she invokes the Goddess and then starts the pooja. Similarly, Lord Siva is the controller of the five elements. The sum of nine and five is fourteen, the digits of which total five. The number five represents Gayathri. The father becomes the first guru to his son during the Brahma upadesam given to the son during his thread ceremony. Such is the twofold significance of men wearing the five yard dhoti.