Yamas and Niyamas – 2

The second rule is Satya. It means to be with what is right now, to be with something that is not changing. Satya does not mean just speaking the truth. It is total commitment for truth. It is not just words. Unfortunately people mistake satya to be just speaking words. Many people consider being blunt as being truthful.

The sutra is Satyapratishtayam kriyaphalashrayatvam (Sûtra 2.36), meaning. When you are established in truth then the fruits of action will follow.

When you become established in truth, any action you do will become fruitful. Many people do their actions, but their action does not bring about results because there is no truth consciousness inside. When there is truth consciousness inside, when you are established in the truth, the fruit of the action will follow the action immediately. It is the quality of the consciousness. Even if you lie, if you are bold enough to say that, ‘I am telling a lie right now’, you are speaking the truth!

When you lie, your consciousness is not straight-forward or strong. A person who is committed to truth is committed to the presence of the being. For them, success comes easily. The ancient saying in India is Satyameva jayate meaning ‘truth alone triumphs’. Truth will eventually win though it may appear not to be winning.

There is a story about Emperor Akbar and his minister Birbal. Once Akbar heard a lecture on truth and he became so enthusiastic and said “Okay, I will make everybody speak the truth.” Immediately he ordered that ‘‘anybody who says a lie will be hanged!” He wanted this law to be implemented. As this law was announced, there was a big commotion in the market place. What was the commotion about? All the lawyers gathered together and said “What is this law? Our profession will be finished.” In another corner all the merchants gathered together and said, “See, what is happening. This is disastrous. How can we sell anything?”

Next, all the priests gathered and it was the same story there too. The doctors gathered and said “Oh! We have to migrate to some other country. This law is too dangerous.”

All of them approached this wise minister in the king’s court, Birbal and said, “Come on Birbal, you have to do something. What will happen to our trade? This is outrageous.” Birbal said “Okay I will do something.” So, the next day Birbal, the minister entered the king’s bedroom. As he was trying to enter, the guards stopped him and asked him where he was going. Birbal said “I am going to get hanged.” Now, this was a lie! He was one of the top ministers of the cabinet. He was getting into the king’s room and saying “I am going to get hanged.” That was not a place to be hanged. So the guards said, “Minister Birbal has spoken a lie!” He was brought in front of the king. If Birbal was to be hanged then he had not spoken a lie. Whatever he had said was the truth. Then it means that an innocent man will be punished for no crime of his. It will be a big crime. If he will not be hanged then the law becomes obsolete. Then what to do?

All the wise people and all the ministers were called and there was a big debate, “Now, what should we do? Should we hang him or not? If we hang him we violate a law. If we do not hang him, even then we violate a law.” The king was in a fix. Everybody else was in a greater fix. So they told Birbal, “You yourself suggest to us as to what we should do?” Birbal then said, “Truth is not what is spoken. Anything you speak becomes a lie. The moment you open your mouth, you are distorting the truth.” Akbar realised this and withdrew the law!

Satya or truth means ‘to be with what is’. It is not just the words but it is to be truthful in one’s life, heart and presence. Truth is not what we speak, but what we are.

[Courtesy Sri Sri RaviShankar’s column in New Indian Express on Patanjali Yoga Sutra]


Restraints and Observances – 1

Yamas (Restraints) and Niyamas (Observances) are the first two limbs of the Eight Limbed path laid out in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras.

The first yama is Ahimsa – Non Violence. Non Violence unites you with the whole creation. Everything is part of yourself and since you do not harm yourself, how can you harm anything? A practice of not harming anything and realizing that everything is a part of you is Ahimsa.

What is the effect of ahimsa? Patanjali Maharishi gives a beautiful explanation in

Sutra 2.35: Ahimsapratishtayam tatsannidhau vairatyagaha
which means “When a person is established in non-violence, then violence is dropped in his or her presence.”

If you are established in non-violence, in your very presence, violence will be dropped by other creatures. For example, someone comes to attack you. As soon as they come near you, because your vibrations are totally nonviolent, they drop down. They stop being violent. Lord Mahavira emphasises on ahimsa. It is said that whenever he walked, twenty kilometers around him, people would stop being violent. The story goes even to that extent and says even the thorns would not prick anybody but would instead become soft.

Ahimsa gives rise to tolerance.

Have you ever felt like hitting somebody? Why is that violence arising in your mind? What is the source of the violence? As you watch the source of violence, you will see that violence disappears, dissolves and peace dawns. Yoga brings that inner peace which in turn establishes non-violence. Practice of non-violence is two-way traffic. Ahimsa or non -violence brings about the union of the mind or peace of mind and when you are peaceful or calm within, you naturally become non-violent.

[Source: Sri Sri Ravishankar’s column in Indian Express]

The Night of Shiva

Last Shivratri I was at Pune, watching Shivaratri celebrations in Kerala on Sanskar TV. This time, the thought was to go to Kolkatta to be in His presence, but wife had other plans – none of which materialized. And the cable connection does not have Sanskar TV in the basket, so here I am. What better use of time than doing Rudra puja, meditating, reading Shiva Sutras, typing in a few lines about Shivratri and in between finding time to get onto a sales call!

Collating what Guruji had talked about Shivaratri and posting it here.

Today’s Times of India, carries an article on Shivaratri, by Guruji:

Shiva means your very self, the purest Self, your innermost core. Shiva means good or benevolent. The word ratri in Sanskrit means that which relieves you from three types of agony – ethereal, mental and material. At night everything becomes quiet and peaceful. The body gets tired and goes to sleep.

‘Shivaratri’ literally means that night which infuses the Shiva tatva or the transcendental principle to the three instruments: the body, mind and speech.

Shivaratri is a night of deep rest. It is the night that takes you into its lap, comforts you and gives rest. When the mind rests on the lap of the Divine, that’s real rest. Like the mind, memory and intellect, Shiva is also a tatva or principle in us. Shivaratri is when the Shiva tatva and Shakti become one.


It is only wakefulness that brings out this knowledge in our consciousness and Shivaratri is the night to celebrate the wakefulness of one universal consciousness without falling into the unconscious sleep state.

Breaking the pattern of unconscious sleep gives you a glimpse that you are not a mechanical apparatus but a legend in Creation. To recognise the Shiva tatva, you have to be awake.

Couple of years back, Guruji had said the following, on Shivaratri:

Shivaratri is the day of Lord Shiva. Shiva is the lord of meditation and therefore the lord of awakening. Shiva Tatva means to be awakened. Shivaratri is thus an occasion to awaken one’s self from all sorts of slumber.

Shivaratri is not a night to be slept over. One should try and be up through the night. It signifies being aware of everything you have and being grateful about it. Be grateful for the happiness which leads to growth, and also for sadness which gives a depth to life. This is the right way of observing Shivaratri.

For the pious, the following method of Shiva worship is advisable – sit down in lotus posture, do some Pranayam to stabilize your breath, then indulge in Dhyana, followed by chanting of “Om Namah Shivay”. It is the greatest mantra and the devout should drown himself in its Kirtan.

Shivaratri worship leads to fulfillment of a devotee’s wishes. There are certain days and time frames in a year that enhance one’s mental and spiritual faculties. In such times, whatever one wishes, materializes. Shivaratri is one such day. All this is very scientific.

Going to temples on this day is OK but you should remember that Shiva is everywhere. The meaning of Kailasa (legendary abode of Shiva in Himalayas) is celebration. So where there is happiness and celebration, Shiva is present.

Whether in Sanyasa or Sansara, you can’t escape Shiva. Feeling his presence all the time is the essence of Shivaratri. That is the real Sanyasa. No worship is complete without offering something to the deity. Shiva is a very simple lord, he is innocent – bholanath. One just needs to offer bel-patra to him. But in this simplicity is a deep message. Bel-patra offerings signify the surrender of all three aspects of one’s nature – Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. You have to surrender the positives and negatives of your life to Shiva and become carefree!

The greatest offering is your self.  To offer one’s self is the key to happiness in life. Afterall, why do you get sad? It is mainly because you are not able to achieve something in life. At such times you should surrender everything to the all knowing God. The greatest power is in surrender to the divine. It’s like a drop owning the ocean. If a drop remains separate, it will perish. But when it becomes the ocean, it is

The last sutra of Shiva Sutra says “Shivaarpanamasthu” – offerings to Shiva. What will you offer? Who is the offerer? What is there to offer? Examine this closely. When everything is offered to Shiva, what is that which radiates in us? “Shivoham! Shivoham!

This Diwali, let’s light the lamp of compassion to serve others

[Guruji’s talk on Diwali] For an oil lamp to burn, the wick has to be in the oil yet out of the oil. If the wick is drowned in oil, it cannot bring light. Life is like the wick of the lamp, you have to be in the world yet remain untouched by it. If you are drowned in the materialism of the world, you cannot bring joy and knowledge in your life. By being in the world, yet not drowning in the worldly aspect of it, we can be the light of joy and knowledge.

Diwali is the celebration of the light of wisdom thus born. It celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Lights are lit on this day not just to decorate homes, but also to communicate this profound truth about life. Light the lamp of wisdom and love in every heart and bring a radiant smile on every face.

Every human being has some good qualities. And every lamp that you light is symbolic of this. Some people have forbearance, some have love, strength, generosity; others have the ability to unite people. The latent values in you are like a lamp. Don’t be satisfied with lighting just one lamp; light a thousand, for, you need to light many lights to dispel the darkness of ignorance. By lighting the lamp of wisdom in you and acquiring knowledge, you awaken all the facets of your being. When they are lit and awakened, it is Diwali.

Another profound symbolism is in the firecrackers. In life, you often become like a firecracker, waiting to explode with your pent-up emotions, frustration and anger. When you keep suppressing your emotions, cravings, aversions, hatred, it is bound to reach a bursting point. Bursting crackers is a psychological exercise created by the ancient people to release bottled-up emotions. When you see an explosion outside, you feel similar sensations within you as well. Along with the explosion, there is so much light. So when you let go these emotions, then serenity dawns.

Unless and until the pent-up emotions in you clear, you cannot experience the newness in you. Diwali means to be in the present, so drop the regrets of the past and the worries of the future and live in the moment.

There is another symbolism in the gift exchange and the distribution of sweets. Sweets and gifts exchange symbolise the dispelling of the bitterness of the past and renewal of friendship for the times to come.

Any celebration is incomplete without the spirit of seva (service); whatever we have received from the Divine we should share it with others – for, it is in giving that we receive. That is true celebration. Celebration also means dissolving all differences and basking in the glory of the atman. Everyone in society has to become wise. Happiness and wisdom have to spread and that can happen when all come together and celebrate in knowledge.

Diwali is a celebration to forget the bickering and negativities that have happened through the year. It is a time when you throw light on the wisdom you have gained and welcome a new beginning. When true wisdom dawns, it gives rise to celebration. Often in celebrations, you tend to lose focus or awareness. To maintain awareness in the midst of celebrations, the ancient rishis brought sacredness and puja (rituals) to every celebration. For the same reason, Diwali is also the time for Pujas. The spiritual aspects of Diwali add depth to the celebrations. Any celebration has to be spiritual, since a celebration without spirituality has no depth.

For the one who is not in knowledge, Diwali comes only once a year, but for the wise, Diwali is every moment and every day. This Diwali, celebrate with knowledge and take a sankalpa (intention) to serve humanity. Light the lamp of love in your heart; the lamp of abundance in your home; the lamp of compassion to serve others; the lamp of Knowledge to dispel the darkness of ignorance and the lamp of gratitude for the abundance that the Divine has bestowed on us.

Seeing the world from the eyes of the Master

Last evening in the Satsang, someone asked Guruji, “You have said in Celebrating Silence to look at the world from the eyes of a Master. How does the world look from the eyes of a Master?”

The question was in Hindi and the answer in Hindi too was instantaneous – अपना लगता है, अच्छा लगता है (Apna lagta hai, Accha lagta hai).

Loosely translated – “The world look as if it belongs to me and it looks good.

For those who haven’t stumbled upon this knowledge, it is in the book “Celebrating Silence“, titled “The Spiritual Master”. Guruji says:

See the world from the eyes of the master at all times. The world looks so much more beautiful – not a nasty place, but a place filled with love, joy, cooperation, compassion and all virtues.

Washing Machine


Your body is like a washing machine, your mind is like your clothing, each lifetime is like one washing cycle, pure water is like love, and knowledge is the detergent. The mind enters the body to get cleansed and purified.

But instead of detergent you use dirt,  then you have dirty clothes, dirtier than before. You will have to continue putting your clothes in the washing machine to get them cleaned. And the process repeats again and again. Similarly, you will have many more births until you stop repeating the mistakes that you have made.

– Sri Sri in Celebrating Silence

Shubh Deepawali!!

…..it was also today that Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya, his kingdom, after his victory over Ravana, the demon king. Ayodhya means that which cannot be destroyed, or life. Ram means the Atma – the Self. When the Self rules in life, then knowledge lights up. There is life everywhere. But when the spirit is awakened in life, Deepawali happens.