Satsang Question-Answer Session by Sadhvi Saraswati Bhagavati at Parmarth Niketan

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This is just my recollection of the question-answer session conducted by Sadhvi Saraswati Bhagavati at Parmarth Niketan, which I attended. Of course, I can’t quote the conversation verbatim. So excuse me for any errors or omissions!

Q: Why do we need spirituality? Who has time for it in today’s age when everyone is so busy and everyone has so much work to do?

Ans: Imagine that your body temperature is 102 C. You immediately recognize that you have fever and seek a doctor’s help. You know that 102 C body temperature is abnormal because everyone else has a body temperature of 98.7 C, which you assume to be the normal body temperature. But what if everyone around you had a body temperature of 102 C? Then you would conclude that 102 C is the normal body temperature, and you would assume that though you have all the symptoms of high fever, it is all normal and you wouldn’t seek help. Something similar is happening in the world right now. Almost everyone has the same symptoms of lack of spirituality – they feel the ups and downs of life and react to situations and their happiness is easily influenced by external factors and they all suffer from stress and negativity and all the related psycho-somatic disorders. Since everyone has these problems, people have come to the conclusion that this is the normal state of affairs. But that’s not true. If one is spiritually grounded, and is connected to their true self, then the ups and downs of life won’t disturb their mental balance. It’s similar to how if one is floating on the surface of the ocean, he/she will also bob up and down with the waves. But if one is deep inside the ocean, near the depths, the water is almost still there, and one doesn’t get thrown about so much. Similarly, if one is anchored to their true self, which is not any of the roles we play in this world, and which is not any of the identities we’ve created for ourselves in this world, their happiness will not be dependent on factors arising from the external world. They’ll be able to participate in the activities of the world by responding to situations with a sense of control rather than reacting to situations with a sense of helplessness. There is also much more life deep inside the ocean than on the surface. It’s much more interesting the deeper you go inside the ocean, where all new kinds of life forms are present, and very enchanting and beautiful sights are waiting to be discovered. So all of us who are just living on the surface of the ocean, are completely missing the treasures of the deep sea.

Q: What if I enjoy the waves of the ocean, rather than the calmness at the depth of the ocean?

Ans) Once you are anchored at the depth of the ocean, you can still surf the waves, but the difference is that now you’ll be surfing the waves at will and not because you have no other choice. You can enjoy the surfing from a position of control instead of from a position of helplessness.

Q: People keep telling us that we should become spiritual, but they don’t tell us exactly how to do that.

Ans) Becoming spiritual is just finding out the truth about your own self. It is all about knowing your own self. Close your eyes. Observe your breath as you inhale and exhale. Now with each exhale, let go of one of the many roles you play in life right now. For instance, if you’re a student, with the next exhale, let go of your identity as a student. You’re no longer the student. You don’t have the responsibilities of a student now. With the next exhale, let go of your identity as a son. With the next exhale, let go of your identity as a teacher, and so on. Finally, you would’ve let go of all your identities in this life. With each release, you sink deeper within yourself and get closer to your true self, which is still a mystery. If any thoughts come, just let them come and go. Do not react to those thoughts. Just observe those thoughts as they come and go. Spend some time with this state where you’re free from all responsibilities and identities. Get to know your true self. When you’re ready to end your meditation, rub your palms gently, and cover your eyes with them. Then, slowly open your eyes, and welcome back to the external world and all your identities and responsibilities!

Q: I saw a program on television where they showed a blue dot in a flash of white light. The blue dot is the earth. So the entire planet earth is just a speck of dot in this universe. So I feel we are all so insignificant in this universe. So I feel why should I bother about anything, since I can’t make any difference. I feel I can just carry on with my life and do nothing.

Ans: It depends on what we want to do. If we want to build a multi-storey building in every planet in this universe, then we can never do it. But if we are wondering if our action has any impact on the others, then the fact is that every small act of ours has a cascade effect on the rest of the universe, since everything in this universe is connected. There is evidence from physics that everything in this universe is connected and nothing is in complete isolation. Each one of us has some talent and gift. It is our duty to maximise its use so that it has maximum positive impact on the rest of the universe. That’s the purpose of life. We should not waste the opportunity we have of contributing to the betterment of the universe in whatever small measure possible for us.

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