Frequently Asked Questions

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People who are exploring spirituality or are in pursuit of peace or just want to simplify their lives have questions. In this section we try to answer some of the basic questions based on the philosophical views and principle tenets of Ramashram Satsang Mathura. Some of the answers are actual responses given by Shri Sanjiv Kumar, an engineer by profession and a spiritual scientist by design to some seekers.

The Need for Spirituality

Yes, spirituality talks about the common good, about everlasting peace. Right now, in this physical state our happiness is dependent upon material possessions and other external factors. Our perception is that happiness is possible just by achieving more of physical comfort and physical possessions. But, even a mere thought or possibility of losing them results into anxiety and makes us unhappy. Our lives are stressful due to our desires to achieve more of them. Our overall lifestyle in terms of health or having a calm state of mind, work-life balance, and our ability to be at peace irrespective of the external environment does not improve. So, we need to figure out what provides us that, and I think spirituality does.
I would say its internal spiritual strength. We have been trying to achieve peace and happiness in life through physical possessions and things that are materialistic. Materialism has not given us everlasting peace. It only increases our desire to get more and more. While spirituality talks about the common good. How humans can achieve lasting peace, can coexist better and we would go beyond physical comforts and physical possessions, talk more about our personal growth by covering all aspects of our life and not just obliquely focussed on material acquisition. Achieving spiritual strength and inner strength that will provide us a peaceful coexistence across nations and communities rather than continuing to fight for the self-centric individualistic and materialistic approach that we tend to have today.

On Physical & Material Well Being

In the Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna taught us how to balance between karma and dharma. Basically, Spiritualism and this world are not at odds rather they complement each other. One can continue to achieve progress within this world, and yet if we stay a little detached from it, we can achieve spiritual progress as well. We can continue to enjoy the marvels of the material comforts and at the same time be at peace within.
The Bhagwad Gita talks a lot about detachment and we are losing this concept in this culture and age. Attachment leads to misery and we go back and forth between pain and pleasure, state of happiness and sadness and misery, as those ups and downs of emotions that come through attachment. Buddha said that root cause of all misery is our attachment to our possessions. Our scriptures have taught us that detachment is an element which would provide us the ability to live well in the world as well as continue to progress spiritually by focussing on our rightful Karma or duty.
Indian culture and heritage always had the concept of Guru. The moot question is, why do we need a Guru? Because, if detachment was so easy that everybody could implement, they would have been living happily all by themselves. Lots of people have studied Gita, but how do you implement those concepts in our own lives? That’s the challenge. So we would have to find someone who has done that and is aware where all the challenge lies. My grandfather, Guru Maharaj, Dr Chaturbhuj Sahay Ji, implemented those concepts and practiced them in his own life and then he shared it with the world. These days I follow the same process that he prescribed and I try to share that with youngsters and anybody who is interested because I feel the concepts are great but implementation within one’s life is the most important piece and fortunately my parents and my uncles who served the mission of Guru Maharaj were also able to live a life which embodied the concepts that Lord Krishna gave in Bhagwad Gita.

Need for a Guru

Guru is someone who has moved forward towards self-realization and enlightenment stage and now He is ready to share some of that with us.

This is a great question. My grandfather Guru Maharaj actually wrote a book on this
topic, ‘Guru Bhakta Sahajo Bai’ by depicting how Sahajo Bai found her Guru and
then what followed. That whole book is on this topic.
Guru Maharaj also addresses the process by which a person who is not adept in
scriptures or who doesn’t have knowledge of the concepts that he wants to learn,
can figure out who is the right Guru. There was something that he quoted,
“गुरु मिला तो जानिए, जब मिटे मोह संताप।“
(Guru Mila to Janiye, Jab Mite Moh Santap)
This means that your quest for a Guru will end when you sit in front of him and
forget about all your miseries and questions. You would feel that all the miseries are
alleviated and a deep sense of peace is percolating inside without much effort.
Because, these days there are lots of people who talk about a lot of things but if they
cannot put one at ease and at peace irrespective of the external circumstances, then
I think there is a problem.

I strongly believe that when you start your quest, the energies of the universe will come to help you and they will guide you through to destination where you find your Guru. So the first duty of a seeker is to inculcate that deep quest to get his Guru. But, Guru Maharaj also said that when you think you have met your Guru you should not accept Him all at once, rather test him. But, as someone not initiated into the spiritual process, how can you test a Guru? One of the tests he suggested was that, “if you sit in front of someone and you forget about your miseries and all those tensions and anxiety that you have accumulated including the past baggage that you have on your mind” then you have met your Guru. Here’s a personal example. I used to visit one of the disciples of Guru Maharaj when I was in college some 40 years ago. While travelling to meet him I would have so many questions and would be thinking about so many things. But, the moment I would sit in front of him, those doubts and queries are all cleared without speaking a word. As though I am in the land of peace. All those questions would go away and there was this amazing sense of calmness. It was pure Bliss as we call in Hindi ‘anand’. A deep sense of joy used to pervade inside that uplifts your energies and enables your senses of being in a different world altogether. I experienced that and I feel, that is one way to figure out. By calmness and peace I mean it’s not just for 30 seconds. You go there, you sit there for an hour or more and you literally forget all the stress, all the issues and situations that you are dealing with completely, and then I think you are in the right place.
Guru Maharaj said that ‘to be at peace’ is the most inherent and natural thing to happen for every single person or soul. Spirituality is a very natural phenomenon, which we have forgotten because of the place where the society is, because of the current culture, because everybody is running to amass something or the other, without knowing what and why. And hence, there is no peace. So think about this as you and I are talking right, we are all thinking about something all the time. While you are thinking, the mind like a machine emits out thousands and thousands of thoughts per millisecond. So, how will you find peace when this phenomena is going on? You will have to stop the barrage of thoughts and go into what is called the state of yoga. So, how do we stop the barrage of thoughts? Through meditation. Now, somebody needs to teach us the right way to meditate. There are lots of ways to meditate. Some are more effective than the others and the person who takes us through that process is referred to as Guru.

Meditation & Its Benefits

Our Guru Maharaj talked about utilizing 23 hours in a day for your material gain and for earning your living and taking care of your family. He said that for these 23 hours, we might even forget Him in the process of focussing on the worldly duties, but he asked us take out one hour every day for our own spiritual growth. He said as human beings we owe it to ourselves. If we do that, slowly but steadily we will be able to gain that inner strength. We develop the ability to hear our inner voice of conscience that essentially calms ourselves. We are able to reflect & concentrate better and make the right decisions.
Yes and no. Let’s call the inner voice as conscience. How many people can really hear their inner voice, their actual inner voice? We mostly hear our mind. Our thought processes have taken over our real conscience, the intuition has taken a backseat. If we were so clean and pure that we got up in the morning and we are able to listen to our inner voice telling us to do some good today, right? We don’t have time for that. We don’t think it necessary. We already have several things lined up before we actually get up. Everything is towards some material gain or activity. We are caught up in a vicious cycle of things that have to be achieved during the day rather than listen to our conscience. When we meditate under the guidance of a Guru we bring ourselves to a stage where
  1. Our inner voice gains strength and clarity.
  2. We calm our mind so that we can have the ability to listen to our inner voice and
  3.  We think we are taking a vacation from this vicious cycle and trying to connect with ourselves. So people think that meditation is like we have to achieve this and we have to achieve that, it’s more about connecting with our inner self. Self-realization is nothing but knowing ourselves better and Meditation helps in all of it.
Guru Maharaj actually said meditation should start after attaining the age of 16 or later because till teenage the brain is under development and it is better to let some of the development happen before we start controlling our mind and taking charge of ourselves. The newer generation is on the mobile phone 24/7. They are getting exposed to all kinds of things from a very early age. So, how do we expose them to lead a better life where for example they have the ability to hear their inner voice or what we call ‘have inner strength’? Inner strength is the ability to be happy without just an extreme focus on material things. Inner strength is happiness from within which is irrespective of what status I have in this world and what material possessions I have. So, inner strength will also help the youngsters to push back and avoid taking the peer pressure. Sometimes we do things that we don’t want to do but do because of peer pressure, my friends are doing this or people are pushing me in some ways. If children have inner strength they will be able to resist all these and do what they really think right and want to do.

Personal Growth & Spiritualism

No, but if we go back to our heritage in India, Gurus were always there. There are thousands of variations of Yoga, philosophies and there are so many ways to achieve personal growth that will take us to a higher level of being where we have the brain functioning at far more efficient levels and where we are trying to become better human beings. So, does the education system produce better human beings just by the virtue of going to college? I don’t think so. We also need spiritual education of some sort which has been always available but outside the education system.
We all should look at personal growth, which is beyond bookish knowledge. We are talking about inner strength, inner voice and the conscience. Our ability to become a better human being is through vertical growth. There is a concept where we could be moving horizontally in time where the past is gone, we are in the present which will be gone shortly and the future we have never seen. If we could continue to move horizontally in time without making any vertical progress we will just keep doing what we are doing. By vertical progress, it is meant to improve our state of being. We are part of the divinity that pervades everywhere in this world. But after coming into contact with the world, we have travelled down through different Realms or state of being. Finally, we reach into the Realm of our Body where our entire focus and objective of live comes to satisfy the demands of this physical body through sensory pleasure and material acquisition. Whereas vertical growth means that we evolve ourselves again to higher states of being, by living a life with purpose and to identify ourselves again with that divinity. Upanishads talked about Panch Kosi Vidya (The 5 Realms of existence) where the lowest level of being is the Realm of Body (Annmaya kosh), in which we are living just for materialistic things and sensory pleasure. At the highest level of being i.e. Realm of Bliss (Anandmaya kosh) we are self-realized, enlightened, in unison with the Supreme Consciousness. So, basically the 5 steps to self-realization talks about nirvana where you have to deal with your body, your breathing, your mind, your brain, your ego and that’s what is meant from vertical progress. If we want to live a life with purpose like Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Teresa, we have got to make vertical progress. Spiritual growth helps us in becoming a better human being, living a life with higher purpose instead of living a self-centric life just helping ourselves. Once we achieve in our lives the higher levels of being through this vertical growth, we can even share our experience with other people and help them achieve that.
If our self-centeredness and self-preservation continues then we might lead ourselves to the fate of self-destruction. If we look Indian or European history, we will find that there were crusades, where people killed one another for religion. Does that make sense? Of course not but what does not make sense even more is that it is happening even today. We have thousands of years of human history. We couldn’t learn this lesson yet. What could be the reason we continue to kill each other in the name of religion? Then take materialism. There is 1% who have all the wealth in the world and 99% is left in the dust, why? Humans have created these systems and concepts. Initially we thought that communism will bring the level so that everybody is at the same level. Then, we thought that democracy will give us freedom, give us liberty, it will give us the ability to be free in our will and in our ability to execute our free will. Now democratic societies are as corrupt rather more corrupt than we can ever imagine. Power completely changes the public servants who were supposed to be serving. There is one element that causes all this and that is the human mind and its lust and greed. If you do not control the energy and thought processes that control the human mind, we cannot progress vertically. We can befriend the human mind and utilize it as a tool for our progress rather than being driven by it where the mind turns the entire energy to material acquisitions. It can also turn into a wheel that takes us to enlightenment but when the human mind is left uncontrolled, power, money and other things lead to atrocities that we see in the world. So, spirituality will help us control and manage our own mind, we achieve self- realization and self-actualization that we were destined to as human beings.