One on One with Sirshree: Questions/Answers with Sirshree
Seeker: I wish to do something big for my nation? Please guide me.
Sirshree: First be a World Citizen. ’Start living for others because there is no other.’ When you see the same consciousness in every person – then you will be able to see the world as one family. The Upanishads call this Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. One who understands what Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is one who sees the entire world as his family inclusive of human, plant and animal kingdom. He recognizes being part of the one creation and living like a family sharing everything the world has to offer and caring for others. Seeing the world as a family also signifies being ready to work towards any problem which the world is facing.
How to be a World Citizen?
A World Citizen is a one who sees no boundaries of religion, race, gender, creed, society, sect, and nation. He respects every human life on Earth, without any prejudices and is ready to share everything that nature offers. But how will one become a World Citizen?
There are three recommended steps. The first step is to develop your consciousness by recognizing the common thread binding everything on this planet. Thus the first step is the understanding of oneness.
The second step is to develop a global perspective. This can be done by reading the history of other countries, understanding their culture and appreciating their uniqueness. This will make you respect every culture and nation in this world. Interact with people of various countries and cultures. You can do this by traveling, by reaching out to expatriates in your city, through social networking websites, etc. Understand how communities, societies and nations are built. Studying the nature, environment, the balance between the human, plant and animal kingdoms will make you revere the beauty of creation and in turn shall inspire you to take effort to restore and maintain the balance of nature. You shall begin to recognise the common teachings of all great leaders, prophets and saints, pointing to the same Oneness, God and Consciousness present in each one of us. By recognising and identifying oneself with this deeper realm, you operate as a world citizen, seeing the world as one family. All your deeds then emanate from the oneness and you shall only think of the well being of everyone.
The third step is to work towards the benefit of the whole world. As mentioned in the previous chapter, this is to do with taking on impersonal projects for the benefit of others, if possible not just your country – but for the whole world.
Being a World Citizen does not mean you are no longer patriotic to your country. A true patriot is one who elevates the consciousness of his country and also of the world. A world citizen is devout to his country and to the entire world. But he is not one who is only devout to his country while demeaning other countries or is indifferent about other countries. The focus of a World Citizen is elevation of global consciousness – in which his country surely benefits.
A World Citizen works towards establishing an ideal and highly evolved society on Earth. His entire focus, his endeavours, his creation, his inventions are targeted only for the betterment of the whole life on Earth. You have now known the path fo travelling beyond, from being personal to impersonal. Being truly impersonal is when you are ‘globally – impersonal’. Practice the third step to be a world citizen by being ‘globally – impersonal’. It simply needs you to add a global perspective to an impersonal project that you undertake.
Seeker: Why Pray for World Peace?
Sirshree: Whatever you become a medium for, first manifests in your life. Similarly, when you pray for peace, it shall first touch and transform your life. If you pray that help reaches others, help reaches you. If you pray for someone who is ill, your health improves. If you pray for others to get money, money increases in your life. If you pray for the happiness of others, happiness steps into your life. When you awaken love and reverence within you for others, it will multiply and come back to you.
Prayer is an unseen power which manifests in different forms. But due to our own imaginations and preconceived notions, we fail to understand this power.
A man once, began to pray continuously to God with great fervour. After many days, God was pleased with him and said, “I am very happy with your prayers. Ask for whatever you wish. You will get whatever you ask for, but your neighbour will get the double of it.”
The man was delighted to learn that he could get anything he wanted. First, he asked for a mansion. He instantly got a mansion. But he saw that his neighbour got two mansions. He then asked for a car. He got a car and his neighbour got two cars. He then asked for plenty of wealth, which he received, and his neighbour attained double the amount.
Seeing this, he started hating his neighbour. He began to burn in the fire of jealousy. Possessed with this hatred, he asked God to make him blind in one eye. He felt happy to see that his neighbour lost both his eyes. He then asked God to cripple him in one leg. He saw that his neighbour lost both his legs. In his desire to harm his neighbour, he went on hurting himself. But finally he began to repent his sufferings realising, ‘God was pleased with me, but I asked for all the wrong things due to hatred and jealousy. I could have asked for so much more valuable, instead, I lost my eye and leg.’
The same happens with us. Owing to hatred and jealousy towards someone, we often end up taking wrong decisions in haste. At such times we forget that the thoughts of malice and loathing, first affect the body in which they arise. Thoughts such as, ‘My country is great and yours is not’, affect you before causing any harm to others. When the mind is impure, such mistakes are bound to happen. Hence let us not be troubled by seeing others’ progress. Let us, instead, be able to participate in their happiness and share their joy. When you pray for world peace, remember you are increasing your purity of mind and causing a change in your life first.
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Old Story Golden Moral by Sirshree
A Brahmin named Mumbaji had come to stay in the neighbourhood of Saint Tukaram. He would always despise Tukaram but would also go to listen to his devotional hymns. With Mumbaji as their neighbour, people around are bound to face problems. People like Mumbaji want comfort and security more than knowledge. If he faced any inconvenience, he would condemn Tukaram saying, ‘You pretend to be a great saint. Your cow chewed up my corn; now you have to pay for it.’ Once he was so annoyed with Tukaram that he beat him up black and blue with a tree branch.
When Mumbaji did not come for that evening’s devotional session, Tukaram asked, ‘Where is Mumbaji? Why hasn’t he come?’ He went to see Mumbaji at his place and told him, ‘Perhaps your hands are paining after beating me with that branch. Shall I massage your hands?’ Mumbaji felt deeply ashamed.
This incident from Saint Tukaram’s life teaches us what patience and love is and how one ought to behave with others. The main point which features in his teaching is ‘staying in the company of virtuous people.’ When you stay in the company of virtuous people, you would automatically get rid of the five vices such as eyeing others’ wealth or others’ women, criticism of others, violence, and desiring respect from others. He says, ‘It’s no use looking at shade from a distance. You can feel it only by going under it. When you go there, you will feel the coolness, and all troubles arising out of heat and anger will disappear.’ This is why it is advised to be in the company of upright people. Only by being in their company, can we become upright.
Points to Contemplate:
- What do we understand from this story?
- What kind of company are you in?
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The roots of Nationalism:
The root thought that promotes this discrimination is, ‘My country is great’ or ‘my race is richer’. There is nothing wrong feeling great about your country. But along with the thought, ‘My country is great”, another thought that gets roots is ‘Your country is not’. Hence a new thought is suggested – ‘My country is also great’…
The root thought that, ‘Only my country is great’ implies other countries being inferior to yours. With this root thought, people and nations indulge in actions that only widen the rift between countries. There is a need to bring in a new perspective of looking at ourselves as a ‘World Citizen’ along with identifying as an Indian or Italian or German, etc. Only then will we be able to say that ‘My country is also great’. The word ‘also’ communicates that we recognize the uniqueness of each and every country. Just like every living being is different and unique – whether a swan or a sparrow or a butterfly – people belonging to different countries are also unique and special in their own way. We are human beings first and only then respective citizens identified by the boundaries of our countries. We are humans first and only then a Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Buddhist or Jain or Jew or Indian or American or rich or poor or black or white etc. Learning to see ourselves as humans first, eliminates all discriminations.
World as one family
Within a country, though there are differences among two regions or states, people from both states unite in case of a war with a neighbouring country; the identify themselves with their nation. Similarly nations across the globe will be able to unite, think, feel and act like one Global community, if we similarly identify ourselves as World Citizens. We will then be able to gather immense strength and make a concerted effort that is required to tackle the problems faced by the world today.
Every person acts according to his individual beliefs. His actions are driven by the beliefs he keeps about himself, people around him and of the world. If he sees himself belonging to a separate religion, race, country or caste, his actions are driven by this segregation. But when he realizes his true identity as the Self – the existential consciousness beyond the limited confines of various beliefs and his body, his perspective of seeing others also changes. He does not see the other person as someone separate, but a part of the common universal consciousness that exists at all times and at all places.
Old Story Golden Moral by Sirshree
There is a painter who breathes life into all the pictures he paints, using a magic brush. One day he painted a landscape with trees, shrubs, grass, a well, a house, a scarecrow, and also a few dwarfs. To add resonance to his creation, he painted various symbols on the trees, rocks, stones, on the walls of the well and the scarecrow – all meant to communicate subtle messages. At the same time, he used his magic paint brush to create another such brush which has the power to bring alive the painted objects. This brush too he hid within the painting, giving clues as to its location. What can be more awesome than using one magic brush to draw another such brush, and both possessing the power of breathing life into the paintings created using them. It is just asking the magic lamp of Aladdin for another magic lamp!
The dwarfs in the painting would keep wandering around the farm, but they could not see the clues in the painting pointing to the location of the magic brush. The intention of the artist was that these subtle messages should become visible only to those people who searched for them very intently. If you focus on the branches and trunks of the trees, you will see that they form a picture, just as it is possible to discern certain shapes in the clouds if one gazes at them long enough. The dwarfs could not see the hints. So there was no way they could find the brush concealed in the picture.
The sad part was that these hidden messages were of great value for the dwarfs. If they were to look at those pictures and find the message hidden in them, their height would increase as a result.
One day, the dwarfs began to question and seek answers, and began discovering the hidden messages. They gained not only in height, intelligence and wisdom, but also found the magic brush which enabled them to express themselves to their fullest, thus fulfilling the purpose for which the painter had created the picture.
Points to Contemplate:
- Who is the painter?
- Who are the dwarfs?
- What is the painting?
- What is the secret?
- What does the brush represent?
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Old Story, Golden Moral by Sirshree
Some pigeons used to sit on a tree in a park. Suddenly danger started lingering on these pigeons. A hunter began to frequent the park. Every time he came, he hunted down a pigeon to take home.
One day, two pigeons were sitting on the tree. They saw the hunter come towards them, at the same time they also saw a hawk hovering above. It was a frightening situation. Both of them said to each other, “Now what do we do? If we continue to sit here the hunter’s arrow can pierce us, and if we take off in the sky the hawk may catch us.” Then one of them said, “There is only one way to get out of this situation – prayer. Come, let us pray together.” The other said, “There is no use praying now. The time to pray has already passed.” The first one replied, “It is never too late to pray.” Whenever we remember we can at least pray with feeling, understanding and reverence to be saved from the calamity.
As soon as they finished praying, they saw that the hunter was aiming at them. When he was just about to release the arrow, a scorpion bit him. The arrow left the bow, went up straight into the sky and hit the hawk. This was the result of their prayer. They got rid of both their enemies in one stroke.
In the most difficult of situations, when decision-making seems difficult or you need more time to decide, do not forget to pray, even though you do not see any signs of your prayer getting fulfilled.
The Ladder of Supreme Faith and Complete Confidence
Faith is a feeling of trust. Faith is trust in others, faith in the universe. Conversely, faith in oneself is confidence. Thus faith is the common factor. But the invisible ladder is one of Supreme Faith and Complete Confidence—where you are beyond faith and confidence, where there is no doubt left. When you have the feeling of supreme faith and complete confidence, then you have acquired the ladder, which will take you beyond the joys and sorrows of this world towards ultimate success.
Faith is the greatest vibration on this earth. The vibration of faith helps open the body and mind of a person. He then becomes more receptive to the world around him. The vibration of faith helps him counter the negative vibrations of fear and worry.
Confidence is faith in oneself. Self-confidence is the foremost requirement of man. It is as important as breathing. There is no fruitful existence of a human being without self-confidence. Due to lack of self-confidence, people lose out on innumerable opportunities in life.
Self-confidence is that dimension of human life with the help of which the impossible becomes possible. Self-confidence is that key which helps us to complete all that is not complete and take our life forward. Self-confidence helps us unravel all the mysteries about life and shows us how we can use them to develop our lives.
There are five types of basis from which people derive their confidence:
- Confidence acquired through physical strength
- Confidence acquired through observation
- Confidence acquired through name and fame
- Confidence acquired through money
- Confidence acquired through position
All these types are temporary, as they are dependent on external factors. This type of confidence or faith does not take a person very far in life. Every type of confidence or faith has a limit, i.e. it can guide you up to a certain extent but not beyond.
Everyone desires to posses and express 100% confidence and faith. Sometimes your confidence and faith manifests when you visit holy places, temples, churches, mosques or other sacred places. People get positive experiences at those places and then they want to return to those places time and again. They are, however, not aware how faith is expressed.
You already have confidence and faith within you; you do not have to imbibe it from outside. You just have to express it; you have to open yourself. When you have faith that something will happen and you are fully confident about it, you will surely meet with success. You will feel great about life.
Supreme Faith and Complete Confidence
Complete confidence goes beyond doubt and no doubt. Supreme faith goes beyond trust and no trust. It is not dependant on external factors. Supreme faith and complete confidence come from the inner experience. This is the confidence in self and faith in the Supreme acquired from within, through the experience of Truth. It never diminishes. This is supreme faith — faith in the Supreme. This is complete confidence—unshakeable faith in yourself. This is the biggest strength of a person. Try to understand that this is within you.
When you have complete confidence and supreme faith, you have seen and climbed the Invisible Ladder.
The greatest freedom man can have is the freedom to choose the response he gives – to any person, incident, situation, or circumstance. You will experience the taste of true freedom when you are able to give the response that you want to give. Else, you will end up doing something that you didn’t want to do, and remain a slave of the habits of your mind. For example, you might have often heard yourself say: ‘I didn’t want to hurt him, but I did’, ‘I didn’t want to get angry, but I couldn’t control my temper’, ‘I had decided to eat sweets tomorrow, but I couldn’t control myself and I finished them off today’, ‘I wanted to shut off the television immediately, but ended up watching it for hours together’, etc. Man is weak because he doesn’t have this freedom. If Independence Day is able to remind you of true freedom, you will celebrate it with the right understanding; else your slavery will continue.
Now the question is: How and where do we find this kind of freedom? Is there such a place, standing on which, we can choose the best response? Yes – it is in our heart, our tejasthan. The decisions we take with our heart take us towards ultimate liberation.
There are two components in every incident: the incident itself, and your response to it. Between these two, there is an interval – a gap, a space, an emptiness, a blank.
This interval is the place at which you have to take a decision about the response you are going to give. Focus on this interval. Be alert in this interval. If you are able to remain with awareness on your tejasthan during this interval and thereby give the right response, freedom will be yours. But if you move even slightly away from that place, you will lose your freedom, because your response will then be a reaction. And that reaction will be according to the hardened habits of your mind (patterns). So always be alert and aware in the interval. It is a very short duration of time; be awake in that duration. Do not get glued to the incident during the interval. Do not get identified with the incident. Detach yourself from the moment of unconsciousness.