This Section Features Interaction with Rev. Swami Nityasthanandaji Maharaj, Acharya, Belur Math, Kolkata. Rev. Swamiji is well versed in Indian Philosophic Thought and is a highly admired monk in the Ramakrishna Order. The users can post their question to the Swamiji on Spiritual Life, Personality Development and related topics.
Prasad B Deshpande
To Poojaniya swamiji,
Usually how much time period it takes to realize god when on Naam smarana path.
Swamiji: Dear Prasad
Time taken to realize God through Nama Japa is not quantifiable. It depends one’s samskaras and intensity
Is knowledge gained from external or is it internal?
Swamiji: No knowledge comes from outside. Objects are outside, but knowledge of the object is inside the mind. Knowledge is a mental process. When we see a particular object, hear somebody speaking about something, or read something, certain mental activities take place and out of which knowledge arises. So knowledge is internal.
I have done a mistake. What should be my punishment for that. I am guilty of the mistake.
Swamiji: Your guilt feeling itself is punishment enough. You have to resolve not to repeat the same mistake again. If you take mistakes in a positive spirit, they help you in turning towards higher ideal. Now instead of brooding over past mistakes, you must take up some higher ideal and try to lead a meaningful life. That will nullify all your past mistakes. Read Swami Vivekananda’s works which will enable you to pursue some higher goals and infuse you with great self confidence.
Is it possible for us to be in a joyful state always irrespective of the situation amidst this buzy working life of ours. Some of us won’t be able to get totally involved in spirituality ( like taking sanyasa deeksha ). Is there any ray of hope ?
Dhanyavaada to Swamiji and also to this website for facilitating this interraction.
Swamiji: It is not the external situations that disturb our minds, but it is the inner reaction to the situations. If we react negatively, we loose our mental poise. Since we do not have any control over external situation, we have to choose whether we react negatively or positively. So remaining joyful depends upon our choice.
We have to identify ourselves as Divine Self, and firmly hold on to this concept of self. Then we will not be assailed much by varying external events. We must have some higher ideal in life and “think of it and dream of it” constantly, and pursuing this ideal gives us the sense of inner fulfilment that keeps us joyful always. We must have great concern for others and help others according to our mite. When we are empathetic, our own problems and difficulties – whether they are caused by external or internal situation – become neglible.
what is the purpose behind the creation of the universe?
Swamiji: Creation belongs to unconscious Prakriti on which no purpose can be attributed. The creation is a blind process, witnessed by conscious self, and we are that conscious self. The purpose can be attributed to conscious self. So the purpose of our life is to identify ourselves as pure conscious an come out of this process of creation
I have started realising that it is very essential to have a guru in one’s spiritual progress. what are the signs of a true guru?
Swamiji: The Guru is the one who enlightens us in any area of knowledge. Spiritual Guru is one who shows us the way towards spiritual enlightenment. For that, he must be sufficiently advanced in spiritual life, he must be free from worldly desires and expectations, having good of the devotees as his only concern, no connection with “shopkeeping religion”. True spiritual Guru is the one who gives spirituality to others and make them spiritual
If I want to progress spiritually thru nama japa, how shud I go about it? Sometimes my mind wanders somewhere even if my lips utter Gods’ name. Is it that i will have some benefit even if i dont concentrate but utter gods name?
Swamiji: Dear Sai Ram
You must start doing Nama Japa. The tendency of the mind is to wander. Try to be alert and observe the thoughts. It is the identification with the thoughts that takes us away from the object of concentration. When we observe dispassionately, thoughts will slip away. They are shy of attention. Then you will be able to keep the thoughts which you want. Do Nama Japa with faith, love and understanding. Then you will see that mental distractions are reducing progressively. In the beginning it is not possible to have full concentration, distractions are unavoidable. But if you doggedly continue the practice, gradually the mind becomes steady
When you do Nama Japa, try to do it consciously, listening to it and being aware of every syllable of the mantra. That will prevent the wandering of mind to a great extent. Think that Japa is purifying your body, mind etc. Rhythmic Japa will act as Pranayama and makes the whole system hormonious and rhythmic
how can all religions lead to god when some religious books explicitly say that those who do not follow a particular religion can (shud) be killed. How can such religion(s) which intends to harm others be respected. Is it not laying the axe on the roots of humanity?
Swamiji: In fact, no religion lead to God, for God is to be attained here and how within one’s one heart. That is why Sri Krishna says in Bhagadvadgita, Giving up all religions, take refuge in Me (God) alone ( SarvaDharman Parityajya Mam ekam Sharanam Vraja!). To attain God one must go beyond all denominational religions. Remember Swami Vivekananda’s statement It is Good to be born in a Church but bad to die there.
what is spiritual kriya?what are various techniques to overcome negative thoughts.
Swamiji: Beware of negative thoughts. Thoughts become negative when they are associated with negative emotions like lust, anger, hatred etc.. as light gets colored passing through colorful mediums. And these negative thoughts are nothing but negative reactions to external and internal stimuli, and they in turn germinate from the past impressions or samskaras embedded in our unconscious mind which are the result of our past deeds. The negative reactions will make past impressions more deep and this in turn will cause more reactions. What is to be done is to dissociate the thoughts from negative emotions, which is possible only through Viveka and Vairagya. So intensely these two and the rest will be taken care off. For technique of controlling negative emotion see Vedanta Kesari, December 2005. Nurturing Emotional Stability
what are different foods which are not allowed for students?
Swamiji: Whatever that are drawn in through our different senses are our food that enrich or endanger our personality depending upon the quality of the food. What we see, hear and read – these also constitute our food, not only the materials that enter into the system through the mouth. If we take care of only the latter without taking account of the farmer, it is not going to yield any positive result.
Bhadram karne-bhih shrinu-yaama devaa bhadram pash-ye-maak-shabhir yajatraah. Sthirai-rangais tushtu-waam-sas tanoobhir vyashe-ma devahitam yad aayuh.
May we, while becoming wise hear with our ears that which is noble. Becoming sanctified, may we see with our eyes that which is auspicious. Singing Gods praises with strong limbs and healthy bodies, let us enjoy the life-span determined by good deeds.
Regarding the material food, follow the injunctions of Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita –
yuktahara-viharasya yukta-cestasya karmasu yukta-svapnavabodhasya yogo bhavati duhkha-ha
“He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working, and recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.”
i want to meditate .but i am living in a hostel and we are three roommates.how can i proceed? please guide me.is this nessary to make a person guru who is living?
Swamiji: If you really want to meditate nothing can prevent you. Nothing can be achieved in life if one pays one’s attention to obstacles-that are ahead. Obstacles should make your determination more strong. You persuade your room mates co-operate with you. You must exert such an influence on them that they share your sentiments and get tuned to your determination. Or you get up early in the morning before them and meditate while they are still in slumber. Or you may choose an ideal place for meditation like Ashramas or temples. Most important thing is start doing. If one thinks that one will enter the ocean only when all the waves are subsided, one will never succeed in doing so. Patience and determination form the foundation for meditative life.
The primary object of having a Guru is guidance and inspiration. These are indispensable in any field of activity, and more so in spiritual life. When one possesses intense aspiration to do something, guidance and inspiration knock at ones door. The child needs others’ help to learn walking and once it is known, it walks without any help from others. Even so, external Guru is needed till one’s inner Guru is awakened and one starts walking on a right path. The Guru’s work is to put the aspirant on a right track.
1) What one should do to attain peace of mind.
2) Should one Beleive in Fate or Karma.what effect will it have in our lives.
3) Should one beleive in Astrology.will the planetry changes effects one’s life.
Swamiji: Dear Ashwath,
Your first query regarding what one should do to attain the peace of mind. In the first place one need not do anything. The question is who has disturbed your peace of mind. If you closely look at yourself, the answer is none but yourself. Various kinds of unhealthy desires, negative emotions unresolved conflicts etc.. have been allowed to take hold of your mind and they are disturbing your peace. To have such a state of mind is highly tormenting. Then we begin to find fault with everything around us. The Holy Mother Sri Sharadevi Said, “If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others.” If we find fault with others, that will generate negative feelings in the mind, like dislike, resentment, ill-feeling towards others. These will naturally disturb the peace of mind. It is the negative emotions such as anger, hatred, jealousy, fear, worries etc that agitate the mind. It is said ‘Anger is the price we pay for somebody else’s mistake.’ ‘Anger is one letter to danger.’ To have peace of mind, me must minimize our desires. Each desire will put great pressure on the mind to fulfill it. Unfulfilled desires will upset the mind. So, Buddha said, ‘Desire is the cause of all misery.’ We have to overcome the desires, before we are overpowered by them.
2. Should one believe in fate or Karma. What effect will it have in our lives?
One need not develop a passive attitude of resigning one’s fate. Man is the only creature who has been endowed with the capacity to change his own fate. But Karma is different from fate. Karma means Work-i,e your freedom to do work-good or bad-which has got tremendous effect on character. Every Work-good or bad-leaves its own impression on the mind, and the sum total of these impressions will determine our character. There is a famous statement. “Sow a thought, you reap an habit; Sow an action, you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; and Sow a Character, you reap a destiny”
3. Should one believe in Astrology? Will the planetary changes affect one’s life?
It is a sheer waste of time and one’s energy to go on bothering about the astrological predictions shaping our lives. You may not believe, but such an attitude is a great handicap in one’s life. As Swami Vivekananda says, “We are the creators of our own destiny.” Even if the planetary changes are supposed to affect one’s life, perhaps the planets too would be afraid to see a courageous man who is up and doing and may perhaps decide to help rather than harm him
Prasanna Kumar S
This is Prasanna Kumar S,Doctral student of Biotechnology from university of Mysore.I want some information regarding topic “Science and Spirituality”,How can I get from you and Ramakrishna mission regarding that subject.This is my request in you.
Prasanna Kumar S
Swamiji: Dear Prasanna Kumar Your query regarding the topic ‘science and spirituality’. There is a book called ‘Synthesis of Science and Religion in Swami Vivekananda’ by Swami Ranganathanandaji and another one ‘Can one be scientific and yet spiritual’ by Swami Budhananda published from one of our sister institutions. Besides, there are a good number of books on parallelism between Science and Religion. Also noteworthy are some of the important contributions by some of the scholars published in the journals Prabudda Bharatha and Vedanta Kesari, both published rom the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. If you visit the Ashram, you can get the information regarding the topic.
With Best Wishes and Prayers,
1.How does spirituality helps in personality development?
2.In this age of consumerism and rapid technological development, what role spirituality has?
Swamiji: Human personality consists of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions. Personality development involves harmonious development of all these aspects of personality. Physical development takes place through proper food, exercise and work. Mental development is possible through intellectual studies and intense thinking and contemplation. For emotional development, one has to cultivate moral virtues like Truthfullness, Honesty, Non-violence etc… and develop strong character. Spiritual practices like meditation, prayer etc, will help us to develop spiritually, i,e manifesting our real spiritual or divine nature. All these physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual disciplines ensure all-round development of personality. So spirituality is an integral part of personality development. All these disciplines and complimentary to each other.
Swami Vivekananda says: “What we want is to see the man is harmoniously developed..Great in Heart, Great in Mind, Great in Deed.. We want the man whose heart feels intensely the miseries and sorrows of the world.. And we want the man who not only can feel but can find the meaning of things. Who delves deeply into the heart of nature and understanding. We want the man who will not even stop there, but who wants to work out the feeling and meaning by actual deeds. Such a combination of head, heart and hand is what we want[C.W vi.49]”
Naveena C K
What is the goal of Life? and What are the requisites for a spiritual life?
Swamiji: According to Swami Vivekananda, the goal of life is to manifest the potential divinity of one’s personality. When the potential divinity is expressed, one would feel the sense of fulfillment, and life becomes meaningful. When the seed is sown, it germinates and becomes a huge tree, manifesting its own potentiality, and then only the purpose of its existence is fulfilled and it becomes meaningful. In the same manner, when we express our hidden capacities, talents and ultimately our potential divinity, our life becomes meaningful. It is not what we possess, but what we express, that gives meaning to our life.
When the potential divinity is expressed, our personality will be adorned with all the noble qualities like love, compassion, goodness, strength etc… As Swami Vivekananda says, “Power will come, glory will come, goodness will come, purity will come, and everything that is excellent will come when this sleeping soul is roused to self-conscious activity[CW III.193 ]”
The most primary requisite is The aspiration for Spiritual Life. When intense aspiration is there, the natural outcome of it would be a spirit of detachment from worldly things. Since spiritual life means a long drawn battle against our own internal enemies like lust, anger, hatred, fear, delusion, egotism etc… It requires infinite patience and perseverence. It also requires an analytical mind to descriminate between the real and unreal, good and bad, and what is complimentary to spiritual life and what is inimical to it. The one who is equipped with these qualities will sure to reach great heights in Spiritual Life.