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Questions and Answers HH Sacinandana Swami

Q. Could you explain what is self-realisation and the process of attaining it?

A. Self-realisation is the prime necessity of a human being. The process for attaining it is to remove everything what is not ‘Self.’ For e.g.: The self is like a diamond, covered with many layers of earth while buried in a mountain. When one removes the layers, he will find the glistening diamond. In the same way we have to remove the layers from our original self to find (our) original blissful existence. Now, how to do that? The Vedic scriptures tell us of a very effective way of mantra meditation. By chanting, the pure spiritual sound vibration, all the conditionings are removed from the mind. It is practical. I have conducted meetings with up to 30,000 attendants and in the end have requested them to chant together, the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. It goes as Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare; Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Immediately, the hall was filled with a blissful spiritual atmosphere and people, who previously had no information about the efficiency of the mantra, started to dance. It has been effective even in war-ridden areas like previous Yugoslavia; old enemies became friends by chanting and removing this way the later from the true self. Please try it out!

Q. What does one gain by chanting Om Namo Bhagvate Vasudevaya Namah? Can you explain the meaning?

A. Meaning of this beautiful mantra is, “I offer my respectful obeisance to the all pervading supreme personality of God-head, Vasudev.” If you meditate about the meaning of this mantra, simultaneously chanting it, the supreme Lord will rise in your heart like the morning Sun.

Q. Swamiji how does one acquire perfect knowledge about absolute truth through Pratyksha Pramana, Anuman Pramana?

A. Pratyaksha Pramana means direct perception. That of course is the most immediate realisation. It means that seeing the Lord standing right before you or perceiving him on the lotus of your heart. Anuman Pramana is not so direct. It means understanding the Lord by philosophical speculation. Sometimes you hit the truth by this method and sometimes you miss it.

Q. What is your experience and feelings when you visit holy places or are in deep meditation?

A. What an interesting question! When a pilgrim visits holy places he directly contacts two powerful energies of the Lord. One is Taraka-Shakti, which means the liberating energy of the Lord. You feel liberated from all your anxieties and problems. Second is Paraka-Shakti. This is the energy, which lovingly pulls him/her towards the ocean of love, the Lord. This means he feels the wonderful emotion of spiritual love rise in his heart and pervades his whole being. During deep meditation one feels similar emotions of closeness with the Lord. Of course at this moment I could get into a detailed description, but honestly feel that it will help you much more to plan your own pilgrimage to a holy place because just by thinking about going to a holy place you can already feel its potency.

Q. What is Krishna Consciousness? What do you feel about the Krishna Consciousness (movement) in India?

A. My spiritual master (guru) once said that Krishna Consciousness means "Above the clouds of illusion". Krishna Consciousness in other words means to become aware of the Krishna Sun, free from the covering clouds of material illusions. Where there is the Krishna Sun, there is no darkness of illusion. That is Krishna Consciousness. I feel that the Krishna Conscious temples in India that I have visited are delivering this uncovered perception of God and making the visitors truly happy. But I have also seen that western clouds of illusions have drawn up over the sky of Indian spirituality. People become more interested in the clouds than in the Sun. So, the Krishna Consciousness Movement will have to find novel ways to capture the interest of the Indian population.

Q. Swamiji what are your activities in India? How did you get involved in this movement? Was it a calling?

A. Up till now my activities in India have been mainly sacred pilgrimage, lecturing at some universities and taking care of lives of the spiritual guidance of a few individuals. At this stage of my life I am still based in Germany where I am much more active in work with the public Over there, I frequently appear on TV programmes, write books that are published in the western languages and make many other public appearances. But, I am very much intrigued by the promising field of my spiritual motherland, India. And hopefully, will do much more here in the future.

Q. What are Tamas, Rajas and Satv Gunas? And how can a common man control them to become a better devotee? How can guru help a disciple attain spiritual life? Can you say something on teacher-student relationship?

A. Tamas is the force of ignorance controlling our life. Rajas is the force of passion (like the Mumbai traffic) and Satva is the force of enlivenment and enlightenment. A devotee should increase Satva in his life, which will automatically reduce distracting influence of ignorance and passion. How to do that? Eat vegetarian food offered to God, rise early (despite the almost gravitational force of sleep in the morning) and engage in spiritual practices like mantra meditation, singing of spiritual songs and reciting with understanding spiritual texts like the Bhagwad Gita or Shrimad Bhagwatam. Most powerful practice however is to have association with devotees of the Lord. Rajas and Tamas material association influences you and likewise (you) become elevated to Satva by spiritual association. Simply said, if you associate with drunkards you begin to drink and if you associate with Holy men you begin to dance. Almost in the same way in which a mother bird helps her young offspring to fly, a guru helps his disciple. He has to nurture the disciple with spiritual food, give him spiritual experiences. He has to instruct the disciple by explaining to him the knowledge in the ancient Shastras (words spoken by God or about God). And he has to care for his student. That means help him overcome the obstacle in his path, give him shelter and affection in times of difficulty and sometimes wake the disciple up when he/she sees (has lost) the goal out of sight.

Q. Does GOD have shape just as any other human or more superior than human or is he just a piece of small glow of light as some like Bhramakumari's believe?

A. The supreme Lord has form - but it's unlimited. His form is not made of flesh and blood but of eternity (Sat), boundless knowledge (Chit), over whelming blissfulness (Ananda).

Q. How do we come to know if I realise GOD or see HIM? How can I see GOD? How and where can I meet GOD?

A. The proof of having seen God is a total transformation of being. It’s almost like the transformation of iron into gold. When iron goes into fire, it changes its nature. In the same way a person who has made direct contact with God is transformed by transcendental loving ecstasy. The question now is where to meet God. He is present in five places but you have to be serious and determined in finding Him there. The first and most accessible place of God "Sadhu-Sanga", second is "Chanting His Holy Names" Hare Krishna…, third is "Holy Scriptures", fourth is visiting Him in the temple and fifth is His "Holy Places". I wish you all success in finding God.

Q. Does being in true love bring people close to God? How does one attain Krupa (blessing) of GOD?

A. When you are in true love you have to see and accept the person the way he really is. In our original life, we are all parts of God. In true love we acknowledge this. That means we treat our partner with utmost respect and love as a part of God. In this way our relationship becomes divine. We will never forget who the other person really is even if his or her all too human traits sometimes get on our nerves! (Smiles). We will never forget that he/she is a child of eternity. This vision spiritualises our relationships and makes it divine. We need to go to places where the Kripa-Shakti or mercy energy of God is available. It's almost like if you wish to get electricity you must plug in to get the current. Now, how to plug-in to God's Kripa Shakti or mercy energy? Here I can only say in short, pray regularly from the depth of your heart, meditate about the Lord's presence in every aspect of your life - the good and the bad - so that you will see His smiling face behind the seemingly ordinary events of your life. And once again, have association with godly people and call out His wonderful names. I wish you all the best in obtaining His mercy. It will not be difficult because He urgently wants to give it to all of us. We just have to take it.

Q. Respected Sir, kindly tell why God made this Universe. What was the purpose, because without purpose nothing is created?

A. The Universe is like a school. The purpose of a school is that its students learn their lessons well to become capable for the Real life outside the school. In the same way the purpose of the Universe is to enlighten us with practical, honest, spiritual enlightenment so that we become capable of living, eating, and dancing at the sight of the all blissful personality of the Supreme God-head Krishna.

Q. What is the difference between worship of Krishna and worship of other Devataas?

A. It's like the difference between worshipping the King or worshipping his ministers. Brahma, the powerful Creator of Universe and Surya the Light- giver as well as Chandra, Shiva etc are ministers in the government of the Universe. Let us go to the King directly. He can give us all what single minister can give on his own.

Q. Swamiji, please guide and help me get closer to God .What should can I do in terms of chanting mantra, pilgrimage, charity , sacrifice, any other dos and donts, considering that I am leading a very demanding professional and personal life too? Please show me the way.

A. Thank you for your trust. I feel it is best if you find a bonafide spiritual master (guru) who can guide you personally. As nice as this Indiatimes chat is, it is limited due to shortage of time and not able to see each other. For qualified spiritual guidance there needs to be enough time to fully know the personal situations of the persons involved. Spiritual guidance is more delicate than brain surgery. But I want to encourage you. Please visit temples like Radha-Rashbehari temple at Juhu (Mumbai) or any other ISKCON temples. I am sure the Krishna will make the right arrangements for you to meet the persons who can help you. We can also meet personally on next Sunday (22nd December, 02) at Radha-Gopinath temple at Chowpatty (Mumbai). The programme begins at 1 PM (IST)

Q. What are the similarities in the four VEDAS? In which aspects they are different? Are available in their complete form? If not, how can they be restored?

A. The four Vedas are like different musical themes in the same symphony. Although the themes may sound different they are part of the same symphony. The same way the similarity between all the Vedas is that they all show different ways to the same God. The complete library of the Vedas is vast - much bigger than our time to read and understand them all. Therefore, it's best if we go to the essence of the Vedic literature like Krishna's own words in the Bhagwad Gita and understand them through the instructions of a bonafide spiritual master (guru). But of course it's also nice to read other Vedic scriptures that deal with subjects like health etc, which we may be interested in particular. Not all the Vedas are easily accessible in their completeness at the present time. Some texts have even been lost. I know that the Sanskrit University Melkot (South India) is doing excellent work in retrieving as many scriptures as possible. Our movement has also started such an endeavour. Let us hope that we assemble as many Vedas as possible in their completeness. But once again, the essence of the Veda is available in the form of the Shrimad Bhagwad. It is said that after Krishna's disappearance from the planet the Lord appeared like the rising Sun in the Form of His literary representation, The Shrimad Bhagwad or Bhagwad Purana.

Q. My question is that Lord Krishna had so many, many wives, but he romanced with Radha and used to be called a 'Makhan Chor' and steal butter cream from other's homes. Then why is Krishna still worshipped?

A. Lord can do anything and still remain God! What I wish to say is that because He is totally different from us His activities are also different. For eg: When Krishna danced with unlimited Gopis He really only danced with his own expansions. It’s like dancing before a mirror with his own reflection. For that matter we are all part of the Lord. He is the only Purusha (energetic source) and we are all Prakriti (energy). One professor in the West challenged my spiritual master (Guru) SrilaPrabhupada asking him, "How can you worship an immoral womaniser?" SrilaPrabhupada answered calmly, "How many women do you have?" The professor answered perplexed "Why? Of course only one"? SrilaPrabhupada's answer was stern "You are immoral? You have kidnapped your wife from Krishna? Everyone is a wife of Krishna" When Krishna stole butter He actually stole the hearts of His devotees who had prayed "I am now preparing this butter for you. Please come into my house and steal it and give my eyes pleasure." So, wonderful Krishna always has wonderful activities. If you come to understand more about Him you will find that in all activities Lord only acts for the benefits and pleasure of one and all. Did you know that all the soldiers who died in the battle field of Kurukshetra instantaneously obtained Moksha? Krishna had transformed a battle-field into a Liberation field! That only God can do.

Thank you very much for your inspiring questions. I also wish to thank the Times of India group’s web site Indiatimes to make this forum available to all of us. My advice to all of you is to learn the "Lesson of Farmer". Once there was farmer. When he came home from the field, he took with him some stones with which he started to work. After two months or so, he had completed the art of making little and big elephants out of stones. He became so famous that the king paid him a visit to see his work. Overwhelmed by the amazing skilfulness the king exclaimed, "Farmer, if you could teach me to make elephants like this, I am prepared to give you half of my kingdom." The farmer answered coolly, "that's not required, your Majesty. It’s very simple to make perfect elephant. You take the stone, and then you can take everything away which is not elephant!" In the same way I would like to advise you to take your life and gradually take away everything else which is non essential. What will remain at the end is purified happy self, standing before the Supreme Lord Krishna. Spiritual practices like chanting the Maha Mantra can help you. Hare Krishna......will help you to obtain this goal.

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