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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1995
by Swami Krishnananda

26. Choosing the Mantra

(Darshan given on October 26th, 1995.)

A visitor: Should I use a Siva mantra or a Krishna mantra for meditation?

Swamiji: Do you like Siva or Krishna?

Visitor: I like both.

Swamiji: Then both you chant – one mala of Om Nama Sivaya, one mala of Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya. When the mind is oscillating between the two, it is better to do both.

Visitor: Is it possible to concentrate on both?

Swamiji: Are you not knowing that so many people are sitting here? How is the mind knowing everything unless it is concentrating? Are you seeing only one person? So if you can know so many people are sitting here, you can also know two gods are there. What is the objection?

Visitor: But is it not better if we concentrate on one?

Swamiji: But your mind is unable to do that because it is oscillating. That's why I'm suggesting both.

Visitor: Is it possible to come to a state where the mind can concentrate on one?

Swamiji: If you believe that any particular thing is able to give you whatever you want, you need not think of the other. But if you have a doubt that this is perhaps not satisfactory, and you want assistance of somebody else, then the mind will go to the other also. Are you sure that Lord Siva will give you whatever you want, or you have got a doubt? What do you say?

Visitor: I don't think anything, Swamiji. I just want the Lord's grace.

Swamiji: Which Lord's grace?

Visitor: My mind goes to Lord Krishna but my heart speaks Om Nama Sivaya.

Swamiji: Your heart is more important than your mind. You go on with Lord Siva.

Another visitor: This morning I was in the ashram, and there was a puja. I'm a Christian, but I was very touched in my heart by this puja; I loved it, and it was a very good feeling for me to be there. Do you think that for a Westerner, for a Christian, being in a Hindu puja as seen from the point of view of a Hindu, is it good?

Swamiji: Has God created Hindus and Christians, or has He created only human beings? What has He created? Tell me. Has He created Muslims, Christians, Hindus, or He has created only humanity? Which is the correct answer?

Visitor: He created man out of love.

Swamiji: Love or no love, He created human beings. So they need not be called Christians and Hindus. You are unnecessarily creating complications by putting a label on your head. God does not want Hindus and Christians and so on. He wants the soul of a human being, and the soul is not a Christian, the soul is not a Hindu. It is an impersonal radiance emanating from God Himself. The light will go to the light. So why do you create complications unnecessarily, saying you are Christian or Hindu, etc.? Be a good person, and then you will become a godly person also. Be impersonal as much as possible because God is all-pervading, and therefore He is also impersonal. We should not carry our labels before God. Every worship is wonderful – Christian worship, Hindu worship, Muslim worship, whatever it is. Every worship is wonderful if you go to the spirit of it. But you should not go with labels; otherwise, you won't appreciate it. Do you understand me? Be happy.

Another visitor: Swamiji, tell us about the relationship between the teacher and the disciple.

Swamiji: The disciple is supposed to obey the order of the mentor, the Guru. Whatever the Guru says, whatever the guide says, that the disciple has to obey. If that obedience is not there, then that person ceases to be a guide. It is a simple answer to a simple question.

Visitor: Things are going well in my life, but I still find I have a lot of anger in me and my instinctive reaction is to react in anger sometimes. Can you help me with this?

Swamiji: You are meditating and you have anger. This is what you are saying?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: With whom are you angry?

Visitor: It could be anyone. If anyone attacks me verbally, my instinctive response is to attack back sometimes.

Swamiji: Who is attacking you?

Visitor: It can be any person.

Swamiji: I don't think anybody attacks like that unnecessarily. There must be some good reason. Nobody will attack like that unnecessarily. Why should they attack you? What harm have you done? Who is that person attacking you? You tell me one person, one instance.

Visitor: Yes, perhaps it is the way I am seeing it.

Swamiji: Then why are you asking me? You are only imagining they are attacking you, and imaginary questions have no answer except imaginary answers. Why are you worrying over non-existent things? Perhaps your meditation is not being conducted properly, and that is why these difficulties arise. How are you meditating?

Visitor: I concentrate on my breath and try to focus, but I get very distracted.

Swamiji: This kind of meditation is not going to free you from anger because it is a mechanical device that you are following, whereas human relations are vital. There is no connection between your breathing and your relations with human society, so you have made a mistake in choosing an inadequate path of meditation. What connection has breathing got with social connections? You have not been properly instructed by your Guru.

Another visitor: Swamiji, how did you know that you had chosen the right Guru, that you were really listening to the voice of God when you chose your Guru?

Swamiji: If you feel fully satisfied with the instructions of the Guru, and at the same time you feel you are improving in your life by following the instructions of the Guru, you can conclude that you have chosen the right Guru. It depends upon your feelings.

Another visitor: In the beginning, in following a Guru there is a lot of resistance.

Swamiji: What kind of resistance? Give me an instance, an example.

Visitor: Not obeying the instructions exactly.

Swamiji: Why do you not want to obey the instructions? What is your problem?

Visitor: It's in me, a kind of not wanting to surrender, not giving myself totally.

Swamiji: Nobody has asked you to give up yourself, only you are being enlightened by certain guidance in life. Don't you like guidance in enlightenment?

Visitor: I want it, but I'm not used to it. It's hard for me to accept it.

Swamiji: What do you want then, finally? What are you searching for?

Visitor: Freedom, inner freedom.

Swamiji: You cannot get it when you are unable to surrender yourself. If the personality is so strong and the ego is very adamant, then the question of surrender doesn't arise. Understand? So if you maintain your own egoistic personality and would not give concession to the advice given by the teacher, then you don't require a teacher.

Visitor: I want to give it up, but I want some help on how to give it up. I do want to give it up.

Swamiji: That is the duty of the teacher to tell you how to do it. If the teacher cannot answer this question, then I'm sorry for that Guru [laughter]. What is the use of the Guru if the Guru cannot remove your problems and give you ideas and suggestions how to get over them?

Now you are telling me all these things. What do you expect from me? Why are you telling me all these things?

Visitor: Maybe it will help me overcome some of the resistance in me, that's why. I'm struggling a lot these days with this resistance, and I feel it very strongly.

Swamiji: What are you resisting? What kind of thing?

Visitor: I don't know.

Swamiji: How can you resist unless you know that you are resisting something? What do you do in your country?

Visitor: I am a psychologist.

Swamiji: You are a psychologist and you cannot understand your own mind.

Visitor: True.

Swamiji: What are you aiming at finally?

Visitor: Living more happily, living freer.

Swamiji: Are you not happy?

Visitor: Not enough. No, I don't know how to be happy the way I want to.

Swamiji: Are you unhappy?

Visitor: Sometimes, yes.

Swamiji: Who creates the unhappiness for you?

Visitor: The ego.

Swamiji: You are saying you are creating your own unhappiness. How can you say that you are a good psychologist?

Visitor: Maybe I'm not a good psychologist. I feel that spiritual work is above and beyond psychology.

Swamiji: Wonderful. So what is the harm in it? Spirituality is not against psychology. It is one of the stages of understanding which leads to spiritual living also. Do you have any trouble in your life?

Visitor: I don't have external troubles. I have the trouble in me that is making life difficult for myself.

Swamiji: You require a deep psychoanalytical study of yourself, and I don't have time to do all these things now. I am not going to do any psychoanalytical probe into your personality, though it is worth doing. If you are a psychologist yourself, you can be a psychoanalyst of yourself only. Another person is not necessary. The only thing is, you have not thought properly over this issue, and you are in a state of mental muddle, I can say, and you have no guidance from anybody. You yourself are the master of all things, and that is a little difficult thing. Tell your Guru that I said you require a psychoanalytical probe, and see what he says.

What is your spiritual practice?

Visitor: Contemplating.

Swamiji: On what are you contemplating?

Visitor: On something that I haven't experienced – on Pure Consciousness, on Truth.

Swamiji: Where is Pure Consciousness? Where is it sitting?

Visitor: Everywhere.

Swamiji: You are concentrating on that which is everywhere? Are you sure about it, or have you got any doubts about it?

Visitor: I am sure I have doubts.

Swamiji: I understand that you are a very good person, but you are a little confused on certain things. I can only repeat I have no time to talk on the subject because so many are sitting here and I cannot give all the time to yourself. So you excuse me with this remark I have made: You require deep consideration.

Who else wants to talk to me?

Another visitor: In my heart I love God, but when it comes time to meditate sometimes I have a fight inside myself, between my heart and being distracted by all the things that I need to do.

Swamiji: Find one hour a day to sit alone and meditate.

Visitor: And how does one reconcile being married and having very different needs from one's partner in spiritual practice?

Swamiji: Is there a contradiction, or are you imagining there is a contradiction?

Visitor: I am probably imagining it.

Swamiji: You please verify whether it is an unnecessary imagination or it is a fact.

Visitor: What happens is, there are various times when someone else's needs are clear to me so that my needs take last place, and I disregard what I feel I am being asked to do by my spirit, so I don't know how to resolve that contradiction.

Swamiji: Either you develop a strength within yourself to rectify the other person who is not thinking correctly or, if it is not possible, you just ignore the trouble that is arising, at least for an hour or so in a day. Afterwards, if your prayer to God is sincere, something will take place which will solve your problems. In an unknown manner your problems get solved.