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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1995
by Swami Krishnananda

37. Bhakti Yoga, Viveka, Self-Realisation, Guru

(Darshan given on December 25th, 1995.)

A visitor: Some of these people never came to an ashram. This is the first time. Could you please explain to them the importance of bhakti yoga in the life of swamis?

Swamiji: You are thinking that swamis are practising bhakti yoga? The swamis deeply love God, and in that sense you may say they are doing bhakti yoga. Whoever deeply loves God is a bhakta, that is, a devotee. And your question is whether swamis are practising bhakti yoga, and I answered your question: they have no other duty than that.

Visitor: How can I develop the capacity to discriminate, to have viveka?

Swamiji: 'Discriminate' means seeing a difference between one thing and another thing. That is called discrimination. Do you mean this, or is there something else in your mind?

Visitor: I want to know how I can make the right choices in life.

Swamiji: What work do you do?

Visitor: I am retired.

Swamiji: If you are a retired person and have no particular work to do, you can live a life of prayer and meditation.

Visitor: I would like to start meditation, but I am afraid of meditation because in the past when I was meditating, there was a deep silence and I was frightened.

Swamiji: Meditation cannot be done offhand, by everybody, unless they understand what it means. This requires proper initiation and explanation by a teacher. You do not know what meditation is; that is why you are frightened. Do not meditate. Pray to God. Is there any difficulty in only praying to God?

Visitor: No.

Swamiji: Actually, praying to God is also deeply thinking of God because you cannot pray to God without thinking, so that thinking itself is meditation. So you can confine yourself to prayer to God, which is quite okay.

Another visitor: I feel that I was once on the way to Self-realisation, but then I had a car accident and after that I lost my way. How is it possible to find it again?

Swamiji: When you felt you were on the way to Self-realisation, what did you feel in your mind at that time?

Visitor: I felt light inside, full of light.

Swamiji: Were you doing any meditation?

Visitor: I felt that after breathing exercises I was in a meditative state. I felt and realised that God is everywhere. But after the accident I lost this state, and it is difficult to reach it again.

Swamiji: Your mind is very clear. What you said is correct. God is everywhere, and to think thus continuously is the way to Self-realisation. Why are you unnecessarily raising a problem when your mind is very clear about it? Don't be worried about the accident. The accident is over, and now you should not be thinking about it.

Visitor: How is it possible to find a Master in spiritual life?

Swamiji: You must have seen many people in the world, and at least one person must have interested you. That person whom you consider as the best among many others whom you have seen, that person can be considered as the instructor. Among the many you have seen, at least one must have impressed you. That person may be taken as the instructor for the time being, at least temporarily.

Visitor: I would like very much to meet my true Guru.

Swamiji: How can you know who is the Guru unless that person is beneficial to you? Have you not seen any good person in the world?

Visitor: Yes, I have seen somebody.

Swamiji: Then that person is your teacher.

Another visitor: I have seen it written: “Know the truth and be free.” Can you explain this?

Swamiji: If you tell me what is the truth, then you will know the answer to it.

Visitor: My opinion is, the truth is God.

Swamiji: That is it. So when you know God, you are automatically free. You can have no problems afterwards if you know God.

Visitor: Because knowing God is to be into and with God.

Swamiji: 'Knowing' does not mean knowing theoretically. It is actual union, communion of yourself with God. That is called knowing God. Then you will have some grace coming from God.

Visitor: There is a subtle difference: Why is God truth, and truth is God?

Swamiji: There is no such thing as truth, and all these things. You are using some words from your own point of view. That which is permanently there, always, is called truth. That which is not permanently there is not truth. So there is only one thing which is permanently there; it is God. Therefore, you call God as truth. That which passes away cannot be called truth. Truth is the only thing which cannot pass away. Therefore, God is called truth. Even our personality is not truth, because it will pass away.