Satsanga with Brother Pranavananda
Excerpts from a talk at 2008 Convocation
Is it bad to be crying to God to be free of pain rather than out of a desire to have God?
All of our actions have the ultimate goal to be free from pain and experience bliss. Even our selfless actions have this as the goal. We need to ask ourselves ‘do we need God’? We need an image of God as bliss consciousness to help us understand or feel the need for God. Therefore, if we are weeping to get away from ego pain this is OK. He will purify our hearts and then we will start to feel less concerned about our ego.
If we are on this earth we should consider ourselves spiritual infants. And we are selfish in everything we do, yet Divine Mother loves us anyway.
I cant stop crying in meditation.
Many people go through this. We may have deep feelings from our childhood or from past incarnations. It can come out as tears in meditation. If they are tears of joy or devotion that is wonderful, but try and get them to go deeper and inside so that it becomes more internal. If they are tears of sorrow or pain, or you don’t know why you are crying, then try to find out what is at the root. Examine your heart (without judgement or criticism). Introspect. If you are still uncertain then it can be helpful to write in a journal to clear it. Give these emotions to God. Give Him all our emotions, positive and negative - let go of it to Him.
If you are experiencing very negative deep feelings it may be necessary to see a professional counsellor to help in clearing them. But always share everything with God - the good and the bad.
Why is there suffering in the world? How can God enjoy this as His lila?
An eternal question. The only real answer is in Divine consciousness. Guruji said, “Don’t take life so seriously”. Don’t let it hurt you. Br thinks of life as being like a Laurel and Hardy movie with many crazy things happening.
Evil comes from God. It provides a contrast for goodness. While we have a consciousness of duality we will have a consciousness of good and evil. We are not required to suffer from evil. That is our choice. We can rise above even the most intense suffering. Guruji said do not be so emotionally sensitive. We need to be tough. Don’t let it get to you. Everything that comes into our life is actually neutral - it depends on how we react to it whether we consider it good or bad. Our spirit is capable of handling everything that is given to us.
When life is smooth do we turn to God with intensity? Very few do. We need suffering to become pure hearted. How much suffering does it take for us to turn to God?
This philosophy does not really satisfy the suffering heart. Love satisfies the suffering heart. It is good to share. Find the love of God. Do not accept silence as an answer. Cry out to Him again and again demanding He show you His love. Guruji said, “The Lord is saying to you, ‘I am just as helpless as you’”. He is trapped in our body too until we get free. Who is suffering? God Cfeels our pain. Live it with Him.
Despite all this Guruji often spoke of the arguments he had with God on this matter. He knew the answer but still didn’t like it. He fought with Him every day, therefore Guruji will be very sympathetic to us if we are struggling against pain.
How do we stop itching in meditation?
If we give in to the distractions of the body the mind will keep finding new distractions to us and we will never go deep in meditation. When we ignore the itch it gets worse and worse because we are paying attention to it. We need to steel our mind and not pay attention to it. Pay positive attention to something else - put your mind on the spiritual eye. Tell your mind you are practising the techniques.
Br Premamoy used to speak to the monks prior to the Christmas meditation on how to manage this. He used to be a mountain climber and said that he would always resist his first feelings of thirst or hunger when climbing. If you give in to them right away the body would bother you the whole climb. If you don’t give in it will cooperate the rest of the way.
When is it right to surrender or to resist evil?
We have constant inner and outer conflicts in life on all levels. We are never not fighting the battle between good and evil. Fight wisely. Know when to be aggressive and when not. Fight primarily within ourselves. Defend all principles of truth. Dedicate your life to love and service.
Can forgiveness be partial or does it always need to be complete?
Primarily forgiveness is not about them (the ones who hurt us), but about us. Ma says when someone hurts us we can leave it in God’s hands. Divine Love / Law will solve it for us. The trouble is with us when we cannot let go of a mean or vengeful feeling. Then we are holding onto the hand of the devil and we can’t hold the hand of the Divine. The problem is sometimes we don’t want to forgive as we worry they will get away with it! They won’t! The anger and hurt burns our heart and scars us. We need to forgive for our own sake.
There are three steps to forgiveness:
1. Say “I refuse to carry these negative feelings anymore for my sake”. Drop it. Divine Law will take care of the other person. Let the peace of meditation wash it away. Give it to God to take care of it. We must then be able to say, “Lord, bless that person with everything good”. In the material world we still may or may not have to take some form of action, for example, if someone has committed a criminal act we have to go to the police to stop them from doing it to others. But we do not need to do this with a sense of meanness or revenge. This first step is the most important step.
2. Express your forgiveness to the other person. Say, “Don’t worry about it. I forgive you”. Feel compassionate love for them.
3. Forget it ever happened.
You might say, but Krishna did not ask Arjuna to forgive but to fight? Forgiveness is the inner victory. In doing it we are not catering to the likes and dislikes of the ego. Sometimes we need to take an outward stand for what is right - always do this when a Principle is at stake. But inwardly always be ready to forgive. Outwardly fight when necessary - for the right motives. Pray for guidance with this and introspect. Make your decisions on what to do during the stillness of meditation.
These notes are not an official publication of SRF. They were taken by the devotees during talks given by the monks and nuns. Please be aware that there is a degree of human error involved in taking and transcribing notes.