Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

How do I come out of procrastination and sceptical thinking about many life choices? Is there a way to know what is right for me?

When you put off something, it is just a reaction, and therefore it is a trait of mind. It is a habit of mind. Over thinking has no role in this, laziness has no role in this. It is something that you can do and you find an excuse to put it off for later.

Swami Sivananda used to say, ‘do it now’. There is also a saying in Hindi:

What you are going to do tomorrow, do it today.
What you are going to do today, do it now.

Any time the world can be destroyed, you can be destroyed, so why wait for later? This saying has been around for a long time, it is an old saying, which means that putting off is human nature. Put off for tomorrow what can be done today.

Whatever may be the reason, whatever may be the justification, this trait of mind has to be managed by creative karma yoga. Involvement is of two types: One type is you want to be involved, and therefore you put your head, heart and soul into that involvement. The other type of involvement is, ‘Okay, I’ll do it’. The head is not there, the heart is not there, the spirit is not there.

So, what we can call positive karma yoga is the involvement, and negative karma yoga is this second half-hearted involvement, ‘Okay, I’ll try’. There is always a like or an involvement associated with a karma, or a dislike, a disinvolvement associated with a karma.

Putting something off for later can be due to a mental condition, a mood or time – these are the variables that influence procrastination. However, the basic idea is that it is a trait of personality, it is a habit, something you are used to doing throughout your life. If you can change that behaviour by following the D.I.N. – Do It Now, then, very good

What is the difference between hope and desire?

Like day and night! Hope comes in when all desires are over. Hope comes in when all the expectations and desires are finished, then you hope that ‘Let it happen’. As long as you have desire and you identify with desire there is no hope.

How does one let go of something such as a painful memory or experience?

There is a simple system called pratipaksha bhavana, to cultivate the opposite. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you look at one profile and you don’t like it. You look at the other profile, you like it. Every day when you stand again in front of the mirror, do you see the bad profile or the good profile?

The bad profile you will always avoid, because you don’t look right from that side. It is the good profile you like to see of yourself and show other people, which in your opinion is not so bad and ugly.

In the same manner we can answer the question: how does one let go of the painful memory? Think of a pleasant memory. Pleasant memories are many, painful memories are less. There are more moments of joy and happiness in life than moments of pain and suffering. However, you make that moment of pain and suffering into an everlasting moment by complaining about it, by thinking about it, by living in it, by living in the memory of it. If that is the mind-set, even God can’t help, and don’t expect any help from guru, or any advisor or friend.

If you are willing to let go of the negative and the depressive state which restricts and hampers your own happiness and creativity, then you should have the courage and the strength to bring forth a positive and happy memory, vision, perception, idea, thought, to replace that one which was bugging you. Replace that one which was pulling you down in the darkness. That is known as pratipaksha bhavana, cultivation of the opposite nature, behaviour, attitude or mood. Pratipaksha bhavana means anything that is negative is to be converted into something positive. Simple as that.

What is the relationship between kundalini awakening and samadhi? Is it necessary to awaken kundalini to experience samadhi?

Is it necessary to drink while you eat? You can combine food and drink, but you can also drink separately and eat separately. It is the same thing with kundalini and samadhi. Samadhi has nothing to do with kundalini and kundalini has nothing to do with samadhi, but if they both are there it is very high, double high.

Kundalini is awakening of shakti, and transmitting the gross shakti into spiritual shakti. Samadhi is enlightened consciousness. Energy and consciousness, they are not the same. They have different functions, yet they can work together. Energy is described like a blind person who has the ability to walk but does not know, does not see or perceive. It does not have any intellectual connection or any logical connection. Consciousness is described as a lame man who cannot walk but has the eyes. So Shakti is a person without eyes but with legs, and Shiva consciousness is a person with eyes and no legs. So one is blind, one is lame.

Imagine they both want to come here for the satsang, how will they come? There is your answer. In the relationship of Shiva and Shakti, they help each other out.

Samadhi is an experience of the transcendental nature of Shiva, consciousness, without the shakti component. Kundalini is an awareness of shakti awakening without the conscious component. They become one when Shakti and Shiva unite in sahasrara. That is the final illumination. Samadhi is a minor illumination, half, only consciousness, not energy. The union of Shiva and Shakti in sahasrara is the complete illumination.

8 December 2017, Ganga Darshan, Munger