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Questions by readers- Answers by The Mother! These answers are in no way definitive; nor do they make any claims to authenticity. These are supposed to answer the seeking. The insights contained in these answers issue from patrons of The Mother, among who are saints, holy men, scholars and advanced seekers. To submit a question, send email to not feel disappointed if The Mother does not publish the answer to your questions. The Editorial Board will choose questions to be published in The Mother depending upon its significance and service to the spiritual seekers at large. However, we will strive to answer most queries and personally communicate the answers to those who put forth genuine queries. Editor.


How can I get fulfilment in life? Ajit Bakshi, Coimbatore


Tapasapraapyatesatvam, satvaatsampraapyate manaha
manasaapraapyateh-aatma, atmaapatyaanivartate (Maitreya Upanishad)
Tapasya > Sattva > Stability of mind > Soul-realisation > Fulfilment of life
Meaning: Purification of mind and limiting physical urges leads to acquisition of sublime truthfulness. Truthfulness leads to creation of depth in rational thinking. Profoundness in rational thinking follows rise in spirituality within. Enrichment in spirituality within, leads to awakening and enlightening of "Atma" or soul.


If Mantra itself is said to be the deliverer and protector, where is the need to have a Guru? One leads a life of independence, what's the point in becoming a slave to someone (Guru) and lead a life of dependence and destroy one's individuality? There are a host of mantras in the scriptures. One might as well take up a mantra of one's choice and gain mukti by doing its Japa? Ramdas, Panchgani


Rudrayamaltantra says 'an imbecile who does Japa by taking on any mantra from the scriptural text indeed commits a sin. His fate is similar to someone who's not protected by a father, mother or brother. Guru alone is capable of destroying sins. In Tantra Sadhana one without a Guru is not authorised to pursue sadhana, which is why an excellent Guru is a must. Thus, the mantra is to be had from the lips of the Guru.'


How exactly does a Guru work? Kumar Srivastava, Delhi


Guru makes the mantra Chaitanya (spiritually awakens its divine power) before he bestows it upon the disciple, it is in consequence of this that the disciple is able to gain siddhi. The Guru unlocks the mantra for the disciple; he would have been unable to make anything yield from something that's locked and too latent to be realised. In making the mantra chaitanyamaya, the Guru actually hands over siddhi.


I get very agitated when I have not done anything wrong intentionally and I am being misunderstood for the same. What happens after is that I try to explain my actions and try to justify and reason and that is perceived as being argumentative. I thought if I do not explain then I will be further misunderstood. I do aggressively defend my point and I am aware of this problem but I can't find a solution. All this upsets me further as I try never to hurt anyone knowingly and I am very cautious because I know how it feels when one gets hurt and the other person is oblivious of causing hurt so I am always cautious of my interactions. Please show me a way to deal with such incidences effectively and to change myself for better. Seeker, Mumbai


This is important. Pay close attention.
There are two truths. Truth that we owe unto ourselves. And truth that we owe unto others. The second one depends on the first. However, the first one is independent. Actually, dharma rests on the first.

We have to be true to ourselves; there ends the task.
Our zeal to be understood by people, our enthusiasm to let people know of our innocence, our desire that others should know how much we care or love them, are all misplaced things.

In our quest to please others, we lose sight of the fundamental truth. Don't fall into that trap.
If people have to understand, they will, if they have to misunderstand, let them do so.
Don't be bothered too much about the consequences once you've done what's the right thing to do.

Our conscience should not be hijacked by the public opinion. It should depend on our own selves. We do what we have to do and then not care a fig about what happens thereafter.

Our care and concern and sensitivity for people should be more our deeds, less in our communication. And never in their perceptions.
Don't worry too much about communicating.

Perceptions management is a painful, arduous and futile exercise. Be free of that.
Just focus on your actions. Do what you can and leave it at that. Don't use too many words.

As for defence, just don't accept the false charges. Don't get into arguments or proving. It is unnecessary.

Slowly, you will realise that by letting things be, by being firm and a person of few words, by not caring about perceptions, things will automatically sort on the outside.


In a poem in Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore, it is said - "The traveller has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end." I could not get what is the traveller (traversing the spiritual path) expected to do. What does it mean to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the Self? May I request you to enlighten me on this? Vaishnavi Athalye, Pune


There are two independent truths here.

First is the understanding about the utter hollowness of the outside world.

Second is the understanding of the sheer fullness of the inside world.

What's within us is full. We're essentially Purna. We have everything inside of us, but because we don't know that, we stray outside and seek it. What we get outside perishes and then we seek the same thing from something else in the outside world. Our wanderings in the outside world continue...

But we can neither know nor love what's inside directly. That knowledge comes to us only progressively.

First there is anuraag for the outside, love and attachment of the outside world. Then comes vairaagya, dispassion or word-weariness. And vairaagya via aatma-anurakti (love of the Self) takes us within.

When we haven't gone out, the value of what's within is not realised.

For a spiritual aspirant, therefore, it's necessary NOT to skip the outer world of worldly ambition etc. One has to pursue it while keeping in mind the fact about the fullness of the inner life.

A Sannyasi wanders all around on a pilgrimage, visits all temples, all tirthas, meets many saints. Only then he realises that what he has been looking for is within him. So he sits down in one place and realises God.

If, however, he hasn't sufficiently done tirthayatras etc, haven't met many high souls, his mind is not stabilised or concentrated within, he is restless and often thinks that he must go out to find the truth.

It is the same with knowledge too. Bookish knowledge is a must. It's only after you've gotten a lot of bookish knowledge, about the experiences and realisations and journeys of others, and the knowledge and wisdom that has occurred to others, that similar knowledge is kindled within your own being. Then you drink from the fountain within and quench your intellectual thirst.

Hope that explains.


Please be my light in some of my queries, Is being knowledgeable a mark of intelligence? but as I gather any one can be aware and be knowledgeable, I can read two books and collect some information but that is not intelligence. I don't consider myself intelligent and I try to compensate it with laboriousness but is there a way to enhance intelligence or a person just have to live with the amount of intelligence codified in his DNA?

Life is filled with these kinds of beautiful questions. In fact, one real answer opens a door for some more intriguing questions.

Ramdas, Panchgani


You ask whether being 'knowledgeable' is a mark of 'intelligence'. Knowledge, intelligence, wisdom are all diverse terms. Rather confusing in English.

In Sanskrit each word carries a distinct meaning.

Jnana is a larger, all encompassing term to signify knowledge. It is prefixed with other terms to indicate exactly what kind of knowledge are we talking about. Vyavahara Jnana (transactional), Loka Jnana (worldly), Paramarthic Jnana (spiritual) etc.

Shri Nimishananda distinguishes Jnana and Vijnana. "Vijnana is a subset of Jnana. Jnana is the Science of the Soul, which includes all knowledge, while Vijnana is only the knowledge of the material world. That which comes in from outside is called Vijnana and that which comes out from within is called Jnana."

Mind can think, it can create thoughts. It is linked to senses and it reconciles all sense perceptions and gives us a 'sense' of the world. It still is sensing, mind you!

Intelligence faculty is looked at as buddhi. It is the power to discriminate and to decide. It's not about thinking or perceiving. A wise man may not know much but he knows what's worth knowing and what's not worth knowing and goes about knowing exactly that which he needs.

What most so-called knowledgeable people have in their heads is needless information or thoughts. They bring no light to the being. Wisdom, on the other hand, brings light.

Whatever there is in our head must make us happy, strong, righteous... otherwise it's all garbage and ignorance.

Living in the moment needs no knowledge, it needs awareness and acceptance.

Awareness is superior to knowledge, because it grounds us, centers us, roots us in the truth of life. Knowledge sometimes takes us away from the ground of reality. It lets us waste away in the perceptions and thoughts which are far from reality, far from experience.

Hope this satisfies.