Starting off the New Year, REV DADA JP VASWANI speaks about developing self-confidence, the significance of praying, the meaning of Sadhana, and respecting parents.
You speak about being the actor and spectator of our lives. How does one balance doing the right actions, and the need to step back, pause and reflect?
It is an art that the guru will teach you. If you wish to learn mathematics, you go to a teacher of mathematics. If you want to learn cooking, you go to a chef. This is an art that you will acquire through association with those who have mastered the art. I may add that this art is not taught; it is to be caught through association with the masters of humanity.
How does one develop selfconfidence?
We have two selves, the higher self and the lower self. We are in love with the lower self. We have magnified the lower self out of proportion. It misleads us. Enrico Caruso was one of great musicians of the 20th century. Initially, people were disappointed by his singing, but Enrico did not give up. He repeated this positive affirmation again and again, “You little me, get out of me; you big me, get into me.” In the measure we hand ourselves to the higher self, in that measure self confidence will come to you.
What is important, prayer or good karma?
Prayer is also karma and prayer is the best karma we can do. We must make prayer part of our daily life. We need that strength, that wisdom to do that karma. Wisdom is light, which helps us differentiate between good and bad karma. Strength gives us shakti to move on the path of good karma.
What is the meaning of ‘Sadhana’?
There is the art of living, which every human being has to acquire. You are not born with it; you have to acquire it. It is learnt through observing. Man is built of three things: mind, body, and soul. Therefore, there are three types of sadhana: silence; sanga (association) - be careful of the friends you keep; and sewa (Service) - every day, I must forget my own comfort and try to bring some comfort to others.
Are all Gods the same, or is there any difference?
All Gods may not be the same, but the one you believe in should be the only God for you. If you believe in Guru Nanak, Guru Nanak should be everything for you. Through him, you will get the blessings of the Supreme God. A woman came for Guru mantra. She was given the name Ram, but she didn’t feel right to repeat it, because her husband’s name was Ramanand. So she started repeating her son’s name, ‘Triloka’s father, Triloka’s father.” By doing this, she still reached the Higher Realm.
How does one help a person who is feeling suicidal?
You should explain to him that suicide does not solve problems. We get messages from the other side; they say to us, ‘Tell the people never to think of committing suicide. We thought our problems will be solved if we committed suicide, but we find that our problems have now become worse.’ Suicide is not a solution; it is only dissolution. Once the people understand this, they will not think of committing suicide. Life is a gift, which God has given to us; only God can take it away from us. We do not have the right to take away the life of any living creature, except in self-defence. Therefore, even euthanasia is not correct. Taking one’s own life because the body is suffering terribly; even that is not permitted.
As children, we feel that our parents are not able to understand our feelings and emotions, which creates a communication gap. We feel our parents are interfering. How do we resolve this?
If only you explain to yourself that the greatest gift is the gift of the human birth, and this you have obtained through your parents, you will have great respect for your parents. Once you have respect for your parents, you will be able to understand them better. I have been given this human birth because of my parents. It is they who gave me this human birth as a gift; otherwise I could have been born as a cow, as a dog, as a mosquito, as an insect. And it is a gift, which not all the wealth in the world can purchase. In due course, I will realize that what my parents have said is correct; I am not on the right track. I read of a great man who wrote: ‘When I was 20, I thought my parents were stupid, I was the only wise one in the family; when I became 30, I began to realize that there is some little wisdom in what the parents say, but most of the wisdom is with me; when I became 50, I realized that my parents were wise, I was foolish.’