Friday, February 20, 2015

Gurudev, Shiva is called Bhoothnath (lord of the ghosts) and he is surrounded by ghosts and spirits. Do ghosts really exist?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
If you ask me whether Shiva exists, I can answer, yes! But I don’t know about the ghosts around him (laughter).

Yes ghosts do exist but they are not different from him. They are in him.
The 5 elements are known as the Panchabhutas. So Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Space are collectively called the five bhootatmas. Some souls also become ghosts and that is because even after leaving the body, they are not able to drop their vasanas (impressions due to cravings and aversions of the mind). That is because even after the soul leaves the body, the realization does not dawn that it is the eternal light, or consciousness.

It is like, the food is in front of them and they are thinking of eating but they can’t actually eat it.
The word ‘Bhootkaal’ means the past. This is because it has already passed, but still one is holding on to the impressions of it and unable to drop it. Ghosts are also souls but they have lost their power. They are powerless as they have not realized that they are souls.
When the soul attains self-knowledge, then it becomes powerful. When they realize this, they no longer remain as ghosts (they are called earth bound souls).

Q: Gurudev, In Shiva Purana it is said that anyone who worships Lord Shiva is freed from all sins. Does this mean that corruption begins at the top?

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
No! Do you know what corruption is? Corruption is doing that which you don’t wish to be done to you or to your kith and kin. You cannot link pooja (here meaning worshipping Lord Shiva) and corruption.
Pooja is a feeling that comes to you out of fullness. Like when a guest comes to your house, you come to the door and receive them. If someone very dear to you is coming to see you, don’t you rush to the train station or the airport to receive them? Does it come out of a feeling of compulsion? You can tell them to call a taxi, but instead you take your vehicle to go and receive them. Why do you do that? What is that feeling? It cannot be called corruption. So pooja means that which comes out of fullness.
In Puranas, many things are written. I’m not an advocate of all the Puranas. Many of them are a means of expression. In fact, the word Purana means a new way of expressing.
The Hindi Purana and Sanskrit Purana have totally opposite meanings. In Hindi, Puranameans old, and in Sanskrit Purana means very new or modern; it means a different way of expression. Don’t call that as a corruption. God is not so stupid that He waits for you to break a coconut to give you a boon!
All the poojas you do are to express your fullness, not to please God. I think this is a very wrong concept in the world. We think we do things to please God; this is wrong understanding. People fast for many days so that they can please God. You fast to purify your body; you don’t have to fast to please God. This is a wrong understanding.

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