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A Shot of Hope | The Times of India

How do you interpret hope to a man who has lost his near and dear ones in a span of two days due to Covid? ~ Titus Anto, Bangalore

Spiritual knowledge makes it easier to cope with the loss of a loved one. Spiritual awareness begins with understanding one’s true identity — that one is a soul. The soul is the imperishable sentient energy that gives life to the body, which is the physical medium using which the soul thinks, speaks and acts. Death is merely the soul leaving one body to take birth in another.

We come in contact with many people during the course of our life. We have brief interactions with some, and longer ones with others. The love, affection and support we receive from them creates close bonds, and when these are severed by someone’s passing away, we experience grief. But once we recognise the truth that each soul is independent and no one belongs to us forever, we do not get attached to any person. Yet we are able to have respectful, loving relations as we realise that each soul is playing a unique role in the world. When a loved one passes away, instead of creating thoughts of sorrow, we can remember their good qualities, appreciate their contribution to our life, and send them good wishes for their onward journey. If we grieve, we send vibrations of sorrow to the departed soul and disturb their peace. We must remember that we have a permanent companion and friend in God, the Father of all souls. The Supreme Soul is our eternal source of love and support. Developing a relationship with God, by regularly remembering Him, fills us with His love and peace, frees us from dependence on human supports, and makes us strong enough to guide others to connect with Him and be liberated from all sorrow.

Rajyogi B K Brijmohan, Chief Spokesman of Brahma Kumaris Organization

How to be happy and sustain that happiness, more so when the atmosphere is not conducive? ~ Yudhishtra Rakhija, Kanpur

Happiness, which is conditional, may be dependent on external circumstances or a beloved being whom you want to be with. It is all relative, as for somebody bothered with scorching heat in the summer, swimming or a boat ride may become a reason to be happy while sumptuous food may make gluttons gleeful. Then people derive happiness from wearing fragrances, high-end luxury clothing, and so on. In a way, I have covered all the five indulgences a human being wishes to have by the virtue of five sense organs.

Now, given the current scenario of imposed lockdown, your freedom to be delightful in the usual ways has got curtailed. So, when there is no way to go outside, the only way to go is inside! However, if you are bereft of an enriching experience of being with yourself, if you keep seeking the company of others, then you will find it hard to understand this. 

Be more focussed on yourself and less bothered about the whereabouts of others. This is what makes a spiritual person distinct from others. He is aware of his mind and witnesses it with aloofness. Being a witness is epitomized by the philosophy of Sankhya too. You do not have to make an effort to be a witness, you are one already. You are the absolute reality. You are Brahmn! When you are aware of your reality, where is the need to seek joy from others?

Also, know that no worldly object or pleasure accompanies you when you enter that most blissful state called deep sleep. It gives you a glimpse of what true state of meditation is like. When you start meditating, the mind will slowly turn inward and you will realise that being with your true self can give you everlasting happiness, without being dependent on situations around you. Besides, you can also turn self-sufficient by channelizing your creative energies for various art forms.

Anandmurti Gurumaa, founder of Rishi Chaitanya Ashram, Sonepat

I study in class Xll. I’m frustrated and anxious due to the postponement of exams and family problems. Please help. How to keep my mind calm and have negative thoughts when I am surrounded by so much negativity? ~ Riddhi Deb, Kolkata

Dear Riddhi,

No doubt the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the entire world.  A vast majority of the human population has been very badly affected.  What is the way out?  Should we keep worrying and get into anxiety, frustration, etc?  No.  Rather, it is time to come forward and take a lead role because you are young and are in a far more advantageous position compared to the older people.  In your own family you must cheer up others with your positivity and enthusiasm.  Please look at the world outside.  Compared to millions of people you and your family are far better off.  As far as exams are concerned, you are in the same position as others.  Lakhs of students are suffering in the same way.  You shouldn’t be anxious at all.  Swami Vivekananda says that every one of us is blessed with infinite knowledge, power, glory, etc.  You are the maker of your own destiny.  The idle mind is devil’s workshop.  Saturate your mind with powerful ideas of Swami Vivekananda.  Please read these two books i.e. “Letters of Swami Vivekananda” and “Lectures from Colombo to Almora”.  You will feel tremendously energized and enthused.  Even a very small booklet “Thoughts of Power” contains very powerful messages of Swami Vivekananda.  You must have already prepared well for your Board exams.  So, you need not spend too much time on academics.  Keep just revising.  But, use this opportunity to saturate yourself with Swami Vivekananda’s powerful man-making and character-building messages.  You should never entertain any negative idea.  Rather, you should be an inspiration for others.  Because you have too much of free time, why not try a new hobby or spend quite some time in strengthening your existing skill i.e. music, art, etc.  You can also try your hand at cooking or helping your mother in household work.  But, the main support and strength would come from the ideas of Swami Vivekananda.

Swami Shantatmananda, Head, Ramakrishna Mission, Delhi

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