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‘Young, free and single’.

These three words best describe

the mentality of today’s youth.

They are at a delicate transition

in their lives, expected by society

to be responsible and yet by that

same society trusted with

sponsibilities or allowed to think

for themselves. It is a period

where they have to leave their

childhood dreams and accept the

realities of life. If we can learn to

trust them, to respect their views,

to treat them as the young adults

they are - and at the same time

still love them as we did when

they were children, then may be

they will be able to accept these

realities and take on the task to

improve the world we live in.

If not, they may rebel against

society and in effect, against us.

We can see Swamishri preparing

yesterday’s children to become

tomorrow’s leaders...
    Swamishri With Youth
    Strangers To Themselves...

A man once said, “When in Rome live as the Romans do.” It may seem to be a fair statement, but the fact remains that even if one lives as the Romans do, he will never be a ‘Roman’. Born and brought up in a foreign land, many Satsangi youths are faced with the perplexing question - ‘Who am I?’ Because they are citizens of another country and are taught to love that country, they naturally feel aloof from India and its way of life. Yet, there is always a deeper calling within them, a realisation that ‘I am different’, that there is more to their identity than just their place of birth and their passport. Knowing virtually nothing about their religion and its principles, they are strangers to themselves. Swamishri explains practical living for today and helps escape the melting pot...

    Question 1

If there is a God in this world, then why are so many people suffering?

Swamishri : Man’s actions are such that because of them he experiences joy and pain. God does not create hardships, they are man-made. We get into difficulties because of our weaknesses. If you are a diabetic and you still eat sugary foods, you'll suffer, won’t you? Our scriptures teach us what we should and should not do. But if we don’t follow them, then it’s our own fault. The government has made a law that one should stop at a red traffic light. But if we don’t stop, we’ll have to suffer the consequences. Niyams are devised so that we can live life conveniently and peacefully. That is why God has commanded us to follow niyams. If we don’t practice them in our lives, we will be miserable. That is not God’s fault. If we watch TV instead of studying, will we pass? ‘No, It's over. Fail.’ Similarly niyam means niyam. They are essential. How vital is the sun? God has given him the agna! ‘No-late,’ and we can see, he’s never late! God has devised niyams for man’s benefit, but man doesn’t follow them thereby creating his own problems. So you see, it's not God who creates hardships for anyone.

Then why are people who don’t come to the temple wealthy and those who do come regularly and follow their niyams not well-off?

Swamishri : That’s true, but men who obtain their wealth by immoral means are never at peace in their hearts. He may have an aeroplane and he may travel around the world in it, or he may have an expensive car, a big house and everything, but he won’t be happy in his heart. We have met millionaires and billionaires; none of them have peace of mind.
A thief may think ‘I’m doing well’ but what happens when he is caught? That’s why wrong is always wrong and right is always right.
Outwardly they appear to be happy but they don’t have spiritual fulfilment. Although we have never hurt others, by God’s wish we still face hardships because He wants to purify us. Since we have become God’s, He protects us so that we never forget Him (in worldly pleasures). By following dharma we can attain harmony in our families, our society and our country. We should realise that, ‘If I help him then I will attain peace, but if I kill him then even if I have all his wealth, I won’t have peace of mind. Because I’ve hurt him, because I’ve destroyed him I’ll be destroyed too.’ By keeping this in mind, we will never hurt anyone.
What do we need? The one who has given us teeth to chew will give us food. It doesn’t matter if we don’t have a car or a big house. We don’t need them. We should earn by our own labour, while staying in our dharma, but not by deceit. If we hurt someone to obtain something, then in the end we will suffer for their pain. One who follows dharma and does Satsang becomes happy. When we obtain knowledge and understanding we will realise that this talk is true and that those who do wrong are not really happy. We should have a firm conviction that if we follow God’s niyams, then we will not be miserable, but fulfilled.

In the Shikshapatri it is written that if we don’t follow all the rules, then we are considered as outcasts from this Satsang. Although we are trying to follow as many rules as we can, are we still considered as outcasts?

Swamishri : The rules of dharma are not to restrict us but to uplift us. That’s why whatever is written in the Shikshapatri is true and eternal. It’s good that you realise your deficiency. If you cannot follow all the niyams, then pray for strength to be able to do so. Gunatitanand Swami has said, ‘If a man wills, he can achieve.’ Our soul is very powerful. Man wanted to go to the moon and he got there, didn’t he? So if we resolve to follow our niyams, we will be able to do so. If we gain strength from God, we will be able to do so. Fair enough, you may make a mistake once, even twice but you should persevere. Then you are not considered to be an outcast. When are we outcasts? When we lose faith. So even if you make mistakes, keep on trying to follow the niyams.

If we see God and His Saint in a dream, is it real or is it just an illusion?

Swamishri : It is possible to have darshan in a dream. God and His Saint enable us to see Them in our dreams, in real life and spiritually (with knowledge). They give us darshan for the benefit of our soul and to inspire us. Our faith is reinforced by such darshan. Some men are transformed by darshan in their dreams and they become great devotees. It cannot be called an illusion, only grace.

How can we solve our problems? By dhyan or by prayer?

Swamishri : It depends upon our faith. If we keep faith and do either, we will find a solution. We should think, ‘The prayer I am offering is sincere. The God I am praying to is true.’ Anyone can see God and hear Him, but faith is required.
But our faith withers. It is the age of science so we expect our problems to be resolved in an instant. Edison discovered ‘electric’ meaning `electricity', correct? How much effort did he make before he discovered it! And we have only just come here and want to become Brahmarup right now! But we need continuous prayer and faith. God does everything if we have faith in Him. He will make us Brahmarup.

The youths thanked Swamishri. As he got up he told them...

Swamishri : Think over what has been said here. Today’s society is such that we all have problems. But we should aim to be good and do bhajan. It is great that you all attend kishore mandal. Keep it up and Yogiji Maharaj will be pleased. We may make mistakes but we should learn from them and progress. We have not come here because we are tired or because of any health problems. We are overjoyed to see you all here, determined to progress on this path. Thus we are not tired, just happy.

(1994, Mt. Poconos, New Jersey)

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