1. How can we cross the tough times in a business?
The question is about handling tough times in business. But, wherever or whatever the activity, profession or goal is, one will go through different stages. Tough times are the times when your abilities and energies are drawn out to the fullest. You have an opportunity to pull out the hidden skills and utilise them. The hidden skills need not be all physical action, they can be mental aptitude, or decision-making skill or even patiently waiting for right time etc.
Let’s take a butterfly. It goes through a tough time coming out of cocoon before it begins to fly happy and strong in beautiful colours. A young kid noticed this life cycle of the butterfly and found the stage of cocoon to be very tough on the insect. He wanted to alleviate the insect from this tough time. He watched the insect until it reached that stage, and then cut the cocoon open instead of waiting for the insect to try and hatch it by itself. He protected it for a week and noticed that it hasn’t been developing any colours. It also remained weak. A lizard came up for its prey, noticed this insect and ate it up. Poor insect couldn’t even fly away because its wings are not hard enough.
During the process of coming out of the cocoon, some secretions occur giving the insect the strength, colours and the maturity.
Thus, just stay through the tough times. Wait for the right time and walk through it wisely.
2. Why do sannyasis hold sticks, dandas?
The danda, stick reflects the essence of Vedic scriptures that the sannyasi believes in. What Swamiji holds is three-sticks tied together, called Tridandam. This reflects that Swamiji believes in the three realities of the existence: nature, soul (self) and God (one who is in control of nature and souls).
3. Why is the body of a sannyasi kept as is, where as normal humans are burnt after death in Hindu dharma?
Vedas talk about how everyone acquires karma because they all feel ownership, doer-ship and an expectation of results for every activity they do. However, sannyasis never assume ownership, doer-ship or expect results out of the activities they do. Yet, they give their full to every activity because they believe to be instruments in the hands of God. Thus, they never acquire karma.
When one acquires karma, it is better that the records of karma that are stored on their body level are burnt so that the burden of the soul in next birth is at least minutely reduced. The karmic records are maintained at different levels, body, senses, manas, and buddhi. The records that are maintained at other levels beyond body are carried forward to experience in the next birth.
A Sannyasi is not one who just wears saffron, but one who leads their life for the goal prescribed in Vedas as per its guidance, without assuming ownership, doer-ship and work without expectations on results of their activity throughout. Then, the sannyasi does not acquire karma. And hence their bodies are preserved that way.
4. Is travelling back and forth in time possible?
Travelling back and forth in time is possible for a soul, but not through the body that we currently are in.
5. Ramana Maharshi in a book, ‘Who am I’ says ‘give up selfishness’. How is it that you are asking for expanding it? Shouldn’t giving it up be the final goal?
As long as you exist, selfishness exists. Eliminating selfishness is not practical in the way that you are envisioning. Continue to expand it to encompass everyone and everything around you into yourself, as part of you. When you feel oneness with everything and everyone around you, you will automatically lose the ‘I-ness’. Thus, discarding ‘I’ is not possible, losing ‘I-ness’ is possible.
For example: A leaf will never think ‘I’, it is always thinking of itself as a part of the tree. When you can rightly experience the whole, the ‘part’ will cease to exist as an independent term.
Another example: Two kids spend some time playing at a park happily. When it is time to go, one kid tells another ‘hey, why don’t you come to my house tomorrow?’ Does the kid have a house of his own? However, whatever his father owned, he considers it to be his as well. Similarly, when you know that you belong to a whole, you feel like everything that is part of the whole is also yours. That is the greatness of expanding yourself to include everything with you as yours! You are now automatically losing the ‘I-ness’!
6. Is it possible to burn the karma acquired so far in this birth?
Yes, it is possible to burn the karma acquired. Vedas mention ‘Surrendering to God’ as the means. Only God is aware of where the records are and how much they weigh So, it is not in our hands to get rid. He can remove it from our backlogs.
Let’s say when you have seeds that you don’t want to germinate, what do you do? You put the seeds on fire and then they lose the ability to germinate. Similarly, if you surrender to God, He owns the task of burning those karmas so that they do not become a bondage for you. Can the seed take that responsibility or is the seed even capable of that kind of a task? No!
So, Yes, it is possible through surrendering when you go by the guidance provided by Vedas. Surrendering does not mean giving up doing your duties, it means giving up the ownership, doer-ship and expectation of results out of your actions, AND yet giving your best to every activity!