Q: Swamiji , Namasthe and Vanakkam. Let me begin the interview with a question on football. Why did you say youths should play foot ball rather than reading Bhagavad Gita?
A: “First of all, our young must be strong. Religion will come afterwards. Be strong, my young friends; that is my advice to you. You will be nearer to Heaven through foot ball than through study of Gita”
Q: Swami, people are even scared of going in the night time!
The moment you fear, you are nobody. It is fear that is the greatest cause of misery in the world. It is fear that is the greatest of all superstitions. It is fear that is the cause of our woes, and it is fearlessness that brings heaven in a moment “The earth is enjoyed by heroes”—this is the unfailing truth. Be a hero. Always say, “I have no fear.”
Q: Are there ghosts?
A: Be strong! Don’t talk of ghosts and devils. We are the living devils. The sign of life is strength and growth. The sign of death is weakness. Whatever is weak, avoid! It is death. If it is strength, go down into hell and get hold of it! There is salvation only for the brave.
Q: Will God give us whatever we ask for?
“When I Asked God for Strength
He Gave Me Difficult Situations to Face
When I Asked God for Brain & Brown
He Gave Me Puzzles in Life to Solve
When I Asked God for Happiness
He Showed Me Some Unhappy People
When I Asked God for Wealth
He Showed Me How to Work Hard
When I Asked God for Favours
He Showed Me Opportunities to Work Hard
When I Asked God for Peace
He Showed Me How to Help Others
God Gave Me Nothing I Wanted
He Gave Me Everything I Needed.”
What is the formula for success?
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
What is your message to our youths?
Brave, bold people, these are what we want. What we want is vigour in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel, not softening namby-pamby ideas. Avoid all these. Avoid all mystery. There is no mystery in religion.
There are hundreds of thousands of microbes surrounding us, but they cannot harm us unless we become weak, until the body is ready and predisposed to receive them. There may be a million microbes of misery floating about us. Never mind! They dare not approach us, they have no power to get a hold on us, until the mind is weakened. This is the great fact: strength is life. Weakness is death. Strength is felicity, life eternal, and immortal. Weakness is constant strain and misery: weakness is death
Q: We have so many great religious leaders and Gurus. Which one should we follow?
A: In Buddha we had the great, universal heart and infinite patience, making religion practical and bringing it to everyone’s door. In Shankaracharya we saw tremendous intellectual power, throwing the scorching light of reason upon everything. We want today that bright sun of intellectuality joined with the heart of Buddha, the wonderful infinite heart of love and mercy. This union will give us the highest philosophy. Science and religion will meet and shake hands. Poetry and philosophy will become friends. What! Those giants of old, the ancient Rishis, who never walked but strode, of whom if you were to think but for a moment you would shrivel up into a moth, they sir, had time--and you have no time!
Q: What is the role of India in the world?
A: "It is the same India which has withstood the shocks of centuries, of hundreds of foreign invasions, of hundreds of upheavals, of manners and customs. It is the same land, which stands firmer than any rock in the world, with its undying vigour, indestructible life. Its life is of the same nature as the soul, without beginning and without end, immortal; and we are the children of such a country."
“This is the ancient land, where wisdom made its home before it went into any other country… Here is the same India whose soil has been trodden by the feet of the greatest sages that ever lived… Look back, therefore, as far as you can, drink deep of the eternal fountains that are behind, and after that look forward, march forward, and make India brighter, greater, much higher, than she ever was.”
Q: What can a poor man do in this world?
A: They alone live who live for others. The rest are more dead than alive. In the world take always the position of the giver. Give everything and look for no return. Give love, give help, give service, and give any little thing you can, but keep out barter. Make no conditions and none will be imposed. Let us give out of our own bounty, just as God gives to us.
Q: What is the use of meditation?
A: In real meditation you forget the body. You may be cut to pieces and not feel it at all. You feel such pleasure in it. You become so light. This perfect rest we will get in meditation. Meditation means the mind is turned back upon itself. The mind stops all the thought-waves and the world stops. Your consciousness expands. Every time you meditate you will keep your growth.
The greatest help to spiritual life is meditation. In meditation we divest ourselves of all material conditions and feel our divine nature. We do not depend upon any external help in meditation.