The Mother Divine
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(Questions and Answers)
Swami Sivananda
Q: Where can you find eternal happiness?
A: In your own Atman within.

Q: Which is the most troublesome organ?
A: Tongue.

Q: Who is your terrible enemy?
A: Mind.

Q: Who is your best friend?
A: Satsanga or association with the wise.

Q: Who is your real father?
A: Guru.

Q: Which is the best language?
A: Language of the heart.

Q: Which is the best virtue?
A: Brahmacharya.

Q: Which is the worst intoxicant?
A: Lust.

Q: Which is the sacred river?
A: Brahma Jnana.

Q: Who is the real king?
A: A Jivanmukta or liberated sage.

Q: Which is the best Dharma?
A: Selfless service.

Q: Which is the worst quality?
A: Anger.

Q: Which is the best thing in this world?
A: Pain (because it is the eye-opener, it goads you to seek liberation.)

Q: Which is the best food?
A: Hearing of the Srutis or Upanishads.

Q: Who is the best man?
A: A kind-hearted man.

Q: Who is the worst man?
A: A selfish man.

Q: Where is the worst hell?
A: In the mind filled with jealousy, crookedness and hatred.

Q: Where is the best heaven?
A: In the heart filled with love, mercy and generosity.

Q: Which is the best science?
A: Brahma-Vidya or the science of Atman.

Q: Which is the most precious thing in this world?
A: Vairagya or dispassion.

Q: Who is the strongest man?
A: He who practices Ahimsa, he who can bear insults, injuries and persecutions with a smiling face.

Q: Who is a weak man?
A: An irritable man.

Q: Who is the happiest man?
A: A Tyagi or a man of renunciation.

Q: Who is the most miserable man?
A: A rich man.

Q: Who is the most beautiful man?
A: A Yogi.

Q: Who is the ugliest man?
A: A greedy man.

Q: Who is a beggar?
A: He who has desires.

Q: Which is the biggest ocean?
A: Ocean of Bliss (Brahman or Atman).

Q: Which is the most dangerous thing in this world?
A: Company of a worldly man.

Q: Which is the greatest temptation?
A: Woman for a man, man for a woman.

Q: Which is the most desirable thing?
A: Brahma Jnana.

Q: Who is the best engine driver?
A: God.

Q: Which is the most wonderful machine or engine?
A: Mind.

Q: Which is the biggest factory in this world?
A: Mental factory.

Q: Who is a real drunkard?
A: He who is intoxicated with the pride of wealth and learning.

Q: Who is a real blind man?
A: He who has no inner divine eye or the eye of intuition.

Q: Who is the real cobbler?
A: He who thinks that the body is Atman and talks always of matters concerning the body.

Q: What is your foremost duty?
A: To find out this hidden driver of this body-engine to love Him, to live for Him, to serve Him, to know Him, to realise Him, to live in Him and merge in Him.

Q: Why did the All-merciful God create pain in this world?
A: Pain is the only blessing in this world. It is an eye-opener. Man would never attempt to attain salvation if there had not been any pain in this world.

Q: How can I know whether I have purity of mind or not?
A: If you have Vairagya (dispassion or indifference to sensual enjoyments), that is a sign of Chitta Suddhi or purity of mind. No sensual desires or Vasanas will arise in the mind.

Q: What is the purpose of God creating the world?
A: This is a transcendental question or Atiprasna. You will know the purpose when you attain Self-realisation or Brahma Jnana. The finite mind that is conditioned in time, space and causation cannot get an answer to a question that relates to transcendental matters.

Q: What is the use of repeating the Mantra again and again?
A: It gives force. It intensifies the spiritual Samskaras.

Q: When I concentrate, so many thoughts arise in my mind. How can I avoid them? Can I suppress them?
A: Do not try to suppress them with force. The thoughts will manifest with redoubled force. They will rise up frequently also. You will tax your will and waste your energy. Be a silent witness of these thoughts. Say unto yourself: "I have no concern with these thoughts." Be indifferent. All useless worldly thoughts will die by themselves.

Q: How to prevent bad dreams?
A: Study any religious book. Meditate for half an hour just before retiring to bed. You will have no bad dreams.

Q: What are the signs of a person who has no Ahamkara or egoism?
A: He will not identify himself with his body. He will be free from pride, likes, dislikes, jealousy, anger and hypocrisy.

Q: Why does evil exist in the world?
A: Change the angle of vision or Drishti. All evils will disappear. Evil is negative good. Evil exists to glorify good. It has a raison d'etre, reason for its existence. Evil and good are relative terms. What is good at one time is evil at another time. What is good for one is evil for another. Understand this and become wise. Behold the one Atman in all forms and beings. Evil and good are mental creations. Transmute evil into good by Atma-Drishti. There is good in evil also.

Q: How to lead the life of unity?
A: This is attained by service, charity, sharing what you have with others, cultivating cosmic love and realising the one Atman seated in the hearts of all, through constant Brahmachintana or meditation on Atman.

(from Essence of Yoga, Chapter 10, by Swami Sivananda)