Anand means blissful, shravan means listening - blissful listening. And there is a difference between hearing and listening. If one is not deaf, one hears; it is the physical part of listening, the gross part. But if you are not listening attentively, if you are not hearing totally, if you are not there in it participating, then it remains hearing; it is not listening. Hearing is physical.
When you are spiritually in it it becomes listening. Listening is a deep participation between the body and the soul. And that's why it has been used as one of the most potential methods for meditation...
because it bridges the two infinites: the material and the spiritual.
And let this be your meditation; it will help you. Whenever you are sitting, just listen - to whatsoever is going on. It is a marketplace and there is much noise and traffic and the train and the plane.
Listen to it, with no rejection in the mind that it is noisy. Listen as if you are listening to music, with sympathy, and suddenly you will see that the quality of the noise has changed. It is no more distracting, no more disturbing - on the contrary it become very soothing. If listened to rightly even the marketplace becomes a melody.
So, what you are listening to is not the point - the point is you are listening, not just hearing. That is the meaning of 'shravan'. And when you hear it blissfully, cheerfully, joyously, then it goes very deep, because it is only in joy that we open. When we are not in joy we become closed.
Even if you are listening to something that you have never thought of as worth listening to, listen to it very cheerfully - as if you are listening to Beethoven's sonata - and suddenly you will see you have transformed the quality of it. It becomes beautiful. And in that listening your ego will disappear.
This is my observation and the observation of the ages - that whenever the body and the soul are really together, in any act, the ego disappears.
It may be a dance, and if the body and the soul are really together, the ego disappears. It may be music, it may be love. Sometimes it can happen in negative emotions too. If you are really in rage and your body and soul are one, suddenly the ego disappears. Maybe that is why people are attracted so much towards anger. It gives a kind of release.
And this happens in many ways, it can happen in many ways. The whole point is that the distance between the body and the soul should not be there. In other words, the distance between the body and the soul is the ego. The bigger the distance, the bigger the ego, the lesser the distance, the lesser the ego. No distance - no ego.
Deva means divine, vishrant means rest... and let that be the key for you. Be more and more in the space of rest. That does not mean lethargy. Lethargy is not rest; lethargy is the opposite extreme of tension. Rest is exactly in the middle of both; rest is a state of balance.
People move from one extreme to another: they exert too much, then they fall into a lethargy - or they become addicted to one extreme. A few people become addicted to too much work - what psychologists call 'workaholics'. It is just like alcoholics: they become addicted to work. They cannot be without work, they have to do something. On the other extreme people become absolutely lethargic. When you are lethargic you lose all interest, zest, gusto. That is a kind of slow suicide. To be continuously in a strain is a suicide; to be continuously in lethargy is also a suicide - two different ways of killing oneself.
The real person and the real life happens just in the middle where the pendulum simply does not move to any extreme; it swings no more. You cannot call this man lethargic because he will not be adverse to activity, and you cannot call him a workaholic because he is not addicted to work. He can happily remain without work. That's the meaning of the word 'vishrant'.
So keep that in your mind - don't move to the extremes, remain in the middle. And soon you will start having the feel of it, of what it is. For example, if you are walking you can walk in a very lethargic way, like a drunkard, or you can walk like a very tense person whose house is on fire and who is rushing. By and by you have to feel inside yourself where the middle is. You are neither rushing like a man whose house is on fire and you are not simply going anywhere like a drunkard. You will have to learn that art, that feel inside, where you are neither. You are moving perfectly briskly, alive, alert, aware, with joy, but there is no strain and there is no drunkenness either.
You are eating food. You can eat like a madman: you can just go on stuffing, fast, without tasting the food, without enjoying it. You just go on throwing it inside and remain unfulfilled. Or you can eat like a dull person - very slowly, as if not interested. Again there is no joy in it. It is as if it has to be done like a duty so you are doing it, but there is no celebration.
Watch yourself and bring yourself into the middle where you are fully aware, joyously eating, chewing, enjoying, but there is no hurry - you are not stuffing. And this has to be watched throughout the day. Soon, by and by, through experience you will come to feel exactly where the point of vishrant, rest, is.
That will become your key, and that will unlock the door....
Anand means bliss, hamant is the name of the season winter. In the East the winter is the most beautiful season. It is not so in the West, but in the East the coolness of it is greatly welcomed. So, in India, hamant is one of the most beautiful names: it represents coolness. In a hot country to feel coolness is to be in paradise; it is like an oasis.... [The words] mean: blissful coolness. That you have to remember: become more and more cool but don't lose blissfulness.
There are people who become cool but they lose blissfulness. Then coolness turns into coldness; that is not good. There are people who are blissful, happy, joyous but don't have any coolness. Then their joy, their happiness, becomes very hot - turns into lust, passion. One has to avoid both and one has to bring a great synthesis into one's life where bliss can meet with coolness.
And that is the most beautiful season for the inner soul too. So be happy, but in a cool way!
[A sannyasin who is leaving with her husband and child says that she has many wrong attitudes to life such as fear and hopelessness about herself.]
Mm, mm... these are great qualities! Life is hopeless! It says nothing about you, it doesn't say anything about you. Life is hopeless unless you change it. In itself it is hopeless... there is nothing.
You have to bring great creativity; only then is there any hope.
Life is a blank canvas. If you simply go on staring at the canvas you will not find any picture arising.
You will have to get involved and paint; you will have to splash colours. Only then will the painting arise and will there be meaning and hope. And it will depend on you how beautiful a painting you can make; it will depend on you.
It is good that the canvas is given blank, otherwise what will you do? If a painting were given all ready, then life would be really miserable. Then life would be absolutely hopeless because there would be nothing left for you to do. And without doing something, without being creative, how can you find yourself?
So don't take it as something wrong; it is something very true. But one need not be confined to it; one can change it. I also say that life is hopeless but it can be transformed into a great hope. And it is good that it is not given ready-made. We are absolutely free to make or unmake it. It is for you to decide whether to paint hell or heaven; it is going to be your choice. So never blame anybody else: if you paint hell you live in hell. And nobody can paint the canvas for you; you will have to paint your canvas yourself. Nobody at all has any access to your canvas. It is so private, in the innermost core of your being, that only you are there. Nobody else can enter - neither your husband nor your children.
So I don't see that you should be disturbed by it. And by the side of it comes fear... just lingering by the side. The fear is whether you will remain hopeless or you will create hope, whether you will live with this empty canvas or you will paint something; that is the fear. Let that fear become a challenge; don't think about it as a problem and don't surrender to it. Take it as a challenge... and start changing your life!
I don't see that there is any trouble. Mm? there is work but there is no trouble. It is an uphill task, it is moving towards the mountains; it is hard and difficult and many times you will feel like dropping
the whole project.... But whenever that feeling comes just have a little rest and again you will find the energy coming up.
Until a man is dead, energy goes on coming up again and again. We are joined with an infinite source of energy. Nothing to be worried about, mm?
[The sannyasin says she often has pain in her navel.]
That may be because of these ideas. Start being more creative and the pain will disappear. It may be just this constant hopelessness and fear that one is missing. It can become a constant hurting feeling in the navel. But don't be worried about it. Start being more creative, drop your dullness.
Bring in a little more enthusiasm. Much has to be done....
And there are great challenges waiting. Fulfill one challenge and a bigger one comes to face you.