Param Para: Answers to Questions on the Spiritual Path  
by Swami Amar Jyoti

I oftentimes get angry with my children.

You have to be responsible for your children, help them, serve them, advise them and work with them. Do not be angry. Be patient. The problem comes when we expect either too much from children or too little. Some people tell me, “Swamiji, I meditate, I sit silently, but these children are so noisy, they don’t sit still.” I ask them, “When you were a child, what did you do? Didn’t you jump and play and throw things and all that?” “Oh, I was much better.” People say this and I tell them, “You were worse, but you have forgotten your childhood pranks.” We are expecting too much of children when we want them to behave like adults. We also underestimate them when they want to know things and we just keep quiet, implying, “You are just children.”

Let’s come down to a precise solution. What children need, first and foremost, is love. Be sure about it. I am not talking about attachment; I am talking about love. You might say as parents that you do love your child but you also show so many moods per day. How often do you really express love? Sometimes you show indifference; sometimes you are angry; sometimes you punish them or send them to their room. We need to remember that they have God within them too. They may be your children but they are separate individuals. They need individual freedom to grow, to experience things. The first step is to love them unconditionally.

The second step is to try to come down to their level, psychologically. Try to understand your child at the level he or she is. What does he or she want? What is deficient? As a gardener tries to understand plants, this kind of understanding is needed for a child. It requires patience, no doubt. The third step is to try to help your child according to his or her own level, not your level. If you do this, you will be free of claims and expectations, and anger will leave you. We commit a mistake when we expect or want children to be as we want. They have to be what they want to be. Our part is to help them grow, as a gardener would. If you are growing a hibiscus plant, you do not expect it to be like a marigold or rose. It will grow according to its own qualities. You have begotten your child but that does not mean that he or she belongs to you. This is a very wrong notion that breeds anger, attachment, selfishness and injustice. We have to give the individual soul of the child a sense of freedom. Without selfishness or attachment, help your child to grow; then all problems can be solved. One aphorism helped me many years ago: “Show anger; don’t be angry.”

If in our essential nature we are Godlike, on one side we have letting go, flowing with, and on the other side we have creativity, which seems to me to partake of activity. Would you say that these are two aspects of the same thing?

Actually there are three aspects: tamas, rajas and sattva, which are inertia, activity and tranquility. These three gunas or qualities of the mind are in every soul in varying degrees. Mental inertia causes sleep, lethargy, laziness and drowsiness. Mental activity causes ambition, struggle, work, restlessness, and so on. Mental tranquility causes peace, silence, calm and quietude. According to the Bhagavad Gita, these three qualities exist in each one of us as the percolation of God’s aspects as Creator, Preserver and Transformer. Whichever of these three qualities predominates in you influences your body and mind. That is why some people are more active, some are lazier, and some are more peaceful than others. If tamas predominates you will be more lethargic, even though you may have the other two qualities in a lesser degree. If sattva predominates you will be peaceful even though you may have some degree of tamas and rajas. If you had no tamas you would not be able to sleep. If you had no rajas you would not doanything. If you had no sattva your balance would be lost.

Are these qualities eternal?

They are qualities of the mind, not of the Spirit. The mind works through these three qualities. The whole universe works through them. The mind is nothing else but the world. Your mind is your world, your universe. Your mind makes your body grow. When you are in your mother’s womb, your body forms according to what your mind is. As you think, so you become. The universe is made by the inner mind of God. God also has these qualities. The only difference is because He is so full, so aware. He is using these qualities as a master, not as a slave. We are slaves to these qualities.

As long as God keeps up this creation, which we hope he does, then these gunas are eternal in that sense. It reminds me of a beautiful sentence in the Vedas, that even nature - meaning the universe - is eternal as long as God is there. God is the Universal Mind. When inertia occurs in the Universal Mind, that is what we call pralaya: deluge, annihilation. The universe goes back into a seed form to regenerate, just as we sleep daily. Then again when the universe is recreated, that will be the quality of activity in the Universal Mind.

When you transcend these three qualities of mind you come to transcendental awareness. The advice has always been given to grow into tranquility as much as you can. Then you will get nearer to Enlightenment. We call tranquility a divine virtue of the mind because if you are more active, or if you are more inert, you will not be near God. You need to balance inertia and activity to the extent that they do not disturb you. Suppose you sleep too much or too little, or you work too much or too little, then your tranquility will be disturbed. And if your tranquility is disturbed you cannot even think of God, what to say meditate upon Him. Tranquility and peace of mind balance activity and inertia. It is only with a tranquil mind that you can be near God.

God works. He never sleeps because if He would sleep, even for a moment, the worlds would perish. But His sleep is not inert as we think. He reposes. We call it yoga nidra, yogic sleep, which means while sleeping you are aware. You are neither dreaming nor are you lost in unconsciousness. High yogis are able to do this. When you overcome inertia, you need not sleep. You are always in relaxation.

© 2013 by Truth Consciousness. Excerpted from the Satsang: Renunciation, Service and Tranquility (N-15). For further information on the audio Satsangs of Swami Amar Jyoti please see page 61 or online at