Shashi: How is your health? Do you like it in Dallas?
Swamishri: For a devotee of God, health is good if he can perform God's service. It feels good to meet you all. It pleases me even more when everyday I get to hear the mukhpath you have done for the USA Satsang Silver Jubilee. It is because of this (your efforts) that my health has improved. Do you watch TV? If you do, my health and yours will deteriorate. If you don't watch TV my health and yours will improve.
Shashi: There are many kids who lose their good culture because of partying and clubs, going out with bad friends and alcohol and smoking. Many take vows but the moment you leave they lose courage and give in to temptation. What can we do to be constantly courageous?
Swamishri: This is a good question but a common problem. The whole world faces this problem. Kids try, but become feeble. But if you firmly believe all that is poison then your mind will never be tempted. Would you take poison if someone offered you some. Death is certain. From the moment you hear it is a poison you keep a distance. The belief has become a part of your life. Your resolve is firm. You do not take the poison. Similarly, drugs, bad company, parties, discos, all these are bad. If this belief is firmly entrenched in your lives then no matter what corner of the world you go to you will never go against your vows. Breaking vows gives unrest. Realize this truth and strengthen it in your lives from the Vachanamrut and Vato.
Shashi: Whilst in the Bal Mandal we do not have any difficulties. But when we leave home to go to college, we do not have satsangi friends. How can we remain in Satsang in such circumstances?
Swamishri: Adhere to your vows, puja, regular prayer in college. Read our Satsang literature. Pray to God, 'Maharaj! Grant me the strength to stay within our niyam-dharma.' Only through prayer will you gain in inner strength. You should also be aware. Do not be swayed by friends... Strength given by God will help you. When Mahendrabhai Barrister went abroad to study he lived on salad alone... he was not tempted by circumstances and environment. He would pray and think of Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj. If you are firm you will have no problems. In the main, because of a feeble mind you are tempted. Reflect on the Vatos you have learnt off by heart, they will help you think of God...
Shashi: What should we do when we have a difference of opinion with our elders and coordinators? If we play, or do something else, they scold us.
Swamishri: We all come to the mandir to benefit from the special programs arranged for us. This you should keep in mind. Just as you observe a certain discipline in school, there is a discipline to be observed in the mandir. If you do not concentrate on what your teachers are teaching then would you learn anything?
For success in the world you have to pay attention! In the same way, to progress spiritually, discipline is needed. When playing, play. And when Satsang, do Satsang. Do whatever you are asked to do whenever asked. Do not feel insulted if someone instructs you to do something.
Shashi: America is a country of fashion. You can dye your hair any number of colors, or wear blue, green, yellow, red contact lens. Earrings are also in vogue. What is your opinion on all this?
Swamishri: I feel that all of this is not really necessary. Someone wears a red earring and so we also mimic and wear a red earring. This is wrong behavior. Even after wearing green or red contact lens the main purpose of the lens is for you to see through. In fact, without the color you may be able to see better! Be aware, eyes open - there is celluloid everywhere distorting your vision and perception of truth. Bad habits result from trying to be fashionable. We only think of trying to appear more attractive, so long hair is kept, designer clothes are worn... we all compete with one another. The same has happened with our eating habits. The purpose of eating is to preserve the body, but no, we eat, eat and eat. Satisfaction will never be experienced. Red or yellow glasses will turn your vision red and yellow. God given eyes, allow you see things as they really are. Society walks without thinking or understanding. Both young men and women should realize that there is no need to be pulled away by fashion fads, there is no benefit in such things.
God has given us this body, intellect and talent. Whatever done according to His guidelines will be beneficial to our liberation. Obeying God's commands will give happiness and peace.