Whenever you listen to you, you listen to others. When you don’t listen to others, you don’t listen to you also.

Listen! Please come to the space of listening. Many teachers tell you, ‘However much you listen, unless you practice, it won’t help you.’ I tell you now, ‘However much you try to practice, unless you listen, it won’t help you!

The problem is that we do not trust ourselves and our innate intelligence to respond to a question without preparation. That is why we start preparing the reply even before listening. Whenever we allow our incompletions to wake up and interfere into our thinking or cognition process, listening stops.

Hearing is not listening.

Integrity, the power of words starts with listening, continues with listening. Human beings miss life when they miss listening. For a person who wants to begin the life, the first thing he needs to learn is listening.

Listening is God. Just by listening you experience God!

In Vedānta,

  • the first principle is Śṛavana—Integrated Listening;
  • the second principle is Manana—Intranalyzing, meaning analyzing the truth for the sake of internalizing it not for rejecting it;
  • and the third principle is Nididhyāsana – Living and radiating the truth!

Any transmission of knowledge, energy or experience happens between a Master and disciple only when the disciple gives his or her listening! Even Vedic Ṛishis start with this chant:

śrunvantu viśve amṛtasya putrāḥ

Oh! Sons of Immortality, please listen to me!

Here, Krishna is giving His integrated listening to Arjuna! He is interested in the real problem and not in expressing what He knows. He wants Arjuna to learn the ability to give integrated listening to himself, to have the clarity of mind. He is interested in enriching him to find a solution to his own problem. He allows Arjuna to speak so that He can listen and transmit the ultimate knowledge and experience of completion to him.

One needs intelligence, or I may say enlightenment, the space of completion to listen. Unless you start living completion, you will not even be able to maintain listening. Even listening is achieved with completion. Completion brings listening to you. Only an Enlightened Master, an Incarnation like Kṛṣṇa can listen, only He can speak into the listening of others. In the first chapter He listens fully and completely. Even in this second chapter named Sāṅkhya Yogaḥ, He allows Arjuna to speak into His listening in many verses.

Please understand the definition of Listening. Let me define what Right Listening is, śravana.
Right listening means allowing the words to enter your inner space automatically; letting them cognize, without you constantly interfering with your incompletions, is Listening.

People come to me and say, ‘Swamiji, you know our problems; please give us the answer.’ I ask them to speak out and state their problems clearly.

They say, ‘You are enlightened, you already know our problems; please give us the answer.’ I say, ‘Yes, I know your problem even if you don’t speak, but you will not know your own problem if you do not speak into my listening!’

Listen! When we know how to speak into the listening of the listener, we also know how to speak into our listening. Listen! The power of thinking or mano śakti is open to us when we practice authenticity. Our mind should be open to the space of possibilities.

When you listen, you understand, you become God. Listening makes you God! Only God can make you God. Nothing else can make you God. Only diamond can cut the diamond! Listen. Any listening is God. If you are listening to the sparrow’s sound now without giving any meaning to it—just pure listening—that is God.

Only if you learn pure listening, you will also be able to learn and give the right meaning.

On the Kurukṣetra battlefield Kṛṣṇa delivers the Gītā to Arjuna. People who have the rationality to compute time may wonder, ‘Arjuna spoke for so long. Now Kṛṣṇa speaks for so long. How is it possible for these two to hold such a long conversation in the middle of a battlefield? Wasn’t Duryodhana fed up or didn’t he think that this was a good opportunity to get rid of Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa?’

That’s how the logical, unaware mind thinks. Such a mind cannot conceive the possibility that a conversation can indeed take place in silence, in the space of pure listening. Understand, pure listening happens only when you start listening into your listening. At the higher level of communication, in the pure space of listening your mind needs to be still to allow the grace to move in. Only with completion inside, you can even listen at this moment. Understand, in the state of incompletion, you don’t listen! You act like you’re listening, but you don’t listen! You act like you’re seeing, but you don’t see! It is very important.

Understand, sitting in completion with listening is Upaniṣad. This is the subtlest and most powerful of all communications. At this level, communication becomes communion. So, please move to the space of Upaniṣad. Listen! Sit in Upaniṣad, in the space of listening. When you are in completion, you can sit even facing the wall for twelve years that Bodhidharma did. He was facing the wall of the cave sitting for twelve years, because he was in completion. When you are in incompletion, even watching a movie facing the television, you can’t sit more than ten minutes; you go on changing channels.

The essence of all the Vedic scriptures is called Upaniṣad or ‘just sitting.’ It is the ultimate technique. When you sit with the Master, the Upaniṣad, the sitting happens; some strange process starts happening in you, which can neither be called a technique nor a no-technique. It is literally like cooking or boiling.

In my satsangs, which are Upaniṣad, I give gaps in between my words. These gaps are the moments when I actually listen to you. Because in the gaps, based on your body language, I know whether you are restless or restful! Are you listening? Or are you just arguing inside you?

Listen. I am not a professional speaker; I am a professional listener. Before I start speaking, in the silence I listen to you. Every time I give a break between words, I listen to you. I speak what will make you listen. I speak into your listening. That is why my listening ends up as your listening! As I am a listener, I make you listen! I end up making you listen!

Just by listening, you will reach the depth of you; you will experience the depth of you. Even now, look inside you. Find out, are there any incompletions? Is there any restlessness inside you? Then you will not be able to listen.

Whenever you listen to you, you listen to others. When you don’t listen to others, you don’t listen to you also. Get it? Listen to you and listen to others. Only when you listen to you first and see that you are in completion, you can listen to others. If there are incompletions inside—I have not done this, I have not done that, this has not happened, I am restless—if you have such incompletions inside, be very clear, you will not be listening to me. You may be sitting here out of compulsion, or some other reason, but you will not be listening to me. When you don’t listen, more and more incompletions happen.

When they talk of great Masters like Ramaṇa Maharshi communicating in silence, it was indeed true. To communicate, you need not open your mouth. You only need to bring completion and give your right listening, śravana.

In the presence of the Master, answers will appear even before your questions are asked. Intellectual seekers, with years of questioning behind them, come to me and ask, ‘Swamiji, why is it that when I come to you with hundreds of questions, when I am in front of you, there is no need to ask you about them? I feel as if the answers are already there!’

This is not imagination; this is the truth. Questions are a reflection of your inner ego, your root pattern, which is violence. When you are in front of the Master, with śravana, integrated listening, the first thing that happens is the melting of your root pattern like snow melting in the sun. Therefore, questions also disappear. You start feeling that miraculously, the answers appear in front of the Master. The truth is that the answers were all already there. The Master’s presence dissolved the root pattern and let the answers out.

You can open up to the Master at three levels. You can converse and convey through words and the Master will listen. At the next level you can communicate from the heart in silence; you can visualize instead of verbalizing in speech. Finally, you can commune in silence through Upaniṣad and the Master will grasp this even more powerfully.

Here Kṛṣṇa allows Arjuna to verbalize, He allows him to speak into His pure listening, so that to begin with, Arjuna himself will develop the ability to have integrated listening and understand his problem. Once Arjuna cognizes and expresses his confusion, he can relapse into silence and commune with the Master of completion in the space of Upaniṣhad.

source: chapter 2, bhagavadgita decoded

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