DAVID WELCH: Please describe enlightenment.
ANANDA GIRI: (Laughs)
ANANDA GIRI: I think enlightenment is to know, to live and act from a clear realization that you are all that exists.
DAVID: Would this be a steady state? This is not something you come up and down from.
ANANDA GIRI: There cannot be a static state. In a world, in a universe that is constantly changing, which we know, which we all know, everything changes, how can a particular state of mind, alone, be permanent? We would like to believe that one state of being alone can be permanent without any change. There cannot be a permanent state. But, yes, you’re establishing the knowing, but the state itself…there’ll be very heightened states of connection, there’ll be less intense states of connection. There’ll be heightened states of peace, less peace. But you see, will I forever remain that heightened experience all the time? I do not think such a thing is possible. But when you’re established in this knowing, which happens through direct experience, and when you act from that space, such an action has the power to impact the whole web of life itself. It has a massive impact. And enlightenment is not something that happens to you one fine day, it’s a progressive journey and you can never, ever say, I have found it, my journey’s over. The day…the moment you say that, you’re lost.
DAVID: I don’t want to take too much of your time. Who inspires you? Who or what…or both?
ANANDA GIRI: My mentors at One World Academy who also founded One World Academy.
DAVID: And that is…
ANANDA GIRI: Krishnaji and Preethaji. They have had a huge influence and they have impacted me profoundly because they’re constantly pushing me to expand my horizons. They never, ever allow me to settle into one point of view. What I shared with you earlier…the day…the moment it is said, “I have made it,” you’ll have to start all over again.
DAVID: That’s basically the mystery of what’s going on, rather than, I know, I know, I know.
ANANDA GIRI: Yes.
DAVID: There’s always this edge where it’s still a mystery, it’s still unknowable or….
ANANDA GIRI: I think one thing, one of the very, very important things that my mentors help me understand is, it is not enough if you just had a beautiful experience. The question you need to ask yourself is…which is the question I was asked by my mentors, is…”is there a transformation in the way you think?” If you had a beautiful experience, and if there is no transformation in your thought, in your action, then that experience means nothing. So, yes, they have been a huge influence, and the vision, the vision to impact and to make a difference. The vision to share what I’ve learned and experienced because I know the immense joy and peace.
DAVID: I think you might have just asked my last question, which is, what is the purpose of your life?
ANANDA GIRI: I shared that this is my only meaning, my only purpose, my passion, my love, to share what I have learned and experienced…to help create an impact. I think that is…is it not the nature of learning itself; if you have learned something, if you have experienced something profound, there’s no way you can keep it to yourself. You must share. Not, must, in the sense that you have to, but it’s like, you cannot but help but share what you have learned.
DAVID: And it’s not just an intellectual sharing of…it’s getting others to experientially experience the deep level that you have experienced, which we are all capable of.
ANANDA GIRI: Yes.
DAVID: Do you have a few more minutes or…?
ANANDA GIRI: Yes, I have a few more minutes.
DAVID: Do you want to say anything about diet?
ANANDA GIRI: That is not my expertise.
DAVID: Ok, great.
ANANDA GIRI: All I would say is, it’s important that one takes good care of one’s body. Because your body is going to be playing such an important role in your spiritual journey, as well. You cannot separate the body and consciousness.
DAVID: What is the proper balance between our individual awakening and taking social action?
ANANDA GIRI: Awakening without social action is not awakening at all. What is the purpose of observing? If I were to tell someone I’m in a most extraordinarily beautiful state and I sit in my room and meditate and do nothing, it means nothing. That is not awakening at all because awakening means responsibility. Awakening means right action. Awakening means to create an impact. Action that can impact the whole web of life. If you are keeping it away to your own self, it means nothing. What is the reason you are doing this right now, having this conversation? Why did you create the site “Awaken.com?” To impact people, right?
DAVID: Yes, absolutely.
ANANDA GIRI: To make a difference.
ANANDA GIRI: If you have an incredible experience and you just kept it to yourself and so, oh, I am in this beautiful state…I would rather not have the awakening because you would want to contribute. So they go…they are tied together. Awakening means…because awaken—it’s a state of love and connection, right? It’s not a state of disconnection. You feel a great compassion. You feel compelled to do something. And, in fact, in some manner…it doesn’t matter in which manner. If you’re a business person and awakened, you will impact the world of business. If you are a doctor and you are awakened, you will impact the medical world. If you are a politician and you are awakened, you will create a difference to politics. You are a spiritual teacher and you are awakened, you will impact the spiritual world. You’re an artist and you’re awakened, you will impact the world of art. It doesn’t matter where you are located in society. If you are awakened, you will act. In fact, one of the core teachings of One World Academy’s Right Action…when I say Right Action, you’re not talking about morally right action, it’s action that can impact.
DAVID: Do unto others. This is kind of an odd question, but what happens when the physical body dies?
ANANDA GIRI: Is it really so important to know? I mean what…how does it serve in one’s liberation or awakening?
DAVID: Because what we really need to do is deal with the present moment.
ANANDA GIRI: Absolutely.
DAVID: Rather than, off in the future, my body is going to die, so therefore….
ANANDA GIRI: Why would we all provide with that understanding because that understanding is not going to impact your life in this moment anyways, in any event.
DAVID: It’s a good answer. In Kundalini yoga, they have a lot of theories of what, you know…that is kind of where that came from. And I realize everything you have said. It kind of answers to this question I’m going to ask, that if you had to describe God what would you say? Just to kind of encapsulate everything.
ANANDA GIRI: I would leave the answer to that question for what God is to the individual. Depending on how they experience God. I don’t think I can comment on it because God means different things to different people.
DAVID: What does it mean to you?
ANANDA GIRI: To me, that’s not an important question at all.
DAVID: That’s defining right? That’s just like trying to encapsulate?
ANANDA GIRI: Who God is…what God is.
ANANDA GIRI: What is important is: What is your state of being right now? Are you in a beautiful state of being? Or, are you in a disturbed state of being? Because if you are in a beautiful state of being, then the actions you perform from the beautiful state will create a massive impact. You will want to create great destiny for yourself, for others and for the world…the key is a beautiful state of being. On the other hand, if your state of being is one of suffering and inaction to perform, well it will cause further conflict. The question that will be important to us is, what can I do to move from this suffering state of being to a beautiful state of being? Every other question is not as significant. How do I move from the suffering state to the non-suffering state, to the beautiful state? Is there a path to get there? Because that will bring enlightenment to our lives. It will start off really delving upon questions for which the answer is very speculative.
DAVID: Deva Premal…when I asked her that question, she says, “oh, that’s very masculine…wanting to quantify…” and going, “oh, that’s so feminine, you know, just God Is.” You know?…It’s not what is God…just…God is. Oneness, universal consciousness. I guess that describes it for me.
ANANDA GIRI: Moreover, it is however you want to see it. One thing is for sure, it cannot be outside of you or separate from you. It has to be part of you and in a sense it is you.
DAVID: I want to thank you. I believe that our Awaken readers will really enjoy this conversation with you. You have revealed a lot of truths and wisdom and that’s the purpose of Awaken…is to have a place where we can really delve into this truth and awakening and you are one of my dearest teachers on the site, you know…that I have just such profound love for. Thank you.
ANANDA GIRI: Thank you. Thank you, Dave. Thank you for doing what you are doing and creating so much awareness about our way of living in the world. And, earlier you were asking me a question…”who inspires you?” You know, a really important person is a little girl who I spent a lot of time with her. Her name is Loka. I’ve seen the way she lives in the world.
DAVID: Be as a little child. You know, so, in the moment, so innocent, and so full of love and joy and surely that’s what Jesus meant.
ANANDA GIRI: Thank you, David. Thank you so much.
DAVID: Thank you, Ananda Giri. Thank you.
David Welch: is the founder and CEO of Awaken Global Media and Chief Editor of AWAKEN.com. He is the Producer of the award-winning movie “Peaceful Warrior” and a member of the Directors Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild. David is a master practitioner of Neuro-linguistic programming, a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor and has a continuous, committed and daily yoga, meditation and Qi gong practice.