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The Power of Sankalpa

Strength lies in the power of your sankalpa (intention). 

There are two schools of thought. One says you visualize your dream and work for it. The other tells you to surrender everything to God; whatever the lord gives you is the best, and He will take care of everything. They appear to be incompatible, but I would say they are very much compatible. It is good to have an intention or a goal. You don’t keep visualizing your goal 24×7, but continuing to work for that, you leave it to God. Only the combination of the two will work.

There is a difference between intention and desire. Desire is that which gives you anger and upsets you. Sankalpa is having an intention. It means taking your consciousness to the universe, to the infinite, then bringing the mind to the present moment, and making a wish for something that you long for in your mind. Desire means it has to happen now. In sankalpa you say, “let it happen whenever it has to.” When we have an intention and focus our attention on that, it will start manifesting. Suppose you want to go to Mumbai from Bangalore. You buy a ticket and travel for around three hours and go there. But you don’t keep chanting all this time that you want to go to Mumbai, and you are going to Mumbai. Desire is the feverishness that clogs an intention. An intention is a desire free from feverishness. And then working towards your intention, you have to keep the faith that whatever nature brings back is for your growth.

Strength lies in the power of your sankalpa (intention). Each work gets done through sankalpa. We can make our mind strong by sadhana (spiritual practices) and knowledge. Then the sankalpa will be strong.

Obstacles to Intention

There is a limitation in the field of action (karma kshetra). But it is necessary to make a little bit of effort. This is the essence of the Bhagavad Gita: “Be involved in action and have unswerving faith in the power of intention (sankalpa).” Have the faith and know the best will happen. And even momentarily if it appears not to be the best thing for you, in the long run, whatever is best will happen to you. This belief will carry you through. It can also strengthen your sankalpa. If you doubt, “Oh, maybe I have this problem,” or “I don’t know if this will happen,” or “Maybe I will not succeed,”—it can act like a brake when driving the car. Your hand brake is on, and you’re driving the car. So no more self-doubt. Know that the best will happen to you in your life.

What we should know is that we already have what we want in life. You start with this intention, “I already have what I want”, then what you want will fructify easily. Thinking, “I have it”, is like sowing a seed. Once you sow it, you put water and manure on it, and it will sprout and grow. So you know mentally that the seed is there. Same way, whatever you want to achieve in life, know that you are that and you have it. If you think you don’t have it in you, then you will never grow. So, if you want to be a business person, tell yourself, “I am a business person”, and then work towards becoming one. It may appear absurd. Usually, people think, “I don’t have it in me to achieve it”, but seldom are they able to chase goals.

Money should be in your wallet, not in your mind or head. One whose mind is feverish about money can think of nothing else. He cannot think of his relationships, his friends and family, not even his own health and well-being. Such a person ends up losing everything because he is focused on materialistic pursuits. Your mind tells you that with more money, one could have more freedom, could travel anywhere, do whatever one wanted. And when this idea takes hold of the mind, it binds you. When you feel bound, you feel stiff, and there is no freedom. That is the reason why people who have money keep getting more money and those who do not, keep on regretting. So that negative consciousness should go, and you should feel the abundance.

Positive Intention

When sankalpa arises in your heart, then it helps expand your consciousness in the universe. In this huge universe, I want this little sankalpa to happen. Suppose you are asking a question to someone and you have a doubt whether this question will be answered or not, you will hesitate to ask it or you will make errors even in the process of asking. So the right way of asking is, first, having that confidence in the divine and knowing that “I have this request and it will be granted to me.” One should apply effort, work, and also relax. Before going to bed, meditate for 10 minutes and surrender whatever you desire, and sleep happily. The main things to follow are sadhana (spiritual practices and self-effort), awareness, and then abandoning of feverishness. If we change the way we look at things, we discover that everything starts from within. If they are better inside, they get better outside. You become the agent for change.

When your needs are many, and you focus only on your needs, you remain unhappy. When you take responsibility, and your needs are lesser, everything comes to you—enthusiasm, happiness, creativity, and so on. Meditation will generate your thought power, your intention. So if you meditate for a few minutes, your thoughts will become powerful, and with little effort, the task will be accomplished.

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Inspired by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s wisdom talks. Full article originally posted on srisriravishankar.org.

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