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Ask Premaji

Question: Premaji, is it necessary to have a strong personal will to grow spiritually and to find God?
- H. Costas ~ Arlington, Texas

Answer: Spiritual development doesn't happen automatically. You may want enlightenment very badly, but it only happens through your daily application of spiritual principles. One of these principles is sankalpa, which means "will power" in Sanskrit.

 You want to know if a strong personal will or sankalpa will help you find God? Before I can answer this question I must ask what God are you seeking? If you are a Catholic, your religious programming may be to search for a Catholic God. If you are a Hindu, you are taught to search for Hindu Gods. Religions condition us from birth to expect God to appear in the form of our personal religious indoctrination. It is the concept of a different God for each religion that has produced over 6000 religious wars in 3,000 years!

 In my opinion, religions have stood in our way of finding God. They put us in a box of intolerance for other traditions and people. Religions are as dangerous as nuclear bombs, and both should be dismantled. I'm not suggesting we destroy religions, but instead, disarm them. Let's begin by focusing on how we are similar, and not upon our differences. It is time we stop searching for a Catholic, Hebrew, Hindu, Buddhist, or Islamic God of a bygone era. In the universal path of prema (love), which I teach as the path of loving actions, God is defined as Love. Let's make ourselves available to the experience of God in the form of loving actions. Whatever your religion, it's time to make love a part of it, to discover love within, actualize love in our lives, and manifest love in the form of tolerance for others.

 A strong personal will or sankalpa is of definite assistance in finding God as love. It takes will power to feel compassion, love, tenderness, and tolerance for others when you may think otherwise. When you individually exercise your will power to consistently express love, you grow spiritually. You put yourself directly on the universal path of the heart, the path of love. It is never too late in life to begin to realize your dream of enlightenment by developing your will power. Just as muscles require flexing to stay strong, you must flex your will power to strengthen it. Start now by taking a moment for the spiritual practice of meditation. Sit quietly for a few minutes, close your eyes, and breathe deeply through your mouth, allowing your mind to rest. Strengthen your sankalpa, or willpower, by resolving to give yourself this spiritual release from the everyday world.

 Another way to awaken to feelings of love in your heart is simply by doing something loving. Start with an inanimate object. You can use a favorite trinket, a stone or a tree. Every time you pass by it, stop and give it feelings of love. Stick with one object and do it every day. This will increase the flow of loving feelings that come from your heart and strengthen your personal will power.

 If it's enlightenment and evolution that you're seeking, it's up to you to take the steps to ensure your happiness, health, and higher consciousness. Enjoy your meditations. Love that tree. And welcome to the experience of universal love within yourself.

 With prema, from my heart to yours…Namaste!

 Question: Premaji, is there a diet that can assist me to advance on the spiritual path? I'm overweight and I use smoking and coffee to lose weight. - Paula T. ~ Minneapolis, Minnesota

 Answer: There is much confusion in this era about food choices. Diet experts are arguing over whether we should avoid fats or eat all the fat we want. They can't agree on whether or not carbohydrates are hazardous or important foods that should predominate in our diets. One expert mentions that protein is dangerous while another insists that we don't get enough. The spiritual diet cuts through the confusion and provides a lifelong guide that will enable you to achieve health, weight loss and spiritual evolution.

 What makes a diet spiritual? Consider two points: Is your diet helping you in your spiritual practice? Does it support meditation? Is it one that is based on reducing pain and suffering in your personal world and the larger world in which you live?

 Have you ever tried to meditate after a visit to Starbuck's and a double serving of espresso? At lunch do you drink a can of soda? Or iced tea for dinner? The possibility of meditating when you are caffeine and nicotine wired is unlikely. Without meditation how can you feel the tranquility and harmony of spirit?

 For one month eliminate caffeine and smoking. Enjoy the effect of spiritual peace on your mind and body! As you exclude caffeine and nicotine you are decreasing your chances of lung cancer and heart disease. On a spiritual diet you examine how your food choices are adding to your personal and planetary well-being.

 Are you practicing ahimsa (nonviolence) when you eat? If you are eating animal products you must realize that an animal full of adrenaline and terror died for you to eat its flesh. You are what you eat! You are taking this suffering into your body. Science documents that all animal products as food choices lead indisputably to cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, strokes and diabetes. It's difficult to feel the natural spiritual joy and exuberance if your body is riddled with cancer or other killer diseases. Ask yourself this: is it spiritual to choose foods that will create pain and tragedy for you and your loved ones? In addition, every healthy vegetarian choice brings greater well-being and less violence to our planet by putting an end to the epidemic killer diseases and to the rampant cruelty in the animal industry. The healthy vegetarian choices are whole grains, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

 Every two seconds, a child dies of hunger on our planet. This is because most of the world's grain is not food grain, but feed grain for cattle. Meat eaters have their beef at the expense of a starving child. Since you ate breakfast yesterday, 36,000 children starved to death. Think about this the next time you indulge in a steak. Why pretend to be spiritual if you are eating meat? 25% of the world's population is malnourished. American meat eaters are the most overweight and sickest population in history.

 Walk your spiritual talk, cherish life and become a vegetarian.

 With prema, from my heart to yours…Namaste!

Prema Baba Swamiji (as Dr. Donald Schnell) is the author of The Initiation, a spiritual adventure story about his initiation into the Ancient Order of Swamys by the eternal Babaji in India. He is a widely respected expert in the fields of metaphysics, meditation, Eastern spirituality, medical hypnosis, nutrition, exercise, and yoga. He is the co-author of Fitonics, a health lifestyle book. He conducts spiritual workshops with his wife Marilyn Diamond of Fit For Life. ~ Prema Seminars: 603-225-3720 ~ You can learn more about Prema Baba Swamiji at Please send your questions to “Ask Premaji” at or by snail mail to: “Ask Premaji”, 2316 Pine Ridge Road #431, Naples, Florida 34109.