Friday, October 14, 2011
Life is a continuous process of teaching you to ‘let go’
September 12, 2011
PhD Chambers – Delhi, 12 September 2011
This is what we need to do, simply come out of the table. If you are behind the table you are half known, out of the table you are fully there. Right!
Someone asked me how do you manage this huge organization? 152 countries, how do you manage? I said, ‘I don’t manage at all, it gets managed. I simply don’t meddle with anything, simply let it happen.’
The whole philosophy of the life is based on letting go. Are you with me? What’s happening in your mind right now? What’s next? Right! Suppose I don’t say anything would you still like to be here? (Audience say yes) Yes! I say nothing and I am going to just sit back. Now? See, watch the mind, when you are screening there is an expectation. There is something that you want to happen in next one hour, you want to know the secret of whole life or purpose of it or something, right? Something exciting, yes? Suppose I do nothing, I don’t say anything; would you still like to be here? (Laughter) Only few are saying ‘Yes’ (Laughter). This is letting go. Letting go is what? You are stuck in a traffic jam and your car is behind fifty cars. There is no way you can go back or go forward and you are running out of time. What do you do? You are upset. You simply have to let go! Correct! You have gone to catch a flight, the flight is late. You are sitting in the flight and it is delayed. What do you do? Running your eyes up and down in the air, on the flight, it is not going to help.
Life is a continuous process of teaching you to ‘let go’. I wouldn’t say the word acceptance because acceptance has a little connotation of lethargy or what do you call ‘chalta hai’ (everything goes). When we hold on to them, then they become a reason for tension. If you allow the universe to work through you, you will find life takes on to another level of existence. Are you all still here?
You know, for any success to happen what matters? First of all it comes as a thought. Thoughts get translated into action. First a thought gets translated into will, if it becomes a will then it gets translated into action and action in turn brings success. See, you aspire success but you are not taking those steps, not attending to the steps behind success. We want success, we only make use of the aspect of action but not every action will lead to success. If you go to Karol Bagh, one shop may be running at a loss while the adjacent shop might be making a profit. What is the reason? There is something behind the scenes, what that is? That is what we need to see. That same thing if we can catch hold of is the secret to success. Before success action is necessary and behind action intention is necessary. How to strengthen our intention? That is the skill. Intention will be strong only when we learn to let go. Are you listening?
Competitive world brings out the best in you. When you can attend to the core of talent no competition is there. When inner strength comes there is no competition. You excel in whatever you do. A successful businessman always believes that something more than his effort has gone into it. It is not his effort that is bringing him luck, there is more. Recharge yourself again and again. See, you have seen you are constantly changing; you are different than what you were 5 years ago. So much within you has changed; those who are with you have also changed within. The change is the phenomenon of the universe. If it’s changing and you are stuck, not letting go means you are stuck in a position. Then there is depression, frustration etc. In Europe, thirty percent people are in depression and in the coming fifteen years it may go up to fifty percent. Every other person you name in Europe is depressed or will be on Prozac. Here also in the city it has started now, ‘I am very depressed.’ Have you ever heard of this word ‘depression?’ At least I had not heard. Even in Delhi how much depression has risen, tension has increased, why? We forgot to look into the core of life. What is life? Who am I? What do I want? This spirit of self enquiry can trigger something inside you.
As human beings everyone has needs, everybody has some responsibilities also. Now if you make a list of what are our responsibilities and what our needs are and compare that and if needs are more than your responsibilities then you will not be a very happy person. Your enthusiasm will become lesser and lesser. If you have few responsibilities and more desires, life will lose its flavour and become dry. If we want to be happy, what should we do? Reduce your needs and increase your responsibilities. So today, when you get home make a list - what are my responsibilities, what all responsibilities I would like to take in the future and what are my needs? If you see that it will bring a sudden shift in you. You will start realising, ‘what have I been doing all my life? I should wake up now; it’s high time I should take more responsibility.’ When you take more responsibility more power comes to you. Everything begins to happen by itself. As you take on more responsibilities and reduce your needs, you find your needs get fulfilled on their own.
I tell you to do something, will all do it?
Okay, turn to the person next to you and tell them, ‘I don’t trust you.’ Did everyone do it? To trust someone can be difficult, it is easier to doubt still we are unable to do even that.
Let’s do an exercise. Just close your eyes for thirty seconds and imagine everybody telling you, ‘I don’t trust you.’ Wherever you go, everyone looks at you with suspicion, you go to the super market everyone considers you a thief. Everyone looks at you with suspicion. Okay, now open your eyes. How did you feel; bad, frustrated?
(Audience says ‘yes’)
How many people felt this way? How many people felt liberation? Wow! How many people felt good about it? Look, we don’t like it when people do not trust us; it doesn’t feel good, right? All the energy that we build up around us is full of tension, right! Unpleasant vibrations being produced and then we walk around with such a vibration which says, ‘I don’t trust you, I don’t trust you.’ If you go to the villages you do not see such a thing. Go to a village, you go to a rural area, everyone will say, ‘come, come! Welcome, welcome!’ A sense of belongingness, this is India ‘Bhaarat’, where there is a sense of belongingness. Go around the world, the uniqueness of India you can see in the villages.
Warmth and belongingness is spirituality. Where has the word ‘Aatmiyata’ (oneness, belongingness) come from? It has come from ‘Aadhyatma’ (spirituality). ‘Aadhyatma’ means that which is connected to the spirit. Sense of belongingness is a unique feature of India. Now observe, has life improved or worsened? In the home distance is increasing, from mother and father, between brother and sister, sense of belongingness is dying away. Is that true or not? Then there is only sadness in life, life becomes dull, insipid. As life loses its flavor, greed increases. Dullness gives rise to greed. As dullness spreads in life, what then? Accumulate, accumulate, accumulate; how much to accumulate? You will die one day after having accumulated all that wealth in the bank and the children keep fighting over it and court cases happen. All life was spent in accumulating wealth in the bank, and one day you died without having done anything else. And you made the children fight on account of it. (Laughter) There is no love among children even while the parents are alive. They are busy accumulating money. They will cause fights even after death, this is the situation.
The Indian scriptures have analyzed all this so thoroughly. Whatever you have earned, set aside twenty percent for society, twenty percent for yourself, twenty percent for emergencies – emergency funds, twenty percent for children, one fifth for your wife, one fifth for your work, and spend one-fifth on personal expenses. These rules have been laid out. It’s a very beautiful way. If you look there is so much taxation, nobody gives more than that. Similarly, our scriptures have placed a limit on everything. Not that hundred percent should be saved for children, no! If you have to save money for children, set aside only so much. The children will earn the rest on their own once they stand on their own feet. That is what has been said. Make children earn money rather than store everything and give them and make them lazy and useless. So it’s very difficult when we say, ‘I don’t trust’ and it’s difficult to feel that nobody trusts you. And we walk around creating such a vibration – ‘I don’t trust you, I don’t trust you,’ and you become so unattractive. We don’t want this to happen in our country, don’t you think so? We need to have a wave of belongingness, sense of freedom, trust.
You know nature of doubt? How many know nature of doubt? How many don’t know? Doubt is always about something positive. If someone tells you, ‘I love you so much’, you will say, ‘Really?’ (Laughter) If someone says, ‘I hate you’, you won’t ask, ‘Really?’ (Laughter) If someone asks you, ‘Are you happy?’ You will say, ‘oh I’m not sure.’ Someone asks, ‘Are you unhappy,’ you are ready to keep a long face and say, ‘I’m not happy.’ You say, ‘everything is fine,’ but from the face you can make out nothing is fine. (Laughter)
It’s a useless dialogue that we have on a day-to-day basis. Someone asks, ‘how are you?’ ‘Very well’ If you look at their face, they don’t look well. But they say they are well! (Laughter) So we doubt happiness. We are never sure about happiness. But we are so sure about our depression. You are depressed then you do not doubt it. ‘Am I depressed or not?’ No one says that. You don’t doubt your weaknesses; you always doubt your capabilities. Nobody doubts their weaknesses.
Similarly you doubt the honesty of something but you never doubt their dishonesty. Someone is very honest but on one occasion may have been dishonest. But you are sure about their dishonesty. This is not India. In India we are taught to honour even a dishonest person who is teaching us something by falling into a ditch. (Applause)
Such awareness is unique to India, something unique! But we are losing it very fast. You know who feels insecure? One who does not have sense of belongingness or one who does not have a guide or someone who is there to say, ‘I am there for you. I am there.’ One who can give this confidence is missing. In this country there used to be a Guru or a Purohit (spiritual adviser) in every village. The elderly would give that confidence, ‘you move forward, I will watch over you.’
Nowadays, so many suicides are happening in the IITs for this very reason. They are asked to do pranayama and meditation, and they say, ‘oh, this is religious; I am not going to do it.’ While the world is adopting our culture; Harvard, Columbia University and other universities abroad are saying we need these values. Here in our country we start putting barriers saying these are religious. What is there in religion? Doing Yoga, pranayama, meditation, this is all good. It will build the energy; it will help the person from inside. The mental, spiritual energy, the spirit becomes alive. The thought of committing suicide will not occur at all. The whole atmosphere will be positive and full of energy.
At least do one thing. Everybody must do. When we go outside don’t say, ‘I don’t trust you.’ It is only in this hall. But outside when we go, at least smile more. And if you find somebody who looks down, face looks tired, sad, just talk to them a little. ‘What is it I can do for you?’ We should do only that which we can. If they expect you to do something you cannot do, just beg their forgiveness. If someone asks you to treat them, you will say, ‘I am not a doctor.’ But at least do what you can. Can you do that? We have to create a divine beautiful society.
Drop all selfishness. Whatever we earn in life, we have to set aside two to three percent. There are so many slums in Delhi, there is so much work to be done, and so many people are drinking alcohol, bickering and fighting. Can we do something for them? If we all gather our energy, if we divide Delhi in zones, go to different locations, areas, and create an atmosphere where people are happy, they are meditating, they are doing satsang, they are singing , they are dancing, you will find a huge difference; a change. We have seen it happening in many, many places. I am very confident we can gather our energy and instil spiritual or humanitarian values. It is very easy to give away food and clothes, but creating a force within them by which they can maintain their smile, sense of belongingness - we will be making a huge difference.
Q: When state and government organizations say that they are secular then it makes sense, but is secularism for common man a virtue worth pursuing?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Secularism means to treat everyone with equality. Secularism does not mean religiosity or irreligiousness. Secularism means what? To view everyone as equal and that is there in our country, in our dharma. Does that answer your question?
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Is there any possibility that everyone should doubt you? You do not have to recognize that they doubt you. You be very natural. You’re trying to impact them or make them understand that they could trust you will not help.
Q: You spoke about competition and that it brings out the best in you. However in business we find that dichotomy between compassion and competition and that at times can be confusing. Would you be able to guide us on an issue like this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, competition is very good. But if you are competitive and you are not caring for any of the rules then you are in trouble. But competition within the framework of rules is very good. So ethical competition is what we need to aspire for. You don’t need to put compassion there. Business and compassion should be kept separate, but business and ethics cannot be separate. (Applause)
Q: How can we define a limit to our happiness? You had said that we need to lessen our needs, then how can we reduce that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do you want to define? Do your requirement and your happiness connect each other? Okay, when I make so many millions then I will be happy. Then you are not happy now. Then you are waiting for that day to come when you will be happy. What I’m saying to you is, be happy now and you try and do whatever you want to do. Got it?
Q: You had mentioned the secret to success is in thought, and then intention or will, and then action, leading to success. When you say Europe is depressed due to the lack of will, we feel that in a lot of Indian cities as well. How do you overcome that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation. Meditation will generate your thought power, your intention. So if you do few minutes of meditation, pranayama, your thoughts will become powerful. So with little effort the task will be accomplished.
Q: Guide me the way to shake hands with you, please!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (shaking his hands), you can shake (laughter and applause). Shake up and wake up!
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You mean I’m not normal? (Laughter) One is being straight forward and righteous, another is asserting I am righteous. You know when you say, ‘I am righteous’ that makes you angry, that makes you unhappy. Be natural towards everyone, but don’t be obsessed. You don’t have to beat a drum to announce to everyone that you are the most honest person; ‘I am very straight forward.’ Straight-forward does not mean you have to be blunt. You can be truthful. Four things are essential in life, shakti (strength), yukti (skill), mukti (freedom) and bhakti (devotion). Strength is needed and so is skill; strength alone will not work, so shakti and yukti. To be successful in life you need shakti and yukti. Be straight forward but with skill.