We live in this world and it offers us lots of challenges. When we are thinking that everything is going, something happens and everything goes off balance.
Some of the great teachers have said there is no point in wearing different robes and going away into the forest and sitting in caves and meditating. we are in this world, we have to sort out this world’s problems first and we have to live in this world and face so many situations. Putting ashes on the face or having matted hair or wearing some peculiar dress, doesn’t change anything. It is basically the fear of the world that makes people run away like that.
Important is how to face this world.
The moment we think everything has been sorted out, something raises its head. It is normal and it happens to everybody. When we think that now life is all fine, we are enjoying it, there’s something lurking on the other side. I am NOT trying to paint a pessimistic picture of life but it is like that. These are facts that you have to accept.
Perception can change the way we accept it or reject it.
All the great religious teachers who have come from time immemorial have said that, this life, as long as you live it, is real. You cannot say this is unreal. It may be impermanent but impermanent is different from unreal. As long as you are alive it is very real.
So, when you live in this world, these problems are bound to happen because this world itself is imperfect. It’s not perfect and no human being is perfect because we have a body, we eat food and we sleep and we die. So we cannot be 100 % perfect. There may be something in us which is close to that which is perfect but basically we are imperfect.
Life is full of ups and downs. You don’t have to be afraid of it but understand that when you are on a high, be prepared. There might be a low coming!
We have to first accept that it is like this. Then comes the next step of how can we tackle this.
Actually this fact of ups and downs, cannot be tackled. You can get temporary solutions but there are no permanent solutions. Can anybody completely tackle death? Can someone tackle old age? one cannot tackle it or hold it. Death has to come.
So we wonder if that is all there is to life? That we are born and we go through life, little happiness, little suffering and then we die and go. Or is there some more meaning in life?
There have been many great people who have worked for the good of others, helped others in troubled times, in misery without even taking care of themselves. What is it that inspires them to do this?
There is no doubt that there is suffering in this world. But happiness is also there. There seem to be some people who are not so concerned about their own suffering, which is inevitable but they want to help and save others from whatever suffering they can.
Where does this feeling come from?
There is some dimension in the human being which is outside the clutches of the ups and downs, of happiness and pain. There is, in human beings, some part of one’s core, of one’s consciousness, something which is not of this body and which is not affected by any of these things, which by its very nature, is a spark of the divine and which by its very nature is full of joy.
The problem is that we search for 100% satisfaction and 100% happiness in the outside world. It is a problem because the search is in the wrong direction. If the search can turn inward, you will find that that satisfaction which you seek is actually within us. It is the spark of the divine which is in every living being but all living beings other than humans cannot go back and find it. Human beings have the capacity to find it which is why human beings are different from other animals. They are also quite intelligent. Animals are also sometimes much more intelligent and I think some of them are better than us in many ways.
In the human being, there is a spark of the divine, which being a part and parcel of whatever you call it divinity, God or Supreme Being, cannot be defined. Partakes of the joyful essence of that being – anand.
The problem arises because you cannot solve these problems of ups and downs in this world as there will always be some sorrow. however happiness is also there. It is impermanent.
The moment we understand this and turn around and say, perhaps I can find it within, then there is a possibility that you can sort out this problem.
Not that the saint or the spiritual person who turns around and goes within himself and is in communion with the supreme, does not suffer. He also has to, like all human beings, go through certain things and he also has to die physically but he has discovered the fountain of all satisfaction within himself. Therefore even though all these things happen around him, he is not affected. Since he is not affected by it, he wants to help others to not be affected by it.
That’s why great spiritual beings teach or try to help others, do this, follow this, not because they want to make any profit out of it or do anything of that kind. They are not in business. They feel they have genuinely found something, that is like a breath of fresh air and they want to share it with others, who they somehow feel sorry for and think why are these people suffering when there is no need to suffer!
Most of our sufferings are mental, they are not physical.
Here is an example. Suppose I think I am a great man. There are hundreds of people respecting me and so on. I go to a restaurant and that waiter and if someone dares misbehave with me, tells me that we can’t come in. Actually it’s nothing! You can go to the next shop and have a cup of tea. Does it really matter? But what happens to this ego of mine which I have built up – that I am great and so many people are with me? That gets hurt. It’s not so much physical. I have created an image and I don’t want that image to burst.
What is this image? it is merely an invention of your mind so why make it at all in the first place! If you don’t have a bubble, who’s going to bust it?
I think it is possible to live like that. It’s possible to be free of these images which we build ourselves. What is it that we have? If I have a lot of money or power, then I can have a lot of people who are looking after me. The moment I am on the streets and I have nothing, nobody!
When you understand this fact and say that in this world there is only one whom you can call your own, that is the Supreme Being whose spark is in us – you could call him God or nature or whatever you want. That’s the only true friend you have. All other friendships can fall at any time.
Much of our energy is spent in protecting these relationships so that they don’t fall apart and in that itself there is so much strain and confusion and conflict that we are constantly concerned about it. While that one which is dear to our heart has no such problem. You don’t have to give anything. You just have to draw attention once in a while and say here you are and Here I am.
I personally believe that that is the only way to solve this problem. I am NOT saying we shouldn’t try to solve the problems which are created around us, we should. We cannot be lazy and lie down and say everything will be solved. That’s not the solution but you must remember however much you solve, the problem of sorrow remains, the problem of death remains, the problem of misery remains. The only way to sort it out is to turn around and look within. You cannot look outside and find it, you can find it only inside.
When you have found it inside, then you will see it outside everywhere because if you have a spark of the Divine inside you, why is it that others won’t have a spark? They must also be having whether they know it or they don’t know it but you know it therefore you should respect others.
It is not a respect created out of compulsion or because of social circumstances. It’s a respect coming out of the true understanding that every living being is God by himself or herself. however much he or she by her or his actions has covered it and hidden it, it basically is. So there is no harm in bending down and touching somebody’s feet because there are all gods.
This is a fact.
That is what Kabir meant when he said about the kasturi mriga, which carries musk under its tail in a small bag and when the beautiful fragrance comes, it goes around looking outside. But where is the smell coming from? Kasturi is inside right there in us so where are we searching for it?
It’s not that the Supreme Being is not present outside. If it is all-pervading it is everywhere but your contact is only through inside and when the inside opens up then you become more and more selfless, the Lotus of the heart opens up, then everybody is your own. There is nobody who is not your own, whether the person is kind to you or cruel to you, it doesn’t matter!
So we should remember that there are no permanent solutions. First accept this fact then understand that permanent solution lies within because within us is divinity.
So while you work in this world keep your mind centered inside. Then you can tide through all the problems that come up. You can!