Speaker: The question can be broadly put as, ‘why is it so that our happiness comes at the cost of others?’ Why is it always a zero-sum game: if I win, you lose, if I am happy then you are sad? Why is it always like this?
This is the basis of the entire system in which you are living. What else is competition? Today all the systems that you have are in some way or the other based on competition.
The question essentially is, ‘can there be a way of living in which one’s joy is not dependent on the suffering of the other?’ Can there be a way of living harmoniously, such that there is no conflict, there is no win-lose situation? This is a very important question, because till the time there is this obsession with winning, winning essentially means defeating the other, till the time there is this obsession with winning, with achieving, we and the world will always remain in conflict. Are you getting this? Go into this along with me.
What lies at the basis of this kind of thinking that creates this world wherein some way my happiness is always linked with me being able to take something from others? The reason is simple, very very simple if you look at it. Whenever you link, you connect your happiness to an external goal, there would always be conflict because the external objects will always be limited in number, the objects of your ambition would always be limited. And the more limited they are, the more attractive they become. Don’t you see this? The rarer a thing is, the bigger an achievement is to get it. Do you see this? That is how our life functions. Get something from the outside, and if there are one lac candidates running after it, then it is a big achievement to get it. And if there are ten candidates and ten seats, then it is not a big achievement.
That is how our minds have been programmed to think, always chasing the external. Till the time there is a search for the external, till the time success is linked to achievement in the outside world, in the terms of accumulating possessions, collecting objects, and that object could be a totally mental object like reputation, collecting reputation, collecting security, collecting power and prestige, till the time success is linked with collection of external objects, there is bound to be conflict. Conflict will surely take place because you would aim at a thing and thousands others will also aim at that thing.
There is a beautiful couplet by Kabir. It talks about a situation in which a dry bone is lying in a field, and there are hundred dogs clamoring after it. Hundred dogs fighting with each other for one piece of bone.
करक पड़ा मैदान में, कुकुर मिले लख कोट।
दावा कर कर लड़ि मुए, अंत चले सब छोड़ ।।
So, that piece of dry bone is lying there and a hundred dogs are fighting over it. In the end, ultimately when they know its reality, they all leave it. Everything leaves it and goes back, there is nothing in it. That is what your goals and your desires do to you. You are unhappy till the time you don’t get them, and you are afraid that somebody else will get that object. When you get it, you are all the more depressed because there is nothing in it. You come to know that life has been wasted. Chasing all this, life has been wasted. That’s exactly what Kabir is saying- दावा कर कर लड़ि मुए, अंत चले सब छोड़।
So, you waste your time chasing these goals and targets, and in the end you get nothing. You know, there is one country that worships ambition. This country has the highest percentage of population that is mentally sick. The mental asylums of this country are more thickly packed than other country. This has got a lot to do with ambition. And all those people in those asylums are not very young people. Most of them are over forty years of age, who have achieved what they wanted to achieve, hence they went mad. When they found out the truth of what they achieved, they went mad knowing that this is what we have spent our life doing. The young man has hope, but a fifty year old is left with no hope. He has achieved what he wanted to achieve, and now his depression has no limit. Now his suffering has no limit.
People don’t go mad because they are poor. They got mad because they are super achievers. Are you getting it? Till the time you live your life chasing the external, you would be in conflict, you would be in suffering and the world would be like the way it is. Different nations are fighting over limited resources, and this can spark-off the next world war. Different communities are fighting for one thing, because at the root of it everyone believes that by getting that something, it will change their life. Their dead life will become lively. The boring, dead, frustrated life will get a new spark. But that does not happen. By getting any of that, your dead life will not become lively.
Your distracted, enslaved mind will not get free by getting any of that. You will not get joy there, you will not get truth there. It is impossible. It does not happen, and this is the law of existence. Find out that which is not outside but inside, which is already with you. When you find that out, then you become a master, a big master. On this Kabir says –
चाह गयी, चिंता मिटी, मनवा बेपरवाह ।
जिनको कुछ ना चाहिए, वो शाहन के शाह।।
Do you understand this? This is not about becoming a looser in this world. When he says this he does not mean that those who don’t want anything, don’t get anything. The truth is just the opposite. When you don’t want anything, you get so much that your small container will overflow, you will be overwhelmed. Those who don’t plan for the future, get a surprise gift. Those who keep on chasing the future, security, money, job, all that they get is some rubbish like a beggar. Take it, go home. Those who don’t chase life, life gives it to them. They are the real emperors, the real kings. Getting it?
-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDqBz-vovjY