The secret of joyful relationships

Speaker: The topic today reads: The secret of Joyful Relationships.

I am reminded that I recently saw a limping man using a branch of a tree as walking stick and that was not very distant from a place where kids were using similar branches as hockey sticks. And who knows, at the same hour, at some other place, people might be attacking each other using weapons made of strong branches. Teachers often give this assignment to their students – a simple object would be named, such as a paper weight, a slipper, an empty bag; and the students, the kids, would be asked to enlist twenty-five different kinds of uses for that thing. I suppose as kids, probably all of us would have done a similar exercise. It’s quite entertaining. Same object, the same thing, outside of me, is looked at by me so variously and so differently. For the old man, it’s a walking stick. For the fighter, it’s a weapon.

My relationship with the world depends on what I think of myself. In the case of the old man, or the man with an infirmity or the kid – their position or situation, at least, has a factual basis. But in most situations in life, our position hardly has a purely factual basis. When I say, “Who am I?” Rarely does it correspond to a fact. It corresponds, rather, to my conception of myself – How I look at the world, how I look at the people in the world, how I look at the universe around and all the objects there in, will depend upon how I conceive myself, what I think of myself. Just as I said that we hardly are objective realities, similarly, the world that appears to our senses is hardly an objective reality.

I determine what the world is. For the man who needs support, for the man who is limping, the world will have to be either a support or an obstacle, the world cannot be a playground, the world cannot even be a battleground. When we say, “relationships”, I mean that I am relating to the world outside. The construction of this phrase is such that we are quickly moved to look outwards. In any discussion on relationships, one starts looking outwards, because one says, “I am relating with someone who exists in the world, outside of me.” I want to start by saying that ‘the world outside of me’ is firstly, greatly related to who I think I am. I am not yet coming to ‘Who I am’, I am just saying, the world outside of me is greatly related to who I think I am.

So, as we proceed to relate, as we proceed to form relationships, firstly, it is important to ask:

  • Who is it that is relating?
  • Why at all?
  • Is there a need to relate?
  • Why does one enter relationships?

And if we look at the world around and if we look at our lives, it would become amply clear why one forms relationships. And looking at the quality of relationships, one would immediately realise who is the one forming these relationships. This morning we have said we want to look at ‘Joyful relationships’, but look around, do you see people, systems, nations, institutions, communities, relating in Joy? Joy is complete in itself. It has no utility, it does not ask for a result, it does not have a future and it does not calculate. Whereas when relationships are utilitarian and transactional and have elements of functionalities and dependencies, then surely there can be no Joy in relationships. Then, of course, there is a motive, there is a plan, an objective, something that you want to get out of the relationship.

When we see, we find that we usually enter relationships from a point of incompleteness. We say, “There is something missing within and what is missing can be supplied by the world.” Look at one’s relationship with his wife, with his house, with his car, with his bank account, with his parents, with his clothes – is it because of an inherent Joy that the relationship exists or is it in search of Joy that the relationship exists? And these are two very different positions. These are two very different answers to the question ‘Who am I?’ Am I looking at the other because I am already feeling good in a very deep way or am I looking at the other in hope, in search, as an aspirant, even as a beggar? And when I say ‘other’, the other could be anybody or anything or even an idea. Surely, Joy cannot be the result or output of suffering.

If my self-definition is that ‘I am a sufferer’, then whatever I do, cannot bring Joy to me. From a center of deprivation surely no Joyful relationship can be formed. I cannot start-off by declaring myself to be a patient and then have healthy relationships. But that is the usual calculation of the one that we are. We say, “Life is not alright, this is missing, that is missing, one need to reach somewhere, there is a certain need for accomplishment and there are a thousand things that one is desirous of”. And then relationships become just a means to take care of all that one perceives as wrong within himself. That is, at least, the hope that the mind cultivates. “Whatever is wrong and missing in me, can be taken care of by the world. I feel I am unworthy. More money can fill that gap. I keep feeling lonely. A partner can fill that gap. I really do not understand what is going on. Ideas and knowledge can fill that gap.”

So outside what exists, exists only as a prospective remedy. I am so deeply occupied with myself, so self-centered, that is it obviously impossible to know what is going on. A man who is running lost, desperate, frightened of a fire in his house will surely find no occasion to stop, reflect, observe or meditate upon what he is seeing around. His mind has been totally possessed, he is totally dominated with fear and when you are beseeched with a feeling that your house is on fire then all that you looking for is help. You surely cannot appreciate the beauty of the trees, or the emptiness of the sky, or the breeze or the twinkling of the stars. We have a constant feeling that our house is on fire and all actions then that arise from us, arise out of this feeling. This feeling can be variously named as a feeling of incompleteness, of loneliness, of self-centricity, a thousand names can be given. Suffering is one general name.

What makes us think that the house is burning? Remember, we had said right in the beginning that it is not as if the fire is a reality. We are talking one’s conception of himself. What makes us think that there is this great fire inside that needs to be doused? Well, firstly, man is born incomplete and with a tendency to slip. All his senses look outwards, his mind operates only in a certain dimension of time and space, so we are born limited. And on top of that there is the whole process of social conditioning that brings one to deeply believe that there is something wrong with him. The child is told that he has to live up to certain standards of the school, the family, the community and if he does not live up to those standards, then he is not worthy enough. The sense of worthiness is made conditional. If certain conditions are fulfilled only then you are alright. Now, this ‘being alright’ is one’s nature. One has an innate thirst for it, a great thirst for it. If one is somehow convinced that this ‘alright-ness’ will come to him through certain conditions, he will do anything to fulfil those conditions. Whatever he will do, in fact, will be to somehow fulfil those conditions.

What do we mean by ‘doing’?

Whenever one does something, he is operating upon the world, that is what is meant by ‘action’. So all doing is relating. You cannot ‘do’ anything without having a relationship with the world. I cannot speak without having a relationship with you, you cannot sit without having a relationship with me and the chair. When all ‘doing’ happens in order to gain an imaginary completion then all relationships become just a chase. It must be obvious now that such relationships will be insecure, ambitious, afraid and have nothing to do with the well-being of the other. The drowning man who is clutching to the lightest of supports is not clutching to those supports because he loves them. He is desperately hanging on, it’s a matter of his own particular personal life. The relationship exists just to serve his own individual need. And remember that this need is a projected need, it is not really an objective need.

We need to inquire, even in small matters, what is our relationship with the world, how do we relate with the clothes that we wear? What place do they have in our life? What is this thing about wearing different kinds of clothes for different occasions? Why does one marry? Why is one travelling in a particular vehicle? Why does one consume the news, the media? Is it not so that he reaches somewhere? And is it not true that if the object of relationship stops serving the purpose that it was intended to serve then the relationship itself goes bitter. One may not formally abrogate the relationship, it just keeps hanging from one’s self like a paralysed limp, a painful reminder of something that was desired to be useful but is no more useful, yet it is there, related in a crude way. So one keeps wishing the so-called friends and acquaintances on the important occasions – is that a Joy? Really? One has formed a particular relationship at a particular age and made a commitment in front of the Gods and the priests, so the whole thing now has to be sustained throughout one’s life. Oh, they say, many lives. A paralysed, dead limb, hanging limply, and one looks at it and curses it. Sometimes he curses it, sometimes he tries to rectify. “Can it, please, again be functional? Can it again give me the pleasure it was intended to give?” It is no wonder that our relationships only reflect our inner depravity. Even the most intimate ones are so full of desires and expectations. We talk of the mother-child relationship as a classic case of love, at least, that is the convention. But see what happens when the child does not live up to the parent’s expectations or worse still actively breaches what the parents want. There can be murders.

When the mind is such that it is looking at everything as an investment, as an opportunity, as something to be derived profit from, then obviously one would be looking at the persons in one’s life as opportunities, as investments, as profit centres.

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What then about Joyful relationships?

Or are we condemned to relate to this world in this agonising way? Amply clear it must be that the ‘other’ is largely irrelevant. What really matters is what you know of yourself. Till the time one does not look inwards and see the place that he has accorded to the world within his or her mind, his relationship with the world will remain one of strife. I look within, what do I find? Who am I? Do I exist? Or is it just the world, world, world? You have reached a particular age, you must have a job. Do we understand what is meant by having a job? Do we understand what is meant by following a certain order, serving that order and deriving one’s livelihood from that order? Had nobody told us, would we have still taken up that job? And that job consumes so much of one’s life. Does one even understand what one is furthering in the world and what one is doing to himself by being a part of that system, that order? But certain jobs are supposed to be respectable and good, so one takes them up. Does one know what it means to be married? We are talking of relationships. Does one know what it means to have children? And had you not been tutored by the world, would you still have had a home, like the one that you have? Would you still have had a husband, or a wife, like you have? Would you still have had kids? And had you had them, would you be raising them like you do today?

Do we exist? Are we?

Sometime I wonder whether we would even be breathing had we not been instructed by the world. Look at what you call as your relationship with the Ultimate. Would you have known or said anything about the transcendental, the beyond, what you call as ‘God’ had there not been the priests and the Scriptures to coach you. Today surely, you act so wax eloquent, and we have so much to say, “We belong to this particular cult, this religion, we follow that particular ideology.” What if these things were not deeply implanted in our minds by the world?

And please pay attention to one thing about everything that the world gives to you:

It is incomplete.

It promises completion, but it is incomplete.

And a promise is no substitute for the Real thing. Whatever the world gives you, it gives to you based on the premise that you need it. So the very foundation of giving, of conditioning, is that you are hollow and you need to be filled. Otherwise, why really does one need knowledge? Of course, one may need knowledge about how to drive a car, how to operate a machine, how to solve a mathematical problem. But does one need knowledge about the fundamental of life, from the world? Will the world tell you about Love, about Joy, about completeness, about Silence? Will the world lead you to Truth and God? Will the world tell you how, and when, and why to form your most intimate relationships? And isn’t it such a disgrace that even the most individual and intimate of our relationships are actually worldly relationships.

It is quite amusing, we do not like it when someone eavesdrops on our so-called ‘personal’ conversations, but the world is present in one’s very bedroom!

In fact, the world is the one that has raised that room and we call it ‘personal’.

So standing where we are, given our strange predicament, the only way is to look at our life and see how the operating entity, how the ‘me’ is composed totally of the ‘not-me’. How we have totally forgotten any primal and pure sense of who we are. If that question is raised today, we will have a thousand answers, and all those answers won’t stand five seconds worth of attentive scrutiny. We will respond simply with stale identities – I am a mother, I am an Indian, I am a professional, I am knowledgeable, I am a PhD, I am a seeker – or if you are spiritually inclined – I am Bhram, I am the quintessential Atman. How does it matter? Anything original about ourselves?

When the world fills you so much then your relationship with the world will be bad. It’s a strange thing.

Those who are free of the world, are free to relate with the world in a healthy way.

And those who are dominated by the world, have no real relationship with the world.

Given that all our relationships seems to be arising purely out of a sense of imagined need, is it possible to have any other kind of relationship? Given what we are we would probably, quickly want to say, “No, if I do not need the other, why would the other have a place in my life?” Because that is what we see all around. The other has to serve some utility, he has to provide me financial security or physical pleasure, or he has to be related to me by way of memory. And if neither of these are applicable then why at all would I bother to have a relationship?” Yes, you are right, our relationships are just a bother. If the things that I mentioned do not hold, then you would not bother to have a relationship, then you would not really be constrained by your relationship.

It is possible to relate without having the need to relate. It is possible to have a totally purposeless, aimless, useless relationship. Of course, we are trained in usefulness, we pride ourselves on deriving uses out of even seemingly useless things. No? That is what we call as innovation. That we also call as human creativity. “You see, this was just sand and we made a nuclear bomb out of it. Look at our creativity.”

But unless one learns the art of uselessness, his life will remain a perennial search, and that is not a good life to have.

And when one is not related to the other by way of habit or expectations then there is complete freedom in the relationship. Then one does not accept limitations or obligations and neither does one impose obligations on the other. It is really a healthy relationship because then it is real, present, moment to moment. You are not obliged to have a carry forward of the past. You can really know who the person standing in front of you is. You can really talk, you can really relate. Once I asked somebody, let’s say a stranger knocks on your door and before opening the door, you look at him. You at least pay some attention. You want to see what that person looks like, what his eyes are saying, what his purpose might be. But when the knock on the door is by your father, or by your friend, or by your husband, you don’t even bother to look at the face of the person because you are carrying forward a lot of past. You say, you already know, how can there really be a relationship now? One can look sharply at the faces that appear in the magazines and in the newspapers but one hardly ever looks sharply at the faces and the eyes of the so called ‘loved-ones’, for that matter, one does not look sharply even at his own face.

Only the man free of others can have loving relationship with the others.

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It is only when you do not really need the other that there is a possibility of really relating with the other. You want to know the health quotient of your relationships? It’s easy. Just investigate your relationships for dependency. Are you dependent on the other? In any way – physical, psychological, material, immaterial. Is the other dependent on you?

Where there is dependency, there would only be violence, not Love.

You need something, you are dependent on it, would you bother for its freedom? The thing says, “I want to go away”, but you need it, would you allow it to go away? And dependencies can be very subtle. Good news is, it is possible to relate totally and freely without being dependent.

Spirituality or wisdom is not about cutting off your links from the world, rather, it is about relating completely and fully.

However, the main objective is never to relate with the other, the main objective is to remain centered in oneself. Relationship with the other comes as a by-product, it comes as a surprise gift, “I am immersed within myself and strangely, surprisingly, pleasantly, I find that the whole universe is a friend. The universe was never my pre-occupation, I was not thinking about the universe, I was not so bothered about the universe and if I am very bothered about the universe even if in a so-called ‘well-meaning’ way, the universe would not be good towards me and I would not be good for the universe.” You see there are many people who want to do a lot of social service, who want to be of service to mankind, to the universe. The way spirituality looks at it is, if you can take care of yourself, the universe knows how to take care of itself.

Why are you trying to solve the world’s problems? You yourself are the problem of the world. You just take care of yourself. The world is intelligent enough to take care of itself.

Are the world’s problems created by the mountains, and the rivers and the stars? Or for that matter the birds or the insects? Man is the one who has created the problems, by his doing and by doing more, you cannot solve those problems.

Go within, take care of yourself, the world will be alright.

The wellness of the world, I repeat, is never the primary object for the spiritual mind. The primary objective is always to rest with the one innate Truth. You rest with it and the rest will be taken care of.

You rest within yourself, and the rest will be taken care of.

That is the secret of Joyful relationships.

Forget everything about relationships, and your relationships will really blossom.

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You see, at this moment, this is such a fine example, if I start thinking about you, then we cannot really have a relationship. It is so beautiful right now, there is this nice silence, there is Maharishi, there is you, there is me saying a few things, it’s a beautiful morning, there is Peace, there is an immersion, but am I thinking of you? And even you could not really be with me or understanding any of this were you bothered with me – the person. Those of you who are really with what is going on here, have actually no occasion to think. We are together only in our Silence. If that Silence goes, if that inwardness goes, this togetherness too will disappear. If I start thinking, let’s say, about what you are thinking, or what your facial expression conveys, then it would be impossible for me to speak from my depths. (Smilingly) And I am of real use to you only when I totally forget you. If I totally forget that you are sitting here in front of me, only then will my words come from the right center. Similarly, if you start comparing what I am saying, to what I said last week or what you have otherwise heard from elsewhere then there is no way that you can be with me, or you can be with yourself, or you can really enjoy this talk.

Once I said, a person is worth being with, if you can be alone in his company. That tells us something about relationships. Alone you are you, alone I am me and only in our aloneness are we really-really together. We are really together only when we are alone. It is a new, fresh way of relating. I don’t really need you, yet I am with you. You don’t really need me, and yet you are with me. And then this togetherness is so beautiful.

Let’s proceed by having your inputs and comments.

Listener 1: Sir, we are afraid of leaving our relationships. Why?

Speaker: You are afraid because you want to protect yourself. You say, “I will remain what I am, remaining what I am I made a relationship and now remaining what I am, I want to now leave that relationship.” My words are not a prescription. I am not saying that enter a relationship or drop a relationship. I am saying, “When you see that your relationships are a reflection of what you are then you stop giving importance to your relationships and rather give primary importance to the configuration of your mind.” But still the question is about not about the mind but about the relationship. Don’t you see that asking a question that is outward looking, the mind wants to escape looking within? You are not asking, “Why do I have a sick relationship?” You are not asking, “Why is my mind of a quality that it made a relationship sick?” And if the mind retains the same quality then the next relationship too would have the same quality. It is very easy to enter into relationships and drop them. Don’t people do that? Job hopping, shifting from one room to the other, one house to the other, marrying five times, changing this and that. Of course, someone shows that what you are currently occupied with is not proper, not alright for you. What does that mean? That you will change the ‘other’, you will change the ‘person’ with whom you are having that relationship or would you rather change the quality of that relationship? These two are different things. I am repeating: Even if you change all the persons in your life and bring in new persons you would soon find that the old problems have come back to haunt you.  But if you can, rather, sharply and honestly look at your mind then even with the same persons that are currently in your life, a totally new relationship can be formed. Is this fundamental bit clear?

The relationship is not so much about the other person – the object out there. The relationship is about who you are within. Change the within, the relationship will change. But remaining the same within if you change the other, the relationship would still be rotten.

Listener 2: “Do not do unto others, what you do not want done to be to yourself.” Will that not result in Joyful relationships?

Speaker: The quote that has come to us is, “Do not do unto others, what you do not want done to be to yourself.” We have heard of it variously – “Love your neighbour as yourself.” So the question is, would this not result in Joyful relationships? The quote is, “Do not do unto others, what you do not want done to be to yourself.”

Do we even know what we do not want to be done to ourselves? The quote says, “Do not do unto others, what you do not want done to be to yourself.” So it is being said that first of all know, what ought to be done to you. First of all know yourself, first of all know what you deserve and having known your mind, you immediately know the mind of mankind. “Love thy neighbour as yourself.” So the first thing is?

Listeners: Love yourself.

Speaker: Love yourself. But instead, the outward looking mind, the mind obsessed with the world interprets it to mean – look at your neighbour. It is not being said, look first at your neighbour, it is being said, look at yourself, find yourself lovable and when you find yourself lovable, then surely all neighbours, and even those who are not your neighbours become very lovable. But first look within, first look within. How can you love your neighbour, when you firstly don’t love yourself? Christ is speaking from his heights, he is assuming that you already love yourself and he is saying, “Love the other like you love yourself.” But what about this world in which we have self-negaters and self-haters. Do we really love ourselves? Look at the world around, look at what people are doing to themselves, look at what we have done to this Earth – do we really love ourselves? Look at the torments and the unnecessary obligations that we put ourselves through every day, do we really love ourselves? And loving oneself is not at all different from knowing oneself. Loving oneself and knowing oneself are just one and the same thing. How can you love something that you do not understand?

Listener 3: In our general parlance, the way that this ‘Love yourself’ has come across, specially these days, is in terms of, “I love myself, so I will fulfil all my desires.” Please throw some light on what does it really mean to ‘Love oneself’?

Speaker: Even if loving oneself means catering to ones desires, then one should at least cater fully to his desires. And to fulfil your desires completely, you must know what the complete domain of your desire is. Do we even know our desires in completeness? You feel like buying a new garment – you only know the surface of that desire. Like the tip of the iceberg. Do you really know why you want to shop so much?

It is alright to pursue your desires and seek fulfilment, but only if you, first of all, understand what the Total desire is. What your self is really and deeply craving for. When you will understand the totality of desire, then you will also understand that you are craving not for the garment but for the Total, you may call it by various names – the Beyond, Truth, God. You can call it anything.

But just as our love is limited and fragmented, similarly, what we know of our desires is limited and fragmented. You chase a particular man or a woman, you say, “I really want to have a relationship with this person.” Do you really know why you want someone? Do you really know what is it within you that is crying out? Of course, give yourself what you need, but first of all you must really know what you need.

You surely have an obligation to take care of yourself, but why not take full care of yourself? Why keep giving yourself these tidbits, a little bit here, a little there. Today I feel like eating a new dish, this job is making me restless, can we go at some other place this weekend? “Feeling bored, let’s visit the shopping mall. There is something wrong with my life, let me get a new phone, or an undergarment.” It is alright to fulfil your desires but please know where the real itch is, it is in the heart – the undergarment won’t solve it.

Listener 4: Sir, what do you mean when you say, “How to live with the inner Truth?” What do you mean by that?

Speaker: How to live with the inner Truth?

You see, nobody like falseness. Even as a matter of everyday general practice, nobody wants to be lied to. Have you ever wondered why we do not appreciate it when somebody lies to us? And it’s a world-wide thing. Any person, any time, any age, any continent, any gender, any nationality, any religion; nobody likes to be lied to. It is because Truth is our nature. Have you seen how even animals are looking out all the time, trying to see what is happening? These rabbits live with me and they are all the time sniffing. Knowing is our nature. Knowing what? Truth. Knowing is our nature. So there is already something within us that is in deep disagreement with falseness and it is because of this disagreement that we suffer. In fact, suffering in that sense is a really potent signal – it signifies to us that there is a mismatch. That our life is not in accordance with our deep nature. The nature is Truth and life is mired in lies. So we already know. There is that inner disquiet when something is not alright. Our inner Truth keeps signalling that to us. And when I’m talking of that ‘inner Truth’, I am not talking of a conscience or something. It is far deeper than that.

Listener 3: Consciousness?

Speaker: Conscience. It is, in fact, deeper than consciousness also because consciousness would only operate in thought and intuition. It is a deep-seated awareness.

Unless the mind is one with the fundamental nature of the mind, it cannot feel at rest.

And it needs no proof, its restlessness itself is the proof that there is something wrong. One’s restlessness itself is the proof that something is wrong or missing or misplaced in the way life is being lived. What one requires is a simple honesty. When you come across this restlessness, when you come across this disquiet, do not supress it. Only that much is needed. You need not generate this restlessness, this restlessness comes, it comes because as we said, Truth is our nature and it does not tolerate falsenesses. Falsenesses are not tolerated by Truth. So you will keep feeling, “Well, I’m not feeling alright. I’m not feeling alright. Everything seems to be okay, yet I am not feeling alright. I have money, I have respect, I have arranged some security. It seems everything is alright, I ought to be happy, yet there is something missing from life.”

In spite of having everything that the mind can aspire for, O, it still aspires for more because it is not at rest, yet it has a lot of what it did aspire for and yet it is weeping. Weeping for what? That I do not know.  And if you come to this point, where you encounter this – “I am hungry but do not know for what. I am restless but I do not know for what.” Then it is sure sign that your time has come. That the falsenesses are now ready to go.

Listener 5: Sir, if I may sum up: You were saying to look inwards and rediscover fullness. Once one has rediscovered that fullness, then all transactions will be Joyful, rather they would not have any repulsion or sadness or happiness.

Speaker: Yes, but one cannot look inwards with an objective to discover fullness. Because fullness is not an object. So you cannot have an objective to find fullness. One cannot have an idea or preconception about it. Fullness is that which makes you look inwards, please understand the difference.

Fullness is that which makes you look inwards.

Fullness is not that which you find inwards.

Because there is no inwards and no outwards really. What do you mean by inwards and outwards, there is no such boundary. But that which makes you look at what you call as yourself is your innate fullness, without that how would you look at anything? Without that how would you look at anything? Truth does not lie in looking at Truth. We do not know Truth, we are creatures of falseness. Our daily lives are submerged in falseness. So looking at falsenesses is sufficient. The looking is the Truth. The looking is the Truth. Not that you will discover the Truth after the obliteration of falsenesses. The looking itself is the Truth. And whenever you will look, what else will you find? There is Maya all around. Just the looking. Just the looking. Not with an objective that if you look sharply, you will find some radiant Truth or something. No, that would become another falseness and man has been carrying so many of them, right? “You look within and you find different kinds of lights and such things and you hear temple bells.” And somebody says, “He looks within and sees Krishna.” And somebody says that when he looks within, he finds utter silence. I’m surprised, how can you really find Silence? Noise will find Silence? Darkness will find Light?

Silence is that which enables you to know noise as noise; otherwise, Silence is nothing.

When you know noise as music, it only tells you of your distance from Silence. When you know noise as noise, it means that now you are close to Silence.

Listener 6: Sir, I just gathered that if you are Joyful inside, you will be Joyful in your relationship with others – either objects or people.  But when someone comes and says a few bad comment about me which hurts me, and then there is bitterness, and everything just goes wrong. The inside Joy disappears, so where am I going wrong?

Speaker: There was no inside Joy in the first place, you see, the inside is not dualistic. What I am constantly referring to as ‘inside’ is not the dual opposite of ‘outside’. I have used that term many times today, I hope that I am not being misinterpreted. When I said ‘look inwards’, that does not mean look into the brains or something or look into something that is the opposite of outwards. By inwards, I only mean the Self. So, if there is someone who comes and abuses me and I find that my Peace has vanished, it only means that I was dependent on that person for my Peace. I was expecting that that person would behave in a particular way. And when that expectation was not fulfilled, I felt disturbed, so in any case, I was not operating in my completeness. That is the first thing to be known – that what we often construe as Peace, or Joy, or Health or completeness is just so very superficial. It can be shaken and destroyed very easily. A person who appears so composed can start really panicking upon receiving one phone call. We see that happening, don’t we? So that kind of peace cannot really be called as ‘Peace’. The other thing to be seen is – to understand or to be spiritual does not mean that you will keep carrying some kind of a plastic expression of smile even when the world is hurling abuses at you. It’s a game. If you are abusing me then I’ll play along. I’m playing, not out of hurt but because it is good fun! (Smilingly) Let’s see how many abuses you know. Can I go one up above you? Can I be more innovative in creating new abuses? Can I carry the language a little forward? Can I add something to the dictionary? That’s how languages get enriched.

(Audience laughs)

Now there is no real hurt involved here. At the same time, one is not obliged to live by certain codes of conduct. Well, we have been told that someone came and abused the Buddha and the Buddha still remained like the statue of Buddha. You are not obliged to be a Buddha, you are obliged to be yourself and that yourself (smilingly) is not what you are right now. So, don’t take that as a parallel of your ego. One has to have an innate confidence. Anything may happen, I may lose everything that the world has given, you may curse me, you may take away all the respectability you have given me, you may take away all the positions you have given me. Whatever has come from the world may be taken back by the world, yet I’ll be alright. Yet I’ll be alright. I’m so fundamentally alright that no additions means anything to me, neither do any deletions.”

There has to be something within that is independent of the world, even if all crashes around you yet you retain your composure. Outwardly, you can panic, it is alright to panic – Gives you so much energy, you can run around and you know, it’s fine.

Listener 7: Sir, based on what you said right now, I am reminded of a quote that says, “Learn to let go of the things you love, so dearly.” How to learn this? Like you mentioned that things might be taken away from me, so how to attain that state?

Speaker: If you are talking of love then it means that love matters to you, right? That’s why you are talking of love. I did not really advice you or instruct you to talk of love. You talk of love because you want to talk of love. Right? And if you want to talk of love, why not talk deeply of love? Nobody is imposing a particular desire upon you. If you have a desire, go right till the end of that desire, why not? When you say, “Learn to drop what you love.” Can you drop anything without first loving the real fully? Can dropping happen without the backing and confidence of love? Traditionally, we have made dropping and renunciation such a dry thing that man has become terrified of it. The moment you utter the word dropping, letting go, renunciation or sanyaas or nivratti, people start trembling. Because it is taken as nothing but forsaking, nothing but as a reduction, “I have something and I’m giving it up.”

Dropping really is about discovering something so large, so beautiful, so lovable and so immense that now you don’t need the small, the petty, the tid-bits.

You don’t ‘need’ to drop, then dropping just happens. 

So, the quotation that you are coming up with is not quite up to there, in fact, one needs to go very deep in order to get some true meaning out of it.

We are not here to curse the world, or to say that this is not worth touching, or that is not worth knowing, why should one have relationships? Renounce, go away, give up. We are saying that you are attracted to the small only because your fundamental attraction is towards the immense. So if you can investigate your attraction towards the small and the limited, you will soon discover that it is the unlimited that you really-really want and desire and love.

What is meant by falseness? I have used that word repeatedly today.

Falseness does not mean that ‘something’ is wrong, morally or ethically. In the spiritual sense, falseness only means incompletion. You wanted God and you ended up getting attached to a body, or a concept. This is falseness. This is falseness because your desire could not rise right up to your nature. All your desires are indicators of what you really are and what you really want. So falseness is not really dropped, it is transcended. That transcendence is referred to as dropping.

“I wanted the Total, I was caught up with the trivial. I said, why remain occupied with the trivial? I moved beyond it.”

This is called dropping.

So dropping in that sense is quite ambitious. Dropping means from the trivial, from the partial to the Total.

Listener 8: Sir, what is this basic discontentment out of which every relationship is born? Is it just an assumption?

Speaker: We talked about it, we said, that part of it comes from the fact that what is born is the body, carrying a lot of latent tendencies. Secondly, you are coached in an entire curriculum of craving, a syllabus of incompleteness. ‘Life is good only when you have a nice girl beside you. You are a complete man only when you are wearing a certain brand.’ Movies, marketers, advertisers, all the guardians of the society – what are they doing? They are constantly telling you, “You are not alright, you are not alright.” First of all they tell you, “You are not alright.” And then they tell you, “To become alright, follow our instructions.” Look at the absurdness, the irony of the situation – the kid is sitting more or less alright, and you go to the kid and tell him, “Two things: One, you are sick and ugly and incomplete and worthless. And second, to be healthy, and alright and worthy, follow us.” “You don’t have any respect, we will give you respectability, if you follow our terms.” Has that not been told to us?

Listener 8: Very true.

Speaker: “First of all, we will convince you that you don’t have it and then we will tell you that we are only ones that can give it to you. So you rather…”

Listener 8: Join us

Speaker: “Follow us”. Joining happens only in Love. In such kind of violence, there is only the commandment to follow. “Follow what we are saying.”

Spirituality is in one sense, deep Surrender, and in another sense, it is the re-vesting of all authority back in oneself.

Seen through the eyes of bhakti (devotion), it is deep-deep Surrender. Spoken in the language of gyan (self-knowledge), it is like reclaiming your fundamental authority. Taking it back from those who unfairly took it away. Our minds have been taken away, we need to reclaim them. We need to reclaim them.

Listener 9: Sir, you say that relationships are Joyful, but now a days it is just a business, so how can I refrain myself from entering a relationship which is just because of the insecurity that has arisen in me? How can I keep myself away?

Speaker: The question is, how are you able to keep yourself in it? Keeping yourself away from it is natural. No bird likes a cage, so keeping yourself away from a trap is natural. Freedom is your nature. The question to be asked is, “How do you manage to remain in the relationship day in and day out? How do you manage to breathe? How?” And that is what I mean when I say, “Look at the falseness of your entire system.” The whole configuration: how the mind comes up with arguments, how there is the support of fear, how the different images throw themselves up and how, ultimately, you come to false conclusions. But that can happen only when you are blessed by Truth.

When the Truth blesses you then the falsenesses start showing up.

false.jpg

Then you can say, “Oh, so this was false, I was unnecessarily trapped.” You are already blessed, otherwise, you wouldn’t be asking this question. So retain this spirit. Pray that this enquiry, this spirit stays with you. The false has no life of its own, it vanishes very quickly. You just need to show it some light and like darkness it disappears.

Listener 10: Sir, you have said that when there is dependence, there is violence. Why is it so that dependence always comes with violence?

Speaker: What is violence?

Listener 10: Attacking nature?

Speaker: So harming the other? So violence, at a very general level, is about harming the other. We said that we are dependent on somebody. That somebody wants to fly away, would we allow that person? Would we allow that person?

Listener 10: No.

Speaker: So, aren’t we harming him?

Listener 10: Yes Sir, by snatching away his freedom.

Speaker: Yes. So, that is violence. Dependency is violence.

Listener 11: Actually, we may be harming him when we see from a higher pedestal. But actually, we may be holding him because it is good for him.

Speaker: The mind is such a trickster, it needs some argument to remain moral in its own eyes. One wants to appear good, one doesn’t want to appear immoral. That is why morality is such a threat to spirituality. You can be deeply false, yet totally moral.

Listener 12: Sir, so how far should a child be taken care of? Because after a certain amount of time you would start intruding in the child’s life, in an unnatural way to manoeuvre the child in certain ways. So how far should a child be coached or taken care of?

Speaker: By whom?

Listener 12: By parents.

Speaker: What kind of parents?

You see the direction of the question remains outwards, right? “What should I do with the child?” Why don’t you ask, “What should I do with myself?”

In spite of the last one hour, we’re still asking, “What to do with the child?” Leave the child alone. If you are good as an individual, you would be good as a parent. Take care of yourself. A healthy mind will know how to relate in a healthy way, with the ants, with the bears, with the sofa set, with the walls, with water, with horses, and with the child. If I am alright, then won’t I know, naturally, how to deal with a child or does one require special education for that? Does one require to enrol in a special course? M.C.M. – Masters in Child Management.

(Audience laughs)

Look within. Turn within.  See how you are. If you are alright, the child will bless you.

Listener 13: Sir, it seems easy to comprehend and easy to appreciate that we should shun the dependence and look for the fullness within ourselves, but in the world, dependence is there. In commerce, in our sustainability, we are inter-dependent for our food basket. So when you speak of unshackling dependence – is this dependence okay?

Speaker: That dependence is. It’s a beautiful thing to ask. As a body, we get our sustenance from outside. As beings that consume, all the factors of production lie outside of us, is that not dependence? And what to do with that dependence? Carry on with it or even that has to be forsaken?

Let’s come to this very place. There is a lot that depends on the light that is being supplied by the power station. There is a lot that depends on this glass of water that was supplied to me by some well-wisher. There is a lot that depends on the technology that was probably founded in some research lab in another country. But does the essential, that is transpiring, depend on any of these?

Listener 13: No.

Speaker: As long as I think of myself more and more as a body, surely, I will have to be dependent on the world. But what is this ‘I’? This ‘I’ is the body, so it’s alright. The body is configured like that. The body will be dependent on the world and I don’t have to take a position on that. It just is. Neither good nor bad. Why to take a position? It’s just beautiful. One doesn’t have to pass a judgement. The body and the crop are one. The body and the grain and the fruit are one. There is no body without the grain and the fruit. Are you getting it? So that just is. But is that becoming a question of my self-concept? When I look at the mirror, what do I see? A consumer of grains? Now there is a problem. If my identity statement is that I am a consumer of grains, or for that matter I-phones. Now there is a problem!

Are you getting it?

Listener 13: Sir, I want a little clue that if we see to our needs, as and when they arise, then there is no dependency. Sir, is it more feasible to have dependencies on various objects for a shorter duration of time versus being totally dependent on one object?

Speaker: But the danger you will face there is – you would still be looking at yourself as an object that is not dependent on other objects. Which is impossible. Sooner or later you will face this contradiction. What we are trying to do is, and man has quite often tried to do this, in fact, that is our definition of independence, often. We say, “I do not want to be dependent on anybody, yet I am what I am.” And what am I?

Audience: Another person.

Speaker: “I am a person, an object, who does not want to be dependent on other objects.” This contradicts the fundamental rule of duality. If you are a ‘person’, you will have to be dependent on the world.

Listener 13: Sir, but I take up the subject position and now the others are not objects, they are in me. For example, I see you from my mind…

Speaker: You see, the body knows how to breathe.

Listener 13: Yes.

Speaker: It does not need arguments, it does not need concepts.

Listener 13: Right.

Speaker: The body has a certain relationship with the world.

Listener 13: Right.

Speaker: It continuously is breathing.

Listener 13: Right.

Speaker: One need not think about these things.

Listener 13: Correct.

(The Speaker smiles)

(Audience laughs)

Speaker: So, one will know, just as without thinking, the heart is breathing and there is this constant relationship between the self and the universe through the breath happening. In fact, if you think about the breath, the breath will become irregular. Try this, think about the breath and the breath will become irregular. Leave it. Everything is imbued with intelligence. The body knows how much to take, unless you pressurise the body to take more. That’s why Zen puts it so beautifully, “Get out of your own way.” The body knows how much to consume. The tree knows how much to take from the soil. No tree ever needs a coaching manual. We too know. It is just that the knowing is covered with so much of ‘this’ and ‘that’, that the ‘this’ and ‘that’ has to be cleared. A disclaimer: This and that cannot be cleared with more of this and that. What came into the mind as a result of thought and conceptualisation will not go away by more thought and more conceptualisation.

Listener 14: Sir, I beautifully connected to when you said that man should stop doing, drop things and let life continue. I relate to that. But my presence here today, what brought me here, call it Grace, a need got me here. Something has got me here that dependency is working, it’s fulfilling me in a certain way.

Speaker: Yes, it’s a beautiful thing to say.

You see, dependency is a word relevant only in the presence of two. “I am and I want to remain my limitation and I look upon you as the other.”  Now the word ‘dependency’ is relevant. In Oneness, in Love the word dependency means nothing. My rabbits, they are so utterly dependent on me, but it does not spoil their confidence. They feel all the right to take away from my plate.

Are you getting it?

Look at the bird that is eating the fruit from the tree – would you call that dependency? The bird, the tree and the fruit are one, they are not two. So you cannot call one of them as dependent on the other, they are one. They appear as two, or three or very diverse, that is another matter. In Love, you have all the right to take from the other, because the other is not ‘other’ at all. But let that not become a convenient excuse. You know, dependencies so often thrive under the name of Love. In Love you have the complete freedom, to take whatever you want to and of course, then you also, without reservation give all that you have. When there is complete freedom to take and a complete willingness to give then you and the other are not two and this is not a situation of dependency. But only when you feel that oneness with the universe. Only then. Only then. In fact, in that sense, the spiritual man is totally dependent, completely dependent because he doesn’t keep any measures within himself, he says, “Whatever will come will be good for me. Do I need a vehicle? Not really, let me go to the road, something will come to help me because I am one with the universe, the universe will help me.” So he is totally dependent.

I hope this is not becoming confusing, for so long we talked about becoming independent and now we are saying that the spiritual man is totally dependent. Total dependency is alright, anything Total is alright. What is not alright is

Listeners: Being partial.

Speaker: Complete independence and complete dependence are one. When you are totally dependent on the One then you are completely independent. May I repeat?

When you are totally dependent only on the One, then you are completely independent.

Whatever is Total, is always One; differences are always in fragments. All fragments look different from each other.

Whatever is Total, is One.

Total renunciation and total desire are One.


~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session.

Edited for clarity.

Watch session at: Prashant Tripathi: The secret of joyful relationships

Read more articles on this topic:

Article 1: Relationships are not ‘give and take’

Article 2: Love grows in fullness

Article 3: Three kinds of negotiations (Human interactions)

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