Question: I feel blessed to be a person who is already on another side. Religion doesn’t affect me. The job doesn’t affect me. The family doesn’t affect me. All the barriers, most of them don’t affect me. Only the one factor is the law of the land I live in, that affects me. I don’t treat it as a barrier for me. And I’m confused for many months, what next. Probably, I’ve got some answer to it. It will not be possible for me to explain it. But, the answer is love. Going back and giving them some guidance. I am really thankful to you.
Acharya Prashant: While it’s wonderful to not to be affected. It is even more beautiful, more humane to be affected once again. This might sound as if I am appending, inverting conventional spirituality. But, please listen to it.
To be wise, or spiritual does not mean that one becomes impervious or unrelated to the world. At one extreme is the mind that allows itself to be ruled by the world. At the other extreme is the mind that becomes insensitive to the world. And these two minds are the one. These two minds are just one. I’ll repeat this. On one extreme is the mind that is so worldly that the world rules over it. It follows the world’s trends, world’s interests, world’s religions, world’s traditions, world’s fashions. All the dictates of the world it follows. This is one extreme.
And, on the other extreme is the mind of the renouncer. He says, “I’ve totally given up the world. I’ve nothing to do with the world. Let the world do what it does. Let the world go and meet its own destiny. Let the world be destroyed, I’ve nothing to do with the world.” The little that I have seen, I’m compelled to say that there is not much difference between these two minds. They are both self-confined.
There is another quality of the mind. This is a mind that is deeply troubled by the world and yet remained untroubled within itself. This is the mind of the compassionate teachers who travel from city to city, from village to village, often barefoot, like a Mahavir or a Buddha. What need do they have to engage with the world? But they do engage with the world. Or a Nanak, or even a Kabir, they are deeply affected.
Says Kabir “सब जग जलता देख के, भया कबीर उदास।”. Do you understand that? He is feeling sorrow. He is not beyond human emotions. Spirituality does not mean that you’ve become some kind of a superhuman who experiences nothing, neither feels nor shows emotions. No, Not at all. सब जग जलता देख कर, भया कबीर उदास। हाड़ जलै ज्यूं लाकड़ी, केस जलै ज्यूं घास। Everything about this world is up in flames. And Kabir feels it like a stab in the heart.
हाड़ जलै ज्यूं लाकड़ी, केस जलै ज्यूं घास।
सब जग जलता देख के, भया कबीर उदास।।
What need does a Kabir have to suffer on behalf of this world? What need does a Jesus have to carry the cross? But, they are affected. They are deeply affected. So kindly do not become someone who does not get affected. It is no achievement. It is not at all a matter of pride. Are you getting this?
सुखिया सब संसार है खाए अरु सोवै।
दुखिया दास कबीर है जागे अरु रोवै।।
What need does a Kabir have to weep for the world? And kindly do not conflate the tears of a Kabir with the tears of the infected man. We all too weep, but we weep for ourselves. We weep for our narrow self interests. We weep because we lost some money. We weep because we were insulted. Kabir too weeps. He weeps for the world. He weeps because he loves. So, please be affected. Kindly do weep.
Spirituality is not about taking away your earthly nature from you. Yes, there is the sky in your heart, but the rest of you is just earth. Let the earth blossom. Do not be ashamed of your own flowers. And when you flower, then there would be relationship. When the earth blossoms then butterflies and birds come to you, and then there would be relationship. How can you say you are isolated? How can you say, “You are not affected?”
The sky in you is at least for you an abstraction. But the earth in you is your mind, your muscle, your flesh, your bone, your blood., let it take form. Let it flower. And when the butterflies come to the flower, please have a sensitive relationship. Then do not say that I’m not affected by the butterflies, I have no relationship with butterflies. Butterflies come here just to distract me. I’m a yogi, I do not look at butterflies. Love the butterflies. And if you do not know that, then learn that.
The sky contains all the butterflies. You have no right to renounce them. You have just no right to renounce them. When you see somebody suffering around you, you have no right to say that you remain untouched. In fact, such right is claimed only by those who are too afraid of being touched. Their aloneness is still very fragile. So, they think that if somebody touches it, it might be broken. So, they raise a boundary, a protective boundary around their aloneness.
They say, “No No No, I’m a renouncer. I’m a spiritual man. I’m a Sadhak, a Yogi. Do not touch me, otherwise, I will crumble.”
Are you so weak that you would crumble?
Are you so weak that you can’t even weep?
Are you so weak that you can’t even laugh?
Are you so stupid that you can’t even act stupid?
The wise one is not afraid of acting stupid. And only the stupid one feels obligated to keep acting wise all the time. You have no obligation to keep acting wise. You have all the rights to play the fool. You are so clean that you can allow yourself to be drenched in mud, and you’d still remain clean.
So, do not be afraid of the mud. You are insoluble and indivisible. The rains won’t dissolve you. So, go and enjoy the rains. Don’t be afraid of getting wet. And you are indispensable to the universe. So let yourself be put in risks. The universe cannot afford to let go of you. You will remain. You are the essence of all this. How will you go away? Have that confidence. You do not need to protect yourself because you are central to all this. I know this sound like an abstract statement. But just take it. Take it for a while. You do not need armors, defenses. Let Yourself be vulnerable. And you can be vulnerable only if you’re very very strong.
You must know that no wound can hurt you too deeply. Be prepared to take the wounds. Yes, of course, relationships have their highs and lows and relationships often tend to destroy people. Still, do not abhor relationships. Know that you cannot be destroyed. So, you can play. When you know how strong you are then you are not afraid of taking risks. And all of us are very very strong. Stronger than we can ever imagine. So don’t even imagine your strength. Whenever you would imagine you would come to a limitation. Just know that you are extremely strong so you don’t need precautions.
If you find difficult to trust this, try this out. Play the game. Sometimes you will win. That’s what the ego is interested in, whether I’ll win the game or lose it, right? Sometimes you will win. Then you are happy. Sometimes you will lose. I’m inviting you to check whether the loss will destroy you. No loss can destroy you. Even if you meet successive losses. One after the other, the other, the other, the other. Still you will find that you are ready for the next game. And that alone is the proof of your strength. That alone is the proof that you know the game is just the game. You are now ready for the next one. Always be ready for the next one.
I am not giving you dreamy imaginations. I’m not saying that the world is simply what is proverbially called as a bed of roses. I’m not saying that. The world has its own thorns. And the world hurts badly. We all know that. What I’m saying is that you are so strong that you can bear all hurt. So, do not be afraid of hurt. Hurt will come your way. Even if you wrap yourself in cotton wool, twenty feet thick, yet the thorns would find a way of penetrating and hurting you. So, hurt would anyway come to you. You must know that you can bear all of it. Not only bear it but actually, rejoice in it.
And then there is a special quality to your smile, to your celebration, when you are rejoicing in the middle of hurt. And only that is real rejoicing, the real celebration. Feeling happy, anybody can celebrate. You must be somebody who can celebrate even in sadness. You must be someone who can celebrate even the pain. And then you are really human. I do not know whether you are enlightened, but at least you are really human.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Being one with the suffering of the world
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