The various religions are one of the major reasons why man’s search remains elusive; and when I say ‘religions’, I do not mean only organised religions. Whatsoever tells you about the fundamentals of life comes in the purview of religion.
So, if parents are trying to tell the kid about the importance of grades, about the importance of getting more marks – this is religious education. If peers are trying to tell a child, how absolutely critical it is to clear a competitive examination – this is religious indoctrination.
If a particular employer is motivating his employees to forget everything else and focus on sales targets, and he is saying, ‘Forget everything else, this is what you need to do!’ – This very much religious activity. This is religious activity because it is attempting to tell the listener that by undertaking this activity you will get That which you really want.
The man who is telling a woman that she should come with him and he will give her the highest happiness possible, is making a religious promise. He will never say — and romance hardly ever looks like religion, but the promise is essentially religious — he is promising God to her, he is saying, ‘Come to me, I will give you fulfilment! ’ It is another matter that he will never be able to keep his promise. All such promises get broken, all such affairs fail.
The shopping mall that is telling you that you can get enjoyment by visiting it is again making a religious claim.
All the institutions that the society has set up, that promise deliverance, completeness, satisfaction, a feeling of accomplishment, are all trying to do something religious. When there is so much of purported religious activity being attempted, it is obvious that getting lost would be the easiest thing to do.
~ Excerpts from the article, ‘What is Religion?‘
What kind of mind needs entertainment?
The restless, bored mind.
Now, what is important? To find a solution to the problem of entertainment or go to the root problem? ‘Why am I bored at all? Why do I need entertainment?‘
Obviously, I need entertainment! All the shopping malls are crowded in the weekends. Everybody needs entertainment. And why do people need entertainment? People need entertainment because they do soul sapping jobs throughout the week.
For five days I do something, I shouldn’t have done, so last two days I want to get away somewhere. They have those weekend getaways, weekend parties. What should I do in this situation? Entertain myself more or look closely at the boredom? For five days of the week I am being killed, last two days I want to drink a lot. What should I do? Drink more and more or avoid being killed? If your friends help you get more and more entertainment, are they really your friends?
If they are removed, chances are you will get the space to look clearly at the real problem.
You are stressed out because there is the possibility of the weekend. Why do I tolerate my Tuesdays and Wednesdays? It is because there is a Saturday and Sunday awaiting me. Remove Saturdays and Sundays and people will stop tolerating their Wednesdays and Thursdays. So Saturday and Sunday are the reason why all the torture of Thursday and Friday is tolerated. Remove Saturday and Sunday, and things will be alright. Nobody would then engage himself in such mindless work.
~ Excerpts from the article, ‘Friends, jobs and the need for entertainment‘
Read more on BOREDOM :Why is life not lively?
(Setting: Auditorium of a Business School. The speaker is addressing new joinees during their orientation program)
- When you were in class six or seven, small, then they would say at home- read so that you get good marks. You must have a good position in your class – helps to tell the relatives and the neighbours – and when you would not study, you were shown a carrot: ‘you will get X if you study’.
- And there were all these external forces of motivation and work. And then you came to class ten and you were told that in a job interview, they look at class tenth marks as well, so you must study.
- And when you entered twelvth, you were told that this year is critical for your professional studies, entrance examinations, admissions, and so you studied.
- And now what do you want to do? Extend that same stale story further? Add another boring chapter to it?
- This script is so predictable. You have been a machine all your life, chasing numbers- marks, percentage, and you will chase a few numbers here as well. Then you will chase a salary – another number. And grow a professional network – another number. And then rise up rungs of the corporate ladder – another number. And have a family, and a nest, and so on. All on pre-decided lines. What a drag!
- If the same story is being extended, then that class six kid, and this MBA student, are they different at all? Where is the growth? Where is the movement? Has any evolution been happening?
- Are you really going ahead or is it the same script being enacted again and again? Different platforms, different theaters, but essentially the same script
- At some point as a kid, at the next point as an adolescent, at the next point as a young man, at the next point as a professional, then as a husband, as a father…all roles being enacted by you but scripted by someone else. And you are acting, without knowing why there is action. Like a man sleepwalking.
Do you really know why you are here?
Edited for clarity.
Read the post: Why are you listening to someone else? | Words Into Silence
Watch the session:Why are you listening to someone else? | YouTube
Speaker: Fear, what about fear?
Listener 1: What is fearlessness?
Speaker: No fear, simple, light, straight forward; no thought that something can go wrong.
Listener 2: It is something like karma (action)?
Listener 2: Karma (action).
Speaker: Obviously. If you toss a ball, it will come down – cause and effect. In the world of material, there is always cause and effect, that is the law of karma (action). It is nothing but the law of material. If you throw something, it will move forward. Every cause will have an effect, that is the law of karma (action), but that law does not apply to conscious beings. Continue reading
Question: Sir, what made you to leave your corporate job, and start this whole different line of work?
Speaker: There was a lot that was asking to be changed. Leaving the corporate was not really an objective. I wanted to do something, and if it could have been nicely done from within a corporate, I would rather have done that. In fact Advait is still a private limited company. So, it is not that I opted out of corporate, but as far as the mission is concerned…
You know there are things that people are doing; there are things that I could have done, but a lot of people could have done them as well as me. There were things that I could have done and somebody else could have done them in a better way but there was something that I saw, that I was seeing and that cause was really crying out, it needed to be taken up, but very few people were attending to it. So, (Smilingly) just opportunism. It is something important and somebody needs to take it up, so I said, “Why not me?”
Listener 1: Sir, would you like to elaborate on this topic a bit more?
Speaker: You see, all of you sitting over here, are quite knowledgeable people. Right? Even the reference made to us is, ‘Knowledge workers’. Right? That’s how we are referred to. ‘White-collar jobs’. So we know a lot, or at least a little.
Our knowledge is, in some areas, pretty detailed as well and it’s quite amazing, the extent to which human intelligence has gone and created this knowledge and other human beings have absorbed it and are putting it to use. Now, having known this much, is it not strange, what you read in newspapers? “Man quarreling with man, nation quarreling with nation, husband quarreling with wife, neighbor quarreling with neighbor, man quarreling with himself!”
When we find nobody else to engage, we are busy fighting ourselves. And we know so much.
We know so much. Yet basics of life – jealousy, possessiveness, insecurity, small happenings in our environment seem to shake us up. Does that happen or not? One piece of news regarding the market, or regarding the changing company policies, or regarding the changing environment within the organization and suddenly we feel as if the ground under our feet is slipping. Is that not so? And we have so much of knowledge! All of us! And there are people who have much more knowledge than us. The thing is, their situation too is just the same.
So, this interested me. I asked, “Why is knowledge, why is all our progress not helping us lead more secure and composed inner lives?” You know, you look at a illiterate man, then you look at somebody who could not go beyond class tenth, then you look at somebody who has done his B.Tech, and then at a post doctorate, and tell me, are they really, internally, any different?
It is equally probable that all of them might be suspicious of their wife, authoritarian towards their kids, aggressive towards their neighbor, jealous of their colleague; is it not equally likely? By doing a PhD, does the probability that you will be worried, does this probability decrease?
Chances are, it increases. So why is our knowledge not helping us be…. Ultimately we have to live with ourselves. Right? Why is our knowledge, not helping us, simply be more centered?
So this brought me to the question of – What kind of knowledge do we have?
The knowledge that we have all pertains to something external. We know about this, we know about that, we know about cooling technologies, all kind of electronics, optics, the world, Mars, other galaxies, we have collected so much knowledge about them but our education, in schools and colleges, and our training, as professionals in corporate, simply does not touch upon ourselves.
You know, we have been educated probably from some of the premier institutions and then our training has continued in the places that we have worked in, but somehow, nowhere have we being sensitized towards our own mind. Our education and training is such that, it never asks us to turn within with the result that even the most knowledgeable man, is actually so infantile, and immature. He may be forty years of age, he might be earning a lot, but in his psyche, he is still a baby; somebody who can have a nervous breakdown any time. Somebody who just can’t get along with his wife. Somebody who just can’t stop himself from competing, he competes with everybody. And he says that he is in a leadership position! He says, he is leading X number of people.
The fault does not lie with this man, the fault lies with the way we have been brought up, educated, and continuously trained.
So, full of knowledge about this and that, but largely ignorant of the self. Unfortunately, nobody lives with his knowledge. You live with that feeling in your mind. Don’t we? We all know that. We know what I am talking about. Right? You know when you are not alright. And I know that nobody wants to feel not alright. Anybody here, who is interested in feeling not alright? Anybody here who likes that feeling when your legs are unnecessary shivering? And we all have experienced that, have we not? You have just appeared for an interview, and you are awaiting that call from HR, and that call comes, you recall that experience? Some of us might be having it pretty frequently. There are professional job hoppers.
You recall that experience? That call comes and how your fingers simply can’t stop their SHM (Simple Harmonic Motion). Now, what is the worth of your knowledge? What is its worth?
Yes, others might think that you are somebody. Given your knowledge, your experience, your professional advancement and probably your bank balance. But is all of that, of use to you, beyond a point? These were the questions that I was struggling with. And I thought these are important questions. And I could see that these are important things that not many people are really prepared to attend to. So I thought, well, let’s go into it.
I have been lucky that I have had many other people who have seen the importance of this over the years, who came to me, who joined me, assisted me in this journey and are still coming. And you would understand that this is not something which is a main-stream career option. So only those who really see the worth of this work, they come and join. Thankfully there are a few such people. You too are welcome. Devesh ji knows the address and the rest of it.
Look at this for an example. Had I been sitting here to talk about some technology, give me the name of a latest technology that people here might be interested in?
Listener 1: Cloud.
Speaker: So let’s say I am an expert in Cloud Computing, and I have come here to talk. A lot of us would have a lot of questions to ask, especially if we had only ten or fifteen minutes. Right? But when it comes to speaking about ourselves, we are simply lost. We don’t know what to say. And I understand our predicament, what I am saying might sound interesting to you, but what do we talk about? Yes, nice, right, alright, but what is in it to talk about?
There is a lot, incidentally, but this is such an unknown territory, our own mind is such an unknown territory to us. And in spite of seeing, getting a hint, at least, that there is something in it.
That’s the story with every walk of life, you know, I am sure many of us are friends here, with each other. Right? We talk about so many things, don’t we? But do we really talk about the Real? Not that we want to hide this. But there has been something in the way we have come up that we have become experts in remaining engrossed in the trivial. But when it comes to the Real, we become a little tongue tied. Don’t we?
It’s not something that is happening only in your relationship with me. Parents and kids, how authentic is their conversation? I need not talk about bosses and subordinates; that is not even supposed to be authentic. But what if, even a husband-wife conversation is rarely genuine? Rarely Real? Yes, we can talk about the furniture, we can talk about what is happening in the neighbor’s house, we can talk about the new restaurant down the road but do we really talk about that which matters? That, which matters. That which really keeps us off-center. Do we ever talk about it? We have been trained to slip it under the carpet. I thought why not bring the few skeleton out of the cupboard, just for fun.
Think of all the people you have been in touch with since years, and think of whether you have had a single genuine conversation with them. It is amusing, and at the same time, horrifying. Even the ability to look at each other directly in the eye! Have you seen people, who just really don’t want to have any eye contact? And it’s not their fault. It’s nobody’s fault. But somebody needs to do something about it. It’s a worthy cause, right? A few people must take it up. Should they not? What do you say?
I invite people. I say, “Let’s look at facts, let’s not talk dream stuff.” I say, “Look at all the mails that you have written in the past six months. Not the strictly professional ones. All the mails that you have written, to your friends, relatives, acquaintances,” I say, “Now, read them again. And read them very directly, very objectively, very honestly, and then tell me, how much of it is Real?”
Of course, I am not talking of mails relating to a sales pitch, or such stuff; they are not suppose to be Real. Are they? But what about the mails written to your friends, to cousins, even to parents? What is happening? We are intelligent people all of us, at least to the extent that intelligence is synonym of knowledge. We are quite intelligent. So, what’s going on?
I still don’t know, what’s going on. I am exploring, I mean, I no wise in that sense.
Ok, try this, a small experiment. A small experiment. Just walk up to somebody, not causally, walk up to somebody as if you really mean it; looking straight in his eyes, take his name or her name, and say, “I want to talk to you.” Not so melodramatically, but with sincerity, just with sincerity and you will only see scare in his eyes. “Oh my God! Is something Real going to come up?” As long as you are casual, and you just walk past people, tapping them on their shoulders, “Hi John, what’s up? How’s the hotdog?” The Yankee thing, as long as that is happening, we are friends.
But if you give the slightest hint to the other person, that you mean to open your heart up, instead of feeling gratified, he will feel terrified. Try this, its fun. Good fun. And after you see him trembling, tell him, “No I don’t mean anything, it’s casual”.
We are afraid of everything that is not really false. For the years, I have been surprised to see how much we are really afraid of intimacy, I am surprised because ostensibly we all says that we want intimacy, we want closeness with somebody. But when intimacy really beckons or knocks on our door, we retract. We don’t have the guts to embrace it. You must have seen such people, they are so insecure they can’t let anybody come close. Because somebody coming close is a threat to their entire mental structure. They’ll have to accommodate him, their structure will need to change. That structure, by the way, is also called as ego.
We are young people here, and I am not talking of physical intimacy. We understand that, right? So that’s what the whole game is about. Complex, challenging, but fun!
~Excerpts from a guest talk. Edited for clarity.
View the session at: Our education fills us up with external knowledge, leaving us ignorant of ourselves
Read more on this topic:
Article 1: How important is education of the self?
Article 2: Why is education not helping the world?
Speaker: If somebody asks, “Tell me about yourself”, then how will you talk in the language of ‘We’? You see, this is what it is. I do not know myself and I claim to know everybody else as well. It is already dangerous to claim self-knowledge, and I am claiming knowledge of others as well. Yes, so ‘I’…?
Listener 1: But Sir, I am not getting you actually.
Speaker: “I am not getting you”, right? Not “We are not getting you”. What did you say? “I am not getting you”. Correct? So, ‘I’! Yes?
Listener 1: Sir, I was saying, up to now, it was just a growth. But now I am here for development. Growth plus progress.
Speaker: Alright Sir. Now how do you differentiate between growth, progress and development?
Listener 1: Sir, according to me growth + progress = development.
Speaker: What is growth? What is progress? When you say X + Y = Z, you must first know ‘X’ and ‘Y’ in order to come to ‘Z’. What is growth? What is progress?
Listener 1: Growth is just increase in size and when some progress is included in that, it becomes development.
Speaker: When some…?
Listener 1: Progress is added to it.
Speaker: What is progress?
Listener 1: Progress means enhancing your views, observations and all the things.
Speaker: When you say increase in size, increase in whose size? Your body’s size. Is that what an educational institution is for? What do you mean by increase in size?
Listener 1: Sir, knowledge, mindset. It is a part of development.
Speaker: Growth. Let’s first focus on one thing. What do you mean by growth? We will then come to progress so that we can come to development. What is growth?
Listener 1: Simply as you have told that…
Speaker: Why should what I have told? I am nobody.
Listener 1: You were saying one thing…
Speaker: (Interrupting) You tell me, what do you mean by growth because it is your life, not mine. Right? It is your life. Not mine. So you tell me, what do you mean by growth.