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Don’t live by luck

Those who depend on luck are always looking for stars, planets, places, lucky shoes, lucky soaps, lucky numbers – all kinds of stuff. In this process of looking for luck and waiting for things to happen, things that they could have easily created for themselves are completely lost. With every aspect of life, it is you who has to make it happen. Your peace and your turmoil is your business. Your sanity and insanity is your business. Your joy and misery is your business. The devil and the god within you is your business.

Instead of allowing your energies to express themselves to their fullest capability, instead of creating the necessary inner and external atmosphere around us where the right kind of situation can happen, we are unfortunately always looking for something else which could make that happen for us.

How you experienced today, from morning to evening, is definitely yours. How much friction you had with people around you simply depends on how insensible you have been in understanding the situations and people around you – their limitations and possibilities within themselves. It is definitely not decided by what lucky charms you may be wearing. It simply depends on how sensibly, intelligently, and with how much awareness you walk and look at life around you.

It is just that if you are in a certain way, certain things will gravitate towards you. If you are in a certain other way, certain other things will gravitate towards you. If there is a flowering bush and a dry, thorny bush out there, all the bees gravitate towards the flowering bush. The flowering bush isn’t lucky, it just has a fragrance – which you may not be able to see – that is drawing everything towards it. People walk away from the thorny bush because it is creating another kind of situation. Maybe both of them are unconscious of what they are creating but things are happening the way they need to happen.

So, if things are happening great for you and you don’t know why, I would say you are eating stale food. You cooked your meal somewhere else – maybe long ago – and you are still eating good food. But it is stale and getting staler by the day. However, if things are happening well for you and you know why it is happening, that means you cooked your food today, consciously. If things are going really bad for you and you don’t know why, once again you are eating stale food which has turned rotten.

It is time you created your life consciously. Don’t depend on luck, stars and planets. These are inanimate things. Should human nature decide the destiny of inanimate things or should inanimate things decide the destiny of human nature? Which way should it be? Human nature should decide what should happen to the inanimate. But if a star is deciding your future, then inanimate things are deciding your destiny.

Don’t allow such things to influence you because once you get into it, you will get into a certain rut and what you can do in your life will be limited. You cannot go beyond that. It will restrict your growth and possibility.

By chance a few things happen. But if you wait for the chance, good things may happen to you only when you are in your grave because it may take its time.

When you live by chance, you also live in fear and anxiety. When you live by intent and capability, it does not matter what is happening or not happening, you are at least in control of what is happening to you. It is a more stable life.

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No good life without good planet

What does it take to have a good life? People read books, blogs, and other posts, listen to taped and video media, and take numerous classes, all in an effort to enhance their living experience.  Most people strive all of their lives to try to live “the good life”.

As we age, what makes for good life changes and, as our experiences widen at any age, so do our choices. However, not enough people associate living a fulfilled life with caring for the planet.  Without the basics, such as quality food and water supplies, it would be hard to live a good life.  Increased pollution has now surpassed the earth’s ability to eradicate its negative consequences.  In addition, the global population increase has generated more demand than the earth’s natural resources can supply, especially for the next generation.

Right now, we have the necessary technology, the necessary resource, and the necessary capability to address every issue on the planet. Never before in the history of humanity have human beings been as capable as we are today. The only thing that is missing is the inclusive consciousness.

The preservation and nurturing of this planet is not different from aspiring for a good life for ourselves, because there is no good life without a good planet. We are looking at ecological concerns as some kind of an obligation that we have to fulfill. It is not an obligation, it is our life. The very breath that we inhale and exhale is just that.

Unless people feel this and have an experience of this, I don’t believe they are going to truly act in any big way. If people don’t take care of the land, they will ruin the whole country. Whatever our economic concerns are – we need to do many things – we must always keep ecological concerns a part of our economic development. Otherwise, we will pay a very big price for it. This is something the policy-makers, the industry, and the public should constantly be aware of and strive for.

Raising the consciousness of the whole world may be a long-time project in terms of work, but if the leadership – people in positions of responsibility and power – experience and truly feel this within themselves a huge change can be brought about in everything that we do. If the consciousness of a few key people on the planet – the way they think, feel and experience life – can be altered even a little, and if the necessary focus and investment of resources are made in the right direction, I think Mother Earth will correct herself.

If we just provide her with an opportunity, she will turn everything back into absolute abundance and beauty. We don’t have to do anything great; we don’t have to fix the earth. If we reduce the meddling to whatever extent we can, without making ourselves suffer, if we just lessen the damage that we are doing, the rest will happen by itself.

Scientific studies say that if all the insects disappear tomorrow morning from this planet, the life on this planet has only twenty-five years left. All life, including us, will die within twenty-five years’ time. Not a single life will be left. Including bacterial life, everything will die if the insects go away. But if human beings disappear tomorrow morning, in twenty-five years’ time, the earth will be flourishing. Though everything that we do is not biodegradable, fortunately, we are biodegradable and so the world can do fine.

Spiritual process without concern for life around you is not a spiritual process, because anybody who looks into himself, anybody who turns inward, naturally realizes that his existence and the outside existence are not different. Spirituality essentially means an all-inclusive experience. When there is an all-inclusive experience, being concerned, and being caring about everything around you is very natural.

It is my wish that we as a generation do not become a disaster in every sense. In our lives, if we do not do what we cannot do, there is no problem. But if we do not do what we can do, we are a disaster.”

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One thing at one time

Goal setting is a common process to utilize when thinking about accomplishing something.  Above-average athletes, successful businessmen, achievers in all fields set goals. The process of setting goals helps us navigate to where we would like our life to go.  Whether it is focusing on eating a healthy diet, exercising, doing yoga practices or performing better at your job. Setting goals helps to keep you moving in that direction. But sometimes, distractions lead us astray as we become fixated on the goal and the progress, rather than the steps needed to continue.

“Wherever you are, do you understand that right now, you exist within certain limitations? If there is a limitation – a boundary – there must be something beyond the limitation? Whether the boundlessness exists or not, at least you can perceive that if there is a boundary, there must be something beyond the boundary. Right now, your spiritual process is just to work from one limitation to another limitation. You break this limitation, move into the next level of limitations. You break that and move into the next level.

You do not know whether the Ultimate exists or not. You don’t have to imagine or mentally create the Ultimate – this destroys many possibilities within you. Just see that you are existing in certain limitations right now and how to break those limitations. If you break it, you will move into the next prison – a bigger one. If you break that, you will move into the next one. As you keep breaking it, let’s see where the hell it goes. At least let’s move into a better prison. That’s all you are trying to do with every aspect of your life – just trying to take one more step, isn’t it? Even with the spiritual process, just take one more step at a time.

Some years ago, the Indian cricket team beat the Australian team in Australia, which had not happened for 22 years. I was reading in a magazine about the player – who comes from Bangalore – who scored 233 runs. When people asked him “How do you play? Do you play to win the game or the series or what?”, he replied, “I try and play one ball at a time. I’m not playing the match. The most important thing to realize when you are batting is that the only thing that decides your fate, your score, your career or anything else, is that next ball.” He said, ‘If you can do that over a long period of time, you will succeed. It is not an easy thing to do, though.” This man got it, because you can only play one ball at a time. But he says it is hard because he is trying mentally.

So, right now, you just play one ball at a time. Right now, if your problem is you can’t stand the person who is sitting next to you – you just work on that! Don’t worry about reaching God or attaining liberation. Just work on this little problem that you have. This is the way you will grow. If you imagine something big out there, it all feels great for some time, but you are back again. Whatever you might imagine, whether you are imagining God or you are imagining Devil, life will anyway give you the works! Learn to handle life. After all, the issue is life. Only when you begin to know life and understand the limitations of life, the longing to go beyond life arises. If you are not intimately in touch with life, your longing to go beyond life is just a falsehood; all you are looking for is a drink.

Just work one ball at a time. Right now, what is your limitation, how to go beyond this. Whatever methods have been given to you, are they breaking some of your limitations? That’s all you have to see. If they are breaking, it’s fine, continue to break. Don’t worry about the ultimate. If it’s one ball at a time, doubt is no problem.”

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Work comes before wages

How much you are worth need not be seen in terms of how much you are paid. How much you are worth should be assessed in terms of what responsibilities are given to you. The privilege is not the money that you receive; the privilege is that you have been allowed to create something. Money is a means for our survival, yes, and to that extent it is necessary. However, you must always assess yourself in terms of whatever you are being asked to do. What is the level of responsibility that is being offered to you? What is the opportunity for you to create something truly worthwhile, both for yourself and for everybody around you? Any work that you do in the world is truly worthwhile for you only if you are able to touch people’s lives deeply.

For example, if you were to make a film, would you want to make a film nobody would want to watch? Or write a book that nobody would want to read? Or build a house that nobody would want to live in? You would not want to produce something nobody wants to use. So in some way, you are longing to touch people’s lives. If you closely observe your life, you will see that one thing of importance to you is that the activity you perform should touch people’s lives.

Many people are trying to divide their life into work and family — where work is something that you do just for money and family is something you do to touch people’s lives. But no matter how much money you earn, if you find your husband, wife or children are not at all touched by what you do, it would suddenly seem meaningless to have a family. Somewhere in your life, you want people to be touched by what you do. This aspect need not remain or restrict itself to family alone; it could extend itself into every area of life. Whatever you do should touch people’s lives — that is all that really matters.

How deeply you touch people’s lives depends on how involved you are in what you do. If your involvement is there, naturally the way you work will be very different, and according to your capabilities, you will be paid. Sometimes you will have to bargain a little or ask for a raise, perhaps your boss has forgotten that you need one. But generally, if people realize the value of what you are to that particular business or company, they will pay accordingly.

If you grow in what you are doing, some day, when it is necessary, you could shift from one position to the next, and your money could just multiply a 100 times over. For example, let us say you are heading a corporation and for whatever reason you are not paid much, but you have been given full responsibility to run the whole operation. If you are performing well and the whole world is watching, tomorrow anybody will be willing to grab you for any amount. So your value need not always be gauged in terms of money.

We have established corporations so that what we cannot do individually, we can achieve collectively. We could have all operated as individual entrepreneurs — that is how we operated historically, where everybody was a manufacturer and trader of some commodity. But when we are willing to put the will of thousands of people together in one direction — that is a corporation wanting to achieve something big.

Where are you are placed in this corporation of people looking to move in one direction? What is the level of responsibility and trust that has been placed in you? That is your real worth. How much you derive from it in terms of money is not everything. Yes, it is important but it is not everything. You must always gauge your worth in terms of the level of responsibility people are willing to give you, and whether what you are creating is truly worthwhile for yourself and for others.

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Balance Life is Beautiful Life

Living a balanced life involves more than just your choices of outward activities. Achieving a state of mental and emotional stability provides a steady foundation to support you through any kind of life situation. So how can you achieve this unshakable emotional and mental balance?

“Life is balance. Everything that you see as life, everything that you see as yourself is beautiful only when it is in balance. Right now, if I lose my balance in body, I will fall off this chair. Sitting is balance. Standing is definitely balance. Standing on these two legs and balancing is not a simple act; you have taken it for granted. When you were an infant and tried to stand up, you know what it took? You are doing it effortlessly right now. If the body goes little out of balance, then you will see, just to stand is such a feat. Don’t take this balance for granted.

Just like sitting and standing, walking is supreme balance. Just two feet! The way you are walking, do you know how much is involved just to keep you balanced when you walk? It is a big thing. If you lose balance in your thought, it is called insanity. If you lose balance in your emotion, the very juice of life, it becomes torture, both for yourself and for others. Your body, your thought, your emotion, your activity, everything is beautiful only when it is in balance.

So, how to bring balance into one’s life? What is the basis of this balance? Balance is such that even if you are on the battlefield, you are still balanced. If your inner balance is absolute, you can harness the external, your body, and your mind, to the highest possible level – and that is all a human being can do. When it comes to external situations, there is no such thing as perfect balance. Within myself, I may be absolutely balanced, but in activity, it is still a constant adjustment.

There is nobody on this planet who has balanced his outside activity perfectly. I may believe something is perfect, but somebody else says it is nonsense. Isn’t the same thing happening within the family? You think you got everything organized, you are hugely successful in your life, and the whole world is clapping. But your children stand up and say that you are no good.

So, external situations are always going to need an adjustment – constant calibration depending upon the needs of the situation in which we are placed. Balance will come only if you are physically, mentally, and emotionally balanced within. This will naturally find expression in your activity. It is not the activity that is balanced. If you can get the physical body and the mind to function at its highest potential, whatever you could do in this world, you will do to the best of your ability, depending upon the opportunity and the situation. That is all you can do.

Externally, how much activity and how we do the activity is not something you should decide. Activity should always be in line with the situation in which you exist and not be about you. But right now, most people are living here as if the activity is about them. This is simply because who you are has not been established. You are trying to establish it through your activity. You have heard them say, ‘I think, therefore I exist.’ Look at it, is your existence first or is your thought first? Because you exist you can think, isn’t it?

Once you get into this mode – because you think you exist, because you act you exist  – there is no question of knowing a moment of balance in your whole life. Such a thing is not possible. Outside things may be beautifully arranged, but inside is a big mess because you are going on in a completely different mode all the time, you are trying to handle life upside down.

So, when we say balance, what would be your idea of balance? Today, if the day goes off well, would you call that balance? For me, balance means – if I shut my door and sit down for four or five days, I won’t have a single thought in my mind. I am not trying not to think; if I want to think I have to think, otherwise nothing comes in my mind. I am just empty-headed, because not a single thought arises in my mind unless I think. That is not the case with everybody. They have not known a single moment of no thought in their life unless they were grabbed by something outside, isn’t it? It never happened by yourself simply because you are identified with something that you are not. The moment you are identified with something that you are not, thought is an endless process.

So if you want to get to this state, what do you have to do? Your mind has to take instructions from you, that is the most important thing. In many ways, it has been expressed – not just in India but all over the world. Even Jesus went to the extent of saying this, ‘If therefore thine eye be single, your body shall be filled with light.’ That is, in your physicality, there is always you and me. If you want to balance anything, there must be two, only then balancing becomes a necessity. If your experience of life has transcended the duality of who you are right now, if you transcend the limitations of the physical, something beyond the physical becomes a living reality and now you have a single eye. You have one eye; you are looking at everything the same way.

Now everything is in perfect balance. You don’t strive for balance anymore; existence is balance. It is only the physical reality which is fluctuating. Everything else is in perfect balance. It is only the physical, which is going up and down. Isn’t it so?

So, the most important thing in human life is that you transcend the limitations of the physical. You are the only creature on this planet who has come with that capability; all the other creatures are trapped in their physicality. You are capable of rising beyond the physicality but not going against your physicality. This is not about rejecting the body; it is about going a little deeper, not remaining on the surface. This is one thing that must happen to every human being.”

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Can world become more successful?

Tune into the news today, and it’s evident: the world is becoming an increasingly violent place. Globally, people are falling victim to wars and terrorism. At home mindless killings dominate the headlines. A significant portion of the world’s population spends their lives in deep fear, wondering how they will continue to survive in this climate of constant strife. Even with increased awareness about violence and efforts by organizations to bring peace to the world, the instances of violent behavior are at an all-time high. In fact, according to 2014 Global Peace Index, the world is continuing to become more violent. The report gives rise to several questions. How can this trend be reversed? And how can the world become a more peaceful place?

Writing on the Scholastic website, Dr. Bruce Perry points to the fact the not all humans are violent, and that there are certain conditions that contribute to violent behavior. Among these, he states, is the prevalence of hateful ideologies, which make people see others as different and as less human than them. Since violence is often related to hate, these beliefs drive the dehumanization of others and makes them a target for violence. Being detached from others too contributes to violent behavior. When we’re isolated from others, we care less about them and their welfare, writes Bruce. In addition to our relationship with others, being desensitized to death and killing also causes people to be insensitive toward others’ pain and sometimes even violent toward other people.

In order for humans to become less violent, they have to become more meditative. We urgently need to understand that today, we are not equipped with only fists and clubs anymore. We have gotten ourselves equipped with such absolutely destructive devices that today if you get angry, it is not about you killing your neighbor, you could be putting an end to the world. Once these kinds of technologies and capabilities have come into our hands, it is extremely important that the world turns meditative. If the quality of meditation does not enter this world, with the kind of technologies and destructive capabilities we have, we could cause great damage. When I say destructive, I am not talking only about the bomb.

Almost everything that we do today is destructive. The very car that we drive, the very factories that we run for our well-being are all destructive in that sense. In pursuit of our economic well-being, the volume of violence we have imposed on every other creature on this planet is unspeakable. Don’t think of violence as just killing another human being. Any destruction of life beyond the need for one’s survival is violence. If you look at it that way, today’s societies are enormously violent. Our very existence is violence.

Though there is an instinct of self-preservation in us which is a biological factor, of all the creatures on the planet, a human being has the capability to look beyond his instinct of self-preservation and express himself in the world, which is what is of utmost need right now.

Human beings have often displayed this. When the most horrible situations were happening, individual human beings stood up and expressed the beauty of what it means to be a human being. As a group, we can become an ugly force, but still the humanity in us beats. Certain individuals still stood up and expressed their humanity to show the world how beautiful a human being can be when he thinks beyond his own well-being.”

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How to handle dominant boss?

If you’re like most people, chances are you’ve dealt with a powerful boss. For some people the experience of being managed can be an unpleasant one, especially when they do not know how to properly deal with their manager or supervisor. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review states that one’s relationship with their boss is the most important factor contributing to work engagement, satisfaction and commitment. Furthermore, Forbes magazine reports that that 2 million Americans voluntarily quit their job each month, with a third of them reporting that their boss was the reason for leaving. It appears that your relationship with your supervisor is absolutely integral to succeeding and feeling satisfied at work.

“Someone has become your boss because he or she is in some way more qualified than you. You may believe that you are better than him, but he has gotten to that position because of some qualification, capability or influence – something has delivered him there. Even if he has gotten there by corruption, he is more capable at using corruption. One way or the other, as the social situations may be, he is more capable, which is why he has landed up there.

Just because he has landed up there and he is more capable does not mean he will do everything right. You do not do everything right either. No one in the world does everything right. Generally, he has landed there because he is supposed to do more things right than you do and he is supposed to have a better grasp of the situation than you.

A stenographer in the office can type very well but if the boss sits to type he may be a bad typist. The stenographer may think “That guy cannot even type properly, why is he my boss?” He is not your boss because he types better than you. He may not know a damn thing about typing. He is your boss because he knows many other things which you do not even know. The question of him being a boss has come with certain capability and an overall view.

Most of the time a boss need not be talented for anything in particular, but he has an overview of everything. He has a way of keeping people together and making things happen. You may be individually good but you may not be capable of holding things together. So if you are really good at organizing and doing things together, you will naturally rise in your life either in this organization or somewhere else. No one can stop you.

If you are in some position, instead of having a grouse about your boss, do your job so well that without you, your boss and your company cannot exist. Make yourself indispensable. With this indispensability, power will come. If you keep yourself busy complaining, you will not do your work because you think “This man is a fool, why should I work fully for him?” Now you are dispensable and the company can drop you or your boss can kick you out at any time. Work in such a way that without you he cannot exist. Become so useful that without you he cannot function. That is the way to grow. By complaining about someone you will not grow.

People who have reached the top did not grow by having a grouse against someone. They grew because they just did their best. We do our best, but my best and your best may not be on the same levels. We will grow according to our capabilities. If you are constantly looking at someone and comparing yourself, there will be someone above you wherever you go. It does not matter how big you become, there will still be someone above you. So you will always have a grouse and you will always think “That man is not as good as I am, why is he up there.” You will just always make yourself unhappy wherever you are.

You just do 100% of what you can do in that given situation, then you will become indispensable to the company, the boss and the whole situation. In this you grow. If you have more capability than him, naturally the company will make you the boss anyway.

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How to live without fear?

In our modern world, it’s easy to allow the forces of commercialism and materialism to control our lives and create fear within us. We worry about our ability to pay our bills, and that fear keeps us in jobs we don’t like and don’t find fulfilling. We fear our ability to change and take care of ourselves, leading us to stay trapped in relationships and situations that aren’t healthy or productive.

“Fear is simply because you are not living with life, you are living in your mind. Your fear is always about what is going to happen next. That means your fear is always about that which does not exist. If your fear is about the non-existent, it is hundred percent imaginary.”

When we allow fear about what the future may bring to color our current decisions, we compromise our ability to live fully in the present moment. We trade what enjoyment we could have for needless stress over situations that may never come to be – ultimately diminishing our personal growth and satisfaction, as well as our overall quality of life.

Explore your fears

If you’re feeling “stuck” in any part of your life, there’s a good chance that this sensation represents the manifestation of your fears – even if you aren’t aware of feeling fearful. But why are you creating this fear in the first place and how would you stop creating that? The fundamental reason why fear – whether it is those fears you are conscious of or the fear you are not even aware you carry – have arisen within you is because you do not know the beginning and the end. You think you are a small little human being. You believe yourself to be a limited entity that you are right now and that sense of limitation naturally creates overwhelming fear.

So how you would you drop these fears and insecurities? How would you get rid of them? Well, the good news is that you don’t have to leave your fears and insecurities, simply because they don’t exist. Yes, that’s right. They don’t exist; YOU just keep creating them unconsciously.

To minimize the impact of these fears, it is important to first understand what they are and where they’re coming from. Start by compiling a list of all the things you fear – no matter how large or small they may seem. Then, try to identify both your reasons for experiencing these fears and where exactly you feel they may lead you.

Remind yourself that you can’t control the future

As long as you identify yourself as a physical body – if the very experience of life is limited to your physical and mental faculties – fear and insecurity are inevitable. Of course, different people may be in different levels of fear and insecurity. If life is going well for you today and everything is smooth and easy, you might forget your insecurity. If tomorrow life gets harder and you face a challenging situation, you are reminded; but the fear is always there with you. Only when an individual begins experiencing life beyond the boundaries of the physical, only then can one be truly free of any sense of insecurity or fear.

Now that you’ve traced the edges of your fear, recognize how little control you have over external situations. Following the example above; while you can change your on-the-job performance, you cannot control market fluctuations that could put your company out of business, a bad boss who dislikes you for no apparent reason or any of the hundreds of other scenarios that could bring about the end result you fear.

What’s more, you have no way of knowing whether or not any of the situations you envision will ever actually come to pass! You are worrying about things that do not exist. And what’s worse, is you compromising your enjoyment of the time you do have right now out of the fear of future situations that are not likely to ever occur! Remind yourself of this whenever you feel stressed over the fears that we all inevitably allow into our minds.

Tune in to the present moment

The real cure for this, the solution to stop allowing your fear of the future to consume your current enjoyment of life is to tune into the present moment. There are dozens of different mechanisms for doing so, from adopting a meditative mindset to the daily practice of yoga. Truly, the way in which you train your mind to dismiss your fears in order to enjoy the present moment doesn’t matter – what matters is that you find some way to prevent these fears from eventually ruling your life.

Ask yourself: is it fear that dictates the decisions you take for your life, or is it your enjoyment of the current moment that helps guide your future? And if you lean more towards the former description, what measures can you implement to ensure that these baseless fears don’t control you?

In reality, being joyous takes absolutely no effort! In fact it is quite the opposite: creating worry needs efforts. If you would stop doing that, you would naturally be joyous. Just look at the way young children are; joy is natural to them. And it is so for every human being, because joy is not something that you do – it is a natural state of being.

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Ego is illusion

“Ego” is not something that you got because you did something well or because you became rich or beautiful or anything else. When you started kicking in your mother’s womb, the ego was born. The very first mistake of getting identified with your physical body means the ego was born. It is a defense mechanism. You got identified with this little body. This little organism has to survive in this vast existence, of which you have no perception to even know where it begins and where it ends. Just to survive, you have to project yourself like a big man. So the ego is born. It is a false reality you created just for the sake of survival.

So what is ego? It is like your shadow. The moment you have a physical body, you have a shadow. The shadow itself is neither good nor bad. If the sun is up there, you have a little shadow. If the sun is down there, you have a mile-long shadow. Whichever way the outside situation demands, that is the kind of shadow you have. That is also the kind of ego you should have.

To handle different kinds of situations in our lives, we need different kinds of identities. If you are fluid about it, if you can change from one to another gracefully, then you can play your role to the hilt and still have no problem with it. But right now, the problem is, you get so identified with it, you start believing you are that. Once you believe “I am the shadow,” what would you do? You would naturally crawl upon the earth. If you crawl upon the earth, how will life be? If we carpet the floor, you will crawl in comfort, not in joy. Suppose stones and rocks and thorns came? Then you will cry. That is how your life is going on right now. If the outside situation is carpeted, you will crawl in comfort. If little thorns come, you will cry because you are crawling upon the earth.

Right now, your whole experience of life is limited to the physical. Everything that you know through your five sense perceptions is physical. The physical has no purpose of its own; it is there only as a peel to the fruit. The peel means something only as a protective layer to the fruit. This body is important because there is something else inside. You have never experienced that something else. If that something else goes away tomorrow morning, nobody would want to touch this body, which would have become a corpse. So today, when it is there, we have to take care of it.

If we do not transcend the limitations of the physical, if we do not transcend the limited existence of the physical, then life will only be a struggle. If situations go well, you are very confident. If situations do not go well, you are diffident. And you always know, whatever situations are going well, any moment, things can go wrong. It is not even a question of going wrong. Life can just take any course any moment. Things can happen in a way that you do not like, any moment.

If everything in the world is going dead wrong for you, and you can still go through this life untouched, peacefully and joyfully within yourself, then you know life the way it is. Otherwise you are just a slave of the physical.

Today, there is too much unnecessary talk going on in the world about destroying the ego. This has been picked up from the scriptures. Whenever your personality turns ugly, you call it ego. This is just one more way of passing the buck. When your personality turns ugly, you must just see it as you. If you see “I am ugly,” you will want to do something about it. You would not want to be that way anymore.

But we have evolved so many strategies just to avoid this possibility. At a certain moment, whether you are beautiful or ugly, it is you, isn’t it? Keep it that way. Don’t create things which are not there – your ego, your soul, or something else. The moment you create things like “What is beautiful is my soul, what is ugly is my ego,” no transformation will be possible. If you see: “Whatever nonsense I am, that which is beautiful and that which is ugly in me are both me,” then, what is ugly will naturally start changing – you will have to transform, you can’t help it.

Today in the world, we need to bring about simple sense – life sense. Right now, people only have ego sense, they have no life sense. They are ego-sensitive, not life-sensitive. When you are like this, you only see yourself as life, no one else is life. You can trample upon anything and anyone. But if you are life-sensitive, everything is life in your experience, so you naturally behave very sensibly with every other life around you. The ego will no longer be a problem if you become life-sensitive.

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What is true love?

Everyone wants to love and be loved.  But, ideally, what does that mean?  Why do so many relationships crash and burn or at best, partners ride a bumpy road together?  The desire to be approved of, win people over or be with someone deemed special is ingrained in most societies.  We are raised to believe that it is essential to be loved and be in love, but rarely are we sure how to accomplish this.

Love is a major topic of literature, especially in poems and movies.  Love is also captured in many a song such as the Beatles 1967 hit: “All you need is love… Love is all you need.”  Countless scenarios abound in these tales, including heartbreak, intense longing, as well as both fulfillment and sorrow.  We often set up ideals, many similar to those portrayed in the various media produced by our cultures, and when these expectations are not met, confusion and frustration follow.

People think When you talk about love, it has to be unconditional. There is really no such thing as conditional love and unconditional love. It is just that there are conditions and there is love. The moment there is a condition, it just amounts to a transaction. Maybe a convenient transaction, maybe a good arrangement – maybe many people made excellent arrangements in life – but that will not fulfill you; that will not transport you to another dimension. It is just convenient.

When you say “love,” it need not necessarily be convenient; most of the time it is not. It takes life. Love is not a great thing to do, because it eats you up. If you have to be in love, you should not be. You as a person must be willing to fall, only then it can happen. If your personality is kept strong in the process, it is just a convenient situation, that’s all. We need to recognize what is a transaction and what is truly a love affair. A love affair need not be with any particular person; you could be having a great love affair, not with anybody in particular, but with life.

What you do, what you do not do, is according to circumstances around you. Our actions are as the external situation demands. What you do outside of yourself is always subject to many conditions. But love is an inner state – how you are within yourself can definitely be unconditional.

Make love your quality

If you are life, it is very natural to love. Every human being is capable of love but unfortunately, many have crippled themselves with all kinds of belief systems, opinions, philosophies, ideologies – everything except life.

Love is not imported from heaven

People either profess to love God or believe God loves them. The assumption is that love is a quality that needs to be imported from Heaven. But does anyone really know whether God loves or not? We bow down to whoever created this grand creation – a creation that boggles the mind. We bow down to the creator, but you don’t know whether he is love or joy or peace.

Love is a human emotion

Human beings are capable of love when they are willing. Unfortunately, we want to export everything that is beautiful in our life to heaven and live wantonly on this planet. Love, joy, blissfulness – these are human possibilities.

A simple process

Love is not something to do with someone else. Love is never between two people. It is what happens within you, and what happens within you need not be enslaved to someone else. For 15 to 20 minutes daily, go sit with something that means nothing to you – maybe a tree, or a pebble, or a worm or an insect. After some time, you will find you can look upon it with as much love as you do your wife or husband or your mother or your child. Maybe the worm does not know this. That doesn’t matter. If you can look at everything lovingly, the whole world becomes beautiful in your experience. You realize love is not something that you do; love is the way you are.

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Leadership – Managing A Large Team

A large group of people is not a team it is a chaos. Chaos is not a choice. The choice that you have made is to reap out of the existing chaos. If you choose to make something chaotic, that will be stupid. It will go somewhere else.

Something looks chaotic not necessarily because it is chaotic but simply because you have a linear mind and something does not fit into your straight line, so you think it is out of order.

For a gardener’s mind, a jungle will look chaotic. But no, there is a very deep order there. That is why a forest will live for millions of years and a garden will not last for a month without maintenance. People are thinking of something as chaos because they have an external view of things. They do not have an internal, integrated view of that. If you understand the ecosystem – today, slowly human beings are beginning to understand – we understand that is the greatest order because that is the only thing which has lived for millions of years.

A snake will not move in a straight line. This does not mean its mobility is not good. Just travel without using your limbs and see. Without limbs, the snake has found a way and he is very effective. He finds his own way of life, he chooses his terrain accordingly and he manages.

So this is about different types of lives, different types of people, different types of terrains, different types of activities – to reap the best out of it, you have to harness that, rather than beating everyone into one type of system, because in that, you may produce some level of efficiency, but you will destroy people and situations. Essentially, you will destroy the existing ecology and try to create something new.

For example, in ancient times to build anything, people have never bought a bulldozer and leveled any land. Whichever way the terrain is, they design accordingly and build on that. Nowadays if people want to build fifty houses, they just level out fifty acres completely. This is the worst thing you can do. You have no sense of how much life you are disturbing.

You think order means it must be in a particular way. No, there is a different kind of order, and if you do not allow that within the human mind, within the human consciouness and in the actions that we perform, then we become straight lines. Maybe somebody else appreciates us, but we are miserable doing what we are doing simply because we are straitjacketed all the time about how we should be and how we should do.

Instead of harnessing everything to its best the way it is, you want to turn everything the way you think it should be. This is essentially because you think too much of yourself. You think you are better than the natural forces that are working, which have shaped everything the way it has been shaped.

So chaos is not a choice. There is always a certain order, which is not logically correct. The order of the jungle is not logically correct, but it is the best order because it has lasted longer than anything else. Everyone is talking about building sustainable businesses. If you want a sustainable business, you must take to the order of the jungle.

Today, in India, we use the phrase  “jungle raj” (Referring to the Hindi word – rule) because people believe a jungle means disorder. I am using the word “jungle” as a very superior order. It is a highly sophisticated order where you do not see any straight lines, but still everything is in place. Everything is in such a way that it can function like this for a million years and still last. That is definitely a superior order, isn’t it?

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How to deal with criticism?

Once you are active in the world, people will throw all kinds of things at you. What life throws at you is determined by so many forces, but what you make out of it is one hundred percent up to you. Human beings have risen above the most impossible situations. Think of someone like Nelson Mandela. What he had been put through would have broken most people. From that, he came out as a gentle power, a kind of power that arises from not being identified with anything.

Even high-ranking law enforcement officers have told me, “To all great beings, this has happened. You know what Rama and Krishna went through. You will anyway go beyond that.” I said, “I didn’t talk to the law enforcement to tell me about what Rama, Krishna, or Jesus went through. Do you want that to be the precedent?” Unfortunately, well-intentioned people are wrapped up in their philosophies. Ill-intentioned people are action-oriented. This is what we need to change in the country – well-intentioned people must become action-oriented. Ill-intentioned people, we must wrap them up in their own negativity.

If we want the nation to move forward, all of us must do what works. There is too much activism, too little activity in this country. As a hangover from the pre-independence era, we are still honoring people who stop the nation from functioning. Non-cooperation may have been an appropriate way during the freedom struggle against our occupiers. But what sense does it make to lock down our own nation today? Bringing a nation to a halt is one kind of talent. Making a nation happen is a different kind of talent. If at any time, someone organized disruption in this country, there should be no chance for them to become a leader. These are elements who invest in other people’s problems. This must go. There is work to be done in the country.

If we can get people who hold key positions to change their mindsets, many things will change in the country. This includes bureaucratic leaders, business leaders, social leaders, and leaders in other areas. We have already touched about half of these people. They are making a quiet change, wherever they are. India has changed a lot in the last twelve years. This evolution happens quietly. If individuals make a fundamental change in the way they perceive, understand, and experience life, society will change. Let’s say you are interacting with a minimum of ten people every day. Whenever you meet someone, you can either leave a positive impact on them or a negative one, or you can just let them pass by.

Every time you have someone in front of you, you must see how to positively impact them. If you can make them smile a little more, you made a positive impact. This is the least you can do. Whether you know the person or not, whether it is a stranger or someone from an enemy country, can you genuinely smile at them? I’m not talking about forcing a smile. If you keep smiling every day without joy in your heart, it will kill you. If there is joy in your heart, you will naturally have a smile on your face. If you think what you are doing is important, the first thing is to work upon yourself. Why don’t you take stock of your life every month? Have you been a little better human being this month than you were last month? Have you become a little more joyful?

Criticism will anyway come. If you listen to praise, if you enjoy accolades, inevitably you will suffer criticism. If you want to have deep insights into life, no one’s opinion about you should mean anything to you. About work and activity, you can listen to other people’s opinions. About who you are and what you are committed to, you should not attach value to anyone’s opinion. To get to this place takes a certain amount of inner work. Most people are a product of other people’s opinions. If people keep telling you how good and wonderful you are, you will be floating on cloud nine. If people tell you otherwise, you will crash – cloud-burst.

Living in society, you cannot shake off criticism just like that. Becoming insensitive is not the answer – it is only avoidance. If you want a true answer, you need to work upon yourself. An inner dimension has to evolve that does not depend upon what is happening around you. If who you are is clearly established within yourself, then it won’t matter what people say. Some people say you are great, some people say you are horrible; some people say what you are doing is fantastic, some people say it’s no good – it’s okay. I don’t have time to look in the rearview mirror – my eyes are always on the road. In the rearview mirror, someone may be gesticulating angrily, someone may be praising you – it doesn’t matter.

This is not the time to enjoy successes or suffer failures. This is the time to put everything we have into creating the best possible results. That’s all human life is about – to strive for what truly matters. What happens or doesn’t happen is subject to various factors. But if you do not strive for what you truly care for, it is a wasted life. Before the drama starts, it is already a tragedy. So many issues arise just because people are not doing what they care for. If you are striving to create what you really care for, neither praise nor criticism will matter. If you can deal with situations without being affected by them, if the situations don’t decide who you are but you decide how the situations should be – that’s what I call success. That’s what I think you should strive for in life.

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Confusion is better than hasty conclusions

When I watch people in public places, it always amazes me to see how everyone is walking around, seemingly dead sure about everything. This reminds me of an incident that happened on my last flight to Delhi on the way back from the United States. From San Francisco to Europe, there were some hydraulic issues with the airplane, and it took off an hour and a half late. The last two nights before flying out, I had barely slept. After I had gone through all the news magazines and stuff, I decided to sleep. As someone who appreciates machines, and even more as an aviator, I am always sensitive to the sound of engines. I was fast asleep. Then suddenly, I felt the usual roar of the engine was not there. I sat up. The engine on the other side was roaring; on my side, it was silent. I opened the window and looked – the engine was spinning like a turbo fan.

I immediately called the hostess. She came, and I said, “The engine is out – why didn’t you tell us?” She said, “Ahh, I’ll call the captain,” and she went away. Then the captain came, and in a thick German accent, he said, “no problem.” I asked again, “The engine is out – why didn’t you tell us?” “No-no, no problem. We will have a safe landing. We are just a little slow, that’s all.” I said, “At what speed are we travelling?” “Oh, we are just doing about two hundred twenty knots.” This aircraft is supposed to do nearly five hundred knots.

I asked, “How late will we be?” He said, “Maybe about four hours, but no problem.” I said, “‘No problem’ – all right.” I took off my blazer and wore a t-shirt, just in case I had to swim in the Atlantic. I had not eaten anything. I asked the hostess to bring all the chocolates she had and ate up everything. I reckoned that if the plane touches down, I have enough rest, the right kind of clothing, enough energy, some chance, and I went to sleep. I thought the airplane might yaw into the airport. But about a little over four hours later, the pilot made a perfect landing. I thought that’s skillful.

Most people on an aircraft are not really aware that they are forty thousand feet above the ground in a tin can. When they think about the airplane, it is in terms of “It didn’t take off yet; it didn’t land yet. It’s five minutes late. My phone is not working.” They don’t really know a bloody tin can is flying in the sky with three hundred people. If out of thousands of things that are there in the aircraft, one small thing doesn’t work, all these three hundred people could evaporate, including yourself. Every time you get on an airplane, you should know that. Something should tingle within you, and you should enjoy it.

Once, when I got onto a small plane somewhere in India, someone told me, “It’s monsoon time. There is going to be a lot of turbulence. You must wear the seat belt.” I said, “Don’t worry – I enjoy the turbulence.” “Hehehe,” he laughed. I said, “Why are you laughing?” He said, “I also enjoy it.” You living without being conscious of what you are getting into gives you a certain bliss. Ignorance is bliss. But the best thing about life is to know all those things and to still do it. There is a different kind of joy to it.

People are trying to create a false sense of certainty in their lives by telling themselves or each other fanciful stories. You can call them what we want – sometimes scriptures, sometimes religion, sometimes a love affair. You are telling each other fanciful stories to somehow get through life. But when life knocks you on your head, suddenly these things fall apart, and you are confused and fearful. Fear, because you have come down to reality. It’s a blessing to come down to reality. If you have been going the wrong way and suddenly you realize you are confused, it is a good thing.

Let’s say you are walking in the jungle, and you know the way. But then you realize you don’t really know where you are going. You don’t know which is east, west, north, or south. When you are confused, the first thing is to stop and look. Pay attention to every little detail. Maybe somewhere, there is an indication which way to go. See how the sunlight is falling, or, if it is night, read the stars; look for a landmark, or at least watch which way the elephant dung goes. It may not take you to a city but at least to the water. If you are confused, don’t get into a tizzy and run all over the place.

The whole world is going through struggle and confusion, but how many will take a step in the right direction? Confusion is better than idiotic conclusions. Be glad that at least you are confused, rather than being a fanatic who is sure that he or she will go to heaven. When you are confused, you are fearful because you realize you were living with a foolish certainty, without knowing. When you suddenly realize you don’t know a thing about life, fear arises. You not knowing anything about life is not a new phenomenon. It is just that your silly conclusions collapsed for some reason – either life did it to you, or maybe I did.

If instead of going all the way wrong, halfway down your life you get confused, is it not a good thing? Otherwise, you will look bewildered when you are dying – that’s a bad way to die. Unfortunately, eighty percent of the people die looking bewildered. They never realized this was going to happen to them. The sooner you get confused, the better. Confusion means none of your conclusions are holding up. When you are thoroughly confused, all your faculties will be sharpened – you will see and hear much better.

It is like you are walking in the jungle with headphones on. Even if a tiger roared, you did not know it. Suddenly you realize you don’t know where you are going. You pulled off the headphones. Now you are thoroughly confused and a little fearful. Once you get used to the confusion, you will see it’s a good thing. And you will also see you are not alone. Most people have to go through this process of confusion and struggle in life, unfortunately. Isn’t there some other way? There is. Otherwise, why would I be here? But, after three lifetimes, I have become wise. This is my final round. The possibility is open, but I don’t believe everyone will jump by themselves. Something has to push them.

If you have realized that you are confused, don’t make further investments in the wrong direction. Stop, wait, look. Try to figure it out. When you are confused, your intelligence is alert and active and constantly looking. That’s how you should be. You just have to learn to do it joyfully. Clarity is a consequence of handling your confusion consciously.

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Knowledge or Ignorance, which is a bliss?

What you call knowledge is a certain accumulated information. Whether you want to cook your meal, manufacture a car, produce a great computer or build a building, this accumulated knowledge is important.

What you call as a cook book or an engineering book or a medical book is simply accumulated knowledge. If you do not make use of the accumulated knowledge, then you will have to reinvent the wheel every day. Only a fool will invent things which have been invented a thousand years ago. A wise man will use what has been invented in the past and produce something else for tomorrow.

One day a young student from a university went to a football match with a bottle of soda and popcorn in his hand. An old man was sitting there. He went and settled down next to the man, looked at him and said, “You old people, your generation, I don’t know how you lived. You guys really knew nothing. See, our generation, we have grown up with computers. We have nano-technology. We have spacecraft. Today we can communicate at lightning speed to anywhere in the world. You guys really lived a primitive life. So definitely you people cannot understand our ultra-modern generation of people. You are primitive because you did not have any of these things when you were growing up.” The old man heard all this and, particularly loudly so that everyone hears, he said, “Yes, my son, when we were growing up we did not have all these things. So we invented them. Now, young shit head, what are you doing for the next generation?”

What has been known and invented long ago, you accumulate that knowledge so that you do not have to reinvent the wheel every day. You do not have to end up like a fool who is doing the same things over and over again. So, is knowledge useful or not useful? You decide.

When I say knowledge about life, we are talking about this life which is you. You cannot accumulate knowledge about this life because, from accumulated knowledge, if you come to a conclusion about life it will become prejudiced knowledge. It will not allow you to experience anything.

Once you have knowledge about something, you cannot experience it fresh. It is already a prejudiced conclusion. When it comes to doing something physical or material, you need knowledge, but to conduct life you do not need knowledge you need clarity.

So when we talked about dropping the knowledge, we were talking about life, not about various disciplines of life. To do medicine, to do engineering, to do music, to do this and that, you need knowledge because you have to make use of the past experience of life not just of yours, but of a million other people or a million generations which have lived on the planet. If you do not use that, then everything has to be lived fresh, everything has to be taken fresh. At the same time, if you allow this knowledge to encroach upon your clarity of perception, then you will not see anything the way it is. The old knowledge will constantly superimpose itself. Nothing new will ever happen to you.

To have knowledge and not be identified with it, not allow it to encroach upon your clarity of vision, is very vital. To see things the way they are right now, you must be free of knowledge. To know what was in the past you need knowledge. So knowledge is in your memory. If there is clarity; a clear distinction between what is your memory and what is the scalpel of your intellect, then there is no problem. If your memory is sticking all over your intellect, then this knife will lose its sharpness, and it cannot cut through anything. It is in that context that I said knowledge has to be dropped.

Intellect is like a knife: the sharper it is, the more easily it cuts through anything. If a lot of things are sticking to it, would it be sharp? Can it cut through anything? So if you know how to keep the past in the past and be aware of what is there right now, then knowledge is not a problem. But if you have no clarity, you only exist because of what you have accumulated in the past, you become an accumulation. Then knowledge is a burden.

When it comes to living life right now, you cannot have knowledge about it because it is life. You have to perceive it; you have to know it now. Buddha knew it, Krishna knew it, someone else knew it what they knew does not matter. You cannot experience it through him. You can use his experience, but you cannot use his perception. You have to perceive. There is no other way. In this context do not burden yourself with knowledge.

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How to handle yourself when someone lets you down?

The problem is wrong assumptions. You are making assumptions about others, about yourself, and about creation. You got a little too romantic and thought the relationship happens by itself. Relationships need to be managed. The question is, are you a good manager or not? Still, however good a manager you are, things can happen. About someone letting you down…You may have unrealistic expectations about people. I know the question is coming from a certain experience, and I am not trying to belittle the pain. I know what it means to you as an individual. But at the same time, you need to understand that you came alone into this world, and you will go alone. You entered the relationship because you needed it.

No matter how much drama you create around it and what assumptions you make about the relationship, it is about trying to fulfill your needs. Whatever relationships you have formed in your life, you have done so to fulfill your needs, be they physical, psychological, emotional, financial, social, or whatever else. If you keep that in mind, you will approach your relationships with a certain humility. If you get carried away by your own thoughts and emotions, you forget about the fundamentals of the relationship, and you forget to manage it well. That is when things can go wrong.

If you are disillusioned with something or someone, it means you come to reality. This may sound cruel, but this is how life is. All people that we hold dear will go, or we will go. Even if you hold hands and die together, you will still go separately. These are your emotions. When you form a relationship with someone, it is an agreement between the two of you to help each other experience some sweetness of emotion.

As you mature, you need to learn to keep your thoughts and emotions sweet by your own nature. If your thoughts and emotions are pleasant, you can share them with other people. But if, without the other person, your thoughts and emotions get bitter and unpleasant, if someone has to offer life support every day, they will get tired. If others constantly have to keep you happy and loving, it is a burden on them, and they may run away at some point. When they escape, you think it is betrayal. Again, these are all your emotions. In the larger context of existence, you are just a piece of life.

You are making deals and relationships with people for various purposes. This not only applies to the relationship between husband and wife, but also relationships with business partners, friends, children, parents, and so on. Always remember you have entered the relationship to fulfill your needs. They may have entered the relationship for their needs, but that is not your business. Your business is to understand that they are valuable to your life.

They are adding value to who you are. When you are aware of that, you will manage the relationship in one way. If you think you are of great value to someone, you will manage the relationship in another way, which may not allow it to last long. Or you may be doing all the right things and still it may go wrong. Whichever way it is, it is your business to make yourself into a pleasant and wonderful piece of life. With or without someone, please make it happen.

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Disability shouldn’t take away your dignity

Today, we do not refer to people as “handicapped.” We are beginning to call them special children or special people. He is special, which is why you have to attend to him a little more than you attend to others, and it is an opportunity for you to put your humanity into practice and understand that life needs to be handled with sensitivity. That sort of sensitivity has to come naturally to people, rather than looking for some mystical or divine solution.

Diseases, injuries and birth defects—all these are realities of life. It is true we would like to see that everyone has legs, but if it happens that somebody does not, it need not become a great misery for him. People can support him to see that his life is not that difficult. Rather than a personal problem, it is more of a social problem which has to be addressed.

Different people have different capabilities. Not all of us can run 100 meters in 9 seconds. Does that mean we are physically handicapped? Compared to that man who can do so, we are, isn’t it? So, “handicap” is a very relative term. Physical and mental activity are always on different scales for people. But the one thing that society can do is to  as far as possible  create equal opportunities. You cannot make people equal. That would be cruel. If one person does not have a leg, will you cut everybody’s leg? Is that equality? Equality is a foolish idea. But equal opportunity is something that has to happen in every society.

There was a time when so many people would contract polio. Now governments, institutions and people who are aware of public health are taking great efforts to see that every child gets a polio vaccine. But if someone does get polio, the society has to give him the necessary opportunity to live a fulfilled life. Whether it is about getting into public transport or accessing public places, many countries still have not taken enough measures to see that a person who has a little disability can manage in this society. It is almost like everything that we have created is a hurdle for him.

I want you to understand that even people who are not physically disabled in some way are laughed at because of certain inabilities. Not all of us can do everything the same way. Suppose you can sing very well but if you ask me to sing, I’ll do it horribly and you might laugh at me. Society is mentally handicapped. Even if you are born with a funny nose, people will make fun of you. There will always be somebody who thinks they are better than you at something. You should see how to make the best of who you are rather than seeing what someone else is thinking about or laughing at. You can do something else with yourself and become a much bigger source of joy for yourself.

There is a science that deals with how you want to be within yourself, how to be at peace with your body, mind, and emotions no matter what people are saying. That is what we refer to as “yoga.” It is a technique that lets you maintain your identity. “You” are not an issue anymore; the issues are all outside. Outside issues can be handled only to the best of our ability, considering the realities in which we exist. But if you are an issue by yourself, you will not even do what you are capable of doing on the outside. If a human being does not do what he is not capable of, it is fine, but if he does not do what he can do, his life is a tragedy. That should not happen.

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The importance of having right friends

Do not underestimate the influence of the company that you keep. Even if you do not drink or do drugs, being in the company of people who do impacts you on a completely different level. Most human beings are – knowingly or unknowingly – shaped by the company that they keep. They may not realize to what extent. It is not only your family and friends who have an impact on you, but your social exposure in general. I would say your social exposure has shaped almost ninety percent of your personality. Choosing your company is not about being discriminatory, but about being discretionary as to where you want to be and with whom you want to be. It is definitely not ideal to be among people who are so compulsive in nature that you can consider them addicts, no matter what they are addicted to.

Your whole effort is to move from compulsiveness to consciousness. Being among people who are very compulsive is not supportive. You have not yet reached a place where you can be among the most compulsive people and still be absolutely conscious and unaffected on the level of your system. You may or may not get addicted yourself. I hope you will not, but it definitely influences you in many ways. If external influences did not have an impact, why would anyone make the effort of building an ashram? It is one big headache to maintain a spiritual place which is like an oasis in a churning ocean. To keep it like an island that remains untouched by what is happening around takes a lot.

Sometime visit any spiritual community center, so many people visit such place especially in nation like India. To welcome them, to let them be part of it, and not to become them is a great challenge. Such centers need solid people. Otherwise, everyone tries to bring a bit of their home, their street, their town and make it a part of the ashram. People try to introduce their whims and fancies, their likes and dislikes. Almost everyone who comes tries to exert some influence upon the ashram. Some ask about doing or having things in a certain way – others just do it. To politely or sometimes forcefully refuse their influence is not easy. The idea of an ashram is to maintain a space that is dedicated towards a purpose.

Wherever you live, you need to maintain your space in such a way that it is dedicated to the purpose for which you are living. Your private space should reflect where you want to go, rather than someone else’s compulsive ways of living. This is very important; until you come to a place where, even if you go to hell, you will come out untouched. Right now, you tend to get carried away. Do not overestimate yourself.

Creating the right kind of space – and if necessary moving away from negative influences – is very important for your growth. This is not only about avoiding people with a drug addiction, but with any kind of excessive compulsiveness. People are dedicated to their compulsiveness. If you look at the way many so-called normal families live – “normal” in the sense that the children are not drug addicts, the husband is not an alcoholic, and the wife is not a shopaholic – the way they exist is so anti-consciousness. If you can transform them, that is great. If you cannot transform them, the best thing is to step away. For almost all human beings, the kind of company they keep shapes their lives. To what extent may vary from person to person, but it definitely determines a lot of things.

Let’s assume you are a successful personality today. Maybe right now, what kind of company you keep does not make any difference to you. But the company you kept in earlier times definitely determined who you are today. If you had kept the wrong kind of company then, things would surely be very different for you now. What was relevant for you then is relevant for you now. It is very important for your growth that you either cultivate the right kind of company or make choices not to be in the wrong company.

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Children needs only indirect aid and no direct advice

If you look at the education a child goes through, you spend a certain number of years to learn the alphabet. To learn to write and read sentences, you spend a certain number of years. To learn a certain amount of mathematics, you invest some years. Why is it that there is no time given to learn the ways of how you function from within? It is because we have set a priority in society that it is not important. I am saying this with utmost pain – I was told that over 3000 children attempt suicide in the United States every day. In India, over 10,000 children commit suicide every year. How can we ignore this aspect of life? Have we lost our sense?

You cannot correct this just by working with the children. A child needs an ecosystem. This is where we have missed out in the things we are doing in the world today. Recently, someone sent me a gift – a spray which is supposed to be a good bacteria spray. I am supposed to spray it on myself. They told me that if you spray the bacteria, your skin will be healthy, if you spray it on your head, your hair will be healthy! Why do I need bacteria? I did not grow up in a laboratory. I grew up on this planet which is full of bacteria. What I am saying is, your life does not happen in exclusivity. This life happens in inclusivity. The ecological disaster that is happening on the planet is happening because we thought we could eliminate everything and we would live well. It does not work like that. It needs an ecosystem.

The same goes for your child. A child needs an ecosystem. What kind of things are they exposed to, what are they doing with their lives, where are we trying to drive them? We must understand that a child, particularly a youth, means humanity in the making. Even with a car, you expect the next model to be better than the current model. If the car company keeps manufacturing the same model, will you buy it every year? Similarly, the next generation should not think, feel and act the same as you do. That should not be the expectation. At the same time, whether they are working towards their wellbeing or not is definitely a concern for the parent.

A child’s wellbeing cannot happen just by fixing that one child. We need an ecosystem because a child is not independent of the atmosphere in which he or she grows up. A child is a product of that atmosphere. We have to cultivate the atmosphere. If we want flowers, we have to maintain the atmosphere. We cannot pull flowers out of the plant. It does not work like that. We will end up with plastic flowers if we try that.

Most parents do not cultivate the genius of their children. They are trying to drive their children in a particular direction. Do not drive. You cannot get rose flowers from a plant that is not a rose plant. It will come out with a different kind of flower. You should not expect rose flowers out of everything just because you like rose flowers. You have a new and fresh life in your home. We do not know what will come out of it.

When I was a youth, if someone told me to do this or that, I would not do it unless it made sense to me. The only thing in my life that paid off for me was that I never got influenced by anybody, either the family, the society, the religious atmosphere or the political atmosphere. I just kept myself the way the creator made me. I kept myself a little aloof from everything, and I saw slowly, there is a certain intelligence just to be alive.

This is why I tell people that to bear and raise a child, you must have either enormous courage or enormous wisdom. Because a new life is not a small thing. If you see it as a phenomenon which blossomed in your body, came out and is growing – out of two cells, life is happening in front of you, taking shape – if you watch it with utter wonder and create the right kind of atmosphere, your child will grow into something beautiful. But they may not be the rose flower that you expected. They need not become what you expect because your expectations are coming from the graveyard of the past. Children belong to the future.

Children do not belong to you, and they do not come from you. They only come through you. It is a privilege that we must appreciate and enjoy, rather than thinking it is our right or trying to determine where they should go and what they should do. As long as they are working towards their wellbeing and they are not doing something negative against their own life, you must wait. For the entire time until the child becomes twenty-one, you must feel like you are still pregnant. Just wait. When the child was inside, you did nothing, right? Just nourished yourself well and waited. Just like that – provide the atmosphere and wait.

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How to live better life?

You said you want to live better. I have seen a lady, who I knew very well at one time, wanting to go somewhere one evening, and standing in front of her elaborate wardrobe, crying and biting her nails because she is confused as to what she should wear that day. I told her, “It is very simple. You must give away all these clothes and just keep seven. Sunday this, Monday this, Tuesday this…”

I am not saying everyone should have only seven pairs of clothes. All I am saying is that if you can gracefully walk through the material in the world, it is fine. But if you are going to carry the material world on your head, possessing everything that you touch, you are not going to live better.

There is substantial scientific evidence for this. In the evolutionary process itself, only those creatures flourished that learned how to cooperate and think of each other’s wellbeing. Those which only thought, “I must survive at any cost,” did not survive. Over a period of time, they perished. If you look around, you will see, people who are thinking, “I must get this, I must get that,” they may be getting a lot of things, but you will not see joy on their faces.

You can have a thousand things and be confused about what to wear or use today. Or, even if you have just one thing or nothing, you can be blissed out within yourself. Which is a better way to live?

Everything you possess is dug out of the planet. Unfortunately, in today’s world, most people think living better means they have to dig up everything in the planet and carry it on their heads, where if someone breaks one window in the house their heart will break. Living better is not about digging up the planet and heaping it on your head. That happens when you go to the grave. People will put mud on your head when you are dead. When you are alive you are supposed to walk upon the planet, not carry it on your head.

Our ideas of living better have to evolve, for our sake and the sake of the planet. To save the planet, people are saying you must use this kind of fuel, drive an electric car and all kinds of things. These are minor adjustments. If you really want an ecological transformation on the planet in this generation, you must turn the whole population into spiritual seekers.

They must understand that living better is not about what they possess but about how they are. If they understand this much and start living that way, there is no problem. Even if ten billion people live on this planet, which we are expecting by 2050, there will be no problem if people understand that better living is about how you are within yourself, not about the things that you possess.

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What artificial intelligence will do to humanity?

Any intelligence is good. If you do not have natural intelligence, then artificial; if you do not have organic intelligence, then synthetic. But any intelligence is good if it is intelligence. Suppose the walls in your house turned out to be intelligent ones, is it not fantastic? The only thing is, if they get smarter than you, you may feel a little insecure! Otherwise, having a lot of intelligent things around you is a great blessing.

Only somebody who wants to be the smartest person around will feel insecure if all the things around him become smarter than him. Otherwise, it is such a blessing. If you had a pen which could write what you want without you touching it, if there was a phone that would say what you want to say without you having to say it, would it not be nice? Any intelligence is good.

Without intelligence, there is no truth. Lies have not always happened because of deceit. Lies have also happened because of ignorance. Intelligence, intelligence and intelligence is the only solution to make truth mainstream.

Especially, as external technologies grow, suppose robots start doing all the work you are doing now, what are human beings going to do? They are already talking about robots that will win the football world cup by 2050.

Your thoughts and emotions are also something that can be artificially created. Some time ago, some researchers set up a computer to test how people can have relationships with computers. Many people had a wonderful relationship with this computer over email, not knowing that it was a computer. And it was managing this with twenty lines of vocabulary.

Technology is moving in a direction where artificially, a computer will be able to think a million times better than human beings, because thought is fundamentally computing. Data is assimilated and then it comes out with something sensible from that. As computers evolve, a computer will be able to do this far better than a human being. This evolution is not even going to take a very long time. It will happen in a short time. Then there will be no value for human thought. All the thinkers will be out of business!

But that is only intelligence. That is not consciousness. Our thought, our emotion, these have nothing to do with consciousness. Once everything is well, what are human beings supposed to do? Human beings are supposed to be joyful, blissful and do something that no mechanical thing can do. A robot can do everything that you can do – except it cannot meditate because there is no consciousness. So, ultimately, only meditators will be employed!

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Mind management is life management

Why do people feel joyful one moment and absolutely miserable the next moment? Why does that which you are longing for seem so close one moment, and in another moment it looks so far away? That is because in today’s world, no work has been done towards managing our minds. In our education system, from ABC to 1, 2, 3 to E = mc², we are only trying to load the mind with information. If you carry a little more than others, people think you are smart. If you are unnecessarily carrying a lot of things on your head, normally people should think you are stupid, but in this context, they actually think you are smart. All you have to do in today’s world is look up things on your phone and tell someone who is passing by something about the galaxy. They will say, “Oh my God, you’re brilliant!” Only the bloody phone is brilliant, unfortunately.

Information is considered brilliance – any fool can gather information. You can open a book, check, and read it out. For a long time, people thought reading a book is religion – even now many think so. Anyone who is literate can read a book. When literacy was rare, when only one man in the entire village could read, people were in awe that just looking into a book, this person was able to say so many things, whereas when they looked at the book, they couldn’t make out anything. It seemed like a phenomenon to them. Anything seems like a phenomenon to you when you are ignorant. Coming back to the current situation – what is lacking in our education system right now is that it does not address the nature of the mind, how we need to handle it, and what fundamental discipline we need to bring to it. That is the reason why in one moment, what you are striving for seems close and real, but then again, it all looks like an empty promise.

You must make up your mind; otherwise life will go waste. Every moment, your thoughts will shift from here to there, because the mind has no shape. That is the beauty of the mind – you can shape it anyway you want. Or you can keep it aside. Your body has a shape. The mind doesn’t have a shape – you can do whatever you want with it. That is the most fabulous aspect of the mind, and that is also what most human beings are suffering right now. The problem is that your mind doesn’t take instructions from you – it takes its own shape. You must make up your mind. Today is a good day. Sit by yourself and make up your mind. What is the direction of your life? And don’t change this direction for the rest of your life. Whatever you choose is fine with me. If you don’t fix the direction of your life, every day, the mind changes its shape, and you think you need to change the direction.

If you have been at the Isha Yoga Center during the monsoons, you would have seen the clouds changing shape every moment. The clouds changing shape is not a problem. But if the wind changes direction and the clouds do not go where they need to go, then it is a problem. The same with you. Your mind changing shape is not the problem – it changing direction is the problem. Fix the direction for your life all by yourself. I’m not here to influence you on that. I fixed my direction, and it worked marvelously. Fix your direction, whatever this direction may be. After that, it should not change every day. To follow every scrap that you see here and there is not the way a human being should live. It doesn’t matter if the direction that you have fixed seems to work or not. Fix the direction of your life at a time when you are joyful, well, and clear. After that, it should not change.

If your emotion changes direction and you think, “This is not it,” don’t listen to that. If you listen to your depressions and frustrations, you will dig yourself into a hole before time. Someone else should dig a hole for you after you are dead. Why dig your own hole? This is not the time to dig a hole – this is the time to fly. The most fantastic aspect of the human mind is it can change shape any moment, in any way. That only becomes a problem if you mistake shape for direction. That is what is happening in people’s lives. If you fix your direction, you can let your mind change its shape any number of times without any problem. Once the direction is fixed, changing the shape of the mind will lead to creativity, not to depression.

A mind that can consciously take any shape that every moment demands, that mind is a stepping stone for Enlightenment. A nebulous Mind with unchanging focus or direction is the instrument of immense knowing.

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How to maintain good health?

It is ironic that after a century-long fight against contagious diseases, which were caused to us by other organisms, we are now on “self-help.” Now we make ourselves sick – we do not need bacteria or viruses to do it for us. As you said, essentially, the origin of chronic ailments is within us. Why would our own body manufacture disease or an ailment for us? Every cell in the body is wired for health; every one of them is fighting for survival and health.

Our body wants to be healthy. So why would it cause ill health? There are various dimensions to this. One which you have talked about a lot is definitely food. The affluent are eating too much. The poor are not eating the right way, or they do not have choices. Unfortunately, still a large segment of the population has no choice about what they eat because they live in poverty. And another segment of the world makes compulsive choices, because they are affluent. When we lived in poverty, we thought that when we get affluent, we will have choices. That is the idea of being affluent. But affluence has made people compulsive to eat certain things.

So both ways, people are suffering. Whether you suffer hunger or you suffer indigestion, it needs to be addressed. As we address the requirements of those who live in poverty, we need to address the problem of excessive food. Another dimension of this is there is no education, no awareness about how to keep the human mechanism. We do not even have to think of how to create health. Because the body is made from within, it is structured to be healthy. Our business is just to not create ill health.

There are many ways to look at this. One simple way to look at this is – suppose as I sit here, my hand starts popping around, punching me and poking me in the eye – then for sure you would consider that there is an ailment, at least in my hand, if not in my whole self. This is exactly what people’s minds are doing right now. It pops up, hops all over the place; it punches, scratches, and pokes them; it makes them cry, it makes them miserable. We have not done anything about it. People have not even looked at the basic user’s manual as to how to use their mind. It is a powerful instrument. And we know today that for every thought, for every emotion, for every reverberation that you create in your mind, the very chemistry of your body changes.

One way of looking at it is that this human body is a chemical soup – either it is a great soup or a lousy soup. The soup becomes lousy either because the ingredients that you are using are not good, or the way you are cooking it is not good. You may have all the ingredients right, but still you can mess up the soup. Or because the ingredients are bad, you can mess up the soup. Poverty is a place where ingredients are bad, so the soup is messed up. Affluence is a place where the ingredients are good but the cook is bad, and again you have a lousy soup.

When you talk about being connected to truth – truth is not an idea or a concept, it is not a philosophy that you read or make up in your mind. The truth about the body is you only gave it material, but the body was manufactured from within. You did not make it from outside. You did not get a sculptor to create this body. It was sculpted from within. Or in other words, the manufacturer of the body is inside. If the manufacturer of the body is inside, if there is a little repair job to be done, would you like to go to the manufacturer or the local mechanic?

If you have lost the ID of the manufacturer, you go to the local mechanic. There is an intelligence within you that can transform a piece of bread into the complex mechanism of the human body. If you have access to this intelligence or the source of creation within, health will be a natural consequence. It is not something that you have to run after. Health is a natural outcome of living in tune with everything within and around you. Health should be the last of concerns, but today it is one of the biggest concerns. It is not the biggest thing if you live in tune with this life that you are. A tree is not worrying about its health; a bird is not worrying about its health; a buffalo in the wild is not worrying about his health – he is just in tune with nature, and he is healthy.

Now, we must understand this one thing. It is in pursuit of human wellbeing that we started commerce. So commerce should always serve human wellbeing. Right now, for the health of the economy, we are surrendering the health of the human being. Commercial forces are deciding what you should eat, what you should drink, and how you should live. It should never be so, but unfortunately we have chosen this model across the world today – that commercial forces determine the nature of human existence. Human consciousness should decide the nature of human existence, and commercial forces should serve that purpose. We have reversed this. This is the fundamental place where we have gone wrong.

I have three clear-cut steps to change this. The first thing is to campaign. People should become aware of the way they are being used by forces which were supposed to serve them. The next thing is education as to how to fix it in individual lives. The next thing is policy. These three things must happen, and in this order. It is very important. Everyone should realize what they are doing is wrong. If you want a global transformation, everyone should know the way they are eating, drinking, and the way they are compelled to do things in this world is wrong. Then education – what is the right thing to do? Then the policy.

Whatever kind of social structures, individual situations, and world situations we are placed in, still individuals have choices. All of us live in the same society, but all of us may not be making the right choices. What we consume, how we sit and stand – this is definitely our choice. It is just that most people are willing to go along with the mass hysteria.

Not every individual is capable of making the right choices. They go by what the majority does. Unless health becomes a mass movement, there will be no global health. But if you as an individual want to create health for yourself, that is not a big deal – you can do this. There is a little bit of poison that you have to breathe and drink, that is unavoidable, but whatever poison you are generating from within, you can stop it instantaneously if you wish.

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How to make the most of your life?

There are two ways to address your life. One way is to set goals and go for them. What kind of goals will you set? Something that you are impressed with in the world, something that you have not yet done, something that is yet to be in your life. You are trying to be like someone else or do something that someone else is doing. Whatever goals you arrive at, they are all in some way within the limitations of what you already know, or maybe a little-exaggerated versions thereof. Is it not tragic to spend a whole year trying to achieve what you already know? My intention is things that you do not know should happen to you. Things that you have never imagined should enter your life. Only then will your life be truly enriched. What is the point of only doing things that you already know?

When it comes to financial or physical things that you want to achieve, maybe if it matters to you, you can set up such goals. Personally, I think even that is a waste of life. Suppose you have a million dollars and your goal is to have a billion dollars by the end of the year. If it doesn’t happen, it’s a good thing because you have lived in that hope. But if it happens, let’s say in January itself, then what will you do? You will want to make it ten billion dollars. There was a time when you could be happy with one dollar. Now for the same happiness, you need a million dollars. That’s called inflation. That’s not an enhancement of life.

All that you do with life is create inflation. Inflation is neither good for the economy nor for your life. In physics, inflation means filling up something, like you inflate the tires of a car with air. But in economics, inflation means certain parameters go out of control. Now you are consciously causing inflation in your life – that is not an intelligent way to go about it. By setting time-bound goals, you may achieve a few things, but it will be of no consequence to the life that you are.

Instead of setting goals for the whole year, just set this one thing: By the end of the day, you must be a little more joyful, a little more enhanced, a little better. This will not work as a goal – it is better to look at it in retrospect. Tomorrow evening, just check, “Am I a little better than yesterday?” Just look at these twenty-four hours – it will make you more conscious. This is not about you being joyful or peaceful. This is about you being conscious of as many aspects of your life as possible.

You will do your best about whatever you are conscious of. Most of the nonsense happens because you are unconscious about so many things. All we need to do is to become conscious about everything – about our own nature, our mental states, our emotional states, our life, our physical situations, our financial situations, our ecological situations. If you become conscious, you will do your best. That’s all you need to do in life. But right now, you believe that unless you create a tension, you will not achieve anything. To get from where you are to where your goal is, you create a tension – it is like a rubber band effect. You try to keep moving from one place to another. From one level of social status to another. From one financial status to another. From one educational status to another. This is no different from how the caveman was, how hunters and gatherers were – “gather as much as you can.”

In those days, they piled up bones, feathers, and the like. Now maybe you are thinking of stocks, shares, and property. Maybe you are thinking of conquering another nation. On a material level, it looks different, but fundamentally, it is the same rudimentary thought of accumulating things. All this accumulation would make sense, had you organized transport to take all these things with you when you die. Having your own furniture in Heaven or especially in Hell would be great. Otherwise, who knows – maybe they will give you this chair with a straight back that you don’t like, so taking your own sofa with you would be great.

Anything that you gather, whether it is your knowledge, your wealth, your relationships, or whatever else, is only of value for the current transactions. If you keep it active, it will facilitate a few things for you. It has social consequence, but it has no life consequence. Instead of setting goals, it is best you find ways to nourish this life that you are. If you are nourishing this life, you only have to measure the growth. Suppose you plant a mango tree. If you set the goal that by the end of 2018, it must bear a thousand fruits, otherwise you will cut it down, all that will happen is you will cut the tree. The way to do it is to see how to nurture this tree in the best possible way, and to do that. Don’t worry about getting a thousand fruits. Whatever best can come out will come out of it. If you nourish it in a certain way, it may be more than you can imagine.

It is not good to set goals in any sphere of life, because you will only be doing something that you already know. Nothing completely new will happen in your life. I think that’s a tragedy. Your dreams coming true is no good. If what you could not even dare to dream of becomes a reality – that’s a fantastic life. Results will happen depending on how well you handle the process of life, as well as on the times and on where you are. Today you may put in a certain amount of effort, and you will earn a million dollars. A thousand years ago, someone ten times smarter than you put in a lot of effort, but still he only earned a small amount. But this comparison is not the point. The important thing is that for the times he lived in, he yielded the best he could. For the times you live in, are you yielding the best you can? That is the question.

I know every management school is talking about setting goals. But goals are not set for themselves – they are set to drive other people. There are a lot of people who will never do their best – they are always under par. They are not conscious enough to understand that as a human being, you must do the best you can in your life. Otherwise, life will be wasted. For such people, you have to set goals. If you are a donkey, the less you do, the smarter you are, because there are no other possibilities for you beyond eating, reproducing, sleeping, hanging around, and dying one day. Because there are no possibilities, the less you do, the better. Too many people have adopted this donkey philosophy. They think if they do less and get more, they are doing well. In reality, they are just stupid. They are missing the whole possibility of life.

This is what happens if you try to do less – simple things will become burdensome in your life. People are having so much trouble just going to the office and doing nine-to-five work. They are not managing the company. They are not managing the government. It’s just a chunk of work that someone has given them, just for a living – how complicated they are making that! From that, they are getting high blood pressure and their heart is breaking. You must see the scenes that happen in families. Just two people living together – how complicated! Little children – how much suffering they cause! Only once in a way, they are a joy – the rest of the time, people suffer them immensely.

Their work, their children, their spouses, their homes, their jobs, their driving – people suffer just about everything. This happens because they are not conscious enough to understand that life works best when you throw yourself into it, without bothering about what comes back. Life happens because of your involvement, not because of what you get. What are you going to do with what you get? The only sick pleasure you could have is if you compare yourself with someone else who has less than you. If you want to know and enjoy life, if you want to explore the full potential of this life, the only way is through absolute involvement. Let us see what will come out of it. If it is winter, nothing comes out of the earth. In springtime, with a little effort, a lot comes out. The same goes with life.

The biggest mistake people make is to be goal-oriented. If you set yourself the goal to get enlightened by 2018, you will be totally messed up by the end of the year. If you just do what you have to do, life will naturally flower.

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How to defeat the depression?

Once you declare that depression is a natural process, there is no way out. When you were a child, being joyful was natural to you, not being depressed. So do not declare that depression is natural.

Depression means you are unable to maintain the exuberance of life in you. It happens even in your body. If you are depressed, even the physical body flops. Life within you is not exuberant – it has just gone down and lost its exuberance because you are not doing the right thing with it. You are imposing too much outside nonsense upon the inside. You have not done anything to keep your life energies high.

Depression is a kind of agony. If you have become agony and not ecstasy, it is because a large part of your life energy is happening compulsively, not consciously. It is happening as a reaction to external situations. Once you are happening compulsively, becoming depressed is very normal, because external situations are never hundred percent in your control. There are so many things happening in the world; if you compulsively react, getting lost and becoming miserable is natural. The more exposed you are to life, the more miserable you will become.

When people are unable to handle life outside, they try to curtail their life and withdraw. But even that goes out of control, doesn’t it? There is one part of you which is constantly seeking expansion – you want to constantly increase the boundaries and areas of your activity. There is another part of you which is getting depressed every time something does not go the way you think it should go. Getting depressed is subject to the non-fulfilment of your expectations.

If the stock market gets depressed today, so many people will get depressed. Many of them may never have even touched that money, but every day they were watching the graphs rising and their mood was in ascendancy. Now they see the graph falling, so their mood is falling. It is just that what they expected to happen, did not happen.

People can cause depression in their mood in so many ways. If you take away what they think is precious, they become depressed. The tragedy with a lot of people, especially in affluent societies, is that they have everything and yet they have nothing. Depression means somewhere, a certain hopelessness has set in. If you go to some very poor village in India, they are really impoverished, but you will see joyful faces because they have hope – it is going to be better tomorrow. In affluent societies that hope is gone. Depression has set in because everything that can be used externally has been fixed. There is food, there is housing, there is clothing, there is everything, but still, there is something wrong. They just do not know what.

A poor man may think, “Tomorrow if I get a new pair of footwear, everything will be fine.” If he gets a new pair of footwear, he will walk like a king with great joy on his face because he has hope; the outside is not yet fixed. In affluent societies, the outside is fixed, but the inside is not fixed, so there is hopelessness and depression.

As we work on the outside, we must also fix the inside. Then the world would be beautiful. What we call as a spiritual process is just this – not just fixing the objective aspect of your life but taking care of the subjectivity of who you are. If that is not taken care of, you will have everything, and you will have nothing.

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Entrepreneur is a creator, not a money manager

For an entrepreneur, I know money is important, but money does not come because you desire money. It comes because you do something well. If you think only about money, that means in my understanding, you are only interested in the consequence, not the process. Those who are only interested in the consequence and not in the process will only dream about it, they will not do it.

Instead of constantly thinking about how much money you want to earn, if you look at what you want to create and if what you create is truly worthwhile, money will happen. At the end of your life, you cannot take what you have gathered. What matters is only what you have created.

If you look at modern-day entrepreneurs who made it big, such as Narayana Murthy, these people did not bother about money. They bothered about creating something. And because what they created was valuable to everyone, money naturally came in. Above all, if you are creating what you value, if you are creating what you see as being of immense value to everyone’s life, you will have the joy of creating it.

An entrepreneur becomes an entrepreneur because he wants to create something that he thinks must happen. If you want to create something, money is a part of it. Without money, no activity moves properly in today’s world. So money is just another one of the materials to make things happen. Like there are material managers, you need a money manager.

How much money you make depends upon the times. The huge success stories of today like Infosys are relevant to a certain time in history. At a certain time, certain technologies and breakthroughs allow these things to happen. You should not look for those things. You must just look at what it is that you want to create, in what way do you want to add value to people’s lives. If you are really offering something of great value to people’s lives, why do you have to count the money? It will anyway come.

Narayana Murthy started out as a small entrepreneur and today has become a name the entire world respects. When he chose his partners when Infosys was starting out – which is an important part of any business – the other six people – were many years junior to him. But when he took them as a partner, he gave them an almost equal equity in his business as he himself had.

People told him he was crazy. Most of his partners had only a year of experience in the software industry and he was giving them so much stake in the company. So he replied, “It does not matter because I am not doing this for money. I want their hundred percent involvement. They should not be thinking of anything other than making this into a success.” And for him, it paid off because it is better to own fifteen percent of 50,000 crores than own hundred percent of five crores.

And above all, it is most important that people who are working with us are willing to throw their lives into it because without everyone putting their lives into it, something big is not going to happen. If you work in a cautious way: “I will do eight hours work, you do eight hours work” – this will not make an enterprise. An entrepreneur has to live it. It is not just about making a living, it is about making a life out of the activity we perform. An entrepreneur is self-propelled – he does not need anything from outside to push him. He or she wants to push himself or herself hundred percent to their limits and do something. If this has to happen, the fundamental incentive is about creating something larger than yourself. Money is just a consequence.

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Education shouldn’t be competition, it should be contentment

The pressure in education is only because you are putting two absolutely unique beings in comparison. Is there one more person exactly like you on this planet? No. There is only one like you. Each being is an absolutely unique being. That is so for your child also. Pressure arises because you are trying to put them all into the same compartment, comparing them and making them feel better or worse about it.

It is parents who have brought in competition and comparison because, for most parents, the point is not education, it is about “the first rank”. All they want is that their children should sit on top of every other child’s head. Their whole effort in their life is to sit on top of the pile. Everyone wants to sit on top of the pile but only a few can be on top. The others will naturally end up at the bottom and if our focus is just to sit on top of the pile, others will naturally get suffocated under the pile. This is bound to happen, there is no other way.

This orientation of education has to go. Education is not about molding children the way you think they should be. Education is about organizing the natural longing in a human being to know.

It is very convenient to put the blame on schools. The schools are just catering to your attitudes. If your attitudes change, the schools will change. They want to run the business the way it works. If all you want is that your child should somehow get 100%, no matter what it costs the child, then schools will cater to that because you are paying them. They are just trying to fulfill their job. This is a sickness that has to go because we are just ruining a whole generation with the kind of schooling we are providing.

True human genius will not flower if this kind of education happens. True human capabilities will not find expression in competition. When you are in a race with someone, you only think of going one step ahead of him. You will not think of what your ultimate potential is.

True human capabilities will find expression only in absolute relaxation. Your mind and body will work best and find the fullest expression only when you are joyful, peaceful and quiet within yourself.