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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.