All stories begin with “Once upon a time.” The story that I really want to tell you also begins like this, but there is a small difference—and the difference is, “Once upon this time there lives you.”
Once upon this time there lives You.
ONE 2 ONE
WITH PREM RAWAT
So, hello everyone. Prem Rawat here and I hope you’re doing wonderfully well. I know this whole coronavirus thing is kind of going on and on and on and—it’s kind of very different to just sit back and watch the show take place.
And you would have thought that this would have been, in year 2020, just a breeze. But it’s not. And on many levels, I think a lot of people are experiencing a lot of difficulties.
So I thought I’d talk to you about something today that—it came up—I was thinking about this. And it’s particularly, Ramayan. And again, you know, I think that that story has been used again and again when people have been experiencing difficulties—because the very nature of everything.
In India, astrology is very much so, used and it’s an everyday thing and nobody thinks twice about it. And in fact, a lot of the holidays that they have been celebrating for thousands of years are actually based upon knowing the constellation of the stars that was when that event took place.
So, when—there is an official calendar that is published by the government. And in that, like, for instance, they have the, Ram’s coming back from the exile (and that’s Diwali). It, it’s not on a particular date but the constellation of the stars, that’s what it’s set at. So when those, that constellation repeats again, that will be the date for Diwali. And there are many, many like that.
So, in India, this is, again, a society, a culture that’s very, very old. And, you know, in modern days, well, they can predict a monsoon within two days, one day, back and forth. So they’re—it’s quite precise.
So, why am I talking about astrology? This is the reason. So, when Ram is born, the astrologers declare that it is the most auspicious time. So Ram is born under a most incredibly auspicious time. In fact, when he gets married, that is an incredibly auspicious moment. All the dates, all the, everything is just lined up.
But then when you read the story, it doesn’t quite match up. I mean, having been born in the most auspicious time—and then what unfolds, it seems like, “Wait a minute.” If he was born under such an auspicious time, an auspicious moment, then why did he have to go through the hardships that he did?
And if his wedding was at this most auspicious time and they were perfect for each other, then that marriage didn’t actually work out for too long! And they had to go and be in exile and so on and so forth.
So here is my take on it. I’m not trying to, you know, give my own take on it, but this is what I just observed. There are two things. And one is the difficulties that Ram had to go through, that Sita had to go through.
And so, if we look at just those difficulties that Ram had to go through—but that was pretty severe. But if we look at, “Okay, even though he went through all these difficulties—but was he able to accomplish what he had set out to accomplish? Did he succeed?” And the answer to that is absolutely yes.
So now we’re talking about two different things. We’re talking about setting out, setting forth in this world with some objectives—it doesn’t matter how simple they may be, but there they are; they’re the objectives.
They could be that, at the end of the day, you just want to be content. That, the end of the day, you want to feel love in your heart. That in the end of the day, you want to feel peace; you want to feel joy.
But to maybe—if you take a look at all the things that take place in your life, things aren’t easy. So, “easy and difficult” has nothing to do with it. Whatever you are trying to accomplish, it may be extremely difficult to accomplish it—but it gets accomplished. And if it gets accomplished, that’s good!
There is that saying, you know, that somebody—and then, especially in India, there’s that saying, “That if somebody has been lost all day long but by the evening time he comes back home, all is good; all is fine.”
So, what my whole point is, is that in our lives we pray and we try to do things—is it so that we will succeed at the end of the day, or is it about making it easy?
So, when the difficulties come, what happens to us? Do we lose focus? Do we lose the sight of “what it is that I’m trying to do, what it is that I’m trying to accomplish”? And get so lost in the difficulty, in how difficult it is that the focus is gone from what you’re trying to accomplish.
For a lot of people, then it becomes that, whatever it is that they go through in their life, they just want it to be easy. But having it easy and having the goal fulfilled are two different things! And we’re just trying to make it easy. And that’s so much our focus: “Oh, but let’s make it easy; let’s make it easy; let’s make it easy; let’s make it easy!”
When it comes to peace, “Oh, let’s make it easy.” When it comes to, you know, finding that joy inside of you, “Let’s make it easy!”
And you know, did Ram actually accomplish everything he set out to do? And the answer to that is “Yes, of course he did.” In the way of being in that exile, he lost his wife—but he brought her back home. His brother, who he loved very much, got hurt. But he got him taken care of, healed—and brought him back home as well, all intact, all good.
He is able to forgive one of his stepmothers who had been behind the plot to have him exiled. He loves the people of Ayodhya, of the city where he’s from. He comes back to them—they are all very happy.
And you can take a look at the story from one very simple perspective—here is a person who is born. He is divine. But he has to be born as a human for what he wants to fulfill, what he wants to accomplish. On the very day that he is to be crowned, he is exiled. He upholds his father’s promise and he goes to the jungle to exile.
There, they are going from place to place to place to place, and they finally find one place that would be really wonderful for them to be able to set up their hut; there is water there; there are fruits there; there is—everything is there; it’s protected; it’s good. And of course, Sita gets stolen.
Ram goes looking, finds Sita, finds where she is. The person who had kidnapped her, he slays him. In the process, Lakshman, his brother, gets hurt. And then, once the bad guy has been slain, he comes back home and everything is okay.
But okay, you could look at it that way. But there’s a lot of difficulties. Personally, Ram is having a lot of self-doubt. And the self-doubt is that “I could not protect my Sita.” I mean, that’s got, that’s got to weigh on him heavily. “Here I am. I am powerful because, all these weapons that I have, all the things that I have.”
And that’s a very interesting one, because sometimes we don’t realize that it isn’t what we have—but what we have here within us—that’s going to allow us to see, our focus, our purpose in life. And move forward accordingly.
Whether it is a disease, whether it is pain, whether it is sorrow, whether it is loss, whether it is whatever! And these are the situations that don’t make it easy—makes life rather difficult.
And Ram goes through the same thing. In fact, when he is fighting Ravan, he is like, “Oh my God, you know, I’m not going to be able to do this. I mean, that these guys are trained; these guys are vicious; they.... They, they”—that, you know, Ravan’s son, he was, you know, very much trained in illusions.
And he could do things, and he was powerful and—all of those things. In fact, his, one of his names was “Indrajit.” Indrajit means “Indra.” Indra is like, yeah, the head of all the gods.
And there he is! And Ram is like, “You know, how am I going to do this; how am I going to pull it off?” And people have to remind him, when he starts to lose heart; it’s like, “Look, it’s okay! You are the divine. And you’ll do it. This is why you have come here—and you’re doing it. It’s happening.”
Now, as a human being, what could somebody say to you? When the time comes and you start to lose heart, and you start to see that the problems that you are faced with are bigger in size than you? (And they always are, more or less.)
And just remember that within you is that divine. You may not be the divine but within you is the divine. That when all seems lost, it doesn’t have to be all is lost.
That to dig deep down and pull the courage that you have, the clarity, the understanding—that you are; you are here; you exist. And as this most powerful thing that you have—it’s called “life,” it’s called “breath” that comes into you—and it allows you to go and perpetuate this, this existence.
That whatever the difficulties may be, whatever the issues may be, and however big they may be, don’t confuse “easy” and the fulfillment of the objective. It may not be easy to find peace. But to have found peace is a fulfillment, is a success unparalleled.
It’s not easy to give up things, concepts, ideas in our life. We hold onto them; we hold onto them very, very dearly. This is who—this is—our whole training is based upon that.
Whoever you are, there are things that you didn’t come up with, that have been poured, literally, in your cranium. And it gets to a point where you can’t even distinguish that which is from your own experience and that which has been poured into your cranium.
And so, to undo, you know, and then these are the things you hear in a lot of the Zen stories. And one of the ones that I use is, this man comes to this Master and the Master says, “Okay, well, can I offer you some tea?” And so he gets some tea; he asks his servant, “Bring some tea.” He’s pouring the tea and the cup is full.
And the tea starts to overflow—and the man is looking at the Master going, “Well, what are you doing? Don’t you see that the cup is full? It will take no more! And you must empty the cup if you want tea to go in there.” And the Master says, “Exactly. Your cup is already full; whatever I pour in it, it’s not going to go in there. Empty it first.”
And so this is what it means—to see things from a very simple perspective, not contaminated. When you see another human being, what do you see? Do you see the color of their skin; do you see their scars; do you see their face; do you see their eyes; do you—what do you see?
Do you have a recognition that what you’re looking at is a human being? Not a “client,” not a this, not a that. But just a human being, just like you. And who are you? And what do you associate yourself with? Your accomplishments? (“I’m a doctor; I am a lawyer; I am a this; I am a that”?) Your name? The face that you see in the mirror? “Mother of, father of? Uncle of, aunt of?”
And what about just the simple, simple recognition that you’re a human being? Unquestionably. It doesn’t matter what posts you hold, what you have accomplished, where have you been—you’re still a human being.
There was a group of people; they went to the moon; they came back. And then—so they had accomplished something very, very unusual, very, very unique. But what happened to them? Just like any other human being, death got hold of them. And they had to go.
You think that they did not feel pain? You think they did not feel anger? You think they did not feel disappointment? Of course they did.
And that’s not what makes you human. What makes you human is, yes, those things that you can experience. But what really makes you human is that, even though in the diversity of pain that you feel, you can also feel joy. You can also have hope. In the midst of the despair, you are still capable of feeling hope. In the midst of confusion....
That’s, see, that’s what makes you human. In my opinion, that’s what—that contrast is what it’s all about. Not just one thing. Not just one thing.
It’s like a rock. And I’m not a rock, so all I can do is just, you know, what I have observed of a rock. And this rock can be in the water for a thousand years. And bring it out, put it out of the water and it’ll dry up like it had never even touched the water. This is its nature.
What’s your nature? Your nature is—it’s like I was saying—that in the midst of that confusion, you are also capable of feeling clarity. In the midst of all that hate, you are capable of feeling love.
So, if all you feel is hate, that’s not human. That’s un-human. But in the middle of the hate, you also feel the love, then it’s complete. Then it’s complete! And this is what makes you who you are.
So, it’s not about things being easy—it is about what you set out to do to fulfill yourself. This is the opportunity you have.
You know, right now, so many people in this world are completely lost in technology. And it’s, everything is “technology, technology, technology”; they—it’s their phone, it’s their social media; it’s their this, and they have to interact and they have to go on there and “Who’s saying what,” and “What’s said? What are they saying about you,” and “What are they saying about you?”
And I mean, it’s just like, “Whoa!” And, you know, people call it “noise”—it’s way over the noise threshold. It’s like, it’s just this nonstop streaming thing.
You know, and phones go off in the middle of the night! And it’s like, “Brring-brring,” you know, it’s like, somebody’s sending you a message—it’s just, you know, and junk mail but there it comes. And it’s just like a nonstop thing, nonstop thing, nonstop thing, nonstop....
And so, now, you know, if you accidentally go and get tracked (because you went somewhere on a particular website and you got tracked), and now you don’t want that—you don’t want that information, you think you can just opt out of it? No!
Because it’s another one, another one, another one, and so even if you sit there and go “unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe,” there’s another one that’s going to come up. Because the, just—it’s not for your benefit.
The amount of burden, when it gets greater than the benefit that is being derived—you’ve got an issue. You’re putting in more energy in what you don’t want, than putting in energy in what you do want—then you’ve got an issue.
And the maintenance that is required is above and beyond! You come; you sit down; you open your mail and it’s garbage, garbage, garbage, garbage, garbage—just like your mailbox full of all the garbage—now your electronic mailbox, full of all the garbage.
So, in the midst of all of this stuff that goes on, you’ve got to figure out the reality. And the reality is that there is a possibility that you can be fulfilled.
You see, if I’m thirsty—if I’m thirsty and I need some liquid; I’m thirsty—I can go to a hundredth floor. And that’s not going to fulfill my thirst; that’s not going to quench my thirst. I can go a hundred floors towards the basement. That’s not going to fulfill my thirst.
I can make a journey around the earth five times and that’s not going to fulfill my thirst. I can try to memorize the Encyclopedia Britannica and that’s not going to quench my thirst. I can go to the moon and back and that’s not going to quench my thirst. I can go to the Space Station and back, and that’s not going to quench my thirst.
What’s going to quench my thirst? My thirst is going to get quenched when I drink water, when I drink that liquid.
What are you all about? Are you about this world; are you about this technology? Because if you are, right now it’s pretty confused—it’s very confused. It’s like a whole—people had built this whole system of protection. But it was, first, they had—before they built the protection they said “Okay, this is the danger; this is the enemy that’s going to come.”
And once they had made up their enemy, they built the protection against that particular enemy. It just so happens that the world was wrong! That was not the enemy—against whom we have created this protection. We needed protection from something else!
And, you know, a solution? Incredibly simple: “Wear a mask.”
So, this all comes down to understanding what your objectives are—that are governed by your heart, (not by your mind, but governed by your heart), that have been the same for every single human being that has come on the face of this earth. And hasn’t changed, technology or no technology.
To be fulfilled, to be in peace. To understand clarity. To exercise both those things that truly make me human.
So I hope it helps to look at it from the perspective that “Things may not be easy—but the objectives need to be fulfilled.”
Well, stay healthy. I’ll see you soon! Thank you.
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