Annual Social Change Lecture
Prem Rawat spoke to
students enrolled in the
Peace Education Program
at TSiBA University,
in Cape Town, South Africa.
What is a heart? What is a heart? We talk about heart, “Oh, I love you from the bottom of my heart.” What is a heart? And I have been asking people this question: “Do you know what a heart is?”
I mean, yeah, obviously it’s not this thing that goes, “Dohnk,” and “dohnk, dohnk, dohnk, dohnk”—it’s also called a heart. Because once it stops, you put electricity to it and crank it right back up—or if it’s getting its tubes fouled up, you put stents in it, one after another, to open it up and get it going again. I mean, what is a heart?
So then, let me tell you what a heart is. (I’m not here preaching to you; this is from my experience.) Then, the heart in me is where my clarity resides. The heart in me is the place where the courage to know the reality exists, the courage to be in joy exists, the courage to be a human exists.
This is the place—in me—that my understanding resides. This is the place in me where I am me, rather than the reflection of people’s wants and need.
So many people, especially when you become a father—you have your children. They look at you as a father; you think about their needs day and night. You become a mother, you look at your children; you think about their needs day and night. And all of a sudden you stop being you and you start being a father.
But a father who is not himself, a mother who is not herself, a wife who is not herself, a husband who is not himself—and pretty soon, you are a citizen of this world, but who is not himself or herself.
So, the value of it becomes the nest that is empty. Because once the birds fly away, that nest is nothing anymore. The wind will come, throw it out—all the effort that went into weaving that nest together will get dismantled—and then that’s it.
In life—because this is everything. We hardly have an understanding of what it means to be alive.
This is a powerful number: even if you live to be a hundred years old, (and that’s pretty good), do the math: 365. And do the math—it’s only 36,500 days. That’s all you have. That’s if you make it to be a hundred years old.
Do you live your day like it lives in you? With precision! A second does not waste itself, does it? But you waste a second. An hour does not waste itself; an hour never goes missing, does it? A day, does it ever go missing? But you go missing from the day.
You have a watch but you don’t know what time means. And so we try to live, but we don’t know how to live. We try to love, but we don’t know how to love. We try to be. But we don’t know how to be.
We don’t know that we have generosity.
To us, when we walk into a room and throw the lock, we are alone. We’re alone—really? Really? Excuse me, your anger came with you in that room. It’s right there. You may not be angry—but the anger is ever-ready. And it’s right with you; you did not leave your anger in some other room.
Wherever you go…. Even when you fly and they say, “Are you flying alone today”—and you say, “Yes,” you’re lying. Because that’s not true; you’re flying with a lot of excess baggage called “anger,” called “fear.” Greed—always, wherever you go it’s right there.
Ever feel lonely? You should never feel lonely. [Audience: Yeah.] You have lots of little friends that are right there. Think about it; you never leave home without these guys—you might leave home without the American Express credit card, but you never leave home without anger and fear and greed and lust.
And—you never leave home without understanding, without clarity. They’re also there with you. The question becomes, “What have you been nurturing in your life?”
Two fields: what is the difference between a garden and an abandoned field? What is the difference? Soil is soil. And sometimes you see an abandoned field and a wall, and then a garden—so you know it’s the same soil. But one is lush, green, has flowers growing in it; the other one is barren and has weeds growing in it. What is the difference?
Well, in one, somebody planted the seeds of the beautiful flowers and gives them water and nurtures them—and in the other one, nothing was planted and nobody nurtures it. And what grows is despicable, and what grows in the garden is beautiful.
In our understanding—and this is what it means. There is a really beautiful story I would like to tell you. And the story is called, “The Cracked Pot.”
Once upon a time, a king relegated to a gardener, a field, and said, “I want you to have a garden here for me.” And so the water—and this was quite high and the water was all the way down in the valley where there was a little river that used to flow.
And so the gardener would have to go every day—and go down to the river and fill his pots with water and carry them up, all the way to the garden and water all the plants and water all the grass and everything—and in due time, that garden started to look really beautiful.
And he had these two pots, big, big clay pots—and a bamboo, (one pot in the front, one pot in the back); he’d take them down.
One day, the pot in the back developed a hole in it—so the water would leak out. So, he’d go all the way down and he’d fill both the clay pots up; he’d bring them up and by the time he’d get up, one pot would be full; one pot would be empty.
This went on for a while. One day the pot from the front said to the pot in the back, “You’re no good. You’re useless. This gardener works so hard; he goes all the way down, fills them up, fills both of us up with water, but because you have a hole in you, by the time he comes up here, you are empty; I am full. And this garden that you see that is so beautiful is because of me.”
This made the pot in the back very sad. One day when the gardener came out and looked at the pot in the back and said, “Why are you so sad?”—it’s just a story. [Audience: Yeah.] But it’s a beautiful story. [Individual: Yes, we get that.] He looked at the pot in the back; he said, “Why are you so sad?” He says, “Well, I’ve got a hole in me.” He says, “I know that.”
He said, “Every day you take us down there; you work so hard and you fill us both with water and that one in the front, which doesn’t have a hole, because of him, this garden is green and it’s beautiful. But because I have a hole in me, I am no good. By the time you bring me here, I’m empty.”
So, the gardener looked at the pot with the hole—and said, “I want to tell you something. I know you have a hole in you. But I never stopped putting water in you. And let me tell you why.
“Because of the pot in the front, only this garden is green. But because of you—have you noticed?—all the way from the river to this garden, there are beautiful flowers growing, and it’s all because of you. This garden is only enjoyed by the king—that path is enjoyed by so many who admire the flowers growing there.”
Sometimes we don’t understand. Because of our ideas and ideals that the world places upon us, we don’t understand our own power; we don’t understand our own potential.
There is no limit! Do you understand that there is no limit to understanding? There is no limit; there’s no physical limit to understanding. There is no limit to joy! There is no limit to happiness. Do you understand the power of that?
When you are in pain, people go to churches, to temples, to mosques to pray to God saying, “God, please, get rid of the pain.” Do you think anybody goes to a temple, a mosque, a church to pray to God and say, “Please get rid of my happiness?”
There’s no limit. There is no limit—and people wonder why human beings don’t come with a manual. Because maybe it’s too obvious? Manual not required? Engineered to perfection?
That you can hold the happiness of the whole world and never gain an ounce—and enjoy all of it. But you have to understand what true happiness is.