One 2 One, No. 6: A Choice

“To have devotion to this breath. To have devotion to this existence. To have devotion to this thing called “life.” To have devotion—to that incredible power that we all have—called “choice.” —Prem Rawat

Prem Rawat:

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.”


NO. 6

Prem Rawat:

Hello, everyone. I hope that you’re doing well. So, what is it that I want to tell you today? Very simply, that a simple message expressed in the simplest, simplest ways would truly be that “you’re so fortunate that you’re alive, that you exist.”

Because this opens up (for you, the fact that you are alive), a whole range of possibilities. You want to be miserable? No problem; you can be miserable. You want to be content? No problem whatsoever. You can be content. Whatever you want, whatever you want to accomplish, because you are alive, this is possible.

So, having said that, I’m sure that there are some people in the audience listening to me, going “Yeah, that’s true,” or “No, that’s not true”—I mean, let’s face it, it’s two possibilities; either it is true or it’s not true. If it is true—if it is true—then why don’t we take advantage of that?

There are still plenty of voices, plenty of ideas that keep coming, “Cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep, this isn’t right; this isn’t right; this is wrong; this is this way; this is that way.” And I know so many people suffer from that. They are weighed down by their concerns, by their thoughts, by their ideas, by, you know, negative views, positive views, whatever views come your way.

And what if it isn’t true? What if it is all about a predetermined destiny: “You’re here—and you know, you are here to just play out whatever that destiny is”? Then you’re wasting your time even watching this. All you need to do is just crawl back in your bed, pull your sheets over, close your eyes.

And that’s it! I mean, and whatever is supposed to happen will happen—because it’s already preordained. You don’t have to worry about it. What do you care? In fact, if those are the sequence of items that have to happen, how do you figure into it, anyways? Well, what are you going to do about it? I mean, why you, right?

So, which one is it? That we have a choice? That we can accept; we can understand; we can open up our horizons? Or we can close our eyes, pull the sheet over our head and go, “Well, you know, it’s all preordained and I just watch the show!”

Either it’s like a movie theater—and you can go and you can sit down in this life—and the movie has already been shot. You—you’re, you’re coming in way too late. The movie’s already been shot; it’s been already edited; it’s already been cut.

And you’re just there; you paid your, you know, whatever you paid for your movie; you’re sitting down—and you may as well just watch it. And if you fall asleep, that’s not going to affect the movie; it’s not like it’s going to go in pause. It isn’t.

But the thing is, is this a live play? And you’re on the stage? And there is a role that you have to play? Or is it like that movie theater; you just sit down, plop back, grab a big bucket of popcorn—and the movie has already been made. So, it’s got to be one or the other.

Well, people who say, you know, “It’s already been shot; it’s already been played; it’s already been done”—then it doesn’t matter if I go and watch the movie. Nothing is going to happen.

And what if I’m watching this movie and it’s supposed to be entertaining but I’m hating it? I’m hating every single minute of it. I hate the actors. I hate the plot. I hate the music. I hate the editing! (Oh my God, the editing.)

And so, what am I supposed to do? Just sit there—and bear it out, you know, and grunt my teeth and just, “Okay, this is how it is”? Be miserable? Seems to me like even if I don’t have a choice, I do have a choice whether I go in the movie theater or not.

And so, there are a lot of people who have actually said things from their experience—and they seem to be alluding to the fact that it isn’t a pre-shot movie; that it is more like a live play. And you are on the stage. And it is time for you to act.

And whether it is an interesting show—or it is a boring show—it’s up to you how you act, how well you play your part, how well you understand what your role truly is.

So, what defines you as a human being? Is it all preordained? Or is it that you have a choice in the matter? That there is the good; there is the bad?

And the bad is very bad! Pick up the newspapers—here we are in July twenty-twenty—and things are not so good. And they don’t seem to be turning towards becoming any better. And here is a choice—do you have a choice in this situation?

Horrible things have been done on the face of this earth. Some of them started as far back as, you know, sixteen hundreds, seventeen hundreds—and they have gone on and on and on and on and on and—the consequences, the consequences of those things have been off the scale!

It always reminds me that when that tsunami came in Japan—and so much got destroyed, so much got destroyed—I was reading about it; I was very fascinated. (I am very fascinated with Japan. I like their culture; I like how the country is. And they have done a lot of things. But there they are, and trying to go forward—make amends, go forward.)

And that tsunami came and it did an unbelievable amount of damage—a lot of damage. So, I was reading about it, reading about it, and then I came across this one article where it said that somebody actually, a long time ago, had written on a stone, way up high up on the mountain. And it said, “Do not build below this point.”

And I was like, “Wow. Somebody was kind enough….” And you know, somehow they must have been affected by that tsunami, to leave behind a little note carved on a piece of rock for all to see, “Do not build below this point.” I mean, I could be wrong; that’s not, maybe, exactly what it said, but close enough.

So, why write that? I mean, if it’s a preordained thing, “this is what’s going to happen to people,” why write it, right? “Let them bear it out; let them grunt through it and that’s that.”

But it is avoidable; there is a choice—it is avoidable. And hence the rock, and hence the little note. And hence Socrates saying, “Know thyself.” And hence Kabir saying “What you are looking for is within you.”

That you don’t have to take this on. That truly, you can filter out all this that is the garbage—and take on, take in the good, the beautiful, the joy—which suits you so well, which suits you as a human being so well.

I mean, a lot of people say, you know, “Human beings are not born with an instruction manual.” Well, we don’t need an instruction manual; it’s automatic: “Joy, I like. Pain, I don’t like.” I mean, if I buy a TV, it tells me, you know, “Please take care of it; clean it like this; do this; do this.” It doesn’t tell me all the different ways I can destroy it. It doesn’t.

And the same thing with me. As a human being, there are certain things that I adore, and I like. And those things that I like, that I adore, are precious to me—are precious to me. This is all about devotion to life.

You know, I was looking up that word, “devotion”—and it’s very interesting. Of course, it has religious connotations, spiritual connotations, but it’s also very straight.

There are people who are devoted to their wives. There are people who are devoted to their dogs; there are people who are devoted to their house; there are people who are devoted to their cars. So, we all are devoted in some way—some people are devoted to their jobs.

And then, I was reading—I was reading; I came across this “Pandav Gita.” So, and I, all this time, I hadn’t heard of it. Here I am, sixty-two—I hadn’t heard of it. And I came across it.

And in that, there is this beautiful thing—and you know, this is, of course, the Mahabharat, the continuation of Mahabharat, in a way—and Ghandari (and she is this lady), and she has to marry this king. And when she came and saw her husband, she realized he was blind. And this was a cruel joke on her.

And many, many cruel jokes—and she was also the mother of the Kauravs, who fought the Pandavs. And Krishna conveniently arranged that war to be, so that the good could win—so that “good” could win.

And there are many stories, many, and many, many different versions of stories throughout India. And maybe it’s one story somewhere, and it has a little bit, you know, slightly different interpretation somewhere else, in another place, in another place, in another place.

And the way I had heard it, is Ghandari realizes that her children are going to be decimated in this war, (the great war of Mahabharat)—they’re going to be destroyed. And she goes to Krishna—because if there was somebody that was very, very powerful in this whole thing, who could have changed something, it was Krishna.

And she goes and she says to him—and this is, (if you can not be judgmental about it, but listen to what she says), it is so beautiful. And it’s very easy to be judgmental. But what she says is, “You are my mother. And you are my father. You are my brother. And you are my friend.”

So, usually in our lives, everybody has a separate category for all of these. But hear her devotion. And maybe her devotion is genuine, or maybe she wants to save her children—it’s besides the point.

But she says this. And what is that feeling that would evoke something like this in a person—“That you are my mother; you are my father.” This is the feeling that I’m talking about. “You are my brother; you are my friend. You are wisdom—you are wisdom; you are riches. You are my all, my lord, to me.”

So, what is it that causes this to well? I cannot possibly see a person who is just sitting and going, “Okay, I’m just watching the show; this is all preordained and thank you very much.”

And because if it is already preordained, everything, (the film is cut; the film is on; the film), that you don’t decide when the film comes on. You don’t decide when the film goes off. You just sit there; you can open your eyes and look towards the screen and hope all goes well. And you just hope, hope that the team put together a movie that’s interesting, not boring.

But I have a feeling that for somebody to have this devotion in their lives—in their life, in Ghandari’s life, to be able to say that—it isn’t a person who’s just sitting there and going, “Okay, roll the film.” No, they are proactive.

It’s a—it’s a very funny thing for her. When she realizes her husband is blind, she blindfolds herself. A lot of people think she wanted to punish herself or whatever, but she really wanted to punish the person who had arranged that marriage.

And then she has children. And while she is alive, her children are going to be slaughtered—because she didn’t raise them…. (Well, now, of course, hindsight’s twenty-twenty), but she didn’t raise them the way she should have raised them.

And in that incredible cruelty, she realizes that she still has a choice. And she goes to Krishna—and she praises him to show her devotion.

How powerful is that? And indeed, how beautiful is that—to have devotion to this breath? To have devotion to this existence? To have devotion to this thing called “life”?

To have devotion of that incredible power that we all have—it’s called “choice”—that we can go forward. And be in that joy, be in that beauty, be in that serenity, be in that, (umm!), just that experience, most amazing, amazing experience of being alive.

Not the experience of our problems. Because you’re not here to just solve your problems. You are here, not to even, to step in the field which is so charged….

And those problems come—you don’t have to be affected by them. Like I say, “You can’t stop the rain. You can’t. But you can carry an umbrella—and you can open that umbrella, and you don’t have to get wet.”

So it is. So it is. Enjoy this existence; enjoy this choice—and use this choice. Carefully, take those steps that are real, and be fulfilled.

So, take care of yourselves. I’ll see you soon, I hope. And take care. Thank you.


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