Sanjay Giri Goswami: Today, we have with us Mr. Prem Rawat. Mr. Rawat, I have heard a lot about you. Many people talk about you. But everyone wants to know, who is Mr. Rawat? What does he want? What is Mr. Rawat's vision? And how did Mr. Rawat's journey begin?
Prem Rawat: Firstly, my heartfelt greetings to all of your audiences. And I have this opportunity to talk about my message. I'm very pleased about that. I have a deep connection with Uttarakhand. So when I found out that you were coming, I was happy to have this opportunity.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: We are very fortunate to have you on our channel today, and you're giving us a live interview.
Prem Rawat: So I'd like to answer your question this way. There is an ocean. And there are countless drops in that ocean. And I am one of those many drops. I'm not yet in the ocean; I'm still a drop. But one day, I will merge with that ocean. And this is going to be the case with everyone. The thing is, when I merge with the ocean, I won't remain a drop. I will become the ocean.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: You will become a part of the ocean.
Prem Rawat: There's no separation. An ocean is an ocean. We identify them separately: Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean ...They are not separated. They're all one. And as long as I am a drop, I'm not the ocean. But there's an ocean within me. Quoting couplet by Kabir: "There's a drop in the ocean, everyone knows. But that the ocean resides within a drop, only a few know." So this is not the case just with me, but with everyone. And what is my journey? Where did I begin? One day I was born, and one day I have to go.
Whatever I learned, whatever I understood, if I don't realize it in my life today, then when would I do it? When I become the ocean? I will no longer have a personality. Lord Krishna says to Arjun, "There's a big difference between you and me. And that is, you don't know your last lifetime. You've forgotten it, but I know." So, I will forget too. Who I was, what I did, what I ate, what I drank ...I will forget everything that happened. But there is one thing. There is abundant peace within me. And did I understand that abundant peace? Did I realize it in my life, or not? When you eat a mango, you find it sweet. You like it.
And the mangoes from Dehradun are amazing. Think about it. That drop came from the ocean...rose from the ocean, went up, rained, landed down, went up the mango tree, became sweet. You enjoyed the sweetness and one day that very drop will merge back with the ocean. This is something to understand. Will this drop ever give anyone sweetness or sourness? This is possible. If I could give myself sweetness, then I would share that sweetness with others too before the mango shares its sweetness with others ...
Sanjay Giri Goswami: It will first have to be sweet. Yes.
Prem Rawat: When I experience that peace within my life, then I can help others experience it too. So this is my life's journey. I don't know where it began, when it was born. I know what it is today, and I also know that one day it won't be there. But as long as I am alive, one thing is possible: that I can do something for myself and for others. And if I am empty, then what can I give to anyone? The fruit is first born on the tree; then one can eat it. We often forget this. We start out with wanting to give someone the fruit, but how? The tree has to first bear the mango for someone to eat it. And I understood this and have been trying to bring about awareness in people around the world that they can experience peace.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: Mr. Rawat, you talked about peace, but when it comes to spirituality every person is confused, unable to understand where the path to peace is. How can troubled people become calm? How can they find peace?
Prem Rawat: The most important thing ... You asked a very good question, because people seek peace in spirituality. Some don't look for it in spirituality; they look for it in their factory. Some aren't looking for it in their factory but are looking for it in science. Some are looking here; some are looking there. But none can find it. And they're moving away from it. The biggest issue is this. And this is what I try to explain to people: why are you searching for something which you already have? You already have it. Why are you searching for it? Where are you searching for it? How will you find
something that's already within you? Search for it if you don't have it with you. And if you're lucky enough, then you'll find it somewhere. But it is already with you. Peace was never away from you. Ever since you were born, and for as long as you are alive, peace is within you. Peace is a part of you. The desire for peace is a part of you. The breath is with you, just as you desire the breath. Peace is also within you. It's with you. Don't go looking for it, but start enjoying it. Start knowing it; start recognizing it.
But they're looking for peace. What does peace feel like? What does peace taste like? How much does peace weigh? What does peace sound like? Does anyone know? There are great personalities who give lectures, but what does peace sound like? What is the fragrance of peace? What does it taste like? Is peace like velvet, or is peace like thorns?
Is peace like flowers, or is it like hot water? Who knows? Why? Because they have not experienced peace; they just talk about it. Talk is not going to help. Does talk satisfy your hunger? When you go home and say to someone, "I'm hungry. Please get me some food." And they reply, "What do you need food for? I'll tell you all about food. Halwa, halwa, halwa..." Are you now full? That doesn't help. You need to eat. When you're hungry and someone gives you a lecture about food, then it's possible that you'd get angry with them. You might beat him up because food is what you need.
When a human being wants to experience peace in his life, then he needs peace, not lectures. He need not run to some place. It's within him. It needs to be recognized and experienced. It needs to be experienced.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: "Experience." This is a big word. Many people go places in pursuit of experience. They say that you also travel to many countries. Mr. Rawat, I'd like to ask - things have changed in today's post-COVID world. Perhaps nobody has more experience about this than you do. You are an Indian first. So in comparison of India and other countries, is there something that stands out to you, like there's something still missing?
Prem Rawat: I wish to make more effort in comparison to what I have done so far.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: You don't want to stop with the effort you've made?
Prem Rawat: No, I'm not done yet. I can do more, and I want to do more. I want to go to more places. I feel that hours in a day are still not enough. And months in a year are not enough. Because there's a need for us to understand.
Couplet by Kabir: "The fragrance of musk resides within the deer's navel, but it wanders around the forest in search of it." And the divine resides within us, but we wander the world in search of it...running after technology.
Creators of technology are running after our wallet. And this is the spectacle happening around the whole world. It was in the news that someone lost a billion dollars. Do you know how much a billion dollars is? I can't even fathom. How can it be lost? I mean, such a humongous thing! If someone says to you, "I've lost my elephant," "What? You lost an elephant?" If a needle was lost, I'd get it. But lost an elephant? Then I'd ask if one was in their right mind. A billion dollars lost.
How? Where did it run away to? Who ran away with it? Who stole it? But this is the state of this world. A special interaction: if only the billion dollars existed. But someone said they did, so they exist. And if they said it doesn't exist, then they don't. What is it? Credit. Credit. Someone wrote a document declaring that you are worth so much, so you are worth that much.
There was a time when even if one rupee was printed, the silver worth that much was accounted for. It was embedded into the currency. And when Nixon became President, he got rid of all this in America. After that, people went to town with printing money.
So people are running, running, running -running this way, running that way. And nobody is running after that which everyone is looking for. And that is peace. I have never said that one shouldn't be successful in their business. One should be. One should be. But that doesn't mean that you don't need to be healthy. You need to be healthy also in your business. Right? If you go to a doctor, he will tell you the same thing: focus on your business, but also focus on your health. What would a chef say? Focus on your business, but also make sure you eat. What will one who gives you water say? Do business, but also hydrate. And I'm someone who offers peace. I say, "Do business, but also be in peace." Be in peace and also experience peace in your life.
This message is very important because we are blinded by technology, and this will not have a positive outcome. This is not going to turn out well because this technology is going to distance us from ourselves. There is technology that connects us with ourselves, and then there is technology that distances us from ourselves. And we are caught up in this technology.
Look at the young kids. During the first years without the phone, their head is up; they look around. The minute they get a phone in their hand, they only look in one direction. That's it.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: The significance of relationships seems to be coming to an end. Perhaps technology is contributing to that.
Prem Rawat: Humanity is coming to an end. Humanity is coming to an end. What has a human being been reduced to?
Sanjay Giri Goswami: He has become a machine.
Prem Rawat: Exactly. And the creators want you to stay involved so that their wallet swells and yours shrinks. They have put such high prices on things, and people are willing to pay. Who is speaking up and saying this is wrong? Nobody! Everyone goes along and agrees. What has it come to? You have a new phone, so I should get a new one too. I mean, what has happened? What should be happening is, "You are radiant so teach me to be radiant too." "You have peace, so please help me find peace too." "Be happy and teach me to be happy too." What happened?
But people don't think about this anymore. It's just one thing now: running, running, running ... Where to? No one knows, but still running.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: Exactly. Rushing and running everywhere. Mr. Rawat, what's your perspective on India? You have extensive experience. The environment today and the technology you spoke about ... everyone is fed up in today's post-COVID world. And you boldly speak to any topic. What's your perspective on India?
Prem Rawat: I still see it the way I have always seen it. In India's culture, tolerance is its greatest strength. When the Indian people exercise tolerance ... not, "You are this way; you are that way"... but when they see unity - the true unity that exists in India. And in difficult times, that unity has taken the Indian people out of deep problems. If someone has a microphone, a stand and two speakers, then people will say anything. But when people exercise the unity that India has, then no matter who it may be, no matter who it is, they will not stand a chance. That's the kind of strength unity has. And we forget about that unity time and again. So this is our misfortune, and it is our good fortune that we know the power of unity. This is our good fortune. The misfortune is that we forget.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: What's your take on the Indian culture?
Prem Rawat: Unity, compassion, and the greatest of all, culture. When the people of India treat each other with compassion ... I'm talking about India,
but no matter where you go in the world, when you treat others with kindness, everything transforms.
I have an education program called the Peace Education Program. The numbers from the program show that it is now in correctional facilities. People from countries have graduated from that program. At the time, this program was started for the people who were in prison. Now it's also in the police force, military, and other places. But it was started for those who were incarcerated. What hope do the inmates have in their lives? They become disheartened. But when they reflect upon themselves, then the flower of hope blooms in their heart. They understand that what they did was wrong, and that's why they've been imprisoned. They also know that they can turn their life around, be better, do better, and move ahead. They find relief in considering the fact that they can improve their life by transforming it themselves, whether someone else does it for them or not.
When they understand these things, their life takes a turn. Then their hopelessness turns to hope.
I'm telling you this because this topic is also for those who are not behind bars...that we can change hopelessness to hope. There are people who are unhappy. Many of those will also watch your interview. I don't know what the reason of their unhappiness is. And I don't deny that they're unhappy.
Yes, they are unhappy. A human being becomes sad. That is his nature. But when he feels sad, it doesn't mean that there is no happiness in his heart. No matter how dark it may be on the outside, there still is light within his heart. No matter how dark it may be. All he has to do is glance within, and he will see a burning lamp.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: About books, Mr. Rawat, you have authored popular books. And you're now launching another book. What is it about books that people think they want? Like you mentioned, everyone is rushing around these days. Peace is your mission, and your advice is to hear one's self. With your statements, it feels like, indeed, there's something that you want to give. Through your book, what do you intend to offer to people that is important for them and what will people receive? What will they embrace?
Prem Rawat: I had declared a long time ago that I won't write any books because I thought that writing a book is like establishing some religion. People will quote the book and claim, "This is it, this is it. Believe in this, this is everything." No. As long as one does not experience it in their heart, it doesn't work.
I wrote this book because I was asked to write about my experiences. So I honed in on that because no matter who it may be, he can learn to reflect within himself. Enough reflection has been done on the outside, and we also know what that has to offer. It's not that there's no calm and tranquility.
That's there. There's just one thing ... It's temporary. It's like, you have a car and the car has wheels and the tires need air. It won't run properly without air in the tires. And after you inflate them, the air runs out in minutes. How will the car move forward? It will be hard work to stop the car every few minutes and inflate the tires.
This is the case with this world outside. And what is the case on the inside? There's no deflation on the inside. It's solid. This is what the book is about.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: Your experiences made you a writer. Could that be said?
Prem Rawat: I am a human being. Firstly I am a drop. A drop that emerged from the ocean. But that drop has written something.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: I was looking at the title, "Swayam ki Avaaz." Why is it "Swayam ki Avaaz" (Hear Yourself)?
Prem Rawat: Because we function on noise...the noise poured into our brain by this world. We still remember them. Everything our parents told us, we remember them to this day. "Son, focus and study or you will fail in life." Those noises echo. What the teacher said in school echoes. What the friends said echoes. My question is: does your heart too have a voice that echoes within you? How's it possible that the voices on the outside echo and the true voice within is not echoing? There are two sides to this. One is: the noise on the outside can be blocked. But how can the noise between the ears be blocked? No amount of cotton or earplugs will block that noise. And these voices are not our own. What is our very own voice?
And how important is it to listen to it...our very own voice...the voice of the heart? That's why I titled it "Swayam ki Avaaz" (Hear Yourself). In English it is "Hear Yourself" and in Hindi it is "Swayam ki Avaaz."
Sanjay Giri Goswami: "How to find peace in a noisy world." The peace which is talked about, that which everyone is after. So, do you think that peace is achievable if we hear ourselves?
Prem Rawat: At least the noise would quieten. The noise is drowning out our voice. Lowering the noise is the greatest skill. We will hear our voice when that noise stops. What does our heart want? What does this drop want
before it merges with the ocean? The sweetness of a mango, the sweetness of litchi? The tartness of lemon? Or offering the hungry or thirsty some water? Because one day this drop will merge with the ocean. Do what needs to be done, today.
Quoting a hymn:
"This human life is precious.
Don't waste it away.
You have received it now, but will not receive it again.
Never again, never again."
Sanjay Giri Goswami: Mr. Rawat, you mentioned litchi, which is special to Dehradun. You also mentioned that you have a deep connection with Uttarakhand. There are many things said about Uttarakhand. They say that a lot gets planned in Uttarakhand. The mountains, the youth and the water of Uttarakhand are of no use. You must have heard this too. And you have given Uttarakhand a lot. You have helped immensely. But even today we hear the same thing: the plants, the water, the youth, and the mountains are of no use. I'd like Mr. Rawat to share his thoughts about Uttarakhand.
Prem Rawat: There's a short story about something that's useless and something that's useful.
Once upon a time, a king asks his gardener to renew and beautify an old garden...to grow lots of flowers in that garden. The location of where the garden was to be grown was high up on a hill. And the gardener had to walk all the way down to the river to get the water. So he fastens one pot on one end of a bamboo, another pot on the other end. And he would go down to the river everyday, fill the pots and bring them up the hill and water the flowers he had sown. And gradually the garden began to flourish.
One day a tiny rock hit the pot in the back and made a hole in it. The pot couldn't contain water due to the hole. By the time he went down the hill and brought it back up, the pot had emptied out. One day the gardener placed both pots on the ground and went away to drink some water. The pot in the front says to the pot in the back,"You are useless. You are useless because you have a hole in you and you can't bring water to this garden anymore. There will come a day when the gardener throws you away."
So the pot in the back started crying. The gardener came over and asked him, "Why are you crying?" The pot replied, "I'm useless because I have a hole in me. I can't contain any water." The gardener laughed and said, "Why do you worry? Look, I'll show you something." He showed him the sides of the path and said, "Look, there are flowers growing on both sides of this path. Do you know why? That's because of you. The flowers growing up there in the king's garden can be enjoyed by the king's guests.
But this path is used by people coming and going, and they all enjoy the beauty and fragrance of these flowers. And all this has been made possible by you. When you got a hole in you, I wondered if I should throw you away. Then I had an idea. I would fill you up too and move you to the back, so that you would water the sides of the path as I walked back up. That's when these flowers bloomed...because of you. You are not useless. You are very useful. The only difference is, you water the flowers on the path and not the king's garden. But thousands of people will enjoy these flowers and the flowers in the garden will be enjoyed only by a few people invited by the king.”
Nothing is useless. Nothing is useless. If we consider something to be useless, then why not do something to make them useful instead? There are mountains, and they belong to nature...not made by man. Nature has created them so they can be enjoyed by everyone. I know very well what you're saying, and it can turn political very quickly. And I don't dip my toes in politics. I don't touch politics. All I know is one thing: politics is such a thing that .... People like politics because it gives them someone to point a finger at and say, "They did that." But when one finger points towards them, always remember the number of fingers pointing back at you.
No matter who you are, what are you doing to help it? You can do something too. Do whatever you can for the betterment of others.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: Precisely, something needs to be done. I'd like to ask you two more questions. We have discussed spirituality and we've discussed peace. Why did you choose this path? What inspired you to spread peace? Or the message you've been giving to people, "Stop running. And recognize yourself."
Prem Rawat: I chose this path because it has nothing to do with spirituality. This is not about beliefs. This is about experience. Perhaps you've heard this for the first time: belief versus experience. Belief versus experience. Belief versus experience. Belief is not experience and experience is not belief. If you're experiencing something, then you don't need belief. And if you're caught up in beliefs, then you will not pursue experience. But unless you experience ... unless you experience, you will not understand exactly what all this is about...what peace is.
We chant Brahma's name, but what Brahma is, we have no idea - neither do we understand it. Brahma is not something to understand, but to experience. There are things that are not meant to be pronounced, like Roti (Indian flat bread). It's meant to be eaten. Roti is neither to be described nor to be worshipped this way, and that way. No. The best thing to do with it is, when it's piping hot, spread some ghee or butter on it and eat it with chutney. That is it's worship. That is it's worship. And the worship of that Brahma which resides within every individual is by experiencing it. I chose this path because it has nothing to do with spirituality or beliefs. I don't go after beliefs. I go after, "It means nothing unless you experience it." Like when one get's sick, the doctor says, "Just believe that you'll recover." But he's in pain, so what is he to do? Should he tell the doctor that he hurts, or not? So belief versus experience. Belief versus experience. What do you want? Belief or experience? If your bank says, "Don't worry, you don't need a balance. Just believe that your money is fine." No, you will ask for proof. "Give me proof!"
Belief. Belief. Why not believe in the path of spirituality? Shouldn't you believe? Belief is the foundation of a human being. It's the support structure. And when a human being forgets about experience and stays stuck in beliefs, then he ends up with circumstances dealt out by the world. Why? Is there a shortage of religions in this world? Is there a shortage of spirituality in the world? No. They keep growing. New ones keep coming up. But there is a shortage of experience. And that's what I offer.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: Everything begins with experience.
Prem Rawat: Without experience, you are limited. If you're not experiencing it, then you're limited.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: What is your message of Peace for our audiences and for the readers of your book?
Prem Rawat: Good news! Peace is within you. You don't have to wander around. It's within you. Quoting couplet by Kabir: "The fish is thirsty in the water ..." It's within you. Quoting couplet by Kabir: "It resides within, but we look outside, far away from the self." This is within you. Experience it. This book will tell you the same thing — experience it. But what's the need for this experience? This book will openly explain that too. So I recommend that people read this book because those who have read this book ... I wrote it, and when I was proofing it and recorded the English audiobook, I felt that the more I read it the more my life transformed. It's that powerful. And even though I wrote it, it positively impacted me. And I hope that people progress towards peace, towards experience. Beliefs are okay. Makes no difference whether one does or not. But until you experience it, there's something missing.
Sanjay Giri Goswami: Mr. Rawat, you have addressed some significant points through "Swayam ki Awaz" To find peace in a noisy world, it is indeed important to hear yourself. And your own voice is such that I don't think in today's world many people are able to hear it.
I wish and hope that through this book of yours people can know that there is indeed a voice within them that they need to listen to. Thank you so much for giving us your time.
Prem Rawat: My greetings to you and your audiences.
Watch the interview (in Hindi): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoPpslbq450
And so, this is our magazine. It’s a business magazine, as you know. So, it’s popular with people in their twenties and thirties—business people here are our main readers.
I’m forty. I’m just a little bit older than our readers, but I’m a representative for our readers, and I will—I would like to have them understand more about who you are and what you do.
So I read the book, and I think it’s full of a lot of wonderful things, and there are lots of things that are very touching in it.
So, one thing that struck me about it as well, and that is wonderfull, is that a lot of young people here in Japan are very busy; they have very little time. I’d like to talk more about how people in that kind of a lifestyle can also benefit from this—how that will benefit them, how they can connect with it.
So, if some people, especially people who are very serious in business and busy, they hear “peace,” and they think, “Oh, that doesn’t apply to me, you know, because I’m busy; I’ve got to do this; I’ve got to do that.” They think it’s something that would happen, you know, at a different time for them. They don’t think it’s relevant to them, always.
So, what would you say to people in that kind of a position, who wouldn’t immediately think that peace is something for them?
What really has to be understood—that what the message is, is about strengthening the foundation, not as it relates to business, directly, but as it relates to the human being that has to do business.
So, the focus always is towards strengthening the business. And this book is, in a way, asking the question, “How strong is the human being that is doing the business?”
Because if the human factor is not strong—because this is really trying to touch about the human potential. And greater the person realizes their potential, the greater they will be able to achieve on the outside too.
So, this is how it really relates to it, and it’s a critical point. You know, so it’s kind of like, the family wants to go somewhere. So, everybody gets ready, and everybody has good clothes on. And they have their lunch, and they have their picnic basket, and everybody is happy. But nobody put the gas in the car. So, that’s, that’s that. Yes.
So, that’s the foundation—putting the gas is the foundation.
Yes, it is the foundation.
So, how do we go about making that foundation stronger?
It is by understanding the potential that the human being has.
That, yes, you can come from clarity, that you can come from peace. And more you realize your human potential, you become more empowered.
So, to empower business, you need a good business plan; you need good understanding of the business. And to empower the human being, you have to have the understanding of the individual. And the more you know about the self, the more empowered you will be.
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So, does it require training, or work, to take a little time to work on that aspect, to develop that understanding?
That understanding can be developed in the middle of a busy schedule. Because, first, you have to say, “I am more than what I think?” And it’s like, “Yes!”
As a human being, most of us know about failure; we know about disappointment; we know about anger, fear. But we don’t know much about joy. We don’t know much about clarity. And we know so little about peace.
So, we’ve become experts at the negative things, but we haven’t been studying the positive side.
Exactly! Exactly. This is what this book is addressing. Peace is not a luxury; it’s a fundamental necessity. Clarity is not a luxury; it’s a fundamental necessity. And unless we address these fundamental things, success is not going to happen.
Because unless you have the balance, it’s going to stay off-balance. To succeed in this world, you also have to succeed with yourself.
I see; I see. So then, I’d like to—how about if you’re trying your best to go in that positive direction. But what if the people around you are those negative elements and it’s hard to go in that direction? So, I understand, it’s not—we shouldn’t blame other people. It’s not—and we can’t say it’s other people’s fault for something, but....
But sometimes—sometimes the emotions come out in the middle of that. Say, there’s a problem, or something happens, and you get pulled away from that, a peaceful state, and you get pulled towards an angry emotion. Is there a way to prevent that from happening, or to stop that from happening?
Yes! Yes, of course!
So, I’d very much like to hear....
Because, all day long, we go out; we go on the street, and there are all these people, and they have a different face than yours. So, when you come home in the evening, does your face change to everybody else’s or you still have your face?
You still have your face. Even though all day long you were walking with people who looked differently, it didn’t affect your face. In the same way, if you have the inner strength, then regardless what happens outside, that strength will separate you.
If I am dependent upon him for my clarity, if I am dependent on him for my inner strength—if he goes away, I fall! So, if you find your inner strength, if you discover your potential, then regardless of where you are, you can feel your strength. That’s what strength is.
For a tree, what is the strength? Today it’s very calm. It doesn’t need much strength. But when the storm blows, and it needs the strength; it needs the root. Because if it’s weak? Whack!
So, will a storm come? Yes, absolutely. Little storms, big storms—and you cannot stop the storms. So a lot of people think, “I will just stop the storm.” You can’t stop the storm. But you can have a better strength.
And this is what—this book, in its message, is really going towards the fundamental, the business of life. Because if you don’t know the business of life, soon or later you will need the strength—and you won’t have it. So, yeah, this is about empowering the individual.
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So, let me ask you first of all, we see a lot of cruelty around us, a lot of bad things. And sometimes it looks like a cruelty or badness, instead of peace and goodness, that is the genuine human nature. Is there a “no return” point from being a bad person? Or do you really think there is always a hope for anybody, even for the worst human being, let’s say?
This is a question that’s very close to me, because this is what I work with in so many prisons around the world when I go there. And some of them have lost all hope—that, they don’t want to change; they can’t change—“It’s not going to happen.”
But there is hope for them. And when they start to recognize who they are, then they see the desire from their heart that they want to change, that they want—they want, not so much to fulfill social obligations but the obligations of the heart, that they want to feel content; they want to feel fulfilled.
“Is there a point of no return?” When I was in Cape Town, South Africa, I was in Soweto. And if anybody is familiar with Soweto, this is like, you know, where people were just sent away, because nobody wanted them in the—so far the apartheid regime was concerned—didn’t want them any part of their society.
So, I was speaking to people there, and—it’s a very strange kind of situation. Because, what they had been always told is that, “You know, the apartheid will end some day, and then everything will be fine; everything will be okay.” Well, apartheid “ended,” (quote-unquote), but nothing changed for them.
So I was there talking to them, and they—you know, when I speak to them about peace, this is very personal for them, because peace isn’t just a luxury, you know, and they’re not out in a section of the bookstore which has to deal with self-help. No, they have to help themselves in practical means, every single day.
And a lady had sent a question from the prison. She said, “I have killed my children, and I tried to kill myself. Is there any hope for me?”
So, when I got the question, and I’ve got this audience sitting there—and, I could have answered it, but I felt it was more appropriate if they answered it. So I turned to them—and I said, “I’m not going to answer this question. You answer it. Is there any hope for her?” And in one unanimous voice, they all said, “Yes.”
So, I see it that there is never that point where it goes too far—because the goodness of human beings is always inside of them, and wherever they go, they carry this with them.
So, I have a lot of hope, because I see that the tools needed for the goodness and peace are already existing. We focus on the bad; we don’t focus on the good. There are a lot of good people on the face of this earth, believe me—very kind. This is their agenda too; they want to be in peace. They’re good people; they want good for everybody.
But they’re not the ones who are talked about. They’re not, you know, running mega-companies. And so, they’re not of interest. They run a little company called their family, and they run their little corporation called their little hut. And so they don’t come into the radar of what we are looking for.
Look within you, and you will start to see the similarity with these people. And, all of that that we need to make a better society—I mean, at the end of the day, when people listen to the word “peace,” they’re really reflecting not on themselves, but a better society.
Well, if we want a better society, we can have it. Because it wasn’t like a virus that descended from outer space that has caused this problem. All the problems that we see—if it is hunger, if it is war, if it is bad economics and poverty, whatever you want to look at, it’s created by the people.
So if it’s created by the people, that’s good news; we can change it. And that’s what it takes.
Did you ever consider entering politics? Don’t you think that your message would be—would have a wider and more effective and positive impact to people all around the world through politics?
Well, and the way I see it is like this. You’re in the middle of the ocean; you have a little boat. And all around you are these sharks, and they’re hungry; they’re really huge and they’re hungry.
And all of a sudden you get a hole in your boat. Now, slowly the boat is drowning. You have four or five very capable people in the boat, but they’re all drowning with you. And so, if somebody even was to say, “Don’t worry; I can swim really good.” Well, yeah, but what about these sharks? The option to go in the water does not exist.
The help that is needed is not going to come from the boat; it’s going to come from somewhere outside the boat.
So, the way I see it is, I can help much better, [Int.: Yeah, I’ll say! Right!] not being in the same boat—being outside that boat. Because if we’re all in the same boat, we’re all going to drown. [Int.: Yes.] You know, [Int.: Sure.] and this is, this is how I see it.
Sure. I heard that you have visited already Milan in the past many times. While Roma is considered one of the most beautiful and historical cities in the world, Milano is more business-oriented. Milano is mainly famous for fashion, hard working, and so on.
What’s your opinion—what’s your personal opinion about my city? Do you like it? Did you enjoy it, and do you like it in the past?
Prem Rawat: [simult.]
I have always—I have always enjoyed Milano. There is a totally different texture to what Milano is, even the food [Int.: Umm-hmm!] is different; [Int.: Hm-hm-hm-hm!] yeah, the people are different, and the way everything happens in Milano is different.
But somewhere it carries that undertone of having gone through so many changes, and yet still survived. [Int.: Umm.] And not lost its identity. And this is very attractive to me personally.
You know, I see—I go to Japan. I come—I was born in India, a country that is so steeped in cultures and traditions. And you drive forty kilometers, and they change. [Int.: Hmm-hmm!] So it’s like, everywhere you go, literally everything is changing; accents are changing; food is changing; traditions are changing; cultures are changing. Dress code is changing.
And then I see all the technology come. And I see a lot of change in India. You know, again, you see everybody walking on the street with their head down. [Int.: Umm-hmm.] You know, bumping against the posts and doing everything else.
And then I go to someplace like Japan, and they still have hung onto that tradition. Even in the middle of all this incredible technology, they’ve hung onto their tradition.
And so, I look for that, “Is this city, are the people here enamored by what their ancestors have been through and the struggle that they had to take...?” And the emergence, now, particularly, in this day and age....
Because, we could all become the same—or, we could be very similar, but be different flavors. So, you know, it’s like pasta. [Int.: Hmm-hmm.] You have so many different names for so many pastas.... Maybe pasta is the same; the sauce is different, and that gives the pasta its identity.
And that’s what I would like to see, because, you know, it’s like, “Okay, yeah, you’re having this pasta, and it’s the same. You taste this, and it’s the same. It’s the same; it’s the same; it’s the same.” I think it would be a monotonous world.
And so, having some texture. It’s like, every book in your library is exactly the same. Well, that wouldn’t do much.
And Milano has this uniqueness about it, and I have always enjoyed that.
Good. Thank you very much. [PR: You’re most welcome.]
Venetia Stanley-Smith in conversation with her lifelong friend and teacher Prem Rawat.
The abundance of life
-When the flowers of life bloom in the heart-
“In order to appreciate the inner garden, knowing the self is the first step.”
- Prem Rawat
Venetia: Prem, you often liken the heart to a garden. I’d like to hear more about the similarities between a garden and the human heart.
Prem: A garden is a very interesting place. Like your garden here, it wasn’t pre-determined what would grow here.
If you don’t do anything, weeds will grow; if you look after it, beautiful flowers will grow.
Thorns could grow or herbs could grow. The garden holds the potential for both.
Venetia: This example of the garden can also be applied to the heart or what you might call the inner garden?
Prem: Absolutely. The starting point is to understand how your own inner garden looks right now. In other words, to know the self. From that foundation of knowing the self, next you need to realize that just like the external garden, what will flourish in the garden of the heart is not pre-determined. It is an open book.
Understand that you have been given a gift of time to be alive, that you have a heart and it needs to be cared for. Then you can start to make your inner garden beautiful.
With self-awareness, understanding the potential that the garden of the heart holds, you will be able to sow the seeds that will benefit you the most. Then you will have a garden you can enjoy for the rest of your life.