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Hello, everyone. I hope you’re all doing well. I’d like to tell you a story today, and maybe some of the things that are happening in the world may be reflected in this story.
So, obviously, this story is from India and so, it wasn’t uncommon for a teacher who would lecture whoever wanted to hear him. And his follower, his student, they would go from village to village, from city to city and set up a place where they would, yeah, at least, the teacher would talk about what he wanted to talk about and people would come and listen to him.
So, one day, as this tour was going on, as they were traveling from town to town, city to city, they came across this fairly large-sized city—and they were at the outer skirts of the city and the teacher said, “You know, I think, let’s set up shop here and you go and check out what this city is like and let me know—and then I’ll make up my mind whether I want to stay here or I want to move on.”
So, the student was delighted and he went into the city. And to his great delight, everything cost the same. So he could get dinner—and the dinner cost the same as a banana or one grape—or a kilo or, you know, twenty pounds of grapes cost the same as one grape.
You could buy a car for the same price as one grape. You could buy a house for the price of one banana or grape—and everything costs the same, exactly the same.
So, the student, he just couldn’t get back to his teacher fast enough and he said, “We have hit the motherlode. This is the place to be; this is the place to stay; this is just the most wonderful place—everything costs the same as like, one banana, one grape.” And the teacher asked, “How much is that?” He said, “Just one cent. Everything just costs one cent.”
And so the teacher was like, “Hey, let’s get out of here. That we—this is not a good sign; this is not a good place to be.” And the student said, “No, no, this is the perfect place. I have very little money and for this little money, I can live here for as long as I want; I mean, this is just incredible.”
So, the teacher said, “Look. I’ve got to—I can’t stay here; I’ve got to move on. But if you ever get into a situation that is difficult for you to get out of; you get in a pickle; you get into trouble, just remember me—and I’ll come and try to save you.”
So, the student was ecstatic; I mean, it’s like, “Great.” The teacher left; he moved onto the next town—and the student was there and he was just like, “This is the way to go.”
Well, he’d been there for about four or five days—and one Sunday morning, the town was pretty deserted and he’s walking down the street early in the morning—and as he’s walking down the street, he’s arrested. And he goes, “Why have I been arrested?” And so they started to explain to him why he had been arrested.
And they said, “Look, what happened was there was this man and he was taking his goats for grazing—and as he was taking them along the street, this balcony fell and killed one of the goats.” And so the goat keeper wanted to make sure that he got compensated for it.
So, this went to the king—and the king immediately instructed the owner of the house, whose balcony had fallen down, to give him money and make amends with him. But the owner of the house said, “Sire, it’s not my fault; I didn’t build the balcony. I paid for it; it’s my balcony, but I didn’t build the balcony. It’s obviously the fault of the guy who built the balcony.”
So, the king said, “Call him!” The mason was called—and he said, “You—either you give....” And by this time the king is getting pretty upset; he says, “Either you give this guy the money or we’re going to kill you.”
And the guy says, “But I can’t! I don’t have that kind of money. But then again, it’s not my fault that the balcony fell. It is the fault of the guy who put too much water in the cement-and-water mixture. When I was telling him to put water in there, he accidentally put too much water in.” So the king said, “Okay, call him.”
So, he was brought in and he, the guy says—the king says to him; he says, “Okay, you have to be killed.” He says, “Why do I have to be killed?”
He says, “Well, you put too much water in the mixture, which then made the balcony weak. The balcony fell on the goat and it killed the goat. And so, somehow that, you know, this person has to be taken care of. So, you—we’re going to punish you and we’re going to kill you.”
And the guy said, “Well, it’s not my fault. It is the fault of the guy who sold me too big of a goat. And from the skin of that goat, I have had the musk made,” (which is how they used to carry water—and it was made out of skin), and he said, “It was too big—and that’s what happened. So it’s not my fault.” “So, yeah, call that guy who sold you the goat.”
They called that guy who sold him the goat and he says, “Well, you know, you have to be killed.” He says, “Why do I have to be killed?” “So, well, you gave, you sold him too big of a goat, which ended up making too much water in the mixture, which made the balcony weak and the balcony fell on this guy’s goat and killed his goat, so we are, we’re making him right.”
He says, “Well, it’s not my fault. It’s the fault of your general. Because the guy, this guy had picked out the goat he wanted, which was the right size. And then all of a sudden, your general came on his horse—and all the goats just started going all over the place and I ended up picking the wrong one. So, you should go ahead and, you know, kill your general; hang him.”
So they call the general; the king called the general and said, “Well, you have to be hung.” He says, “Sire, well, but I haven’t done anything wrong.”
He says, “Yeah, you have. You were riding your horse that day and, you know, you got all the goats all confused. And this guy ended up picking the wrong goat, which made too big of a musk, which put too much water in the mixture, which made the balcony weak. The balcony fell on this guy’s goat, killed the goat, and so we’re making him right.”
So, the general looked at the king and he says, “But sire, but I’m your general. You can’t kill me.” “So what should we do?” He says, “Well, go out in the morning, on Sunday morning, and whoever you find, the first person walking down the street, kill him.” Well, it happened to be the student.
The student was brought before the king, of course, and this whole story was explained to him and then he realized what his teacher has been, had been telling him—he says, “This is not a good place.” And that’s, you know, hindsight’s twenty-twenty. So he, of course, at that point, had complete clarity. Before that, he didn’t.
So, he had remembered to remember his teacher—so he did. He said, “Please, please, please,” he prayed to him; he said, “Please help me. I am in a pickle; I am in trouble.” So, somehow, his teacher came. And his teacher looked at him—and he said, “Just follow my cue. Don’t disagree with me; just follow my cue and watch what I do.”
So, they’re getting ready; they have the whole bench ready where they’re going to hang him. The stage is all set. Everybody is there; lots of—a big crowd is there; the king is there. And they are almost ready to take the student up to hang him when the teacher, who’s there, he says, “I want to be hung. Hang me! Not, don’t hang him; hang me!” And the king hears this commotion—and he can’t believe his ears. He goes, “Are you—are you sane? I mean, you want to be hung instead of him?”
And the teacher said, “Right now, the gates to heaven are completely open. All the gates going to heaven are open. It happens to be the most auspicious time—and so if you hang me, I’ll go straight to heaven.”
The king said, “Really?” And the teacher said, “Oh, absolutely.” The king looked at the hangman and he said, “Hang me! I want to go to heaven.” And the king was hanged.
So, the point of this story is that, you know, when we live in an environment where the people are trying to take something totally out of context.... And you look at the craziness of it, where all these people, all these ideas of “How this should happen; how that should happen....”
I mean, just, the United States is number one—and inching towards a million people. I mean, outpaced just about everybody. And you wonder, “What is happening?” You wonder what’s going on.
But the most important thing is, for any changes to be brought, those changes will have to be from you—from each one of us, each one of us on the face of this earth. Many times when I talk, I talk about the value of each person. And a lot of people I know just look at me like, “What are you talking about, ‘value of each person’?”
Well, now that we have this coronavirus, you know what the value of each person is. One person can contaminate so many; one person isn’t so innocent anymore; one person isn’t so frail anymore; one person isn’t so weak anymore. One person has a lot to do.
Well, if it can be in a negative way, it can also be in a positive way—of what a person can do. That, one person bringing out their clarity, one person bringing out their understanding, one person wanting to be in peace can have a huge effect on a lot of people.
And each one of those people then wanting that, there really can be a difference. And maybe this is the time to really look at that—that, you know, “What kind of a world do we want,” to reflect on that.
And this is kind of like, you know, a lead-up to the Peace Education Program—but the Peace Education Program, it really is about you; “You can make a difference. You can, at least, make a difference in your life; you can make a difference in your existence”—which, believe you me, it’s going to make a difference in a lot of people’s life, more than you ever realize.
And it begins with you—as simple and as profound as that may sound; it begins with you. You understanding, you going forward, you taking that step in your life, you taking responsibility for your peace, for your clarity, for your appreciation of life—for you to understand your existence, you taking that—and it’s an adventure. It’s an adventure—but it’s an adventure to go within.
The least-explored space that there is, is not out there; it’s in here. We don’t really know who we are, what is our potential, what is our possibility—and it’s such a shame.
Because most of us walk around being just, you know, knocked over by all the problems and the issues, and this is all we want to deal with. I mean, it’s just, if it comes to politics, of course—politics, the talks about politics and it’s just, you pick up a newspaper in the morning and it’s like, “This is happening and that’s happening and that’s happening and that’s happening.”
And nothing good. All just, you know, “Okay, that thing took a turn for the worse; that person took a turn for the worse. That person is saying this stupid thing; that person is saying that stupid thing.” And it’s enough to just go, you know, it’s like, “Why am I reading this? You know, what has this got to do with me?”
I live in this world. I need to be informed—I agree with all that. But at the same time, do I understand how it affects me? Should it be that I don’t care—of what happens in my world? Or should I care what happens in my world—my world? But my world doesn’t begin with the newspaper; my world begins with me!
If I care what happens in my world, it has to be my world, me, understanding who I am, living my life consciously, and having this heart full of gratitude. This is what it has to be—otherwise we’re going to be in this world that we would have created, in which it’s like, “Oh, yes!”
You know, and it’s almost like that. You know, you can go all day long; you can go shopping and not have spent one cent, one dime, one dollar, one pound—and it’s all done on a credit card. So it’s like, all you have to do is just sign—and you can buy, (pretty much), whatever you want, what the credit card will approve.
We almost live in that society. We live in this kind of time. I mean, it’s like, okay, so, you know, in the old days, you started off—and you started off with ten dollars or twenty dollars in your wallet. And this is what you were going to spend and no more.
That’s—that’s sanity; that’s sane. So, you go out there—and when you run out of your ten dollars, you run out of your five dollars, you run out of your twenty dollars, you’re done. You’re done; no more spending.
Now, you have no idea what you’re spending it on. And away you “sign off, sign off, sign off”—and then what happens when those bills arrive? They give you a heartache; they give you a headache; they give you an “everything-ache.”
Why? Because you did not, in that one moment—you just said, “Okay, I think I’ll cover it somehow.” And you just “sign it away, sign it away, sign it away, sign it away.”
So, the craziness goes on. You know, and here, we are being given an opportunity to think—if nothing else, to think, think deeply, think with a clear head, think without the pressure, think without all those obligations, just think very clearly: “How do you want to be?”
Yes, there are economic issues. Yes, “What is going to happen to this?” Yes, “What is going to happen to that?” We already saw what happened—you know, the government releases a whole bunch of funds—and who does it end up with? All those people who don’t need it. And all those people who need it? Financial institutions already taking all that, “No, you don’t get it.”
But excuse me, is this what it’s all about? Is the bottom line not people anymore? What happened? What happened? It is human beings who started that system. And all of a sudden, the system has gone beyond the realm of human beings—and it says “Human beings don’t mean anything to me anymore?” How can that be?
This is truly a—every single evidence here, every single finger is pointing that human beings have lost themselves, that they have lost what that humanity means. Because if that humanity was there, nobody should have to wonder....
And well, just hunker down—and somehow, the food—there’s just plenty of it, plenty of it. And there are people who are willing to deliver it, that the food will be delivered.
There are billions and billions and billions earmarked to blow people off planet Earth—well, can some of that money be spent to save the people on this planet Earth, not looking at the boundaries, but looking at all of us as we are?
Things to think about. I’m not going one way or the other way with it—but some things to think about. Because what benefits, ultimately, those other people will ultimately benefit us too. When everybody is taken care of, we will be taken care of. This is how it should be: “Human beings first.” In our systems, in our institutions: “Human beings first.”
But you know, like I have said to many, many people, it’s just like, organizations recognize organizations. They work very well with organizations; they don’t work very well with people. Organizations work well with organizations.
And so, you know, when you make an organization to help people, it becomes an organization just like every other organization and people are shoved aside. When you think about billions and billions and billions and trillions of dollars that are earmarked to help people on the face of this earth, you wonder where it disappears to.
So, it’s very, very important that we at least, think, think about the world we want, think about our world starting, truly, from us.
So, be well; be safe. And most importantly, be. I’ll talk to you later. Thank you.