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.”
Hello everyone—Prem Rawat here. I’ve finally made it all the way to India—and this is where I’m recording this broadcast. So, a long journey, (obviously, from, all the way from California to Delhi). You know, just reflecting on that, we have a journey too—and the journey is the journey of this life.
Now, it doesn’t—it may not feel like it. It may feel like, “Well, what journey? You know, every day I wake up” in this, whatever, wherever you live—you are there; you have your chores; you have your things that you have to do. And a lot of things don’t change.
But believe me, change is afoot all the time. And something, very fundamentally, is always changing. And little by little, this incredible amount of time that you had on this earth is being chiseled away.
Now, this is not—I know this is not a pleasant topic to talk about. But it’s a realistic topic to talk about. Because I think it sets the context for all that that we do, all that we think, all that we want to do. Because what is the reality? And sometimes when that word “reality” is said, it’s very confronting. It’s like “What do you mean—what, what reality? This is reality, isn’t it?”
There are people—and they cannot think beyond their business, beyond their, whatever little circle that they have. There it is, their apartment; there it is, their town; there it is, their country. And yet, none of it was ever like that.
There was a time when very much, on this planet Earth, everything was just too hot, too inhospitable to even survive, for anything to survive.
And as millions and millions and millions of years that it took. And when somebody says that, it’s very hard to understand—but it is true. And it took a long, long time to go through all of that to get to a point where we have the earth where it can support the life that it supports. And that we came. We are alive. And one day we’ll be gone.
So, everything on the face of this earth is transitory. Now, a lot of people who had some time; they could sit down; they could observe this—and in their wisdom, this is what they said, is that “This is transitory; this isn’t here permanently. It may seem to you that way—but it isn’t. It all moves. It isn’t what you think.”
Yesterday I did a broadcast in Hindi—so, one of the things I was saying is just like, “You’re sitting in a train.” And, you know, it’s the theory of relativity, but “You’re in a train—and you’re moving.” And of course, you don’t look like you are moving; everything else is moving.
So, that window that you’re looking out of, it’s like, well, just right there—it’s always been there since the train started moving. And it was the trees that went by. But in reality, it isn’t the trees that are moving. It is the train that you are in that is moving.
So, if you take a ball and you start bouncing it up and down—and the train is moving at a hundred kilometers an hour, well, that ball is moving a hundred kilometers an hour in relation to what is outside.
It is quite, just up and down—in relation to the train itself. But in relation to all the trees that are out there, the mountain that’s out there, people that are out there, that ball is clipping right along at a hundred kilometers an hour.
So it’s relative. And where we are, it is very hard for us to see what is moving, what is happening, what is the reality. So, we automatically assume a reality. We think that “This is the way the world is,” the way we observe it. “This is—ah, well, yeah, of course, this is how it’s going to be; this is this way; this is this way; this is this way.”
But none of that is real. That you, in your body, you live, you exist every day like you’re going to live forever, but you’re not! So what, what exactly is that all about? So, what is reality, then?
And at first, it may be that, you know, you think about it or you look at it and it’s like, very confronting. But then when you start to just settle down, (yes, yeah, you’ve got to settle down)—and go “Wait a minute. Maybe that reality is very sweet; maybe that reality is very beautiful. Not abrupt and harsh as I take it to be.”
But it is a sweet reality that I have been given a time to be on the face of this earth. And it’s a gift! I don’t know how it happened. I didn’t—I certainly didn’t push any buttons—but I’m here. One day, I will be gone.
And my focus isn’t about going. I know there are people who absolutely do not want to concentrate on one second of being alive. They want to concentrate on the departure: “Are we going to end up in heaven, or are we going to end up in hell?”
This—I mean, the heaven—they’re so obsessed with heaven! And they have never been there. It’s not like they actually have any firsthand experience of it—no, it’s just people describing it. And those people who are describing it also haven’t been there.
But you are here. Nobody has to describe what it is like—that early in the morning, when the sun begins, there is a pinkness. And it is so sweet. And the coming of this light, not abruptly but ever so gently, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly filling up, filling up that sky that was so dark, with this gentle, gentle light.
The fact that that sun that is so bright, that’s so brilliant, that is so powerful, can bring on its light so sweetly, so gently is almost inconceivable—but so it is!
And then there is the water. And, you know, somebody actually said, “Why do we call it ‘earth’; it’s mostly all water!” It’s true. And there’s the ocean, supporting all this life in its bosom, in its self. Lapping against the shorelines, making a sound that is so beautiful, so relaxing to human beings.
The birds that can sing, the wind that can blow. This amazing earth, we do not consider it to be a heaven. But I have heard no description of heaven, ever, that surpasses what this earth is.
So, we will gladly exchange, (as if it were), everything—for somebody’s description. What about your experience? What about your experience? What have you experienced; what do you feel; what do you see? What is that joy like in your life when you love? What is that joy like in your existence when you feel that contentment?
Yeah, we pursue happiness. But we don’t understand the nature of happiness; it keeps changing. What made you happy two weeks ago isn’t what’s going to make you happy today. But contentment is different. Contentment is all about you being in that place where you feel that tranquility.
Can you afford in your life to slow down enough to feel what this existence is all about? Can you slow down enough in your life to feel what this breath is all about? Can you take your ambitions and focus them on wanting to feel, not happiness, but contentment? Can you take this energy that you’re constantly putting towards the outside, into the world—and take that focus and put it on the inside?
And be prepared to feel the simplicity, the simplicity of the entire universe as it permeates everything that is there? Even though there is so much action; there is so much going on in this universe, there is a simplicity, and that simplicity, that profoundness is also reflected inside of you. And you have the possibility to feel that.
You know, “good things” in life is understanding them, accepting them. If somebody loves you, you can hate them. And you can hate them, and all you will feel is hate. Or, you can also start accepting that love. And that the love that, from acceptance of that love, the love that’ll come from you, that’ll be generated inside of you, you can feel that too.
Hate begets hate. Anger begets anger. Fear begets fear. True. Very, very true. But conversely, love begets love. Joy begets joy.
Is this different? Is this wrong? There’s no judgment. It is. This is what makes you human; you live in this paradox. And yet, there is one part of you that thinks this is a paradox. And there is another part of you that knows that this is not a paradox. It is in fact, your reality—your reality.
And that is—that is absolutely amazing—that that is your reality. It could be anything. And one of the things is, yes, you can imagine things in life. Oh, yeah, there are many things you can imagine in life. But there is a reality as well that you must accept.
So, I don’t say to people, “You should not run with your imagination”—of course you should run with your imagination if you want to. Whatever you want to do—provided you also accept the reality that is here. Because it’s a sweet reality; it’s a beautiful reality. It’s your reality. It’s your understanding; it’s about you! Your life is about you.
I mean, and you know, yeah, people, well, it’s like, “Oh yeah, well, you know, that’s not the right way to think about life; that’s not the right way to think about this, you know, and but that’s, that’s too selfish....”
Come on, please! Please. Where does this breath take place, in somebody else—or in you? Where do you feel joy, in somewhere else, or in you? So, why is it that you feel joy inside of you? And why is it—most importantly—that you want to feel joy? Why do you want to feel joy? Have you ever asked that question? Why do you want to feel joy?
Ask it. Ask the question. And if you do ask that question, you will find out that inside of you, within you is that pot that yearns to be filled. You can call it a pot; you can call it a heart. You can—you can call it “you,” for that matter. It’s sweet! It’s beautiful. And that’s the way the kindness of this universe is.
There is utter destruction, absolute destruction—and then there is existence. And both are allowed to coexist. It’s not like it’s all being destroyed. Of course, it’ll, eventually, “all being destroyed” but before it is all destroyed, it is allowed to exist. And it is allowed to go in destruction mode only to be recreated again. Wow—only to be recreated again.
And maybe never the same, everything a little bit different. A sun could be destroyed—and end up as a satellite moon. To all of this, the change. We don’t like to change. We don’t want to change. But change is inevitable; that’s going to happen.
That’s what Marcus Aurelius said. Change, change, change takes place. Do you like it? Do you want it? Maybe not. Because you work so hard to shore up everything to make sure that it doesn’t change. And then somebody comes along and says, “No, it has to change.” And that’s very inconvenient. That’s, and that, that’s not fun.
So? Not looking at the time now—and projecting it in hell and heaven, “And it’ll be much better after I die.” And yet, who comes back and says “Oh, yeah, yeah, everything is cool”? And who says, “Well, you know, I, I’ll expedite”? Nobody wants to expedite—not in their right mind, anyways, not in a sane way.
So, we do—and we are in this paradox. But in this paradox, there is an incredible clarity. And that clarity is so beautiful and it’s so profound. And that’s what we have got to latch onto. And if we can, it can be the most beautiful thing in our life.
We can be thankful for this existence. We can appreciate, in a unique way, in our unique way, what we have been given, what has been made possible. And that’s where gratitude comes from. The want to know yourself is there.
A lot of people will go, “No, I don’t want to know myself. I, I don’t have that want. I don’t—I, I don’t care!” But you do. And when you were growing up, that was one of the things that mattered an incredible amount to you—even if you, you know, say “Oh, it didn’t, didn’t matter to me,” oh yeah, it did.
What did you like? Which ice cream flavor did you like? What was your favorite dish—and that wasn’t the same dish as everybody else’s. What color clothes did you wear? What was your favorite color? This is all in the search of identity, of trying to identify who you are.
When you were born, you know, your—the center of your universe was that person who was caring for you. Your mother—and things were maybe very, very simple; most of the time you slept—when you felt hunger, you woke up. Then went back to sleep.
Things changed, changed, changed—you started to become aware; you started to become aware; you started to become aware of this; you started to become aware of that. And most importantly, you started to become aware of yourself.
And you wanted an identity: “This is who I am.” Of course, there was a name. But it went far beyond name. It also went to everything else. What color you like, what, you know, what is your favorite day, to, you know, “Do you like going to school?” “And I don’t like the going to school.”
Who are your friends; who, you know, your.... You may have a friend; then all of a sudden, that friend isn’t your friend anymore. Whatever. Seeking that identity. And what is the most important thing of seeking that identity? Knowing your self. Knowing the self.
So, there, it was just related to colors or this or that or all the other little things. Then, there is the whole idea of the, take it one whole step beyond that—and really find out who you are, not just the colors, (your favorite color or your favorite day or your favorite dish or your “favorite this” or your “favorite that”).
Who really, as a human being, you are—not your personality—but the components of your existence. What do you have inside of you? Do you have that incredible joy?
That you have anger, that you have fear. That you have hate. But you also have incredible—see, this is the component. With this—in the world, we don’t think of these things. But these, this is all part of knowing yourself.
Now, you don’t abandon one for the other. (What your favorite color is will remain your favorite color. And who your favorite person is will remain your favorite person.) But! Then starting to understand the depth, that there is more than meets the eye.
Know yourself, always. Know and understand the thirst for the contentment that you have. Because that contentment is important to you; this is one of the components that is required by you.
You think it’s just happiness. But happiness comes and goes. That’s its nature—and that’s perfectly okay. That doesn’t make happiness wrong. That doesn’t make happiness wrong. That’s perfectly okay. But contentment is what you truly desire. Then the want isn’t there anymore. It’s a different state of being.
It’s like, there you are. And you’re lying there—and you want to go to sleep, and you can’t go to sleep and you’re turning and you’re tossing and—and then finally, it happens. And you fall asleep. Contentment.
“I want this. I want that. I, yeah, I think I need this; I think I need that. I need to be better than the other people. I need to do this; I need to do that. I,” da, da-da, da-da, da-da, da! And then, (whew), just you. How beautiful, how simple—how profound that is. And this is the only way you will be able to have that gratitude that you need in your life.
And what is the significance of gratitude? The significance of gratitude is that then, that contentment is afoot. And as a result of that, here comes gratitude. So, it’s never one gift—it’s one gift and then another gift—and then another gift, and then another gift. It’s like a tree.
And before the season, what can it give you? It can give you shade. It can give you a support. You can lie against it and rest. And then, when the season comes, it gives you a fruit.
Life can be like that—if we let life be life, and not try to manipulate it, not try to change it. Otherwise, there’s so much out there that’s so unbelievable! And it’s in our world! You know, it, and this is the time we live in.
So, make the most, make the most of this existence that you have. Somehow, it’s incredibly important that you do.
So, thank you very much; stay well; stay safe. And I will talk to you soon.