How many of you have heard of Leonardo da Vinci? Mona Lisa—he painted that. A man who asked questions, not very well educated, but very well-learned. Big difference—there are people who are very well-educated, but they’re not very well-learned. And there are people who are not that well-educated, but very well-learned—they go far. And he was very well-learned.
He asked the questions. “Why is the water the way it is? Why do the mountains at a distance seem bluish and hazy all the time?” He also painted The Last Supper.
One of the notes that he wrote down—this is how he signed the bottom of the page: “Leonardo da Vinci, the disciple of experience.”
You see, when I heard that I just froze. “Oh, disciple of so-and-so. Disciple of that guru; disciple of that that thing, or disciple of that thing....” And here he writes—a brilliant man writes, “disciple of experience.”
So I ask you, “Are you the disciple of experience?” How many times have you said, “I love you,” but didn’t feel it? And how many times have you heard, “I love you,” but didn’t feel it? Never? Never!?
“Good morning.” Love is a little complicated; you may be sitting next to your husband, and I perfectly understand, you cannot take that chance. “Good morning”—so I’ll make it easier, “Good morning.” And you said it ritually, and you didn’t mean it; you didn’t experience it.
Disciple of experience. Uttered the word, “God,” but didn’t feel God. Disciple of experience. “Thank you”—uttered the word “thank you,” but didn’t feel gratitude. Disciple of experience.
Are you the disciple of experience in your life? Do you welcome each day like you should, like the day deserves - not because of your piddly problems - but because of this grand opportunity you have to be alive on the face of this earth?
– Prem Rawat
Do you know the self? Because if you know the self, then you will know what you need to do to get back to being who you truly are.
The journey to become you is a journey back. It is undoing! Learning is very little new information. Undoing what you think you know takes most of the time.
Same thing with the self; same thing with the Knowledge, the “Knowledge of the self.” Need I say more? It’s everything.
Not, “Oh, you’ve had it longer than me; I have it longer than you; you received it in ’72; you received in ’94....” Kchch! Then you don’t know yourself. If you do that, you don’t know yourself. Excuse me, you don’t know yourself.
Because, remember what I was saying? Knowing yourself isn’t comparing to the next person: “I am not that,” or, “I am that plus that.” No, you are you. This is your time, your choices, your understanding, your life—your life. You have been given what you have been given.
– Prem Rawat
People say “now,” right? I have said “now.” And one day I was thinking about “now.” Now is the most elusive thing there is. Because by the time I say “now,” it’s not now anymore. So, by the time I finish saying “now,” now is gone.
Here is one for you. If you don’t understand the meaning of “one,” what is the point in going on to two? After all, “two” is just two ones.
If you don’t understand the meaning of “now,” what is the point in trying to understand the meaning of “tomorrow”? Because you would be pleasantly surprised that tomorrow too will be just full of a bunch of nows—and none different. You need in your life to know.
– Prem Rawat
Are we honest with ourselves? I mean, we—you know, I tell that story about the guy who’s an archer, and he goes from village to village exhibiting his, you know, archery. And as he goes, people gather and they applaud, and so on—this is one of my favorite stories. So, you know, they all applaud, and everybody’s, you know, “Yay, great guy!” And he—you know, this really, really inflates his ego.
And one day while he’s doing this exhibition, he hears a guy all the way from the back going, “Ah, it’s only a matter of practice.” So this really irks him. So he shoots another arrow, and bla-bla-bla, and everybody claps, and, “Eh, it’s only a matter of practice.”
So after this exhibition is over, he goes looking for this guy; he wants to have a few words with him. And so he finds him. And there’s this oil salesman, a poor guy sitting in the corner—and he’s got a big bamboo pole with two big pots on either end, and a few empty bottles, and he’s just sitting there....
And the guy goes, “Hey, are you the guy who, every time I shoot an arrow and I get the bullseye, you’re the one who keeps saying, ‘Eh, it’s just a matter of practice’?” And he looks up at him and he goes, “Yeah, it’s me.”
And he says, “How dare you? Don’t you know who I am? I’m this expert guy. People come from miles to watch how good I am! And here you are; you just sell oil, and you sit there and you go, ‘It’s just a matter of practice’—so, what do you mean, it’s a matter of practice?”
So the oil salesman said, “Okay, let me show you.” So he picked up one of the big pots full of oil, took an empty bottle, put it down; lifted the pot—without spilling a drop, poured the oil from the big pot through the neck of the bottle and filled the bottle—without spilling a drop. He looked at the archer and he said, “Now, you try.” And the archer says, “I can’t. I’ll spill everywhere.”
So, after I tell that story, I ask my audience, “What do you think of that story? You like it?” It’s a matter of practice. He is good at archery because he practices it; he’s really good at pouring the oil because he practices it. You...you concur?
What are you good at? And the only reason why I asked that is because you practice it. Just.this is reverse engineering—whatever you’re good at, you practice it a lot. Are you good at getting angry?
How long does it take you to get angry? You’re expert! You must practice it a lot. How about getting confused? How long does it take you to get confused? How long does it take you to lose hope? How long does it take you to lose clarity? How long does it take you to lose your focus? So, this is what you practice?
You don’t have to answer that question. You know the answer; that is sufficient. So maybe now, you want to change your strategy and practice something positive in your life: being aware!
– Prem Rawat
You have this treasure trove in you. Everyone, everyone does. Everyone does. But we’re not in touch with it; we’re in touch with everything else. And the world helps us. Very few of us actually get an opportunity to say, “Look, search for it.” You know?
We ask our parents, “Dad, where’s God?” And he points up! You know? And, God forbid he’s from Australia, because then we’re all pointing in the wrong direction.
And so, there are all these “can’t answers,” and nobody actually understands them. But it’s, “Oh, yeah, this is this way; this is this way.”
But noble is the father who looks at his child and says, “Son, find out. And if you find out before me, tell me. If I find out before you, I’ll tell you.”
– Prem Rawat
What have you really understood in your life? Who are you? What are you? When you hear that, “Do you know your self,” what does that mean? Is it some definition that somebody’s going to plunk in your head? Is it going to be something that somebody sitting or standing behind a podium is going to lecture you on?
It better not be. Because it has to be something you know from the bottom of your heart—who you are—that you were given an opportunity to be alive.
– Prem Rawat