When you were a baby, you didn’t have much awareness of change, and this and that. But you started going to school and things changed—where, all the people you really knew were the people that you came across every day—your mom, your dad—now all of a sudden there are all these other people.
And you start learning you have to interact with them, and you have to be submissive; you have to be assertive, and somebody comes along and take your book, and somebody might do something and do something and do something, and you have to be nice, and you have to be this, and you have to be that. Things change. It’s not a severe realization; it happens pretty gradually.
Then comes that time when now you can have a driver’s license—and you feel, like, some sense of accomplishment, “Now things have changed!” And these are all kind of, “nice change,” but then comes that other change; you realize, “Ah-huh, umm-hmm! There is a new smell in the air”—that you never smelt before. And the body is not performing the same way.
And there are so many people who want to hang onto their youth—when the body itself doesn’t want to hang onto it. “Done.” There is a big difference, my friends, in being healthy, staying healthy—and trying to look like who you are not. Do you get it? There’s a big difference.
Because, one is a presentation—of that which you are trying to hide, which is inevitable. It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen! Slowly, things are going to change, and this change has been afoot. This change started when you took your first breath. Not before that. When you took your first breath, this entire change started.
Now, I know everybody’s like, "Whoa, that's heavy stuff." It’s not heavy stuff; it’s nature. This is how it does it. It’s for everything. Trees will age. Even rocks. Mountains!
You look at some mountains and they are nice and soft—right? And you look at the other mountains and they’re sharp, and all, you know, edgy and...? You know what the—why? One is an old mountain; one is a new mountain. The new one hasn’t had the chance to get softened.
That’s neither good nor bad. It has nothing to do with it; it is just how it is.
I say to people; I say, "Do you know that somewhere on this planet Earth the sun is rising always? And it is setting always. This process of sunrise and sunset is continuous." It doesn’t feel like that to us, does it? We look out; "Oh, the sun is out, but, ah, let’s go, arrr-arrr-arrr...."
But if you have ever looked at a sundial, what it’s really showing you, is it’s constantly moving—slowly—but absolutely.
So is your life, so is your body, so is this time, so is all of this. It’s in a constant motion. You don’t want that. You want—you want to have a little "pause" button, get to that one nice point and go, “Tah-dah! I want to stay here.” But that’s not how it is.
So, in this change, is there any certainty? Because change can bring another element into it, which is uncertainty; you don’t know where you’re headed. "What does this change actually do?"
Well, there is a certainty. And the certainty is, your ability to enjoy will not diminish, even with age. Your ability to feel gratitude will not diminish, even with age. Your ability to be happy will not change, even with age. Your ability to have clarity in your life will not change, even with age—provided, provided you have made those things the core of your life.
- Prem Rawat
One of my favorite stories that I have heard since I was a little kid—my father used to tell it—was, there was this king. And one day, this king was attacked, except this attack happened when he was sleeping.
So he’s lying in his bed, and he’s dreaming that he has been attacked, and that he has lost his kingdom; he lost the fight. And the winning king has given orders that he be executed—and he’s running through the forest to save his life.
He finally finds himself in the forest, and he’s hungry. He’s cold; he’s hungry. He finds a hut. In the hut there is an old lady. He knocks on the door, and he says to the old lady, “Can I have something to eat?” She goes, “I just finished making my food, and I have eaten it. But I do have a little bit of lentils left, and a little bit of rice, uncooked. Here it is. Cook for yourself, and eat and be satisfied.”
The king goes out, finds the wood—it has been raining and the wood is all wet. He starts a fire, and the fire is getting into his eyes. And it’s very difficult to start the fire, but he somehow manages to start the fire; he puts the pot on the fire. He puts the dahl, the lentils, the rice, a little bit of salt—cooks himself what is called a kitchari. If you’re from Scotland, a kedgeree—but it’s the same thing.
It’s too hot for him to eat, so he puts it on a leaf to cool down. Two bulls come by, fighting, and he has to move away. And they take what he has made, and stamp, stamp all over it, and mix it in the mud.
The pain of this defeat, losing the war, losing his kingdom, hunger, being in the forest—just imagine, that’s a nightmare! He’s having a nightmare, right? That’s the problem with nightmares; when you’re having them, you don’t know you’re having a nightmare. It seems so real.
And he starts crying. And when he starts crying, he’s crying for real. Not just in his dream; he’s actually crying, and that wakes him up. And he opens his eyes, and in the dim light of his room, lit by little lamps, he sees the magnificent bed, embroidered curtains. Gold is flickering from the little light of the lamps at night.
He can see the outline of his soldiers, standing their guard with spears, as their uniform is glistening from the little light from the lamps. He feels around him, and he’s lying on the softest possible bed he can imagine, with velvet pillows.
At that moment, a question strikes him. And the brilliance of this story is just this question that strikes him—which doesn’t strike us. That whoever wrote this story, whoever came up with this story....
See, well, you hear many, many stories—at least from me. And each one of the stories has a pivotal point, this one point that the author, the teller is trying to convey to you, that is the message of the story, that is the reality of the story. Now, it may not happen with Dirty Harry—that’s Clint Eastwood’s movie—it may not have that pivoting point of “something to tell.”
But these deep stories, which were truly a way to convey wisdom to people, to the masses who would hear it.... And people would go from cities to city, to village to village, and tell these stories, and this was people’s entertainment—how sweet that time must have been.
Before Ved Vyas—the person who wrote Mahabharat—the rishis and the many, many ashrams that existed, and many teachers that existed, had the knowledge, had the knowledge of what was eventually put in the vedas. But they refused to write it.
Writing existed, and means for writing existed. But they refused to write it. Do you know why? Because they knew that if it was ever written, it no longer would be synced with time.
That whenever this wisdom was passed to people, it would be in sync with the time. What would come out would be understood by the people of that time, would be current for those people of the time, would be accepted by those people of the time. It…they would be used by the people of the time.
The downside of it was, that as rivers shifted—because India was still moving north, and this is a reality of it; India is still moving around, and then the rivers are going, “Not here. Not any more.” And people have set up their ashram....
Because, one of the most—see, the…one of the most important things was water. And in those days, cities or villages or whatever was done, it was, “Make sure the water is available.” Because if you had the water, you could grow crops. And, of course, without water, no life.
Not like today, where there are these cities and there is no water. There is a—I saw a documentary of a city in California; there’s no water. And every ounce of water, for the toilet, for the sink, for brushing the teeth, is shipped in by trucks. And you don’t want to go there—because they conserve their water; they don’t take showers.
Anyhow, that something remains current. And here is the pivotal point of that story.
So, he wakes up. He looks around; he sees he’s still a king. Soldiers.... I already described everything pretty well, right? The question he asks himself: “Is this a dream? Or was that a dream,” where he’s hungry? He has questioned both! What would you do?
Oh, you know, instruments of truth, who can detect truth just like that—“Is there something black on my nose?” “No.”
You see, you know, have you seen mechanics? Car mechanics? Sometimes they will have a big line right here, and they don’t know. They’re going around like, “No, there’s nothing there.” To them, that’s the truth. The truth to you would then be, “Oh, no, no, look, look at your face.”
That’s not the truth either; that’s not the truth either, and he’s asking himself a question, “Which one was the dream?” Would we have the gall to ask that question, “Which one is a dream? Was our nightmare real—and what we are seeing now is real? And which one is a dream? Which one is the nightmare and which one is the reality?”
So, anyway, the story goes on; he makes a declaration, “Please, somebody answer my question.” People come out; he’s getting BS answers like he would today—stupid answers.
“You know, according to your astrology sign, that was just a nightmare, king. This is what’s real. Your destined to be the king; there’s nobody born who can defeat you, bla-bla-bla-bla-bla.” And he’s not buying it; he’s not convinced. He’s been touched by that dream so hard, he really wants to know which one is real.
That, there’s nothing to stop for him dreaming. That he has made a declaration—that he woke up and found that he’s still a king, when he’s maybe lying on some floor in the jungle, hungry and wet.
And finally, as—and so he keeps upping the ante, you know? It’s like, “Okay, whoever answers it can have this, can have this, can have this,” and it just kept escalating, escalating, escalating, and he finally gets down to it, and he goes, “Okay, I’ll give half of my kingdom to whoever answers my question.”
Everybody tried; everybody failed. Finally this person, Ashtabakr—and he was deformed! So, he comes; he sits down. And everybody starts laughing.
And the first thing Ashtabakr says is, “How come you have called me, how come you have invited me, O King, to the company of leather-workers?” In India, that’s an insult, by the way. That’s a low-down task, to work with the leather. “Chamar.”
Everybody hears the word “chamar” in his gathering, and they are like, “How dare you call these learned people ‘chamar’?” He goes, “They look at my skin—they look at my skin, and they’re laughing. They don’t know what I have in here, and they don’t know my knowledge. So obviously, they deal in skin.”
The king goes, “Okay, this, this sounds promising.” And here comes the answer—the second twist, the untangling—so, the tangling is, “Which one is real?” And the untangling, here it comes.
The untangling is, “O King, both are dreams.” Right? “Both are dreams. What you dreamt being in the jungle, being hungry was definitely a dream. But what you see with your eyes open, my king, is also a dream.” Tellers of truth, figure that one out. Both are—both are just a dream?
It is the easiest thing to forget: “This is a dream.” Because you were so deep into this dream, that it doesn’t seem like a dream. And there’s only one solution to this problem—only one. Only one—to be reminded again and again and again and again and again, “It’s only a bloody dream; it’s only a bloody dream; it’s only a bloody dream.”
And of course, that’s what sets forth the value for the Master. “It’s only a dream; it’s only a dream; it’s only a dream; it’s only”—and you’re like, “And no, it doesn’t look like a dream. It doesn’t look like a dream.” But isn’t it? “It is a dream; it is a dream; it is a dream; it is a dream; it is a dream.”
“Doesn’t seem like a dream; it doesn’t seem like a dream,” “Yeah, but it is a dream; it is a dream; it is a dream; it is a dream.”
Just like he said, Ashtabakr said, “That was a dream, and this is a dream. Don’t seek reality here. If you want to seek reality, seek reality in you, in that real place that you have which is not a dream.”
- Prem Rawat
There is a saying in Hindi. One day it started to rain gold—and it was raining gold everywhere. There was a washerman. He said to himself, "My goodness, it’s raining gold outside. And this is my house! And this is my house. And whatever gold is raining by my house is mine! So nobody’s going to come and get it."
"But where I wash my clothes, that’s on the banks of the river—and that’s not really my place, but it’s raining gold. So, I’d better go there and get the gold first." So, by the time he got to the bank of the river, the gold had been picked clean. There was nothing left for him. And he went, "Naah, not, not to worry. Nobody would have taken the gold at my house."
So, he went back. By the time he got to his house, all the gold had been picked clean. So it rained gold, and he didn’t get any, neither at home nor at his workplace. So, the saying in Hindi goes, "Na ghar ka, na ghat ka." And, “ghat” is by the bank of the river; "ghar" is “home.”
Would you like your condition to be like that? "Na ghar ka, na ghat ka." Came here; had the opportunity to enjoy, to have that bliss, to have that beauty in your life. But you said, "Oh, well, let me work hard"—like an idiot, like a donkey, day and night.
At night, what did you think of? Your job. In the morning, what did you think of? Your job. In the evening, what did you think of? Your job. And at night, what did you think of? Your job. And then when you got sick and tired, you started thinking about retirement.
And then you got to retirement. And then you started looking at your whole life that had passed by. And then you start to smell, "sniff-sniff, sniff-sniff, sniff-sniff, what is that peculiar smell? Ah, that’s the crusty old wall." You smell it.
Knowledge offers that opportunity to enjoy that heaven now, while you’re alive, every single day. And you don’t have time for that? You’re in the wrong body, son! You’re in the wrong place! You should have been on Mars. In one of those other planets, some frozen amoeba, seven thousand feet under the surface, waiting for an opportunity.
Because this is very different. Here, the blessing comes, blesses you; leaves, comes again. Leaves, comes again. Leaves, comes again. Leaves, comes again. Leaves, comes again. And each time that it comes, it is new and it is fresh and it is real.
And that’s how elegant it is—elegant! Knowledge is elegant. Not a set of rules—elegant! You accepting it, you understanding it, you opening it, you taking advantage of it, you enjoying it. You.
- Prem Rawat
I’d like to tell you a very simple little story, and it has something to do with each one of us, as individuals, as we look at ourselves, as we understand ourselves. And the way this story goes is there was a young American Indian, living in a camp. And one day he approached the chief and said, “Chief, I’m confused.”
And the chief looked at him and he says, “Why are you confused? What are you confused about?” He says, “Well, I see some people who are good sometimes and the other times they’re bad! How can this be? If they’re good, shouldn’t they be good? If they’re bad, shouldn’t they just be bad. But sometimes they’re good; sometimes they’re bad. How can this be?”
And the chief looked at the young kid and he said, “It’s very simple. Inside each one of us we have two wolves—a good wolf and a bad wolf—and they’re constantly fighting each other. And that’s why sometimes people are good and sometimes people are bad.”
So this really got the young kid thinking. And he thought, and he said, “Chief, tell me which wolf wins?” And the chief looked at him and said, “The one we feed the most.
I think after you hear that story you just need to go away, sit down in a quiet room for about an hour, and do a little thinking. Because right there that story says, “Things are not that complicated. That this whole achieving that beautiful thing in your life is not that difficult. All you have to do is feed the right wolf.”
But this is where I will interject—that’s not our strategy. Our strategy is not to feed the right wolf. And the story very clearly says, “Which wolf will win? The one we feed the most.” But our strategy is to beat the bad wolf. And this is why we don’t succeed.
Why do we beat the bad wolf? Because this is what, somehow, we have been told: “Beat the bad wolf.” Sounds logical? Never, ever thinking, “Well, ah, what is that going to do for the good wolf? I should, you know, feed the good wolf, so that the good wolf will be strong.”
But, “No, and let, let’s, let’s figure out a way to beat the bad wolf.” And that’s what we do. “Oh, I made a mistake! Oh my God, I made a mistake. I made a mistake! I made a mistake, I made a mistake, I made a mistake. Oh, man, I made a mistake.”
You have to stop that thing that just comes and beats the…—I won’t say the word, but it starts with a “c”, ends with a “p”—out of you again, and again, and again, and day, and night, and influences your dreams, influences your happiness.
That’s life! That’s life—to know yourself, to understand, to feed the good wolf. Feed the good wolf. When you understand the value of today, you feed the good wolf! When you understand the value of yourself, you feed the good wolf. When you lament in sorrow, when you watch your dreams crumple…
Because you created those dreams; nobody else created them for you. You created them yourself.
You created your dreams. Maybe there are better dreams—doesn’t matter. You’ve got to have the good wolf win in your life.
There was a guy, and his job was to go every day to the mountain. And he would cut a piece of rock; he would take the rock, bring it back home, and he would make little things from that rock. He would make mortar-pestle, small statues—and he would sell them. And this is how he made his living.
So, one day he was very sad. And he was walking along the street—and he was just sad with his situation, because he saw no future, and he did not like his lifestyle. So he heard noise coming from behind the wall; he just heard some noise coming. So he stood on his tiptoes and he looked!
And it was a beautiful house! And they were having a party. And there were servants! And there were guests! And there was music! And people were dancing! And he went, “Wow! The person who lives in this house, he must be really powerful. I, I want to be like him!”
So he looked up, and he prayed. “God, I want to be like him.” It just so happened that that day, God was listening. And God said, “Okay!” And he snapped his finger—and the man had become rich!
And he said, “Now, this is more like it! I like this. I am powerful! I have servants! I have a house! I have rich friends! Ah, this is really good!” And he was enjoying it.
One day, a procession went by, and he just heard all the noise, so he came out of the house and he looked—and it was the king! And he was going.... And all the rich men were lined up bowing to the king! And he said, “Wow! This king is more powerful than me! God, I want to be like the king!”
Also that day, God just happened to be listening. Just like that, he was the king! Big army, lots of servants—everybody paying respects to the king.
One day, he came out to his balcony in the morning and he saw the sun rising. And as the sun rose, all the birds started to wake up. All the animals started to stir! It’s like, “Wow! This sun is more powerful than me!” So he looks up, prays, “I want to be like the sun!”
Just like that, he’s the sun! And one day he’s shining really bright; it’s really hot—and he sees there’s something between him and the earth. And he looked—and it was a cloud. And the wind was blowing and moving the cloud. “Wow! The wind is more powerful than me! I want to be the wind.”
Well, he becomes the wind. He blows! Nothing can stop him—he goes wherever he wants! He’s blowing, blowing, blowing, blowing, blowing! And all of a sudden he’s stopped! “What’s stopping the wind?” He looks—and it is a big mountain. “Ah! I want to be the mountain. More powerful....” He becomes the mountain.
Very happy. Most powerful. Mighty! Strong! And one day he notices that somebody is cutting the mountain! And he goes, “Who can be more powerful than this mountain? Cutting the mountain?” And he looks, and way down there is a stonecutter, just like him, cutting away at the mountain.
In this moment he realized that all along he has been powerful, but he did not know it. Same thing for all of us.
– Prem Rawat
I’m just a human being. And I am not sitting here claiming I don’t have bad days—that would be stupid! I do! But I also question, “Why am I having a bad day?”
I’m having a bad day, not because the day is bad! Uh-uh-uh, the day is the same!
You think the sun comes out and says, “Here, I’m going to nail that guy.” You really think so?
There are people who believe in the cosmos—you think all those planets and all those stars know, “Hah, huh, oh, let’s nail that one.” No! Mars doesn’t know you exist. Saturn has no idea you are here and you had a burned toast and slipped in your bathtub and have diarrhea … and flu!
I mean, do you really think Mars goes, “Yeah, let’s get that guy. He’s—just keep that train going. So far, we’ve gotten him to slip in the bathtub, burnt his toast, killed the electricity, no coffee in the morning. Let’s just keep going with that thought! I mean, just…the flow is on.”
No! No! It has nothing to do with it. You need explanations, so you create an explanation. And this is the beautiful thing about human beings: they have used their creativity, not to create clarity, but to create an explanation which has no head and tail. Point: “Why is this happening to me?” “It was your last lifetime.”
All right. Would somebody please tell me what is it that I did, so I won’t do it? I mean, the whole point of punishment should be that you don’t repeat! I mean, what is the point of a punishment—that you are not told?
Somebody walks up to you, hands you a ticket: “What is this ticket for?” “Parking violation.”
“I don’t even own a car. How can I have a parking violation? What did I do? Please! So I won’t do it again!”
“No, that’s a secret. You…you figure it out.”
I mean, I’m not saying there isn’t karma—there is! But it’s much more recent. It’s nothing to do with the last lifetime. It’s now!
– Prem Rawat