Recently following the Presidential campaign in US has been both devastating and alluring. We in India are used to political campaigns which mostly run on emotions (mostly false), attachments and associations (mostly untrue) and a whole gamut of drama in the name of equality, freedom and secularism. Reading articles, watching campaign videos and Democratic debates was devastating for a particular reason. These campaign has shown me how US (no matter declared and believed to be developed) has so much gross inequality. I have also been disappointed to see how politicians in US are more articulate than their Indian counterparts but are involved in ‘cognitive corruption’. US citizens will definitely be in a better position than me to furnish the details and the right side of the picture of various politicians/candidates; however one thing has changed the way I see hope. Amidst the pessimistic and pseudo centrist ideologies this campaign definitely raises hope for a radical change.Bernie Sanders, the longest serving independent in congressional history speaks about change in the manner iconically different from his competitors. His proposals for change seem impractical to some but to some they are hope. He is though not running a campaign on delusional promises or hate speeches. He is running the campaign on the strength of his character, imagination and experience. While the popular media is already leaning on the side of Hillary and declaring a win for her, Sanders is still running the race because he practically has chances to win the nomination. It has been a long time, that I had not heard a honest political voice and here it is in 2016 fighting for the middle and the low class. Listening to his speeches gives you a hope that honesty and candid expressions are worth all the cost that they may have as they surely yield you great satisfaction is doing the right rather than doing it diplomatically.
To all those who have not heard about him and have not hear him speak; please search for him or you may miss some honest words from a man of mettle.
Suddenly, everyone is commenting about how tolerant or intolerant India as a nation is. Social networks, media houses, individuals and groups of individuals; everyone wants to be listened. I don’t know, how tolerant or intolerant we Indians are, I can certainly say, we are all fools. It is quite easy to provoke us, make us verbal about something and then using all the tides to fulfil some vested interest. This has been happening here for years and the trend will remain so for many coming years or even centuries.
Do we even know what does the word tolerance mean? We keep on living our cunning everyday life as usual, without bothering about compassion, tolerance, love and what not. When something or someone makes us feel insecure, or tries to take away our piece of pie or threatens our existence or interests, then only we become sensitive and verbal about all these topics.
I am least bothered to comment on what some film star or his wife has said somewhere. I am least bothered about the truth and falsity of the claims made. As a meditater, I am only concerned about one fundamental question- is a normal person walking on the streets around tolerant? Am I or my friends tolerant? If no, what is the way towards tolerance? It makes me worry that tolerance today is not something which makes up an essential part of our life but a weapon to trigger violence and hatred.
I have a question worth giving a thought- why do we need a movie to tell us how superstitious our lives are? Can’t we know that just by looking at our lives? The basic problem with all of us today is, we do not have time to observe and think about our own actions and our own lives. We need a movie to tell us that we are living a superstitious life which is worth laughing upon. We need a TV show to tell us the problems in our immediate neighbourhood. We like to run a marathon to create awareness about some problem but we take no efforts to face the problem and solve it. Are we becoming more intelligent as the time is progressing? I doubt. We are rather becoming shallower, quickly triggered by some piece of news which might be distorted as well. We are very eager to express ourselves without caring even a bit about do we really have anything worth sharing.
The problem with social media is, it gives us a feeling that we have accomplished something without us doing anything in the reality. I don’t know, if the lacs of comments and thousands of discussions will actually do anything to make us more tolerant or even intolerant. Within next two days, we would have happily forgotten everything. The second question worth asking is, who is benefitting from all this? Media companies, brands, politicians, social networks? I think all of them but not the individual who is wasting his time and energy in all of this.
I stumbled upon a very interesting quote, by Homi J. Bhabha, which he made much ahead of the time. The quote is about power, made by this genius scientist from India around 20 years ago. Bhabha made this comment when someone argued that nuclear power was too costly and hence India should not go for it. The quote is as follows-
No power is costlier than ‘no power’.
This statement is an eternal truth- being true for all the times throughout the human history and future. Power opens up the doors to progress and prosperity. In India, we can observe that the states which assured uninterrupted power supply at affordable costs, became home to the industrial growth and hence prosperity. Efforts to install inter country gas pipe lines, thirst for the nuclear power, tall windmills and wide-spread solar plants coherently tell us the same point- no power is costlier than ‘no power’.
Does this quote stand true in spiritual context?
In his book ‘power’, Bertrand Russell has thoroughly explained the role power plays in our lives. I trust in his theory, but somehow, I find what Kabir says to be more realistic as far as the inner world is concerned. In his nice two liner, Kabir says-
Soil tells the potter, “you might think that you are squeezing me under your feet; but surely will come a day when you will be squeezed under me!”
In these two lines, Kabir tells us how fragile we all are. This Doha of Kabir also enlightens us about the fluctuating nature of power. It will sound too philosophical if I say nothing in this world is permanent. The blunt fact is, the power has no place in spiritual world! Power is the driving factor in today’s world; in the inner world, power has no value.
I would even go a step ahead and would dare to say that the spiritual journey starts when one realizes that no power is going to last forever- be it power accumulated through knowledge, force, money or whatsoever.
Lord Buddha leaving his palace at a tender age realized this truth at a very early stage; we have not yet! Homi J. Bhabha is so true if we look at the physical world; truer are the Kabir’s words if we look within us.
If reading the very title of this post makes you sad, the answer for you is yes! Well, I keep on thinking over this particular question many times. For me, nothing is worse than living a hollow life. Living a bit harsher life is better, I would say, than living a hollow life.
What I keep on wondering about is, how can you define the term ‘hollow life’? Is there any fixed, concrete definition of this term? Or, is it a very dynamic term, changing as per the age, occupation and types of people around us? In this case, how can we define it for so many different kinds of people?
Apart from all this philosophical discussions, how should one find out if he is living a hollow life or not? If yes, how to make it meaningful and full of substance?
How to define ‘Hollow Life’ ?
As I have already said, the term is very dynamic, changing almost person to person. I would also like to clarify that all the points which I am making here, are my personal thoughts, which can be wrong and challenged by the readers. I am open to discuss the same and change my opinion.
In order to define this term, I would chalk down some indicators which indicate that something is going wrong and needs attention.
1. Having no time for yourself
If you cannot spare some time for yourself, there are very high chances that you are living a hollow life. Finding time for yourself does not mean caring too much for oneself. It also does not mean spending time (solely) on superficial transformation- like buying good clothes, working on one’s appearance etc.
When I say spare some time for yourself, I want you to communicate with yourself. How many of us communicate with ourselves? Do we ask ourselves if we like the way we are living life? It is very sad to find that in this well connected world, no one is really connected with himself or herself. We can create substance in our life only when we know what matters for us. Though we have to many things to do, some portion of our time (may be as small as ten minutes) should be kept aside for ourselves.
2. Doing things for someone else
I remember my discussion with a junior student from my college. His first year of engineering was descent and the grades were quite good. In second year, he stopped attending classes and ended up with having 4 backlogs. In our casual discussion, I humbly asked him what was the problem he was facing. I got a very cold reply from him, saying that he never liked engineering. I had another obvious but humble question for him, “Why did you opt for it then?”
Very proudly he said, “Engineers are respected in my town. People in my town treat you very differently if you are an engineer and also, your status gets elevated”
If you are living your life to please people from your town and are not wise enough to think about what you like, you are living a hollow life. We can find so many people around; someone doing MBBS as her mother wants her to be a doctor, someone not marrying the girl he likes as family members will be furious. At the end, people who live their life to fulfill expectations of others end up blaming those people. Instead, why one should not find out what he likes and take the complete responsibility of his own life?
3. Afraid of being alone
Though this does not apply every time, most of the times, it does. If someone is dependent on others- friends, colleagues, family etc. something is wrong. Many of us are afraid of being alone. They need someone to talk to. They even cannot imagine their life without these people. As Osho has often said, there is a difference between loneliness and being alone. When you are alone, you encounter yourself. You dig within yourself. Most of the times, we are afraid of doing this. Hence, we keep on finding company of people. This may be a very bold statement, but people who live a hollow life will always try to not to be alone. They will keep talking without any purpose for hours, after that they will go for shopping, then a hair cut, then again a different group, then drinks and over…If this your typical day, something is certainly wrong.
The list is literally unending. But, If someone starts working on these three focus points, he will find out the way ahead for himself. The most important thing is taking out time for oneself. When we spend some time with ourselves, the hollow life comes to an end with happiness and creativity overflowing from it.
Generally, people look at life in two different ways. They either assume that everything which happens around is for the sake of good, inevitable and cannot be changed or they assume that everything around us can be and needs to be changed. On the occasions of different talks, given to different audiences, I always receive one common question –
What is the correct way of looking at life? Do all the things which happen with us are good? If yes, then should we accept the things which are wrong, not so favourable?
Each one of us has this conflict inside him or her. People either want to change things which are around them or they just give up trying to change the things. While I was in engineering, I had many friends who had surrendered their lives and had stopped taking any efforts. It is very surprising to see these brilliant students sleeping in their rooms- saying that nothing is in our hands. On other hand, we had even a bigger number of students who tried to change everything. One may wonder, what is wrong if someone tries to control things around him? The problem with second group of people is very subtle- they become very insecure when things start going beyond their control. As we all know, very few things are truly under our control and we human beings are unable to control even smallest of the things around us in spite of advancements in technology. So, I always used to wonder, what can be the right attitude? I think, we have to treat the physical world around us and the turbulence inside our minds in different ways. I have come up with a golden rule-
In case of external affairs, we should always assume that they are happening for something better. In case of internal matters, we should always keep on looking for improvement.
At first sight, this may sound very absurd and impractical. My experience says, this is the best way to sail ahead. As far as outer events are concerned, we should always carry the approach that it is happening for making things better. But, while doing so, we should always have a keen eye matters inside us- our thoughts, our desires, ego and should always try to improve. As far as our mental and emotional status is concerned, we should always have a sense of incompleteness which calls for continuous improvement. The differentiation helps in many ways. First of all, it tells us that not many things are in our hands. It makes us comfortable with this reality. At the same time, it allows us to focus our energy on what’s there in our hands- self improvement. In most of the cases, we keep on wasting our energy thinking about things which are not in our hands and keep on neglecting the things which are under our control. This golden rule helps us to focus our energy on what can be improved by us and keeps us relaxed about things are anyway not in our control.
When someone from completely different field enters some other field, he looks at the things in a totally different perspective. I am in somewhat similar position. I never took efforts to read typical corporate literature. Somehow, I am trying to make myself comfortable with all these terms. The result is, I end up interpreting the established proverbs and statements in a completely different way.
Today, I came across one line, which is very attractive and at the same time very important for those who are in corporate world. The line is something like this-
If you do yesterday’s things today, you won’t be able to survive tomorrow.
This line is so true, if you look at it from the view of normal life. By normal life I mean all the things which normal human beings like us do. It holds true on all the walks of life, equally applicable to students, managers, entrepreneurs, businessmen etc. In today’s world, as we know it very well, one has to move ahead of time, innovating new things. To be honest, it is difficult to survive today if you do today’s things today. One always has to keep on doing new things, new experiments, new products, new services and new thoughts.
As it can be clearly seen, many companies are investing their huge cash reserves to invent and realize tomorrow’s products. There is no final destination as we are moving ahead very rapidly. As I said earlier, this is true for ‘normal humans’. Are their any dimensions of our life where this line is not applicable?
Yes, there are many. One of the most striking example is that of music. Of course, musicians are creative and they keep on doing new things. But, the fact which one should keep in his mind is, they never run behind creating new things. They are effortlessly creative. That creativity does not have any purpose. I am not at all comparing which one is good and which one is bad; they are just different ways of different fields. In classical music, we have many great artists and musicians who just focused on understanding their master’s knowledge. In that complete surrender, many creative compositions came out.
One more walk of life, where I think this line would not be applicable is meditation. In meditation, the meditation is old, ancient; the experiences are new and unique. It wont make any sense doing new new meditations each day, for being creative. You have to do the same, yesterday’s meditation every day. In case of human consciousness, we run to new things not out of creativity but to escape the old things. In meditation, there is no escape. You cannot run away, you have to face same things, the same ‘you’ everyday.
I guess, here the ‘MadhyamMarga’ mentioned by Lord Buddha or the concept of ‘Zorba the Buddha’ coined by Osho comes into picture. Is it possible to survive in both material and spiritual world together? One step ahead, does the word ‘survival’ has meaning in spirituality?
At this stage, I am asking myself, ‘Do you want to sustain?’
Many times, you find gems where you expect least to find them. As they say it rightly, diamonds are found in coal mines. In India, a local proverb rightly says that lotuses flower in mud.
Same was my reaction when I found a nice statement in a very artificial and cunning write-up which was a guide to win people. I always laugh on such books and write ups which tell you how to influence and win people. From the very beginning, I do not like to influence people. Anyway, this nice statement I am talking about, reads like follows-
First tell them that you will tell them. Then tell them. Then tell them that you have told them.
This statement, though was made to train people on how to influence others, it created a lot of turmoil inside my heart. This statement throws some light on human consciousness. I have heard Osho pointing out this very fact that people just do not listen. The statement made above will hold true for corporate reasons. As all of us know, we have to tell same things again and again. And hence, it is valid in that context. I can imagine how Osho would have reacted when someone would have told him this proverb. He was telling same things again and again through out his life. He was making same points again and again, to be honest, he made them not just twice or thrice but infinite times. But, we could not realize it from within.
This proverb talks about superficial things- those which fit in your heads when they are hammered twice or thrice. Things which Osho spoke about were so burning that people just neglected them. Many times, Osho himself said that it is very easy to wakeup individuals who are really sleeping; it is very difficult to wake up those who pretend they are sleeping. Through out his life, he was telling people that they were just pretending that they were sleeping.
This is worth giving a thought- why we dont listen to things which are being told? I am not saying ‘why we cant’. The thing is, we dont. Of course, there are many reasons, created by us. One of the most prominent is the cruel fact that we never live our lives in present. We can see thousands of persons roaming around us, in their own hurry, in their own worries. Many of them are well drowned in their thoughts- about future, about worries and ambitions. How many of them are present in the present while something is being told?
Another major factor- many times just listening to something is not enough; it should bring some changes inside. This applies to Osho’s discourses. He told many things which were not just philosophical statements but they expected you to bring some change in your being. As all of us know, very few of us like to do the same.
Yes, we know it very well; hundreds of masters will come, tell things many times, and will go back….Do we wish to change ourselves?
Whenever I need genuine meaning and authentic commentary on works of any of the saints, I try to find out what Osho says about the person. He has the ability to understand and put in words what the saint exactly wanted to say. The tragedy is, we can only read the works of many great saints of the old days. We are not fortunate enough to listen to the discourses of saints like Kabir, Dadu, Paltu Rahim and many more. Nothing remains in our hands except reading their literature. The common problem which all of us face is interpreting these words.
Every time when I go through some unique poetry of such passed away saints, I feel absolutely clueless and helpless. The difficulty is not finding out meaning, but it is to find out the exact meaning which the creator had in his mind. These ancient works are so absurd and so wide in their scope that finding the relevant meaning becomes almost impossible. I stumbled upon this one liner from Buddhist saint Atisha–
One method will correct all wrong
How ordinary human beings like us are supposed to find out this one unique method which corrects all wrong? It can be love, truth, awareness, meditation, sacrifice, Sakshibhav, non violence or anything else. It depends on the preacher. If you ask Gandhiji what is this one method, he will point at non violence. If you raise this question to Ashtavakra, his answer would be Sakshibhav (being witness to everything that happens).Of course; there cannot be many ‘one method’s which will correct all wrong. I was quite tempted to get insight from Osho on this on liner of Atisha, but somehow I controlled the urge.
Though truth, love, awareness, meditation, sacrifice etc. can be the correct answers, how are all these terms linked with each other? What is the root of all these terms? For the moment, just think of one question- of all the above mentioned answers, which answer can be a starting point? Which way when followed will bring all others as a result?
I feel it is meditation. Meditation can bring all of the other values in you. When we meditate, awareness comes as a byproduct. Only a meditative person can be loving and caring and compassionate in true sense. To perceive the truth, one has to be aware. From where does the awareness come? The answer is meditation. Sakshibhav, the core of Ashtavakra’s teaching is nothing but a type of meditation. I would say, meditation is a flower with all the other qualities as petals. When the flower of meditation blossoms, all the other values bloom up automatically.
It is a proven fact that meditation can correct all the wrong. It can purify a person inside out. Such a person will never have to remember other values mentioned. He will never have to remember that he has to be non violent. Non violence will become his nature. I won’t have to remind himself every moment that he should speak truth; truthfulness would be his nature.
After all the contemplation, I simply opened up commentary given by Osho. Love and meditation are the values which Osho preached throughout his life. Again, love is a fruit of meditation. I opened the book and the answer was correct. Meditation is the ultimate method which will correct all the wrong.
While having a wonderful discussion with some of the friends, I uttered out a sentence. The sentence was- ” The best way to make people silent is to ask them something substantial “
At that time, I was taken aback. I made the statement very casually but it is a valuable statement. Not only that, it can be used very well while dealing with people who are otherwise difficult to be dealt with
In life, we come across many situations where it becomes absolutely difficult to just stand someone. At all such occasions, this strategy has helped me a lot.
Apart from the strategy, why this is so? Such behavior arises out of following fact, which again holds true for all the people around us- Man speaks 99% rubbish to avoid speaking 1% truth.
So true this statement is. All of our efforts are to avoid the truth. We celebrate fallacies to avoid truth. I remember someone adkong Osho why he has spoken so much, on different topics. osho says, hunans are always neglecting the truthif it is told plainly. Hence, he has to make ao many stories, anecdotes. Thats why he spoke on so many mystics and their works.
As osho says, if man is open enough, even one word is enough to make him realize the truth. It is very easy to wake up a person who is really sleeping but same is almost impossible if the person makes a show if sleeping.
Hence, people arebalways found talking nonsense, listening to nonsense. It is very difficult write, speak or even listen and read something which is substantial
There is a beautiful story about Buddha. It is said that when Buddha attained enlightenment, he reached the gate of heaven. When guards at heaven opened the doors to welcome Buddha, it was found that Buddha was standing there with his back pointing to the entrance of heaven looking at the earth. The door keepers were surprised. People die to enter heaven. And here was a madman, who deserved heaven and still was standing with his back pointing to the heaven. The guards asked Buddha why he was not entering into the heaven. Buddha said, “I cannot come unless all my fellows on earth do not come here. I will enter only when all of my fellows enter the heaven. I will be the last person entering heaven.”
I think, J. krishnamurti is one of those very few masters who care so deeply for humanity. J. Krishnamurti is the pick of sincerity. It is often said that J. krishnamurti writes very complex. It is always told that you will end up having frustration if you go on reading him. These are all immature comments. J. Krishnamurti when talks to laymen, he talks very simply. I would say as simply as Osho. His descriptions of nature and human behavior have intrinsic beauty and rhythm which any poet will strive to attain.
The most important and striking point about J. Krishnamurti is he thinks at the same time for individual and also for the whole life on earth. Most of the mystics always point out that one should always think for oneself first and then for the society. It is true. When you see light yourself only then you can lead others towards light. So, almost all the mystics try an individual to cut away from the society and look for himself. Many of them advice to go in seclusion and contemplate. J. Krishnamurti is among those very few mystics who approach this problem on both the levels- individual and social. Many persons used to visit him. Many of these had political interests and many of them were social reformers. J. Krishnamurti always used to say if you are doing all this for the benefits of your self, your ego, you will end up in misery. He would even say that such social reforms will only give birth to more reforms and in continuity, will make the situation even worse.
J. Krishnamurti was easily accessible to all- from poor to rich, from young students to old fellows. He used to make the most honest effort to show individuals how they are again becoming victims of their fragmented minds. He was very patient with all of these people. Many a times, his questioners were poor villagers, illiterate, uneducated fellows. He never tried to just give them some difficult answer and cut them away. He would go with their pace. Many times, his questioners would say that they were not able to understand what he said. J. Krishnamurti would not leave them so. He used to go even slower, simplifying his language till the questioner understood.
One more point to note is, he used to talk to people of all backgrounds- from scientists like David Bohm to small kids of different schools and cities. While putting forward his point, he never hurt anyone, never hurt anyone’s feelings. Though his points were very true, genuine, showing fragmented nature of thought which everyone has, he never bluntly hurt anyone. He said it so truthfully and with so much affection that the questioner would understand that fact without hurting himself.
One more blame which people accuse J. Krishnamurti of is that he was a dry man having lost all of his interests. I, along with other also thought on similar lines. But when I started reading J. Krishnamurti, I in moments came to know how false this blame is. J. Krishnamurti was a lover of all sorts of arts. He had a deep understanding of beauty. Descriptions of nature and humans written by him at Rajghat and other places are highest level of poetry. In these descriptions he made, one can easily see the totality of his being.
He used to go for a walk, would mix in common people, would chat with students and teachers, would sit observing rivers and nature. All this has a beauty which can be felt when you read J. Krishnamurti. All this shows his genuine concern, his sincere efforts, his sincere affection not only for humans but for everything that is really makes him most perfect for today’s times.
This is the time that more and more people, especially students turn to his writings, his dialogues, discussions and all. The life today is full of self centered activities which finally bring misery. I can see J. Krishnamurti standing very close to me holding cup of bliss for all in his hands.