Many times we analyse ourselves too much. We keep thinking, this is happening to me, that is not happening; . or I want this, and I want that; or what I did there was so wrong, what I did here was right, etc. We get so entangled into too many thoughts about ourselves; this we should not do.
See, when the wind blows, what happens? Everything gets carried away with it, isn’t it? Everything flies away with the breeze.
So whatever happened in the past, whether good happened or bad happened, whether right happened or wrong happened, whether pleasant or unpleasant events happened, it all happened and it is all gone now. Just like how the air comes and blows everything away, in the same way, all of life’s events come and go. But what is important is that you should not get stuck anywhere, move ahead. Just become hollow and empty, and then you will be joyful.
Whatever happened in the past, whether good happened or bad happened, whether right happened or wrong happened, it all happened and it is all gone now. Just like how the air comes and blows everything away, in the same way, all of life’s events come and go. But what is important is that you should not get stuck anywhere, move ahead.
Tell me, is there anyone who has not had any problems? Problems come in everyone’s life. Is there anyone who has not experienced happiness? Everyone, sometime or the other has experienced happiness.
Is there anyone who has not received praise? Everyone has been praised sometime or the other. Even a dog gets praised! People say, ‘What a nice dog’.
Is there anyone who has not been criticized? Everyone has been criticized at some point or the other. Isn’t it so? Everyone gets criticized.
So if anyone praises you or criticizes you, knows that it is like the air which comes and goes. They are just some passing thoughts that came and went. Thoughts arise in peoples’ minds about you and they go. Some are good thoughts and some are bad thoughts. Now when people themselves are not going to be here forever, what permanence can you attach to their thoughts? What are you going to do with their opinions, when they themselves are not going to be there forever?
So why do you worry about some thoughts from here and there? You should just keep moving on in life. Whatever happens, just keep moving ahead, like air. The air never stops at one place, it keeps moving; water keeps flowing.
Just like how nature follows certain laws, thoughts also follow a particular pattern; they come and they go. Sometimes they bring praise and sometimes criticism. So praise and criticism are part of life. You just move ahead. Don’t get caught up in it.
Many times people analyse themselves too much.
They keeping thinking so many things, I am fine, I am not fine, I am right, I am wrong, I have these qualities, I do not have these qualities. And by doing this, they get caught up in too much negative analysis about themselves.
On the other hand, there are some people who don’t think about themselves at all. They drink alcohol, and only look for pleasure. They do not even for one moment look back and reflect on themselves.
This is why, in the beginning, a seeker is told to first stop and reflect on what is it that he wants?
In The Art of Living Basic Course, this is the first question that we ask, ‘What do you want’? What are your problems?’
Introspection is the first step to move inward.
We tell the participants, ‘Ask yourself, what it is that you want from life. Think about yourself, what do you want?’
This is the first step for a seeker. But if you keep asking yourself, ‘What do I want’, for the rest of your life, then your mind will rot and you will become depressed.
Every day if a person sits and thinks only about himself, then he will rot.
If you see the faces of such people, they look so pale and full of worries. Worry drips from the face of a person who only thinks about himself. Looking at such people would make you want to run away! And people do run away from then. Then this person thinks to himself, ‘Oh, what have I done wrong. Why do people run away from me?’
People run away from such individuals because their vibrations are so negative, as if they stink. If someone is stinking will people wait around him or her? No, they will simply run away! If you think so much about yourself only, who will be drawn towards you?
On one side is an ignorant person who does not think about himself at all. And on the other side is a person who only thinks about himself. Both are not good.
On one side you have a person who is not ripe; too raw, and on the other side is a person whose mind has rotted by only thinking about himself. Both are not good.
You should adopt the middle path. Analyse yourself a little, reflect on it and then leave it and move ahead. Do not get stuck.
So that you can move ahead, I am telling you that whatever has happened, just drop it and move ahead. Do not sit and regret about what has happened – neither about what you have done, nor about what others did. If you keep thinking about what you did, then you feel regret, and if you think about what others did wrong, then you get angry and worried.
Anyways you have no control over anyone. Nobody has ever had control over anyone else in this world. If you think you are controlling someone or are under the control or influence of someone, then that is a very wrong thought.
Everything in this world operates as per certain laws of Nature. So whatever has happened in the past, just shrug it off and move ahead. When you dust away all the dirt (of the past) that has accumulated inside you, then you will simply start shining. You become much stronger, your consciousness blossoms, and happiness starts to flow. Then you can say that you are alive. This is what life really is.
If anyone praises you or criticises you, knows that they are just some passing thoughts that came and went. Thoughts arise in peoples’ minds about you and they go. Some are good thoughts and some are bad thoughts. Now when people themselves are not going to be here forever, what permanence can you attach to their thoughts? So why do you worry about some thoughts from here and there? You should just keep moving on in life.
Now you might ask, ‘Can I remain happy the entire 24 hours of the day?’
If not for 24 hours, at least you can be happy for one or two hours! You may not be able to be a fish always floating in water (happiness), but at least you can take a shower for a little while. This is the very purpose of knowledge.
In the Bhagavad Gita it is said, ‘Na hi jnanena sadrusham pavitram iha vidyate. Tat svayam yoga-samsiddhah kalenatmani vindati’. (4.38)
It means: There is no greater purifier than Knowledge.
Everything is temporary. Everything is nothing. All of this is nothing. Just see all people that you see walking around, they are just ragdolls made up of the five elements. They are acting the way they do because of their karmas (actions) and samskaras (impressions). Some are rising in life because of the influence of their stars while some are having downfalls because of the influence of some other stars (referring to astrology).
All of them are moving about here and there doing this and doing that, but one day everything will end. So you just let them do what they are doing. How does it matter to you? You should continue to live happily.
We need to remind ourselves about this again and again. As you move about in society, no matter how many times this dust accumulates on you, simply brush it off and move ahead. Whatever is yours will come to you for sure!
Now knowing this does not mean that you do not put any effort and just sit and do nothing at home. You sit at home and say, ‘Oh Gurudev, please get me married. Please find me a suitable bride or groom for me’, no! You also must make an effort.
If you sit with a sad face, who will marry you! At least smile and be cheerful. That is why I opened a Matrimony department here (laughter). Its progress has been a bit slow though. You all come and get things moving there.
Go and sit in the matrimony office and ask the staff there to find someone for you quickly. Do not be too choosy. Whoever you get just choose them that is it! Everything will be fine afterwards.
Anyway all of this is only going to last for a few days, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. Very soon life will be over. One day we all have to bid farewell to this world. No one is going to last forever. What is the use if you are going to take 60 years to choose your spouse?
A gentleman who was 60 years old came to me said, ‘Gururdev, please find someone for me. Is my soul mate out there somewhere?’
I told him, ‘If you have not found your soul mate after so many years of searching, you will have to wait a little bit longer. Not very long, just another 20 years more. That level of perfection is still not visible in you, and it should be recognized by your soul mate also’ (Laughter). We want to see everything perfect in others but we forget to look at ourselves. We do not reflect on ourselves. Reflect on yourself but then don’t get too entangled into the analysis. Do not overdo it. You have some good qualities and some not so good qualities, it is okay. Just keep moving ahead. Some things are fine, some are not, and it does not matter. You should simply keep moving forward.
(Note: The discourse was given in Hindi. Above is a translation of the orginal talk.)