Q: Gurudev, you say that we are here to serve other people, then what are other people here for?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Certainly not to create trouble for you.
Other people are here to teach you some lesson. Everyone teaches you some lesson or other; learn from everybody. The world is filled with teachers, you only have to be a good student.
There is an ancient proverb in Sanskrit that says, ‘First salute the wicked, and then the good. For the wicked is teaching you a lesson at his own cost, and the good walks his own path and teaches you a lesson.’
The good is just pointing out; but the wicked is teaching you a lesson at his own cost. He is falling in a pit and telling you, ‘Hey, look what has happened to me. You better don’t do it.’
So, it is a costlier lesson that he is teaching you.
‘Durjanam prathamam vande, sujanam tadanantaram’, first salute the wicked because he is also teaching you a lesson.
The whole world is filled with teachers. Every little creature in this universe is teaching you something.
In Srimad Bhagavatam there is a chapter by Dattatreya, where we see how he learns from a crow, to a swan, to a mouse. He says, ‘Every animal is giving me some message; everything is giving me some knowledge, some education.’
You only need to be an eternal student, that’s all. Life is a continuous schooling, which never ends.