Q: Gurudev, can you please talk on dispassion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, our senses are naturally outgoing. The natural tendency, when you wake up from sleep is, the eyes want to see, the ears want to hear, the nose wants to smell, the skin wants to touch, and the tongue wants to taste. So, the natural tendency of the senses is to go outwards, and enjoy the whole creation. But the ability of the senses to enjoy is limited.
Today we went to the park and the scenery was beautiful, but for how long are you going to watch the beautiful scenery?
The desire to enjoy through the senses first comes in the mind, but the capacity of the senses to enjoy is limited.
Suppose you love pudding, or apple-pie; how much can you eat? One piece, two pieces, three servings? By the time you have the third serving, the same thing that was giving you pleasure, becomes painful. This is because our ability to enjoy is limited to our senses.
Often one finds this imbalance – of the mind wanting more but the senses not having the capacity to enjoy.
There can be three situations:
1. Things are not available; the mind wants to have food but it is not available
2. Food is available but there is no desire in the mind to enjoy it
3. There is desire in the mind, food is also available, but the senses are not capable of enjoying it
Do you see these three situations?
A gentleman came to me and said, ‘Gurudev, I am 50 years old and I am looking for a relationship, but I am not finding the right person.’
I said, ‘Wait, and look for another 20 years!’
If you are so choosy about it, and keep looking for something, then when you get it also, you don’t enjoy it. Why? This is because your mind is not there. There is an imbalance between the things that are available, the attitude in the mind, and the ability of the senses; all these have to match. Only then are you able to enjoy anything in the planet.
The feverishness in the mind, the availability of the goods, and the strength of the senses, they all often don’t match.
Now suppose everything is available. You are hungry, you want to have food, and you can enjoy it, but even that is momentary. It stays for a few moments and then again, you are back to square one. This is how things are! And what does it cause? Frustration!
A desire fulfilled causes frustration, a desire unfulfilled also causes frustration. What do we need to do? What is the answer?
The answer is to look inside. Go to the source of happiness, from where joy comes.
When you go to the source of happiness, the senses are strengthened, contentment comes to the mind, and things become available the way you want them. All three happen when the senses are turned inwards, and that inward turning of senses is called dispassion.
We need three things in life, Dispassion, Passion and Compassion.
Often, we think dispassion is being so dull, boring, and uninteresting; that is how these so-called dispassionate people are, lifeless. No, that is not dispassion. To me, dispassion is that which is full of life, full of enthusiasm.
There is an old saying in Sanskrit, ‘What pleasure, what joy is there that dispassion will not bring to you?’
This means that dispassion will bring to you all the joy that you would ever want in life.
You need passion. Your breathing in is passion, your breathing out is dispassion, and in between is compassion.
If you have only passion, you get burnt out and frustrated. People who have too much passion, they do things and get burnt out. Do you know why? It is because they are holding onto it. They put their heart and soul into it. They put so much strain, and still they don’t get anything in their hands. That is a sorry state of affairs.
This can change with dispassion, and that is why dispassion will make a big difference.
So, passion when you work, dispassion when you turn inward, and compassion all the time, is the key.