This is exactly what I want to tell the world: don’t try to be somebody else. If you are so totally you, people will love you for what you are. Then for you to love people, it becomes very easy.
The question is quite relevant because the mind takes us through situations which sometimes make us act without thinking, especially anger or some kind of jealousy. All those things are unconscious, spontaneous actions.
How do we handle these situations spontaneously (that means almost naturally)?
It has to begin with us.
It all depends on how much we accept ourselves. And the answer would be that it is almost always conditional. We do not accept ourselves easily. We always compare ourselves to somebody, and we compete with somebody. And in the bargain, we feel less – all the time. When we feel less and not up to the mark, we cannot be compassionate and loving to the world. So love has to start with us; with ourselves.
There is only one thing we must practice to perfection. That means self-love. This has to be practised to perfection. There is no other way. We can always love other people, do things outside. This is all when we are awake when we are in the waking state.
But who is with you all the time?
Yourself. You need to perfect that connection with yourself. And that would perfect all other connections. Why we are not able to be loving all the time is because we do not love ourselves all the time. We compare and think we are not good enough, or not really up to the mark, etc. But that’s not true. You are perfect by birth as you are. We are all ourselves; we cannot be somebody else. Correct?
When we understand that we are perfect the way we are – we need time to digest it because society always compares people, compares schools, education. All this competition and comparison is too much in the world. So to unlearn that takes time. But you must unlearn. If we don’t unlearn, we miss ourselves; we miss life.
If we are able to take the opinions of the world about us as opinions – and it’s just opinions – they may not have permanent value, so we will not feel hurt. When somebody says, “You are not so good, you’re not up to the mark”, we will not feel hurt because this is the opinion of somebody. And we don’t have to buy everything. If it is good, if we can improve, no problem. If we cannot do anything about it, like we can’t change ourselves (we can’t be somebody else), there’s no point in comparisons.
Sometimes it comes from parents to children: “Look here, your friend is doing well. Much better than you. Why are you like this?” All these questions may come, and we start feeling less, incomplete, incompetent. And that time we must know that these are opinions. These are relative things. And suddenly, things can change, and you can prove much bigger in the world.
But again, I’m telling you there’s nothing to prove in the world. If people have eyes, they will see you. If people cannot see you, they are not yet ready. That does not mean your value is less. All the people (I’m talking about 7.5 billion people on earth), all people have value. All animals, birds, trees, plants, everything has value. Nobody can take it away from anybody. So we have everything – we do. So our acceptance should be total. And don’t worry about the opinions of the world. Opinions of the world can be positive or negative, that’s all.
We should always be positive with ourselves, whatever the opinions are.
I will tell you a bit about my story. When I was young, and in school, I was not so good in studies. In fact, I had not much interest in studies; I don’t know why. At that time, I was not doing so well in school, and the teachers decided that I was not very intelligent, or probably retarded, that I wouldn’t be able to compete with the other students. So they suggested that I be taken to a special-needs school or some school which was not so competitive. That was also triggered by an incident.
In school, teachers ask the children, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” People write – doctor, engineer, scientist – so many things they write. I wrote, “I want to be alone.” But it didn’t happen – I was still in that school.
But my maternal grandfather, my mother’s father, was a great visionary and really understood me at that time also. He was a big help; he was my saviour. And he said, (he didn’t tell me, he told my mother), “You know what, one day he will be known all over the world. People will love him – only for what he is. People will love him for what he is.” My mother told me this much later, after my grandfather’s death, actually. But this is coming true now – people love me for being me.
This is exactly what I want to tell the world: don’t try to be somebody else. If you are so totally you, people will love you for what you are. Then for you to love people, it becomes very easy. The expression or the connection to the world with compassion is not so difficult if you practice humility. I believe that all people are exceptional. I believe everybody is great. And I’m not competing with anybody. I don’t want to compete. So I become humble. And I respect people. If we add respect to a relationship, then compassion, humility, kindness, everything comes – comes with respect.
So if we can train ourselves to respect, even if somebody is abusing us, even if somebody is not so kind to us, if somebody is rude to us, we can still be ourselves. And people will respect us for who we are, whatever we are, doesn’t matter who we are. And then that aspect can be translated in everyday life: all the time, we are respectful towards all people, we are respectful for the time they give – the presence, the smile or hatred or jealousy, whatever it is.
We accept that way. That acceptance will translate itself into compassion. If somebody is very angry – because, look – it does not matter what the reason for anger is, it doesn’t matter. But they’re angry. And this is their weakness, it’s not ours. So we should be compassionate towards them. Then you don’t have to beat them up; you can actually smile at them because it’s almost like you’re talking to a very sick person. What will you do? You will not beat the sick person for being sick.
So with an angry person, a jealous person, you don’t have to be angry. Okay, this is in them, they have this problem. It’s like an ailment, disease, or illness. So let’s be kind. If we don’t have it, we should be happy. We should be compassionate towards people who have all these things. And we should help them with our life, with our love, our compassion. That becomes service, that is real service to society.
Love, compassion and kindness
Many times, or most of the time, we believe love is transactional. Compassion and kindness are transactions, which means we have to ‘do’ it. That’s not true. Love, compassion, kindness, and selflessness are like very beautiful flowers, which give fragrance for no reason. We should be like that. The tree gives the fruit only for its purpose – by nature, it gives fruit. A flower gives the smell; the fragrance is not for anybody in particular. And it doesn’t know who is going to enjoy it. Maybe it will be wasted. Like a river is giving water – the river does not know or does not care what the water is used for. The sun does not care whether the light rays fall in a gutter or in a garden.
Love, compassion and kindness should not be focused on somebody or for something. It should be natural: all the time you are love, all the time, you are compassion. And we cannot associate it with something limited like a transaction or sex or something. This is all part of this whole thing.
We should always be like a flower, always giving fragrance. And when we continuously give fragrance, people will get attracted to that because it’s not hatred, jealousy and all those kinds of bad smells. Here it’s the fragrance of a beautiful garden. Why do we go to a garden? Because of the fragrance and the good energy there. So this is exactly how we should be in our life. We should be just like a flower, like a river. It doesn’t matter who’s taking from us, but we give all that we have – we give ourselves. We can be like bright suns.
When we give more, it multiplies because it’s like water well. We’ve seen the water well – we draw water from it, and more water comes into the well. If you don’t draw water from the well, after a while the water becomes stale and stagnant, and then you can’t drink it anymore. We’ve got to continuously take the water from the well, and the freshwater will flow. And that’s exactly how life works. We’ve got to share, and share, and share, and better things come. Life blooms, blossom with that.
Transcribed by Ulla Bernholdt
Proofread by Geeta Iyer