Art of Living
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Dispassion begins when joy gets disturbing
Wisdom dawns the day you recognize that joy is painful. Your dispassion begins on that day when you notice joy is disturbing, exciting. You want to be a little quiet and calm.
We have lost that sensitivity. That is why there is so much craving for joy, for something bigger. “Something must be better for me, something must give me more happiness.” This is feverishness. We move from one feverishness to another. The pain of sorrow is feverishness. The pain of joy is feverishness. So you move from this one to the other. It is a constant struggle.
Dispassion is that delicate balance that is beyond both joy and sorrow. In dispassion any great joy can come up and it will not shake you. That is enlightenment. Even if you are offered the heavens, you won’t move an inch from your seat. That is attainment. Dispassion is the secret.
You can learn techniques and you and learn to meditate. You can learn many things, but dispassion you cannot learn. It can only blossom in your life with time or with the presence of your teacher, your master. There is no other way dispassion can blossom. You cannot get it in books. Only experience will teach you.
The highest wisdom that can ever be achieved on this planet is dispassion.
Anything can be shaken, but not dispassion. Anything can be bought, but not dispassion. If you are dispassionate, if you are centered, nothing whatsoever can shake you. The only rich one is the one who is dispassionate. Otherwise you can be tempted, you can be shaken. If someone offers you two million dollars and tells you, “Do this, do that” you will move from your position. But that person can’t move one who is dispassionate. Suppose someone comes and says to you, “You tell this life and I’ll give you two million dollars.” Just imagine what you would do! Think of it. Your mind will put forward one hundred and one justifications for whatever you will do. You’ll say, “Okay, so what. I’ll say this and it may be for good and if I get two million dollars. I’ll use it for the benefit of humankind. I don’t want it for myself, but I can do some good work for the whole world.”
A prostitute once was asked by a priest to tell some lies about Kabir, a saint in India. She was a very conscientious woman and she wouldn’t speak a lie. They told her, “You do nothing. At Kabir’s satsang, you go to him and hug him. Say, ‘Oh, my dear, I have not met you in all these days.’ You just say this. So people tempted her and made her say this for two gold coins. When she did that, Kabir said, “Oh, I have been waiting for you. I have been here all the time. Where have you been?” Now this threw many people off their balance. Kabir was a man who gave sermons, satsangs every night?so beautiful, so wonderful. The Brahmanjnana knowledge was dawning on earth in a weaver, someone who was not literary, an innocent man. Many people left Kabir after this incident because their intimacy was just with the words; it was not true intimacy. An event was sufficient to turn them around. And Kabir welcomed that. “I have been missing you, too. Come sit.” When Kabir spoke in this way to the prostitute, she was shocked. People went to the king. The king called for Kabir and asked for an inquiry. “What is happening? Is this man a fake or is he a real saint?” after a week this woman could not remain silent. She went to the king and confessed what she had done. Her whole life was then transformed.