​What cricket can teach us about life

By Chaitanya Charan - 20.9 2022


Chaitanya Charan Prabhu : I am grateful to be among all of you, and in today’s class I will try to connect my past with  my present, in trying to share Krishna bhakti.

So, for many Indians, Sharjah is inextricably associated with cricket. So, like most Indians I was also at one time quite mad for cricket. So, today I will speak on the topic of what cricket can teach us about life. I will try to speak five points depending on how time goes.

The first is that, if we look at life we all want to succeed and yet success is not always in our hands. We want to do well in our exams if we are students, or we have some interview for a job, or we want to do well in our job. If we are cooking, we want to cook nicely. So, we all want to succeed in our life and few things are as performance driven as sports; that means that in sports success depends on performance. If the batsman doesn’t perform, if the bowler doesn’t perform, they will not succeed, and yet even in a field which is as performance driven as sports, say cricket… Even in such a field cricketers have their own superstitions.

Australia is considered to be one of the most aggressive teams in cricket. Last year when I first went to Australia, I found the Australians to be very gentle, laid back and very friendly people. So, when I asked the devotees, they said, ‘the Australians are laid back in everything except cricket. In cricket they are known for sledging… being very aggressive. So, they go all out. They try to say, ‘we are in it to win It.’ that is their goal, and yet many of the best Australian cricketers were very superstitious. So, Steve Waugh was the former captain of the Australian team and he would always carry a red handkerchief in his pocket, and that handkerchief would be half inside and half outside, and if he would drop a catch though he is a good fielder, he would look if the handkerchief has fallen or not, and think ‘how did I drop a catch?’

So, there is another batsman, Mark Taylor. Whenever he would go out to bat… before going out of the pavilion, he would go to the washroom and make sure that the leads of all the commodes would be closed. And if he got out early, then before going to the pavilion he would go to the washroom, and if he found that any of the leads of the cupboards to be open, he would go and blast his team mates, ‘Why did you keep it open. Because of that I got out.’  Now, we may say, ‘Oh! What is this? What has the commode got to do with somebody’s performance in the cricket field?’ There is a famous tennis player, Andrea Agassi. He would wear an ear ring in one ear, and he would see that as a good luck charm.

So, now as I said, in cricket or in all sports, performance matters, but even cricketers know that performance is not all that matters. Then there is something beyond their capacity to perform that shakes the result, and whatever the unknown is which shakes the results, they try in their own idiosyncratic way to try to appease that unknown. So, the idea is that the performance is in my control, but the result is not determined by my performance. They know that.

So many things have to work out right so that the results come out properly. So, all those things which are not in their control, they try to appease by having their own superstitions. This actually points to a universal principle of life and that is what the Bhagavat Gita talks about.

That when we want phala, when we want result in life, actually there are three factors involved, there is karma, there is daiva and there is kala. So, karma plus daiva plus kala leads to phala. Karma is our activity, daiva is destiny – that which is beyond our control, and even after destiny is there, there is kala, there is time. When all three work together then there is phala. So, consider the example of farming. While farming, the farmers ploughing the land and sowing the seeds… that is the karma, then rains coming at the right time in the right quantity…that is the daiva. After that with the passage of time, the change of seasons till the harvesting time comes, that is the kala, and then there is the harvest, there are the crops. So, karma plus daiva plus kala leads to phala. So, in all endeavours in life it is our karma which matters, but it is not that alone that matters.

So, if the farmer doesn’t plough the land, doesn’t sow the seeds, then the rains may come but the rains will lead to only the growth of weeds. It will not lead to the growth of grains. So, even when daiva is favourable we have to do our karma. At the same time we may do our karma; the farmer may plough the land, but the rains don’t come. If the daiva is not favourable then the karma will not produce the phala. So, when in the bhagavata gita it says..

karmaṇy evādhikāras te
mā phaleṣu kadācana

That you have a right to do your work, but do not be attached to the fruits. So, one way these words can be misunderstood is to think that the Bhagavata Gita says, ‘Don’t care for the fruits.’ The Bhagavat Gita is not telling us, ‘Don’t care for the fruits.’ There is a difference between being detached and being irresponsible.

What is the difference between detachment and irresponsibility? Detachment is after the action. Irresponsibility is before the action. Agar koi vidyarthi exam ke liye padhai nahin karta hain, kahta hai, ‘main anasakta hun’, wo anasakti nahin hain, wo gair jimmedari hain. Padai karne ke bad kya hoga, kitne marks milenge, kaha mujhe admission milegi, wo sab to mere hath me nahin hain, wo jab samay aayega tab dekenge. Wo anasakti hain)

So, the Bhagavat Gita is not recommending irresponsibility. The Bhagavat Gita is not saying, “don’t care for the results.”, but when the Bhagavat Gita says, ‘karmanye vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana.’, what it is essentially telling us is? ‘Focus on what is in your control. The action is in your control but the results are not in your control. Don’t obsess over the results.”

Now, even in a field as performance driven as cricket, we can see indications of players acknowledging the role of destiny. They may not call it destiny. They may have some other word for it, or they may not have any word for it, but they acknowledge that there is something beyond us and that determines the results, and therefore what is important is that, what is implicitly understood is not really systematically explained in the field of cricket.

Sometimes we say that, “It was bad luck. Played very well but it was their bad luck that they lost.’ So, what does that mean? That they played well, but the performance alone doesn’t determine the result. So, now what determines the daiva, the destiny? Actually that is also our past karma. Destiny is not just some arbitrary decision by someone, ‘that ok this person is good or this person is bad, or this person I will give good and this person I will give bad’… it’s not arbitrary.

So, what is this destiny? It is also a result of our own past karma. Now, in philosophy one of the biggest problems is called the problem of evil. Problem of evil is that, if God is good why are there bad things in this world? And associated with this problem of evil is the problem of inequity. Inequity means injustice or inequality. So, some people are born wealthy, some people are born poor, some people are born good looking, some people are born with mediocre good looks, some people have a phenomenal memory, some people have phenomenal forgetfulness. (laughter) So, why there are these differences? And actually these differences make a lot of difference. So, what is this difference there? Now, broadly speaking we may in the broad understanding of the world… there are two explanations. It is by chance or it is by plan. So, if we say that this is by chance, then basically life becomes like a cosmic lottery, and in this lottery some people are winners and some people are losers. So, by lottery you are born in a poor family, by lottery you are born with a poor memory, what to do? So, this idea of chance about things happening arbitrarily, this is profoundly unsatisfactory, and that is not the way we normally function.

In our life how we function? Now, if you go back home and you see that a family member has got a scar on their hands, you will ask him, ‘What happened?’ This means that we implicitly assume that an affect has a cause. So, we don’t just say that things happen arbitrarily. When things seem to happen arbitrarily that disturbs us because normally things happen as per order. So, this explanation of chance is actually very unsatisfactory. It’s counter-intuitive. That is not the way we normally look at life, and further it is very disempowering because I may be just going through life and by chance anything can happen to anyone, and the whole of life becomes pointless.

We consider our lives so meaningful and so valuable, and just you might be going on the road, and if a passing vehicle banks on us that will be the end of our life. So, the idea that everything happens by chance is not at all satisfactory. The other alternative is that there is God in control, and everything happens by God’s will. This also is not a very satisfactory explanation, because then this makes God discriminatory. God made this person intelligent, and God made this person dumb, God made this person wealthy and God made this person poor. Why does God discriminate like this? And on top of it we are told that we have to worship such a God. If somebody is discriminatory, how can we worship and how can we love such a person? Now, some people may say that… now actually this is the broad understanding of the abrahamic religion.

The world’s religion can be divided into two broad traditions, the abrahamic religions and the dharmic relgions. The abrahamic religions are – Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and dharmic religions are Buddhism, Jainish, Sikkism, Hinduism. The fundamental difference between these two religions is that the abarhamic religions focus very much on historical events, e.g. this prophet, this messiah, this messenger, and he is the deliverer. Now the dharmic religions they also have great sages, but their focus is on dharma. Dharma essentially means principles. Now the focus is not on persons. The persons are important, but the focus is on principles. Understanding principles, and harmonizing with those principles.

So, the abrahamic religions say that everything happens by God’s will. So, why are there difficulties, why are some people poor? ‘That is a test of God.’ Ok, we can say it is a test of God, but the problem is that it is not just a test, it’s a discriminatory test. Say, imagine that there was a class and after the say the six months class gets over, at the end of the semester the teacher gives a exam, and if all the students get different questions… some students get very easy question paper and some students get very difficult question paper… now the students will not be asking the question, ‘why there is an exam?’, ‘why different exams for different people?’ Isn’t it? That doesn’t make sense.

If someone says that God’s will is different from your will, God’s justice is different from our justice, that’s fine. But God’s justice should be different in terms of being better, not worse. So, to say that all the differences in this world are by God’s will, that casts God as unjust, and when people see these two alternatives, things either happen by chance or they happen by God’s will, then they many feel that, ‘I cannot worship such a God’, and they go toward atheism.

If the religious people say that, this is the God you have to believe in, if you are not going to believe in Him then you are going to go to hell. Then people become profoundly alienated. I was in America last month. So, in America some states are called the Bible belt. So, there are a lot of evangelical Christians who preach quite aggressively there. So, now there in the Bible belt, there are some Christians who are very aggressive and as a result of that there are some atheists who become very aggressive as well. So, I saw one bumper sticker. So, it says, ‘Oh God! Please save me from Your preachers.’ (laughter) So, normally God saves us through His preachers, but the preachers come out as very self-righteous, very condescending, very fanatical. Then, people say, ‘I don’t want to have anything to do with this.’

So, these are the two alternatives. That’s what people think, but there is a third alternative. To go back to cricket, before I come to the 3rd alternative… Suppose, we see that there is a score board, and there are two teams, and Team A starts with the score of zero, and Team B starts with the score of 200. ‘Hey what is going on? How can you have a score of zero for this team and a score of 200 for the other team?’ Now, we can have two explanations. One is that, the score board operates by chance. So, this team is lucky. So, they got a score of 200, and that team is unlucky, so they got a score of zero. Now, what kind of match we will have if the score board operates by chance? The score board has to operate by performance. That doesn’t make any sense. The other explanation could be, ‘There is a match fixing.’ (laughter) That whoever is managing the score board, they want a particular team to win. So, they have fixed the score board in such a way that this team gets a higher score. This also sounds very unfair that how can a team play like this?

So, we see that there are two alternatives like that, that everything happens by chance or everything happens by God’s will, but there can be a third possibility. The third possibility is that this is the second innings of the match, and one team has got a lead of 200 from the previous match or from the previous innings. So, the starting score of the teams is not determined by chance or by the score keeper. It is determined by their own past performance. So, similarly where we start off in this life… the Bhagavata Gita explains that this life is not the only innings. There will be many innings before and there will be innings in the future also. So, where we start in this innings depends on how much we have scored in the previous innings. So, some people have scored more and that’s why they may start at a higher point. Some people may have scored less, and that’s how they start at lower point, but the important thing here is that our match is not against each other.

So, in the match of life, we don’t have to score more than someone else to win. We just have to reach our target score. If we reach our target score then we will win. So, in that sense there is the atheistic world view and there is the world view which says that God determines everything. To see God is in control… but God has also given us free will, and where we are situated that depends on what we have done in the past. So, God does not discriminate, God reciprocates, He reciprocates based on what we have done. He rewards accordingly, and this vision actually transforms the universe into a university. That means that I may be better situated than someone else, I may be wealthy and someone may be poor, but I may be here right now but I may have very well gone through that face. When my karma was bad, I may have gone through that face, and tomorrow that person will also come to where I am if they do the good karma, and when we understand that we all are in a journey of spiritual evolution, we are all growing towards perfection, then we understand that we all can cooperate, we all can cooperate and move onwards.

So, in this world there are different resources, and we may have to compete, but our ultimate destination is beyond this world. Our score in this world will make a big difference in this world, but in the long run it won’t make any difference. We are all going towards the same destination. So, when we get the spiritual understanding of life then the differences in the world don’t make that much of a difference.

In the purport of 9.33, in the Bhagavat Gita,

anityam asukhaṁ lokam
imaṁ prāpya bhajasva mām

Krishna says, anityam asukhaṁ lokam, this world is temporary and there is no real happiness in this world. imaṁ prāpya bhajasva mām, therefore worship Him, devote yourself to Him. In that purport Prabhupada says, in this world there are differences like, rich and poor, intelligent and foolish, but he says that ultimately this world is not a happy place for anyone, whether we are rich or whether we are poor, whether we are intelligent or less intelligent. This world is not a happy place for anyone.

Misery is democratic. Everybody has a right to misery, and everybody gets misery in life. The form of misery may vary. Sometimes people say that, ‘In the past you know there was no air-conditioning, so people had to be in the heat, and they would sweat, they were so miserable.’ Yes, in the past because of heat people would sweat. Now, we have A.C but in our A.C offices there is stress and because of stress we sweat. So, the form of misery may change but the principle of misery remains unchanged. Everybody gets misery in this world, and ultimately we can all go beyond misery by practicing bhakti. We can raise our consciousness towards Krishna, and the more we become absorbed in Krishna, the more we transcend misery. So, the differences are there in the material level. They make a big difference in the material level, but ultimately our happiness doesn’t depend on the material level of reality. We can all become happy from wherever we are by connecting ourselves with Krishna, by absorbing ourselves in Krishna. So, God is not discriminatory. The inequities of this world are because we are ourselves have gone through many innings in our life, and whatever we score… the score here refers to our own karma. Whatever karma we are going to do, it is going to count, it is going to accumulate. If we do good, even if there seems to be no result, the result is there, the result is there. How is the result there?

Say, in cricket, sometimes the batsman may bat very well, but say the remaining team doesn’t perform, and the team loses, but then if this batsman is batting very well, every run the batsman is scoring is going to the batsman’s account, and the cumulative record will be there… the batsman scored so many runs. So, like that sometimes in our lives, as I said, there is karma, there is daiva and there is kala, then there is phala. Sometimes we may do our karma, but because the daiva is not there… so, in cricket, in the batsman’s case, the batsman may bat very well, but if the other team members don’t bat very well, then they may not win the match. So, the batsman’s batting well is a karma but the other team performing is daiva. So, sometimes we may do our part very well, but still we may not get results. So, at that time we have to understand that our karma doesn’t go in vain, our karma accumulates.

So, there are different kinds of karma. If you consider karma to be like a big water tank… so, the total accumulation of karma that we have, that is the sanchit… Sachit karma is accumulated karma, and then just like in the water tank… say there is one tap from which water is coming out. There is another tap from which water is going in. So, the water that is going in is what is called as the Krimankar… the karma that I am doing right now. So, that is water going inside, and I am experiencing right now, what I am going through right now, that is the Agami karma, or that has two sections – Prarabdha and Aprarabdha. I am not going to go into the analysis of karma. That is a whole different seminar itself, but here the point which I am making is that everything that we do, it is going in that karmic tank. So, if we work hard, that is never lost, that is all accumulated.

So, sometimes when we work in life and we don’t get results, then we get very discouraged. ‘I worked so hard, I didn’t get any results. So, and then when we don’t get the results once, twice, thrice, then we feel, ‘I am a failure. I am good for nothing.  meri kismet hi phuti hain. We may say like that. Actually, sometimes we all may go through a bad phase in our life. Say, like I am putting in clean water here, but in the past there was some dirty water. So, from this side some dirty water is coming up, but the clean water that is there, that will accumulate and that will also come out in due course. So, when we think that our actions alone determines the result… on the positive side we may say, ‘I worked so hard, so I achieved results.’, but the problem with that is that, if we take credit for our success then we have to take the blame for our failures, and then when we fail, that will be very crippling. Some people become chronically depressed, they develop inferiority complex, they become suicidal, Why? Because they feel that nothing is working in my life. What they are doing is working, but they are thinking of what is working in terms of the results.

So, just like a batsman, they bat very well but if sometimes their team doesn’t perform, the batsman may not be able to win the match, but the batsman should know that he did his part, and it is up to others to do their part. So, like that in life we do our parts, but sometimes the results may not come. But, when we are doing our part that is contributing to our growth. That is contributing to our future. That is never lost.

When people play a cricket match, at that time a lot depends on the pitch. Some pitches are very favourable for batting. They are called batsman’s paradise, and the batsman’s paradise is a bowler’s nightmare. So, some pitches are so good for batting that the only thing the bowler can hope for is that he doesn’t get hit for sixes. That’s all. And some pitches may be actually bowler’s paradise. Then it becomes a batsman’s nightmare. So now, imagine there are two cricket matches that are going on. Say, one is in India where often the pitches are supposed to be very friendly for batsman, and there is another match going on in Australia where the pitches are quite favourable for the bowler’s, and there are two batsman batting, and now if those two batsman are competing with each other… you know, a person who is batting on a batsman’s pitch, he may score a double century. Somebody who is batting on a bowlers pitch, that person may be in great difficulty to score a half century, but actually in terms of application, in terms of dedication, that half century might have required more effort than a double century. So, those who are really good at cricket, they will not just see the score. They will see the setting in which the score was made. They will appreciate that even the half century is glorious.

So, if we start flatly comparing the batsman’s based on their scores, then we neglect other realities. So, similarly if we compare ourselves with other’s… see, all of us are different, and all of us are playing on different pitches. So, our own body and our own mind is the pitch on which we are playing, and my mind is different from your mind, is different from your mind… we all have different minds, and something which is very easy for me maybe very difficult for you, and something which is very easy for you can be very difficult for me. So, if you recognize that we are all playing on different pitches, then we won’t become so judgmental about others.

What happens is that, when we are good at something, and somebody else is not good at that we start looking down at them, but actually they are playing on a different pitch, and on their pitch… this is not just about talents, it’s can be about simple things like habits. Something that we can see very easily. I am a writer. So, I am a very verbal person. So, whenever I come into a room, whenever I go to a temple, whenever I go anywhere I am always looking at spellings, and if anywhere any spelling is wrong I get irritated. You know, most people are not so verbal. Say, if I point out to somebody that this spelling is wrong, he may think, ‘Ok, who bothers, why make such a big fuss about it?” See, for me to see a wrong spelling, it irritates me. It’s like… if somebody is doing kirtan and somebody has got a very good musical sense, and then somebody is playing kartal who has no musical sense, and then for somebody who has a musical sense that wrong taal of the kartal is torture for him, he just can’t focus, and the worst thing is that sometimes some people enjoy music and don’t understand music. (laughter) That means that they are playing the kartal, and they are playing it wrong, but they don’t understand it, and we may get angry, ‘Why are you playing it like this?’He says, ‘Come on! I am remembering Krishna, you also remember Krishna.’ (laughter), and then you say, ‘No, I can’t remember Krishna, you play it right first.’ So, for us it may be very obvious that he is playing it wrong. But some people are called tone deaf. They just can’t understand it. So, when that happens they are playing on a completely different pitch from what we are playing, and then when we judge them by our standards or we judge ourselves by their standards… either way we get ourselves into trouble. Now, if we judge them by our standards, then we come off as  judgemental, very picky, very fault-finding, and it can happen for even ordinary things in life.

Now, some people are very cleanliness conscious, and there are some other people who are completely unconscious about cleanliness. Somebody may come and say that, ‘Why didn’t you clean your room?’, and he says, ‘Is it unclean, I didn’t notice only.’ (laughter) Now they are not saying that to rile us. They just don’t notice it. So, when we understand that for them actually… for us, we can’t tolerate un-cleanliness. We would say, ‘Come on, it just takes two minutes, just clean things up.’ For them, to notice that will take two days. They will not just notice it only. So, what happens is that different people are playing on different pitches. What seems easy for us can be very difficult for them, and when we understand this, and then we become more understanding. Become more understanding doesn’t mean that we accept everyone for what they are, and just tolerate everything, but actually change begins with acceptance.

You know, if a person is like this…. if a person is at this level, and I am blaming them, ‘Why are you not in this level?’, and he says, ‘I am not. I am here.’ I will give you another example. Say, I was coming here by car from the house. Say, suppose we took a wrong turn and went somewhere else, and then whoever was guiding us, they say, ‘Why did you take a wrong turn? You are such a fool. I gave you the address, why didn’t you understand it properly, why did you take the wrong turn?’, and I say, ‘Ok baba, I took a wrong turn, now please tell me how I can come on the right tract?’ You know, if you just keep blaming, ‘Why are you there?’, well, it doesn’t help at all. If we have gone wrong, whoever is guiding us, they have to accept, ‘Ok, I have gone wrong, Ok you are there, now I will help you come here.’

So, like that different people when they understand that they are playing on different pitches, we accept them where they are and then we can help them to change. But, if we don’t accept them for what they are, then we are always blaming them, ‘Why are you like this? Why are you not doing that?’, and when we constantly criticize people, what happens is that people’s energy gets shifted from correcting themselves to justifying themselves. So, when somebody feels constantly criticked, constantly attached, then they would just want to defend themselves, and then whatever energy they use for correcting themselves, they don’t use it for correcting themselves. They just use if for defending themselves, and thus we end up perpetuating the very behaviour in others that we want them to change. So, when we understand this point that they are playing on a different pitch, and therefore I may want them to change, and I can communicate to them that, ‘It just troubles me too much. Can you just change this?’ They also want to change, but we have to help them. We are not meant to judge them.

Taking this point further, actually we have to understand that, like if there is a pitch and if there is a test match, the same pitch performs differently on the first day and very differently on the fifth day. Some pitches are very good for batting on the first day, but on the fifth day those pitches are extremely difficult. On the first day somebody may score a 300 runs, and on the last day maybe somebody scores a 100… a team goes 100, 150-200. That’s also a big thing, but because the pitch has changed, so same way actually our own mind is the pitch on which we are playing, and our own mind changes. So, now when a batsman is batting and if their purpose is the same, that they want to score runs, but depending on how the pitch is, they have to change their strategy. So, on the first day they will bat differently and on the fifth day they will have to bat differently because the pitch is different. Similarly, our minds goes through different moods and as the minds moods change, what happens is that our… when the mind’s mood changes, the ease with which we are doing something earlier that is no longer there, and that thing is very difficult afterwards.

So, I was giving a youth meeting once in Melbourne, and then one boy asked, ‘What is wrong with love marriage?’  I said, ‘There is nothing wrong with love marriages. The problem is what is wrong is to equate, what is wrong is actually the terminology. Terminology is… when we say, ‘love marriages

Vs Arranged Marriages’, what it means is that in arranged marriages there is no love. Isn’t it? It is not necessarily like that, and it is also not necessary that in love marriage there is always love, because the mind has its emotions. It has its own feelings. So, if we are driven…if we just turn that terminology around, and say, instead of calling ‘love marriages vs Arranged Marriages’, we call it ‘Infatuation Marriages Vs. Thoughtful marriages.’ Now the terminology itself is loaded, isn’t it? So, yes when two people meet each other, they may feel attracted. In the movies they say, ‘You know, I felt electricity going through my body.’ (laughter) Whatever…

So, now these things, these feelings may come but you know what is important is… for the longevity of a relationship, there may be love at first sight, but what is more important is: what happens after many sights (laughter) So, the longevity of the relationship depends on… the mind will go through different moods, and if the relationship is based simply on the moods… sometimes two people say that, ‘You know, I cannot live without you.’, and then six months later they say, ‘I can’t live with you.’ (laughter) So, now in this case what happened? The pitch changed. (laughter) So, the pitch has changed. So, the mind is the pitch on which we are playing and the mind’s moods keep changing. So, initially there might have been attraction, and that attraction was the basis of their relationship, but over a period of time if the relationship has to be sustainable, we cannot base it only on attraction. The relationship has to be based on commitment.

So, if the relationships are to have longevity, then they cannot be based just on attraction or infatuation. They have to be based on commitment. Commitment means that, whether I feel like it, or I don’t feel like it, I persevere… I persevere. So, sometimes our feelings will help us. Sometimes, our feelings will obstruct us. So, just like in the cricket match, sometimes the pitch may help the batsman. Sometimes the pitch may trouble the batsman, but the batsman’s purpose remains the same. The purpose is to try to bat and score runs. So, like that sometimes our mind moves such that… sometimes our feelings help us in doing things, but sometimes our feelings obstruct us. Either way we have to stay fixed in our purpose. If we let ourselves be entirely determined by our feelings, then the same things that I am attracted to today, I will repelled tomorrow, and then we will not be able to be stable in anything.

So, our feelings, they do affect us. Now, we can’t wish away our feelings. If I am feeling low, if I am feeling sad, if I am feeling depressed, if I am feeling irritated, I can’t wish away those feelings. Those feelings are there, but just because the feelings are there, that doesn’t mean that I have to act on those feelings. That means that, ‘Ok, this feeling is there. Now let me see how to deal with it.’ So, when we understand that our feelings are actually often just… our changed feelings are simply the changed pitch, the changed mind. Then we don’t take the feelings too seriously… Then Krishna says in the Bhagavata Gita, 5.20 that

na prahṛṣyet priyaṁ prāpya
nodvijet prāpya cāpriyam
sthira-buddhir asammūḍho
brahma-vid brahmaṇi sthitaḥ

So, He says na prahṛṣyet priyaṁ prāpya, when you get something you like, don’t just jump up and down, don’t be too elated. nodvijet prāpya cāpriyam, when you get something which is apriya, which is unfavourable don’t become dejected. How to avoid it? sthira-buddhir. Keep your intelligence fixed. asammūḍho, know this is temporary. Don’t get caught by it, don’t get deluded. asammūḍho, and how will this happen? brahma-vid brahmaṇi sthitaḥ… brahma-vid, one who understands brahma, one who understands spiritual reality, and not just understand spiritual reality… brahmaṇi sthitaḥ, one who is situated in spiritual reality. That person will be able to stay fixed. So, what does it mean? I will conclude with this point about brahmaṇi sthitaḥ. Our feelings will affect us. Naturally if we get something good we will be happy. If something bad happens we will be unhappy, but what Krishna is saying is, ‘don’t let this emotions carry you away.’

When we are brahma-vid, when we have spiritual understanding, at that time we understand that actually whatever happens in the material level that is small. What happens at the spiritual level is big. So, a material gain is like a 50 dirham gain. A material loss is like a 50 dirham loss, but our spiritual growth, our relationship with Krishna… that is like a 50 million dirham gain. So, that is what really matters. Now, if I had only 50 dirham gain, and somebody takes it away, then I will fight with my life to keep it. But, if I am a millionaire and when some 50 dirham falls out of my pocket, and some beggar comes and takes it, he says, ‘take it, tu bhi kya yad rakhega.’ He said take it. It’s not a big deal for him. So, like that when we practice bhakti, when we connect with Krishna we understand by experience that actually by practicing bhakti, I can experience peace and joy that is far greater in whatever I may experience in other things, and thus as we keep practicing bhakti, we experience this more and more. And by this experience we can get the conviction that, ‘Ok, material ups and downs, I don’t have to shaken by them, because as compared to this, this is so much bigger. My relationship with Krishna, my bhakti for Krishna is so much bigger… that these distresses come, these pleasures come but it is all temporary.

Sometimes, when scriptures tell us, ‘Oh, actually material pleasure is temporary, don’t chase after it.’ Now, this may make… we are still attracted to material pleasures and we see, ‘ok, it is temporary but it is wonderful, I want it right now.’ So, what happens is that we are attracted to material pleasures. Its temporariness doesn’t register within us, but over a period of time as we keep practicing bhakti, we start realizing, ‘Yes, I get so excited about this pleasure, but afterwards it gets over.’ Nothing to be so excited about it. You start realizing it, and positive side of this is that, not only are the pleasures temporary, the problems also are temporary. The troubles that we face… right now, they may seem to be very big, but they are also temporary. Temporary means that they are not going to last forever. So, we don’t over react to problems. tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata, I tolerate them. Be patient. Be calm. This will come and this will go.

So, like sometimes when there are some leeches. Leeches are insects which suck blood. Now, sometimes if a leech comes and bites us, we may say that actually this leech… we can actually sense it that it is taking blood out of our body. We get very scared when something is taking blood out. At that time I may just try to pull it out. But some leeches, they catch hold of the skin so tightly that if we try to pull the leech out, they will pull the whole skin out. A big wound would come up, but if we just wait… the leeches, they don’t suck infinite amount of blood. They are tiny creatures. Now they have some small tubules, and once that tubule become filled with that much blood, then they themselves let go. Just flip it, they will fall off. So, like that sometimes by our past karma some problems come in our life, and if those problems come… these problems are like leeches that suck blood, and at time if you over react… if somebody behaves unreasonably and then we just blast out at them speaking anything and everything that comes in our mind, and a small misunderstanding blows into a big World War. Now what happens at that time… just ok… this person behaved unreasonably… Ok, just tolerate it, it will go away. We may all go through different moods. Sometimes they may be just in a bad mood. Just tolerate it. So, the problems are also temporary. When we understand it, we can tolerate it.

So, once one devotee asked me a question. This is the continuation and conclusion of the same topic. He said that, ‘There is one devotee who doesn’t like me, and he has told me also that he doesn’t like me. So, what can I do when I am dealing with this devotee? So, if I have to deal with this devotee, I have to serve with this devotee, then what can I do?’ So, I explained that, ‘Actually, the difference between devotee relationship and non-devotee relationship is that a devotee is not just relating with the other person. The devotee is also relating with Krishna. When that person is behaving badly with me, and I behave badly with him, then what is the difference between a devotee and a non-devotee? So, devotee behaves considering, ‘Ok, this person is behaving this way, what will please Krishna? How can please Krishna in this situation?’ Sometimes we may have to take strong action also. Somebody is again and again making the same mistake, then I have to take a strong action. But, our response is not just a response to their action. Our response is a well chosen course of action based on higher wisdom. So, for example, say there are these clothe shops where there are hundreds of dresses which are available, and there are these attendants who show the clothes to the customers. People see hundred clothes and not purchase one clothe, and then after that the attendant who is there, actually has to fold all the clothes, put them back on the hanger. He may think, ‘You know, I showed hundred clothes, they didn’t take even one clothe. What a waste of time.’, and then the next time the customer comes, the attendant may be rude with them. The attendant may be brusk with them. He would say, ‘what a waste of time.’, and then, the next time the customer comes, the attendant may be rude with them. The attendant may be brusk with them, but if the attendant thinks that, ‘Actually my salary is not coming from this customer. My salary is coming from my boss, and my boss is watching me, and my boss also knows that this customer is a difficult customer. My boss also knows that making the sell to this customer is difficult. So, my boss will be seeing how patient I am, how courteous I am’, and if the boss actually sees that this attendant even amidst, even while dealing with such a difficult customer is so patient, so courteous, so cool, the boss may promote such an attendant, even though that attendant has made no sell. Why? It’s because that attendant has a temperament. So, similarly in our relationship we are not just dealing with the other person, we are dealing with Krishna also. So, we should know that Krishna is watching us, and we focus on… ‘Ok, in this relationship this person is behaving unreasonably, but what will please Krishna? How can I act in a way that Krishna will be pleased with me? If we have that attitude, then we won’t overreact to small, small things. So, what this means is that sometimes we may be playing… as I said that the pitch on which we play itself changes at different times, and the pitch on which others play also changes. If we understand this then we become understanding, and even that person will not behave unreasonably. Now how we deal with that person, that is a different issue. In different situations different actions may be required.

Krishna tells Arjuna to tolerate, but when the kauravas commit so many atrocities, Krishna doesn’t tell Arjuna to tolerate. Krishna tells Arjuna, ‘Fight the war.’ So, there are certain situations where tolerance is accepted or tolerance is recommended. In certain situations aggressive actions may be required, but it is… none of this is impulsive. All of it is well chosen, and that capacity to choose comes when we see our interaction with others not just as an interaction with that person, we see our interaction with others also as an interaction with Krishna. So, we please Krishna not just by how we directly serve Krishna, how we chant His holy names, how we associate with… how we worship the deities, how we come in satsang etc. All these are important but we serve Krishna also by how we deal with others. The primary difference between a kanistha adhikari, a madhyama adhikari and a uttama adhikari… Kanistha adhikari is a neophyte devotee, madhyama adhikari is a medium level devotee and the uttama adhikari is a top level devotee. The primary difference between them is, where in all they can see Krishna.

The Kanistha adhikari can see Krishna only in the temple, and when they are in the temple they are very sweet, they are very gentle, very humble, very kind, and as soon as they come out of the temple they are shouting and snapping and cursing. They think, ‘bhagavan ke samne accha rehna cahiye.’ But bhagavan to sam jagah pe hain. Krishna is there everwhere. So, the more we advance we understand that my spiritual calibre is seen not just in how I am doing devotional activities, it’s also seen in how I am acting with others. So, if our bhakti makes us more tolerant, more understanding, then our relationship with Krishna will actually help us to improve our relationships with others also, because we will act as a mature being in that relationship, and thus we can move more smoothly towards Krishna by making our relationships in this world smoother. So, in this way bhakti actually helps us not just in the sense of taking us beyond this world to Krishna’s eternal abode. Bhakti also helps us to live better in this world. To live better means in two ways – when problems comes we can cope with them better, and also we can do our part better. That’s why bhakti becomes susukham kartum avyayam, becomes joyfully performed.


I spoke about what cricket can teach us about life. So, I talked about mainly five things.

First is about how performance matters, but performance is not all that matters. I talked about cricketers also having superstitions. Why? Because they know that there is something beyond my performance that determines the result, and what that is, Bhagavat Gita philosophy explains to us. Our performance is karma. So, karma plus daiva plus kala, that determines phala. So, in the Bhagavat Gita when it tells that, karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadācana, what it is saying is not that you don’t care for the fruits, not that we be irresponsible about the fruits but that we focus on what is in our hand, and in that way we can be productive, we can do our best without worrying about that which is not in our control. Then we discussed that, ‘Ok, that which is not in my control… the daiva, what determines that?’, and it says that, ‘That is also determined by our own past karma. So, in that connection we discussed how there is the problem of free will, how there are inequalities in life, and what is the cause of this inequality.

So, there are three options: one is, it is all by chance. So, if like one team has got a score of 200, another team is starting at a score of zero, so why the difference? The score board just works by chance. We know that we hardly ever work by that idea. We always think that causes have affects, and affects should have causes. That’s how we function in life. So, the other alternative is that, It is by God’s will. So, now this actually makes it even more difficult. If God is discriminatory, then how can I devote myself to such a God? Then we can say that it is God’s test, but why does God test different people differently?

So, just like, if the score keeper is partial, the score keeper is giving more score to some team, it is difficult to play such a match, but if we understand that this is the second innings, and in the previous innings the team scored more, and that’s why they have got more score, and that’s why the differences that are there in this life… they are coming from what we had done in our past life.

So, then we understand that God doesn’t discriminate, but he reciprocates. And our match is not against us or others. Our match is… basically we have to reach a target, we have to become pure, we have to develop love for God. On that journey of evolution, we may be ahead of others but we have gone through the struggles that they had gone through, and we can help them in rising up, and their rising up is not going to threaten us. It is all going towards the same destiny. That way we can have a cooperative spirit and life becomes a university. We all learn and we move forwards.

Then I discussed about, how while playing cricket… the second lesson basically is that the differences that we face in life, they are because of our own past deeds. We shouldn’t blame God or blame anyone for that.

The third is that, we are all playing on different pitches. So, don’t compare. So, a person scoring a double century on a batsman’s pitch is not necessarily better than a person who scores a half-century on a bowlers pitch. So, that which is easy in one setting will be very difficult in another setting.

So, our own body and mind is the pitch on which we are all playing, and so for some people music may come easy, and for some people music is like Latin, Greek or Sanskrit. They don’t understand anything about it. So, then when we understand that different people are playing on different pitches, we become more understanding to these things. After we accept people for where they are, then we help them change. If somebody is gone on a wrong destination, just cursing them, ‘why did you go there?’, it doesn’t help them. So, we help them by accepting where they are, helping them to rise upwards, and then the fourth point that we discussed is that, the pitch on which we play also changes. So, that means that we may have … our mind may feel a particular way today, and it may feel in a very different way tomorrow. So, we cannot let our actions be determined only by our feelings. Somebody may say, ‘I cannot live without you now.’, and afterwards they may say, ‘I cannot live with you.’, but we cannot base our relationship simply on feelings. So, it should be based on our commitment. Commitment means that whether it is easy or difficult to bat, the batsman still tries to bat and score runs. Like sometimes our feelings may assist us, and sometimes our feelings may obstruct us, but still we try to keep persevering in what we are doing, and that way we can ultimately move towards success.

And lastly I discussed about the same point. Our own pitch is changing, and others pitches are also changing. So, when some people behave in an unreasonable way, at that time we understand that our relationship is not only with them. So, our relationship is with Krishna. So, the way we act in our life, even if it doesn’t produce any result immediately, it is contributing to a result ultimately. A batsman may bat very well, but they may fail because the team is not performing. But still the batsman’s score is adding to the batsman’s record. So, like that when we act properly, when we act rightly, that is contributing to our karmic record, and ultimately if we are acting rightly it is pleasing Krishna.

So, in this world sometimes you will get good, sometimes you will get bad. That good and bad is like a small monetary gain or a small monetary loss, but our relationship with Krishna is like a huge gain. So, we don’t get so caught in the small gains and the loses that we neglect the big gain, and the same principle in our relationships: If somebody may be behaving unreasonably or somebody may behave badly, it doesn’t mean that we behave badly with them. We see that Krishna is the third person in that relationship. Just like if it is difficult customer, but the attendant sees that my boss is also there, my primary purpose is not just to make the sell, my primary purpose is to please my boss. I will like to make the sale of course, but I want to please my boss, and the boss may promote a patient salesman even if they are not able to make a sale, they behave well. So, like that sometimes we while interacting with some people may feel, we will not be able to make them see sense, we may not be able to get them do the right things, but if we are patient, we are understanding, Krishna will be pleased, and we will grow in our relationship with Krishna, and when we work to try to please Krishna, then that relationship with Krishna helps us become more mature in our relationship in this world, and in that way bhakti helps us not only to attain the ultimate destination beyond this world, but it also helps us function better in this world. To do better and to deal with what life gives us also better.

… just think negatively about it. Madam eva cha…Mada is intoxication

na vimunchyati durmedha, and a person does not give this up, no matter what happens. That person is having determination in the mode of ignorance. So, sometimes some people say… say somebody wants to wake up in the morning, and they just don’t wake up, just keep sleeping, and then they say, ‘Why didn’t I wake up in the morning? No, I don’t have any determination. So, I can’t wake up.’

Actually if somebody is very lazy and they don’t do the work, they keep shirking over or postponing over, and then they think, ‘Why don’t I have any determination?’, actually no one can say that I don’t have any determination, because even a lazy person has the determination to stay lazy. (laughter) Actually what do we mean by determination? Determination simply means that, holding on to something even when it is difficult to hold on. Isn’t it? So, when we are lazy, quite often we are criticized by others, we get mocked by others, we also feel bad about it, but still we hold on to that laziness. So, actually that is determination, but normally we use the word determination to refer to something positive, something good, and if we hold on to something bad that is not called determination, that is called stubbornness, or obstinacy. So, the example of this is the father-son pair: Dhritarastra and Duryodhana. So, holding on to kingdom… Krishna Himself came as Shanti Duta. So many other seniors told him that, ‘give the Pandavas back their kingdom.’, but he was holding on to it.

So, everybody has the capacity to hold on to things. The only thing is, we are all differing in what we hold on. So, sometimes we hold on to something which is good for us, and sometimes we may hold on to things which are not good for us. So, that choosing is what we need to do wisely. So, this point is actually very encouraging. That means nobody can say that I don’t have determination. I have determination, now I just need to redirect it, from this to that. Instead of holding on to laziness, let me try to hold on to timeliness, and that way we can change ourselves gradually.

So, if you look at sports, there are broadly two kinds of sports – there is individual sports and there is team sports. So, for example Tennis or Chess is individual sports. So, one player plays against another player, and in this the result depends only on two things: one is how well this player is performing, and how well the opponent is performing. Say a particular player performs better than the opposite player, then that player will win, and in contrast there may be a very good player, but if that player doesn’t perform well on a particular day…that player has a off day, then that player will fail. Even if say in tennis, sometimes there are upsets. There is world no. 1 player, and someone is un-seeded, even unranked almost…. outside the top hundred or top 200 or whatever. At one particular day, that player plays very well and this number one player just looses. So, here what happens, where it’s a game which involves solo play, then everything depends on one player’s performance alone.

Cricket, hockey, football or baseball, all these are team sports. In team sports two things happen, that actually one single person’s good performance alone may not be able to lead to victory. A batsman may bat superlatively well, but the batsman will himself take the team to victory. But if there is no one to support… if all the other batsmen keep getting out, and this batsman stays not out till the end, the team will not be able to score sufficiently. So, in the team sports actually one person alone cannot lead to victory many times. And conversely, in team sports even if one person has a bad day, others can make up. Sometimes, every team has a star batsman or a star bowler, and even the best batsman sometimes have a off day. So, when they are not able to perform, other team members can step forward, and then the team may still be able to do well even when the star player does not perform. So, that means that in a team play actually there is more of a scope for making up for one persons poor performance, but there is also the scope of one person not outshining others, or one person single handedly leading the team to victory.

So, when say India won the world cup in 2011; at that time, as the Indian captain had glory, at that time Sachin Tendulkar was soon going to return, so he had the glory, but then it was not one person’s glory. That was a whole team’s glory. Say, in Tennis somebody becomes a Wimbledon Champion; it is that one person who is a champion.

So, now is life like a solo sport or is it like a team sport? What do you think? ‘It is a solo sport that we have to play with different teams.’ (laughter) For example, in IPL.. say in one particular event, say a player may be belonging to say Mumbai Indians, and then afterwards that player may be purchased by RC or some other team like that. So, then they belong to another team, but they cannot play alone, but the team changes. So, like that when we are going through life, actually every soul is alone in his journey.  So, we come in this world alone, and we will leave alone. Our karmic destiny is something which we will have to endure ourselves.

So, at one level it is sobering and at the same time it is also empowering. Sobering because we understand… just because I am with others, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is security, but at the same time that means that, if I am doing… (inaudible..08.25-28) So, it is solo in the sense that, when it comes to our mind, others can help us but I have to deal with my mind. So, for example if we consider a person who is having some say negative habit; So, when that temptation comes, at that time they have to deal with it alone themselves. Others may be there. Others may say, ‘don’t do it.’, but sometimes that desire catches the person. They just neglect the other person and go and do whatever they like. So, we have to… especially when we are battling with our mind, we can take the help of others, but that help also requires some level of control over the mind.

Say broadly speaking, if normally we look at everyone through our mind… that means that our mind filters our perception of everything. Now, if somebody suddenly comes and starts smiling and talking very sweetly, then immediately the mind starts thinking, ‘What does he want?’ (laughter) Probably they want something from me, that’s why they are talking so nicely, isn’t it? So, we always filter what people are speaking through our mind. Now, a strong relationship when we have. When we say I have good association, I share a strong relationship…. Strong relationship means that there are at least some people, or at least one person in our life at whom we do not look through our mind, rather we look at our mind through them. That means that as soon as somebody criticizes us, you know immediately our mind starts criticizing them back, ‘Maybe he is envious of me, maybe she just burns… whatever’ We just filter what people are saying, through our mind, but if there is some person who we can trust… ‘This person is my well-wisher. So, rather than evaluating what they are saying through our mind, we evaluate our mind through them. So, if we have that, then we are extremely fortunate. We are extremely fortunate if we have a person like that in our life.

Now it is difficult, and even if we get one person like that, it is fortunate, and even if we don’t have a person who can directly evaluate…through whom we can evaluate our mind, at least we can try to create this ..11.15.(inaudible).. There is an instinctive reaction that comes.  Why is this person criticizing me? May be they are envious, may be they don’t understand, but it is possible that they may not be understanding, but it is also possible that I am not understanding. So, what we do is that, if somebody tells us something, we have to deal with our mind alone, but when the mind is tricking us, quite often it is difficult for us to understand it. Others may be able to see it better. So, if somebody tells us something, rather than immediately reacting to it, slow down, and then wake and think about it.

So, I am a writer and although I have been writing for many years, when I am writing something like an article or a book, it is like my baby. Say, if some neighbour comes and tells the mother, ‘Mataji, your baby is not well dressed…’ The mother takes it as a personal insult, but then if the neighbour explains, “You know, this kind of shirt doesn’t match with this kind of trousers’, then the mother thinks, ‘Yea what she is saying makes sense.’, and then she will put some other dress. So, what happens is, initially when I write something I myself cannot spot it. So, if I have some devotees who I ask, ‘You just go through it and tell me what you think about this?’, and then they give some feedback. So, at that time if we take the feedback personally, that means we say that, ‘Oh, this person is criticizing me.’, then that feedback will spoil our relationship, but if we see that whatever I am doing, my actions and me are different… So, they are responding to a particular action. Ok, I wrote an article; that article is mine but it is different from me. So, they are not criticizing me. They are critiquing that article. In that way, we can bring a distance, because whenever we feel that somebody is criticizing me, then immediately we go on the defence, and when the ego goes on the defensive, nothing can penetrate through it. Even nuclear bomb cannot destroy the ego on the defence. Nothing can destroy.

So, if while taking feedback we go on the defensive, then nobody can help us. So, we are solo players in the game of life, but we perform best when we work in a team, and working in the team means that our ego should not be on the defensive. That we are ready to take feedback from others.

So, say in cricket a bowler may be bowling in a particular way, and then another bowler may say that, ‘I can bowl like this. I know how to bowl.’ It’s possible that the bowler knows how to bowl, but it is also possible that somebody else knows to bowl better. So, rather than taking any suggestion or any feedback personally, it is better to take it objectively. That means that they are not criticizing me, they are not correcting me, they are just responding to this particular action.

So, differentiating between our actions and our own selves helps us to improve our actions. Identifying with our actions makes us want to defend them, and when we defend them, we cannot correct them, because our energy is dissipated in defending.

So, I started this talk by talking about determination in the mode of ignorance where we hold on to something which is undesirable. So, that is actually… when we are working in life, we work in different teams, and within the… by working in teams also…. Now some players are very much team players. Even in a team sports, some players are just individual star performers. They will perform very well, but they just can’t work too well in a team, but still if somebody is playing cricket then what happens is… it is from both ways. In England, one very good batsman, he just couldn’t play in the team… play as a team. So, finally the captain, the coach, they all said that, ‘we don’t want him.’ Although he was the best batsman in England at that time, they said, ‘We just don’t want him in our team.’, and he was dropped. He was young, he was playing well, but he didn’t have the team spirit. So, at that time, lot of people said, ‘Who is to be blamed? Was he such a bad player? But he had so much talent. Was it his problem or was it the captain’s problem?’

So, there are basically… normally speaking there are geniuses. There are very good players but they live in their own world. They just can’t perform so well… they can’t gel with the team, because they are living in a different level. So, if you consider human psychology, there are people who are introverts, and there are people who are extroverts. So, extrovert people, they love to meet the other, and they gain strength by meeting others. They gain strength by working with others. You know, if they go to a party, go to a program, the more people they meet, the more people they talk, their smile becomes bigger and bigger, they feel like, ‘Oh, this is such a big community!’ On the other hand there are introverts. You know, for them going to a get together is like hell. It’s not that they hate people, but it is just that their social stamina is limited. So, after they meet a certain number of people, they just can’t think, they stop, they will suddenly become snappy, they will suddenly become irritable, just closed up. So, what happens is that in such a situation, if a person is more of a solo player than a team player, but they are in team sports. Then it is both for that player and the team managers- the captain, the coach… both of them have to manage it properly. The player has to know that, ‘Yes, I am a team player, I am in a team sports, so I will have to work with the team.’, and that person should be ready to go a little bit against one’s nature. At the same time, the coach should also know that this person needs little more space, and I can tell everyone, ‘do this, do this, but while telling this person I will have to be little bit more careful.’ So, in that way, we all have different natures, and to work with those natures, we may all need to accommodate.

So, some people may think you know, ‘Let me tell you. I want my private time.’ So, for some people private time means time with their family, but for some people means private time means, ‘I don’t want my family also. Private time means, I want to be alone.’ So, now what happens in this situation… both have to adjust… So, if somebody is more of an introvert, then other family members also have to understand, ‘this person may need some time.’ But then, the introvert person also understands that, ‘I have relationship, I have a family. So, I cannot expect to be alone all the time.

So, the person who has a solo nature, they have to accommodate, and the person who is a part of the team, they also have to accommodate. So, here again like yesterday I talked about how we all are on different pitches, so people have different natures, and we have to accommodate that. So, if we find that we gain strength by being alone… Now, usually it said that we should always be in the association of the devotees. Yes, that is true, but association is not just physical proximity. Association is primarily emotional alignment. Association means transfer of desires. So, sometimes when I hear a class I get inspired. ‘Oh yes, that is what I want to do.’, but some people need some time to process things, but there are some people who can think on their feet. Think on their feet is as soon as they hear they can understand that I can apply this and I can apply this. Some people, they have to think on their backs, and then process and decide. So, when different people are different, we have to apply one standard on everyone. So, for example it is said that the shoe that fits one leg bites another. The shoe’s are of different sizes. So, like that something may work very nicely for me. For another person it is different. Why are you like this? ‘It works so well, I am different, you are different.’ So, we all have different natures and it’s like… suppose, I don’t have… I have some deficiency in my eyes, and say prabhu also needs spectacles. So, now I have a particular number. When I put this spectacle I can see very nicely, and suppose somebody has lost the specs. If we say, ‘ Take this specs.’… He says, ‘I can’t see anything.’… ‘Are, I can see properly, why can’t you see?’, ‘No, I can’t see.’, ‘You are not sincere, you should be able to see.’ (laughter) It is not like that. Their eye numbers are different. So, they need a different specs…. The purpose is the same. We want to see, but my specs will not fit for them. So, similarly… actually what adjustments we make, what facilities we need, what circumstances we need for functionally nicely, others may need something different. So, when we try to impose what we are doing on others, then that creates unnecessary friction. So, we are in the team and we both need to adjust, but the adjustment begins from both sides. It’s not that we expect one person to adjust infinitely. The other person also has to adjust, and going forward…

We are on a solo match, but we are playing in teams. We are solo players, but we are playing in teams. So, in a team we all have different players and different roles. Say in cricket, somebody is an opening batsman. Somebody is a middle order batsman. The opening batsman… depending on… if it is a one day match, he can come out and attacking right away. If it is a test match, basically manage it through the beginning phase, don’t lose wickets. Initially the bowlers may be very aggressive. Just endure that. Then there are the middle order batsman. So… then there are all-rounders. Then there are tail-enders. So, now different players, in the batting line up have different roles. So, some batsman, they may be finishing specialists. Just come and hit a lot of runs and then they are able finish the match. So, there are different players who have different roles, and the expertise of the manager of the coach or the captain is to find out where, which player can fit the best, and a batsman doesn’t have to compare with a bowler. If a batsman starts thinking that, ‘Actually you know, all these bowlers..”, and the bowlers start thinking, ‘This batsman has scored century. People praise him so much. Next time I will also score century.’, that desire is good, but for a bowler who comes down at 9,10 or 11 to bat, where is he going to get the opportunity to score the century? So, if the bowler starts comparing with the batsman, it is just not going to work.

One devotee told me that Sachin Tendulkar, initially he was thinking of becoming a bowler, and then he came to the coaching academy and then the bowler told him… he wanted to be a fast bowler, and the bowler told him, ‘You try something else.’, he was very discouraged. He was batting also, but he wanted to be more like a all rounder. He said, ‘You just don’t have the frame to be a fast bowler.’, and he said, ‘You have talented batting. Just focus on batting.’, and then later on he said that, that was the best advice I got at that time. Because some people can be all-rounder’s, but some people will be specialist in one field. So, some people may be just batsman, and once in a while they can bowl, and when the bowl they make use, not because they take wickets but because they bowl so rarely. So, then the 10th, 11th batsman, they can also bat occasionally, but that is not what they need to focus on.

So, all of us have our strengths, and all of us have our limitations. In life, we need to focus on our strengths, and we have to manage our limitations. So, if we focus on our limitations, then we will always feel inferior. If somebody, who can be a good batsman is always thinking, ‘Oh, I can’t be a good bowler.’ that will prevent them from doing what they can do well. So, it’s important that we find our primarily what our strengths are, and we focus on those strengths. So, all of us, we have different interests, difficult abilities, and unfortunately society glamorizes certain things. Say, for example in the society, maybe certain careers are glamorized. May be somebody becomes an engineer, somebody becomes a doctor, and that’s when it is said that one is very successful. Somebody becomes a lawyer, somebody becomes a CA, that’s like a second level. Somebody says, ‘I want to become a painter, I want to become a writer, I want to become an artist.’ … ‘What are you doing?’ That is very much disapproved.

So now, actually speaking the parents have a natural concern, ‘Ok, how will you earn a living? How will you…if you take up a career which is not very lucrative, where things are not so certain. How will you be able to survive?’ you need to …25.33.(inaudible).. Parents concern is genuine. At the same time, there is earning a living and there is making life worth living. These two are different things. You may earn a living, but if we are doing something which we are not just suited to, we may always feel unfulfilled. People talk about, ‘I don’t have job satisfaction.’ So, why does that happen? Because, though they are earning a living, that job is just not compatible for them.  So, the Bhagavat Gita talks about our swabhava, our innate nature, and the whole principle of varnasrama is not so much dividing people into different castes. This is basically engaging people according to their talents, according to their interests. So, when a player starts playing cricket, it is not that they have to think, ‘I have to become like this batsman, or I have to become like that bowler.’ That’s good to have an inspiration like that, but we have to see what is my interest, what is my talent, and even a bowler also needs to know a little talent. For a batsman they need to know a little to bowl, but their focus should… our focus should never be on our limitations. We have to be aware of our limitations, and we need to know how to manage them, but our focus needs to be on our strengths. While focussing on our strengths we can contribute effectively. By focussing too much or by worrying too much our limitations, we discourage ourselves. So especially when we are in the society which glamorises certain talents, which glamorizes certain abilities… So for example, today’s education system… the ability to memorize, that comes at a premium. Somebody who can memorize, they can do very well in their studies, and they can actually achieve a lot. So, if that’s the way education is, then we have to also learn to memorize. We may learn some scales, some memory tricks, some tips for improving our memory, but then we needn’t feel inferior, ‘Oh, this person has got such a great memory, I have a poor memory.’ Ok, I will have to manage with limitation. At the same time, we have to look at what my strengths are?

And.. so, how do we? How do we actually learn what our strengths are? So, there are two broad points I will talk about. First is that, actually while going through life, we can observe things which we are comfortable doing, and things which are competent doing. So, Krishna talks about guna, karma, vibhagasa. The varnasrama is according to guna and karma. So, guna refers to what we are internally comfortable with, and karma refers to what we are externally competent. So, some people, first time pick up kartal, they are playing wonderfully. How is that? They did know any taal. They just start playing it. That is because they have musical talent, maybe coming from their genes or their past lives, whatever. So, what we are competent doing, and what we are comfortable doing. We find these two things. That is a fair indicator that, that is where our talent lies. And secondly, whenever we are doing… see, in life we don’t always have choices. Say for example, if in a team there might be a player who has to be a opener, but the only slot is in the middle order. The player may have to start international career in the middle order, and they play as well as they can, but while playing the player observes, ‘Ok, as an opener I can perform better.’, and then if the opener gets injured, the opportunity comes and the player may volunteer, ‘Let me go and do that.’ So, Sachin Tendulkar was a middle order batsman in one day cricket, but then once he begged to the coach, ‘I want to open.’ The coach said, ‘No, no, you are very good middle order batsman. You are like the foundation of our middle order. We don’t want to shift.’, He said, ‘No, you give me one chance. I want to open.’ So, he opened and that time he scored a century, and then after that he was already an opener. So, what happened is, he fit into the team wherever it worked, but he based on his own experience, and his own feelings he felt, ‘this is where I fit in.’

So, in life we don’t always have freedom. So, we have to learn to fit in, in whatever situation we are in, but at the same time we keep looking for opportunities to come to a position where we are comfortable and competent. So, even within… if we are having a particular job, we are having a particular role, within that also if we like something… say, somebody may be a teacher or a professor. Within that also one might find that, ‘My interest is more in research.’, Then they may do more paper writing, more presentation. That also contributes to institutions prestige. Somebody may have more of a knack for management. So, within academics, they may become head of department, they may become principle or they may take managerial roles. Some may just love to be with students and they may like to teach. So, they may focus on teaching. So, it is not that a teacher has to change their career entirely. It’s just that within whatever we are, we can try to gravitate towards that role which we are more comfortable. So, that way we are all in the team, and within the team we need to be given a particular role at a particular time, and we have to accept that. This is my role, but while playing along that role, we also stay open to opportunities for playing the roles that we would like to play, and that way we can gradually we can more towards what we are competent at, what we are comfortable at, and sometimes some other’s may also be able to observe.

So, the first point is, we try to observe ourselves, and understand what is comfortable and competent. The other point is, that sometimes others may observe, and say, ‘Hey you know you can do this well, and you try that.’ So, what happens, if you consider like a window… our personality can have four windows… There are some talents which are known to us and known to others. Some talents are known to us, but not known to others. Some talents are known to others, but not known to us, and some talents are neither known to us, nor known to others. So, talents are known to us, and known to others, that’s where we perform, but then we feel, ‘No, I can do this.’, others say, ‘No, not right now.’, then we try to… as I said in second quadrant, that whenever we get opportunity we go there and try to do that and then we might be able to do that more, but there is third quadrant also, where there is something known to others but not known to us, and so if we have good friends, somebody who knows us well, over a period of time they can observe, ‘You know, you can do this well.’, … ‘I never thought about this. I can do that.’ So, that way if we keep observing ourselves, then we can learn.

So, you know, when I joined as a brahmachari… most of the brahmacharis would become preachers, and I also thought that I will become a preacher, but one day, our deputy President, Radheshyam Prabhu gave me something to proof-read, and I just started trying to proof-reading that. He said, ‘Hey you have done such a good job. You know you can do this service more.’, and then once he gav me some assignments to write something for a newspaper. I wrote that, and he was very happy, ‘You can write very well also.’, so it is just by… so, he said, ‘In the future you can take up this service of writing.’…I knew at the back of my mind that I was good at English, but I never thought that I could take up writing as a service, because that was not that everyone was doing. Most devotees were just speaking. I thought that maybe that is what my role was going to be, but then I found that writing is what is my home territory. So, somebody else who discovered that talent. So, there maybe something’s which are in that quadrant where something is known to us… not known to us, but known to others. So, if we have well wishing friends, well wishing guides, and if they tell us, you should do this, you say, ‘No, I can’t do it.’, No, you should do this.

Sometimes some devotees are very shy to teach. Others may say, you know you should preach, you should give classes, you should have your own group, he says ‘No, no, I can’t do it.’ If some senior devotees are seeing something in us, and they are telling us to do we should do it. Why? Because they may be seeing something which we may not be able to see. So, we just start doing it, if we are comfortable we can continue, if we are not very comfortable we can tell that we cannot do. By being open to others suggestions, especially constructive suggestions of what we can try, we will be able to discover the talent that we have.

So, the disadvantage of being in a team is that, sometimes we may have to do things which we don’t like to do, but the advantage of being in a team is that sometimes by being pushed to do some things, we may discover that we are good at this also, and therefore we may discover a side of ourselves which we otherwise would not have discovered.

So, the process of bhakti is definitely a team sport. We are all individuals, but we are all together in this, and … some days, like a batsman may not bat well, but other team players cover up for that. So, like that we are in a team. Some days we may be a little down, but other devotees come and encourage us to move on. So, in the association of devotees sometimes we may slip, sometimes we may fall, but we can all rise and we can move onwards in our spiritual life, knowing that this association actually helps us.

Now, in the Caitanya Caritamrita, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami compares association with a walking stick. Now I use crutches, when I was five or ten years old I used to use a walking stick. So, initially when I heard this example, I thought, ‘Walking stick is nothing very glorious. Now how can we compare association with walking stick?”

So, one time I was coming from Pune to Mumbai, to give a class, and I had kept the walking stick under the train seat, and somebody stole the walking stick. So, then I had to walk without the walking stick, and then at that it struck me… at that time I was much healthier, so I could walk. I can walk without a walking stick also, but it is slower and it is risky. I have to walk slowly, and then at any moment there is fear that I may fall. So, like that we can also practice bhakti without association, but it’s slower and it is risky. Everything that we have to do…. it’s just slow down. If you want to chant… in association you chant very enthusiastically. When we are alone, we look at this, we look at that, let’s do that. Even if it takes the same amount of time, it seems to take so much longer time, and not only slower it is riskier. If we are with some devotees, even if some phone comes along, we may just put it aside… or we may look at it, attend it for a moment or two and then go back, but if we are all alone, we may look at this or look at that, and then find that Oh, 20 minutes have gone, what is this? … so it is risky. So, if we can practice bhakti in association, it is much, much easier to practice bhakti. We will practice it more easily and we will progress more swiftly.


Summary :

So, we continued the theme about what cricket can teach us about life. We focussed mainly on team sports and individual sports. We started with determination in the mode of ignorance. That means if we hold that all of us have determination. It just may be that, we may not be holding on to the right thing. So, holding on to the wrong thing is also determination, but because it is negative it is called obstinacy, like Dhritarastra and Duryodhana are there attached to the kingdom.

In a solo sport, in a individual sport, glory goes to the player, and the infamy also goes to the player. The player alone is responsible, whereas in a team sports the players shortcomings can also be covered, and the player can excel and still the result may not come off. So, life is like a solo sport played in teams. So, our own performance does matter, but it may not matter immediately. If we are in a particular team, it may not matter so much, but our performance is like our karma account, and that’s what is going to matter eventually, but we have to work in teams, and by working in teams… I discussed about how the advantage is that even if we don’t do well sometimes, still others can cover up for us, and the disadvantages is, sometimes we may do very well but still we will not get the result if others are not working so well. So, we have to accept that, that now I alone will determine everything, that brings some humility.

If we are working in a team also, there are some players who are more individual geniuses, and there are others who are team players. So, if somebody is more of individual player in a team sports, the adjustment has to come from both sides. That player also need to know, ‘I am in team sports. So, I have to accommodate, and the coach also of this person need to leave more room for him. So, like that we are practicing bhakti which is primarily a social activity, communal activity, community driven activity, but some of us may be introverts and some of us may be extroverts. So, if we are introverts, we gain strength when we are alone. So, then the others who are around us will also recognize us, ‘This person needs a little more privacy than what I need.’, and on the other hand we should also recognize that I cannot just expect to be alone all the time. I should also stretch myself a little. So, both parties can be understanding, and by being understanding we can cooperate. And then in a team sport, I discussed about how we… a batsman doesn’t have to compare with a bowler. So, the batsman has to excel primarily as a batsman. So, we have to focus on our strengths, and we manage our limitations.

So, in a team we especially in… so, varnasrama basically was to give us engagements according to our talents, and according to our abilities, and in that connection how do we discover our abilities ? First is by looking at what we are comfortable, and competent to do, and by observing ourselves by doing various things we can figure out, ‘this is what I can do.’ So, we may naturally get that role, but if we don’t get that role, then we have to fit in, in whatever role we are getting, but while doing whatever role we are given, we can be looking for opportunities to do something, which we feel we are good at, and in that way we can gravitate towards that, and also some of us may have some talents which we may not be aware of. So, sometimes the coach spots a particular talent in the players. So, like that if others tell us, ‘You should do this.’, then we may feel shy, we may feel reluctant, but it may be that we may have that talent, we just have to try it out, put aside the prejudice and try it out.. and then, we may find that a whole new 41.00-04 (inaudible)  is discovered by that, and lastly I concluded about bhakti as a team sport, and that means that we can practice spiritual  life alone, but when we are  practicing alone it is slower and it is risky, like walking without a walking stick, but when we walk together, as a team we can move forward, joyfully and attain Krishna.

Chaitanya Charan Prabhu: Most Indians, hear about Sarjah as primarily associated with cricket. So, yesterday and today morning I spoke on the theme of what cricket can teach us about life? So, I will continue that theme and I will speak about how cricketers… I was asked to speak on the topic of how to help our children grow in…grow properly. So, I will talk about that on the cricket metaphor of how a coach grooms talent in cricket, and similarly how we can help our wards, our children to also grow.

Now, cricket is a very popular sport in India, and it is not even known in other parts of the world. In America till recently, the people were asked about cricket, they would think about the insect named cricket. They had no idea. So, yet on one side, the specific sports may not be very popular, but the idea of sports is universal.

In America, what people love is Baseball which is a similar sport. Now in all sports, essentially there is basic talent that is required. Some batsmen are just phenomenal. The range of shots that they can hit… or some bowlers are brilliant, how they can make a bowl turn, how they can deliver the bowl so precisely, whether he is a spin or a fast bowler. They also have extraordinary talents, and yet if you look at the history of cricket, there are many talented players who actually didn’t do all that well, and there are some other players, who may have had medium talents, but they did very well, relatively speaking. So, you know, talent is important in life, but talent is not all that is important. Many times in our lives we compare ourselves with others, and we compare…. like your parents may compare our children with other children, or they may compare one child with another child, if you have several children. So, at one level comparison is natural. Even in a competitive society we all have to achieve something’s in life. We may want to… say get a slot in the engineering college, or medical seat, and there is unlimited number of seats for that. So, completion itself is unavoidable in life, but our focus cannot be only on the competition.

When the athletes are practicing, it’s not that different athletes are all together, trying to practice. The primary focus of the athletes is not competing against each other. Their primary focus is competing against the clock. If it is a hundred meter sprint… yesterday I did that in 15 seconds or whatever time it is, and now today I will do it in maybe half a second. So, basically if there is comparison to be done, the healthiest comparison is to do the comparison with oneself. Now, what I was and what I am. So, comparing ourselves with ourselves helps us to see on what track we are. Based on the talents that we have… some people may be phenomenally talented. And if a person, who is not talented, starts comparison himself with a person who is very talented, that person will always feel inferior. Some bowlers, they will just swing the bowl anywhere… they have a amazing array of kind of bowls that they can bowl. There are spin bowlers, they may be genius. Some other spin bowler may not have that much talent, but that bowler has discipline. That bowler has consistency. He bowls a controlled line and length. So, if now this bowler starts comparing with some other bowler who can very well in various ways, this bowler will feel inferior. But the bowler will say, ‘Ok, this is what I can do. Let me do this way.’

So, actually talent is important, but along with talent… if we want success in life, there are three things – there is talent and then there is temperament. So, talent and temperament together lead to achievement. So, now our basic level of talent can’t be changed. We can hone our talents. Hone means we can improve by practice, by training, by exposure, but basic level of talent can’t be changed. If somebody, who has some level of musical efficiency, they cannot become like Mozart or some other musical genius, but from where they are, they can improve.

So, quite often in today’s world, specially, because we live in a very interacted world. So, we can see people from this part of the world and that part of the world. So, if we watch movies, we may see the kind of luxuries people have in America, or people have in other very prosperous counties, and it has been found in the human psychology that most people get their sense of self-worth by comparing themselves with others. So, if I am having a group and if I find, ‘Ok, I am among the better people in this group.’ You know if it is financial group, then I earn more than others. Then people will feel that I am someone special. If they are in a group, where everyone is earning more than them, then they will feel insecure, they feel inferior. Now, what our society does today, our culture does is, it actually often shows us… showcases the best in everything. So, if it is looks on the movies, in the ads, we may see the people who are the best in it, who look good, very attractive, and then what happens after that? When we look at ourselves, we may feel, ‘I don’t look that good or whatever.’

You know, once I was in a college. There one boy had written on his tee shirt… it was a typical, mundane joke. Sometimes people put provocative statements. It says, ‘90% of the world’s woman is beautiful. The remaining 10% are in my college.’ So, what he means is…that actually… how does he know what 90% of the woman are, he doesn’t know, but he is getting that idea based on comparing whatever he is seeing in the movies, in the media, and then he say, ‘in real life people are not that good looking.’ So, that is very gross, but the point is that, if we start comparing ourselves or our children or whatever, with the ideal that is depicted in the media, in the movies, then we become… we actually feel inferior or we create a feeling of inferiority in others. That’s why it is important to accept people for what they are. We can’t people into… we can’t shape people according to our desires. People are what they are. They can be definitely shaped, but they cannot be, they cannot be shaped into something which they are not.

So, if the coach thinks, ‘I want to make this player into a bowler.’, but that player is primarily a batsman. That player can be a good batsman, but the coach tells him, ‘No, you bowl.’… ‘But I want to bat’…. He tries to bowl and bowl, but he can’t bowl so well, and he says, ‘You are not sincere. You work harder.’  Well, if the player is a batsman, he can improve to some extent as a bowler, but then the real strength is that as a batsman. So, it is important for a good coach… now the coaches also sometimes have requirements. In this team, we need so and so player, but they cannot change, they cannot make a tail ender bowler into an opening batsman. The tail ender bowler can also bat sometimes, but the basic point is that many times we may try to force our children into a mould that they don’t belong to, and that’s not what they are meant to be.

Krishna talks in the Bhgavat Gita about

cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ

He says that basically there are four kinds of people. The point of that is not just to divide people. It’s not that, ‘ok, is my child or a ksatriya or what?’ That may be difficult for to decide, but point is… see, in every system of classification, there are specifics and there are universals. Now, the specifics are these four divisions, but the universal principle is that different people are differently endowed, and when they are differently endowed, they need to be engaged accordingly. So, if a person is an intellectual and we tell them to do physical work, they just don’t have the body, they don’t have the mind, they will just get drained out completely. On the other hand, if somebody is suited for doing physical work and you tell them, ‘somebody has got a building and they need a lot of physical work…  tell them ‘study books for eight hours every day’ they will just not be able to do it. So, much as we may desire people to… people are referred to our children, our wards, whoever they are. To be in a particular wave, we have to recognize that they are who they are, and we can only after accepting them who they are, we can help them to improve. But if we have too much of desire, what happens with parents that, they want to project themselves into their children. I wanted to become something, but I was not able to do that. You become like that.

So, once there was a court case between a husband and a wife. The husband said, ‘I want my son to become an engineer.’ the wife said, ‘No, I want my son to become a doctor.’, and they went to the court. The judge said, ‘Why do have to have such a big fight over this? Ask your son, what does he want to become.’ They said, ‘No, we can’t ask him.’… ‘Why not?’… ‘He is not yet born.’ (laughter) So, sometimes we just project our desires on others so much that they are not even bothered fighting you know, what should they become.

So, actually everyone is an individual. So, expertise of a coach. Now, whenever they talk about a coach, the coach discovers a new talent. The coach never creates a new talent. There are coaches who are always watching… they may go to some local, state level. If there is a national coach, he may go to the local state level play, championships or cricket tournaments, and see who plays well. ‘ ‘Hey this is a good person.’, they may even go to district level, they may hear someone, but they are doing, they are spotting new talent, they can’t create new talent. Talent exists, we spot it, and we discover it.

So, parenting is more of a nature of discovering, it is not of the nature of creation. See, even when husband and wife get united, they create a child. We know that they are not really creating the person. They are giving body to a soul. So, the person is already there and a particular soul comes into a particular body, at a particular time. So, normally speaking, because the body has come from the parents, that’s why the children usually have some similarity with the parents, maybe their eyes, their nose, their complexion or whatever, but there are also cases where sometimes some children have some talents which is just not there in the parents. For example, I was talking about the musical genius, Mozart. Whether his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, nobody in that generation was as musically… anywhere as musically endowed as he was. So, what does this mean? It’s not just come by their genes. It’s not just come from their parents. So, who we are, that is actually… the body we get from our parents, and that upbringing of the parents also shapes us, but the child is a soul on its own, and sometimes the child may develop or manifest characteristics, which are quite different from the parents.

So, when we want to help our children to grow, it is… if we try to project our desires on them, ‘ this is what I want you to do, and this is what you should do.’ Sometimes the children may be able to do it, and sometimes they may not be able to do it. So, we have to see that whether our desire for them is matching with their talents. If our desires for them and talents are not matching…basically the expertise of varnasrama was what? In Varsnasram, the idea is that everybody has to face problems in life. Sometimes people say, ‘we should think positively. Don’t think of problems as problems. Think of them as challenges. Think of problems positively as challenges. That’s a good advice, but at the same time you know we can only think of certain problems as challenges, and other problems we will simply see as burdens. So for example, if somebody is from a brahminical intelligence, and then we tell them, ‘In the Bhagavtam there is a verse which says that actually give charity to a devotee, that charity is returned manifold. Can you find that verse?’ Now say, if somebody is of a vaisya mentality, we tell them to find this. He would say, ‘You know that in the Bhagavatam there are thousands of verses baba, who will find one verse, if you want to give the class, give the class without the verse, who is going to notice.’ For that person, to find a verse is like a big burden, and suppose he is brahminical person, ‘Come on, I will find the verse.’ Eagerly he is searching… they will eagerly do that. So, for them, because that is their interest, that is their talent, so they can see that problem as a challenge. On the other hand, say somebody is of a vaisya mentality, and we tell them, ‘We want to build a nice temple. So, we have to raise funds now.’ He will say, ‘Now we have something to do you know. Some challenge is there. Something exciting is there.’, but then if we tell the same thing to a person who is a brahmana. That brahmana will say, ‘After you build a temple, what are you going to do? Ultimately you are going to do kirtan, you are going to do katha, we will do it now, why you have to spend so much money, use so much effort, just chant Hare Krishna and be happy.’ So, what happened, for a person who is an intellectual building a temple may just seem like a big burden. So, the point I am making is that, what problem we will face, we will perceive as a challenge, and we problems we will perceive as a burden, that is not the same for everyone. Depending on one’s interest, depending on one’s talents, we will be able to perceive some problems as challenges, and others will remain as burdens.

Now, life requires us to be flexible. That means that sometimes in life we have to do the things which we may not like to do. Sometimes there are burdens which we have to bear, but we can bear burdens in life, but we can’t bear life as a burden. That means if throughout our life, we have to do everything which we don’t like to do. If our very job is something, which not only I don’t like, but I hate, then I just cannot survive over there. We will get psychologically damaged by that. So, certainly life requires us to make adjustments. We never do things that we like to do all the time, but if you have to do always things which you don’t like to do, then you will be miserable, and the whole principle of varnasrama was to overall engage people according to their natural tendencies. So, same way we cannot have the… it’s quite difficult to have today the varnasrama vision of society, but we can look at our children and see that what are our talents, what are their interests, and help them to grow. Everybody has to compete in today’s world, and for that everybody requires a certain level of performance in certain fields, but that should not be the sole barometer of the calibre of the child. If you can’t get marks in your exams, then you are useless. That should never be… or worst… ‘You know, their son gets so much marks, and you, why don’t you get marks?’ That is very damaging… that kind of comparison. Comparison is unavoidable, it will actually be there, but if you consciously make comparisons like that, it can be quite damaging. Of course now we have to see the effect.

Sometimes, in some cases comparison can be stimulating, because see if both of them have similar talents and then person… talent plus temperament leads to achievement. So, both of them have more or less similar talents, but then that person has a better temperament. That person has more commitment. Then, when there is comparison… ‘You know, you also work harder. It’s possible’, and that comparison might bring out the better of the person, but even then, it is better to focus not on that person as a reference point. It is focus on one’s own potential as a reference point. This is the critical thing in coaching. A coach by the very nature of coaching, has to be aware of the coach or the players faults. That… say, a batsman shuffles too much when batting. When the bowl comes, he has to steady, or this person doesn’t keep his eyes focussed or whatever, but the coach is aware of the deficiencies of the player, but if the coach tells too much about efficiency, the player would leave. ‘You are not doing this right, you are not doing this right.’, then the player will think, ‘Whatever I am doing, he is writing, maybe I shouldn’t be playing only.’, and the player gives up playing. So, for a coach, there has to be very delicate balance. They have to tell the player what they are doing wrong, but the player should not feel discouraged.

So, correcting people without discouraging them, it’s a great art, and not just a great art, it’s a vital art. When we correct others, if that correction damages their confidence, then we often end up doing a disservice to them, because they become demoralized, and when they are demoralized they just don’t do anything. They don’t do anything, being they feel like they can’t do anything. When they feel like I can’t do anything, then there is total disheartenment. So, it’s… for a person to improve, there are basically three things required. One is, the knowledge that I need to improve. Second is the process of how to improve, and the third is the will to improve. Three things, the knowledge, the process, and the will.

In general, in anything that we are doing… if you want to become better. So, if somebody is very critical… always finding faults, then what happens is – We may think that I am doing it for my good, but now actually, I want this person to be better, but when we keep finding faults without others, our desire may be to make them better, but we make them bitter instead. Bitter means that they just… they fee bitter about  us, or they feel bitter about the work itself. No, I can’t do this. Everything I start studying, everything I start doing this thing, you know, I am told, ‘This is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong, maybe I should not do this only.’ Even if they do it, actually the spirit has become wounded, that spirit has practically been killed, and then they will drag their feet, somehow try to move onwards.

So, when a coach is coaching a player, what do they do? They definitely want to improve the player, and improving to some extent, requires telling what they are doing wrong, but while doing this, it is vital that the player be reassured of their basic calibre. ‘You are a good player, and you can do this, this, this. You can do this also…’ So, when there is interaction… if we interact with others, only to find faults, ‘Hey you didn’t keep your room clean. You kept your shoes here. You didn’t do your homework. You did not do this. You did not do that.’, If that is the only basis of our interaction, then the whole relationship become bitter. Although our intension is not to make them bitter, but it becomes bitter. So, the coach has to affirm the basic work of the player. The coach has to…. actually the coach’s greatest job… the coach may think that my job is… you are not bowling properly. I will tell you how to bowl properly. That is not the coach’s only job. The coach’s job is not only to give the knowledge or the process; the coach’s job is also to give the will, to inspire the will, and the good best coach is… if you look at the relationship between coaches and  players, what the players remember the most. They may… ‘Ah, this coach told me, you are batting like this, but maybe you can turn a little square.’ Those are techniques that they remember, but what they remember the most is, when they were down how the coach encouraged them, when they were depressed, when they were facing criticism, how the coach encouraged them. So, those are the words that the players remember the most, and that’s what they are grateful for. So, same way specific points that we tell for correcting our children, for helping them become better, they are important, but more important than that is, what is the overall tenure of our relationship.

Now, if the main memory that has the child has is… ‘you know I was always made to feel that I didn’t live upto my parents expectations.’ If that is what the child remembers about the parents… they had so much expectations, I couldn’t live up to the expectations, then that is not a very healthy …26.18… for the relationship. The idea is that the child should remember that my parents love me, my parents encouraged me, my parents guided me, and they helped me to do this, do that, all that is there. In the Bhagavat Gita, we could consider that also like a coach-student 26.38. So, Arjuna at the start.. if you see in the Bhagavat Gita, Krishna doesn’t have to tell Arjuna anything about how to fight archery, how specifically to play. It’s like say, the world cup finals, and before that the coach gives a talk to the players. At that time, if the team has already come to the World Cup Finals… the team basically knows how to bat, how to bowl. At that time if the coach gives a talk before the players go out to play… at that time, the coach will not tell, ‘You know when you bowl, you bowl like this, you bowl like that..’ The coach will basically inspire them. ‘This is the most important match of your life. Billions of people will be watching. Just do your best. You will remember this next 6 hours throughtout your life, and if you do well here, then whatever else you do in your life, that won’t. This is what is going to be your greatest memory. Go out and perform.’ Basically just inspire them. So, like that if we see what Krishna does to Arjuna in the Bhagavat Gita… It’s a war, and Arjuna is fighting the biggest war of his life. The war for which he has been preparing throughout his life, and while he is preparing like this, while he is just on the verge of fighting that war, Arjuna loses his nerve, and when the Bhgavat Gita is spoken, it is just before a war is about to start. You have to understand how dramatic the setting of the Bhagavat Gita is.

Just compare, that there is World Cup Final, and there are thousands and thousands of spectators over there. In the stadium, there are millions that are watching… on television, and the toss has been done, the batsman have come… The bowler is about to be in the run up, about to start the run and bowl, and at that time, the batsman calls the non-striker, and the batman and the non-striker start talking, and they talk, and they keep talking, and they keep talking. Not just for 30 seconds, not just for one minute, but five minutes, ten minutes, one hour they keep talking, and now everybody will become restless. What is this? It’s a World Cup Final. Everybody is waiting for the match to be played. Why are they talking like this? Sometimes, some players do gamesmanship. Gamesmanship means what? If one batsman is very much in form, then what the bowler will try to do? The bowling captain may just try to slow down the game. Now slow down the game, and try to break the rhythm of the player. So, basically when we know that we are not doing so well, and the other team is doing well, then we may try to delay the playing so that the tide may change. There is a player in tennis who keeps doing this all the time. So, this always happens.

Now if we know that this batsman and the non-striker are not that kind of gamesman. They are not doing any trick to delay the process. They are very good, honest, talented , but simple players. Then, you will wonder… if they are talking and talking and talking, on the pitch while the World Cup match is about to start, there must be something really serious they are talking about, something really serious. So, actually the Bhagavat Gita setting is like that. One of the biggest wars is going to take place, the conches have been blown, everybody has taken out their bow and arrow, and are about to fight. At that time, Arjuna tells Krishna,

senayor ubhayor madhye
rathaṁ sthāpaya me ‘cyuta 

Please take my chariot in between the two armies, and then Arjuna becomes overwhelmed, ‘How can we fight?’

Kin… Govindam… tusthim bhavuwaha

Arjuna says, ‘I cannot fight Govinda’, and then they start talking, and then they kept talking. So, just by the setting of the Gita we understand that this is something extraordinary. There must be something desperately urgent, because of which they are talking like this.

Now, if the opposing team captain is a very confrontational type of person, and he goes to the umpire and complains, ‘Why are they talking so much?”, but if they opposite team captain is also a sports manly person, he will say that, ‘ they are talking like this, there must be something very serious, let them talk.’ So, Bhisma is like that sports manly opposing captain. Now, when he see Krishna and Arjuna talking, he raises his hand, ‘Tell this warriors to stop.’, and they all lower their bow and wait, and the discussion of Krishna and Arjuna goes on. So, the point I was making here is, in the Bhagavat Gita doesn’t tell Arjuna anything about how to fight the war, in terms of which astra you use, how to defeat which enemy, what phalanx to form….It doesn’t talk anything about war strategies at all. He doesn’t talk anything about the specifics of archery at all. Krishna is actually simply inspiring Arjuna. He is restoring Arjuna’s moral, He is boosting Arjuna’s determination, his willpower.

At the start of the Bhagavat Gita, Arjuna puts aside his bow discouraged.

visṛjya sa-śaraṁ cāpaṁ
śoka-saṁvigna-mānasaḥ (B.G. 1.46)

Arjuna puts aside his bow, and says, ‘I can’t fight’, he is discouraged. śoka-saṁvigna, he is overwhelmed with grief. By the end of the Bhagavat Gita, in 18.78, it is said

yatra yogeśvaraḥ kṛṣṇo
yatra pārtho dhanur-dharaḥ

Here it is described Partha… Arjuna, who is Dhanurdhara. This is not just an attribute of Arjuna. This is actually the action of Arjuna at that time, that he had  picked up his bow, and he is ready to fight. So, Arjuna’s Gandiva bow represents our determination. When we face problems in life, we lose our determination, we lose our confidence, we lose our will-power, and we…33.40. ‘ I can’t do this.’

Sometimes a student may find a subject very difficult to study, and he would say, ‘I just can’t do this. I give up on it.’

visṛjya sa-śaraṁ cāpaṁ

Arjuna says, ‘I can’t do it.’ So, what happens is at that time, Krishna’s role as a coach is not to tell Arjuna what is wrong or how to set it right. It is just primarily to inspire him, and that is what Krishna does to Arjuna.

So, in our life also we will see that, actually sometimes we may get discouraged, or those who are trying to train them, get discouraged. So, the Gita’s message is not simply to correct us, ‘You are wrong, you are wrong.’ Actually, the most important help that we can offer people, is not correcting the specific wrongs that they doing. It is actually inspiring the right spirit within them.

There was a British author, who said that, ‘I never allowed my schooling to interfere with my education.’ Normally we think that schooling is the education. We go to school to get educated, but quite often when the schooling is very standardised, then everybody has to study this subject or that subject, then the child’s own talents may not be developed. So, the child has talents, and those talents have to be separately developed.

‘I never allowed my schooling to interfere with my education.’ So, the point of schooling is not just to tell people, ‘This is to be done, that is to be done.’ This facts have to be memorized. That’s ok, but it is to bring out the inner spirit within them. So, if that spirit is awakened, then they will themselves be motivated and they will achieve wonderful things. So, we see that in the middle of the Bhagavat Gita, around the sixth chapter, Arjuna starts saying… Sometimes Arjuna starts thinking that it is very difficult.

Krishna talks about controlling the mind, and Arjuna says,

yo ’yaṁ yogas tvayā proktaḥ
sāmyena madhusūdana
etasyāhaṁ na paśyāmi
cañcalatvāt sthitiṁ sthirām

He says, ‘Krishna ! what process you have told me, it is impossible for me.

cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa
pramāthi balavad dṛḍham

tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye
vāyor iva su-duṣkaram (B.G. 6.34)

So, the mind is restless and it is turbulent. It is obstinate, and controlling it is as difficult as controlling a raging wind, which means that I can’t do it.

And now, what does Krishna tells Arjuna in response? Krishna doesn’t say, ‘You are insincere.’

asaṁśayaṁ mahā-bāho
mano durnigrahaṁ calam

abhyāsena tu kaunteya
vairāgyeṇa ca gṛhyate 

asaṁśayaṁ mahā-bāho, I am undoubtedly… mano durnigrahaṁ calam, it’s very difficult to control the mind.

So, before people will understand us, they have to feel that we have understood them. Before people will understand what we are saying, they have to feel that we have understood them.

Suppose, we go to a doctor, and after that immediately he says, ‘You have to take this, this medicine. You have to take this injection, and then we will do the surgery.’ The patient will say, ‘I didn’t tell you even one symptom. So, how are you prescribing this?’ The doctors can say that he can see the symptoms, like your skin has become discoloured, your pigments have become discoloured whatever. The doctor may be able to see it immediately also, but still the doctor has to make sure that the patient feels that I have heard him. If somebody prescribes without diagnosis, or somebody prescribes after diagnosis, but the patient feels that I have not been diagnosed only. Then the patient will not take the treatment properly. So, what Krishna does to Arjuna is, He empathises with Arjuna. He says, ‘Yes I understand, this is difficult.’, but after acknowledging the difficulties He says, ‘ It is difficult, but it is possible.’

abhyāsena tu kaunteya
vairāgyeṇa ca gṛhyate 

If you see this two points: abhyāse & vairāgye, this are not new points. Essentially Krishna has told earlier also. This abhyase means consistent practice. Vairagya means detachment. So, what Krishna has told from 6.10 to 6.32… and Arjuna has objected in 6.34. Krishna in 6.35, repeats more or less the same thing, but Krishna empathises with Arjuna, and that empathy is what works over there. Arjuna feels understood. So, something may be very easy for us, but something may be difficult for others.

Krishna starts speaking the whole Bhagavat Gita from His perspective. His perspective is the God’s perspective. If He speaks from that perspective… Now, God He is omnipotent. For Him nothing is very difficult. For Him, He can easily control the mind. Krishna may tell Arjuna, ‘You are insincere. You should just control the mind. What is the difficulty?’ Actually it is not easy. For Arjuna it is not easy, and Krishna has to see from Arjuna’s perspective. So, the coach may have been a champion bowler who has retired now, and has become a coach. Now, somebody may be a rookie bowler, who has just started playing. If the coach starts seeing from the perspective of the champion bowler, ‘You just bowl the bowl on the middle stump. Why are you straying your line like this?’ Now, that bowler who has just started practicing may not have that much control over line and length. It will come by practice. Sometimes we say, I will put that person in that place because this person has been very argumentative. Actually in relationships, more important than putting others in their place is putting ourselves in their place. Don’t put others in their place, put yourselves in their place. That means that this coach thinks, ‘Ok I have been practicing bowling from 30-40 years now. This young man has been practicing for 5 years or 10 years, and he is only practicing on such pitches, with such bowls. Put yourselves in their place. Then we will be able to give guidance which will help that person. Otherwise, we may say, ‘I did my part, I gave advice, but they didn’t take it, that is their problem.’ No, a coach means that, he not only gives advice but gives advice in a way that the player seems inspired to apply it. So, the large part of the training is to inspire the trainee to keep training.

So, training is not just about the 41.28 sound of train. Training also involves inspiring the trainee to keep training, and that is what Krishna is doing to Arjuna. Krishna is telling, ‘Yes, I understand that it is difficult, but it is possible. So, when we are trying to practice, when we are trying to do anything in our life… So, I spoke till now about talents. The specific talents that children have, and those have to be tapped and developed.

Now, suppose we have a phone, and then one day we suddenly discover that the phone has some feature that we didn’t know. May be we didn’t know that the phone had a sound recorder in it, and used to carry another sound recorder to record things, and suddenly one day we find that there is a recorder in the phone, ‘it is so wonderful’. If we have some device, and we suddenly discover that it has some feature in it which we didn’t know. Then it is a delightful discovery. Now, think about it, that someday you are rummaging through your home and suddenly you find that there is a new phone somewhere, and you didn’t know that it was there only. You wonder, ‘How did it come, I didn’t know only.’ So, if you discover something new in what we have, it so wonderful.

So, for us when we get introduced to spirituality, when we start practicing bhakti or when we hear the Bhagavat Gita’s wisdom, we understand that there is a side to me which is eternal. Now I was thinking that I was living in this world, and if some accident happens or old age happens, and I die,  then everything is over. Then if I come to know that there is a whole side of me that is eternal, that would be such an exciting and empowering discovery.

Aschayot pashyati kaschyanam

Those who can actually see the soul, they see it as amazing, ‘there is whole side to them that is eternal!’  So, as in cricket, if somebody is included in the team as a bowler, but then that team is in a crunch, all the top order has collapsed. Even the middle order has collapsed. That batsman goes in as a tail ender, and that batsman starts batting brilliantly… fours and sixes, and that number 10 batsman scores a century, and the previous line players have not even crossed double figures. The team say, ‘Wow, we didn’t know that we had such a good batsman in our team.’ So, like that when we discover some hidden ability in someone…when some circumstances bring it up, it is a great discovery.

So, we start practicing bhakti,  and if we understand the philosophy of bhakti, it’s a discovery for us, and it’s exciting, but when we try to infuse bhakti in our children it is not a discovery for them, it is something that they got with their upbringing. So, for them it is just a part of life. It is just the way they grew up by going to temples, participating in kirtans, hearing katha. But, when the children come to teenage, at that time for them materialistic life is a discovery, whereas for us at their age spiritual life was a discovery. There are lot of things they didn’t do in childhood, which children do from materialistic background. So, at that time their energy stats going into exploring what they feel they did not get. Now, we are giving them what most children are not getting, but because that is what they have got since their childhood, they feel that they didn’t get what the child gets from a materialistic life, and they want that. They want to explore the things which they did not get, and that can be a very challenging time for the parents. Especially, when somebody come to adolescence… I was in Behrain, and I spoke to the youth over there. I talked about how navigating the emotional and social turbulence of adolescence…the talk I gave on the topic… So, basically adolescence and extremely turbulent period. Now, parents may feel you know, ‘My sweet little boy, where did he disappear?’ You know this angry, arrogant youth, who has come into that place you know.’

It’s like sometimes in a movie, there is a double role where you know there are two people who look alike, but one is a hero and the other is a villain, and then the hero suddenly plays out the villain. The villain say, ‘Hey you are such a nice person, why have you become like this?’ So, like that when the children come into adolescence they seem to change completely. The mother thinks, ‘What happened to my sweet little boy or girl.’ Actually nothing has happened to them. Just they are going through some changes. So, adolescence is a time when everyone wants to explore, and at that time also it’s a testing time both for the children and the parents, because what happens is that in childhood one’s identity is inextricably associated with one’s parents. When people ask the name of the child, they also ask who their parents are. The child’s identity is associated with the parents. Now, when they grow adults… for example, if somebody meets you, they are not going to ask who your parents are. That is not the first thing that they are going to ask. They may ask who you are, what is your profession, then what do you do, where do you stay. So, adulthood we have our identity. In our childhood our identity is inextricably associated with our parents, but in adolescence it is neither here, not there. Then in adolescence the children have not evolved their own identity, at the same time don’t want to struck in their identity as the son and daughter of so and so. They want to have their own identity, and desire for their identity often makes them explore things, do things what their parents do not want them to do. So, at that time we need to be understanding. If we just restrict them. ‘No, you should not do this.’, they may not look at time but the rebellion is building up within them, and the moment they get independence… maybe when they get physical independence they  go for college, or when they get financial independence, they start earning, then all the rebellion will come out.

So, I will conclude with this point that ultimately we have to know that we can’t control others. We can only inspire them. Even Krishna Himself is God, but at the end of the Bhagavat Gita, what does He do? He tells Arjuna,

vimṛśyaitad aśeṣeṇa
yathecchasi tathā kuru

‘Deliberate deeply and then decide what you want to do.’ Krishna doesn’t Arjuna. He gives him knowledge and intelligence, and then He say, ‘Now you decide what you want to do?” So, same way ultimately our children are souls. We are a soul, they are a soul, and they have their relationship with Krishna, we our relationship with Krishna, and they are on their own journey of spiritual evolution. They will… Krishna is in their hearts also, and they also have impressions of Krishna bhakti, but how fast they will move, what path the will chose for going towards Krishna, that is something which we can’t control. So, accepting that I will not always be able to control my children… that itself requires detachment, but that also brings perspective in a relationship. So, it’s not that if my children don’t become devotees, it is my failure. In the material life also one thinks, ‘If my child doesn’t become a doctor… parents are doctor, they feel that, Oh my life is a failure because my child didn’t become a doctor. So, just like we have 49.58 in material life, and put some expectations on the children, like that we may do the same things for the children. That is not necessary. One thing about bhakti is, that whereas some child may just not have the inclination or the intelligence to be a doctor. He just can’t become, but in bhakti…in spiritual direction, in the spiritual side of life everybody is a soul, every soul has the potential to love Krishna. So, in that sense in the childhood we have given them impressions of Krishna bhakti, and those impressions are there in their hearts, and those impressions will eventually manifest.

So, in the case of spiritual coaching, actually our job is easier because as I said, we can’t create talent, we can only spot talent and develop talent. So, as far as the talent in terms of the potential for spiritual growth is their concern, everybody has that, but although everybody has that everybody may not do at the same pace towards Krishna.

So, the mood of the Bhagavat Gita is… if you see, Krishna says,

ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham

However you approach me, I reciprocate accordingly. Krishna gives so many 51.10.  If you look at the third chapter of the Bhagavat Gita, He says, ‘Always think of Me.’, that is 12.8. ‘If you can’t always think of Me, then try do sadhana bhakti and fix your mind on Me for some time. You can’t do that, then work for Me, if you can’t do that then at least work in a mood of detachment and give your fruits for some good cause.’ So, Krishna gives multiple 51.30. Whatever you are, you start from there. So, Krishna’s mood is, ‘At your pace, from your place, join the race.’ That is what, at you place. ‘If you cannot practice bhakti yoga whole heartedly right now, then Ok do it at your pace, from your place…if you are not able to practice  bhakti at a very high level, ok you are at this level, take one step forward, join the race. We are all in a race against time. We are all moving towards death. We all have finite amount of time. So, we can’t do everything that we want to do. So, Krishna says at your pace, from your place, join the race. Whatever steps you can take, you take and move onwards.

So, same way what we need to do is, with respect to our children… we give devotional impressions in their childhood, give them the opportunity to practice bhakti, say for the door to change, can be opened only from inside? The door to change.. is securated  all the such that you can put a key, but still the latch from inside, you can’t open it. So, like that the door to personal change can be opened from inside. So, ultimately that person has to be inspired, and how can we inspire others.

You can do basically three things for them. We can give knowledge, we can provide facilities, and we can set examples. What can we do for others? Give knowledge, do this and this is the result of doing this, and if you want to do this how can you do this? You provide a facility for doing it, and set an example. Set an example means give inspiration, and after that it is between them and Krishna, and they will take it up in due course. So, if you give opportunities,  they will take it up at their time they will take up enthusiastically.

In Pune, there was one devotee couple’s son. They were very dedicated devotees, but their son when he had come to his adolescence he had this exploring to do this and do that. Now the parents were mature. They gave him good counsel, but they let him do it, and one time Michael Jackson came to India. So, he wanted to go and see his show. So, he went for that show. He had to fight through traffics, spend a lot of money, and finally got to that show, and then he was in that show, and suddenly as he was hearing and watching it, suddenly it struck him that this is just noise. Even the simple kirtan in the temple was so much sweeter. What am I doing here. Now what happened… actually he did not do anything on that particular day, but all the kirtan that he had attended in his childhood… they were all as an impression there, and here he went through so much trouble to get this, and suddenly it struck him, ‘This is just noise.’

Like there is story of Bivamangal Thakur who went to Cintamani. Citamani was a society girl, and she told him, ‘if you had only worked so hard for Krishna, you would have been liberated by now.’ … ‘ It’s right.’ Nobody told him, but Krishna told him from within the heart, ‘This is just noise.’, why are you wasting your time doing this, and then after that he …55.00… and now he is not just a serious devotee, he is actually a devotee  preacher, one of the leading preachers in the younger generations. So, he explored and he came back, because the impressions were there. So, we give impressions devotionally, and provide facilities and give knowledge, and set an example, and after that leave it between them and Krishna. If we make it a ego issue… if somebody is doing something wrong, we say, ‘You are doing wrong.’, and one day you will come crawling back on your knees, and admit that you were wrong and I was right. If you make it like that, even if they realize that they are wrong, they will not come back, because what happened… it has become an ego issue. So, what we should do is, we should open door and show the way, but if they don’t come in there is no need to slam the door on their face, keep the door open. Keep the door open, when they want they will come, and that’s what Krishna does for Arjuna and that is what we need to do. Provide facilities and keep the door open. Invite them, but then let them come at their pace, and you will see that in due course of time the impressions that were given in the childhood will act. They have got the higher taste of Krishna Conscious, and that will bring them to Krishna sooner or later.


Summary :

I spoke about what cricket can teach about life. I primarily focussed on coaching. In that I spoke about how coaches cannot create talent, they can only spot and develop talent. So, a coach cannot make a bowler into a batsman, and similarly we, if we try to project our unfulfilled expectations on our children, and try to make them into something which they are not, that will cause a lot of friction and frustration. Instead if you focus on trying to understand who they are, and to help them develop, then the relationship will be much more harmonious. We talked about the mother and father fighting over whether the child should be a doctor or a scientist, whereas the child is not even born. So, like that we project our expectations too much some times. So, the Bhagavat Gita tell us that different people have different talents, different interests, and they have to be engaged accordingly. So, only when we have interest in something, then we can perceive the problem as a challenge. Otherwise, we will see the problem as a burden.

So, we all have to be burdens in life sometimes, but if life itself is a burden it will become unbearable. So, if you force people to do something which they are just not shaped to do, then they will be miserable and their inability to do it will make us miserable. So, there is talent plus temperament… that will lead to achievement. So, people… we as parents, our primary goal is to help them develop their temperament. Talent is there, and talent can be shaped, but we can’t create talent. So, we have to see children in their own terms, not in terms of our expectations and our dreams, and whatever talent they have we help them to develop. So, a coach’s job has three things – telling the student what is wrong and then give the knowledge, giving the process and giving the inspiration. If the coach simply tell, ‘this is wrong and this is the process.’, but doesn’t give inspiration, then too much negative statements may dishearten the player, and the player may stop playing.

So, similarly if our interaction with children is only… we keep telling them, don’t do this, don’t do this, then our desire may be to make them better, but actually we make them bitter. So, there is a primary platform of acceptance, of affection, of love, of encouragement, and within that there can be constructive feedback that is given, and then we discussed about how the whole purpose of the Bhagavat Gita was to elevate our children.

Now, here he lost his moral, and the Bhagavat Gita helped Arjuna to gain his moral. He set aside his gandiva bow and lifted up the gandiva. Similarly, in life there will be times when those whom we are connected with, those who 59.18, they will lose moral. So, that time we have to guide them in such a way that they feel affirmed and they feel encouraged, and how did Krishna do that? Especially when Arjuna said that the mind is very difficult to control, Krishna didn’t put Arjuna in His place, Krishn put Himself in His place. Those put others in your place, put yourself in their place. See things from their perspective, and then they will be able to… we will be able to give guidance that makes sense. So, champion bowler cannot chastise a new bowler for not having that level of control that the champion bowler has…. So, if people are to understand us,  they need to feel that we have understood them. The doctor who prescribes without hearing the patient will not get the cooperation of the patient, even if the diagnosis is right. So, if people don’t feel that we have understood their problems then even if whatever we are giving is good for them, and they can do it, still they will not do it. So, that communication has to be two-way. Emphatic understanding has to be there, and then the last point that I discussed about that… whereas children may have certain talents or may not have certain talents, and we cant create talents, but spirituality… inclination for loving Krishna, the potential for loving Krishna is there in everyone. However not everyone may take it up, because for us, our spirituality was a discovery. We were living more or less material life, and then we discovered some new features in our phone or we discovered a new phone itself, our spirituality was a discovery for us, but for our children, especially who have been brought up in devotional environment, for them material life is a discovery. Spiritual life is something that they have already got.

So, when they start exploring that it can be very distressing phase. So, in adolescence, when that whole… the person seems to change… what has changed actually, the way they think , they way they feel, they are going through new phase where they are discovering their identity, and that time they may assert their independence by going against their parents. So, at this stage we need to know that we can’t control anyone’s free will. We need to… we can give knowledge, we can provide facilities, we can set example, and then it is up to them to make to make the choice, just as Krishna leaves it to Arjuna,

Yathe ca tathat kuru

And because we have given the devotional impressions in childhood, because every soul has the potential to love Krishna, sooner or later that impressions will attract them back, and that’s like how that the devotees son realized that the Michael Jacksons concert was just noise, and then started practicing bhakti once again. So, it is between them and Krishna, and we have done our part. We shouldn’t take their not practicing bhakti as our personal feeling. We have done our part and we keep our door open for them, not that we make it a ego issue and make them feel bad about not practicing bhakti. Keep the door open, and in due course they will  march forwards, and they will also attain Krishna’s lotus feet.