"This SECRET Was Kept By Monks" - How To Achieve SELF MASTERY | Gauranga Das & Jay Shetty | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled ""This SECRET Was Kept By Monks" - How To Achieve SELF MASTERY | Gauranga Das & Jay Shetty".


Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Intro (00:00)

problems in life may not diminish, but our consciousness can rise much above those so-called problems, so that the entire perspective changes. - I wanna start with talking to you about what people, I've mentioned about you before, what I've spoken about you, but people may not have as a perception of monks. I think people often think of monks as either we know nothing about them, or we think maybe they're lazy and they don't wanna do any work, or we think maybe they're uneducated, and they didn't have another path, or maybe we think they were very religious growing up, but when I met you, what I got fascinated by is that you didn't really fit into any of those categories, you were extremely educated, you are extremely educated, you come from a spiritual background, but it's not that you were a normal person at college growing up, I just wanna hear a bit about how you decided that this path was right for you, because when I heard what you'd done, I was so impressed that someone of your caliber who had everything that me and my friends were seeking, were able to give it up so easily for this life. So what brought you to this stage? Tell me about what you wanted to become growing up, and then why you became this. - Well, thanks, Jeff, for asking that question. Yes, it's true that as I was in IIT, I did not have this idea of becoming a monk, but I came across a few incidents and those were some of the turning points in my life. One of my friends who was pretty well to do in terms of education and studies, he once attempted a suicide and that really shook me up. And then for the first time I started understanding that life is much more than just achievements, but there is also a feeling of experience which each one of us is processing from within. So we are improving technology, we are improving systems, but what about the human experience, which is happening behind those systems and behind those machines? On the other hand, I also found that in my class, there were some other students who had failed in quite a few subjects, but they were not at all affected and they were going around the campus as if nothing has happened. So I was pretty bewildered because I thought, those were the ones who should be in anxiety. And when I asked them, they would respond by saying that our philosophy in life is simple, to enter the colleges, our job, to take us out of the colleges, colleges job. So why should we be worried? So I realized that beyond all the various external's, technologies, systems, that's the talk about GDP and everything, there is something which is not described in great detail in any of our textbooks. And that is the perceptions and the experiences which each one of us have as a soul. And that really made me to seek answers in books which are beyond the regular ones. And then I came across the Bhagavad Gita and then I started getting answers to one of the most important principles in life. Circumstances are beyond our control. And we have limited control over our circumstances, but we have unlimited control over our consciousness. And therefore, I thought that was pretty deep. When an airplane flies, it takes off. And as soon as it takes off, you see the same buildings look pretty insignificant. So we may not have control over the size of the buildings, but we have control over how high we can go. And similarly, problems in life may not diminish, but our consciousness can rise much above those so-called problems so that the entire perspective changes. So when I read the Gita, I realized that one of the core principles to remain enthusiastic, positive, full of enthusiasm and energy in your whole life is the flexibility and the agility with which you can choose different lenses at any particular given moment. Because sometimes a lens can make an object look very tiny and another lens can make the same object look very huge and appear to be extremely close to your eyes. And there are other lenses which do not magnify at all. So therefore, depending on the situation and circumstance, how can we choose those lenses is something which is described in great detail in the ancient Vedic wisdom. And I got drawn to that, I started reading it. And I didn't realize that my journey will take me one day to London so that our paths cross. - Yeah, that's so beautifully explained. And thank you for sharing that because I think so many people who will be listening and watching today, so many of them may have that experience at college too, that people are facing so much stress and anxiety, people are trying to become something that they don't want to be, but maybe their parents want them to be here or maybe their friends or their peers think that that is what success is in society. How did you, when you decided to become a monk, I'm guessing that not everyone around you was celebrating. Like it may have been a tough choice or a tough decision. How were you able to make this tough step? Because even if people are not becoming monks, everyone sometimes has to make choices in life where people around you may not agree. And how were you able to do that? And I know you do that now as well in your work. So many times you're having to make tough decisions where everyone may not agree with you.

Insights From Bhagavad Gita And Discussions On Philosophy, Freedom, And Motivation

How to make a tough decision (06:07)

How did you do that in the first instance of becoming a monk? - Well, to be honest, I was also not very sure whether I would be able to sustain this path because practically nobody in my family has ever done it before. And I was thinking, how will society respond to this? And whether I'm making the right decision. And I was thinking, how should I process this moving forward? But then an incident happened which completely changed my perspective. I was on the road travelling with one other senior monk. He was driving me. And we were on the highway. And this was November of 1993. And then as we were moving on the highway, our vehicle hit against another truck. And there was an accident on the highway. And our car got badly smashed. Luckily, in spite of being injured quite heavily, I survived. It was a very transformative moment for me because I saw my whole body filled with blood and the doctor spent practically five to six hours in the operation theater taking out the glass pieces which had entered into my body. And then as I was recovering, I started contemplating that well, as far as my life is concerned, even an inch here or there would have been the end of my life. And I'm only 22. And I could as well be dead by now. But looks like I've been given another chance. So whether someone in society or anyone else connected, whatever may be their feelings or background, whatever their responses may be, today I am alive and I've been given a second chance. Let me use this second chance to do something great to serve others. And therefore, I decided that I will use this opportunity every breath which has been given to me back as a second chance, as an opportunity to share and spread this message which has benefited me so much. So there are moments like this where you are practically hopeless and then a small window of hope opens up and then you see everything from a different perspective. So for me, it was that moment which gave me that conviction to sustain this determination. I love that. I think we all have such similar moments in our life. Whether they're near death experiences like yours may be not as extreme but I think everyone who's listening and watching right now can relate to the fact that we all get these choices in life. Sometimes it's a second chance, sometimes it's an opening or an opportunity and we at that point have a choice to make. Whether we want to carry on living unconsciously and without thought or without purpose or whether we want to live with deeper meaning and purpose like you chose. And I mean you've really lived up to that because I remember when I met you and even now, like today we're sitting in an eco village that of course there's been a community behind it but you've led the development of there's the incredible food distribution work that you've definitely been involved in spearheading, the incredible work that's happening with the community and my mind. You've been a part of affecting thousands and thousands and millions of lives and I think you've definitely lived up to that incredible commitment that you've taken. Thank you so much. It's really special actually because I think that it's one thing to say those things that actually authentically live up to and I can see you're always challenging yourself to the next level and I guess that's what I love about our path of being a monk is that and I was speaking about this with brother-in-law me too that we have self and service. So you have your own personal meditation, you have your own personal prayer and your sadna and your practices and then you're going and extending yourself for the world. And I feel like you've found a way of using all your talents in service of humanity. So it's not that you became a monk and thought okay now I need to let go of this. You've actually believed that the gifts that you've been given or the talents you've been given can actually be used to help serve the world which I think is a really important thing. Could you share a bit on that? Sure. And why that's important. That's a beautiful question. The word monk in the Christian tradition it comes from the root word in Latin mon chos which basically means solitude. And typically monks would contemplate in solitude but there are several monks who would also engage in community work. In the Buddhist tradition the monks are known as bhikhu or bhikhu. It has two meanings. One is beggar. Second is bhayam ikhati ithi bhikhu which means one who's able to see and perceive danger. And that's a very interesting definition because monks were those who would lead their life understanding the knowledge and protect themselves and people from the danger of ignorance. In the Hindu tradition monks are known as sannyasis. Sannyasi word consists of three parts, some plus knee plus asa. So some means totally knee means to go down and asa means to approve. So sannyasi basically means one who's dedicating himself to completely uproot, go down and uproot all the negativities and negative desires from within. He does that for himself and helps others also in their journey. Another word in Sanskrit for monk is vairagi. And that also comes from a very beautiful tapestry of syllables. V and raga. So V means without and raga means attachment. Without attachment. And another meaning is V plus ranj plus bhan which means without color.

4 teachings in Bhagavad Gita (13:21)

So that is a very interesting definition which very much correlates to the question you are asking. Which means that a sannyasi or a vairagi or a renunciant or a monk is one who can be fully engaged in productive activities which are of benefit to society but remains uncolored by any of that. He remains unaffected. So that is one of the interesting perspectives of vairagi or renunciation. Therefore one of the core principles in the renounced order is absorption. Absorption I would divide in two important elements. One is the intention and second is the action. Intention towards selfless service. Intention towards tireless service and intention towards pleasing selfless. So the two elements are intention and action. Monghood is all about how we can selflessly please others and how we can tirelessly serve others. So the combination of this intention of selfless pleasing and tireless serving it combines into giving an experience of total absorption. And that absorption is something which then expands in the form of compassion and we include everyone else within that expanding circle of compassion and drown the whole world in peace and harmony. Now you can see why it is amazing. I've never heard that before. I've never heard the breakdown of the words of the definition of monk in different traditions. I think that's incredible to hear that. And I think that's what I find so special about this path is that it allows the ability to serve as well, not just to live in solitude. And that's why my next question is I've written my book called Think Like A Monk. And the reason why I called it that is because I believe that you don't have to necessarily live like a monk to think like one.

What is important to rise above situations (15:56)

That it is a beautiful opportunity if you can. But we both know that for 99.9% of the world it's not going to be something that people are going to do. But I really believe that the mindset that a monk is encouraged to cultivate of service, of self growth, of removing unwanted negative tendencies and implications. These are things that anyone can do. And in one sense we all must do to live a peaceful and purposeful life. So I'd love to hear from you what you think thinking like a monk in your opinion is relevant for the modern people and modern world. And for people like me now who also live in the city, have normal jobs and married. How does thinking like a monk actually help that person? Bhagavad Gita describes four principles which are extremely important for us to follow.

philosophy of likes and dislikes (16:58)

One of the greatest challenges in remaining grounded in life is our inability to tolerate provoking situations. Whether one is a monk or one is in household life or in a corporate life, any kind of a relationship or doing any kind of activity or occupation, you are constantly being provoked. And therefore, Gita first talks about what is known as "wega sahishnuta" which means we have to tolerate our urges. So I would say tolerating our urge to consume. The second principle is "dvanvah sahishnuta". One refers to duality. We have to tolerate various dualities which come in our life and remain humble and aware of the fact that we cannot control our situations. So therefore, we have to tolerate the urge to control. Third is "paramatasahishnuta". We are so convinced about our opinions and our standpoint and our viewpoint that we want others also to buy into that. So many arguments, differences of opinion happen, relationships break down because we have a strong urge to convince others. So we have to tolerate that urge to convince others in certain situations. And the fourth is the urge to compete. And that is known as "paro karshasahishnuta". Certain people will do much better than us in so many different ways. We should feel happy when we see that and remember that we have a role to play and we should resist the temptation and the urge to compete. So Gita focuses on how to elevate one's consciousness about these urges, to control, to convince, to compete and then we are actually able to rise above all of these and realize that yes, I have a role to play to serve each and everyone in society to the best of my ability. And therefore, people who are engaged in society are in anxiety because many times they are trying to compare with others. And this comparison is a huge cancer of the mind. Today, every single day in India, 371 people commit suicide. Every day. Every day. Every single day. 300 million people across the world are experiencing mental health disorders. Every single day, 18 billion cigarettes are being smoked. 6.75 trillion cigarettes are smoked every year. 1 billion people across the world experiencing addiction to cigarette smoking and unable to give up. So practically each one of us have our internal challenges and therefore Gita focuses on first managing oneself and then based on how we manage ourselves, we can manage others. And in my own experience, I have found that when people, irrespective of whatever occupation and profession they may be, when they cannot control these urges, to consume, to control, to convince, to compete, then invariably they land up in so many difficulties, so many challenges. Social issues may not be described, emotional issues may not be described, personal issues may not be described in books of technology and management.

Discussions on Family & Morderm Culture (21:04)

But all of those issues have a major role to play in our overall experience as individuals and in our contribution to society. For example, the word family may not pop up anywhere in your management books or in your technology books. But today, because of a lack of emphasis on family values and because of inability for people to control their urges, so many differences of opinion are cropping up. A country like Luxembourg has a divorce rate of 87%. Spain has a divorce rate of 65%. France has a divorce rate of 55%, Russia 51%. America has a divorce rate of 46%. The global divorce rate is 44%. And therefore, it's very important for us to realize that there may not be much focus on instilling values in individuals and institutions as families. But if you do not focus and emphasize and invest in something, in due course of time, you lose it. And therefore, it was not empty rhetoric when people would say a family which prays together, stays together. And therefore, it's very important for us to introspect which way we are going as a society. How much are all these values crucial and critical for self-conservation and conserving relationships in society, conserving mental health and sanity in society? Because sometimes, we may just think that these are not irrelevant because you cannot connect a dollar value to these values. Absolutely. Yeah, that's a fantastic answer because I think that's the key thing that's missing, that we live in a world that believes if you actually chase the satisfaction of your urges, then that is freedom. That real success is actually following your urges. Whatever urge you have, if you want to compete with someone, compete, if you want to compare with someone, compare, if you want to say anything about someone, you can say it. And we see that as freedom, but actually what you're suggesting and what the text is suggesting is that we actually get real freedom when we don't need to do those things and we don't feel the need to do those things. So on that point, let's extrapolate now because I think that's a really powerful point. What is the beginning or the step-by-step process of starting to create self-control because I think we see self-control as such a negative thing because it's seen as restrictive or it's seen as like almost being imprisoned, but actually we're imprisoned by our desires. But that's still a, it's like a massive paradigm shift for a lot of individuals today and even for myself when I first met you and I first came to this. So explain why actually freedom comes from controlling your urges.

Control urges to gain freedom (24:52)

The Gita says, "Raga dweish vimokta ist u vishyan indreesh charan, atma vashir vedayatma prasadam adhigachati." This is a beautiful verse where Krishna says that freedom from all of our base desires comes when we are able to control our mind and follow a strict discipline of applying ourselves to follow a certain regimen. The word used is regulative principles of freedom. It may sound contradictory because self-control or discipline seems to have a connotation of being bound as a prisoner. But I'll give two examples. One, if someone is flying a kite, the question is, is the rope binding the movement of the kite or the rope becomes an instrument for helping the kite fly higher? So if someone says, "Why is the kite bound? Let us cut the rope." So the kite may fly for some time, but then again it will crash. So the rope is binding the kite, but the rope should not be seen as limiting the movement of the kite, but facilitating the upliftment of the kite. Similarly, if you are caught in a traffic jam, you cannot move.

How discipline enables to experience freedom (26:23)

And sometimes when the signals don't work or if the policeman is not there inside, then there may be a huge traffic jam. But actually the traffic laws and the signals facilitate proper movement of the vehicles. So it is not to be seen as limiting, but facilitating. Therefore, when we look at discipline, discipline is something which enables us to experience greater freedom. And that is what the Bhagavad Gita is talking about, the art of self-control, the art of mind-control. And by practicing this, each one of us will actually experience an enhancement of our consciousness. And I think we have all experienced that. I think everyone knows that when you feel like you are letting loose in the beginning, it feels good in the beginning, but then after a bit of time, it starts to feel really painful. Yeah, like for example, when the British were in India, they saw that at one point of time, maybe a century ago, the cobra population in Delhi was increasing. So they made a ruling in order to control the cobra population. If anyone gets a dead cobra and submits to the government office, they will get a financial reward. And they thought by announcing this, people would go out, get inspired to kill cobras, and the cobra population would be controlled. But then quite a few people got inspired to rare cobra farms. And they started raring cobra snakes in farms around Delhi. The cobra population started increasing. When the government realized that they scrapped the skin, the guys who were raring the cobras became angry, released the cobras in the city. No way. And therefore this is known as the cobra effect. Oh, wow. No way. Where the proposed solution of a problem is worse than the original problem. And therefore, people are in distress, they are depressed, they are unhappy, and they decide, let me consume alcohol, let me take drugs, let me do this, let me do that. So various momentary titulations, which they provide to their mind and their senses, may sometimes increase and enhance the problem, then solve it. Therefore the submission is try to understand how the system is designed, understand how these issues can be resolved in the best possible way within the design. And if there is a computer, it has a hard disk. If the hard disk gets a virus, then the computer just crashes. However beautiful the screen may look, but the hard disk is corrupted. Similarly, people invest a lot of time and energy building their body, building their physique, keeping themselves physically fit. But they fail to realize that a very important component of our system is the mind. And mind is like the hard disk for this computer like body. And if sufficient investment is not made to keep the mind fit, then in due course of time, one will be overwhelmed with negativities. And therefore this kind of mental fitness is what is known as meditation. So meditation is the gym where you actually perform various kinds of exercises to keep the mind fit. Well after all these years of meditating for so many hours per day and leading so many other meditation workshops yourself, what would you say for you has been the greatest gift that meditation has given you personally? Everybody is looking for love. Many people think love is all about pleasure. But in response to your question on meditation, the greatest gift which meditation has bestowed upon me is a proper understanding of what is love. And I realized that love is about pain and not pleasure. In the Chaitanya Chautamur there is a beautiful description which defines love. "Pragada, premer ai, sobhava achar, nijudukkabignadir and no kore bichar." In this it is described that in every relationship there could be various problems. Scarcity, impediment, discomfort, unhappiness, change, uncertainty, lack of reciprocation and separation. All of these may happen in a relationship but if the relationship continues, then that is defined as love. And as I described before, how to please selflessly the object of your love and how to serve tirelessly. And so in my experience, love is something which is extremely rare, extremely valuable and extremely difficult to process unless we are willing to put ourselves through a system of purification. And then when we purify ourselves, then lust which is like iron transforms into love which is like gold. So in my experience for several years, meditation has really given me an entrance into this arena of a totally new paradigm of what love is, which scriptures describe as devotional service. Service without any selfish considerations. I share this example that when we began our Govindas restaurant in our Chokarti temple many years ago, we decided that we will have pizza and it was Radhanaswamy's idea to have pizza. This was 2004 and we were not really experienced in making pizzas and you know some of us used to make our own version of pizza which was you know take a couple of loaves of bread and put some tomato ketchup and have some fried vegetables and it was what we would call as pizza and we thought that is it.

Perverted reflections of pizza (33:56)

So when Mahara said we should have pizza, I said I mentioned to him, I don't think this is an item which we can sell in a restaurant and looked at me and said which pizza are you referring to, the one which you guys feed me, I said that's what pizza we know and he looked at me and said that which you feed me is not pizza, it's a perverted reflection of pizza and then we had someone come from New York and he gave us the entire recipe of an authentic Italian New York pizza and for the first time in life I saw Artichoke hearts and I didn't know any of these and I was initiated into appreciating what a pizza is so the word pizza was being used by us but the experience was something else. The word pizza remained the same but we were ascribing or superimposing the word pizza on some other product which was giving a different experience. The whole world is speaking about love. Songs are being sung by movie actors and actresses and singers and rock stars about love. Novels are being sold in the millions which are centered around the theme of love. But all of these descriptions are referring to an experience of selfish personal pleasure whereas the description as given in the Vedic scriptures is love means service without selfish consideration so this has been the greatest revelation as far as meditation is concerned for me in my own life and my journey with Radhanaswami and my other monks. Amazing. People often question how can anything be truly selfless if you know that it's good for you and I want to hear your perspective on that because I'm sure people have said to you how can anything be selfless because if I know that it's good for me to do service and I'm serving then it's not selfless so how do you respond to that? The soul by nature is designed to serve so sugar by nature is sweet and water by nature is liquid. So when we perform an activity and function which is as per nature and as how it has been designed one experiences harmony and that harmony produces the greatest efficiency. And so the soul by nature is designed to serve when we engage in serving and pleasing that effect of serving and pleasing it actually produces the greatest joy from within.

Four levels of motivation (37:14)

And therefore there are four levels of motivation and that's one has kept me going in my thirty years as a monk. The lowest level is motivation by desire. The lowest level is motivation by fear. The next is motivation by desire. Above that is motivation by the sense of duty. And the highest is to be motivated by the sense of love. So if you analyze all these four levels you will see actions motivated by fear and desire is simply a transaction. Actions motivated by duty may result in transparency. But it is only actions inspired by love which takes us to trans. And therefore we have to decide we want to lead a life based on transaction or we want to lead a life based on trans. And so again referring to the Chaitanicha Tamerat I quote. "Bahu Parishramachandana Ramuna Anilah Anand Baddhila Mone Dukhana Ghanila" Madhavendra Puri a great saint. He indulged in very hard work to get Madhavendra Puri a great saint. And he actually got a whole load of sandalwood to please his worshipable Lord Gopal. And in that process he experienced so many impediments and difficulties. But this verse reveals that Anand Baddhila Mone Dukhana Ghanila, his bliss increased. And he did not consider that in any way shape or form to be creating any distress for him. And a very important word is used Dukhana Ghanila. Ghanila basically means count. To keep an account. When we keep an account it is a business transaction. When we are serious about something, when we mean business we keep an account. If I lend money to someone and if I am running a business so I keep an account of how much I have earned how much I have spent. If someone is intent upon losing weight they count their calories. So whenever there is seriousness and business like dealing the principle of keeping account comes. Dukhana Ghanila means is our relationship a business like transaction. Where I keep account of how much I have done for you and how much distress I have gone through and how many difficulties I have gone through in this relationship. If I keep account of that then it is a business like relationship. When a child is screaming in the middle of the night the mother spontaneously gets up to pacify the child. The mother never tells other people in the family, "I am not on night shift or I do not have overtime. How much will you pay?" Because she is just concerned out of a principle of selfless service to the child. And therefore in a relationship inspired by love one is in trance because we do not keep account of what difficulties we have to go through in that relationship. Because we are simply concerned with pleasing the other person. And I believe that when I have led my life in this particular capacity as a manga. It has been keeping in mind a higher principle. A soldier fights to protect others home and hurt among fights to protect others' hopes. And therefore when people go to a pharmacy shop they know they will get medicine. When they go to a bookstore they know they will get a book. When they come to a spiritual place where such spiritual discussions are going on why are they coming? Why are they listening to you? Why are they connecting with anything from any of our traditions? Because they are coming to receive hope. And therefore people may think, "Well, this is my greatest asset. Position is my greatest asset. Good looks are my greatest asset. Political influence is my greatest asset. Social acceptance is my greatest asset. But all of these are assets which can be finished and destroyed at any moment. As per Bhagavad Gita the greatest asset is our hope. If someone has hope, even if he loses all the other things he can still in due course of time do his best. And therefore these kind of discussions evoke growth of the most important asset which each one of us have. The power and the ability to hope.

Deep and meaningful conversation (43:45)

Absolutely. That's an amazing perspective in looking in that way. I'm going to shift the conversation slowly. So hopefully this will be fun for all of you. I wanted to ask, go on with us some questions about our relationship because he's known me since I was 18 years old. I'm 32 now so it's been a fair amount of time. And we've spent a lot of quality time to get in that time. So I wanted to ask you a few questions. And my first question was, and I want you to be honest. You have to be honest, Noah. You don't have to sugarcoat. What was the first thing you thought of me when we first met around that time? Yeah, I was in London and Jay walks in with one more friend. And then I look at him and I think, oh this guy looks like Tom Cruise. And then, you know, he starts asking, you know, all kinds of questions. And I think maybe he's in distress because his girlfriend has ditched him. So honestly, you know, I didn't think that you were so serious about wisdom and wanting to know more. At least it didn't appear at that time. So those were my first impressions. I hope I'm not being offensive. No, it's true. It's true. I wasn't spiritually inclined as a young kid. And even in my teens, I was not so spiritually inclined. I think that's why I met at the beginning, meeting you with a real turning point for me because even though I had some friends that were into spirituality, my family, of course, my father and everything.

She couldn't understand all truths were spiritual (45:23)

I didn't really see my place. I couldn't really understand how someone like me could be spiritual. And I think that's why I'm so proactive in wanting to share it with people in the way I do is because I want to share wisdom in a way that people like me, who didn't really think they were spiritual or could access it, can actually find their part. So I think you're right. I would agree with that. Okay, good. And then did you ever think that I would become a mom? Because I used to tell you, probably every time we met between 18 to 22 that I wanted to be right. Whenever I would hear that, I would think this guy has gone nuts. And I was worried because definitely it was so sincere and your intention to become a monk was coming from somewhere really deep. But because I had spent already so many years by that time as a monk, I knew that life was pretty rough in terms of a relentless need for being disciplined. And it's going to be extremely difficult and tough. And you came across to me as someone so fragile and someone who's like a mama's boy that I would always think that, "Oh man, how will this guy tolerate all the hardships as a monk?"

I turned his emotional sensitivity around (46:46)

And I was trying to discourage you for sure for all those years. But what happened later was, of course, your call. So this is good. I want you all to listen to this because I want you to realize how much growth someone has to make. I think sometimes when I'm speaking now or you hear me, a lot of the time people feel that, "Oh, you've always been this way." Or you've always had it figured out. And the answer is, we don't. No one hasn't figured out. And we're all figuring out all the time and emotionally we change. Well, I was definitely, I think, when I first met you, I don't think I was thick-skinned. I don't think that I was resilient. I think that I was fragile emotionally. I think I was very sensitive. All of these things were, and I was 18 years old, so could I really put myself under pressure to be more? Maybe not because you're only 18 years old. But now when I'm back and I think about how I've been able to grow and change, it's fun to see it from that perspective. It's fun to look in the mirror with someone that has known you for a while and realize how far you've come. And for you to see how far anyone can come as well, including yourself. Okay, that's good. And then when I became a monk, then we traveled together as well. What did you think during that time? What was your thoughts? Were they changing? Did I impress you? Did I prove you wrong? Or did that wait until you go from there? I must be very honest that I never imagined that you'll come to where you are today, because at that point of time, I remember so many times you would break down and cry. And I was wondering how will this guy survive his years as a monk. I still cry. If someone had told me that one day this boy is going to become a social media celebrity, I would have said, "Good luck." But I definitely was impressed, number one, with your sincerity in wanting to know and learn. So I think that was a very, very important value system, an attitude which you had even then, an eagerness to know and learn, which was so sincere that I remember that in all our travels, one thing which struck me was how precisely you would keep notes. I don't know if you still have those notes, but...

Personal Stories And Experiences

My good handwriting is JAY's handwriting (49:25)

I still have them from then. But what struck me more was you have one of the neatest and the most beautiful hand-writings. And I don't know whether those who are following you really have seen your handwriting, but it's mind-boggling. And I still remember that, although I have not seen it for a long time, but the way you would capture the notes was very inspiring because it was very clear that you were wanting to understand very systematically all of that wisdom. And it has been an amazing experience to see how all of that unfolded in due course of time. Another thing I would like to share is that in our travels, you would also see a very deep urge within you to share this wisdom. And that was pretty obvious because, you know, I was a speaker and so many people would come around and I would not have time to speak to all of them, but you would immediately start sharing wisdom with others just after the event. And that irresistible desire to share the knowledge and wisdom and help others something which I observed even then. And also, that desire was so strong that you would see best practices happening in different parts of the world and especially at his conchoparty. And you immediately would try to do something in London. And one example of that was how you really try to help the youth in London by creating a beautiful house for the youth to stay right around the college campus where they could experience a proper ecosystem for spiritual advancement.

Why JAY created a London home for spiritual youth (51:16)

And I think it was totally your initiative which was born of your experience of seeing something like that in India. And I was pretty impressed. But in spite of, you know, your emotional side, I could always also see very strong resilience and the ability to withstand opposition, challenges, difficulties and unwillingness to take no for an answer. And, you know, some examples of that was like some of the initiatives which you took at that particular point of time with respect to how to connect with the youth. And there were a lot of people who had other ideas but you were convinced of certain ideas and you really felt it was the best thing to do and you were willing to put your weight behind that. And that really impressed me because I thought, "Oh, here is someone who comes across as very emotional and fragile but he still has the guts to lead with a certain kind of determination which does not come across immediately. So, you know, I did notice that and I remember when we were in Florida and we were about to catch a flight and, you know, two airlines, attendant girls came up and they looked at you and said, "Hey, you look so happy and cute." And I remember that and, you know, I looked at you and I looked at them and I was thinking, "Why is this guy among? Maybe he'll be more effective if he's out there amongst the people and as part of society." And at that point of time, there was practically no clue on what your future is going to be. But I could see that you had a tremendous ability to connect with people and reach out to people in ways which were pretty deep and something which not everybody could do. So, these are some of my memories of those times seeing, you know, the soft side of your personality but at the same time you're still like determination which seemed to be couched under that external cover of emotional softness.

An emotionally cute outgoing boy with deep resilience (53:32)

But I do believe that without having that kind of dedication and determination, you could not have spent, you know, those three years as a monk with many of us. And I remember, you know, putting you through the grind in the kitchen, you know, in front of blazing fire. We would be cooking and he would be assisting and even while the construction of this eco village was happening, you were out there in the sun helping with bringing various materials and assisting. But all through all of these, the common thread which I saw was you had an enthusiasm and a zeal to serve. And that I feel is a very, very important character element which has really brought you to where you are. And I'm so glad that, you know, millions of people who are connecting to you are extremely fortunate to have a guide who is connected with the authentic wisdom.


Outro (54:44)

Thank you so much for watching that video. If you enjoyed it, here's another one I think you'll love. You have to have experienced love in order to create love and then you bring into action. It starts with empathy which is feeling what others are feeling, compassion which is the desire to alleviate suffering. And if you have that, then that is the basis of all love. But then love has to move into action as well.

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