Who is a fool?

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Who is a fool?

Sunday, 07 July 2024 | Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Who is a fool?

One who feels too much or one who feels too little? The neglect of the mind, the seat of intellect, breeds a state of perpetual flux and discontent. However, transcending the fickleness of the mind lies the realm of intellect, the beacon of wisdom that guides us through life’s tumultuous seas

Which is more important: the objects we desire, or the senses through which we experience them? The senses are actually more important than the objects themselves. For instance, your eyes are more valuable than a television, your ears more precious than music, and your tongue more important than delicious food. Our skin, too, is more crucial than the things we touch.

But what do fools do? They do not realize this truth and give more importance to sense objects than the senses. They know that looking at the TV for too long harms their eyesight yet they continue watching television for hours. They understand that overeating is bad for their health, yet they prioritize food over their well-being. Knowing that our senses are more important than the objects of senses is the first step.

The mind is even more important than the senses. Often, we do things without being fully present-our minds are elsewhere. In such a state, our actions lose their meaning, and we become depressed. When the mind is neglected and only the senses and their objects are cared for, depression sets in. Depression arises from prioritizing material desires over the needs of the mind. If you want certain type of food, and you don’t get that, you feel low. The fool attends to the senses over the mind.

What is the nature of the mind? It fluctuates, much like the moon’s phases. The mind is often compared to the moon, which waxes and wanes. Just as the moon is not constant, our minds too are in a constant state of flux.

Beyond the mind lies our intelligence, or intellect. If we merely follow our minds, we will experience constant ups and downs without any sense of purpose. People who are driven solely by their minds often end up feeling more miserable. Their minds may tell them to seek solitude, but even in silence, they remain unhappy. That’s why in many schools of thought it’s said: kill the mind. In the military they teach you to kill the mind. In schools and colleges the discipline is imposed on you, you are asked to kill the mind. The key to overcoming the mind is discipline, which can only be understood by the intellect. Discipline is what can truly control the mind’s erratic tendencies.

Discipline kills the tendencies of the mind. It is a quality of the intellect. Intellect, therefore, is more important than the mind. It is the intellect that guides us with wisdom, distinguishing between right and wrong. Fools follow the mind, going with their whims and fancies, like a rolling stone. Fools will start a business and close it, and start another, then close it…because of their cravings and aversions. What is the big deal

about your feelings, your mind’s likes and dislikes? One who does not care for the feelings will reach the Self.

Who cares for your feelings? It comes for a moment and passes away. Experience it, don’t run away from it.

Instead of your feelings, go by your dedication and commitment. Your life is dedicated to a cause on this planet. That brings out valour, vigour, peace, and stability from within you. Otherwise, you’ll feel good one moment and bad the next. Haven’t you experienced feeling miserable even in the best situations?

When we don’t worry about our feelings much, then we get established in the wisdom. And being established in wisdom brings you to your Self which is Peace, Joy, and Love. Self is the Power. Your emotions make you very weak and they also make you very strong. When your emotions are positive it makes you sensitive to the truth, it makes you subtle, delicate, and it takes you into a deep meditation.

I was watching the news few days back. A lady received an Oscar award and was struggling to speak, shivering with excitement. She looked absolutely miserable. She could not handle that excitement of the Oscar award. She looked absolutely miserable. It’s just a piece of metal! Holding it, she exclaimed, "This is the greatest moment in my life, what I’ve craved for!" How foolish! A few judges praised her performance. How many such people have come to this planet, died, and more will come, yet she puts her whole life behind that piece of metal? Someone tells you, "You are good." Don’t you already know that? You wanted some judge to give you this award. Such idiocy! Anyone with a little intelligence would see how foolish it is to seek validation from others. You don’t need to break down over that little piece of metal. Do you see what I’m saying? Gracefully accept it. Suppose you are given the Oscar, what will you do? If you shiver there, you better not say you have done Art of Living course!

The mind, if left unchecked, can lead to misery and confusion. People often prioritize their feelings over their intellect, constantly seeking validation and approval from others. They become slaves to their emotions, constantly seeking external validation.

We must be willing to commit ourselves fully to a cause, regardless of the challenges we may face. This commitment is what separates the brave from the timid, the lions from the chickens. Life’s challenges are meant to be embraced with courage and determination. Knowledge, enlightenment is only for brave people, not for people who chicken out and run away here and there.

So we must learn to prioritize our intellect over our emotions, our commitment over our desires. By doing so, we can lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life, free from the ups and downs of the mind. Life is a journey, and it is up to us to navigate it with wisdom and courage.

(The writer is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Spiritual Guru)

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