There is a practice: sit comfortably in a quiet place, think of all the troubles you had in the material-oriented existence and the complicated life and the influence by the affluence. Think, contemplate well, and you will understand you were not happy for even a moment with that kind of life. The more you contemplate on that, the more you become simple, the more you learn to enjoy the simple life. If you don’t want to do that, plunge into complicated life. Make your life as complicated as possible. Let it burn you out well. Get hot, really hot until it makes you drop the pot. Yes. That’s the yogic practice. Think well. Understand that all this complicated life, material-oriented existence, physical existence, it’s all going to be ending in pain.

As Patanjali says “duhkham eva sarvaam vivekinaha.” If you use your discrimination, discriminate everything. Don’t accept it at face value. Analyze the result, pros and cons. If you discriminate that way, none of this outside world, nothing in this world, nothing external, is going to make you happy, make you comfortable. When you realize that, your life becomes simple. You will no more want to get into that complicated life. Think of anything, take anything: your food, your dress, your life, your home, your friends. Nobody, nothing is going to make you always happy. Then you learn to detach yourself from all those things. Attachment doesn’t mean you run away from or discard them.

When I say “the whole world is pain filled,” for how long? You may question then. “If the world is going to be that painful, why should God have created the world? He has created me and the world too. Did He want me to constantly go through pain?” No.  He has created the world for you to go through the obstructions, face them, learn how to overcome. Then ponder, “Is the world going to bother me? The problems I have, did the world give them to me?” When you really ponder over that, you will know, “No, the world is innocent. There’s nothing wrong with the world. It all happened because of my expectations. I created a bad world. The world didn’t give me any pain.” When you realize that, you detach yourself from it. Then the world becomes a heaven for you. You enjoy the same world.

Patanjali says, “Duhkham eva sarvaam vivekanaha. For the discriminating person everything is painful.” You should know, “The world is not there to give me pain. I caused my pain. I closed my eyes and went and knocked into the wall and I bumped my head. The wall was not interested in giving me a bump. It’s my wrong connection with it.” When you realize that, you know how to deal with the world. You know how to enjoy the world.

In schools and colleges we have a game called an obstacle race. Do you all know that? Obstacle race, like a hurdle race. Why do they put all the hurdles? Why do they put up obstacles and ask you to go through all that? Ultimately, what do you gain at the other end? You are given a gold medal. Suppose you avoid them and go around and ask for the gold medal. You say, “I have come first. Give me the medal.” What would they say? “No, you have to go through it.” “Why should I go through it? Why do you want me to do that?” That’s where you prove your intelligence, your capabilities. You have to prove them. That’s why God created this obstacle race. Everything is an obstacle in this world. Nothing is going to make you happy, but you have to go through it to learn that lesson. You cannot avoid it.

You know my analogy: bajia, the fritters. The fritters are called bajia in India. How do you make bajia?  There is a dough and there are cut pieces of vegetables.  You dip the vegetable in the dough and put it in the hot oil. What happens the minute you drop them in the hot oil? They try to jump out. It makes such a noise: “Why are you putting me into this hell? I don’t want to be inside! I want to get out of here!” It creates a lot of bubbles. And what does the mama do? “Honey, you can’t jump out. Stay in.” So, she takes a holey ladle. You know the ladle, all holey. Very “holy.” Keeps it under the hot oil. How merciless it is. This guy doesn’t want to be in it, he wants to jump out, and she keeps him in, underneath. For how long? Until all the moisture goes away. All the moisture is freed. It gets fried well. When it gets fried well it changes color also. When you drop the bajia  in the beginning it’s white. Once it’s roasted, fried well, the color changes into sannyas color. Yes. See the roasted people there. Sannyasis.

And then what happens? It loves to be in the hot oil. It just floats around. Still the same hot oil but the fritter doesn’t make any noise anymore; it doesn’t want to jump out. It just enjoys the oil, floats around. What happened? Why didn’t it enjoy it in the beginning? Because it had the moisture, the attachment. When all the moisture is gone, the attachment is released. You are totally detached. When you are totally detached, the hot oil no longer feels hot to you. You enjoy it. But at that point the good Mother who kept you under the hot oil says, “Now you get out. Make room for others. I still have to fry other people, you get out, go.” All these people got out of that wok. That is what. The world is trying to fry you and you find it hard. Why? Because you have the moisture. When all the moisture is gone, you are happy in the same world. You don’t blame anybody; you don’t praise anybody; you accept everything. There’s no good guy for you; there’s no bad guy for you. Everything is okay. “I am okay, you are okay. You be as you are. I enjoy you.”  You don’t face loss, you don’t face profit. You don’t face pain, you don’t face pleasure. You get totally neutralized. You are not affected by anything. That way you are in the world but not of the world. You just enjoy the world. It will happen to everybody. It has to happen and it’s going to happen, today or tomorrow, the day after, in this life or the next life. Don’t be afraid of being fried. Even in the monasteries there are friars, is it not? You escaped the world, go into a monastery, what do you see? A friar. Don’t be afraid.

Swami Satchidananda

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