It was in turbulent times that the Bhagwad Gita came up…and we are still taking advantage of it! Isn’t it so? It was in the war field that Krishna started teaching Arjuna. He didn’t teach him, when everything was all right, nor was Arjuna ready to listen to anything, for he thought Krishna was just his friend.
But when turbulent times came, knowledge and wisdom became essential, for that’s when it becomes necessary to have calmness, steadiness and the clarity of mind to perceive things the way they are and to act wisely.
How to handle the turbulent times?
First of all, we must recognize that it is a turbulent time and accept it. When we deny the turbulent time, we live in a utopia, and we are then unable to find a solution. So first is recognizing, and second is accepting. The moment we accept that this time is turbulent, or that this situation is bad, then our emotions calm down. We don’t question, “Why is it turbulent?” Questioning the happening which is happening is of no use! It is like a post-mortem! It doesn’t help the situation in the present moment. So, accepting that this is so, brings calmness, brings steadiness in the mind.
When the emotions are calm, you are able to think better because the same energy in us either functions as a ·emotion or as a thought process. So, if we exhaust our energy through emotions – in getting upset over turbulent times – we are unable to make use of that time for creative thinking and for finding a solution to the problem. So acceptance is the second thing.
Once you accept, it cannot be passive acceptance: “Okay, let it happen. Leave it to God.” This type of passive acceptance will not work! You need action! You need clarity of mind, sharpness, presence of mind and creativity. What change do you want to make? How do you want to make good use of the situation?
In the Bhagwad Gita, we see the same situation. At first, Arjuna did not accept the situation. He sat on the floor and trembled – the super-hero, who had never cried in his life, wept in front of Krishna, saying, “No! I cannot!” So Krishna said, “Come on! Drop this weakness from your heart! Drop this emotional garbage you are carrying! Get up!” Krishna boosted Arjuna’s ego, saying, “You have the capacity to handle this situation. Come on, get up! What will people say about you?”
Teenagers, youngsters, kids – when they fall, they start crying, but the moment you give them that confidence – “You know, you are Superman! Nothing has happened to you!” – then they stop crying; that inner strength comes up. If you keep telling them, “Oh! You are useless! You are good for nothing!” – then that energy, that inner capacity, will not find expression. So we need to boost their self-esteem.
What we lack today is self-confidence. If you don’t want someone to be creative, just take the self-esteem out of him (or her). He (or she) will become like a vegetable! Self-confidence, self-esteem, is something that brings creativity in turbulent times. Now, how does one bring about that self-confidence? Through simplicity!
I will quote you an instance: A gentleman from England, a horticulture specialist, came to our ashram in Bangalore. He said, “Guruji, I am going to make a flower garden!” He brought various different seeds and saplings, many pots, and all the manure required. He spent a lot of money, and he worked sincerely, but even after 3-4 months, hardly any plants came up. A villager from Kanakapura took some of those seeds, just “threw” them on the ground, and wonderful flowers came up very soon! In his anxiety, the specialist had put more fertilizer and more water than were actually needed. So the seeds, the soil, the situation, the environment became such that the flowers did not take root. But the simple villager, who was neither a gardener nor a specialist, could make those flowers blossom!
Be ready to learn from simple things, from simple people – even from a child. The readiness to learn can bring up creativity and self-confidence in you. In turbulent times, the mind should not be turbulent. The time can be turbulent, but if mind is turbulent, it’s a big disadvantage.
As the Bhagawad Gita says, this world is anithya (full of change). Everything in this world is changing. Don’t think that joy is here – in the object, in the substance, in the situation, or in the time. You are joy! Having attained this, go ahead, work, act. “Yoga” means skill in action. When everything is smooth, there is no need for skills, is there? When do you need skills? When things are not the way you want them to be, when things are not so pleasant.
Finally, there is intuitive awareness – Antargyan. If you lack intuition, you can’t be really successful. Intuition is not just dry thinking – it’s a combination of gut feeling, emotion and intellect. A little bit of music and logic are needed. When the balance happens in our lives, then we are able to develop our intuitive awareness. And…smile more!
When you smile more, you will see that intuitive awareness, creativity, compassion, and the sense of belonging – all these virtues that you hold dear just come along.