October 11, 2015



The guru of Pt.Ravi Shankar ( The sitar Maestro) once said about Ravi Shankar that “it was as if he had discovered a great laughter and he has been laughing since then….”

There are many who learn sitar for years but none of them seem to discover that “great laughter”

Such examples can be multiplied without end……

There are many who paint, sketch, sometimes quite well in the sense that everybody says they are good but there is something that happens to a Ravi Varma (say) or a Picasso. These painters never stopped and more – they continuously grew, they went on & on & on trying, experimenting as if there was no end or no limit……. Again that “laughter”

I met an Indian movie director once and we had a long chat. In the course of our conversation he said “you know there are secrets to making movies. Once you know it , it is easy “. A year later, I read that he had won the national award. “ Secrets”, “laughter” “passion” , “ madness” – what is it about the learning process that some people become really crazy about it ? It is as if a lightening has hit them and they are changed ! It is love . People in love behave like this. But these people love things, fields, subjects. After all it is just a subject why should one become crazy about it?

Notice that in our schools, colleges – as a rule nobody seems to be crazy like that. We have periods, bells, text books, exams, competitions ,dull students, toppers but no one who talks about subjects as if he has gone crazy?

Nobody likes studies. In fact studying means boring!. The words have become synonymous. Laughter, secrets, madness on one hand and duty, seriousness and boredom on the other hand, again a duality. Again we come to point where a question needs to be asked.

What is true learning? When do we get hit by something? How is it what we discover the “secrets”, the “laughter”? Let us proceed to explore this whole business of learning fresh, sincerely with our mind & heart.

I will start with a shocking statement and then I am going to discuss it.

The majority don’t know anything, not really ,truly . They think they know but in fact, in reality they don’t.

The above is a sweeping, statement but the tragedy and wonder of the world is that it is true .

Why do I say that? What do I mean ? After all people do know something. After all they do go to school, do degrees, PGs, even Ph.Ds. They work too. If they didn’t know anything then how can they pass and how can they work and earn?

When I say that people don’t know anything I mean that the thing they know is not real, is not seen by their own eyes, mind and heart. It is a thing logically, superficially accepted but not as a real, actual truth, phenomenon and reality.

If you really know not many things but one thing, if that one thing you see, you comprehend and say “Yes! It is like that in reality and hence true “, you would be hit and your mind, your brain centers (so to speak) will open and be on and you will go on from there and start finding and discovering things. You will be led one after the other and for the first time discover the beauty, the magic and above all the wonder of our world…….

This point is difficult to understand but it is simple if I give you an example. 

Many people ‘know’ what causes ‘night & day’. We will accept it and now we say we ‘know ‘it. I challenge even this.

What causes ‘night’ & ‘day’? The earth turns once every 24 hours. When it faces the sun, there is day and when it doesn’t it is night. Simple. But do you agree? Do you feel it? Do you really feel that the earth is moving? Where and what is the evidence? How did we know it?

And why does the earth rotate (and revolve too). You see, the ‘answers’ & ‘ explanation ‘ when given to you didn’t hit you . Otherwise you would wonder about the above questions naturally. You would have brooded over it and worried about it. It staggers the imagination. doesn’t it? The whole earth moving in empty space and the sun constantly giving light for millions of years. Look at the number of questions then that can occur to us? Who or what put it in motion? How did it happen? When did it happen? When was the earth formed? Why? How? How does the sun give light? What is happening in the sun? And life, what is life? Why is life there in earth alone? You can go on now………hundreds of questions are triggered on your brain, even philosophical questions ……. Why are we on the earth? Is there a God? If yes, what, how, when? If no, who created that concept ,when ,why ?

You see plants and animals too having life? You look at a cat or a dog an insect or a plant and wonder …when did these come into existence, your teacher causally tells you life came a 300 crore years back and then life evolved … This staggers you … such a complex thriving , all working like clockwork, precisely began only a 300 crore years ago and then evolved ! That too only on earth ….. This process leads to almost all the questions and hence all the answers are laid open for your eyes to see and to understand. The very questions laid open the answers and you feel only now you understand , you are now seeing things ….you feel the power, the complexity and the simplicity –all at once , incredibly.


Yes! A laughter rises from deep within you, you feel like the first man, the only man now . That is vision, sight understanding –the very meaning of being a man.

That is the godlike thing called true learning! The majority don’t know deeply because whatever they know they accepted without feeling, savoring, understanding, questioning and thinking. Why? Because they were not honest, simple, humble. They never thought or even knew that they can understand and see. They just accepted. And it is not really real, true, convincing to their own minds.