Nothing else can satisfy your core demand

21 July, 2019
Oakhill, Princeton

Guha: There must be something in us that creates a core, natural, existential demand. It’s difficult to explain. If that demand is strong, then you are lucky. Why lucky? Because if the demand is strong it will begin to find a way to resonate and satisfy itself then there will be a different kind of ardour and zest that will land in the space of your life. On the other hand, you could be unlucky because it may never happen and life would be utterly disappointing for you. You could be a good mother or father or a successful professional and have enough money, yet nothing will give you that satisfaction which the core demand is seeking. From the standpoint of the society, everything could hunky dory and there may not be any reason for you to be depressed, but there is a core demand that can never be satisfied by anything else. No matter how well you are rewarded by the society, no matter how secure you are in your life and living, you will be unlucky as far as I am concerned. But if it happens to fall in the right place and heads in the right direction and begins to resonate, you will be in for a big surprise. But I cannot say whether it is good or bad in the social context.

Q: You also say there is nothing I can do to make it happen. 

G: The factor of luck is always there. That’s the chance that plays out in life all the time. Nobody can challenge it. No power on this planet can challenge it! Life is like that. You can’t say, “I make my own future” like Napoleon.

Q: But what does that have to do with the private space you were talking about earlier?

G: It is a private space in us in which Nature has a very different kind of demand unlike the demands we pick up from the social dynamics.

Q: If I didn’t hear about it from you, how would I know about the existence of such a space and its demand?

G: That’s a good question! Chances are that you will hear about it from somebody or the other. And if it clicks, you will begin to realize that perhaps the reason for your misery is not what they’re telling you, but there could be some fundamental demand which you have never addressed. 

Q: But I think hearing about it is doing more harm because when I did not know I was happy.

G: It is not possible to be happy that way. There is an uneasiness in you. Because you are reading it the wrong way, you are constantly running after different things to satisfy yourself.

Q: But knowing doesn’t help because you also say we cannot do anything about it!

G: Yes, but at least you will know there is no happy pill which you can pop to satisfy yourself!

Q: I didn’t do that in my case!

G: Well, there’s no generalization but I feel this way. Because the organization of Nature is such that life has to resonate with a frequency that is most optimal for itself.

Q: But we see some people being happy without having this knowledge, isn’t it?

G: No, that’s just your ideas about them. You really don’t know. The one you think is happy may not be all that happy.

Q: No, I mean I see some people moving in life in a way which implies they are content.

G: You see them moving but you don’t know about their private life. You don’t know if they’re fighting with their family! I am just kidding! You will be surprised to know how the most successful people are deeply dissatisfied. Until it happened no one could imagine Robin Williams would kill himself.

Q: But most of the guys who committed suicide had serious mental problems.

G: You can say mental problem. What’s the definition of mental problem? They were such fit and high-performing individuals, that’s the social space I’m talking about.

Q: I’m completely disillusioned with it.

G: Exactly. No prescription is going to give you happiness. There’s no happy pill. 

Q: That’s the problem.

G: If you can live sanely and intelligently and you have what you need to survive, then you are already way ahead of the game. And if you are already ahead of the game, the private space will be felt with more immediacy. It’s like a palpitation next to your heart. Look, I’m not saying you have to search for anything. There is no such thing. Because the moment I say it’s a private space, I am asking you to go find out for yourself. Who else can know about your private space?

Q: How is this going to help me?

G: It is not a question of help. To you “help” is what you can use to actualize your idea of how your life should be. Here is a simple example. Suppose, I have a kid. The information about that kid’s wellbeing determines the level of mental peace and stability for me. No matter how much achievement, money or pleasure comes my way, I won’t be happy if my kid is not doing well. The core, existential demand is like that. Nothing else can satisfy it. I don’t want to give you a sales pitch, but this space in me is so palpable that even when I go to the kitchen and do dishes, it is such a delicious job! You have to know me well enough to sense that this space is there and it is in such marvellous harmony. I’m not joking, I’m serious!

Q: What you say takes away all hope. What’s the point in anything then?

G: Hope is about getting or not getting what you want.

Q: I don’t want anything!

G: If that is so, then why do you need hope? The people who are hopeful of a colorful and dreamy future are the ones who will be seriously bothered by my ranting. Life is a series of moments and every time you take part in it, if you are fully there and not thinking about any alternatives, you will understand that living is a movement.

Q: For how many years have I been hearing all this? I have heard a million times, but nothing has changed here.

G: You have heard a lot but you have never really tried to look inside yourself. You have too many distractions. Whatever work you have at hand, you have to do it well. When you are driving, you can’t think of these things, you just drive well. When you are cooking, you have to do it well.

Q: Is this the same thing as living from moment to moment?

G: Thinking of living from moment to moment is different from living itself.