This conversation took place in Gurucharan, Shirdi, 2009. I was telling Daddy about a man I had spoken to earlier. The man had told me that he found himself with a lot more people around him in Shirdi than he was used to and that he preferred being alone in nature to being with people. To this Daddy smiled and said, “If one truly understands nature, it would be fascinating to be among people as well. Aren’t all these people also nature? So many reflections of nature walking past you, here, there and all around you. Some sad, some happy, walking and talking, so many thoughts and emotions, actions and reactions! If one can truly understand how to ‘see’, being among people, too, would be nothing but being in nature! How can one not enjoy that?”
Sruti - What do you mean by “understanding how to see”? The man was referring to “nature” as in forest, mountains, rivers and so on — not people. But you seem to be using these two, nature and people, interchangeably. They are not the same. Or, are they?
Daddy - Alright, I’ll give you the example of a man who said that he doesn’t see any dynamism in Baba’s eyes when he looks at him. I asked him, “Do you see anything dynamic when you look at a desert?” There is no life there, it’s dry, it’s very harsh, and yet one enjoys looking at a desert! People still go to a desert and enjoy nature there. How can one enjoy a desert?! What life is there in a desert? The reason is that even in such dryness and lifelessness one can see nature. That’s why people are fascinated by a desert, by the grandness of it. If one is able to truly “see”, even a desert becomes dynamic.
Each one sees something different when they look into the eyes of Baba. Some see a child, some see an ocean, some see mountains, some gardens, some flowers, some pain, a father, some see love, some see reprimand, anger, many many emotions depending on how they look at him and how they relate to him. And if some people see none of these things, but simply an empty stoic look in his eyes, then that too is beautiful!
In fact, how is that so-called nature actually relating to you? You see a mountain and enjoy it. Is it talking to you? Is it relating to you? Is it inviting you? It is there, a mountain, simply without any movement, but you are able to enjoy it. A flower — it is enjoying it’s own nature, that’s all. It is not relating to you. But you are able to love that flower. In what way is it relating to you? Is it saying, “Hey! Come, come!” (Laughs) Is it talking to you? Is there an interaction? “You” are interacting with a stoic element.
For instance, take the poetry of Wordsworth. The reason why Wordsworth became a great poet is because his poetry mirrors the nature inside him. If you read his poems, for instance “The Daffodil”, he doesn’t simply describe the flower, “Oh the Daffodil is in this colour, it’s shape is so and so”. He just doesn’t go into those details. In the beginning he starts by saying “Daffodil, Daffodil” a couple of times and then immediately becomes introverted.
S - Another example that comes to mind is Tintern Abbey.
D - It’s not just Tintern Abbey, but all of his poems are like that. That is why experts categorize him under mystic poets, not under nature poets. Nature is simply his trigger. Nature triggers him to become introverted. He uses it for that purpose. For every person the trigger is different. For Worthsworth it was nature, for some it may be Baba and for some it may be me.
As long as we make use of that “something” to trigger us, we are all Wordsworths! It is not necessary that only Daffodils or Tinter Abbey should make one introverted. For me it was Baba. Since nature triggered Wordsworth, he is called a nature poet, a nature admirer, a devotee of nature. And since Baba triggers me, I call myself a devotee of Baba. Both are the same.
Just because he is called a nature poet doesn’t mean he is simply whiling away his time loitering about in bushes and trees like a vagabond! (Laughs)
That’s why when people come and tell me that they are lovers of nature it brings a smile to my lips. I don’t mean to say that one shouldn’t go into nature, but that nature should trigger the nature inside us. Our going into nature must serve that purpose or else it would simply be fanciful! If it does trigger us, then we are truly nature lovers, trying to make the beauty of the nature outside get mirrored inside.
S - Let’s just say that the beauty gets mirrored. How do I know if the “trigger” is really a “trigger” and not just an awe of beauty? When do I know that something is really a trigger?
D - If nature truly becomes your trigger then it won’t just stop at mirroring your own nature but that nature (outside) will get extended in you. If you really know the Nature of nature, then you see nature everywhere. In that scenario, tell me one thing that is not nature? Nature doesn’t mean landscape, meadows, gardens, oceans and mountains. Don’t be under the false impression that only these things are nature. Real Nature is a reflection of those things in us.
There are always some generally accepted notions that everyone has. Simply blast them! Don’t fall into those notions but try and think differently. Then that becomes original thinking. When one thinks of nature why can’t it be this (pointing to his chest) nature? Actually if not this (pointing to his chest again) what else is nature? That’s why I always ask you not to stick to jargon. When I mean jargon, I don’t just refer to the ‘atma’ & ‘paramatma’, but everyday jargon as well. We just take these things for granted instead of rethinking everything around us. Everything we do and say. Why must nature be only that? What is the meaning of the word nature to start with? Anything natural is nature. Aren’t human beings natural? Now do you understand what I mean when I say that being among people is like being in nature?