I was most blessed and fortunate to attend a lecture by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi on Dec 3, 2011. Penguin India had organised the event as a part of an annual series of lectures by eminent thinkers of our times.

I was first startled at the length of the queue when I reached the venue, India Habitat Center. I was mildly disappointed and afraid that I might not be able to enter the auditorium. Invites were sent to anyone who put in a request for, it seemed. Later the CEO of Penguin India said on stage that they had received requests from all over the globe!!!

My sister who had fortunately reached the venue earlier than me was clever enough to book a spot in the queue. So I simply joined her. I had the cards. I kept praying that we found entry into the auditorium. We were not only lucky to get in but also found seats on the fourth row. They closed the gates after a while. Rest of the people had to be satisfied with watching HHDL speak on a couple large screen monitors outdoors.

I never realized till the place was full, how many expats New Delhi had. The place was full with people of all colors and shapes. I felt happy that it was a global village right in there waiting to see and listen to one of the greatest emissaries of global peace and higher consciousness of our times.

An old monk from the Forbidden City. Taken away to the confines of a monastery at an age when children are free to play with other boys. Told that he is a reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama and that he would from then on not call his mother, mother..and that his mother would be allowed a few visits where she would not be allowed to touch him.

A 76 years old man who lost his freedom at age 16 and lost his homeland at age 24, is now a globetrotter and happily says, “I lost a small land called Tibet and found a big home called India.” A man who has renounced his spiritual leadership to Tibet and happily put up his hand and said, “now I have the freedom to answer any question on Tibet or not to answer. I simply put up my hand and say I have nothing to say since I am now retired…”

He spoke to us on the Art of Happiness, when he need not have. He looked like a man who was happy no matter what. After having lost his parents, family, freedom, homeland, his official title, and one of his vital organs, he still seemed completely at  peace.

He explained the root cause of all unhappiness was the dependency of all sentient beings on sensory objects. Music makes you happy as long as you are listening to it. Films entertain you for three hours and a little later when you talk about it. Sex is great as long as one is ‘doing it’ with a right partner. But how to sustain happiness when all these external objects of desires or pleasure no longer exist? How to find a spring that can sustain humanity without external stimulation of pleasure and power giving sources?

In essence to see and understand the impermanent nature of all external sources of happiness and pleasure by constant contemplation and reflection.

He spoke of avoidance of inevitable suffering and pain, that is at the root of the real reason for all of human kind to constantly seek pleasure. He urged each one of us to understand the nature of our pain and suffering and then find the will power and determination to love one’s own self and then extend that will power and determination to take on the suffering and pain of other sentient beings.

He emphasized the difference between self love and self centered attitude. He concluded that self love is complete understanding of one’s own suffering and pain and then loving one self and then fortifying one’s love so that we can come out of our own centered selves and reach out to those who need to be held.

To see each other as universal brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, who have all been each other’s mother some lifetime or other and then to allow the heart to love openly without shame and guilt and fear.

He urged us to come out of our limited visions of love and pleasure and widen our network and extent. He said we all must practice being open about our happiness, pain and suffering, then we will have more friends and then the feeling of loneliness that plagues all of human kind will reduce drastically, and with that the persistent need to grasp and possess other human beings and relationships will also minimize.

Love and peace!

More in the next post…keep reading..