“Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall and falling; they are given wings.”
Question: Shilpi has asked, RUMI says “ Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall and falling; they are given wings.” Can you please speak more about this?
Acharya Prashant: Rumi says birds fall and falling they are given wings. Those wings are so perfect and powerful that birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. Birds fall and falling they are given wings. They are given wings; their fall is a Trust fall. We don’t trust that wings will be given to us, we want to earn our wings. We cannot allow ourselves to fall freely because we feel responsible for our welfare. We feel that we live in a hostile world, we have been born in an alien place, and unless we take of ourselves, we will be eliminated.
This universe, we take as a stranger. Existence, we take as inimical to us. Now obviously, then there is a constant tension to take care of ourselves. We will not let ourselves fall. What Rumi is saying must not be taken literally. It’s not as if birds fall and in the process of falling, they are blessed with wings. What he means is that there is no effort on the part of everything existential, be it a river, a mountain, a bird, a fish, an insect, and an animal. They live in a state of constant surrender. Even if they resist, their resistance is just biological. Their resistance is not social; their resistance is not one of knowledge but of instinct.
Man in that sense is way behind words because our resistance towards free fall is both biological and social.
We are born as someone who would be afraid and then we are terrified further by our social conditioning. When the child is born, the child cries. The beginning itself is not very auspicious, and to make matters far worse, the entire life we are taught to cry. Sometimes we are told to laugh, but that is the same thing. Laughing and crying are ends of the same duality.
To live in dissatisfaction is to keep crying.
That is what we are always taught, live as if you are hungry, stay hungry.
Even if you find discontentment in an animal’s eyes, it is just biological. Man’s discontentment is far deeper. An animal would appear frustrated if it cannot get food, or if it is physically confined. Man is frustrated for a billion more reasons, a billion more idiotic reasons.
The primary idiocy being, if I don’t take care of myself what will happen to me. The man extends this idiocy to others. I have to take of myself, I have to take care of him, him, him, him ( Acharya Ji pointing out to few listeners) and this we call as Love. Come all of you, my loved ones, I must save you from existence.
Ok, save them from the sun, save them from the wind, save them from their own heart-beat. The ego finds it so nourishing; I am the savior of my community, I am the savior of my family, I am a self-made man.
The fish has lived for so long in the small aquarium, that when it is brought to the sea it feels it is going to die. It feels it is coming to an alien place. The universe is an alien place, the sea will kill me, that’s what the fish is saying because the fish has lived in this (Acharya Ji holding up a glass of water), not even an aquarium.
Look at kids today. It’s not proper to take pity on someone, but pitiable is how they are. A few months back, I was in a kids-camp that we periodically organize. There was this kid and in the middle of the night, he is shrieking as if mother death has arrived. What was it, it was a spider and not as if the spider has entered his guts, the spider is there on the wall. That’s the result of protection.
The skin is so protected that it cannot take any sun. However, it looks cute, like rabbit fur, feels nice and soft. You can play with the kid as if the kid is a toy and parents Love that, their personal toy. So the more toy-like the kid is, the more you feel satisfied as a parent. See, no scars and the shade is uniform. No dents. Regularly maintained and serviced. Weight is perfect. Refueling is done at regular intervals. Paint is so original.
These kids, when they look at a tree, even then they faint out of fear. Tree! That’s the Trust they have upon existence. So, if the camp is in a remote place, the kid is asking how far is the nearest shopping mall. If you don’t answer, he wants to use the GPS, but unfortunately there the GPS doesn’t work. So he is further petrified. Agents of darkness are closing up upon him. You take him to a fresh mountain stream and ask him to drink some water. He is enquiring “ does anybody have a pocket RO”? (RO water purifier). He cannot drink the fresh water of a gushing stream. He doesn’t have that. For him, water means bottled water. That’s the kind of Trust you have upon existence.
Invite him to sleep under the stars; it’s beautiful. There you can see the stars; you cannot look at the stars here. (In Noida) The place is up in the hills, and it is beyond the kid’s imagination to sleep in the open. He thinks, “what if the spaceship from Jupiter comes in and kidnaps me?” I am talking of, but I am talking to the parents.
The kid was not born like this; it’s your faithlessness that has done this to the kid. You have no God at all, and that is why your kid will be a very Godless kid.
Godlessness means Lovelessness, Joylessness, Freedomlessness.
That will be your punishment; you call yourself a loving father, your punishment will be that you will see your kid as a caricature of a young man. Then act blind like Dhritharashtra when you see your Duryodhan in front of you.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Rumi: Fall in faith, and you will be given wings
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