Don’t Just Motivate, Inspire People

You know, the president of World bank once asked me a question. He asked me, ‘Gurudev, we do so many projects but most of them don’t reach the point of success. How come all your projects are successful? What is the secret?’

I said, ‘The secret is I don’t manage it, I let it go organically, whatever is happening’.
There are two things, one is motivation and another is inspiration. Usually, in all corporate setups, they motivate people by giving them some raise in the salary, or a bonus, or some facilities. That motivates people and make them do better for a short period of time. Motivation is not long lasting, it is time sensitive; it has an expiration date. After some time you have to motivate them again. But inspiration is something that lasts longer, rather it has a longer shelf life.

You know this is what Mahatma Gandhi did. He inspired people. My teacher was with Mahatma Gandhi for 40 years. When we were children he used to tell us small stories of his days with Mahatma Gandhi, and they were very inspirational. I will tell you an incident, are you ready for it?

Wasting No Time

One incident was when Mahatma Gandhi was travelling in a small train uphill to Darjeeling. Darjeeling is a hill station in India, and you have a small train that goes there. It is a narrow gauge train. Now what happened is that, when the train was moving up the hill, somewhere, the engine got itself disconnected from the coaches. So the engine went ahead and the coaches started sliding backward.

Just imagine on a big hilly terrain, coaches are sliding backward, what would happen? There was huge panic, as people were between life and death. Any moment the coaches could fall off the hill, and one would not even find a trace of a bone. It was the Himalayas.
So while there was panic all around, Mahatma Gandhi was dictating letters, and he said to my teacher (he used to call him Bangalori, because he was from Bangalore), ‘Bangalori, take dictation’.

My teacher said, ‘Bapu (father), do you know what is happening? We may not be alive. We are in-between life and death. The coaches are moving backward with nothing to stop it, and its gaining speed.’

Do you know what Mahatma Gandhi said then? He said, ‘Suppose we get saved, we would have wasted all this time. If we die, we die. But if we are saved, we wasted so much time? So, come on, take dictation’.

With trembling hands my teacher was taking dictation.
He used to tell me, ‘Look at this old man, he would not waste a moment of his life’.

That was very inspiring. Even when he knew that there was danger, and death was just around the corner, Gandhi never wanted to waste even that much of time. He was busy, and he said, let us keep ourselves busy. And in a few minutes, maybe half hour or so, the train came to a standstill. It was picking up speed and then it stopped on its own.

Note – Its an excerpt of Sri Sri Ravishankar Guruji’s Satsang at Art of Living.

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