“Our purpose is loving each other unconditionally.” –Sridhar Silberfein is the founder of Bhakti Fest and co-producer of Woodstock in 1969.
I’m always seeking, feeling, experiencing and sharing love. Without love, we couldn’t do anything right. I’m talking about love without an agenda. Unconditional love. That doesn’t happen in our society.
“I love you, but if you do something wrong to me, I’m not going to love you anymore.” This is the type of ‘love’ experienced most of the time in the relationships between male and female, male-male, female-female. Whatever relationship you have – even with your mother and father or your kids – it’s the same thing. It’s all based on conditional love. That’s how we grew up. If we disfavored our mother and father, they would hold back that love. That’s not our purpose.
Our purpose is loving each other unconditionally. “Here I am. I just love you. Unconditionally. No matter what you do. I’m not changing you.” We can’t change each other, but the ego thinks that we’re going to change each other, so I get into a relationship with you or her or him or her, and I’m going to change you, but that’s not how it goes.
The change from an individual comes from seeing somebody else in an exalted state through the practice of meditation through yoga, through chanting. I see you in an exalted state, and then, I want to emulate that. I want a piece of that.
How do I get that? Not by you telling me this or that. It’s by me looking at you.
At an early age, I said, “I want to hang out with as many wise teachers and gurus for the rest of my life.” I started that when I was very, very young, and I’m still hanging out with them 50 years later.
My biggest fear is that the Earth is not going to be able to contain this vision – this process – because climate control and the environment is pretty much done. I feel sorry when I see these little babies, because in 20, 30, 40 years, it’s not going to happen. The climate can’t possibly be corrected anymore. It’s already done.
It’s just a matter of, “All right. What can I do now?”
Someone said, “But if you don’t have any money, why don’t you take a corporate sponsor, like an alcohol company?” I said, “I could do that in five minutes, but that’s not the point here.”
If I wanted to eat meat, or if I wanted to get drunk, or if I want to pick up girls and have sex, I’d go down to the corner saloon. The reason you go to a festival is to be away from all that. That’s why we created a safe environment, so that you can bring your family, you can bring your wife and kids, and you don’t have to turn around and look over your shoulder every five minutes.
You develop a safe environment, and everybody comes.
That’s why our attendance has increased year after year after year. There’s over 4,000 people here today. This place is packed, and we’re very blessed to have such great leaders, kirtan and yoga. We have three yoga halls and five workshop halls running for 12 hours a day. We also have one main kirtan sacred music stage that goes 24 hours a day and another one that runs for 12 hours.There’s something to do at any time of the day and night.
People say, “I’m tired, and I’m going to go to sleep.” My answer to that is, “You’ve got the rest of your life to sleep. We’ve been sleeping our entire lives before this moment. It’s all about connection. We have to be able to connect with each other. We’re losing that with all this technology. Everybody’s walking around texting. They’re on their phone 24/7. It’s the TV. It’s the radio. There’s all this outside stuff that keeps coming in and out. There’s no more looking in our eyes anymore, and saying, “I love you. Let’s communicate. Let’s have some fun. Let’s share a space together.”
The secret to life is to be loving, be kind, be generous, and don’t want anything for yourself. Serve everybody. Love everybody. Tell the truth. Be a real person. Don’t come to anybody with an agenda; come without an agenda.
I don’t have to be inspired or look up to people who are famous. People who are famous, not famous – it’s immaterial. I respect any person that comes from a humble place, from a devotional place, from a loving space.
Those are who I respect.
To be continued…
1st part of the in-person interview series with Sridhar Silberfein at Bhakti Fest West Joshua Tree, CA. Interviewed by Jack Greene. Edited by Jack Greene and Hung Tran.
Join Sridhar May 13th-15th at Shakti Fest 2016 in Joshua Tree, CA
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