The core problem is that problems keep the mind occupied and purposeful || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Speaker: You see the best method that the mind finds to escape looking at its own facts is that it…? What is the best way to avoid looking at myself?

Listener: Look at somebody else.

Speaker: Find somebody else to be occupied with. “I have a student”,”I have a very important task”, “somebody is ill in my house”, something to achieve, you don’t even realize that these are only shrewd escapes of the mind. I am asking you a question. Answer, each one of you. Can the false declare it to be false? Will the false ever come and say, “I am false” ? What is the only method for the false to survive?

Listener: Not to look at myself.

Speaker: By saying, I am…? Real. So, it will say, “I am real, I am important, I am the truth”. Will it say that I am false, yet be attached to me? Will it say that I am false, yet keep thinking of me? What will it say? I am important. All of us have something important in our life and then you think that this is genuinely important. You have to think that way. Otherwise, how will it remain important in your life? How can it be important to you without telling you, of course falsely, that ‘I am important’? Can you call me and say that I cannot come to the session because I have something unimportant at home?  Sir, I cannot attend the session because I have something unimportant at home. Will you come and say that? What will you say?

Listener: Something important is there.

Speaker: So, that is the game of maaya. It gives you something important in life. And of course, whatever is important is false but it will not declare it to be false. It will declare itself to be very real. It will demand all your concentration. It will say that I am the object at which the mind should be centered. I am something important in life. There is something important, I must take care of it. And you will say, I am genuine, I am sincere, there is something important about it. Is it important? Don’t be too sure that this is important. Is it really important? Nobody is wicked, nobody is evil. Its just that we do not summon up power for attention.

Attention has to be called. You have to decide to be attentive.

You do not decide to be attentive because you are too sure about what is important in life. If you already know what is important in life then..? You are asking a question, please check your assumptions. You know what is an assumption? That which is already taken as proven. When something is already taken to be proven then that becomes the foundation of all further perception. If I ask Dhawan Ji, “What is this?” (Pointing to a wall). What will he say? “It’s a wall”, but will he say that this is the wall in my frame of reference? This is a wall because I am Mr. Dhawan. Will he say that? No, he will not say that. He will say that this is a wall and there is a great underlying assumption that he will not even talk of. What is that assumption? It is a wall and for this wall to be there, something else has to be there? What? The perceiving personality. But that personality has already been taken as a conclusion, as a foregone conclusion. So, he will not say talk of this and that is the game of maaya.

You make assumptions and then you believe they are real. So, what are your assumptions in this question? What is it that you are assuming as truth? What is that you are not talking of? What is it that you are not writing, just assuming and conveniently believing in it? What is the belief? Ask that. Hidden belief. I fear a student and dislike a student who is not attentive. If both the states and anything in between are only reaffirming my ego then can the session be of any use to the student? What are the assumptions?

Listener: Whenever there is a class, it should be of some use to the student. When I am there, they should be able to get something out of it.

Speaker: And I know what is it to be called as ‘use’.

Listener: And it should also happen.

Speaker: And?  The central point that you are making is,’ if both the states and anything in between  are only reaffirming my ego’, you are assuming that you know this. You are assuming that you are in control of this. You are assuming that you know that these are reaffirming your ego. May I postulate something? I will say more than that ‘This’ is reaffirming the ego that ‘I know’ that these two are reaffirming the ego.

You know what, there are these dictators in countries and everybody wants to kill them, just as everybody in this room becomes a sharpshooter and wants to kill the ego. The dictators in various countries, there was Saddaam Hussain, there was Gaddaaffi, all these people are on the hit list of organizations, countries, as well as the individuals they might have harmed, so they want to kill them. They are always under threat. So, what do they do? The dictator, so that he may not get killed creates lookalikes. So, one Saddaam Hussain will have twenty Saddaam Hussains walking across Iraq and that dummy is often targeted and killed. That is a beautiful way, a very successful way of defending yourself. Create a dummy and let the dummy be targeted. Now, you know what I am going to ask.

How would the ego want to defend itself? Name some small thing as ego and kill it and believe that ego has been killed. Now, the dummy has been killed, the real thing has been hiding somewhere but you are happy. What have I done? I have killed ego. You know Sir, I am greatly egoistic. How? You know, I did not use to talk properly to my driver. Ah, here you are! You have identified ego and you have confessed so now you are a saint. Now, today you go and share a meal with your driver and then you are free from ego. Now, the bugger is greedy, obnoxious, vicious, hateful, insecure, accumulative, he cannot look at all these monsters in his mind. What did he find as his ego? You know, I don’t talk properly to my driver. A dummy ego has been identified. Now this can be easily shot down. I am such a big sinner. What is my sin? I do not talk properly to my driver. (In a heavy voice) Hey, talk properly to your driver and then you will be eligible for the kingdom of heaven. Dummy has been shot, the real one has been laughing. Sir, I am such a sinner. Why what have you done? Sir, I eat non-veg. Ah! Great sin. Thou must repent. So, what will you do from today? You will not eat any flesh. Now, this bugger drinks the blood of so many people around him, he is an exploitative employer but he has become ego free by giving up on animal flesh. The dummy has been shot, the dummy has been shot. Sir, there is nothing in my life, it is so dry. I am living a wretched existence. Why? Sir, I do not talk properly to my wife. Son, you figured it out. Today evening you will gift a black rose to your wife and take her out for dinner and that way you have dissolved your ego. Now, this bugger is corrupt in all ways. He is violent towards the entire world, he hoards, he kills, he terrifies, but he has identified his biggest problem as not being fair with wife. Now, if the problem is this, then the problem can be easily rectified. The ego can be easily shot.

Is this the real problem Where are the real ones hiding? Why don’t you bring them out? It is like going to a brain surgeon and saying there is some problem with my nail. And he says, here is a nail cutter and we will trim your nail. Now, the tumor in your brain has been cured and he comes back with very nice nails. Where is the real problem? Don’t you see that by presenting dummy problems you are hiding the real problems? And that is the reason why we need to have small-small problems in life. Today, the milkman didn’t come.  You know the electricity fluctuates too much. My son has got only 74%. These small problems are important, very important. They are important so that you never look at real issue. So that your mind is always filled with this little stuff, with these petty problems, this pettiness is needed. The car needs to be serviced; existential problem. One of my tooth is aching, its raining. My son’s diapers are still wet, how can I still go to the clarity session? These problems are so important. Today she did not wish me, Oh my God; I am heartbroken, call the ambulance. I have not shaved today, great problem! What will be the result of the Lok Sabha election of 2014, existential crisis for me. But all these things are important, very important. Why?

So that,’ That’ which is deeply sick in our lives, the central rottenness, that can be defended. To secure that, we create all these dummies. That is hidden like an assumption. Just as the assumption is never seen, only the words are seen. Similarly ‘That’ is never seen. So, this is nothing. Identify the real question, the real problem. Isn’t it a good tactic, to fill up the mind with so much trivia that there is no space for anything else and you are busy and you can win over that trivia, you can do something about it, easily? Even without any change, you can do something about the trivia. The milkman didn’t come, you can call him up and rough him up. So, what do you feel like? I am strong and I can solve the great problems of life. The milkman has been admonished.  Yes, I am Caesar. Caesar, the admonisher of all milkmen. I have solved a great problem. Solve this problem and feel like a winner. I am not getting an auto, feel deeply terrified and there is great use in feeling terrified. I am not getting an auto and you feel great sense of fear. Work yourself up, psyche yourself up, auto-psyching. The heavens are about to crash down, I am not getting an auto and then you get an auto and then how do you feel?Yes, the great existential mystery has been solved, I have hired an auto.

You need such trivia so that you can overcome it and feel like a winner. So that there is some meaning in life, so that you do not feel absolutely wretched. This is very important so that there is some meaning in life. The more you will be afraid, the more the occasions on which you will be afraid, the more will be the occasions on which you will be able to do something about that fear. The more will be the chance that you will feel like a full man. Yesterday, you know, there was a disaster. One monkey came and he was eating my tomato. Now, I brought ammunition and targeted that monkey and the monkey is gone. Now, give me a medal for that. How great I feel!

Let me give you an example. Just for two hours, your mobile signals are unreachable. Kundan was mentioning to me that when it is instructed to switch off your mobile, many of you first message your loved ones, so called loved ones that you know, I am switching off my mobile darling, please don’t feel insecure, after all, it is night time. Now, just for two hours your darling is unreachable and what does it become? A great problem. And how does it feel to again contact him after two hours? How does feel? Great relief. Darling is still within reach. I can still lay my hands on him, he hasn’t escaped. Now, to feel this sense of relief what is needed? That you must first be terribly worried. There must be a problem. What is the problem? Darling is unreachable. So, first create a problem out of nothing and then solve it and feel good. That is the mantra of living. Spend the first half of the day, creating problems. Spend the second half of the day, solving it. And do not see that this mind that wants to live in this escape is itself the biggest problem. Hide that like an assumption. Keep that buried. The real dictator is hiding and all the time creating dummies so that you keep shooting the dummies and feel like the winner. Look at that which really bothers you. Look at the core of your fear. Go to your innermost pain point. See, what is it that makes you cry out without any apparent reason? Touch your innermost suffering. Only that can be true relief. Not that I am greatly happy because I got two percent discount on my new sweater. Touch your innermost suffering, not surface trivia. These days I am suffering greatly because the temperature is in the range of fifteen to nineteen degrees. Whenever the temperature is in this range, I suffer. This is suffering. It is an escape. What is the problem of problems, mother of all problems? Can we find that out? The soil on which they germinate, can we find that out ? Or will we keep ourselves occupied with rubbish? What is the problem of problems?

Listener: We feel that we are in control. That we can control the happenings.

Speaker: What is the problem of problems? Look at that. What is the real dictator? Not the dummy ones.

Listener: Our fears.

Speaker: Of what? What is that one mystery which when dissolved would dissolve everything else? What is that one question of consequence? And why not look at that directly instead of looking here and there and at several diverse questions? Why not go into that? Mudit Ji, what is that- the problem of problems?

Listener: I am what I am. That is the person.

Speaker: The person that I consider myself to be.  That is the problem of problems.  The person that I consider myself to be.

Listener: And want to remain like that.

Speaker: ‘That person’ will want to remain like that. You don’t. ‘That person’, that is his basic property. What is the problem of problems?

Listener: We want to remain as we are, the personality, the way we have adopted it. We don’t want to change that, we want to remain that only.

Speaker: Something is hiding. What is the problem? What is ‘ The problem ‘?

Listener: Whatever we claim about ourselves. The identities which we want to have with us all the time.

Speaker: And who wants to have that identity? The Atman?

Listener: No, not the Atman.

Speaker: Then who wants to have that identity?

Listener: The small self.

Speaker: Which itself is an identity. So, identity wants to have an identity. Then, what is the problem?

Listener: It is creating the problem, the attachment to the identities.

Speaker: Identity is attached to identity. But what is your problem?

Listener: I want to come out of that.

Speaker: Who wants to come out of it?

Listener: I want to be the capital ‘Self’.

Speaker: The ‘capital Self’. This one is called the ‘atman-saddaam’. And whenever the actual Saddaam is under threat, that is Saddaam with small ‘s’.  I am the Sadaam with the capital ‘S’, kill me. We talk so much of small self, capital self, our students will start saying, there they are coming, small ‘s’, big ‘S’. That’s what they will name you. You have these classes and they are about this small ‘s’. Then the Samvaad session, there the big ‘S’ comes. What is the mother problem?

Listener: I am the mother problem. This is my ‘I’. If we don’t have the observation center, we believe our self where nothing like problem exists. When that oneness comes, sees oneness in everything.

Speaker: Isn’t it a good funny game? Everybody is happy. You have shot down ten dummies, so you are happy. You are happy thinking what? I have done it. And maaya is also happy. Why? She has also done it. Everybody is happy, it is a good game. It is a win-win situation. You think, you know, so you are happy. Maaya knows that you don’t know, so she is happy. Good game! Keep feeling nice about yourself and your life. I was unemployed, I got a job, solved the problem. I felt lonely, I got a wife, solved the problem. Keep feeling good. You are happy, she is happy, everybody is happy. That’s why the world is like this. That’s why there is no or little possibility of change. When everybody is happy, why should there be a change? Every day you are solving problems. Every moment you are solving problems. Everybody is happy and the bigger a solver you are, the more pride you take in yourself.

-Excerpts from Clarity session held at Advait office.

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