What is ‘understanding’? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Question: To be a non-doer, is it not important to first understand non-doership? To a Buddha it probably comes naturally, but I am able to move into non-doership only after understanding it.

Answer: What is understanding?

How do you know that you understand?

Is understanding a thought that can be witnessed? Is understanding a conclusion that can be stated? Is understanding anything that can be perceived?

What do you mean when you say “I understand non-doership”? You mean that you have been able to translate the word into a language that you are familiar with. The old game of principle-making and conceptualisation.

Non-doership is. It does not have to be analysed. IT IS. One does not accept it. If you have accepted non-doership, then you are still bigger than, and other than, non-doership.

Our normal language has brought down the word understanding to the level of the brain. One breathes understanding, one’s heart beats in understanding, one dissolves in understanding, one never possesses understanding.

Understanding is always innate. Remember how delighted I was to hear Spinoza’s words from you: intuitive pre-understanding. Remember, pre-rational understanding. Yours, but far deeper than your comprehension.

At the gross level:

The heart will beat perfectly fine whether or not you know that you have a heart. You will be conscious even if you claim that you are unconscious. And one becomes no more conscious by shouting that he is conscious.

At a subtler level:

That is, only That is, and there is no question of understanding this. ‘Understanding’, as the rational mind knows it, is heresy, is apostasy.

‘Non-doership’ is nothing. A Zen monk may say that non-doership is such a bad word it spoils the mouth. There were people crazy after words. So, Buddha tossed a few words at those who were not fit for silence. Those who could be in Buddha’s silence had nothing to do with non-doership.

Non-doership is the climate of the Buddha’s mind. Silent, flowing, vacuous. Fast, sharp, brilliant.

Dont try to understand non-doership, or atma, or anatma, or nirvana. The mind’s most deceptive trick will be to tell you that you have understood. Your words are alarming when you say that you understand non-doership. To say this is nirvana itself, and nirvana does not question.

Think if you must, think hard, think with humility, and then let the thinking evaporate without residue. What is the residue of thinking? A conclusion. This conclusion you mistakenly call as understanding. So think hard, but think without concluding. If you have concluded, then the entire thought condenses itself in the conclusion and sits comfortably in the mind. If you can let the strongest thought pass away without leaving its debris behind, well, you understand 🙂

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: What is ‘understanding’? || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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