To know the past, stand separate from the past || Acharya Prashant (2014)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.

Question: Sir, is the past helpful in differentiating between ‘good’ and ‘bad’? Why should we look into our past?

Speaker: You need to understand it quite subtly. No, there is obviously no need to delete the past. There is no need to absolutely get rid of the past. No, I would never advise that. No sane man would ever advise that.

But sitting over here, who would look at the past? You. For me to look at you, I must be separate from you. Is that not a pre-condition? For me to look at you, I must be a little away from you. Let us do a little experiment. Try to look at your palm. Now, keep bringing the palm closer to your eyes (taking the palm closer to eyes). Are you able to still look at it? Look at it. Now keep bringing it closer, closer, closer still. Aaah! Even to look at the palm, you must be at a distance from the palm. So when you say that I want to look at the past, even to look at the past, you must first be…? You must first be…?

Listeners(everyone): At a distance from the past.

Speaker: A little separated from the past. Or is it so that the past itself will look at the past? If you are totally identified with the past, you will never be able to look at the past.

Listener 1: Because you are living.

Speaker: Right. You are the past. Your entire mind is filled with the past. Even to look at the past, you must stand detached from the past. You understand detachment? Otherwise there is no question of looking at the past, drawing any knowledge out of it. That would not happen.

The situation of most of mankind is that it wants to look at the past while being greatly attached to the past. No, this is impossible. You cannot be attached; yet observant. No observation is possible in attachment. When you are attached, you are de-facto the past itself, you are nothing but a bundle of memories. Now this past has no capacity for honest and free observation. It has no capacity at all. Are you getting it?

So, we are not saying that erase all your memories. What we are saying is see that as you are today, right now, you are not a product of the past. And then look at it, as if it is available like a database. But even a good computer, and all of us are better than computers, even a good computer knows exactly when to access its memory and when not to. You may have three or four drives, full of TB’s of data attached to the computer but it will not keep accessing the data all the time, it will leave the data free. Even the machine is smart enough to know when to use the data. It is not attached to it, there is no compulsive clinging.

But look at our lives, how we cling to the past. We do not know ourselves. All we know of ourselves is in relation to the past. And we know the world in the same way. We do not even look at the people closest to us honestly. We look at them only through the eyes of the past. Our friends, family members, parents, we have already given them labels according to the past and those labels are all that we see.

Now how can you ever see? How can you ever see? We do not know the individual that the father is or that the mother is. We do not know, we only know the label, and that label is coming from the past now there is a problem, there is a great problem. Now you are living in imaginations, and life will hurt now.

Because the fact of life is not available to you, life will hurt you. You would be struggling. You will be meeting resistance at every step and you will keep wondering that why is life so harsh upon me. Because you are not opening your eyes. The stone is here, right now, in front of you(indicating through hands), but your eyes are full of the dreams of yesterday. So the simple stone becomes a huge stumbling block and you fall down and hurt yourself. And that is what our situation is. We are hurt, tremendously hurt. If you look at your mind, it is nothing but an aching mass of hurt. So easily we are hurt! All of us are carrying so many grudges and complaints and hurt within us. This is We know ourselves in relation to the past (1)the reason.

Life is not some determined villain, out to hurt you, to give you pain. It is our own stupidities that put us in suffering. No, there is no need to not to ever look at the past or even the future. Fearlessly look at the past, and fearlessly look at the future, but mind you ‘fearlessly’. You cannot be fearless when you are attached. Do read your history books, do look at your family albums, do project the future, but be centred in the present.

‘Even when I am forecasting the future, I realize clearly and deeply that I am seated in the present. No memory of the past, no hope of the future can  sweep me off my feet. I am not a day-dreamer. “Yes, I can project. There is a trend that I can project well.  This is the probability of this event happening in the future.” Alright, do that. Wonderful! But do not let your mind be carried away by that. Do not start identifying yourself with that.

Yes, something did happen in the past, but past is past- gone, dead, buried. Past is past. And even when the memory of the past is coming to me, then that realization must always be there, that even this thinker must be seated in the present. This present is always all important, always all important. It is unchanging. Time keeps rushing about this present but this present never changes.

You be seated there and seated there, fearlessly. Fearlessly and randomly wander wherever you want to go, there is no limitation, there is absolute freedom. You want to go the past, go. You want take a little walk into the future, welcome. But make sure that your center is at the present. Don’t forget your center.

The mistake that we make is that we forget the center, we forget who we are. We just forget who we are!


Listener 1: Yes, Sir.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session.

Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: To know the past, stand separate from the past || Acharya Prashant (2014)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.

Or, call the Foundation at 9650585100, or write to

Support Acharya Prashant’s work:

  • Donate via Patreon: Become a Patron!
  • Donate via PayTm @ +91-9999102998
  • Donate via PayPal:

    (In multiples of $5)



    1. There are various opportunities to connect to and meet Acharya Prashant. These are:

      1. Meet the Master:

      Meet the Master program is rare opportunity to meet Acharya Prashant personally, either physically or online. To meet the Master, send your application, write to or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917.

      2. Advait Learning Camps:

      Advait Learning Camps are monthly retreats organized under Acharya Prashant’s guidance. These camps are about spending four days and three nights in the lap of nature, while reading, reflecting, learning and evolving. So far, scores of ALCs have been organised in places like Rishikesh, Mukteshwar, Jim Corbett National Park, Chopta, KainchiDham, etc.
      Additionally, we organize dedicated bonding camps for kids and parents. To participate in the camp, write an e-mail to, or call: Sh. Anshu Sharma at +91-8376055661.

      3. Course in Realization:

      Course in Realization, a classroom-based learning program led by Acharya Prashant, is an initiative towards disseminating clarity and intelligence in the world. In this course, a rigorous study of a scripture or a saint is undertaken each month.
      To join in, send your application, write to or contact: Sh. Apaar: +91-9818591240

      4. Month of Awakening:

      For those who cannot attend sessions physically, the foundation does online streaming of few selected sessions via Skype or Webinar. Known as Month of Awakening, this facility offers live streaming of sessions and helps seekers listen to Acharya-Ji while being where they are.
      To receive the blessing, send your application to or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

      5. Blessings from Beyond:

      Weekends with Acharya Prashant brings you the unique opportunity for a 2 day 2 night stay with the Master every month at Advait Ashram, Greater Noida. The getaway involves two mystical days of dynamic activities, explorations of the self, sports, meditative reading, deep reflections, midnight walks and more.
      To get a taste of the beyond, register yourself at or contact Ms. Anu Batra:+91-9555554772

      6. Triyog:

      Daily morning 2 hour Yog feast for your total well-being. Comprising of
      Hatha Yog, Bhakti Yog and Gyan Yog.

      Send your application, write to: Or to register: Contact: Shri Kundan Singh: +91-9999102998
      Venue: Advait Bodhsthal, Greater Noida, India.

      This reply comes to you from volunteers of PrashantAdvait Foundation who maintain this channel.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s