What is oneness? || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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

Question: Sir, how do we define ‘oneness’ and ‘zeroness’? How does the transition from ‘oneness’ to ‘zeroness’ happen?

Speaker: Manu, ‘oneness’ is simple. ‘Oneness’ means that the central element of everything and everybody in this entire world is just, ‘one’. There are diversities, but only apparently. (Pointing at two persons sitting in the audience) Apparently he and he are different, but actually their element is one, just as you have steel in a bridge and you have steel in a sword.

But if you are a little intelligent then you will know that their element is the same. And you have steel here and you have cobalt here, but you will know that their element is still one. Why? Because ultimately you have electrons, neutrons and protons in both. So, the element is one. This is just an example.

Similarly, the element of everything that appears, be it wood or plastic, be it man or woman is one, this realization is called ‘oneness’. We live in a dualistic world, we live in a world where everything exists only because of its opposite. So you have a whiteboard. If something is to be written on that whiteboard, what does that mean? Can you write on whiteboard with a white chalk?

Listeners(everyone): No.

Speaker: White and black must co-exist. But whenever you are reading something, your entire mind is concentrated only on the black. So much so that you forget the white that is immediately and closely present. The intelligent mind says, ‘White and black are one. One cannot exist without the other. They are not two, they are one. Had they been two, then one could have existed without the other. But the fact is, one of them cannot exist without the other one. They are one’.

Similarly, ‘happiness’ and ‘sadness’. You cannot experience happiness, if you are not sad. You have to be sad in order to experience happiness. In fact, the more sad you are, the more happiness you experience. Is that not so? Are we together? It is a prerequisite. Unless you are sad, you cannot be happy.

So the wise man does not look at ‘happiness’ and ‘sadness’ as two things. We said that when we are reading something on the whiteboard, then our entire mind is concentrated entirely on the black. We simply forget the white that is present behind. Right? In the same way, when we are happy then our entire mind is concentrated on happiness. We totally forget the sadness that is accompanying the happiness. The wise man does not do that.

The wise man knows that this happiness is definitely accompanied by sadness. So happiness and sadness are one. That ‘one’ is the element that I am talking of. That ‘one’ is the element of this entire world. This is called ‘oneness’.

‘Oneness’ is to see non-dual in duality. ‘Oneness’ is to see the non-dual in all duality. ‘Oneness’ is to see the common element in all apparent diversity. ‘Everything that appears to be different, I am able to see one common thing in it’, that is called ‘oneness’.

So the wise man who sees that oneness, is not moved by pleasure and is also not moved by pain. Because he knows that pleasure and pain are..?

Listeners(everyone): One, same.

Speaker: He is not moved by ambition and he is also not moved by fear, because he knows that ambition and fear are…

Listeners(everyone): Same.

Speaker: When he looks at the day, he knows that the day is a little bit of an illusion. Why? Because there can be no day without the night. So he cannot be very persuaded by the fact that, ‘Oh! it’s a great day! It’s a great day!’ He knows that, ‘Aah! this is side of the coin. The other side must be there, it has to be there.’ So he cannot be a pleasure seeker. He cannot be an ambitious man. He cannot be attracted to only one side of duality. That is oneness. Getting it?

The stupid one does not see that. He thinks that happiness and sadness are different. The stupid one will say, ‘I want permanent happiness.’ Now, can permanent happiness ever be there? Because if happiness is permanent, then it is no more happiness. Happiness needs to have sadness so that it can be ‘happiness’. But the stupid mind will say, ‘Let me be happy forever. Let us be together forever.’ Can there be permanent togetherness?

Listeners(everyone): No, Sir.

Speaker: Impossible. So the stupid one suffers, because he does not see that ‘oneness’. Only that oneness is permanent, duality is never permanent. Getting it? Zeroness, leave it for sometime.

(Laughingly) Oneness is enough.

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

Watch the session video: What is oneness? || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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