Detachment is the fruit of maturity || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Speaker: You see we are outrageously arrogant when it comes to small things, we are so fond of claiming that which we do not have, but we are absurdly humble when it comes to claiming that which we really have. You don’t have a large house but you would not feel shy of boasting it to others that I have a large house and so much money. But it terrifies you no end to admit that you already have enlightenment. There you want to act humble. Why don’t you just admit?

Listener 1: There have been different definitions of the way the enlightened people behave. Others may think that if we are enlightened then why we are not behaving in that way.

Speaker: Which particular way?

Listener 1: That we should have some followers behind us or we should give discourses, activities which enlightened people do.

Speaker: Do all of that, go ahead. How will that help? You can give as many discourses as you want. How will that help? Or you can dance like Meera. You can even try getting crucified like Jesus. Just as a hobby, you know. (Everyone laughs)

Obviously you can get resurrected, so there is no real danger. Try all that. Or get your tongue cut-off or eyes gouged out like Mansoor, that is what happens to enlightened people. So, it’s cool.

Listener 2: Enlightened people cannot shrug off their responsibilities in the world. If you have a ten-year old child, you have to look after the child. If you have a family, you have to look after the family. So, the definition of enlightenment misguide the common man. You have to live in a certain way. But what people say is that ‘Enlightenment’ is that you leave everything and become completely merged with the God. We have our social obligations and responsibilities, and therefore, probably we are half-enlightened or semi-enlightened.

Speaker: No, obviously one cannot leave what you’re calling as duties. One surely cannot leave them. What does one leave? When do you leave, anything or anybody? Leaving something is one thing and getting it snatched away from you is another. Right? When do you say that leaving is an act of free-will? When can one drop anything? When does that happen? You must have dropped a few things at some point of time, somewhere. When does that dropping happen? When do you leave voluntarily, out of free will? When does that happen?

Listener 2: When you know that it is no more required. When you know that you can do without it.

Speaker: In fact, when you are better-off without it, and then it just drops. So obviously dropping cannot happen till the point you see that this is all that you have, and this is of tremendous significance to you. Now who is this ‘you’? To whom this is tremendously significant? Who is this ‘you’?

Let us put it this way. ‘There is something that I am terribly attached to, I cannot drop it.’ Who is this fellow who cannot drop? Who cannot leave? Who is this fellow?

Listener 2: It’s me.

Speaker: This ‘me’ mistakenly eats some pills and now has a memory lapse. The same object that this ‘me’ was so terribly attached to is now lying by my bedside. Will I still be attached? The memory is gone and with memory the identity is gone. Will I still be attached? Yesterday I was saying, ‘I will die if this thing or this body or this person is taken away from my life’, yesterday I was saying, ‘I would collapse if I do not fulfil my duties’, and today the same thing or the same person is there right beside me. Does he mean anything to me anymore?

Listeners(everyone): No.

Alright, so who is this ‘me’ who cannot drop? Is it a physical entity? The physical entity is the same. Who is this ‘me’ who cannot leave? Is it a physical entity? Who is this ‘me’ then?

Listeners(everyone): Mind.

Speaker: What is the mind? The ‘identity’ which is just a thought. With that thought no more arising, that same thing or that same person who used to mean so much to you is irrelevant now, he has already been dropped. So it is just a thought. Do you see that? It has no other substance to it. That thought is arising from your past memory, cultivated identity. You are the one who cultivated that identity so surely, it is within your power to change it, provided you are eager enough. And if you are not eager enough then no big deal, one can always wait.

One can always wait, but please be cautious when you say that we cannot drop something. You cannot drop something till the point you think of yourself as you think of yourself right now. It depends upon your self-image- ‘Who am I’? The answer to that question. And one need not feel uneasy about it, because there is no compulsion.

Dropping is not a matter of duty, dropping is something that happens. Do you remember, we were talking about that ripe and luscious mango?

Listeners(everyone): Yes.

Speaker: It drops on its own. Its dropping is maturity, it is a product of ripeness. When the mango is ripe and mature, it drops, it just drops. Even in the case of coconut, do you see how easy it is to separate the shell from the fruit within when it is mature? And till the time the coconut is not ripe, what happens? You cannot separate them.

MaturitySeparation comes with maturity. When the mind is mature, then it does not remain attached anymore. Non-attachment is the fruit of maturity, otherwise it cannot come.

It is not a compulsion at all. It is not at all a compulsion. But at the same time there is no reverse compulsion as well. No, even that is not a compulsion, that to detach something that you have deliberately taken upon yourself.

This side or that side – there is only freedom. There is no compulsion. You have chosen to act in a particular identity, welcome. And you are the one who will decide that it is the time to move on, welcome again. Enlightenment is not an obligation. Because you are already enlightened, so how can it be an obligation? Nobody is obliged to act like the Buddha- leave the home, leave the family and wander to the jungle. Nobody is obliged to do any of that. It happens and it happens upon ripeness. It just happens. Just happens.

Listener 3: Sir, does that mean that you cannot be enlightened if you are a family person?

Speaker: It is the other way round. The very definition of family varies, changes. Have you heard of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbhkam’? It means that the world is my family. So what is your family? That definition changes. The one who is a mother to one or two will definitely divide and separate and will want to promote her one or two, at the cost of the rest of the world. I often ask this question to mothers, we have so many mothers here, they take great care of their children. What about the beggars on the streets? Obviously you do not feel the same way for them. Right?

You may throw a few used clothes at them, but that is not the same thing as taking care of your own kids. So you are a mother of two, your family is of five members or ten members maybe, and that is the limit of your ego. Do you see that there is a lot of violence involved in that? When ‘my’ family consists of five people then the rest of the universe is directly or indirectly antagonistic to me. Then I have to have an explicit or implicit hostility towards the rest of the universe. So the definition of the family has to change.

For a Kabir or a Buddha, the entire world is the family. Everybody’s son is Buddha’s son and nobody’s son is therefore his own son. You could either say that the Buddha has no family, or you may as well say that the entire universe is the family of the Buddha, it is the same thing, same statement, just as shoonya and poorna are same. This in between thing is the cause of so much strife. In fact this is the cause of all misery and suffering in the world, this narrow, petty division, fragmentation.

And remember, this fragmentation does not have anything to do with other persons. This is primarily a fragmentation in the mind, because the mind is narrow, petty and small. Hence, the family remains narrow and small because my mind is so small that it can have space for only five people. So my family remains limited for five people. When the mind widens, when the expanse of the heart increases, then there is enough space in it to accommodate the entire world. So family remains, but the size of the family changes.

Listener 3: Sir, Krishna lived as a family man and was always enlightened.

Speaker: What do you mean by a family man?

Listener 3: That he takes all responsibilities of his family.

Speaker: Only his family? Only his family?

Listener 3: No, to whoever he was related.

Speaker: And to whom was he related?

Listener 3: Everyone. (Everyone laughs)

Speaker: To whom was he not related? Name one or two.

Listener 3: He was not related to many directly.

Speaker: Direct or indirect happen in your mind.

Listener 3: But we cannot say that for ourselves too, that we are not related to everyone.

Speaker: Yes you too are related to everyone. But in what sense? You see, you are related in the sense that mind versus the other. You too are related, there is no doubt about it. Left to yourself, you would want to be related to all people in the world. How?

‘Let everybody in the world pay rupees ten to me, rupees ten from each would make me a billionaire.’ You are related in the sense of exploitation. You are related in the sense that this is ‘my’ circle and I am related to them as an insider and the rest of the world is outside ‘my’ circle and I am related to them as an outsider. So you are related, but you are related in a very violent way. To you there are divisions.

  1. i) Me versus the others.
  2. ii) Mine versus the rest.

KrishnaFor Krishna there are no divisions, the entire world is his. He is related but not as the same way as you are.

How are you related? When your car creates pollution, then the entire world suffers. That’s how you are related. With all your misdeeds everybody suffers, and even in the mind you have so many divisions. You are related to a neighbour. How? By the way of grudge and hatred, that is your relationship.

That is not the way a Krishna is related. A Krishna is related by the way of oneness. The entire world is his. There is no ‘other’ for him.

Watch the session at: Detachment is the fruit of maturity The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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