Time, thought, sorrow and the ending of sorrow || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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To understand the nature of sorrow, and the ending of sorrow, one must understand time and to understand time is to understand thought.
J. Krishnamurti

Speaker: To understand sorrow, one must understand time, and to understand time is to understand thought.
What is ego?
We usually say the ego is “I am this” and this could be anything. I am a male, I am a body, I am a father, I am a scholar, I am happy, I am these many years of age. But all these statements are incomplete. The ego is “I am X, now” (emphasizing on now). This now is a very important part of the ego and this now has to be understood, if this statement has to be understood. This statement says, “To understand sorrow, you’ll have to understand time and to understand time you’ll have to understand thought.” Ego is this now. We exist not only as something in relation to others; we also exist in the zone of the ego as something in relation to time. I am something now. Now is the center of ego. In space, the body is the center of ego. As mind, now is the center of ego.

Listener 1: Mind is the center of ego?

Speaker: Who am I? In this entire vast space, who am I?

Listener 1: This body
Speaker: This body. So the center of this ego is? This body.

Listener 1: In space

Speaker: In space, yes. In this entire vast space, who am I? This body, so this body is the center of the ego. And in this entire flow of time, where am I?

Listener 2: Now

Speaker: So now is the center of the ego. The moment a now is created, past and future are also created. I’m asking you, can the past and future exist without the now? So now is the imaginary center which creates past and future. We fully well understand that the ego wants to live in past and future. But the past and future are always relative to now. It is the now, ahead of which we say that the future lies and it the now, behind which we say the past lies. Getting it?

Listener 3: It is as if we have built a dam across a river and we say that something exist before and after it.

Speaker: Yes. Just as you say AD and BC, as if something happened. So arbitrarily, in the stream of time, you put a location to yourself. Arbitrarily in the stream of time we assign ourselves a particular location called now. And that now can actually be anywhere. Even in the life time of an organism, the now is constantly moving. Is the now ever at one place? The now is constantly moving. What is not moving (Laughingly) is the idea of future. That is there. That is the stuff of the mind. That cannot move because that can move only through its dissolution, otherwise it is constant. It stays. That there is a past and that there is a future.

The now is the center of our identity. Till the time there is a now, there would always be a future to look forward to. There would always be a past which we would take as coming from our beginning. I began and my journey since my beginning is called the past. I began, I had a past, I have a future and then I have a? (Asks again) I began, I have a past, then there is now, and then I have a future, and then there is a?
Death, an ending.
And that is sorrow.


Listener 3: Is it now that is the center or is it my now that is the center?

Speaker: Now is always mine, always mine. If I ask you what is happening now, what will you say?

Listener 2: That I’m having a discussion

Speaker: I call somebody up and ask, “What is happening?” What would be the response?
Now is always mine, that is why it is ego. Now is always personal. Just as bodies are personal, now too is always personal. Now is a very personal thing.
it not the present?

Speaker: Now is different from present. Present includes now. Because now and past and future are all related, so present includes now and past and future and everything.
So time, that way, is sorrow, because where there is time, there would always be an ending. Where there is time, there would always be thought. And please ask yourself, “Is the now not as much of a thought as is the future?” When there is no thought, not only is there no past and future, there is also no now.
Time itself is thought. A thought, whose center is now. Others are a thought, whose center is my body. Entire world is a thought, whose center is my body. Entire future is a thought, whose center is my now and the past obviously.
There is no sorrow except to identify with that which time brings. There is no sorrow except to live in that which time has given. To play around with the toys of time is one thing. Playing with past is one thing, playing with future is one thing. But to be attached to them is another thing.

Listener 5: That will bring sorrow.

Speaker: That will bring sorrow, yes. You can listen to a tale, a story and either you can say that “Well, this is my story” and become deeply attached to it or take the story as a joke and enjoy it, laugh in it.
As soon as the waves of time assume too much importance for the mind, the mind becomes heavy. The mind no more remains clear.

– Excerpts from a clarity Session held at Advait Sthal. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7On1lhScq5g

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  1. Prashant sir ,
    I dont have much idea about you .
    But in the past few days , I have seen some of your words and writings .
    Though I have been a fond and regular reader of many inspirational and perspective based stuff , but I dont know why your words have much more intense effect on my thinking than others .
    I would really really be obliged if I can get a chance someday to meet you and see if I can understand myself better afterwards .



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

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      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 requests@prashantadvait.com 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 requests@prashantadvait.com, or call: Sh. Anshu Sharma at +91-8376055661.

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      To receive the blessing, send your application to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

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      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.
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