The falseness of the so called ‘Power of Now’ || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Question: Sir, people these days emphasis on the idea of the ‘Power of now’. But you say that the present is different from the now. Please elaborate.

Speaker: This whole talk about the power of now is a great sham. It is deep materialism disguised as spirituality. The present is not the now. The now is a point in the stream of time. The now is that which is preceded and followed by the past and the future. The present is that in which the past, the now and the future, simultaneously co-exist. The now is a point in the stream; the present is the vast infinite land, in which that stream is flowing.

Present Vs. Now

The present contains the stream of time from the beginning till the end. That is why the present is beyond time. The present is an infinity that contains the stream of time from the beginning till the end. The past is there in the present, the now is there in the present and the future too is there in the present.

And it is not one stream of time. There are as many streams of time as there are minds. The past is not one object, the future too, is not one object; even with the so-called person, the past and future keep changing. So, infinite rivers of time keep flowing in this vast land called the present. The present is that which is present; it is the Truth. The present is that which is; the only entity that exists. That is the present. The present is not at all the now.

But it is a great misfortune that we have people who are constantly harping on the power of now and such things; and they are being read, appreciated and such concepts are gaining ground. What does the now pertain to? The past and the future are imaginations. The now is a fact; a fact that your senses can perceive; a fact in which memory has minimum role. But nevertheless there is no now, sans the world.

When you say something is there right now, then something has to be there. Without something, without the world, without space-time, now has no meaning. The present has meaning even without the world and without space-time.

When you say, “Live in the now”, all you mean is that you should live in facts, which is alright. But to say that this is an ultimate expression of Truth is grossly misleading. And as far as the mind is concerned, the mind has use for the past and for the future.

So, one being what he is cannot really disregard the past and the future. In fact the now is not possible in absence of the past and future. It’s a part of the same stream. Yes, it’s just a point; it has no real location. If you search for it you will not find it. But nevertheless, even conceptually, it is a part of the stream. It is not beyond the stream.

Facts are material; facts are dualistic; facts are supplied to you by your senses. Facts might take you to the door of the Truth but, facts by themselves are not the Truth.

‘Now’ is not the present, and facts are not the Truth. To say that facts are the truth and ‘now’ is the present, is to say that material is the final reality; and if material is the ultimate Truth, then there can be no Love, Freedom or Joy because none of these are material. There can be no Love in facts. There can be no Freedom in facts. You cannot draw picture of the Truth and say here it is, the fact.

Fact Vs. Truth

And remember there is power in facts; so you can talk about the ‘power of now’. But there is no power in the present. The word power is meaningful only in the absence of something else against which the power may be used and applied. Present has no power. The present is so absolutely powerful, that the word power does not apply to it. Against whom will the present apply its power? How to say that it is powerful? It is meaningless. But the ego is searching for power all the time. Have you noticed that? Who wants power? – The ego. So, it becomes a very catchy thing to say, ‘The power of now’. This cannot be a spiritual utterance. No spiritual mind looks for power. It’s only the ego that is insecure, and hence looking for power.

Be cautious of these fundamentals. Maya takes several forms. See what you are reading. I keep reminding this to you again and again. Be very careful about what you are reading. Just don’t pick anything up. Our minds are already full of too much of rubbish. Do not add to it.

Listener: Sir, every misguided man, who is being thrashed everywhere, would want to read such things, in order to get some power…

Speaker: In order to feel a little less miserable; in order to feel being in control. See, unless you are connected to the Truth, life beats the hell out of you. But being connected to the Truth means your annihilation. And you are so afraid, and so insecure and so faithless, that you prefer being beaten around than being unified with the Truth. You say, “It’s alright; I’ll take all the slaps that life gives me daily. I will suffer. But at least in this suffering I am alive, I exist. With Truth I won’t even exist. So, let me be beaten around, but at least I exist.”

What do I exist as? I exist as a festering wound. I exist as a rotten wound. But still, “I exist”.

Now, if somebody comes and offers this deal to you, that you know in your absolutely powerless existence, and you know you actually have no power, I can give you some power; I can give you power without you having to surrender to Truth. Then you will take up that deal; you will lap it up. You will say, “Wow! I will get power without having to surrender to the real source of power? Great! Wonderful. It’s like being born again, without having to die. Great! I’ll take this rebirth. It’s like getting the ultimate without paying the price. I will take this deal.” So, there are several dealers who bring these kind of deals to you. And you want to take them. These deals appear so attractive, you want to take them. You say, “Here is somebody who makes some business sense. He is saying don’t surrender your ego and yet you can have power”.

We like these kind of dealers. We like the teacher, who promises you liberation, without asking you to surrender. We like the teacher who says, “You can be joyful, while maintaining your current patterns of life.” Look at these people who are so very famous and powerful these days. They all have one thing in common. They do not ask you to demolish yourself; none of them will ask you to demolish yourself. They will say, “Remain what you are, yet you can have peace and joy. I will give you some magical wand. Remain in your current job, remain with your current set of people and remaining where you are, and what you are, you can be redeemed”. They will say, “You continue doing what you do. If you are a killer, continue killing. If you are a cheat, continue cheating. If you are all the time sitting in your pattern based responsibilities, keep sitting there. You don’t have to demolish. You don’t have to come out. You don’t have to leave anything, dropping is not needed. I will give you some pain reliever. You can continue with your rotten job. I will give you some kriya. So when you feel very-very stressed out, then you can do this – inhale, exhale and think of fairies and angels; imagine that they are descending from heaven, with the message of god and you will feel ‘p-e-a–c-e-ful’.” And you greatly like this message. So, “I don’t have to give up my job and yet I can have peace. I can have my paycheck and I can have peace. My guru has given me a wonderful kriya“.

Beware of this teacher; the real teacher will not lie to you, he will not promise you something which is impossible. Peace and patterns do not go together. Greed and God do not go together. Are you getting it?

Listener: Sir, you have said, being present to what is happening, continuous observation. Please explain this.

Speaker: See, when you say that I am present to what is happening, then you can be present to the happening only when you know what is the Truth of the happening. What do you mean by being present to a dream? What do you mean by that? Being present to what is happening does not mean that what is happening is that a truck is passing, a man is shouting and I am present to that. No, being present to all that means that when I am observing that, then my heart is located in the present. And remember that what is happening implies time; all happening takes place in time. So, sitting in the timeless I am observing time. This is called witnessing. Now, what is present? The witness is present. The happening really cannot be said to be present. And the witness is timeless. The timeless witnessing time.

Kindly do not use the word ‘present’, in any other sense. The present means the Truth, that which Is – Present; That which is.

Listener: Sir, then can we say that witnessing is anything happening specially to me and effecting me with meaning?

Speaker: No, not at all. Witnessing is not something special. Witnessing is not about thinking what it means to me. Witnessing means whatever is happening is just happening; and as it is happening, I am located at a point which is beyond the happening. Witnessing does not mean that you are entertaining a particular thought by looking at what is happening.

So, I am sitting, eating, walking, sleeping, and all this is happening in the world, in space-time. And even as all this is happening, I am untouched. Even as my physical and mental apparatus is involved in whatever it is involved in, I am not involved. Being fully involved, yet not involved; just as we talked of the various streams on the land, right? All the streams are flowing upon the land; all the streams are finding their way on the land. But is the land flowing? That is witnessing. So many streams are contained in me, but I am not contained in those streams. So many streams are flowing within me, but I am not flowing with those streams. All the streams are flowing within me; and I am the vastness, the immovable vastness, in which all flows are happening. This is witnessing.

Listener: Sir, just now we were talking about why does one come to Advait. When I see myself, I see there is an urge to make relations with the people I work with. For example, I interact with lot of people and I see that I have an urge to make relationship with them. So, how should I look at it?

Speaker: You know two fruits of a tree are brothers, and are related to each other. They do have a relationship. But they have a relationship via the root. Pluck them, dissociate them from the root and what kind of relationship is left? You look at a bag of apples. Are the apples related to each other? But the apples are related to each other when they are on the tree; then they are related to each other through the root.

Otherwise, your relationships will be rootless. Two apples hobnobbing with each other. Dead apples.

Listener: Sir, once you have said that two people surely can have a relationship; but before that those two people must have their relationship with That. Without That relationship, no relationship is possible.

Speaker: You know what happens? There’s a circuit in which current must flow in a particular way. Current must flow through ‘X’, then through ‘Y’, then through ‘Z’. So, ‘X’ and ‘Z’, in a sense, are connected via ‘Y’. When‘Y’ is bypassed and ‘X’ and ‘Z’ get directly connected, you know what that state is called? It is called shot circuit. And then there is an explosion. Often we have case of shot circuits, when ‘Y’ is bypassed and ‘X’ and ‘Z’ get too cozy. Then all you get is a surge of current, a lot of excitement and heat and smoke and fire and destruction.

Don’t let shot circuits happen. Be related. Every part of the circuit is related to the other part, is it not? The same current is flowing through them. Be related.

Listener: Sir, Osho has said in one of his discourses that you need to be connected with somebody without any reason. But, we see that even though the reason can be for peace and all, but there is always a reason.

Speaker: No, peace is never a reason. Peace is never a reason because peace is the absence of reasons. When you have a reason, there can be no peace. If you say that I am connected to him because of a reason called peace, then you don’t know what you are saying. If you have a reason then there can be no peace.  Peace is reasonlessness. This fellow takes away my reasons. That is why one is reasonlessly connected. He takes away my reasons, or I forget all my reasons in his presence. That is peace.

Actually reading does a lot of harm as well. You read something and then you interpret it with your mind. And then you form concepts; and then it becomes so difficult to get rid of those concepts. And the concepts are even more difficult to remove when the great Truth itself has been turned into concepts. Concepts about this and that can be easily removed. But concepts about love, truth cannot be removed. If you formed a concept by listening to your neighbor, this concept can be easily removed. But if you formed a concept by reading the Gita, this concept is so difficult to remove. Reading can actually be very harmful, because now Gita has been turned into a concept by you. And you are so sure that this has been written in the Gita, so it must be true. You don’t even know what is written there and how you have misinterpreted it.

Listener: Sir, how to choose the right reading?

Speaker: The right reading can only be recommended to you by the right teacher, if you want to know the Truth very directly, simple. You can never choose the right reading. You see people choosing readings all around you, don’t you? You know what sells. What is selling is being chosen by somebody. You will only choose what you are. You will never choose a reading which pulls you out.

Listener: Sir, my question was that for the daily posting on our Google-group Koham, even when I am reading Osho, how to decide what is to be read and posted, and what not to?

Speaker: No, do not think that the posting is serving to liberate you or to give you any kind of great knowledge. That posting serves a different purpose. That posting serves to remind you. Kindly do not think that I have asked you to post so that you may learn something from what you are posting. What you are posting is mostly valueless. What you are posting contains very little that will help you. But still posting is helpful. What you are posting is not helpful, but posting is helpful. Because when you are posting, you remember something. What you are posting is 99% junk. But the important thing is that you are posting; not that “I am posting some great stuff”. The important thing is that you are posting. Whatever you will post, I am repeating, will be of no value. The same goes for your daily reflections too. It is not important what you writing. Because whatever you will write, will anyway be junk. But what important is that you write. Your writing is important, not the content of your writing.

~ Excerpts from Clarity Session. Edited for clarity.

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