Forget the imaginary, just attend to what is || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Question: Is death, as an event, good or bad experience, if we dissolve our self in the universe after death or to the bigger Self?

Speaker: See, you are sitting here. You are writing something. You traveled a particular distance. How is all of that any less important than an imaginary moment of death? Nobody ever seems to ask, “What will happen, when I will sip the next cup of tea?” Nobody seems to ask, “What will happen when I will breathe next?” Are all these things any less important? But we all seem to be asking about death.


Death is so important. Nothing is important, death is important. Life is not important. Every single moment that you are living is not important. Death is important.”

And how is death any more important than all these? – Because we are afraid; because we are shivering to the core. So death is important. “Sir, is death more important than all these?”

Is death more important than all these?

And suppose I don’t talk of death. Suppose I am the first man on earth who has not seen death.

Listener: I won’t be afraid.

Speaker: I am not taking about death at all. I don’t know. I am the first man. I have not seen death.

Listener: It will have no significance at all.

Speaker: Why must I talk of death? There is this…

Listener: Existence.

Speaker: Yes, and it is factual. It is right there. My senses are bringing them to me. And there is this mind that wants to understand all this.

What is death?


Do not want to have opinion about things. Do not ask how a particular thing will appear in the mirror. Clean the mirror, polish the mirror, and then everything will appear as it is.

As it is

The same mind that wants to have an opinion about death, also has an opinion about marriage, about money, about life, about disease, about education, work, career, right? It is the same mind that has an opinion about everything. It’s the same mind that looks at everything. It’s the same eye? This eye cannot look with clarity at anything. Can it look clearly at death?

“My life is confused and in knots. I understand nothing. I do not understand why my wife is upset. I do not understand why there is this kind of disease in my body. I do not understand anything. Will I understand death?”

Please understand this: When I said that there is this moment; there is life; there is this and that, why don’t you speak about that? Why bother yourself with death? It’s the same mind that looks at death, right?

You do not understand what is happening in this room? You do not understand what is happening on the terrace? You do not understand what is happening on the road? You do not understand what goes on in your mind? How will you understand death?

A little dog comes to you, and you do not understand what is happening? You do not understand. The mind is attacked by greed, and you do not understand what is happening. But you want to understand death. Will that happen? Can that happen? Isn’t it the same mind, the same mirror? Or is the mirror selective? Does the mirror say that, “When a particular face comes in front me, I will reflect clearly. All other faces, I will not reflect clearly.” Does the mirror say that? It’s the same mirror, the same mind. Clean the mirror and everything will appear as it is. But you are bothered about one particular object and the name of the object is…?

Listeners: Death.

Speaker: Death. I want to understand death. I understand nothing, but I want to understand death. Understand! Life is there in front of you to understand. Why be obsessed with that particular thing?

Listener: Because you are afraid.

Speaker: Because you are afraid. Because you have heard that death is the final annihilation; that I’ll be no more after death. So the ego shivers. So, you are obsessed with that. And because you are obsessed with that, so you can’t even look at life.

Listeners: Even Krishnamurthi says the same thing, that if you don’t understand life, then you’ll always talk about death, death, death.

Speaker: I do not understand why am I writing this question, but I want to understand death. And I may even claim that – “You know, I now understand death.”

Listener: Technically, there is going to be nothing left after death. So whatever is, is this life. Rather than being bothered about what life is, we are more bothered about what death is.

Speaker: Can we take this as a guide? A mind that is incapable in one area, is bound to suffer from the same incapability in other areas as well.

I once told a few friends that if you are incapable on the football ground, you will find yourself incapable in the bedroom as well; because it’s the same mind. You do not understand what to do when the ball is passed to you, how will you understand what to do when other things are passed to you? You will again find yourself arrested, stuck, and frozen. What will you do? And the moment is gone. It’s all a game of timing. Be it football or cricket, it’s a game of timing; or the classroom or a joke, everywhere it’s a game of timing. Learn to time it properly. And for that you need spontaneity, right? Beautiful timing can come only from spontaneity. But then something just takes possession of you, and you find yourself incapable of moving, in a liquid way. It’s a same mind, how will you live? How will you live?

Forget imaginary things, there is enough right now, here. Our hands are full. Pay attention to that, understand that. Pay attention the road. And then you won’t need to think about death. Pay attention to the clothes that you are wearing. Pay attention to the words that you utter. Pay attention to what you talk to your girlfriend on phone. And you will understand death.

In ‘Katho Upanishad’, when Nachiketa approaches Yamaraj, he says, “Tell me, what is death?” And Yamaraj doesn’t tell him anything about death. He tells him about life. And Nachiketa says, “I have understood. Now, I have fully understood.”

Who can tell you about death? And why do you need to be told about death?

~ Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

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