Witnessing is freedom from the unnecessary || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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


Question:  You have said, “Awareness is untouched by problems. No matter what, good or bad, be aware.”  On the other hand you also talk of complete immersion. These two seem to be contradictory.

Speaker: First of all, be a little immersed so that you do not misquote me. I have not said, “Awareness is untouched by problems.” What I have said is, “Awareness is a point untouched by problems.” And there is a seemingly small, but actually great difference between these two.

When I say, “Awareness is a point untouched by problems,” what I mean is that except that point, whatever there is, that will be completely touched by problems. And these two things go together. When the rest of ‘you’ allows everything to penetrate and pass through, then parallely you find that there exists something that just cease this penetration and passing through.

When the mind is not resisting whatever is happening, when whatever is happening is happening in totality, whatever is happening is flowing through you, without resistance, then parallely there exists a point where nothing is ‘happening’; and only then, only then.

When you are busy resisting, then who are you? The resistor. And when you are not resisting, then who are you? The witness. Understand this difference. When you are busy resisting problems, then you have an identity. What is that identity? “I am the problem-solver.” When you are busy chasing happiness, then you have an identity. What is that identity? “I am the chaser of happiness.” When you are busy, running away from misery, then again you have an identity.

Whatever you are doing in reaction to life, is being done out of an identity. Is that not obvious? So there is life, and life includes that within you, which knows how to respond to life. Life includes that within you, which knows how to play the game. There is life; total and complete, not really demanding your additional presence. And then there is ‘you’, who additionally wants to make  his presence felt. ‘You’ are not required, ‘you’ are uninvited. And your only task is to spoil the game that is already going on, quite nicely.

You are like the over caring and foolish mother who goes and spoils the game of kids playing nicely together. Have you not seen that? There are ten kids, who are anyway playing nicely together, and kids know how to play the game. They don’t follow the rules of adults. Their play seems disorderly to adults. But they know something very important, they know something higher and better than rules and winning and etiquette.

Identity So they are playing, and playing in seemingly chaotic way. And then the concerned mother will go and try to correct and bring some order to their game. Have you not seen that? This mother is not required at all. ‘You’ are that mother.

‘You’ are the one that tries to make his additional presence felt. You are the identity. And when you are the identity, you are the ‘identity’. Full stop!

‘You’ are totally now occupied with problems. Not only occupied, you are besotted with problems. You cannot do without problems. You are obsessed, enamored by problems. “Problems! Wow!” Like the mother. For her, it is a smaller problem that the kids are playing in a chaotic way. It would be a bigger problem for her, if she has nothing to do about the kids. Her whole business is, to be able to do something for the kids. “Oh, the kids must be doing something wrong. And it is my great identity and responsibility to correct them.”

“Oh, life must be doing something wrong with me, and it is my great responsibility towards myself to resist and correct life.”

“Life must be playing some evil game. I will go and correct that game.”

“Life must be plotting against me. I will foil the plot.”

“The world is a bad, bad place, and I am the hero of my own life. I am Superman, and Batman, and Spiderman rolled into one, and God is the villain. I shall foil God’s evil designs.”  That is your self-concept. That is how you look at yourself.

Existence is out with all its wicked and nefarious ways. But wait! Halt in your steps! The great force of ego has come to stop you. By the power of the great Satan, I challenge life.” Now you have an identity.

But when life, plays its own games, then ‘you’ have nothing to do. Life is complete and total in itself, your participation is not needed. The ‘additional one’ is not needed. Now you are free. Free to do what? Nothing. Because whatever is to be done, is already being done. Your participation is not needed. What will ‘you’ do? Then you can just relax. This relaxation is also called ‘witnessing’.

Witnessing‘Witnessing’ is not active observation, witnessing is not like poking your nose. Witnessing is complete relaxation. Witnessing does not mean thinking about events. Witnessing simply means – “I am chilling out. I am chilling out. And whatever is to happen, my apparatus will take care of itself. If something hot is coming towards me, then body knows to recoil.”

When something hot comes towards you, do you have to think? No, the body knows what to do. If you are hurt, the body knows what to do. If you have to remember something, a password, or the location of a key, or somebody’s name, then the mind knows how to draw information from the memory. Why do ‘you’ have to participate?

If there is something in your life, and when there is something in your life, attachment will be there, because that is the nature of the body and mind. If there is something in your life, and it is lost, then the eyes know how to weep. Let the eyes weep. Why do ‘you’ need to participate? And most importantly, you do not even need to resist the tears. Let the tears flow.  But your ‘additional’ presence will come. “How can the three-in-one super hero weep?”

How many times do we need to tell this to ourselves? If there is one golden rule in life, remember this, it is – ‘You’ are unnecessary. ‘You’ are unnecessarily here. ‘You’ are not needed. Just get out. Your entire system is so beautiful and self-sufficient, it knows what to do. Why are ‘you’ interfering? The eyes, the nose, the mind, the intellect, they all know their respective functions. When ‘you’ leave them alone, they are so happy.

The memory knows how to operate; the mind knows how to think. They all know what to do. Why are ‘you’ worried? Why can’t ‘you’ just relax? Give yourself freedom and see how beautifully the entire thing operates. You will walk, you will talk, you will read, you will do everything. And you will find that it is happening so nicely, when you are allowing it to happen, without ‘you’.

You will cook better food; the food will taste ten times better, when ‘you’ will not interfere with the cooking. All the ladies who love to cook, for them this the master-chef’s recipe. The food tastes ten times better, when ‘you’ do not interfere with the cooking.

But ‘you’ must make your presence felt, right?


~ Excerpts from ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: Witnessing is freedom from the unnecessary

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

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3 comments

  1. this is one of the most profound and challenging (who??) talks on self-awareness in my whole life (of 63 years). one of the very few!
    highly recommended to everyone who wants to get rid of the last bunch of unnecessary ideas!
    warm greetings from germany.

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