Irrespective of what we want, we all want That same one thing || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Question: Sir, in the market place, everywhere, are they not selling just the ‘Identities’? For example, if we talk about a newspaper, one kind newspaper is read by one kind of intellectual people. They relate to it, they have an identity through which they relate to the newspaper.

Similarly if we talk of cars, they do not sell just a vehicle which can run at a particular rpm etc. They sell it to an ‘identity’ that if you are high-class, or you are fun-loving, or you are sportsman, then you should buy a certain kind of car. So everywhere there is a ‘hope’.

Speaker: See that’s the whole business of this world. We all are thirsty people. So what else can be sold to us, except the promise of…?

Listener 1: Water.

Speaker: Water. All that anybody sells to us is – a promise, hope, that your essential thirst will be quenched. “Come! Come! Come! Come over to my shop. Empty your pockets and I will bring fulfillment to you.” Is that not what they are saying? They might be just selling a pair of shoes, or a wrist watch, or a pen, but whatever they are selling, they are selling the same, one thing. And what is that?

Listener 1: Promise.

Speaker: Fulfillment. “You will get fulfillment, come over.” You cannot be attracted to anything else. Nothing else attracts you, remember. You might be a great materialist, you might not believe in the true Self, yet you are driven, right? Have you ever tried to see what you are really-really driven towards?

You ‘want’ something, right? You might not want to say that you want something intangible; you might not want to say that you want enlightenment or divine fulfillment, you might not want to say that you want God, but is there anybody who will say, that he does not ‘want’? We all ‘want’. And I am saying, “We all want the same One thing.”

Nothing else attracts us, really. So whosoever sells you, sells you the promise of that One thing, which unfortunately cannot be sold, or bought.

Listener 1: Sir, but the one who is thirsty, and keeps going to the same kind of thing that someone is selling, is he actually aware of his thirst?

Is the person aware of the kind of thirst he has? He thinks that the material can quench his thirst, so he keeps going to the material. In some sense he is not even aware what this thirst is. So a kind of circle keeps going, right?

Speaker:  Yes.

Listener 1: And once you see, then what happens? And even if he sees that it is a circle, it does not end, because he does not know where to go.

Speaker: You drop out of it, obviously. You are no more a participant in the silly game. And ‘silly’ is a harmless word, the fact is that it is a very dangerous game. It is the game which is responsible for the suffering of this world. Obviously you do not want to contribute any more to your own suffering, or to the suffering of others. It’s not fun at all, or is it?

You drop out of it; it is inevitable. Having known what it is, you cannot be a participant any further. But if you find that you are still able to participate, it means you still have a belief in the promise being rolled out to you. May be the next model of my favorite phone can give it to me.

Listener 2: Sir, but till the time I am participating in it, I won’t be able to see it. I have to…

Speaker: These are parallels things. It’s not that they happen one after the other, in a sequence. ‘Looking’ itself demands a particular distance from the ‘happening’. It also demands a particular closeness to the ‘happening’, right?

So it’s not as if you look at it, and then you step back. And then you again look at it, and step back. It all happens together. And it begins with the very first glance of insight. It’s a total process. Everything happens parallely. Though later on, if you want to explain it to others, or you want to put it in some kind of structure, then you may just say, for the purpose of explanation that – this happens, and then this happens, and then this happens.

InsightThe fact is – insight does not really correspond to any of your mental models. Grace does not give you something that you can nicely lay down in a structured form. When it strikes you, it’s a total striking. You come to know everything, all at once. The knowing, the dropping out, the realization, and the action; they all happen together.

Listener 3: So, just to understand it better – this happens together, when you watch the self, building the identity that you have built.

Speaker: Yes of course, when you are fed up of all the promises being made, and of all the promises not being kept. And when you, by grace, come to a point, where you say, “No more promises. Either give me the Real thing, or don’t give me any promise at all.” Mostly we are so afraid that we say “He is at least offering a promise. Why not take it?”

“And what is the guarantee that if I don’t take his promise, something better is waiting for me. Here, at least, there is a promise. Here, at least, there is regularity, in the breaking of the promise. Even if I get deceived, I will be in known waters, because I have been deceived again and again. So even the deception will not be a new experience, I will be safe. I have known deception so many times.”

A point comes when you are fed up of this rubbish. When that salesman comes to you, promising, you say, “No more, no more. Stop it, and go away. I want to try something Real.” Now how it happens? There is no process involved in this, there is no formula, there is no question of cultivation. If you really want it, may be it would happen.

Listener 4: But Sir, mind mostly pretends as if it has got what is essential. For example, there are defined things in the society, that get these-these things and you are supposed to be ‘settled’, and ‘happy’, and whatever terms they give. And I have seen many people, even in my case, sometimes it seems, it appears to the mind that it has got, it has quenched its thirst, but it is afraid to face it alone, and finds itself safe in company of other people. So it always tries to get approval from others, or to be around with others.

So if somebody is always around with other people, though he is restless, he keeps assuring himself that his thirst is quenched.

Speaker: Yes.

Listener 4:  But how to break out of this cycle?

Speaker: No there is no need to break out. What you are doing is, that you are describing the whole process of ‘how it happens’. In describing ‘how it happens’, do not expect a description of, ‘how to come out of it’. In the happening, ‘a how’ is involved, a reason will be apparent; there would be some kind of a cause. So you can attribute the whole chain of cause-effect and such things. But in all of this description, you will find no hint related to breaking away, or dropping out. That just happens.

You can keep describing your situation a thousand times. You might be a brilliant writer, extremely expressive, with great meticulousness you can describe every nuance, but that does not guarantee that you have known it. That does not guarantee that you will be able to come out of it.

In terms of knowledge, you may know everything about where you stand; every bit of information, yet there is no guarantee that you will come out of it. ‘Coming out of it’ is just serendipity; happens. Yes of course because we are fond of ‘doing’, so we can create some situations which are apparently more conducive to the ‘happening’. From our side, we can do the ground work. We can prepare an environment.

We have to ‘do’ something. So instead of doing other things, we can do this. But when it happens, it just happens. Are you getting it? You can surely explain how people are caught, as you just did. We are lonely, yet we remain occupied with people, and that gives us a false sense of fulfillment. How we don’t want to look at ourselves, how we don’t want to face ourselves, how we don’t want to come to that point where there is nothing but mind looking at mind. And you can be far more articulate than this, in expressing the situation, the tragedy of the human mind. Yes all of that is factual, but so what? The game is on.

People know so much, yet are they able to drop out of the game? There are people who have read so much; there are people who are so very experienced. So what? So what?

Listener 5: So you are saying that the ‘dropping out of the game’ would not happen from something that would be a part of the game, right?

Speaker: Well said.

Listener 5: It happens from something out of the game. And you are also saying that one can at best prepare ground for something which is outside of the game, to enter the game, right? How is this ‘preparation of the ground’ for the ‘outside’ of the game, to enter the game, not different from the creation of another game?

Speaker: No, you are misreading me.

I said that, because you will ‘do’ something, prepare the ground. See, it is like preparing for your lover to come. You do all kinds of silly preparations, why? – Because you are so restless. You can’t wait, so you will ‘do’ something. But is that ‘doing’ of any avail? Does that mean anything?

You wear so much of makeup. “My beloved is about to arrive,” and what will happen to that makeup when the beloved arrives? Does that makeup help the beloved arrive, first thing? Does it? Second thing, is that makeup of any use after the beloved has arrived?

In fact, the makeup will be an obstruction, right? It will stand between you and the beloved. Yet, you must ‘do’ something, because that is your condition. You will end up doing something. So you clean the house, you will make the bed, you will do this and that. But whatever you are ‘doing’, does not help, yet you must do it.

Do not take that as a formula. There is no formula. You may as well keep sleeping, and the beloved would arrive. Or you might become a vigilant and run across the city, it still won’t arrive. But you are looking for something, right? Some kind of a rope, to pull in with. It does not exist.

Listener 3: Sir, so we are saying that on one side there is at least a promise, and on the other side there is no promise.

Whatever you wear, you wear makeup or clean the house, the beloved might come, or might not come. So the mind always gets attracted to the side of the ‘promise’, because there is some weight over there. This one is like, ‘nothing’.

Speaker: Yes.

Listener 3: So, in that situation, what can the mind ‘do’ to prepare the ground? The mind will do something, right? This ‘cleaning the house’ is all part of it. But there is this thing that – “Should I? I am not sure. It will come, not come. There is nothing in my hand.”

Speaker: A clean house is better than a dirty house. So, it’s okay. So clean it up. But don’t clean, with the ‘hope’, that cleaning will draw the lover in. No. Clean with the realization, that dirtiness is no virtue, that a clean house does not guarantee his arrival, neither does a dirty house.

In fact, it is possible that the dirty house might turn him away. It is not that a clean house would attract him, but the dirty house might turn him away. So clean up your house. That is all you can ‘do’. But that doesn’t give you any bit of control over him. He operates by his own will, which you cannot fathom.

Do not think you will ever be able to strike a method or a formula. Your honest Heart, is probably your best pet. Don’t try your cleverness. But like a lover, call out. Or like a baby, a small kid, call out. That is more likely to succeed. So would you rehearse that? Make that into a method, calling out like a baby?

We are smart people. “Why not make that into a method. I am desperate, I am suffering. Come over. And mind you, I am just two years old. I have been told that when one calls out like a baby, then the chance of his arrival increases.”

People have rehearsed it and mastered it since centuries, seriously. We are so thirsty that anywhere we see ‘hope’, we latch on to it. Some great master once told that he is the beloved, and we all are like women, waiting for the beloved. He is the only male, the beloved is he. So lot of people, lot of males, started wearing women clothes, that may be this would increase the chances of His arrival. So they would wear women’s clothes, and act feminine. Women would act ultra-feminine. “May be this would get Him here.”

(Referring to one of the listeners) So the next thing we know is, Sushmita rehearsing to act like a child, a child calling out from his cradle, “The diaper needs to be changed.” The mother doesn’t respond to clever babies. If you are so clever, you don’t need the mother, do you? You can take care of yourself. So the mother leaves the clever ones, to fend for themselves.

The mother comes far more easily to idiots, who do not even know how to call, who have no idea of what would work. And their very idealess-ness, becomes their strength. They do not sit, wondering – what would work? They know that somebody else knows better. “I need not load myself with this task, somebody else knows better.”

Listener 2: Sir, talking of the house, there is an interesting situation. There is a gang, and the gang promises that – we will come to the house; we will not even clean it. And we will bring a lot of stuff. So this is about the gang. And there is a rumor about a man that he does not come to the dirty house. You need to work, and you need to clean the house, but still there is no guarantee that he will come.

Speaker: Yes, there is no ‘guarantee’.

Listener 2: And there is guarantee on the other side

Speaker: There is at least a ‘promise’ on the other side. You are guaranteed, what? Not the goods, but the ‘promise’ of goods.

Our lack of intelligence lies in not being able to distinguish between the goods, from the ‘promise’ of the goods. In fact, we have become so habituated to promises, that promises by themselves have become a commodity. What are we looking for? We are, some of us, not even looking for the Real thing. We are just contended with somebody who can give us a ‘promise’ of the Real thing. We have so very forgotten the Real thing that even a promise would do now.

Most of us, for example, are no more looking for love. We are looking for symptoms of love. We are looking for somebody who can ‘behave’ in a loving manner. You look at a typical youngster, he would say, “I am looking for a partner,” alright.

“How would you know that somebody is a partner?”

“He or she would behave in such ways.” Now this ‘behavior’ is not love for sure, right? Or is love a particular kind of behavior? But we have distanced ourselves so much from love that love doesn’t matter, the ‘behavior’ corresponding to love matters.

And such is the distance from intelligence that even if love is there, but that behavior is absent, then we curse ourselves on remaining loveless, like a man who values the sales brochure, more than the goods. “Give me the brochure of the car. That is the real thing. Cars anyway don’t exist. So I will pay depending on whose brochure is the sexiest.” Don’t we do that?

“Today I met the love of my life, I am so happy.” And how do you know that? “He talked in such ways, he gifted me such things, he dropped me home. He was so chivalrous, he opened the gates for me. He didn’t let me pay. He gave me a generous, loving kiss, but didn’t try to force himself.”

Now is any of this, anything beyond the ‘images’ that you carry? Is any of this, anything beyond conditioning and concepts of love? – But ‘promises’ matter. All of these are luscious promises of love. We won’t even call them ‘promises’. We would simply take a shortcut, and call it ‘love’ itself. That is our situation today.

A promise is no more a ‘promise’. The ‘promise’ has substituted the ‘Real’ thing.

~ Excerpts from a Shabd- Yoga session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: Irrespective of what we want, we all want That same one thing

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