Running the same circle again and again will not take you beyond the circle || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Question: Sir, there is a common notion that if I go about consuming things, then there would be a time when I will see the uselessness of these things. And ultimately this would help me to go to the other center, the immensity. I have a strong belief in that, though I do not know whether I am right or wrong. Would you please shed some light on this?

Speaker: The man who is rushing towards his fiftieth round of consumption, is he in any way different from the man who is rushing towards his five hundredth round, and the man who is rushing towards his first round?

Listener 1: Not much, except that he will be more experienced.

ObjectSpeaker: That experience means nothing. The forty-nine times have given him nothing. That is why he is rushing the fiftieth time. The man, who is rushing the five-hundredth time, is again standing at the very same level, because four hundred and ninety-nine times he has failed. That is why he is rushing the five-hundredth time.

Listener 1: Yes.

Speaker: You know, there is breathing, that happens continuously. It has a utilitarian role. You breathe, but you never think that breathing will give you contentment. So you can continue to have an ‘experience’ of breathing, right?

And it has to happen continuously, mechanically, thousands of times, millions of times, right? But with your experience, your approach is different. You do not enter into your experience in the same way as you breathe. With experience, there is a mental component involved.

Breathing happens without mentation. You are not thinking about breathing. Or are you? You are not placing any hopes on your breath. Or are you? Nobody ‘hopes’ anything from the next breath, or do you? Do you ever think that, “With the next breath, I will be taking in God”? Or do you? Or, “With my next exhale, I would be shutting out, all my suffering.” You never say that.

With experience, with consumption, there is a thought involved, there is an expectation involved, there is a hope involved. And the hope is always the same. “Can I get it, this time?” And it does not matter whether it is the tenth time, or the hundredth time. The hope is the same.

And if it does not matter, how many ‘times’ you have done it, then will doing it another ‘time’ help you?

Listener 1: No, Sir.

FulfillmentSpeaker: I repeat my question. If it doesn’t matter how many times you have done it, then will doing it another time, increase the chances of fulfillment? Your chances of fulfillment, through an activity, are zero; absolutely zero. It doesn’t matter how many times you do it, you would still be standing at zero.

Have you heard of the word ‘orthogonal’? It’s a beautiful word. In Mathematics, when two things are not related to each other, we call them ‘orthogonal’. For example, the X-axis and the Y-axis, are orthogonal to each other. (Pointing horizontally) This is the X-axis. (Pointing vertically) This is the Y-axis.

Howsoever hard you run on the X-axis, will you rise even an inch on Y-axis? Ever?

Listener 1: No, Sir.

Speaker: And whatever is the distance you might have covered on X-axis, have you travelled any far on Y-axis?

Listener 1: No, Sir.

Speaker: That is the difference in dimension. In ‘this’ dimension, whatever you do, does not help in ‘that’ (looking upwards) dimension. They are orthogonal. You can keep consuming as much as you like, you will not gain God. You will only gain weight.

Tomorrow, a pizza selling firm can advertise, “This is God-pizza.” There was a movie called ‘Godzilla’, so you can have a pizza called, ‘God-pizza’. There might be people who would say, “Material is everything,” and if material is everything, it is quite possible that a pizza can offer enlightenment, because material is everything. For them, beyond material, there is anyway nothing. So they can keep consuming the pizza. And what will they gain?

Listeners: Weight.

Speaker: They will not gain ‘God’.

Listener 2: Sir, I think the question that he has asked, has come from stories, which basically have the theory that when people engross themselves deeply into materialistic world, so deep that their appetite almost becomes full, about these materialistic goods, then they get a reality check about the falseness of the entire thing.

So, I think that his question implied that when that appetite would be full, then you can…

Speaker: Never. You can run for a thousand miles on X-axis, you will not rise an inch on Y-axis. And it doesn’t matter whether you have run ten miles, or hundred miles, or thousand miles, or a million miles. All of you are same, as far as the Y-axis (pointing upwards) is concerned. All of you are standing at, ‘zero’.

It doesn’t matter how far you have run. Your experience in ‘this’ dimension, will not help you ‘there’. Not at all.

Listener 1: So Sir, it is understood that the man who is having is first round, maybe he is ignorant, maybe he has hope. But what about the man who is having his fiftieth, or five hundredth round. He has consumed forty-nine times, and he has not got anything. Is it still his ignorance that is playing a role, or is it his cunningness, that now he is enjoying, and because there is a life to spend?

Speaker: He is just not looking ‘upwards’.

Listener 1: So it is just ignorance, not cunningness?

Speaker: Both. Sometimes you look upwards and say, “Who takes so much trouble? I am used to running on this(X) axis. So I know this. Let me keep repeating this. Why take so much of trouble?”

But, mostly it is because you do not even look upwards and say, “Wow, there is another axis there.”

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

Watch the session at: Running the same circle again and again will not take you beyond the circle

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