Questioner: Let’s say, you have a couple of friends, they would come, they would stay, you would sit together and you have fun. And then sometime they leave. So, for that moment you think you are right but then the things turn upside down and you start thinking that they were bad people. So, if for a moment it was right, then how can it turn so bad?
Acharya Prashant: That is the nature of our friendships and that is the nature of all our relationships.
Q: That was just an example. You have said that when we come to know that things are right, we put a full stop and we are happy with it.
AP: No! No. The full stop proves that the thing is right.
Q: But then after sometime when things turn out to be wrong, then where does that full stop come?
AP: “Here is my soul mate and this and that”.
The fact of the matter is they are still looking out. The fact of the matter is it is only a question of how big and lucrative the opportunity is. The fact of the matter is the prince charming of dreams is always illusive. And whosoever you are with, the eyes are still looking out for that illusive prince charming. And if he comes, then this current boyfriend will be out. In no time will he be out. So, the search is perpetual. The search never seizes. We know that. We may claim that, “Now that I am married, things have come to a full stop and now I am no more searching”. But we all know we are always searching, like a corporate employee. You may be in a very good job but you are always looking for the next hike. Are you not? And it all depends just on whether you get a good enough offer, a good enough hike. A good enough hike and you will quit the job that you swear your allegiance to.
Listener 1: So, how do you get this full stop? How do you get this inner satisfaction because when the mind is fluctuating, the heart will put a full stop and when the heart is fluctuating, the mind will be putting a full stop? How to get it balanced?
Speaker: So, you already know whatever you will do, will be insufficient because it will not result in a full stop. The fluctuations will continue whatever you will do. Now is that conclusive enough? Can we look at the immensity of this statement? Whatever I do will not bring me to the full stop. Whatever you will do will not bring me to the full stop.
Listener 1: So eventually we must just stop having a vision of getting full stops someday.
Speaker: And that brings you to our friend’s question. Why do we resist life? Let life work on your behalf, stop working.
Listener 2: We must become innocent.
Speaker: You must become innocent. Our friend says (referring to one of the listener), “You must become like a super conductor”. A super conductor allows current to flow without resistance.
Listener 1: Resistance is not there, but eventually you are just being the path.
Speaker: And that hurts, right? “Am I just a path? Oh my God, let’s resist”. And what happen when you resist? Things get heated up and then…. boom. And you like that, right? – Something hot.
You know, we want to feel like somebody. We don’t want to allow somebody easy access or entry. “Who am I? Somebody!” So, I have to resist. Somebody knocks at the door, so we go and ask, “Who are you?” And we act like a doorkeeper and we act like an authority and we say that, “Unless I know you and I check you and I am ok with your credentials, how can I allow you in?” Do you see this? This makes us feel good. That’s the way we live. “I am somebody, how can I allow you easy access?” We won’t. And we do the same way with life.
Life knocks, Truth knocks, Love knocks, Joy knocks and Freedom knocks, and we say, “No! How can I allow you access? I must resist.” And when I resist, I become somebody, somebody with an authority. We become puffed up, “I am somebody! I didn’t allow you in, and I had the power”. Right? Is it really needed? And whom do you allow in? You allow all the suffering to come in. Because whenever you would allow, it would be your conditioning at work.
You have to trust life really. Let life act on your behalf. Let a power higher than you act on your behalf. For that, first of all you must have Faith in that power. “I can easily, comfortably, leave things to Him and He will take care. And that doesn’t mean that I don’t have to work. That means that I don’t have to resist. When the time is opportune for working, then I won’t resist to working. I will work as hard as I can.”
Listener 1: You simply end up on destiny.
Speaker: Have you tried it out?
Listener 1: I don’t believe in destiny.
Speaker: No, it’s not conceptual at all. We are not talking ideas. We are talking living. We are talking actual living. Without going through it, you cannot make it a conceptual battleground.
Listener 1: Whether we believe it or not, what happens is what has to happen. Whether we take it or leave it, what has to happen has to happen.
Speaker: If what has to happen actually has to happen, do you live your life that way, really? If what has to happen has to happen, what is all this effort for?
Listener 2: To change the destiny.
Speaker: No, she said, “What has to happen has to happen”, then what are you striving for? Why all this restlessness? What has to happen will happen, then why all this tension and stress?
Listener 1: It’s not always that what has to happen have to happen.
Speaker: But you just said.
Listener 1: I am just saying that if everything has to happen the way it has to happen, then what are we doing? It is not necessary that what has to happen we want to accept it.
Speaker: If what has to happen has to happen then does it matter whether you accept it or reject it?
Listener 3: Sir, acceptance or rejection is not in our hands.
Speaker: See, she has said something beautiful. If what has to happen has to happen, is even your acceptance and rejection in your hands? Then what you are saying is it’s just a game of cause and effect, of conditioning, then even your acceptance or rejection is conditioned.
We don’t believe in it really that what has to happen has to happen. You know what we believe in? We believe that we are the makers of our destiny. We say that, “I will decide what will happen to me. I am so powerful and I am so potent. I control my heartbeats and I control my breath.” That’s what we really believe in. And that’s what the world wants us to believe in. Is that not the message you are always getting, “Be a go getter, change the world, change your situations. You are the one responsible for your upkeep. Take life in your own hands”. Is that not the message that the society and the corporates and the advertisers are giving you all the time? Or are they saying what has to happen has to happen? Neither are they saying that, nor do you mean that. We all have a feeling of our own potency. And that is why we keep trying and resisting and resisting and resisting.
What I am saying is something pretty simple. Don’t resist and have the Faith that you are powerful enough to take whatever comes. You are not weak, you won’t crumble down. Be open. And let whoever wants to enter, enter.
Listener 2: Sir, sensitivity, in general terms, means that you are resisting?
Speaker: No! Sensitivity in general terms, means that you are like a flute. A flute is sensitive. Does a flute resist? When the wind blows through it, does it really resist? That is sensitivity. That produces music.
Listener 2: So, what is this game of cause and effect that you just mentioned? Can you elaborate more on this?
Speaker: One thing is causing the other, the other thing is causing the next one, and it’s an entire network of causes and effects in which there is really no role for intelligence or disruptive action. It’s like a huge machine in which everything is connected to everything else. And the machine has no consciousness. If you believe in destiny then what you are saying is that the universe is just a huge machine of cause and effect, with no consciousness at all.
Listener 2: Sir, so what you mean to say is that I don’t do anything and I just sit and let life work for me?
Speaker: Exactly! What I am saying is let there be another centre from where your action emerges. You don’t do anything, action will happen on its own.
Listener 2: That means I don’t need to do anything and I will become…
Speaker: You don’t need to do anything in a mental sense. You don’t need to feel that you are the doer. That doesn’t really mean that you won’t budge and you will keep sitting here and nothing will happen because even that would mean resistance.
Listener 2: How?
Speaker: Because there is moment and opportunity where action is required and you are resisting the action. Even that is resistance. See, action is not required and I am unnecessarily trying to act, that is resistance. And action is required and I am not doing anything, that too is resistance.
Listener 3: How do we know action is required?
Speaker: Yes, wonderful, good. Enough to see that, “Whenever I decide on whether action is required or not, the decision goes wrong”. It is very important to look and accept one’s failures. “Whenever I have decided, I have decided wrongly. Whenever I have placed my conditioning and my concerns and my way of thinking, then the decision turned out to be wrong. So, can there be another way of deciding? Can there be another way of acting?”
For example, if you are sitting here right now and listening, you can listen in two ways. One, you can listen through the filter of your thoughts. Now you are deciding whether I am right or wrong. Now you are the master. I am not the teacher anymore. Because you are the one who is listening through your self-created, conditioned filters. You are saying that the filters are higher than the teacher, and so the filters are the real teacher then.
The other way of listening is to just listen, resistance-less listening. Listening without resistance. If you can listen without resistance, you can also live without resistance. It’s the same thing, just the same thing. For example, how did you know that at this point it was right for you to ask a question? Did you really think? No, the question just arose from within you, right? That is the way you can live as well. Without thinking, just by being attentively present, the right decision will come and the right action will come. And that will have such power and such beauty. Let me just comment at this point in time, all of you are looking so beautiful. And this is not the beauty of your physical face; this is the beauty of the attention that is beaming through your eyes.
There is great beauty when you are not in a resisting state. And the action is beautiful. Then there is love in action. And then there is peace. And great things get done.
Listener 1: Sir, does it mean that when we are at peace, there is this great internal voice that says what we should be doing and we should listen to that.
Speaker: But that is not your internal voice really. Did you have an internal voice when you asked this question?
Listener 1: Then what is exactly coming out?
Speaker: Nothing. Nothing. It happens. It’s magical. It’s magic, actually magic. And that magic can happen every moment. It’s not a magic reserved for special occasions.
Listener 2: Are you saying that we live in the moment and it just happens?
Speaker: It happens. It happens without your participation.
Listener 3: Life is eventually happening. Things around us are playing on our behalf.
Speaker: Not really the things, the Totality of things, everything. If you want to say ‘things’, then say ‘everything’. Every single thing. And which is more than things, which is more than things. Just call it a great power which flows through you.
Listener 3: So, when it comes to the great power, Lord Krishna says, in the Gita, that, “Whatsoever things are happening, leave all things on me”. I may be quoting wrong. I don’t really remember the verse from Gita but He says something like, “Just leave it all on Me and see”. What does Lord Krishna mean?
Speaker: All that He means is, “You get out of the way”. And when you are not in the way then something else takes over. That something else if you want you can give a name. The name could be Krishna, the name could be God, the name could be Jesus; whatever name you want to give.
Listener 4: When we are facing problems in our life, we call it as something, we don’t call it as ‘life’. How to have that positiveness not to call it as a problem, to call it as life, not as suffering? How to overcome that thinking?
Speaker: No, you must necessarily call suffering as suffering and you must necessarily call problems as problems. And you must necessarily see that you are living in problems given the way you have lived so far. You must necessarily realize that you are suffering. Because only then you will see that there is no point continuing the way you have been going on this far. If you do not accept that you have failed, if you do not accept that your life is crowded with problems, if you do not accept that you are afraid and hungry, then you will simply continue the way you are. That’s what we do, right? Because we do not want to face our wretched state, we tell ourselves we are happy. We entertain ourselves, we go to malls, we shop, we party, we celebrate, all of that is just to tell ourselves that we are not suffering. Whereas the fact is that we are suffering all the time.
When you honestly and bravely encounter the fact that you are suffering then you say that, “This is not done. First of all, life cannot be so bad. Secondly, if suffering is all I get using my powers of decision making and using my eyes to look at the world, then I give up my current patterns. Then I give up the way I decide. I give up the way I choose my priorities because whenever I have chosen according to my priorities, I have ended up as a loser and as a sufferer”. It is very important to encounter this fact. And remember when you encounter this fact, a U-turn takes place. Now you are on your way to victory.
When you really really confront the fact that you have been losing all the time, that is the moment when your journey towards victory starts. And you must start that journey. You are young people, you have a life to live. You can’t live like losers like all these people have been living. You look at the common man on street, you look at the man who is living in the apartment, you look at the man who is driving the car. I know you are not so corrupted that you cannot see the bare fact that he is a loser. Is he not a loser? Look at the way he goes to the office, look at the way he returns from the office, look at his relationship with his wife and boss. Look at the way he is afraid and insecure all the time. Is he not a loser? Do you want to end up like him?
Listener 3: In that sense, who is not a loser?
Speaker: Yes, wonderful! And when you see that given the way the world operates, everybody is bound to be a loser, then you say I will not operate the way the world operates. Because anything this world gives me will eventually be a loss. I will end up a loser if I chose this way from the world, or that way from the world. Whatever the world has to give me will be poisonous. So, I will not take anything from them. I will just let the Total act through me. And that will be fresh action, not something that the world has given you. Not something that the world has already tried in advance and is now handing over to you. What will then emerge from you will be totally new and fresh. But that cannot be something that is tried and tested cure. It will be new and that will be its innocent beauty.
Listener 1: You cannot detach yourself from every suffering.
Speaker: So, you like to suffer. (Smiles)
Listener 1: No. But then how to detach from your sufferings?
Speaker: What do you mean by ‘detach yourself from suffering’? If you are suffering already then attachment is already there.
Listener 1: There is suffering when there is somebody you are very attached to.
Speaker: So, it’s not a question of suffering really. It’s a question of attachment.
Listener 1: Yes, being straight forward! Well, a person died maybe. It is a suffering for you, it is a suffering for your entire family, you are going through it, you cannot detach yourself from it.
Speaker: Did you hear what the Zen master had to say? “When hot be hot, when cold be cold.” So, a friend has passed away, a close one has passed away. Now what do you do? Do you resist your tears? We do, don’t we do that. We can’t even cry fully because we resist the tears.
And that has happened once, that again was in the Zen tradition, not that I have come here as a spokesperson for Zen. It is just that there were these three Zen monks who would travel together and they were good friends. They were very jolly fellows. They would be laughing and singing and doing all this. One of them died, and the other two were crying their heart out, wailing like kids, beating their chests. So, people came to them and said, “We thought you were holy men. We thought you could not be attached. And here you are expressing grief like the other worldly fellows. How is it possible? Then what is the difference between you and others?” They said, “Go away! He was with us, we lived with him and he has gone. Now we want to cry fully. Let us cry fully”. And what does a common man do? He can’t even cry fully. Do we cry fully?
Listener 1: But once you cry fully, you cry, you shout maybe, so is that the end of the suffering?
Speaker: No, cry again when you feel like crying.
Listener 1: Then what is the use of that?
Speaker: See this, when you can suffer fully like a superconductor, when you don’t resist the suffering, then suffering passes through you fully. Don’t hold yourself back. When you want to hug someone, hug fully. When you want to cry, cry your heart out. And then see the magic. It is only because you leave residues, that there is something left over, that there is something waiting to be done. Don’t leave residues. Complete the whole thing. Complete it. When the night is beautiful, complete the night. When the moment is right, be completely in the moment. Don’t leave things undone.
Listener 2: That too means the same thing that you have to feel your emotions completely when someone has passed away, even if it is a depressive feeling. Then the feeling is gone forever.
Speaker: Not only is the feeling gone forever. The one having the feeling is gone forever. Do you know after you have cried, what remains with you? The fellow who cried. Let that fellow too be washed away with the tears. That is what is meant by crying out fully. Understand this. The fellow who cried, the thought, the state of mind, that still remains with you. You have not been able to bring it into the flow. When you are able to bring it into the flow, then you see that it is going away. And that is the reason why again, you talked of death for example, there have been people who have actually celebrated deaths as well. We talked of crying out fully on death, and there have been people who have celebrated deaths fully. Why? They said, “We have lived so fully with this fellow, how can we cry now?” And it’s the same thing as crying out fully.
They said, “Every moment that we lived with him was complete. We didn’t leave anything undone. It is only when you leave things undone that you suffer. You cry that, “While this man was alive, why couldn’t I live fully with him? Now he is gone, the opportunity is no more”. They said, “We lived fully. Now we are celebrating that he is gone. Every moment with him was a celebration. So, even his death is a celebration. When we were laughing together all the time, how can we cry now?”
We cry because we didn’t make use of the opportunity. You know, there is a man who walks out of a movie theatre after watching the complete movie., and there is a man who is torn away from the theatre in the interval, the recess. Which of these two would be upset? The one who is torn away in the break because he didn’t see the complete thing. What I am saying is, be complete in your living. Don’t let residues remain. When you let residues remain, those residues become the stain on the mind which is the enemy of innocence; the marks on the mind, the marks on memory, the marks that become thoughts. Have you not seen this? You are talking to somebody right? And that fellow is important to you. And when the fellow is present you are tongue-tied. And after the fellow is gone, you are thinking that, “Oh my God! Why didn’t I say that? Why didn’t I do that?” Has that not happened? Now why do you have to think after the event, because you were not present in the event? Be present in the event. When the event is there, let the event flow through you. Don’t resist it, and then you won’t have to repent later. Is that not simple actually?
You see, after this is over I won’t have any residues left, because whatever I had to give I have given it fully. I am speaking all the time. I am with you all the time. But if there is somebody here, who had things to say, who wanted to talk, but didn’t talk, he will end up thinking. The event will be over for me at 4:30. But it will not be over for many of you, if you are not present right now. It will linger in your consciousness. Do you understand what I mean? So, as long as the party is on, be in it, so that you won’t have to repent later on. And it’s all a sequence of parties. Life is what? One party to the next.
~ Excerpts from Samvad session, edited for clarity.
View session at: Prashant Tripathi: For real action, let the Real act on your behalf
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