You as a form can respect the Formless only by respecting His forms || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Question: Sir, we just heard one of the couplets of Kabir, saying, “Jo sukh sadhu sang mein, so baikunth mein na hoi.” (The Joy that I find in the company of Saint, that Joy is greater than the joy of heaven).

Is this verse being used in the negative connotation? What is it referring to?

Speaker: It is referring to one of the moods of the Sage.

There are other times, when he says, “Yeh sansaar kaatan ki jhadhi, ulajh ulajh marjana hai. Rehna nahi desh begana hai. (This world is full of thorns, one gets entangled in it and dies. I don’t want to live here, as this world is a deserted and a desolate place). I want to go to Raam, I don’t want to live here.”

Sometimes he says, “I want to go to Raam. Yeh sansar kaagaz ki pudiya, bund pade ghul jana hai. (This world is like a packet of paper, a drop of water is enough to dissolve it). I don’t like this place. Saadho yeh murdon ka gaon. (O Sage! This is the village of the dead). Who wants to live here? I’m going away.”

At other times he says, “No, why are you inviting me? I’m in Satsang (company of Truth), why are you inviting me? He’s talking about You. Why are you disturbing me? See the Sadho(Sage) is singing such beautiful songs of Raam. Raam you can wait.”

It is okay. Raam here, or Raam there, how does it matter? He is saying, “Why take the trouble of going all the way? The Sadho (Sage) has brought you right here, in his words.”

That’s the freedom that you have. Sometimes Nirakar(Formless), sometimes Saakar(Form). Sometimes Nirgun(Attributeless), sometimes Sagun(With attributes). Play the game. That’s Leela. Maya, in understanding, is Leela. Nothing else.

Listener: The beauty of the whole thing is that, there is no morality in it. In saying this that –  “Raam is coming and I don’t care.”

Speaker: Yes, yes. There is no morality in it. We have a story.

A man was building a temple of Truth. And he was so dedicated to Truth that Truth itself took the form of a person, and came to the man to see what is going on. He said, “Never before has somebody tried to build a temple for me with such dedication. What is going on?”

So, Truth comes to see the man and he is labouring hard – working with his instruments, carrying large pieces of stones to the site, advising and supervising his workers, looking at the plans. Twenty-four hours a day, he is there at the site. He has forgotten to eat, to sleep. He is so committed to the Truth. So Truth approaches this man.

This man asks him, “Who are you? Why are you coming to me?” And Truth says, “I am Mr Truth. I have heard that you are making a temple for me. I have come to look at the temple.” The man says, “Alright. Now help me lug this huge stone up till there.”

Now this man, along with Truth, is carrying stones, large pieces. And he is not allowing Truth even a moment of respite. He says, “There is another task waiting for me, you keep on ferrying the pieces, go there. And quickly, I don’t like lazy legs, continue bringing this.” So the would-be priest of the temple is also there, busy overlooking all the arrangements. And he asks the man, “Who is that stranger, that just came with you?”  He says, “O! He is Truth.”

The priest gets angry. The priest says, “You are building temple of the Truth, and you have no concern for the prime deity. You should have brought him here, we should have facilitated him, respected him, and showered gifts, adulation.” The man says, “I do not know all this. All I know is this.” The priest says, “There could not have been a bigger fool than you. You are running after stone, and forgetting the real thing. You are running after concrete and forgetting the abstract. You are running after material, and forgetting the immaterial.”

But the man does not heed. He says, “I understand what you are saying, but my heart is here. This is the only way I know to approach the Truth. This is the Truth for me.” The priest says, “I am resigning. I shall no longer be the priest of this temple, and I am going to beg forgiveness of the Truth.”

So, by that time Truth arrives, carrying a huge mass on his shoulders, sweating and all that, he puts it down and says, “Why are the two of you fighting?” And the priest says, “I have never seen a bigger renegade than him. This heretic has made you work and sweat. And I apologize on his behalf,” and he falls on the feet of the Truth. Truth says, “Why are you unnecessarily making a show of this? And this man is my real friend.”

He says, “This man is my real friend.” So strange! Classically, we would be led to believe that the material is to be renounced for the abstract. But what, if the abstract itself is visible in the material? And that is the only way of really living. When Truth manifests itself in the stone, only then you are really alive. And we are talking of human beings here, aren’t we? We are talking of material bodies here.

If Truth for you is a matter of verses, and temples, and abstractions, would you live your life in verses, and temples, and abstractions? You live your life in the material. In all the games of the material, if you can see Truth, that is real Samaadhi. Building the temple of Truth, all that should matter to you, is the temple, not even the Truth, because for ‘you’, as a material being, Truth will anyway become a concept – if you think of it.

A stone is anyway material. But if you will start ‘thinking’ about the Truth, you will turn Truth too into material. So better you ‘think’ only about the stone, and give all the importance to the stone, and build a temple of Truth. And forget the Truth. Because in ‘thinking’ of the Truth, you are anyway doing yourself and the Truth a disservice.

Listener: Sir, as material beings, the point comes that the mind never stops thinking. It is always filled with objects. So it is anyway busy, and it is busy with things that don’t matter, or are not of prime importance. So what should be done? The mind is not stopping, and the Truth, if it is thought of, you are just being away from it. So, what should be done?

Speaker: There are two ways to go about it. One is – to consider the ‘thought’ and the ‘self’ as separate. Some people even consider thought as the enemy of Truth. So when thought comes, when thinking happens, they want to get rid of it. They want to dissolve it. And if they can’t dissolve it, they want to supress it.

In this approach, the inherent assumption is, that thought is separate from the Truth, and something apart from the Truth exists. The approach itself is dualistic. “Something else except the Truth, other than the Truth exists. And I have to fight it. I have to fight it.” In fighting thought, are you not negating the Oneness, the Absoluteness of Truth?

And then there are others, with the other approach. The other approach is, when there is nothing but the Truth, then thought too is the Truth, in some form. There is no need to run away from it, fight it or supress it. The need is to go close to it, because right now what is visible is just thought, not Truth. If thought is visible, it has to be the Truth in some form, because there is nothing but the Truth. So whatever is visible, has to be an expression of the Truth.

“I will not fight thought. I will go close to thought.” This ‘going close’, is classically known as ‘witnessing’. Go close to ‘whatever is’ and you reach the same place, because ‘whatever is’ is That. You want to reach That. Don’t search for it, because it is anyway present within you, and all around you. Go close to ‘whatever is’, the daily facts that occupy your life – this eating, drinking, talking, slipping, forgetting. Just go close to them, and you reach That, the Truth. There is no need to search for that.

That is what Dattatreya has been saying so long. What do you mean by searching for Samaadhi? There is nothing but Samaadhi. There is nothing but Truth. But in thinking that Truth has to be reached, you have assumed that you are away from it. The more you seek it, the more you support your assumption.

Don’t fight thought, go close to thought. Don’t be afraid of thoughts. When thoughts arise, have the courage to go very-very close to them. When you go close to thought, you reach the root of thought. And that is the Aham Vritti – the root of the ego. You’ve reached so close, so close, that you can’t go any closer. Going any closer would mean that ‘you’ are not the one who is going closer.

Listener: Sir, I still need more clarity on ‘going close’.

Speaker: You know, we all live and behave as if there is another world of Truth, as if the Real is to be found somewhere else. As far as ‘you’ are concerned, the human being, this world of facts is, the one and only expression of Truth.

Have you not heard the so-called spiritual people come up and say that they have had ‘other-worldly’ experiences? Somebody sits in so-called meditation, in some particular physical posture, and one hour later he says, “You know, I was seeing lights, and hearing fabulous sounds, and I had a meta-physical experience.” Have you not heard people say things of these kind?

Now, why is there a temptation to say such things? Because deeply within we believe that the kingdom of Truth is somewhere else, and man is condemned to sometimes just get a glimpse of it, and nothing more. So we find it some kind of commendation to say, “I could reach there, even if for a very small while. I could reach there.” Reach where?

There is no other world. Even this world that you are claiming to reach, is just mental gymnastics. Your mind is hopping around, conjuring up visions. Have you not seen people claim that they are seeing ghosts? So somebody can see ghosts, and the other one can see Samaadhi, they are one and the same. Both are just presenting mental pictures, as something Real. Just mental pictures.

GateAs a human being, you have this body and this world, and that is all you have. For you, the Truth is this. Hence I repeatedly say, “Go close to the facts, and you have reached the gate of Truth.” As a human being, all that you have is the material and the idea, nothing else.

Go close to the material, and go close to the stuff that keeps on going in the mind. Know what is happening. Don’t be ignorant of yourself. You reach there. Reaching yourself, is reaching There. And you are not away from yourself. Samaadhi is there, continuously.

It disappoints, right? You have fanciful imaginations of some dream world, and those imaginations do not let you live. They do not let you work. “How can I be dedicated to this, when all the dreams and the fairies are waiting for me there?”

It is the madness of that ‘There’ which makes this life hell.

Can’t you see that?

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

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi on Kabir: You, as a form, can respect the Formless only by respecting His forms.

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