The liberated one is liberated from maintaining liberation || Acharya Prashant (2015)

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Question: Sir, at one point Ramana Maharishi says, “When the praarabdh is exhausted, the ego is completely dissolved without leaving any trace behind.” And at another point he says, “You can experience the Self right now.” So how will this praarabdh change or break at a certain moment? How can it be possible?

Speaker: See, till the time you have a belief in moments, you will have to live in moments. Your question is – “On one hand Maharishi is saying that realisation or emancipation is something that will happen in future, when the load of all your past karmas, praarabdh is exhausted. On the other hand he is saying that realisation is possible right now. How can these two be possible?”

There is no discrepancy in these two statements. If you can give up on the feeling of time, this instance itself, you are liberated. But if you keep believing in time, then you are believing in liberation that will come in ‘time’.

What else is ‘future’? ‘Future’ is a hope. ‘Future’ is a hope, ‘future’ is liberation postponed in time. If you can be so immersed, that time seizes for you, then you are liberated, your praarabdh is exhausted. You are probably feeling like asking, “Will that continue? I might be immersed this moment, but will that continue?” Continue in…?

Listeners: Time.

Speaker: So you still believe in…?

Listeners: Time.

Speaker: So you are still not…?

Listeners: Liberated.

Speaker: Invalid question.

The one who is liberated, doesn’t ask whether his liberation will remain, whether it will have permanence, whether it will continue, because to be liberated means – to be liberated from time. Then, liberated from time, how can you ask whether you will continue to be liberated tomorrow?

Listener 2: Sir, but why there is a strong belief in continuation or in time?

Speaker: You see all ‘whys’ are dualistic. You are saying, “There will be a question, there will be an answer.” By asking this question, you are reinforcing the same belief, that you are questioning. When you are questioning a belief, you are ostensibly, trying to get rid of it, right? That seems to be your intention. But the moment you say, “Why?” do you see what you are doing? All ‘whys’ are dualistic. And you are asking, “Why does duality exist?” The question itself is…?

Listener 3: Dualistic.

Speaker: Dualistic. So, no ‘why’ about it. Why does ignorance exist? Why does that exist which is not? Does it exist? You are asking me, “Why does it exist?” The only answer I can have for you is, “Really?” (Laughter) “Where did you see it?”

“Sir, why do ghosts exist?” Do they? But by saying, “Why do ghosts exist?” just see what you are doing. You are saying, “They exist, of that I am sure. To you Sir, I am asking only, ‘Why they exist?’ I am not asking, ‘Whether they exist?’ Of that I am very sure. And I not allow you to question or demolish that. You just keep limiting to your role of answering the ‘why’ part.”

Listener 1: Sir, if the questioning as we are saying, is extending the disease. Then, when Nisargadatta Maharaj says, “It is the duty of mind to question,” what do exactly these points mean?

Speaker: There is difference between normal questioning and the questioning that happens in spiritual discretion, Vivek. Questioning means, separation. Questioning means, trying to figure out X from Y. Usually when you question something; all that you want to know is whether it is that which you think it is, or it is something else. But whatever it is, it is an object.

You are not interested in knowing whether it is an object at all. Of that you are very sure, that everything is an object. All that you want to know is, whether it is the same object that you think it is, or want it to be, right?

That is not discretion. That is just testing. You are testing white against black; you are testing the weight of something. The weight could be nine hundred grams, or the weight could be twelve hundred grams, but what is certain is that, the weight is there, quantifiable, and hence dualistic. In spiritual discretion the testing is of totally different nature. There what you question is, “Whether it exists at all? Whether it is?” That you, in your normal worldly activity, never question. You never question that.

Somebody knocks on your door, there are only two options – whether it is a known person, or it is an unknown person. The option that – it could be nobody, doesn’t cross your mind. Or if it does, it is quite scary.

Spiritual practice lies in questioning – whether it really is? Whether it really is? Is it really there? And what is the mark of it being there? It will be free from the vagaries of space and time. That is what you need to question. “Will time spoil it? Will space change it?” If yes, then it doesn’t exist. That is the questioning that spiritual master advocates, no other questioning. They will not say that you must question somebody, “What is your nationality?” How does it matter? They will not say you question somebody, “How much do you earn?” It doesn’t matter.

The only question that matters is, “Is it sadvastu? Is it nitya? Is IT?” It is the only question to be asked.

Listener 5: Sir, I take myself as an organism of time and space. Now, I have been told that, That from which time and space flows, is beyond time and space. There is one question that comes to my mind when I take this is that – why is time and space the markup to see whether it is real or not?

Speaker: No, time and space is not the mark up. Timelessness and spacelessness is the criteria.

Listener 5: But I have no clue of.

Speaker: But you have a clue of time and space?

Listener 5: Yes.

Speaker: So that is why it is used. It is because of ‘your’ limitation. You know only time and space, so you are being told that – if it is like ‘you’, then it is false. You are so false, that you are the gold standard of falseness. You are the very test of falseness. You are in time or space. That’s what you are saying, “I am an organism of time and space?”

Listener 5: Yes.

Speaker: So the test of Truth is – if something is like you, it is false.

Listener 6: Sir can it be said that because the original thing is permanent…?

Speaker: No, it is not permanent. It is not permanent.

‘Permanence’ is not the same as ‘Timelessness’. ‘Permanence’ means an extended, elongated, stretch of time. So long, that the mind cannot conceive of it. The mind may not conceive of it, but it is still in time. Truth is not permanent at all.

Listener 7: Sir I too have a question related to ‘permanence’. It is said that Truth is that which was, is, and will be. And falseness is that which wasn’t, isn’t, and won’t be. Maaya is that which wasn’t, which won’t be, but it seems as if it is present there. How did we come up to this?

Speaker: No, this is the only way it can be communicated to you. You think so much in time, that even Truth has to be told to you in terms of time. Otherwise, there is no sense in this statement that – the Truth is that which was, is, and will be. ‘Was’, ‘is’ and ‘will be’ indicates a belief in time.

‘Was’, ‘is’ and ‘will be’ indicates a belief in time. So even though you are talking of Truth, yet you are maintaining your belief in time. No realized man will talk of Truth in these terms. And if he does, it would only be for the consumption of a particular set of people, who would otherwise not understand.

Listener 3: Sir, mind sees only time and space. So whatever it knows is of time and space. How does it help me? One thing that comes in mind is, that all that there is, troubles me, although it gives me comfort or something.

For example, there is a very well-built house, but somewhere in mind there is a fear that it will fall apart, it will breakdown. So there is trouble associated with it. Other than that, I can’t find any reason to look at it.

Speaker: It is big enough reason, that there is a trouble associated with it. Why do you need a bigger reason?

Listener 3: But Sir, many times that trouble doesn’t appear. It is hidden somewhere.

Speaker: As long as it doesn’t appear, entertain yourself.

Listener 3: But after sometime, it appears.

Speaker: Why are you complaining now?

He just said that sometimes it doesn’t appear. Try to make sure that it doesn’t appear.

Listener 1: We don’t ask the ‘Is IT?’ question because somewhere we know that it doesn’t exist. Is it to further maintain your so-called illusion?

Speaker: Might be so.

Listener 3:  There was one particular statement I was reading yesterday, ‘The liberated man is extremely law-abiding, but his laws are laws of his real Self, not of his society. These he observes, or breaks, according to circumstances and necessity, but he will never be fanciful and disorderly.” So what are these laws of the real Self?


Speaker: Honesty, Love, and such useless things. These are the laws.


Listener 3: Are these like commandments in Christianity?

Speaker: Yes. There is nothing there that tells you that you have to be Honest towards somebody. There is nothing there that tells you that you have to Love a particular somebody.

commandments-005 (1)The commandments of the Self are that you must abide in the Self; that is your real place, that is where you must be. That your actions must be coming directly from the Self – from the Self to the mind, from the mind to the material. These are the laws. They can hardly be called ‘laws’.

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

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi on Raman Maharishi: The liberated one is liberated from maintaining liberation

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