What is mind and what is soul? || Acharya Prashant (2015)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.

Questioner: The soul has a unique identity which goes through all the cycles. And that identity does not change. The soul, with that identity, keeps going through cycle after cycle, till it probably gets salvation. During this passage it adopts, or is allocated certain bodies – may be a bird, may be a human being, may be an animal or may be a plant.

Then what is mind? There is a body and we know that the soul enters the body at a particular time, and then the body and the soul have a particular relationship. Then what is ‘mind’? Is it intellect? Is it knowledge? What identity has the mind got? 

Acharya Prashant: (Addressing the questioner) It’s always so nice to be talking to you.

So you talked about the ‘transmigration of the soul’ and how it is supposed to have a unique identity and how it goes from body to body and such things. And then you said, “What is the mind?”

Let me put it very simply: whatever one can talk about, is the mind. And nothing more actually needs to be said on that. So if it can be talked about, discussed, put in language, conceptualised, analysed, defined, then it is the mind. Even if you say, “Something is beyond the mind,” then because you are talking about it, and pointing a finger at it, it is still within the domain of mind.

What are the characteristics of the things that are inside the mind, that make up the mind, that are the mind?

They are things. Mind’s stuff is objects. So, mind is – thoughts, words, images, sound, memories, ideas, plans, everything and anything that language can express. Whatever the language can express, is an object. And all objects are of the mind, in the mind, the mind.

So when you talk of ‘the soul’ and the movement of the soul, and such things, surely you are talking of some ‘thing’. The moment you talk of something, it is the mind. Because, as we said, if you can talk of it, it is mental. If you can even think of it, it is mental. If you can have a vague intuition, or feeling about it, it is mental. 

So what you just referred to as ‘soul’, is nothing but an object of the mind. It does not have any identity separate from the mind. And the mind has no unique identity. The habit of the mind, the prakriti of the mind is, change. Mind is objects, and all objects are space and time. And whatever is in space and time, is changing, continuously changing.  

So two things:

One, that which we commonly refer to as the ‘soul’, is nothing but a mental concept. It is only as important or sacred as any other concept. One has thought (stressing on the word ‘thought’) of it. And if there is no thought, then there would be no such concept. One need not attach greater importance to one concept compare to the other. All concepts are just concepts, mental mechanisms. That’s it.

All that we see spread around us, all that walks, all that talks, all that moves, all that feels, all that is, all that is not – is mind. If it is moving it is mind, if it is stationary it is mind. If it is changing it is mind, if it is not changing, it is still mind. And if you want to go beyond the mind, as many of us often want to, you will only meet more mind, because ‘beyondness‘ is also a concept of the mind.

Even if you transcend the mind, you just enter into the territory of more mind. If you could call it ‘rarefied mind’. Alright, but even ‘rarefaction’ is just a concept. You are talking about it, it is language.

That’s the trap in the search of wisdom.

Truth comes to acquire the status of merely words. Words come to take the respect that rightfully belongs to Truth. And one forgets, when one has started worshiping words and concepts and images, rather than the Truth.

We have a friend here. Nineteen eighty-four was when he first came to India. And he has been visiting India regularly ever since then. He has been seeking, and seeking, what we call as ‘the Truth’ or ‘Wisdom’ or ‘Liberation’. And he has been coming regularly ever since then. Later on he started bringing others as well.

There is hardly any spiritual place in India that he has not visited. He has met hundreds of proclaimed knowers and wise-men, that he has met and talked to, and lived with. I came in contact with him through e-mail just a few months back. And last week was the time I have seen him, I have never seen him before.

So, he is in a very good position to tell us how one is firstly attracted towards ‘knowing’, and it’s such a great and wonderful attraction. One does not want to live in lies, one does not want to live in falseness-es and deceptions. One wants to really know what is going on. What is the mind? What are the movements of the mind? From where does it come?

What is Love? What is Freedom? What is Joy? Is there a purpose to life? These are the questions that motivate the seeker to go to distant lands, and get some answer.

One is seeking the Truth, but there are great traps in looking for the Truth.

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

Watch session at: What is mind and what is soul? | YouTube

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    1. There are various opportunities to connect to and meet Acharya Prashant. These are:

      1. Meet the Master:

      Meet the Master program is rare opportunity to meet Acharya Prashant personally, either physically or online. To meet the Master, send your application, write to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917.

      2. Advait Learning Camps:

      Advait Learning Camps are monthly retreats organized under Acharya Prashant’s guidance. These camps are about spending four days and three nights in the lap of nature, while reading, reflecting, learning and evolving. So far, scores of ALCs have been organised in places like Rishikesh, Mukteshwar, Jim Corbett National Park, Chopta, KainchiDham, etc.
      Additionally, we organize dedicated bonding camps for kids and parents. To participate in the camp, write an e-mail to requests@prashantadvait.com, or call: Sh. Anshu Sharma at +91-8376055661.

      3. Course in Realization:

      Course in Realization, a classroom-based learning program led by Acharya Prashant, is an initiative towards disseminating clarity and intelligence in the world. In this course, a rigorous study of a scripture or a saint is undertaken each month.
      To join in, send your application, write to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Sh. Apaar: +91-9818591240

      4. Month of Awakening:

      For those who cannot attend sessions physically, the foundation does online streaming of few selected sessions via Skype or Webinar. Known as Month of Awakening, this facility offers live streaming of sessions and helps seekers listen to Acharya-Ji while being where they are.
      To receive the blessing, send your application to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

      5. Blessings from Beyond:

      Weekends with Acharya Prashant brings you the unique opportunity for a 2 day 2 night stay with the Master every month at Advait Ashram, Greater Noida. The getaway involves two mystical days of dynamic activities, explorations of the self, sports, meditative reading, deep reflections, midnight walks and more.
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