The Total is neither masculine nor feminine, hence the search and summit of both || Acharya Prashant (2015)


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Question: Can we discuss the masculine and feminine principles in nature, and in a person, if at all there are such things.

Shri Prashant: You have put in this caveat- ‘if at all there are such things’. ‘If there are.’ The question of ‘is-ness’. What ‘is’. What ‘is’, is non-dual; and what you call as masculine and feminine, is surely two ends of duality. Now, these two ends of duality can obviously not be discussed in terms of ‘is-ness’, because what is non-dual, is not; what is dualistic, is not;  (repeating) what is dualistic, is not.

Then why do we talk of yin and yangpurush and prakrati – the masculine and the feminine; so much?

We talk about them because our mind is obsessed with gender, with sex; with women, with men; all dualities are the same. In fact, there is only one duality, called “duality”. The two ends of that duality can be given any name. Those two ends can be called as- black and white, solid and gaseous; man and woman, coming and going; rising and falling, but essentially there is just “duality”.

There is the dual and there is the non-dual.

Where there is a duality, there is an infinitude of words, and words mean small things.

Where there is a non-duality, there is just infinitude.

Both are infinite.

The dualistic world is also infinite, but it is infinite in its smallness; it is infinite in its littleness, in its fragmentation.

And the non-dual world is just infinite.


So, there is hardly any need to give special attention or special importance to the so-called masculine and feminine because neither the masculine really exists nor the feminine really exists.

Pay attention to That which is beyond masculinity and femininity.

Otherwise, it is very easy to remain in the trap of that which is likeable and dislikable, very easy.

“I am a man, so it pleases me to do a deep research on the feminine aspect of mind; and I make that the basis of my sadhana (accustom) without ever realising that why am I looking at the one duality only in terms of gender, why? Why is there a need to divide the world on this basis alone? Why couldn’t it have been another basis? And if I continue to divide the world on this basis; it only strengthens the basis, and that basis is my deep tendency and my deep suffering.”

I repeat: that basis is technically not wrong. You can divide the whole dualistic world on the basis of gender, you can do that. And that would be alright. You can say that the door is masculine and the window is feminine, and you are right; and that they always co-exist, you are right. There can be no window without a wall. So these are the masculine and the feminine, and every wall will have an ending somewhere, every wall will have a point beyond which the wall does not exist and one can have a look at the sky, so you are right. Technically, you are right, that there is a duality here, but why give that duality the name of man and woman? Why not some other name? Because we give those names according to our own inclinations and preferences. If we continue to give those names then our inclinations are strengthened, reinforced. One has to watch out against these things. Getting it? And that applies to all pairs of duality.

Everybody has its favourites, and whatever is a favourite to you is an indication towards the tendency of your mind.

So, let duality be just duality, just know that this is dualistic. Giving names to the two ends is like making those two ends specific and personality dependent. Now you will be attached to one of the two ends and you will be repulsed by the other end. Just say “this is dualistic”. There is no need to decorate it, there is no need to make it colourful; enough to know that it is dualistic.

(Asks the listeners) Anything on this?

L1:  Sir, but why there is duality?

SP: So you are asking this question and you also want to know the answer, this is duality.

Are you one or two?

L1: One.

SP: One, then how one part of you can ask a question and the other part of you can understand the answer? But that seems to be happening. Hence, all that which we call as real is just dualistic. The one reality that “you are”, even that has been split into two. You say, “I will ask the question and then I will comprehend the answer.” What have you done? You have made two parts of yourself. Don’t you say, “I want to know myself”? Now “I” and “myself”, what have you done? “I” and “myself” – as if you are two – “I want to know myself.” Had you been one, how would that one know itself?

All knowledge is dualistic, and because you live in knowledge, hence all you know is duality; that’s why, if I answer this question, it won’t help. It would be just knowledge, more knowledge. Knowledge means a subject and an object – that is duality.

L2: Sir, you have talked in previous session that we all look for permanency. So, permanency’s other end is impermanent. So, when you say ‘permanencies’, is it different from or is it apart from duality or am I taking it…

SP: The permanency that we usually talk of is just a very long stretch in time. It does not indicate eternity, it does not indicate something beyond time. It begins. It begins. And whatever begins is bound to come to an end.

For example, in the various forms that you fill, you write your permanent address. Now you may say “permanent”, but that only means it will not end within two weeks or two months, that does not mean that it will stand till the end of time. History is marked by a thousand permanent settlements between nations, which all do not exist anymore, and what did you call it? – “a permanent settlement”. So when you say ‘permanent’, deep within you know, it only means that “I am delaying the inevitable”. It does not mean that “I am crossing over beyond the frontier of time.”

Eternity is something different.

Timelessness is something even more different.

Search for permanence, in the way we search for permanence, is an invitation to more frustration because you will not get it. In the world where you are looking for permanence, you will only find impermanence. Everything is temporal. Where will you find anything that time is not going to destroy?

So yes, you are right. Man’s search for permanence arises from his deep anguish at impermanence. Spirituality does not give you anything permanent. It gives you something which is beyond the dimension of time, and there you don’t have permanence, you don’t have impermanence either.

L3: Sir, you said “eternity is different, timelessness is even more different”, how to understand these two as different?

SP: When you say “eternity”, it is still in the domain of time. It is an indication towards time that never ends, so it is just a metaphor. But you are still talking of time, you are still talking of past and future.

Timelessness is a beyondness.

The “now” is timeless, and when the “now” is used to indicate timelessness then we call it the Present. When the “now” is a part of stream of time, then it is just related to the past and future.

Usually, we do not use “now” for timelessness. We use “now” to indicate a particular moment in time. If I say “now”, you would interpret it to mean 11 am.

In essence, “now” is Present; which is timeless, but that is not a colloquial use of “now”, I am reminding you.

~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. 

Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Prashant Tripathi: The Total is neither masculine nor feminine, hence the search and summit of both

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