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Question: In response to the broadcasts we do, I always keep getting moral stories – this is evident after this discussion that we just had. How come they remember the moral story only when I forward something to them?
Acharya Prashant: It’s a wonder – how man gets accustomed to using morality as a pole-star. You have your eyes, you have your mind, you can figure out your direction. There is some kind of inner laziness, some kind of a deep fear. We all have been terrified. We all have started believing that things can go wrong any time. I better be careful, I better take the beaten route.
Morality gives a definite roadmap; do it this way. Actually, it gives you a flow chart; do it this way. It is a readymade action plan. You don’t have to be on your own.
L1: Whatever is there in the mind, it is all just morality, because mind itself is the flowchart.
AP: Ninety-nine percent of what goes around in the name of religion and spirituality is just stale morality, and I might be understating. What else are all the laws of the world, the constitutions and the legal courts? They are just enactments of morality, what else? Actually, if you take away morality, how can there be constitutions? Then all that you have is an inner constitution. Then all that you have is the eye of the Buddha. How can there be a constitution then? No constitution applies to the Buddha.
Wherever there is a law, it is a moral law. There is nothing called a spiritual law. Morality is man-made. That is the difference. Spirituality is not man-made. When you say that my biggest law is the constitution of my country, what you’re saying is that you’re so arrogant that you want to be governed by something coming out of man’s mind and you’re not prepared to be governed by the Truth. It has become quite fashionable these days to say all this. People say, “My Gita is the constitution; I have no religion except patriotism”, people don’t even realize what evil they’re uttering.
Constitutions come and go; constitutions are modified and revised, amended. Constitutions themselves contain provisions as to how to amend them. The Constitution of India has been changed so many times, more than a hundred times; but people say “No, constitution comes first, country first.” Your country is something made by you. Tomorrow if your mind changes, you will change the country. Tomorrow if your mind changes, you will modify the constitution; but that’s what man likes, to be governed by morality rather than spirituality. That is just a tribute to his own ego, because morality is man-made, rather ego-made. So, I would rather be moral. That helps my ego, rather the collective social ego.
L2: How is it that morality which has to be only in books has become the life, but spirituality, which actually has to be the Real life is always termed as philosophical, as not practical? Why does the mind accept this one as life? Is it so because we are more and more taught to do that?
AP: You never accepted it. You just absorbed it. There is a difference between the two. The word ‘acceptance’ implies an application of discretion (vivek). When you are absorbing all these things that come to you, is there really any action of discretion, real discrimination taking place, is there any vivek then? It is just being absorbed. So you cannot even say that you accept all the values and morality that come from here and there. You never accepted them. They just came and sat on your mind.
L2: When we talk about opening up of realities, seeing facts, so I remember one person who was so sexually attracted, and suddenly he had a chance to visit a western country and it was like the women there were quite open, like normal. The short clothing were quite normal over there and he came back and just said “I was thinking it to be so attractive just because it’s high, and when I saw, I couldn’t find a difference between a man and a woman; and there was nothing like attractive. It’s all in my mind that something was making it to appear attractive.” So it gave an opening discussion which he never talked about, it was something else he talked about. Then there was a little bit higher talk on that, the talk took some wearing in; looking at it, we don’t have the opportunity. We tend to blind ourselves not to look at it.
AP: When facts are obfuscated, imagination has a field day. It has been a practice in India, it’s now waning, but it’s still quite prevalent in many other countries for women to cover their faces and their heads. As you’re sitting in front of me, and if you cover everything then imagination can run amok – that’s what the obfuscation of facts does. It opens the doors for pleasure. So, the more you cover, the more there is the possibility of pleasure.
L2: Morality prevents that – to not to look.
AP: Morality is a pleasure giver. Morality condemns pleasure and enables pleasure.
L3: It is like itching at the same point; the itch is pleasurable and the pleasure may have been heightened because it has been told that it’s not pleasurable, but still it is giving some sort of feeling. That feeling itself is giving that tingling feeling which says “Okay! I want it more.”
AP: No. Wrong. The feeling is not saying that I am wonderful. There is nothing about scratching the itch which is inherently joyful. Even this is a conditioning that the sensation that arises out of scratching is a pleasure. Even that is a conditioning. You see certain foods are sensed as tasty in some cultures whereas in other cultures those same foods are not worth putting on the tongue.
AP: It’s not a question of non-veg. It’s a question of purely the taste. Just as scratching is a sensation, similarly the food hitting the taste buds is a sensation. How is it possible that the same material hitting the taste buds is a pleasurable sensation to somebody and a not so pleasurable sensation to somebody?
It only means that pleasure has no absolute existence of its own. Even this is taught to you that scratching is known as pleasure and pleasure is good. And if this is not taught, then you will find no pleasure in scratching. It is taught to you that this is called tasty, and if you’re not taught that, then you will not find it tasty. Pleasure is given its name and meaning by conditioning; otherwise, pleasure is nothing.
L3: So, we as human beings giving importance or priority to anything is actually just conditioning?
AP: Yes. Some of that might be very deep. Some of that might be ingrained in the body itself.
AP: Yes, biologically. For example, if you put something very bitter or sour on anybody’s tongue, on even a newborn’s tongue, then he will cringe. Nobody in a human form has taught this to him that this is not pleasurable, yet he knows that this is not pleasurable. Now, this conditioning is coming from the body.
L3: Similarly sex is also one such thing. But when we talk about sex, is it not that it’s being more on the social conditioning side?
AP: Yes, more on the social side.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Man likes to be governed by morality rather than spirituality The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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