Only the fake saint conforms to the idea of a saint || Acharya Prashant (2016)

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Question: What about the so-called saints? They’re not real saints but considered to be by the society.

Listener 1: I’ve got a beautiful expression about this, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”.

Acharya Prashant: A saint is nobody special. We are saints. Now that breaks our own image in our mind. We are saints. Why are you not a saint? Prove that you are not a saint. How are you not a saint? Saints are undifferentiable. The Atman is the only Saint. We all are saints. You don’t have to go to a saint and we are also the so-called saints.

When you’re operating from the right centre, you are the Saint.
When you’re operating from somewhere else, then you’re the so-called saint.

What if the person called as saint didn’t have words? What if he was not wearing a special robe? What if he was not keeping his hair in a special way? What if he was in normal civilian uniform and you meet him on a train and there are no words, how would you know him as a Saint?

L1: Maybe you don’t!

L2: Usually people who are much evolved have a certain energy, a certain radiation.

AP: Energy is a very physical quantity. It can be detected by instruments. There is nothing called as the body giving out energy. Forget about it being Spiritual, it is not even Scientific.

L2: Yeah, but it is still something I experience.

AP: Whatever one experiences is a thing of the mind. One can keep experiencing anything. By imagining a beautiful woman, you can experience arousal. That does not mean that the beautiful woman is there.

L2: Ramana Maharishi said you can’t recognize unless you yourself are. But maybe the best indication is you might feel peaceful in their presence.

AP: So, the fellow is just there wearing nothing special. Wearing a shirt and a trouser and sitting adjacent to you in a train. How will that bring peace to you? My question is would any of these saints remain if they’re robbed of their vocabulary, their clothes, their prestige and their podium? What if they’re sent to walk the streets and shop like a commoner? Do you think the shopkeepers would give them any special respect?

L2: No. This is a social thing.

AP:  But the same shopkeepers give them a lot of respect.

L2: The idea of the saint is a social thing.

AP: But all we have is an idea.

L1: Yes, Ideas; the Idea of a saint.

AP: The fake saint feels a great need to confirm to the idea. That’s one mark of the fake saint. He knows very well what he needs to do to be called a saint. The thing regarding darshan, the thing regarding energy and the rest of it.

L1: But I think that makes him then a saint if he starts to really act like a saint. Maybe that makes him a saint.

AP: So to be a saint is to act like a saint. It’s very cheap then to be a saint.

L1: No, I don’t mean it like in a literal sense.

L2: The recognition of a saint. But that wouldn’t matter because recognition doesn’t matter, if it’s there it’s there and that in itself is. The saint would recognize a saint.

AP: One simple question: Was Jesus acting like a saint? Was he wearing anything that distinguished him from the commoners?

L2: Don’t think so.

AP: Did he rise to a podium to speak or did he just sit anywhere?

L3: He performed miracles. Now that is acting like a saint.

AP: What are those miracles? Let’s talk about any of them? Shall we take the example of Lazarus, walking on water?

L3: Can’t remember!

AP: Yes, let’s talk about him bringing Lazarus back to life.

L1: I’ve one question, an important one. If a saint is someone who only brings happiness, joy and things like that then Jesus maybe is not such a saint.

L2: Who says a saint only brings happiness and Joy?

L1: That’s the usual idea.

AP: Just as energy is a physical quantity, you can measure it, you can store it, and you can know it with absolute certainty, similarly things like walking on water are very-very physical things. When it is said that he had someone walk on water, all that means is he had that done which is usually impossible. Similarly, when it is said that he brought Lazarus back to life, it only means that living in a conditioned way you’re dead and when you relieve somebody from his conditioning then you’ve brought him to life.

It is not to be taken literally because the life of a Jesus itself is not to be taken literally. When it is said that he was the son of God, is it a literal thing? When it is said that Mary is a virgin, is it a literal thing? None of the stuff associated with Jesus is literal. It is symbolic and the symbol has to be understood.

When it is said that he came back to life, is it possible to die and come back to life? It means something else. It means that you may try to kill the Truth and crucify it a thousand times; the Truth would still be back. It is immortal. None of that is literal stuff. You cannot have a child coming out of a virgin woman.

L2: Yes, according to known laws of science.

AP: According to Prakriti, not known laws of science. Prakriti entertains nobody’s interference, not even God’s. The question is very important. One must keep coming back to it. Why does one feel the need to act like a saint? Krishna acted like Krishna. Jesus acted like Jesus. Why does one need or feel to act like a saint?

L2: It’s just an idea in people’s minds.

AP: Is it not deception and should one not be rejected for this very reason? If one is trying to act like a saint, should one not be immediately rejected for this very reason?

L2: Yeah, throw him in the Ganges!

AP: He is already sinking. How can you through him anymore? First of all think of the utter suffering that he himself is passing through. Wearing all the attire of the saint and acting like the Baba. He himself is living a very torn life. I don’t know how he relates to his wife. Have you ever thought how that Baba relates to his kids and wife?

So he himself is deeply divided, fragmented, torn but outside there is the facade of the saint and darshan and the rest of it. What if he tries to give darshan to his wife? The wife has seen him naked. Shouldn’t we ask this? Here people are queuing up to have a look at you. Your wife has seen you naked ten thousand times. Is she enlightened?

L2: Maybe more enlightened.

AP: Maybe ten thousand times more enlightened. Here we are getting to touch only the tip of your hands. She has touched you and did everything that can possibly be done with a human body. What’s become of her? And here people are crazy saying, Oh! Can I just touch you? But we don’t want to ask these simple questions, right? The first proof of a saint, and the darshan thing and the touch thing would be the wife and the kids. We want to see your wife and kids. We want to see how enlightened they are.

L1: That’s an interesting point! I didn’t think about it.

AP: But it’s so obvious.

L1: I have to admit. I didn’t think about it.

AP: But it’s so obvious, why don’t you think about it?

L1: The saint can say they’re not ready to be enlightened.

AP: Why not? Why did you marry an unripe woman?

L1: Maybe she did it before he was enlightened.

AP: So why are you still carrying her when you’re ripe?

L2: Prarabdha Karma.

AP: If you’re still carrying the load of your prarabdha karma, then are you free from your identities? Karma drops for the one who has dropped the identity.

L2: He’s not identified as husband only.

AP: If you’re not identified as the husband, why do you spend your time there?

L1: Because it’s his duty.

AP: If you still have a duty as a husband, where is your duty towards God? The saint has only one duty— towards the Truth. He knows no duty towards this and that.

L1: So you think a saint cannot have a family life?

AP: For the saint, the family is a very broad term.

L1: Yes, but I think that a saint can have a family life like us and at the same time care and be one with God.

AP: If you care for the kid in the other country and the kid next door exactly as much as your own kid, do you have a family?

L1: Yes, the overall family, a very big family.

AP: Then can you call yourself a family man?

L1: Yes and No.

AP: Here we have people who are maintaining a family. The entire world is not really a family for them. We must ask these simple facts. That’s what I have been reiterating again and again. Why do you talk of the immense, the infinite and the beyond? Why don’t you look at the immediate fact?

L2: Just as we can’t tell the saint by the outer clothes, we can judge by any fact of his life.

AP: Only by his life.

L2: We should ask his wife.

AP: We should ask whether there is a wife.

L2: Now you’re making a condition that a saint wouldn’t have a wife.

AP: The saint won’t live by the society and the wife is totally a social institution.

L2: What about Shiva and Parvati then?

AP: Shiva never had a wife. What do you think; the naked Shiva would have a well decorated Parvati?

L2: Maybe once in a while.

AP: No. Then he would not have her sit as a consort next to her. Fine, come and go.

L2: But now you’re placing conditions on the Truth how it will express.

AP: Truth surely has one condition attached to it. It is the Truth and it is Absolute.

L2: Wife or no wife.

AP: Wife or no wife which means that the Truth will not feel to have a wife for fulfilment.

L2: Not for fulfilment.

AP: Then for fun’s sake the Truth will have an infinite number of wives, not one wife. What is this thing about that one woman? Why not the woman next door? I’m not saying that Truth is a celibate and won’t touch a woman. I’m saying the Truth won’t touch one particular woman.  Then the truth would be promiscuous, here there everywhere absolute.

L2: The lives of famous saints are always shrouded and all these rumours about them having sex with lots of different women. You’re right, yes.

AP: That is very obvious. The river is having sex with the bank at all places. The river does not have one particular relationship. A few other questions: Was Jesus fond of being photographed in special poses? Would he appoint a professional photographer and go to a studio to get photographed?

L2: I see him in pictures often like this.


AP: Did he get himself clicked or are we imagining those pictures today? You know of these teenage girls who would get them clicked a hundred times and then select the right display picture for their Facebook account. They want to be attractive to young men. If the saint is doing the same thing, getting himself clicked in fancy poses, what is he doing? The saint is standing so that he can get clicked.

L2: Osho was the greatest flirt with the camera. He has thousands of pictures.

AP: When we look at Osho’s life, we have to look at his life in totality. Yes, he was getting himself clicked. But then he was getting himself clicked with ten women.

L2: Yes, Sometimes, sometimes not.

AP: He was not afraid to get himself clicked with ten women. Not afraid at all. He was not following the traditional image of a saint. No saint gets himself clicked with dancing women. Here you have saints who are following just the beaten track. They very well know what it means to look like a saint and they’re getting themselves clicked that way.

Osho would get himself clicked sipping a cup of tea. Was that image existing before Osho? Osho was an iconoclast. Here you have followers of images. Even in getting himself clicked, Osho broke a stereotype because saints were not supposed to be fond of wearing fancy clothes and watches and rings and anklets and caps and such things. So even in getting himself clicked with that stuff, he was still defying images and here you have people who are desperate to cling to images so that they can be proven as saints. Don’t you see the obvious difference?

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Only the fake saint conforms to the idea of a saint The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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