Joy is the love affair of life with death || Acharya Prashant (2016)

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Explaining the meaning of one of his famous quotations:
Joy is the love affair of life with death.

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Acharya Prashant: Joy is the love affair of life with death. Who am I? I take myself to be the seeker, to be the one who really wants happiness, wants fulfillment. If I want fulfillment, if I want happiness, if I want love, then what am I taking myself to be?

Who am I? I take myself to be the seeker, to be the one who really wants happiness, wants fulfillment. If I want fulfillment, if I want happiness, if I want love, then what am I taking myself to be?

I take myself to be the seeker, to be the one who really wants happiness, wants fulfillment. If I want fulfillment, if I want happiness, if I want love, then what am I taking myself to be?

Listener: Lacking all these.

AP: Lacking all these, right? And I say, “I am alive.” Then what does my life mean?

My life is just a long story in unfulfillment.

What I call as my life is a continuous tension. What I call as my life is a continuous search. Is it not? And that is what I label as ‘my life’. What is life? The feeling that I must reach somewhere. What is life? The feeling that there is a future that will fulfill me. What is life? The feeling that there is a world out there that can harm me, or inflate me, enhance me. This is what we call as life right? A life that is driven by goals, desires, objectives—This is what we call as life.

And this is obviously a joyless life because in this life you are assuming yourself to be incomplete. In this life, you are assuming yourself to be unfulfilled, so this is a joyless life. What we call as life is just joyless, stress, tension, random chaotic movement. That is what we call as life.

If joylessness is life, surely joy will sound like death. If we have taken joylessness to be life, then joy is will sound like death. But still, we want joy. Hence joy is the love affair of life with death. That which you call as life has to be given up in joy.

You know why we keep feeling that we are not liberated?

Because liberation is the death of the one who feels.

So it is easier to keep feeling that one is not liberated, at least the one who is feeling is alive. How is it proven that he is alive? Because he is ‘feeling’ that he is not liberated. And if liberation is there, then the one who feels is gone. Only joy is there. So better not to be liberated. Better to keep feeling that liberation is just round the corner, “All I need is some miracle, some guru, some scripture, some grace.”

We think ourselves to be alive, but this life has a deeply suicidal tendency. Don’t we all want this life to end? The proof is that we all want change. What is change? Change is a kind of death. Change means that you do not like what is there and you want something else. And we want a deep, deep change and the proof of which is that no change ever satisfies us. You may change whatever you want to, yet it is never perfect. You want another change.

So we want this whole thing to end. That is the immensity of the change that we want. We don’t want an incremental change, we want a tremendous change. We do not want any improvement, we want a total dissolution. That is the kind of change that will ever really help us.

In that poster on the wall, Shiva is dancing. He is the symbol of dissolution, the Tandav, the Pralay (Flood) He is already there to help you. He is already showing you the falseness of all that you have embraced. He is always there to remind you that you are unnecessarily caught in the false. Drop the false. That is death, and that is a total, and immense, and loving life.

When this, that you call as life ends, then that which is really life begins.

In this life, ‘you’ live, so it is really a botched up life. In that life, life itself lives, so it’s the most beautiful of lives. This life is an illusion; that life is the Truth. This life begins and ends; that life is.

This is not some fantastic nonsense. This is the bare facts of our living. Don’t we live in a continuous tension? Don’t we? Is it not writ large on our faces? Look in the mirror, what do you see? Calmness? Fulfillment? Ask your mind. What do you hear? Contentment? Don’t you see we exist as beings cringing for something? Desperate to reach somewhere? If that is life, then please die.


Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Joy is the love affair of life with death The transcription has been edited for clarity.


Editor’s Note: 

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