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Listener 1: Even if we surrender, still there’s a confusion.
AP: Of course, if you surrender then you are still on top, and can you see how discreetly you are surrendering, “Even if we surrender”, as if surrendering is a choice.
Listener 1: No sir, it’s not a choice.
AP: Then it’ll just happen. Then you won’t say, “Even if I surrender.”
Listener 1: But there is no clear way ahead.
AP: Who’s way, your way? If you are surrendered, will you ask about the way or will you say – ‘Now my surrender is the way’. If I have surrendered myself to the driver then why should I worry about the way ahead, the driver will take care of the way.
Listener 1: But Sir I don’t know the driver?
AP: Do you know yourself? Are you not seeing yourself daily? You don’t need to know yourself in abstract or metaphysical terms. You are the one wearing this t-shirt, sitting here, with two arms, speaking- you know this one, right?
Listener 1: Yes
AP: So just look at ‘This one’. And when you’ll be able to see how this one keeps squirming, how dissatisfied he is, then probably you’ll not be entrusting yourself with driving your vehicle, your life.
Listener 2: If all what he sees is his body and the clothes, so that is what is him. So are we nothing more than body and clothes?
AP: Stay with that.
As I know myself, I am hardly anything more than the body, I am hardly anything more than the society. You know what does body represent- your physicality, your entire evolution. You know what clothes represent- society, everything that society gave you. If you can see that you are nothing more than physical and social conditioning then it’s a revolution. But you have to stay with that, not just talk. You’ve to really live in that realization. I am nothing but that, which my genes gave me and which my religion, priest, teacher, media, boss, wife, parents gave me. I am nothing but that. And since you’re not that, you’ll feel like rebelling.
Listener 2: Against the nature?
AP: Nature what?
Listener 2: The body.
The body has no nature. The body only has patterns and habits, the body is molecules. First of all see that what you are calling as nature, had it been nature then you would’ve been contended in it. The mark of nature is that when you are in nature then you want nothing else. Nature means that which I am. If body is your nature then just living as body would keep you totally contended, does it? So, of course, body is not your nature. Body has no nature at all. If body has a nature then clothes too have a nature. Body is another clothing.
Listener 3: 96 percent of the universe and no one knows, right?
AP: There is no universe when you are asleep, so don’t talk about it with such confidence.
Listener 3: 96 per cent of the matter actually.
AP: Go to sleep and then tell me where is the matter? Was there matter at 4 a.m today? Were you talking of matter at that time?
Listener 3: There was
AP: Where was it? Talk of matter at 4 a.m everyday.
Listener 2: It is everywhere around me.
AP: Were you talking of that? Did you have any confidence in it? Were you even there? Are you saying that now or then?
Listener 3: So you are saying that there is no moon when I don’t look at it.
AP: Obviously, if you don’t look at it then the sun can’t rise. Do you know what the sun is? Is there the sun without your eyes? What gives shape to the Sun?
Listener 3: Gas
AP: If there is no you then is there anybody to call gas as gas?
The problem with the mind that has always looked outwards is that it believes that things out there have an objective reality. You are unable to pay attention to the simple fact that the shape given to the object out there is given by your brain. If your brain is tweaked a little then that shape will totally change. In fact animals do not perceive the sun in the same way as you perceive it. Insects do not live in time the way you do. Trees do not look at the color the way you do. Why do you think that the sun is something factual out there?
You are the one who gives color, shape, form, size and meaning to sun. No you, no sun. Now that sounds so absurd. You feel that- when I imagine that even if there is nobody on earth, the sun is still rising. The sun is still rising because it is you who is still imagining.
Even a kid can understand this. But because you are, and specially the western mind is always looking outwards. No exposure to the self within. So we talk rubbish about the things out there.
Listener 3: If it is not gas then what is it?
AP: It is that which you are.
Listener 3: Am I the sun?
AP: You are the sun. There is nothing up there. All is inside you. There is nothing up there, nothing down there, nothing anywhere. All is just here.
Listener 3: Sir is there no fire near you?
AP: I can only see myself, show me where is the fire?
Listener 3: Here is the fire near you, you can feel it.
AP: That is not fire, that is me and I am very hot. Of course I am. Everybody says that. And if I am hot then I can burn myself, why not?
Listener 3: What is that fire near you then?
AP: It is that which your eyes perceive, and your eyes are in perfect coordination with your skin. For eg- Your eyes perceive that there is floor down there, right? and you can pick your leg and keep it down and you perceive the floor down there. So you feel as if it is a verification that what the eyes were telling you was right. You are using your feet to verify what your eyes have said. The eyes are telling you that there is fire here. And now you are using your skin to verify whether there is fire here. Do you see what you are doing? You are doing the same thing to verify itself. It’s the same apparatus, of course it will verify itself.
Listener 3: I did not want to do it, I want you to do it.
AP: Anybody who does it. It’s the same thing. It’s the same apparatus. Just as you feel that there is fire here, similarly you feel that there is me out here. There is no difference. So do not talk of this and that. Pick up just one object and see how you perceive that object and how the whole universe appears to be existent to you.
The senses act in perfect coordination. A whole network is built up. You see, if your eyes tell you that there is fire here and your skin goes near the fire and it does not get burnt then immediately you’ll realize that the eyes have been lying. But the system is such that what the eyes tell you the skin verifies. So you are fooled into believing that whatever your eyes are telling you is indeed there. But the fact is- It is there only because you feel that your eyes are seeing it.
Now, answer this- Would your eyes see anything if the universe is not there? The eyes would see nothing if the universe is not there. If the eyes are not seeing anything would you call eyes as eyes? If my eyes see nothing would I call my eyes as eyes? Why are eyes called as eyes? Because they see. Hence it is the universe that defines the eyes. No universe no eyes. And how do you know that the universe exists? Because of eyes.
Now, it’s quite a clever game going on.
The universe gives you eyes or eyes arise out of the universe and from these eyes you are certain that the universe is there. The eyes are the proof of the universe, the universe is the proof of the eyes and what is the poof of both? That you do not know. The universe is the object, the eyes are the subject, the object and subject are two ends of a duality dependent on each other, mutually reinforcing each other and is there anything that can certify both of them, by seeing both of them together?
Obviously, you’ve no familiarity with that. You have never been with that.
Spirituality is about being with That and bowing to That as the Truth. You look at the object and call it the truth. I look at the one who looks at the subject and the object together and surrender to that as the Truth. When you are calling that as the Truth then you are only calling your eyes as the Truth. And your eyes deceive you so much. Somebody can poke a little rod in your eyes and they are gone. They could not stay with you. Even if somebody does not poke anything in your eyes they’ll still go after some decades at the most.
But that which sees the two ends of duality together, the subject and the object together, the stimulus and the impact together, the happening and the result together- that does not go away, that does not deceive you. There, you feel secure, there you find freedom from fear. There you are not afraid that the fire will be put off then there will be darkness then what will I do. If this is the truth, this will go away. If this is your ruth then I can simply extinguish your truth. What kind of truth is this? If this is your truth, it can be blown away. What kind of truth is this? And if your eyes are the truth then they too can be taken away. What kind of truth is that?
Truth by definition is that which never fails you. You can be absolutely certain and dependent. The scriptures called that- ‘Nityata’. It is not dependent on time. So, be with that. The seer of both the subject and the object, the witness of not only the fire, the tree, the pillar but of the mind as well that is perceiving the fire, the tree and the pillar.
Is it not obvious?Have you not been dependent on something in the world a million times. Have you not been dependent? On a relationship, on an event, on a place. All of these are objects in the world. Have you not been dependent on them? And has this dependence ever brought you peace? You say- when that will happen then I will be peaceful. You say- when I get that then I will be joyful. A thought, an idea, an object, a man, a woman, something out there, you are so certain of, you want to rely on. And whenever you have relied on something out there, all you’ve received is suffering.
Truth is that which will never make you suffer, which will never let you down. Stay only with that, depend only on that. Do not place your confidence in anything or anybody else, and least of all in yourself. If you want to trust- trust your neighbor, but never trust yourself. Best is to not to place your trust in anything except the Truth. That does not mean that you distrust everybody. But only means that you leave yourself to the Truth and then from there if the command is to trust then trust, if the command is to not to trust then you leave things.
I repeat- The more certain you are of an objective reality- be it the sun, the fire, a man, a woman, a car, happiness, a tree, a building, the food, the more certain you are them the more you are placing upon them the burden to be equivalent to the Truth. You are unnecessarily loading them with the responsibility to fulfill you. You are saying- Oh! that woman looks so real to me.
Whenever something will look so real to you, you will take it as an equivalent of Truth. Now when you take that woman as an equivalent to truth, does that woman appears false to you, no. When you are absorbed in that relationship then that woman appears so real. Does she not? In fact she appears everything. In fact you sing songs for her, placing her along with the God, don’t you? You do that. Whenever you will do that, you will burden the other person with the responsibility of being the Truth.
Now, she is just a woman. She can never be the truth. Your relationship will collapse under the weight of your expectations. You will want her to fulfill you but she can never fulfill you. That fulfillment which you want, only the Truth can give you. But you’re expecting a woman to be a source of joy and fulfillment. It happens. Wives want their husbands to be a superman, to be perfect, who can give them all that they need. Ultimately that you need is a spiritual fulfillment, and your husband cannot give that to you. And the husband also expects the same from their wives. He says, “now that you have come into my life, life must be bliss.” Temporarily it may appear to be bliss but after some time the bliss fades away and what you are left with is suffering- the ruminants, the reminders of your shattered expectations.
Never take anything out there seriously. Neither the fire nor the woman. If you take them seriously then you are just preparing the ground for your own burial. You are just setting yourself up to receive more wounds.
That which you really are and that which you really want and that which is the Truth, is not in front of the eyes but behind the eyes. It is that which powers the eyes to look at something in front of them. So, that which is in front of you is Truth but a projected Truth, an image of Truth. You need not discard it but you also must be careful against thinking of it as the Truth. It is powered by Truth, it is projected by the Truth, it is a game of Truth but do not ever think that it is the Truth.
In front of you, you’ll only see something very small, something limited. The limited can be a representative of the unlimited but never the unlimited itself. The woman can be a representative of God but never God herself.
Listener 4 : Sir once you are with the Truth then everything will be the same but the only action would be from the right center, is that you mean?
AP: Yes, and then do not be worried, of course you’ll not be, that everything is still the same. You’ll not grow biceps just because you’ve surrendered to the truth. Your t-shirt size will remain the same. Or even if it changes, it will change marginally. May be you’ll eat a little less, may be you’ll exercise a little more. But do not expect fabulous, fantastic new experiences. That is another let down- why is that not happening to me, where is that delightful bliss? Life remains the same.
Listener 5: Then what’s the point?
AP: There is no point. If you are still searching for a point then you’ll keep searching. The Truth is for those who are not looking for benefits or profits. When you say- what is the point? Then like a businessman you are asking- how much will I be getting? What’s there on the table?
Listener 5: And what’s the reason for my action?
AP: Yes of course, and what does that reason mean- greed and profit, something that I can get, what else do you mean by reason? When you say that there is a reason behind my action, all you mean is that your action is purpose driven, that your action has an end result, an objective which will give you something- which is greed. So, Truth is not for those who are operating from that center. Unless this question is dropped, your punishment is that you’ll remain with this question and will be troubled by it.
You must be careful about how your words betray, reveal, expose the center they are coming from. You see, we never directly say- how much is there in it for me? Instead we decorate it in more sophisticated and polished language, what do we say, “what is the point, what is it about?” We never directly say that- I am hungry, how much food is there in it? Because if we say that then just saying would be so ugly that we’ll have to retreat. So we don’t put it this way. We always say it indirectly.
Listener 6: We Indians are like that.
AP: Everybody is like that. In fact we Indians are little more blunt.
Listener 7 : Sir why do we always look for methods. We always say – my life is full of trash and give me some methods to get out of this.
AP: And every demand of the method contains an assumption that I will remain the same and the method will redeem me. When you say that you want a method to climb this pillar, do you mean that you want a method that will change you so that you climb this pillar, no you don’t meant that. You say, “I will remain what I am – weighing 340 kgs, now you tell me how do I climb this pillar while remaining 340 kgs.” And if somebody tells you that the only way to climb this pillar is to drop a good 250 kgs of your weight then you say- no, this is not the method. You want a method that helps you remain yourself. And that method is no method. Every method is hence a deception.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Who are you and what is your nature?
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