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Acharya Prashant: What is Moksha? Moksha means liberation; liberation from root of all that which bothers you, freedom from all that which can ever trouble you. When the mind says it wants freedom- it only wants freedom from the objects that it considers troublesome. Now that will always be partial freedom because the mind lives in parts. The mind will say this is the entire universe and this part of the universe doesn’t bother me and this part of the universe bothers me.
So the mind will always seek only partial freedom from the world. Even as the mind will say that this, this and that need to go away (pointing in one direction). With equal intensity it will say that, that and that too as well need to stay (pointing in other direction). It will want freedom from pain and will continue to remain attached to pleasure. Such is the nature of mind. It sees only one side of the coin ever.
It cannot do anything else, mind knows only duality. Duality is the very substance of mind. Comes then a different dimension of mind- a wise man. He has been able to see through the entire thing. He is not obsessed with only one side of the coin. He says “yes, yes, of course I too want freedom from suffering but I see that if I remove one part then I have actually removed nothing because nobody can remove just one side of the coin. If I want to get rid of pain and want the furtherance of pleasure then I have continued to live in pain”.
So he says, “I want liberation then from both of these.” When you want liberation from both of these. When you want liberation – from the total process of your suffering, not only a few objects, not only a few people – then that is called Mumukshatva – an intense desire for liberation. Liberation – total and honest – not just circumstantial, temporary, partial freedom.
But the question now arises that if the duality is the stuff of mind then with duality the mind too will disappear. So when you are not insistent on removing just one side of duality, one part, but want to get rid of the total. You are then not getting rid of something in the mind but you are getting rid of the mind itself. Which means that now your liberation is not from something in the world but from the world itself. Now your liberation is not from something in the mind but from the mind itself.
But who are you who is seeking liberation? You are the mind. So if you are being liberated from the mind itself then you are being liberated from yourself. But what is this word called liberation? Where does it come from? This word too comes from the mind. Because when the mind is talking of liberation, it is the mind that is talking and hence it is talking of an image of liberation.
So now when you are free from the mind you are also free from the word Liberation and Freedom. So in Moksha, in this total, absolute, perfect liberation – firstly you are free from both sides of duality you are then free from the total mind. Which means you are free from the totality of yourself. Which also means that now you are free from liberation itself.
The liberated one is free of the word liberation. And the liberated one is also free from the demand for freedom. The liberated one is liberated of liberation itself. He has no more demand, no more need for liberation left. He does not consider liberation, he doesn’t think of liberation. Liberation is a non-issue for him.
To be free is to be so absolutely free that you are free from freedom as well.
Are you getting this? Which means that you are not free of something now you are just free. Because whenever you say that you are free of something you are still talking in the language of the mind. You are still considering an object. When you are free of the mind as well then you never say I am free of something, you are just free. And because now you are now free of the concept of freedom as well so you don’t even bother to assert that you are free.
You don’t say, “I am free”, you just say, “I am.” Silence…. Silence and that is the final freedom. In that final freedom the freedom has no meaning at all. You don’t even say that you are free. You have no business going around tom – toming that you are free. You don’t even tell yourself that I am the free one. You are so free that you can forget freedom all together that is the final characteristic of the climax of freedom, that is Moksha. Which means that
The one who is liberated, the one who is living in Moksha will wear no signs of Moksha. All signs are in the world. All signs are just games in predictability. The liberated one hence cannot be known. You cannot read him, you cannot predict or detect him. In fact if you are able to spot a liberated one it only means that you are not liberated.
For the liberated one there is nothing except liberation. He see only liberation all around. Even in the deepest slavery he sees liberation. That doesn’t mean that he won’t fight slavery. He will fight slavery knowing fully well that it is liberation.
Are you getting this? So don’t search a Gnani, a realized one, a liberated one, the Jeevan-mukta, the Videhmukta, the one who has attained Moksha. Whenever you search for them you search for a certain image. And the trouble is sometimes you will get someone who tallies with your image. And that is the greatest disaster that can happen. Then you will worship him as the great Prophet, or Guru or whatever.
Now all that, that unfortunate fellow has done is that he has confirmed to your images. Sometimes not even deliberately. Your image is that the realized one has five eyes. The bugger was walking around with five eyes and you caught hold of him and you took him to a temple and established him there. What has he done?
Are you getting this?
Listener 1: Sir please repeat the line of events, first mind is made up of dualities, if with one aspect I am not feeling good I wish to be liberated then
AP: When you wish to be liberated only of one aspect you are not liberated at all. What can at most happen is that you turn your face towards the other aspect. You suppress one aspect or temporarily one aspect gets hidden in time only to resurface again, only to appear again.
If your commitment to freedom is more intense then you leave the whole thing. When you leave the whole thing you leave the mind as well. You have left yourself as well because you take yourself to be the mind. When you have left yourself as well where is the question of liberation because you are the one who was searching for the liberation. You are the one who give meaning to words like liberation
So the liberated one has no use of liberation. To the liberated one even in his bondage he remains liberated. Which means you cannot find him through any tricks, methods, images; you cannot detect him through his picture, through science, through his characteristics. Which means any search for enlightened master is a foolish search.
L2 : I am not getting it?
AP: How will you know someone is enlightened? You look for an enlightened one only when you feel that you are not enlightened. Right? Is that not so? We say that I am not enlightened and I am looking for an enlightened teacher. Now If I am not enlightened can I know who is enlightened? But I will try to know. How will I try to know? Through images, through rules of thumb. If somebody is enlightened he must not get angry. I will use these kinds of tricks. If somebody is enlightened he must always be smiling.
These kinds of things I will… If somebody is enlightened he must walk upon air. Mankind often does these kinds of things. In fact there are scriptures that says when the next enlightened one will come then such and such things will happen. Don’t you know of all that, have you not read all that.When the next enlightened one will come then the birds will automatically start singing.
There are scriptures which say when the next enlightened one will come then his mother will immediately die. And by these things you look for an enlightened one. How to look for an enlightened one-search for the boy that was born at such and such place in such and such hour, look for that one, go and pick him up. He will be our next great Guru. And this is the way you pick up your Gurus.
The example that I ag giving are gross examples. May be you use finer tricks; maybe you use more subtle tests to determine who will be your Guru. But nevertheless you always use tests don’t you. There is always some filter in mind; you are trying to see whether fellow tallies with the thing that I am trying to… if he doesn’t tally bad if he tallies worse now you do not know who you have accepted.
Instead of looking for an enlightened this or that just see what is happening within you, in you, around you. It is from all this that you want freedom.
Looking for enlightenment outside of you is a part of your bondage, it cannot lead you to freedom. Your freedom is in your mind, your bondage too is in your mind. If bondage is in your mind, if your mind is the bondage then that is where the bondage will be removed, go there. You will not find freedom outside somewhere. If bondage is in the mind freedom too is in the mind, go there.
And you don’t really have to go there. Don’t say that you require someone to help you go there. You don’t have to go there because you are already there. Don’t you live in facts, don’t you live, don’t you feel, don’t you smell, don’t you read, don’t you touch, don’t you hear. And all of that is sufficient, sufficient to take you very close to facts, facts that are an expression of the Truth. Yes?
When you are settled and relaxed, when you are That which can be loosely called as enlightened, then you are not you. How that you will think and behave that this you cannot predict so don’t even try.
Enlightenment means a total freedom from yourself. You will be no more. So how can you predict how you will be after enlightenment. You will be no more. All you will know is, “I am no more.”
And even that memory will be such a peripheral memory. You will remember it as some kind of past life. I don’t want to go too much into that because even that will lead to image formation. All that I just want to assert is that you being that which you are don’t try to speculate how it will be after enlightenment. Only the restless mind speculates all this and in enlightenment you will have freedom from everything including restlessness.
So there is no speculation there. As long as you are speculating, you are just speculating. Stop this.
L1: Sir we say stuff of mind is duality. We say stuff of mind is thought.
AP: Same thing, can there be a non-dualistic thought?
AP: So, all thoughts deal in dualities. All thoughts talk of objects.
L1: Are we inclined towards one end and not inclined towards the other?
L1: For example? Give an example except that of pain and pleasure.
Everything is pleasure and pain. You take any two dualistic objects you will always find that you are biased towards one of them. What you are biased towards is pleasure. What you are biased against is pain.
L1: So the concept of enlightenment in Buddhism and the Moksha are same?
AP: Yes, but remember both are same in the sense that ‘both are false’. Enlightenment is not a concept dear. You can have a Buddhist concept of enlightenment, you can have a Vedantic concept of enlightenment and both are equally the same, equally the same in the sense that both are false.
Enlightenment is not a concept. It is the freedom from the need to have the support of concepts.
If you are chasing enlightenment as a concept all you will get is more and more concepts. And conceptually you can even be convinced that you are enlightened. But your enlightenment will be very conceptual.
When life will come you will say that I am conceptually enlightened.
The final point in enlightenment is that you forget about enlightenment.
Why don’t you go directly there, why don’t you just drop the search for fulfillment? That is enlightenment. Why don’t you immediately live in your full contended nature that is enlightenment?
The enlightened one, I repeat has only one final characteristic- he doesn’t need enlightenment. You too don’t need enlightenment because you are already there. Just stop pretending that you lack something. Just stop believing that you are inferior or limited or hollow. There is an inner wellness that is already there. Why must you then be identified with disease? That is enlightenment, to not to believe in disease when you are already healthy. That is enlightenment.Now knowing that you are healthy you can act as the sick one. That is enlightenment. Acting as the sick one, not believing that you are the sick one
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What is Moksha?
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