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Acharya Prashant: First question reads, “What are your views on sex, love and meditation?”
What exactly do you want to know? I have no views really on any of these. Neither of them is something to be thought about.
L: What is the role of meditation in realization?
AP: None of these has any role to play anything. None of these are means or methods. There is the body and the body breathes. There is the body and the body bleeds. The body asks for food and digests, assimilates. And then there is the mind. The mind is driven by instincts, desires, conceptualizes, fears, analyses, projects, forecasts; that’s what the mind does. And both of these can pretty much remain independent.
When the body asks for food, it is not necessary that the mind needs to have a role in it. When the mind has a role in it, then you overeat. Then you go beyond the body needs and wants. Same is with sex. Why must the mind think about it? Why must anybody have views on it? Must you have views on all the hormones and enzymes that there are? Must you have views on how the ears hear and how the eyes see? Are you trying to hear or trying to see? And if you try that, then both hearing and seeing will be impeded.
But the thing about the mind is that it wants to have views on everything. It is so insecure that it must feel in control and the means that it deploys to feel ‘in control’ is knowledge: I must know. And that knowledge is nothing but opinion, “If I will know, then I will be able to say something about anything. And in saying something about everything, I will convince myself that I know, that I understand”.
Go closer to this – “Views on sex”. Why must anybody have views on sex? And the closer you will go, the more amusing it will appear. And if you can see the mind that asks this question, you will start laughing hilarious. “Views on sex?” Views on saliva? Views on dead skin? Why must have one views on sex? But the mind wants views on sex. The mind does not want views on saliva because with sex there is a greater opportunity to feel in control, in power, in domination. Fortunately, for us saliva has not become a symbol of self-worth. Neither has it become a cultural or spiritual icon. Otherwise, we would start thinking as intensely, as passionately and as desperately about saliva as well.
The more you bring the mind into anything, the more you are opening the gates to restlessness.
Everything, at least every sentient being in the world procreates. Seen animals thinking about sex or wondering or having views or plants? That’s the reason why they don’t have bouts of needless anxiety. If the average human being spends five minutes having sex, then he spends fifty days thinking about it. Of the twenty four hours in the day, it’s likely that not one minute might be invested in active sex but hours and hours all together are going into…?
Listeners: Thinking about sex.
AP: Thinking about sex. And this is a question that is an extension of the same tendency. This question is fundamentally not very different from masturbation. In both, you think about sex. So when it comes to the bedroom, what do we want? Thoughts about sex and when it comes to the meditation hall, a place like this. Again, what do we want?
L: Thoughts about sex.
AP: Thoughts about sex. What will you do with them? Better go and get some sex. That’s what you want. Why compensate for an absence of sex with thoughts?
Next (question) is – “Views on love.”
I’ll readily provide you on that. There are couple of books on love. Will that fetch you love? Will that? Next time, you go on a date. All that you receive is a book couriered to you. And it’s the most profound book ever written on love. Will it suffice? Will it? Why then do you want views on love? Don’t you already know? And if you don’t know, then what can this speaker or anybody in this or out of this world do?
Views on love would only make your mind heavier, rendering it even more, in capable of love.
The more you think about love, the more you remain just a thinker.
Is love a product of thought? Will more and more thinking bring you to love? Chances are, it may actually block love. Thought, by nature is insecure and aims at self-preservation. Love by nature is care-free and does not bother for security. These two just do not go together. Why don’t you see? The very function of thought is to maintain the status quo. Thought can aim at superficial change, peripheral change but it would always maintain the center it springs from. Thought is never going to challenge its own center. And the center of all thought is the ‘I’ feeling, the ego. That’s where the thoughts spring from.
The nature of love is to go against the ‘I’ feeling. The nature of love is to challenge the ‘I’ feeling, the very validity of it, the very presumptuousness contained in saying ‘I’; Love challenges that. Love not only challenges it, love actually mocks it, laughs at it. But we think about love, right? So, our love is not then love. It is “Thouve.”
“Thouvers” we are. And I’ve already given more stuff to you to think about love, right?
(Reading next question) – “Meditation.” What are your views on meditation?
Meditation is not a method to realization. Meditation is nothing. Realization is not an end that you can come to using some method. Why must you carry such structures in your mind and then seek to validate those structures by asking questions based on those structures? It is like a faulty map. A faulty map that indicate places that just do not exists, that shows road that lead nowhere and then trying to travel on those roads you meet me accidentally and asks me, “Where is ‘Nowhere Gunj’?”
First of all the road you are travelling on, is a myth. It’s a fake road. It is just not what you think it to be. Secondly, the ‘Nowhere Gunj’ that you aspire to go to, does not exist.
And you have caught hold of me and incessantly asking, “But where is ‘Nowhere Gunj’? Does this road lead there?”
No road leads to ‘Nowhere Gunj’. So, is meditation a road to realization? First of all, you do not know meditation. Meditation is not a road. Secondly, the realization that you are aiming at is simply ‘Nowhere Gunj’. You will never reach there. It does not exist. No road leads to that place. Does anybody get this? Yes?
So this is realization, right? Simply, one is capable of understanding. What else is realization? What realization are you targeting? What grand event? What do you mean by realizing the Self or realizing the Aatman or realizing Brahm? They are nothing but your views on them. Realization is as simple, direct and immediate as this. ‘You just know’ – this is realization and there is no realization higher than this. What you are targeting is something outlandish, right? Something of the beyond that will give you perpetual peace. There is nothing called perpetual peace. A demand of perpetuates, itself is peacelessness.
Would your demand perpetuate if you are not afraid? Would you be thinking of tomorrow if you are not dissatisfied? Why then must realization be larger than life? Why can’t be realization simply this? There is this biscuit and there is the tea cup in your hand and you sip and that is realization. What more do you want? And if it is so simple, does one need a road to it? Then is there a difference between realization and meditation? If the place that you aspire to go to is just this, then is the road any different from the destination?
The more further away you place your destination, the longer is the road, right? And if the destination is so close – what is the length of the destination? The road is the destination. They are one. Meditation is realization; they are one. Meditation is not something that you do to reach somewhere. And if you must stick to that thought, think about the one who indulges in meditation. Who is that? Who is the one who wants to reach somewhere and who is the one who would choose the time, place and method of meditation? Who is that one?
AP: Putting it more concisely-thought, right? And what did we say about thought? The fundamental nature of thought is self-preservation. That’s what all thought aims at. And if meditation is a result of thought, what then would be the goal of the meditation? Self-preservation. Would this meditation lead to any change? When the very goal is self-preservation, would it lead to any change? It would only lead to itself because it preserves itself. Such meditation simply preserves itself.
One day, you may proudly declare that you are self-realized. But what would that be? Thought calling itself realization and you can do that. Don’t you see that happening any way in daily life? You think about something and what do you call it?
AP: You say, “Oh! I now realize that such are the things.” Have you realized or have you just thought it out?
L: Thought it out.
AP: Thought it out, right?
We are not obliged to have views about everything. There is no need to have views about sex or love or meditation. We are alright without this mental exercise. If you think about sex, you will move into sex in a planned way. What’s the fun then? If you will think about sex, then it’s not the body, but the mind indulging in sex. And does that not happen? We are so unfortunate that for us, sex is all in the mind. It is not the body that will be fornicating. It will be the mind and that is why pornography is so prevalent. Even with the body lying dormant, the mind can keep assuming that sex is good fun. You very well know that it’s just a laptop screen and yet the goods are delivered, if not the babies. Right?
You see how easy it is to fool the mind? Don’t you know it’s just a laptop screen? You very well know and yet the mind feels aroused. And when the mind feels aroused, it can stimulate the body as well. We are psycho-somatic beings. When it is possible for you to fool the mind, don’t you see that how the situations and the world would be fooling it?
So, if sex is a thought out activity, then it would be firstly planned. Secondly, effortful and mental and thirdly, it will leave you empty and desperate for more. It would never suffice. Is it not an indicator or it is just a mere coincidence that the rise of civilization has also been the rise of pornography? That the rise of intellect has also been the rise of pornography? You go to tribal societies, you don’t find any pornography there.
The more we are civilized, the more we are structured, the more we become brain heavy, the more mental we get, the more pornography we get. Till some years back, pornography was the most sought after item on Google. I wonder whether it still is not.
When you tend to create a world based on thought, when everything about us is based on thought, then obviously sex is also based on…
AP: If you cannot do anything without thinking and planning, then obviously you can also not enter sex without…
L: Thinking and planning.
AP: I would not be surprised if a lot of people actually place physical intimacy as an item on their calendar or as a thing on their to-do list. I am pretty sure there would be lacks and millions who would be doing that. They would be specially blocking time for these things; weeks in advance; and preparing and planning and looking forward to it. And if you are a high flyer, then you will be notifying your secretary about it.
We do not have the guts for justness. We feel mortally afraid, “What would happen? We must first know. We must first think through. We must first project. We must first assure ourselves that no harm is going to come our way if we do this and only then we can enter into anything.”
I would not be surprised if there comes a time where people start thinking before breathing. For there are so many things being said about breathing now, Breathing itself is becoming an important topic for discussion and thought. I was in Rishikesh and one Westerner, she starts talking about how we do not breathe deep enough and how we breathe shallow and such things. I said “But I do not bother.” She said, “But you must.” I said “All right tell me.” She said, “Because we are afraid, so we do not breathe deep.” So she said, “You know we are so afraid that we don’t breath deep.”
I said, “Is there a difference between fear and botheration?” She thought out for a while and she said, “No, not really.” I said, “If you bother about breathing, are you not creating more fear?” When you tell people that not only is everything else is wrong about you, but even your breathe, is that adding to the fear-the botheration-or is it relieving? If people are not breathing deep enough, is it not because we have placed thought everywhere? And wherever there is thought, there is fear.
When you are all the time bothering whether things about you are right, will you be able to do anything normally, naturally?
Take a small experiment. Forget breathing. Look at walking. If you are told, “You are not walking right”, or if you are given a two day intensive workshop on walking, would you be able to walk properly after that? Would you be able to?
L: But Sir, practicing makes it right.
AP: How did those things go wrong in the first place? Ever seen a cat practicing its jump? Does a cat practice its jump?
L: Sir, when she learns hunting, she does that.
AP: Does it practice? Does it go and asks someone? Does it read a book? How does it know?
L: By observing its mother and…
AP: What if the mother is not around? What if you take a kitten?
L: Might be happening instantly.
AP: So, it knows. Right? It does not need to learn from anywhere. It does not need to learn from anywhere.
L: Sir, after attending the workshop, he will think a lot about whether he is walking right or not.
AP: And I am agreeing that yes, the breath has gone wrong, the walk has gone wrong. But must we not first go into why it has gone wrong? If there is a reason behind the wrongness, will continuing along the same reason correct the wrongness? So, if a kitten does not walk wrongly, how do human beings start walking wrongly? If a fish does not breathe wrongly, how it is so that human beings start breathing wrongly? Go into that first. How does that happen?
So, first of all please see that this so called wrongness is a product of knowledge, of thought, of views and opinions, of having an image about what is correct. So what must you do? So should you give him another image about what is correct? Telling him that, “Son, the first image that you had was a flawed image? Now let’s replace that with this image. This is a better image.” Or, is it better to simply drop all images and let him breathe?
Let him breathe. Don’t give him another model to breathe. If his breathing has gone out of sync with nature, it is because you gave him the model in the first place. If she cannot walk rhythmically, beautifully now, it is because you gave her a template for walking in the first place. Now don’t gave her another template. Just remove the first one and let her walk.
If the kitten knows how to walk, the girl also knows how to walk. But we believe in correction, education, improvement, civilization, betterment. We will not just let things be. We want to become better. And the better that we want to become is an image created by the one that we want to improve.
“Who am I? The one who is not satisfied with himself and wants to improve.”
Okay. Improve into what? Become what?
“Become that which I want to become.”
Who is it, who wants to become?
“The one who I think is not good enough to exist. So he wants to change.”
‘A’ wants to change into ‘B’. A is full of self-contempt. And that is why it wants to change into B. A is not happy with himself. Had ‘A’ been happy with himself, would he have wanted to change into B? So A is not happy with himself and he wants to change into B. And what exactly is this B? A’s projection. Now if A is not worthy enough, is A’s projection worthy enough? But we don’t see that. We say we will decide what we want to become. Had you been good enough to decide what you must become, then why would you have desired to change at all? The desire to change itself is an admission that I must not decide what I must change into.
But we wouldn’t admit that. Would we? No, too much.
L: It’s a trick of mind only to over thinking and unnecessary becoming conscious of any part of your body and…
AP: And trying to become that glorious one.
I am pretty sure that if cats too are made to walk down the ramp – have a cat walk, they would too start walking abnormally. And then you will need a consultant, a specialist to teach kittens how to walk. And two of them would be sweating it out, two of them would be depressed, one of them would be swelling in vanity, “Look at the way I walk.” One little one would be gazing in astonishment –‘Wow!’
(Sarcastically) “No kittu! Left one first, at an angle of seventeen and a half degrees.”
The mice will be rejoicing. No danger of being caught now. With this kind of walking…
(In continuation) …we are safe.
This is surrender – to not to be obsessed with thinking; letting things happen without thought. To not to be obsessed with brooding, “Had sex last night.” and then thinking about it the entire week – Was it right, was it wrong, should I go into it again, was I used, did I use?
It’s over baby, gone!
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Sex, love and meditation
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