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Question: Why do people practice techniques like ‘Yoga’ and ‘Meditation’? Do you think they are necessary?
Acharya Prashant (AP): They have their own place. But one should be very clear about the place that they have.
What you usually call as ‘Yoga’, the kind of yoga that is prevalent in this city (Rishikesh), is good for the body, but do not take it as a means to salvation. If it is being sold as something Mystical, or Spiritual, then it is not. In fact, to try to achieve salvation through yoga, is just an exhibition of the ego. The ego is saying, “By doing this or that, or by stretching my limbs, or sitting in a particular posture, I will reach God.” You sit in whatever posture you like, you do whatever you want to do with the breath or the body, you will not get God.
Questioner: But as I can see, one can calm the mind by doing these asanas, these postures?
AP: You can calm the mind, and believe that ‘you’ calmed the mind. You can calm the mind, and believe that ‘you’ calmed the mind, and in the process cause greater agitation to yourself.
There is no method, except ‘Surrender’ – direct, unconditional Surrender.
If you know that your mind is calm because the body is feeling better, and ‘you’ are the one who did something to make the body feel better, then that is just an extension of the ego.
The Real happens, never due to your planning, or your effort, because the Real never ‘happens’; it is already there.
It does not need to ‘happen’.
It is the only ‘happening’, how can it happen anymore?
But we are all intent upon somehow making the Real happen (emphasizing the word ‘happen’). “I will go and try so hard that I get the Truth.” Is Truth an apple or something? You don’t often get even apples due to your efforts. You can’t even get apples when you want, how will you get the Truth?
But yes, it has a certain value. When the body is fit, there is no doubt that the mind does not have to think about it. So, in that space it has a certain value.
Questioner: Does it mean that it is out of man’s control – the matter of Truth?
AP: Yes. And the ego does not like this statement. The statement is – “This proves that it is out of your control, the matter of Truth, whether you get Truth or not.”
Yes. Please realise this, as soon as possible.
The Truth won’t come to you because you tried this way or that way.
It comes to you because you see the futility of all your actions.
From morning to evening, whatever you are doing, when you see the futility inherent in them, that is the Truth.
That is Silence.
And mind you, from that Silence, great action emerges.
It is not as if no action would happen. Your heart would come to ‘no action’, and the body and the mind would act vigorously.
A ‘spiritual man’, cannot be a Saint who does nothing but eats all day, and keeps getting fat. And then everyday in the morning, he lectures for two hours. A ‘spiritual man’ is an intense actor. He does not live as somebody who has nothing to do with worldly concerns. Kindly get rid of the image of the Saint. In fact, if you come across any such person who does nothing, except lecturing, and is getting fat out of lecturing too much, then avoid him.
The ‘spiritual man’ is a warrior.
He is one who belongs to this world.
He is one who partakes in the concerns of this world.
He lives life fully.
It is not that he has shed all experience. In fact, he has become more open and sensitive to experience – this happiness, this sadness, this pleasure and pain.
He is the man of the Earth.
You will not find him on some great throne somewhere. He must be someone who moves through the streets – a commoner. He is not a general who hides in the castle. He is a foot soldier, out there in the battlefield.
Are you getting it?
Truth is not about renouncing the world of something.
The man of Truth is a man of great action.
And if you see someone whose life is dull, lukewarm, incapable of action, then you should just know that his life has not been touched by the Truth.
Truth makes you go wild.
It does not allow you to sleep.
The dance of Truth, is a mad dance.
It is a dance of the destruction.
It is a dance in which you come alive!
You do not just sit in saffron, and say, “Hari Om.”
Kabir Sahib never made preaching his profession. He was a weaver, and he remained a weaver. You must ask all the so-called spiritual ones, “What do you do except wagging your tongue? And how do you know anything of life, if you are not living it anymore?”
“You do not meet the commoners. You do not earn anything. You live on donations. You do not go to the markets to sell anything. You don’t but anything, because all is bought for you by your followers. You don’t mingle with women anymore, because that destroys your reputation. Now, how do you know anything about life?”
If you are a man, and if you are not meeting women as a man anymore, what do you know about life? From where else does anyone know about life? Does some great Truth descend from heaven?
One knows the Truth only in these simple, daily experiences of everyday living. And if you have blocked-out these everyday experiences, then how are you in touch with the Truth anymore?
Kabir Sahib’s life is a message. In continuing his life as a weaver, Kabir Sahib is saying that professional preachers should be rejected, precisely because they are professional preachers. You must ask the so-called spiritual ones, “Is there anything else that you do?”
Your words must come out of your life, not out of some book or something. You should have gone to the market, you should have seen something there. And then you should be talking from there. You should be able to say that – “Yesterday, this is what I saw, and hence we should talk about it.”
When Kabir Sahib talks, he makes the entire world his instrument. He uses ‘thread’ as a metaphor, he uses the ‘loom’ as a metaphor, he uses the ‘color’ as a metaphor. He uses the ‘selling’, as a metaphor.
There is nothing in this world, which Kabir Sahib does not use as a metaphor; even dogs. This means that – he is a man who is living really, intimately with life. He is not just talking some great high-flying theory.
‘Deep Awareness’, ‘Pure Consciousness’ – Kabir Sahib will never talk of all that. Because he is a real; he is not coming from a book or tradition. He is not coming from rote learning. Whatever he is saying, it is arising from his heart, and hence so practical.
Watch the session video: The utility of Yoga and methods of meditation || Acharya Prashant, on Saint Kabir (2016) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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