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Question: Acharya Ji, I have often observed that my bodily tendencies always act as a hindrance in my spiritual growth. Please guide.
Acharya Prashant Ji: Sadhana is not for the sake of the body.
The body does not want any kind of Liberation. All that the body wants is – food, rest, sleep, sex. Therefore, whenever you would go against the conditioning and the objectives of the body, the body is bound to resist.
Obviously sadhana requires a fit body. But this has to be remembered that fitness is for the sake of sadhana, otherwise, strength and longevity of the body have no value per se.
The body is like an instrument, or a vehicle. You do not want to have a car that is serviced, fueled, polished, maintained, but never used. You maintain your car, you service it, you fuel it, so that it can take you to your destination. The destination comes first. The car is subservient to the destination, the car is not an end in itself.
However, there are many who would compromise on the destination, for the sake of the vehicle. That does not sound quite intelligent.
Question 2: Acharya Ji, how do I know that the one who observes all the thoughts, all the temptations, is my ‘high self’, and not my mind?
Acharya Ji: There is nothing called ‘my high self’. The ‘High Self’, is not ‘yours’. If the ‘High Self’ is really high, how can it be yours? You don’t have two selves – one high self, and one low self.
True Self is really a misnomer. The True Self is not personal. The True Self does not belong to ‘you’, not ‘yours’.
You can’t say, “It’s mine.” It is unknowable, unthinkable, untouchable, unimaginable. You can say nothing about it. You are the low self, who can at best simply surrender to the Truth. The Truth is sometimes called as, ‘the True Self’, or ‘the High Self’.
The little self must not even talk of the Truth. It can just bow it’s head down.
When you say, “I am the True Self that observes all the little activity,” you are saying something about the True Self. Right? You can say something about anything, only if you can observe that thing. Right?
(Pointing at the camera, placed in front) So, if you say that this camera is observing me (the Speaker), then there has to be a third entity that is observing the camera, and is therefore able to say that the camera is observing this speaker. Correct?
So, if you say, as is often commonly said, that – “The True Self is the observer that observes all the little activities of the mind” – then you are making a claim about the activities of the True Self. In other words, you are claiming that you are observing the True Self. You can observe something, only if you are behind it.
On one hand you say, “The ‘True Self’ is the witness of everything,” on the other hand you say, “Witness is witnessing, the witness is not witnessing,” and such things about the witness.
Who is a ‘witness’ by definition? Who sees everything, but can itself never be seen. It would be a poor witness, who is witnessed. When you talk about the ‘True Self’, you are actually talking of – witnessing the witness.
Don’t you see how absurd that is?
But we want to keep talking about ‘witnessing’ and ‘True Self’. This is nothing but the ego’s attempt to lay it’s hands, it’s small and dirty hands, even upon the Truth. So much talk about witnessing. Only the ‘witness’ can say about ‘witnessing’, but the ‘witness’, by it’s very nature, would not be interested in saying anything.
Who are we to talk about ‘witnessing’?
But in talking about witnessing, that same, fundamental misconception is there, called ‘my high self’. As far as we are concerned, there is only the small self, the low self, in your words.
‘Witnessing’ is never something that you would ever know of.
You can never say, “I was in the witnessing mode, an hour back. And now I am not witnessing.”
If you knew that you were witnessing, then I repeat, you were witnessing the ‘witness’. It must be a very poor witness. So, here is the event, here is the witness of the event, and here are you – witnessing both, the event and the witness.
Even the best that you can be is small. Retain this humility. This humility is far more important than concepts like witnessing.
Questioner: You said that it is better to keep up with this humility. But this decision too would be taken by somebody. So keeping up with this humility would be impossible.
Acharya Prashant Ji: It is not impossible, because someone, or somebody, we inexorably, inevitably are – by dint of birth, by dint of body-identification. The somebodi-ness is anyway there. No point turning blind to it. That’s the fact of our living.
Now given that we already live as ‘somebody’, why pretend that we are nobody?
Anshu (one of the team members) was telling me that he met a lady and asked her name. She was returning from some Satsang, and she replied, “I am nobody.”
You ‘are’ somebody.
Given that you are ‘somebody’, the somebody would always have an option, a choice, as to what to be.
Make a choice in favor of humility.
It is not very honest to say, “One is nobody.”
Questioner: But the choice will be made out of some reason.
Acharya Prashant Ji: Yeah!
Questioner: So, there must be a reason to choose humility.
Acharya Prashant Ji:
You have already made all the other choices. So, when you say that there has to be a reason, there is only one reason – suffering.
All your other choices, all your choices in vanity, arrogance, bigness, smartness, cleverness, have already been tried, and they brought you suffering. So, there is one choice left. And that final choice is – humility. If you still want to try out the various choices that you like, you may still try them. The result would be – more suffering.
And that suffering would ultimately push you to humility.
Questioner: So, you mean to say that humility is forced.
Acharya Prashant Ji:
Humility is a forced choice.
It comes either to the very intelligent ones, or to the very experienced ones.
Either you are so very intelligent, that you quickly realise that arrogance doesn’t help.
Or you are so experienced in getting beaten up by life, that life beats all the smartness out of you.
So, either intelligence, or experience.
But ultimately, humility has to come.
The ego has to see it’s small place.
Watch the session video: There is nothing as one’s True Self || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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