The real meaning of Vipasana || Acharya Prashant, on Mahatma Buddha (2017)

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Question: Acharya Ji, does meditation help?

Acharya Prashant Ji: What you call as ‘Meditation’ does not help. What you call as ‘God’ does not help. What you call as ‘Religion’ does not help.

Meditation helps, God helps, Religion helps.

But, God is not what you think God to be. And mediation is not what you think make of meditation. And Religion is not what you ideated it as.

Whenever you say ‘meditation’, you are so badly conditioned now, you start thinking of a man sitting on some pose with eyes closed, trying to be silent.

Meditation is about opening your eyes, not closing your eyes.

Do you get it?

When ever you see a man meditating with his eyes closed, rest assured that he is fooling himself. If you cannot meditate with your eyes open, how will you live in this world? With eyes closed? Whenever a life situation will confront you, what will you do? You will close your eyes?

Meditate with your eyes open, meditate when you are driving, meditate when you are eating, meditate when you are talking.

That is ‘Real Meditation’.

(Referring to a portrait of Goddess Kali hanging on the wall in front) The deity has her eyes open, surely she does not meditate according to your benchmarks. Kali has her eyes wide open. Have you seen the eyes of Kali? Wide open. Surely she does not know meditation, according to you.

Can you imagine Kali sitting peacefully with her eyes closed while Mahishasur (the demon) is prowling around? Kali’s Meditation lies in the trouncing of Mahishasur. When she is killing Mahishasur, she is meditating. That is ‘Meditation’.

The Right action, the Right center of operation- that is ‘Meditation’.

Kali would never waste herself with her eyes closed, learning some trick at your Yoga ashram.

Questioner: So, Acharya Ji, what is that which Patanjali explains, and Lord Buddha used talk of as ‘vipassana’?

Acharya Prashant Ji: All that Lord Buddha is saying is, “Watch your breath.” He says, “Watch everything that is in motion.” One must have Intelligence to decipher the code.

There are idioms in language, there are metaphors. Things are said figuratively. You must know their real meaning. Buddha is saying, “Watch your breath,” he is saying, “Watch your relationship with the world.”

What is the breath? Your relationship with the world. See how things are going in and coming out, see how you are absorbing the conditioning, and see how you are shaping the world. That is what is meant by ‘watching the breath.’

‘Vipassana’ – ‘passna’ means watch. ‘Passna’ means – watch. Watching is the real thing, not breath. Watch everything. Breath is a useful thing because it is always with you, therefore easy to watch. But the breath is not at the center, watching is at the center.

‘Vipassana’ – watch.

But watching is out, breath is in.


If you learn to watch, would you watch only breath? Breath is a reminder. Breath then becomes a token of the Guru. Breath is like then an alarm clock, somebody by a side to always nudge you – “Are you watching? Are you watching? Are you watching?”

You might do something, or not do something, but what is certain is that you are always breathing. So the breath is a reminder. And it’s not only Buddha, Kabir constantly talks of  watching the breath. Have you not heard of him constantly talking of ‘saanson ki maala’ (The string of breath)?

Have you not heard him say that one day will not only the ghar ki nari (the wife), but also the shareer ki nadi (the body), will desert you? ‘Shareer ki nadi’ means the nadi in the body – breath. So these are things that every Master says.

He hopes that you are intelligent enough to decode his words. And his words are simple. There is no great codification or mystery there. But we are so stupid that we take everything on face value. The Buddha says, “Keep yourself clean,” and what do we do? We wash our body. What’s going on?

The Scriptures very clearly say that the biggest fools are those who try to practice Samadhi. These are the words of very wise ones. These are the words of Rishis (Sages). And some of these words are directly attributed to Shiva. Now what would you do? Where would your entire city go? That city (the city of Rishikesh) is built in the name of Shiva, and Shiva is saying, “The biggest fools are those who try to practice Samadhi, who try to come to Samadhi through certain practices.”

Now what will you do?

Watch the session video: The real meaning of Vipasana || Acharya Prashant, on Mahatma Buddha (2017) The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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