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Question: Dear Master, if everything is consciousness, why does prakriti (nature) exist? Why for the survival of one specie one must take another life? Why this effort must be done to sustain the body, when we are not the body?
Acharya Prashant Ji: Shirin when you are not the body, then obviously you need not make any special effort to sustain the body. But then you also are not concerned about making the body fall. Then you just let the body continue on it’s own.
There are two ways of associating with the body. One way is – ‘I am the body’. The second way is – ‘I am not the body’. When you say, “I am the body,” what is at the center of your statement? The body. ‘I am’ is the subject, and ‘the body’ is the predicate. Correct? When you say, “I am not the body,” what is it that you are talking about? What is it that you are interested in? The body.
Real affiliation to the Truth, real expression of the True self contains no mention of the body.
Not only will it not say, “I am the body,” it will also not bother to say, “I am not the body.”
Do you say, “I am not the pole”? Do you say that Shirin (the questioner)? Do you say, “I am not the grass”? Do you say, “I am not the floor”? Why don’t you say, “I am not the pole”? Why do you not feel the need to forcefully and emphatically declare – “I am not the pillar”? Why don’t you declare that? Because it would be absurd.
You are obviously not the pillar, and it never occurs to you that you are the pillar. Because it never occurs to you even by chance that you are the pillar, so there is no need to say, “I am not the pillar.” Similarly there is no need to declare – “I am not the body.” If you are not the body, let the body be, just as you let the pillar be.
Let the body be, the body knows what to do. The body is a self-sufficient machine. Hands are there, the digestive mechanism is there, the brain is there. The body knows what to do, let the body go ahead and do whatever it wants to do.
You do what you must do.
And in doing what you must do, if you need to use the body, use it, just as we sometimes use the pillar. Don’t we use the pillar? We use the pillar, but we are not the pillar. Do you get the difference? We use the pillar without identifying with the pillar. Similarly, for your own purpose, use the body without identifying with it.
There is no need to interfere with the body. In the positive sense, or in the negative sense. Neither in the sense of affirmation, nor in the sense of negation. That’s the best and most healthy relationship you can have with the body.
Let the body be.
Then next part of the question: “If everything is consciousness, why does prakriti (nature) exist?”
(Acharya Ji, addressing the questioner) Prakriti and consciousness are one. You conceptualise consciousness as something that looks at prakriti. Right? So prakriti is all around, the seen. And consciousness is the seer. That’s how you probably conceptualise it. Is that the concept?
So you are asking that if everything is consciousness, why does prakriti exist. Because prakriti and consciousness are one. This, that we call as ‘consciousness’ is embedded in the brain. Is it not? No brain, no consciousness. Referring to the consciousness, as it is commonly conceptualised – ‘No brain, no consciousness’. And what is the ‘brain’? Prakriti.
So our prakriti and consciousness are one. In fact, if somehow the brain can undergo a mutation, you will find that the entire universe has changed. If the brain undergoes a mutation, this entire prakriti will change. You will find it very surprising, probably unacceptable, but if the brain undergoes mutation even the Sun can change.
What do you think, is Sun and objective entity, independent of the brain? Not at all. All is in consciousness, and consciousness is in all. The Sun is not independent of consciousness. If through some miracle all human beings can have brain of a different dimension, it is quite possible that the Sun may not rise tomorrow. Or you may see five suns in the sky.
The Sun is totally dependent on this being for it’s existence, just as this being is dependent on the Sun’s energy for existence. It is not one way traffic. We think that the Sun gives energy so man survives. “Sorry dear Sun, don’t act so pretentious. Yes I survive on your energy, but if my consciousness transforms then you will totally disappear.” Totally means, totally.
Get this idea out of your head that the Sun or anything in the universe, or anything in prakriti, anything material has any independent or objective existence.
Not at all.
If there is nobody to watch the Sun, nothing like the Sun exists at all.
But you don’t feel that way. You say, “But it is not possible. Even if nobody is there, the Sun will still be there.” Not at all. Gone. Without consciousness there is no universe at all.
Next part of the question: “Why for the survival of one specie one must take another’s life?”
That’s how prakriti operates. Prakriti is a system in which there is no living being that can survive without any living being. When I say, “Living,” I mean consciousness in the lose sense of the word, ‘Consciousness’ or ‘Sentience’.
That’s how the game of prakriti operates.
It is an amoral game.
The question that you have posed is within the framework of morality. You are asking, “Why must one kill the other for his own survival?” This is coming from morality. Or this might be coming from Compassion.
In prakriti, there is neither morality nor immorality, there is neither Compassion nor cruelty, there is neither violence nor non-violence.
‘Prakriti’ is just prakriti.
You can call it ‘a giant machine’.
In that machine it just happens that the lion must kill the deer.
Is that good? No.
Is that bad? No.
It is just as it is, because prakriti has no need to be liberated.
Man is special. In the entire prakriti, man is special. Man has a need to be liberated. So man is within prakriti and is also a little out of it, as if he is wanting to escape away from prakriti.
If this is the domain of prakriti, this hall, then man is on the door, on the threshold – half inside, half outside. So he is prakriti and he is also willing to be out of prakriti. That is why man is suffering so much, always.
Man has a need for compassion, in prakriti there is no compassion.
So the lion is not violent if it kills the deer. Not at all. But man is violent if it kills the deer. Lion is not at all committing any sin if he kills the deer, because the lion has no option. Plus the lion has no spiritual ambition.
Have you ever met any lion asking for Liberation? Any lion? No. The lion has no such need. But man has that kind of a need. And if you want to be liberated, then killing deers is probably not the best way.
So don’t ask, “Why in prakriti does one kill the other?” It’s an irrelevant question. A relevant question would be: Must man kill and slaughter in order to survive? That’s a relevant question.
Even the answer to that would say: “Man can do that if man wants to remain within the hall. Man has the option to remain within the area, the domain, or the hall of prakriti. Or man has the option to let loose and fly away and be independent.”
If you want to remain prakriti, then you can act like the lion, and kill the deer and eat it. And that’s okay. Depends on you. But then you will be belonging to the jungle and live with what happens in the jungle. In the jungle there is no need for Liberation, so anybody can kill anybody.
But if you want to be liberated, and and you want to move outside this domain, then you must not kill. The advice is – don’t kill. Because within this domain of prakriti, within the jungle, you will not find Peace.
You are not designed to find Peace within prakriti.
Man can find peace, only after gaining Liberation from prakriti.
Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session video: Why is there so much violence in Prakriti? || Acharya Prashant (2019)
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